Air Pollution from Traffic in Irvine Linked to Memory Loss and Alzheimer’s Disease, Study Finds

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A recent study conducted by the University of California, Irvine has revealed a concerning connection between air pollution caused by traffic in Irvine and memory loss, cognitive decline, and the activation of neural pathways associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. The study, published in the journal Toxicological Sciences, was led by Masashi Kitazawa, PhD, an associate professor of environmental and occupational health in the UCI Programme in Public Health.The researchers exposed mouse models of different ages to ultrafine particulate matter found in the ambient air of Irvine for a period of 12 weeks. One group of mice was exposed to the polluted air, while another group was exposed to purified air for comparison.

The study aimed to investigate the potential impact of particulate matter exposure during vulnerable life stages, such as development and aging.The results showed that exposure to particulate matter impaired memory tasks and cognitive function in both the young and elderly mouse models. Additionally, the older mice exhibited brain plaque build-up and glial cell activation, which are known to contribute to inflammation associated with the development of Alzheimer’s disease.Alzheimer’s disease, the leading cause of dementia among the elderly, poses a significant public health crisis globally.

While genetic factors are known to influence the disease, this study suggests that environmental factors, particularly air pollution, may also contribute to its onset.Co-author Michael Kleinman, PhD, emphasized the importance of reducing particulate matter levels to mitigate the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other health conditions. The study underscores the urgent need for effective regulations, awareness campaigns promoting lifestyle changes, and collaborative efforts to improve air quality.The findings highlight the alarming impact of air pollution on brain health and reinforce the call for immediate action to address this prominent environmental risk factor associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

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