Breathing polluted air increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease

The study, conducted by a group of experts from the American Academy of Neurology, focused on analyzing exposure to particles emitted by a vehicle (specifically those known as PM 2.5) in the human brain. Samples for this 224 patients diagnosed with dementia who lived in areas particularly susceptible to this type of pollution, and who therefore suffered more directly and intensely from the effects of these polluting particles on their bodies. In all cases, the patients, who died at about 76 years of age, agreed to become donors. their bodies to science improve the study of these neurodegenerative pathologies.

The study found that the patients most susceptible to contamination are those who accumulate the most neuronal damage associated with the disease.

An analysis of these cases revealed the following. According to the authors of this study, patients most exposed to pollution were more likely to have high levels of amyloid plaques in the brain; one of most characteristic features of Alzheimer’s disease in gray matter. Study shows people exposed to extreme levels of pollution in the year before death are twice as likely to get sick excessive accumulation of these plaques in the brain. Likewise, those who lived in a highly polluted environment for three or more years before death had 87% more likely the presence of traces of these lesions associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

“This suggests that environmental factors such as pollution Air exposure may be a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Especially in the case of patients who have a disease cannot be explained by genetic reasons“, Explain Anke Ewels, a researcher at Emory University in Atlanta and the first author of this research paper. In this sense, the expert recalls that “more research is needed understand the mechanisms behind this connection,” but even so, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is a direct connection between both phenomena.

Preventive action

This is not the first time a study has established a direct link between environmental pollution and Alzheimer’s disease. For example, a study conducted by the Barcelona Brain Research Center (BBRC) and the Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) in Barcelona also demonstrated that air pollution increases the risk of brain diseases and, in turn, increases the risk of suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease . In this case, the researchers found a connection between exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and suspended particles less than 10 microns (PM10) and the risk of greater brain atrophy and decreased cortical thickness in areas particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.

Pascual Maragall Foundationone of Spain’s leading institutions for the study of this neurodegenerative disease, also notes that reduce pollution (and exposure to it) This is one of the most important measures to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In this sense, the organization recommends actions such as: “train as much as possible on the roadfrom more polluted places, such as busy streets, highways, or factories,” “spend more time in places with less pollution,” and “take public transportation rather than private vehicles.” “Pollution is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease because Long-term exposure can make the brain more vulnerable over time. contributing to the development of cognitive impairment associated with the disease,” the institution emphasizes.

Experts recommend minimizing exposure to contaminated areas to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Currently, according to a study by The Lancet Planetary Health, the vast majority of the world’s population exposed to levels of pollution significantly above healthy thresholds. Over the past two decades, it is estimated that global air quality has been at hazardous levels on at least 70% of days. “Breathing polluted air is one of the biggest threats to human health. Poor air quality is responsible for seven million deaths every year“explained Maria Neira, director of public health at the World Health Organization, in an interview with EL PERIÓDICO.

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