May 8, 2023
Just a small increase in the pollution people breathe can raise their risk of developing dementia, according to a new study that lays the groundwork for stricter air quality regulations.
The analysis, conducted by researchers at Harvard’s medical school, was released on Wednesday in the BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal. It’s the most comprehensive look yet at the link between the neurological condition and exposure to PM2.5 — fine particles that are 2.5 microns wide or less released by wildfires, traffic, power plants, and other sources. Dementia, an umbrella term for the loss of mental functioning that includes Alzheimer’s disease, afflicts more than 7 million people in the United States and 57 million worldwide.