The Air You Breathe Can Damage Your Brain
Why do people get dementia? Why is one person stricken with this tragic disease when another is not? Is there any way to prevent Alzheimer’s and increase the quality of life for the elderly?
There are so many unanswered questions about dementia and Alzheimer’s. Science, though, is starting to make progress. For example, an intriguing new study found a connection between air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease. As elder abuse lawyers, we see every day the effect that dementia has on patients and their families. We applaud scientists who work to find the causes of this disease, and we hope that someday there will be good treatments available to all.
Air Pollution and the Brain
The study, performed by a team of researchers from top universities, medical schools, and the National Institute on Aging, found that older women exposed to certain kinds of air pollution had a much higher risk of brain damage.
The danger arises when there are very small particles of pollution in the air, small enough to easily penetrate the lungs. The study found that women who lived long-term in areas where the air was polluted in this way had an astonishing 68 to 91 percent higher chance of suffering cognitive decline and developing dementia.
Genes Play a Part Too
Further, the study found that women who lived in these polluted areas and who also had a particular gene were at even greater risk. For them, there was a 296 percent greater chance that they would get dementia. That is more than three times the risk than women who lived in polluted areas but didn’t have that gene.
The gene isn’t common. Only about 2 percent of women have it, but for them, breathing in small-particle pollution is especially risky.
One thing this study shows is that both the environment and genetics can play a role in causing dementia.
There is good news here. The amount of small-particle pollution has been going down, and so has the number of people getting dementia. Scientists don’t know yet if these two things are related, but they want to find out.
If your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer's and you suspect they are being abused, Garcia & Artigliere can help. We are a national law firm focusing on all types of elder and nursing home abuse cases. Call us at (800) 328-2630 to find out more.