Improved Air Quality Linked to Slower Cognitive Decline
Increased air pollution in later stages of life is linked to dementia. However, earlier research findings that connect air pollution to decreased mental capabilities associated with age are unclear. Researchers conducted a study that included females who live in areas with improved air quality. It was found that if the air quality is good, the rates of decreased mental capabilities are slower. According to these findings, improving air quality can have positive effects on mental health.
As per previous research, improved air quality is linked to longer life expectancy and lower chances of developing breathing problems. Polluted air is also associated with higher chances of suffering from dementia. Nevertheless, it was found that the connection between greater pollution and a decline in mental health is not consistent.
The participants involved came from different US states. The research team conducted a phone survey to evaluate the mental condition of the women who took part n the study. In addition, each of them underwent episodic memory tests to evaluate their capability of recalling earlier incidents. This test is used to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The research team assessed the improvement in air quality ten years prior to the beginning of the study. They measured the yearly exposure of the participants to bad quality air. The results showed that individuals who live in areas with less air pollution are less likely to have a mental health decline.
Individuals who suffer from cardiovascular diseases have higher chances of suffering from dementia. The research team also investigated the factors that could link air quality improvement and mental health. It was discovered that age, education, and place of residence did not affect the connection between air quality and cognitive health.
This study has several limitations. For instance, phone surveys are not a very reliable method for assessing mental health. Next, researchers failed to track the participants’ time spent in other locations outside their place of residence. Lastly, all women who took part in the study were non-Hispanic white, which calls for further research that will include a wider population.
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