Air quality improvement and cognitive decline in community-dwelling older women in the United States: A longitudinal cohort study
PLoS Medicine Feb 09, 2022
Greater improvement in long-term air quality (AQ) in late life was shown to be linked with slower cognitive declines in older women. This novel finding reinforces the epidemiologic evidence of a relationship between air pollution and cognitive aging.
Although studies have demonstrated that late-life exposure to outdoor air pollution represents a modifiable risk factor for dementia, there is inconsistent epidemiological evidence for cognitive decline.
Epidemiological studies have shown that enhanced AQ may reduce mortality and improve respiratory health, reinforcing the evidence of an association between ambient air pollution and these health outcomes.
Researchers used a US cohort of 2,232 older women followed up to 20 years, to determine if women residing in locations with greater AQ improvement exhibited slower decline in their cognitive function.
AQ improvement was described as the difference in air pollution levels over 2 time points that were 10 years apart.
Residing in locations with greater AQ improvement was found to be linked with slower cognitive declines in older women, equivalent to women who were 0.9 to 1.6 years younger.
The links were identified to be similar across age groups, geographic region, education, Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) e4 genotypes, and cardiovascular risk factors.
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