Air pollution ‘harms the memory and thinking of city dwellers’, researchers find
- New research has been conducted on the impact of high-smog cities
- Those who live in urban areas with high levels of pollution scored lower on thinking and memory tests
- Scientists examined the link between air pollution levels and cognitive impairment in two separate studies
Living in a smoggy city could be bad for your memory, a study warns.
Those who live in urban areas with high levels of pollution scored lower on thinking and memory tests, and suffered faster cognitive decline, researchers found.
Scientists examined the link between air pollution levels and cognitive impairment in two separate studies.
Some 6,423 people in New York City were enrolled in either an ageing study looking at dementia in urban environments or a stroke study in city dwellers.
Living in a smoggy city like New York (pictured) may be bad for your memory, a study warns
All participants were given medical exams at the beginning of the study.
Their memory, language skills and executive function – which involves thinking skills like organising and completing tasks – were also tested.
Follow-up assessments were then conducted for up to seven years afterwards.
The researchers, from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, then used the participants’ home addresses to determine their exposure to three air pollutants. Participants with greater exposure to higher levels of pollution in the ageing study scored lower on the cognitive tests.
They also showed more rapid rates of mental decline.
However, the stroke study displayed no association between cognitive function and air pollution. Both studies were published in the online journal Neurology.