New research: This is how bad air can increase the risk of dementia

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Those who carry a gene that increases the risk of dementia, which applies to a quarter of the population, are almost twice as likely to develop dementia if they live in an area with a lot of air pollution. The same applies if you have a poor sense of smell. This is shown in a new thesis from Umeå University. Using data from the Betula study, which studied aging and health in Umeå from 1988 to 2014, John Andersson, a doctoral student at Umeå University, was able to compare those affected by dementia with where in Umeå they lived. For those who had the APOE e4 gene variant and who lived in an area with the worst air, the risk of suffering from dementia was almost twice as great, compared to those who lived where the air was good. – Those who do not have this gene variant and who have a good sense of smell, we see no increased risk of dementia in connection with air pollution, says John Andersson. Harmful particles Air pollution in cities is greatest where cars are driven, and particles from road wear are most dangerous. This means that even electric cars, which are better for the climate, are bad for health. – These particles that are harmful to the brain come to a large extent from road and tire wear, and especially up here in the north where we drive with studded tires. The wear and tear is just as great on an electric car, says Johan Andersson. A quarter of those in the Betula study had the APOE e4 gene variant. John Andersson does not think that everyone should now be retested or move out of town, instead it is the cars that are going away. – Improve the environment in densely built-up areas so that everyone can live here without running excessive health risks! See an interview with John Andersson in the clip above.