Traffic & Your Brain
When I wrote Hormone Deception, back then it was discussed that being in traffic and living closer than half a mile to a busy freeway, was linked to cognitive decline.
Thus, when I moved to Austin, I took a map of the city out and bought a house further than a half mile from heavy traffic.
Canadian researchers have honed in on exposure to one specific traffic-related air pollutant that significantly increases your and my risk for dementia.
Results from their meta-analysis, including more than 90 million people, showed the risk for dementia increased by 3% for every 1 microgram per cubic meter rise in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure.
Particulate matter is a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets from road traffic exhaust. It also comes from the burning of fossil fuels and nitrogen oxide.
The US Environmental Pollution Agency (EPA) considers average yearly exposures up to 12 µg/m3 to be safe.
The World Health Organization sets that limit lower, at 5 µg/m3.
Results from a study published earlier this year estimated that rates of dementia will triple worldwide and double in the US by 2050 unless steps are taken to mitigate risk factors.
Improving air quality PM2.5 by just 10% results in a 14% decreased risk for dementia.
What to do?
If you live near busy streets, best to get high-end air filters to reduce fine particulate matter exposure.
If you commute in heavy traffic daily, consider a high-end air filter in your car.
Air is the new food. Especially for your brain.
What else helps protect your brain, in a nutshell?
Eating less sugar and highly processed foods.
Using your brain.
Hormone Deception McGraw-Hill 2000, Awakened Medicine Press, Berkson DL
Neurology. Published online October 26, 2022. Abstract
Traffic-Related Pollutant Tied to Increased Dementia Risk - Medscape - Nov 02, 2022.