Air Pollution to increase risk of Neurological Disorders

  • Analysis
  • 29-October-2020

According to a long-term study conducted by the researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, air pollution is significantly linked with a heightened risk of numerous neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and several other dementias. The study is based on the lifestyle of approximately 63 million elderly population of the U.S.

The research study was led by colleagues at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. It is known to be the first countrywide analysis that shows the connection between neurodegenerative diseases and fine particulate pollution. An exceptional amount of data was leveraged by the researchers for this study in comparison to any other previous studies based on neurological disorders and air pollution.

This Lancet Commission research report regarding dementia care, intervention, and prevention has included air pollution as one of the main risk factors for the outcomes involving dementia, as stated by the co-lead author of the research study. The study is based on the small but prominent evidence, which indicates that long-term exposure to PM2.5 is linked with a heightened risk of neurological health degradation.

Based on the 17 years’ worth of data on hospital admissions from more than sixty-three million healthcare recipients in the U.S, researchers established the link between several neurological disorders and PM2.5 concentrations. According to the study, urban populations, white people, and women were more susceptible. The study revealed that older adults hailing from the north-eastern U.S. had a higher risk for Parkinson’s diseases. In contrast, the ones from the Midwest had extreme risks regarding Alzheimer’s disease.

The nationwide study also revealed that the current standards are not enough to protect the aging or elderly U.S. population. It also highlighted the drastic need for stricter policies and measures that would help decrease PM2.5 concentrations and enhance the overall air quality, as stated by Antonella Zanobetti. Antonella Zanobetti is the co-senior author of this research study hailing from Harvard Chan School’s Department of Environmental Health.

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