Air pollution is a tricky thing. You can't see it, smell it, or taste it. Yet it effects your health with every breath. Previous research has linked air pollution to cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses. But did you know it may also affect your mind?
A new study published this week in the Archives of Internal Medicine has found that chronic exposure to airborne particulate matter is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline. This cognitive decline is the first step on the road toward dementia and Alzheimer's disease: two conditions that greatly affect memory and quality of life. The study found that the greater the exposure to air pollution was, the faster the cognitive decline occurred.
For the study, researchers evaluated date from the Nurses’ Health Study Cognitive Cohort - a collection of 14 years worth of data for more than 19,000 U.S. women ages 70 to 81 - with geographical information about pollution levels in each test subject's location.
The results? Exposure to both small and large particulates was associated with sizable cognitive losses. And the results were the same whether the participants were exposed to the fine particulate matter kind of air pollution or the larger particle kind of air pollution.
How does your cities air rate? You can look it up by zip code at State of the Air. Need a better reason to move to Honolulu?