PUBLIC HEALTH

Air pollution linked to neurodegeneration markers

JAMA Neurol. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaneurol.2020.3962 (2020)

Exposure to air pollution is linked to the presence of amyloid-β plaques in PET scans in older adults with mild cognitive impairment in the USA.

Credit: Jonathan Knowles

Amyloid-β plaques that are detectable by PET scan are a signature characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. The contribution of environmental factors such as air pollution to the development of these plaques is unknown.

Rabinovici and colleagues studied 18,178 older adults with mild cognitive impairment in the USA. They estimated the air pollution at their residence using two time points from the Environmental Protection Agency Downscaler model and carried out PET scans on these people. They found a link between higher concentrations of fine particulate matter and the presence of plaques that should be considered in future public-health policy decisions.

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Correspondence to Hannah Stower.

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Stower, H. Air pollution linked to neurodegeneration markers. Nat Med 27, 21 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-01221-5

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