Air quality can determine not only the health of our airways, but also that of our brain. Air full of particulate matter can in fact increase the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's but, and this is today's news, cleaner and pollution-free air can reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. This is what emerges from two separate studies conducted by the same university, the University of Southern California, and whose authors wrote a letter published a few days ago in The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association to show the incredible results obtained (Ailshire et al, The Journal of the Alzheimer's Association, 2021).
Pollution and Alzheimer's
Previous studies, conducted by the same authors of the research we are talking about today, had been able to demonstrate how pollution given by PM2.5 particles is connected to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer's. In fact, these particles, smaller than the diameter of human hair, once inhaled arrive directly to the brain, overcoming the blood-brain barrier that normally protects this organ from dust and other threats. PM2.5 are released by fires, heating given by the combustion of wood, coal or diesel, exhaust gases from cars and industrial fumes. Well, both laboratories of the American university, completely independently, have certified a reduction in neurotoxicity induced by pollution. How is this possible?
Less pollution and more brain health
The authors of the studies, after analyzes and surveys, have come to the conclusion that, in the last ten years, there has been a reduction in the release of PM2.5 particles into the air. Therefore, there was less exposure to these particles that thus could do less damage to the brain. In fact, in the last decade, PM2.5 particles have decreased, compared to the previous ten years, in the areas where the study participants lived, by as much as 25%, although this fact can be observed almost everywhere. Therefore, actions aimed at reducing pollution have been shown to be effective and capable of bringing significant benefits in terms of brain health.
But be careful ...
However, the study ends with a cry of alarm. Indeed, PM2.5 values are on the rise again. These researches have made it possible to highlight that the reduction of particulate emissions can improve the air while pollution can affect, even directly, the health, not only of our lungs but also that of our brain. Hence the importance of limiting emissions, if not for the environment at least for our brain, protecting it from a greater risk of developing cognitive decline and Alzheimer's.