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Dementia Linked to Air Pollution

Air Pollution Health Dementia

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People continuously exposed to air pollution are at increased risk of dementia, especially if they also suffer from cardiovascular diseases, reports a new study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, published in the JAMA Neurology. Researchers examined nearly 3,000 adults with an average age of 74 living in the Kungsholmen district in central Stockholm for up to 11 years. Of those, 364 people developed dementia. The district’s annual average level of particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in width is high by Swedish standards, but low compared to international standards. Heart failure and ischemic heart disease both enhanced the dementia risk, and stroke explained almost 50 percent of air pollution-related dementia cases, according to the researchers.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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