Even 'Safe' Levels of Air Pollution Tied to Brain Shrinkage
Areas where there are high levels of fine-particle air pollution may increase Alzheimer's-like brain shrinkage, new research suggests. Results of a large longitudinal study show that women who lived in areas in which there were microscopic particulate matter with aerodynamic diameters <2.5 μg (PM2.5) per cubic meter of air had a significantly increased risk for brain shrinkage on imaging. Researchers studied more than 700 women (mean age, 78 years) who were free of dementia at baseline. Participants underwent MRI at baseline and again 5 years later. Each 3-μm increase in air pollution exposure was associated with an increase of .03 points in brain shrinkage scores at the end of the 5-year period. These scores were in turn associated with a 24% increased risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD).
@honey The researchers studied data from participants (n = 1365; mean age, 77.9 ± 3.7 years) in the Women's Health Initiative Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study (WHIMS-MRI), which focused on community-dwelling older women who had undergone brain MRI between April 2005 and January 2006. Of these participants, 730 underwent a second scan during the period 2010–2013. The average amount of time between scans was 4.77 years.