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Exposure To Heavy Traffic Leads To Memory Loss And Dementia, Study Conducted In Ontario Reveals

First Posted: Jan 06, 2017 05:40 AM EST
Memory Loss And Dementia
People who live near highways and busy roads are more likely to suffer from memory loss and dementia.
(Photo : Carlsson/YouTube screenshot)

A new research found that living near the busy roads causes memory loss and dementia.

Hong Chen, Public Health Ontario and his team, studied the possible correlations between living near by a busy road and suffering from memory loss and dementia. The large-scale study that was published in the British medical journal, The Lancet, states that people who were living in the area near major roads had higher risk of developing dementia.

The study encompassed analysis of data obtained from the feedback obtained from 6 million adults living in Ontario, Canada, during 2001 and 2012. It was found that there was 7 percent higher chances of incidence of dementia among people who lived within 50 meters from any busy road.

The risk factor decreased to 4 percent in people living 50-100 meters away from the main roads and 2 percent in people who lived 100-200 meters away. Furthermore, no significant risk was found in people who lived more than 200 meters away from the roads, Alarabiya reported.

Hong said, "Our study suggests that busy roads could be a source of environmental stressors that could give rise to the onset of dementia."

The occurrence of memory loss and dementia was also associated with the long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and suspended particulate matter, commonly found in heavy traffic areas. It is also suggested that noise pollution and other chemical pollutants may also play a major role in this, Medical News Today reported.

However, the said research did not study the possible link between exposure to heavy traffic and occurrence of other neurological diseases such as the Parkinson's disease.

"Increasing population growth and urbanization 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," Hong said.

The World Health Organization says that about 47.5 million people suffer from dementia across the world and 7.7 million more cases are reported every year. Though Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of memory loss and dementia in 60-70 percent of the total number of cases, the present study did not establish any correlation between traffic, pollution and Alzheimer's disease.

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