HealthDay News — An increase in 10-year average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure is associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Rachel M. Shaffer, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Washington Seattle School of Public Health, and colleagues examined the association between time-varying 10-year average PM2.5 exposure and the risk for all-cause dementia using the Adult Changes in Thought population-based prospective cohort study. Spatiotemporal model-based PM2.5 exposures were linked to participant addresses from 1978 to 2018. At biennial follow-ups, dementia diagnoses were made using standardized consensus-based protocols.

The researchers identified 1,136 cases of incident dementia among 4,166 individuals. The mean 10-year average PM2.5 was 10.1 µg/m3. The risk for all-cause dementia was increased 16 percent with each 1-µg/m3 increase in the moving average of 10-year PM2.5.


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“These results add to a growing body of both epidemiological and toxicological evidence on the neurodegenerative effects of air pollution and suggest that reducing exposures across the population could contribute to reducing the burden of dementia,” the authors write.

Two authors served as consultants to the Health Effects Institute; one author received royalties from UpToDate.

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