MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Air pollution may trigger Alzheimer’s-like brain changes and speed memory decline in older adults, a new study suggests.

Previous research has implied that exposure to fine particle air pollution increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, but it wasn’t clear how this type of pollution affects the brain and memory.

“This is the first study to really show, in a statistical model, that air pollution was associated with changes in people’s brains and that those changes were then connected with declines in memory performance,” said researcher Andrew Petkus. He’s an assistant professor of clinical neurology at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine.

“Our hope is that by better understanding the underlying brain changes caused by air pollution, researchers will be able to develop interventions to help people with or at risk for cognitive decline,” Petkus explained in a university news release.

Credit: iStock, milehightraveler

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