Dementia is a central nervous system degenerative disease with insidious onset and chronic progression. It is one of the most common diseases among elderly people and mainly features by neurocognitive symptoms such as progressive memory impairment, cognitive dysfunction, personality change and language disorder, which seriously affect their communication, career and even life functions. The etiology and pathogenesis of dementia have not been elucidated. The characteristic pathological changes are extracellular senile plaques formed by amyloid beta deposition and neuronal fibrillation in the neuronal cells formed by hyperphosphorylation of tau, and neuronal loss with gliosis.

Recently, a joint study by several universities in London found that there is a link between neurodegenerative conditions and exposure to nitrogen dioxide and microscopic particles called PM2.5, which may increase the risk of dementia in cases of prolonged exposure to air pollution.

The researchers used an anonymous patient health record from the clinical practice research data link, which came from routine medical care. In 2004, they studied 131,000 patients between the ages of 50 and 79 who did not have dementia. The patients registered 75 routine treatments in the M25. The researchers conducted an average of seven years of follow-up of the health of these patients until they were diagnosed with dementia.

The survey found that from 2005 to 2013, a total of 2,181 patients (1.7%) were diagnosed with dementia, 39% of whom had Alzheimer's disease and 29% had vascular dementia. Based on a survey of patients in the vicinity of the patient's residence in 2004, these findings are related to the levels of nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5 in the surrounding environment.

Those who live in the five regions with the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide are 40% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than those living in areas with the lowest levels of nitrogen dioxide. In addition, PM2.5 levels have the same effect on the humans. In addition, regional and urban pollutants may be as important as near traffic pollutants.

Last year, studies showed that people living near busy roads were at increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Despite this, the cause of neurodegenerative diseases remains unclear, and it is difficult to exclude other explanations. The causes may be multifaceted. Chances are that there were diseases in the brain causing dementia 20 years ago. Therefore, the interpretation of these findings should be cautious, and there is still much room for research on the link between air pollution and the risk of dementia.

Other risk factors of dementia

Although heredity has been proved to play a key role in causing certain forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease, many other factors are often involved as well. In most cases, dementia is not caused by a person's behavior. Rather, most dementias develop due to biological causes or physical events in the body. This makes it difficult to predict who will develop dementia and who will luckily not.

Reduce the risk of dementia

There are no known ways to prevent Alzheimer's disease and other related dementias. However, people can take action to reduce the risk of dementia and, in some cases, slow the progression of the disease. These factors include:

Physical exercise
Healthy eating: maintain a nutritious diet, and get enough vitamin D.
Heart health behavior
Avoid head injuries
Psychological activity: use puzzles to stimulate your mind and read more.
Don’t smoke

Author's Bio: 

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