Residential Fine Particulate Matter Tied to Higher Dementia Risk

Findings seen especially for fine particulate matter from agriculture and wildfires
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, Aug. 17, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Higher residential levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) are associated with higher rates of incident dementia, according to a study published online Aug. 14 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Boya Zhang, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined associations of long-term exposure of total and source-specific PM2.5 with incident dementia in older adults. The analysis included 27,857 participants in the Environmental Predictors of Cognitive Health and Aging study (1998 through 2016).

The researchers found that higher concentrations of total PM2.5 were associated with greater rates of incident dementia (hazard ratio, 1.08 per interquartile range). PM2.5 from all sources, except dust, was associated with increased rates of dementia in single pollutant models, with the strongest associations for agriculture, traffic, coal combustion, and wildfires. When adjusting for PM2.5 from all other sources and copollutants, only PM2.5 from agriculture (hazard ratio, 1.13) and wildfires (hazard ratio, 1.05) was robustly associated with greater rates of dementia.

These findings, the authors write, provide "further evidence supporting PM2.5 reduction as a population-based approach to promote healthy cognitive aging."

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