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Elderly people living in areas of high air pollution have brains that are ‘three years older’ as cognitive function is affected by air quality

11月 26th, 2012 · No Comments

Researchers found that elderly people did worse on thinking tests if they lived in areas with high levels of air pollution, compared to those in areas with relatively clean air.
The team from University of southern California presented their findings at the Gerontological Society of America’s annual scientific meeting, in San Diego,Inflatable Cartoons.
Postgraduate doctoral fellow Jennifer Ailshire conducted the analysis using data from the American Environmental Protection Agency and the Health and Retirement Study.
She said: “As a result of age-related declines in health and functioning, older adults are particularly vulnerable to the hazards of exposure to unhealthy air.
“Air pollution has been linked to increased cardiovascular and respiratory problems, and even premature death, in older populations, and there is emerging evidence that exposure to particulate air pollution may have adverse effects on brain health and functioning as well.”
The study of 14,793 men and women aged over 50 matched their results on cognitive tests to maps of air pollution.
The association even remained after accounting for several factors, including age, race/ethnicity, education, smoking behavior, and respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
Every ten micrograms of fine particle air pollution found per cubic meter was linked to a drop of a third of a point in cognitive scores.
Areas of low air pollution had 4.1 micrograms per cubic meter and areas with the worst had 20.7 micrograms.
The difference was the equivalent of ageing three years, Ms Ailshire said.
This was because one year increase in age was linked to a drop in cognitive scores of just over a tenth of a point.

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