New Research Suggests That Frequently Sitting In Traffic And Being Exposed To Smog Is Associated With A Higher Risk Of Amyloid Plaque Accumulation In The Brain, A Key Indicator Of Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology

BullRun - - illustrative purposes only

If you live in or near a major metropolitan area, then you’re no stranger to traffic– whether you’re sitting bumper to bumper while commuting to work or simply trying to get your grocery shopping done.

Air pollution related to traffic is also well-known for its harmful effects on our lungs. But, a recent study published in the American Academy of Neurology has highlighted a concerning potential link between smog and dementia.

Researchers have found that individuals who are more frequently exposed to pollution from traffic may have a higher risk of accumulating amyloid plaques in their brains, a key indicator often associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

While the research stops short of claiming that air pollution directly leads to an increase in amyloid plaques, it does emphasize a notable correlation between the two.

“These results add to the evidence that fine particulate matter from traffic-related air pollution affects the amount of amyloid plaque in the brain,” said Anke Huels, the study’s author.

“More research is needed to investigate the mechanisms behind this link.”

The research team evaluated fine particulate matter– or PM 2.5– which refers to tiny pollutant particles smaller than 2.5 microns across floating in the air. They also analyzed brain tissue from 224 individuals who had consented to donate their brains post-mortem for dementia research. On average, these donors died at 76 years old.

The study honed in on exposure to air pollution related to traffic, leveraging the deceased individuals’ last known home addresses in the Atlanta area to gauge this. Traffic-derived PM2.5 particles are a significant component of air pollution in many cities, including the metropolitan Atlanta area.

The average exposure to these particles was measured at 1.32 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m^3) in the year before death and 1.35 µg/m^3 over the three years leading up to death.

BullRun – – illustrative purposes only

Sign up for Chip Chick’s newsletter and get stories like this delivered to your inbox.

1 of 2