Study: Air Pollution, Alcohol, Diabetes Are Top 3 Dementia Risk Factors

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People who are exposed to air pollution, have diabetes or drink alcohol could be more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study.

The study, released Wednesday in the journal Nature Communications and conducted by researchers at the University of Oxford, was based on the brain scans of about 40,000 people between the ages of 44 and 82 in the U.K. biobank.

For the study, researchers examined multiple different risk factors – blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, weight, alcohol, smoking, depression, hearing, inflammation, pollution, sleep, exercise, diet/supplementation, socialization and education.

Researchers determined that diabetes diagnoses, nitrogen air pollution and alcohol consumption were the top three biggest risk factors for dementia, based on their effects on the parts of the human brain associated with memory and thinking.

“What we’re trying to do is say: What are the common risk factors for dementia that are affecting these regions?” study co-author and Oxford associate professor Gwenaëlle Douaud told The Washington Post.

Douaud told The Post that the three risk factors each have an effect that is double than the other three leading risk factors, sleep, weight, smoking and blood pressure.

Another similar study in 2020 found that other factors, such as hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking and obesity could contribute to up to 40% of dementia cases across the globe, according to the Post.


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