Living near busy roads increases dementia risk: Lancet study

January 5, 2017

Dementia is more common in people who live near main roads, a major study has found, raising more concern about impacts of traffic pollution on people's health.  


Researchers tracked 6.6 million people in Ontario, Canada, over the decade to 2012. They found that the closer people lived to busy roads, the greater their risk of dementia.


"Even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden." 


There was a 7 per cent higher risk of developing dementia among those living within 50 metres of a main road, a 4 per cent higher risk at 50-100 metres, a 2 per cent higher risk at 101-200 metres, and no increase in risk among those living more than 200 metres away.


While the study only highlights an association between the two, air pollution experts said it opened up "a crucial global health concern for millions of people" and warranted further investigation to see if preventative measures could be found.


Living near a busy road may increase your risk of dementia, a study suggests. 


Dr Hong Chen, lead author of the research published in The Lancet on Thursday, said busy roads could be a source of environmental stressors that may give rise to dementia.


"Increasing population growth and urbanisation has placed many people close to heavy traffic, and with widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden," he said.



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