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As the most common cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease is known for destroying memory, thinking, and behaviors and eventually carrying out essential daily tasks. Although science is still working to develop a cure for this debilitating disease, there is still much to learn about dementia and its causes. This involves learning more about the risk factors that make a person more prone to developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Thanks to new research, we now know that brain-aging processes worsened by air pollution may increase the risk of developing dementia.
Today, Office H2O will answer whether or not air pollution contributes to the development of dementia and discuss what you can do to protect yourself and your family. With this information in mind, you can effectively reduce the risk that air pollution poses, taking a step towards fighting off this disease.
New Research Shows a Link Between Air Pollution and Dementia
According to early research conducted in 2017, brain-aging processes worsened by air pollution may increase dementia risk. This study has now been further explored, and the most recent findings show that older women living in locations with high levels of PM2.5 – the particulate matter produced by power plants and vehicles – suffered not only memory loss but also Alzheimer’s-like brain shrinkage that hasn’t been observed in women living in areas with cleaner air conditions. When adding up all of this information, it is clear that a way to avoid one huge risk factor of developing dementia is to reduce human exposure to PM2.5.
So how does exposure to PM2.5 impact the brain’s cognitive abilities? Put simply, PM2.5, also known as soot, consists of microscopic particles of smoke, chemicals, car exhaust, and other pollutants suspended in the air. It is estimated that 1 in 6 Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of particle pollution. The study mentioned above followed 712 women with an average age of 78 who didn’t have dementia at the start of the study. The participants underwent MRI scans five years apart. When researchers compared the brain scans of older women from locations with high levels of PM2.5 to those with low levels, it was found that dementia risk increased by 24% over the five years.
It would also appear that genes play a role in the development of dementia and air pollution. Researchers have shown that APOE4, a critical Alzheimer’s risk gene, interacts with air particles to accelerate the process of brain aging. Researchers found that the environmental risk raised by long-term PM2.5 exposure was higher by two to three times among older women with two copies of the APOE4 gene than among those without the gene.
How Can This Be Avoided?
It should be noted that the United States Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and enforce air quality standards that provide adequate safety to the most sensitive populations, such as children and the elderly. An opportunity was raised in 2020 to enforce higher standards based on other health problems caused by PM2.5. Unfortunately, the EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler declined this on December 7th, 2020, when he announced that the standards would remain unchanged. So, what can you do to avoid air pollution that directly contributes to the development of dementia?
If you live in an area with high levels of PM2.5 (levels classified as “beyond index”), there are a few steps you can take to limit exposure. For one, you should try to remain indoors as much as possible in an area with filtered air. It should be noted that particle pollution can make its way indoors, so you should consider purchasing an air cleaner if you live in an area with high particle pollution levels. Secondly, experts recommend keeping activity levels low. You should avoid activities that make you breathe faster or more deeply, if possible. Here are some additional steps that you can take to keep air pollution in your home low:
- Avoid using anything that burns, such as wood fireplaces, gas logs, or even candles.
- Keep the room clean but don’t vacuum unless your vacuum has a HEPA filter.
- Don’t smoke.
- Be cautious when the weather is hot. If it is too hot to remain indoors with the windows closed, move to an area with filtered air.
- When air quality improves, you should open the windows and air out your home or office.
Reclaim the Air You Breathe with Office H2O!
Now that you know a few of the ways that you can reduce your exposure to PM2.5, it’s time to take action. Suppose you want to protect yourself and your family from the risks posed by air pollution. In that case, you should consider buying an air purifier. Office H2O now offers a line of air purifying systems that utilize ActivePure Technology to keep the air in your home or office as clean as possible.
There are many benefits to using an Office H2O air purifier. Our air purifiers aggressively attack and destroy contaminants on the molecular level, reducing airborne and surface pollutants up to 99.9%. Further, our technology ensures that recontamination is prevented as people enter and move around the room.
Finally, granted the Certified Space Technology seal by the Space Foundation, our surface and air purifiers are based on the very same technology developed by NASA for use on the International Space Station. Reclaim the air you breathe and keep you and your family safe with Office H2O! Please browse our selection today and find the right system for you.