Dementia: Stunning Report Links Cognitive Decline to Air Pollution – A ‘Strong’ Case

Dementia is one of the most common killers in the UK. Every year, 67,000 people die from the deadly umbrella of neurodegenerative diseases. This is a number that is expected to rise, with predictions predicting that one in three people born today will develop dementia in their lifetime. A new government report suggests that one of the risk factors for dementia could play an important role.

The report, released by the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) on Monday, assessed the impact of air pollution and cognitive decline.

In the government report, it says: “We have concluded that the evidence now suggests an association between ambient air pollutants and an acceleration of the decline in cognitive function often associated with aging and the risk of developing dementia.

“There are a number of plausible biological mechanisms by which air pollutants could have effects on the brain leading to accelerated cognitive decline and dementia. Some of them have been demonstrated in experimental studies.

“We believe there is a strong case for the effects of air pollutants on the cardiovascular system having a secondary effect on the brain.”

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Poor cardiovascular health has long been known to impact neurological health.

The reason for this is that the healthier the cardiovascular system, the more oxygen the heart can pump throughout the body to crucial organs such as the brain.

Were there any reservations to the government’s report?

In their conclusions, the authors stated: “The database is currently insufficient to allow direct quantification using a meta-analysis of epidemiological studies linking air pollution to cognitive decline or dementia. “.


As a result, alongside evidence that climate change is having a negative impact on the environment, there are growing calls to do more to tackle air pollution.

The hope is that by reducing air pollution, the risk of dementia and other cardiovascular diseases will also be reduced.

To that end, this morning the government announced a £7m fund for local action to reduce air pollution.

The fund will aim to help local communities reduce air pollution in their area.


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