Living near major roads linked to higher incidence of neurological disorders

Living near major roads linked to higher incidence of neurological disorders

Living near major roads or highways is linked to higher incidence of dementia, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), suggests new research published this week in the journal Environmental Health . Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed data for 678,000 adults in Metro Vancouver. They found that living less than 50 meters from a major road or less than 150 meters from a highway is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS--likely due to increased exposure to air pollution. The researchers also found that living near green spaces, like parks, has protective effects against developing these neurological disorders. For the first time, we have confirmed a link between air pollution and traffic proximity with a higher risk of dementia, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and MS at the population level. The good news is that green spaces appear to have some protective effects in reducing the risk of developing one or more of these disorders. More research is needed, but our findings do suggest that urban planning efforts to increase accessibility to green spaces and to reduce motor vehicle traffic would be beneficial for neurological health." Weiran Yuchi, study's lead author and PhD candidate in the UBC school of population and public health Neurological disorders--a term that describes a range of disorders, including Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and motor neuron diseases--are increasingly recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability worldwide. Little is known about the risk factors associated with neurological disorders, the majority of which are incurable and typically worsen over time. For the study, researchers analyzed data for 678,000 adults between the ages of 45 and 84 who lived in Metro Vancouver from 1994 to 1998 and during a follow-up period from 1999 to 2003. They estimated individual exposures to road proximity, air pollution, noise and greenness at each person's residence using postal code data. During the follow-up period, the researchers identified 13,170 cases of non-Alzheimer's dementia, 4,201 cases of Parkinson's disease, 1,277 cases of Alzheimer's disease and 658 cases of MS. Related Stories



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