Science

Living Near Heavy Traffic Linked To Higher Dementia Risks

By Christie Abagon , Jan 06, 2017 02:19 PM EST
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If you leave near a major highway, you may face a higher risk of developing neurological problems.  A new study claims that there is a link between living near roads with heavy traffic and dementia. 

A study published in The Lancet medical journal found that those who lived within 50 meters of roads with high traffic had a higher chance of developing dementia compared to those who live more than 300 meters away, Fox News reported. 

Air Pollutants Get Into The Brain Through The Blood Stream

According to BBC, about 50 million people worldwide suffer from dementia.  Researchers concluded that air pollutants can get into the brain via the blood stream, which can lead to neurological problems. 

For their research, investigators followed about 2 million people in Ontario between 20 and 80 years old from 2001 to 2012.  Study results show that there were 243,611 cases of dementia during that period, and compared to people living 300 meters away, the risk was 7 percent higher within 50 meters; 4 percent higher between 50 to 100 meters; and 2 percent higher between 101 to 200 meters.

The Number Of People With Dementia Is Rapidly Increasing

The World Health Organization said that the number of people with dementia is rapidly increasing.  This incurable condition is a leading cause of disability and dependency, and is beginning to overtake heart disease as a cause of death in some countries. 

This study asks questions about the environments that a lot of people live in, researchers say.  David Reynolds, chief scientific officer at Alzheimer's Research UK, said that the study "is interesting in its identification of an association between dementia and major roads." "But if any causal link exists between these two factors, it can't be confirmed by this study," Reynolds added.

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