Posted on Oct 27, 2009, 6 a.m.
Air pollution from traffic fumes may cause older men and women to experience memory and thinking problems.
Ulrich Ranft, from Heinnrich-Heine University (Germany), and colleagues studied a group of 399 women, ages 68 to 79 years, who lived for more than 20 years at the same residential address. Assessing for long-term exposure to fine particulate matter (a measurement of air pollution), and testing their thinking and memory performance (to assess for mild cognitive impairment), the researchers found that cognitive skills were reduced in a manner that corresponded to how much air pollution the women inhaled as a function of their residential proximity to highly trafficked roads. The team concludes that: “These results indicate that chronic exposure to traffic-related [particulate matter] may be involved in the pathogenesis of [Alzheimer’s Disease].
Ranft U, Schikowski T, Sugiri D, Krutmann J, Kramer U. “Long-term exposure to traffic-related particulate matter impairs cognitive function in the elderly.” Environ Res. 2009 Nov;109(8):1004-11. Epub 2009 Sep 4.