UK Panel Finds Likely Link Between Air Pollution and Dementia

Aug 5, 2022

A panel of British scientists has found that air pollution likely raises the risk of a person getting dementia.

A new report reviewed 70 studies on how air pollutants affect the brain. The panel found that pollution likely increases a person's chances of getting dementia. Dementia is the general term for memory loss.

Other studies have come up with similar results. Some don't agree on which pollutant has the biggest impact on the brain. 

A 2016 Canadian study found that people who lived within 165 feet of big roads were 7% more likely to have dementia than those living twice as far away. 

In 2018, the US and China carried out a study on the topic. It found that Chinese people who lived near high levels of air pollution didn't do as well on verbal and math tests. The effect was stronger on older people. Those with less education didn't perform as well, either.

In 2018, in Britain, researchers studied patients aged 50 to 79 from around London. They found higher rates of dementia among those who live in areas with more air pollution. 

Scientists believe that pollutants can get into a person's blood. That can affect how much blood gets to the brain. The panel said there should be more studies on this matter.  

Around 55 million people around the world have dementia. Ten million new cases are added every year. 

Photo from Reuters.

Question
Which of these phrases used in the story indicate there is still some uncertainty about if exposure to air pollution increases the risk of suffering from dementia? (Common Core RI.5.1; RI.6.1)
a. “likely raises”
b. “similar results”
c. “more likely”
d. “affect the brain”
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