Smog can increase depression and cognitive decline


By John

Living in places with higher exposure to air pollution in later life can lead to increased depressive symptoms and a higher risk of cognitive decline. This is what emerges from a study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, conducted by experts from the University of Southern California, who analyzed the link between the psychophysical and mental conditions of women aged 80 and over and the exposure to air pollutants. “Long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide,” says Andrew Petkus of the University of Southern California, “appears to be associated with a slight increase in the onset of depressive symptoms, which could affect memory decline and cognitive regression.”

The team assessed the condition of 1,583 dementia-free women ages 80 and older, who were asked to complete up to six annual memory assessments. “This is the first study showing how air pollution exposure may be linked to depressive symptoms in older women,” said Petkus colleague and co-author Jiu-Chiuan Chen. memory decline. According to the scientists’ findings, exposure to pollution in later life can lead to potential adverse effects, which suggests that air pollution may be a risk factor for geriatric women.

“Further studies will be needed – underline the authors – to verify the neurotoxicity linked to air pollution in the geriatric age, but our work shows that late-life exposures to air pollutants can accelerate brain aging and increase the risk of dementia” .