Recent research suggests that those who live near busy roads are more likely to develop dementia compared to those who don’t. A group of experts in Canada has conducted an extensive study to establish the detrimental effects of living in an environment dominated by traffic.
As such, the researchers discovered that the people whose apartments or houses were at a 50-meter distance from busy roads were seven percent more prone to develop dementia, whereas those living at a 300-meter distance had no risk of developing this condition.
According to Ray Copes, lead author of the study and a health expert at Public Health Ontario (PHO), the areas around traffic roads are contaminated with air pollutants which can have detrimental health effects.
More precisely, by inhaling these air pollutants, there is a higher risk of inflammation, a leading factor facilitating the development of cardiovascular disease and even diabetes. Based on the study findings, the air pollutants reach the brain through the blood stream.
Dementia is a degenerative brain condition caused by other brain diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Because the brain cells die, the patients experience memory loss and other symptoms related to spatial and navigational abilities, behavior, and thinking.
Therefore, patients living with such a brain condition have major difficulties performing even the simplest everyday activities. Based on the estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of dementia patients was 47.5 million two years ago.
Worse, the rates of dementia have increased since then. During the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of over 6.5 million people living in Ontario with ages between 20 and 85 years. Then, they discovered that 243,611 residents developed dementia from 2001 to 2012.
Also, they found that one of the major factors leading to these high rates was the fact that those people lived near busy roads. The experts established that in the group of residents living fifty to 100 meters away from traffic, the rates of this brain disorder increased by just four percent.
In addition, in the areas where people lived within 100 to 200 meters from the busy roads, the rates of dementia increased by only two percent. The researchers analyzed the risk of multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease as well, but the rates of these two diseases were not influenced by living near busy roads.