UK: air pollution and risk of accident dementia

Air pollution may cause inflammatory and oxidative stress damage to the brain, leading to neurodegenerative disease

by Lorenzo Ciotti
UK: air pollution and risk of accident dementia

"Air pollution may cause inflammatory and oxidative stress damage to the brain, leading to neurodegenerative disease. The association between air pollution and dementia, and modification by apolipoprotein E genotype 4 has yet to be fully investigated.

To examine associations of air pollution with three types of incident dementias (Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), and vascular dementia (VAD)), and their potential modification by APOE-ε4 genotype.

The UK Biobank enrolled >500,000 participants (2006-2010) with ongoing follow-up. We used annual averages of air pollution for 2010 scaled to interquartile ranges (IQR). We included individuals aged ≥60 years, with no dementia diagnosis prior to January 1, 2010.

Time to incident dementia and follow-up time were reported from baseline (January 01, 2010) to last censor event (death, last hospitalization, or loss to follow-up). Cox proportional hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were calculated to estimate the association of air pollutants and incident dementia, and modification of these associations by APOE-ε4.

Our sample included 187,194 individuals with a mean follow-up of 7.04 years. We observed consistent associations of PM2.5 with greater risk of all-cause dementia and AD. NO2 was also associated with greater risk of any incident dementia and VAD.

APOE-ε4 did not modify the association between any air pollutants and dementia. PM2.5 and NO2 levels were associated with several types of dementia, and these associations were not modified by APOE-ε4. Findings from the UK Biobank support and extend to other epidemiological evidence for the potential association of air pollutants with detrimental brain health during aging." This is what was explained on the study published on the Environmental research titled: Exposure to air pollution and risk of incident dementia in the UK Biobank.

Dementia is a neurological condition characterized by the onset, following various brain pathologies, of a decline in multiple cognitive functions, or a decline in memory and at least one cognitive function among the following: deficits in executive functions, such as the ability to plan actions, abstract thinking skills, critical and judgment skills, language, ability to recognize objects and people, praxic functions.

The cognitive deterioration must be of such gravity as to make the patient no longer autonomous in daily activities, being the state of alert consciousness. In patients with dementia it is frequent to observe personality changes, which manifest themselves as behavioral disturbances, including apathy, loss of initiative, behavioral disinhibition, episodes of agitation.