As per a new study, people who live near busy roads may face a higher risk developing dementia.
Researchers from Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) in Canada, found that people who lived within 50 meters of high traffic roads had a seven per cent higher likelihood of developing dementia compared to those who lived more than 300 meters away from busy roads.
They examined records of more than 6.5 million Ontario residents aged 20-85 to investigate the correlation between living close to major roads and dementia, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.
Scientists identified 243,611 cases of dementia, 31,577 cases of Parkinson's disease, and 9,247 cases of multiple sclerosis in Ontario between 2001 and 2012.
Living close to major roads increased the risk of developing dementia, but not Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis, two other major neurological disorders.
Ray Copes from PHO said, "Our study is the first in Canada to suggest that pollutants from heavy, day-to-day traffic are linked to dementia."
Copes said, "We know from previous research that air pollutants can get into the blood stream and lead to inflammation, which is linked with cardiovascular disease and possibly other conditions such as diabetes. This study suggests air pollutants that can get into the brain via the blood stream can lead to neurological problem."
As urban centres become more densely populated and more congested with vehicles on major roads, Copes suggests the findings of this paper could be used to help inform municipal land use decisions as well as building design to take into account air pollution factors and the impact on residents.