Science Snippet: Air Pollution & Disease States

Scientific evidence is mounting that air pollution plays a key role in initiating many disease states. For example, a Canadian study recently showed that individuals living near a major roadway are more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer’s Disease, than are people living farther away. When records of 6.6 million people were examined during an 11-year period it was discovered that 243,000 ended up with dementia. After correcting for sociodemographic status, smoking, and sex, it was found that of those who developed dementia 95 percent of them lived within a thousand yards of a major roadway. Individuals living more than a thousand yards away appeared not to be at risk. Other studies have shown links between air pollution and inflammation in the brain, which can result in strokes, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and other neurodegenerative disorders. It has also been shown that children born to women who live near a major roadway have a higher incidence of autism than those who live further away. Of many pollutants in air along busy roadways, particulate material (e.g., soot from diesel engines) and ground level ozone may play key roles in inducing neurological disease states. (Block and Calderon-Garciduenas, 2009, “Air Pollution: Mechanisms of Neuroinflammation & CNS Disease,” Trends in Neuroscience, Sept., pp 506-516; 2017;, 2017;;jan/04/living-near-heavy-traffic; other sources)