There is a higher risk of developing dementia for people living close to heavy traffic areas vs those living farther away, Canadian researchers say. The cause may possibly be pollutants infiltrating the brain via the bloodstream.
A study in The Lancet medical journal found that people who lived within 50 meters (55 yards) of high-traffic roads had a 7.0% higher chance of developing dementia compared to those who lived more than 300 meters away from busy roadways.
“Air pollutants can get into the blood stream and lead to inflammation, which is linked with cardiovascular disease and possibly other conditions such as diabetes. This study suggests air pollutants that can get into the brain via the blood stream can lead to neurological problems,” said Ray Copes, an environmental and occupational health expert at Public Health Ontario (PHO) who conducted the study with colleagues from Canada’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.