Study: Air Pollution Linked to Dementia, Strokes

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    The Facts

    • A recent large-scale UK study has established an increasing connection between air pollution and poor brain health, dementia, and elevated risk of stroke.

    • Stroke ranks second in the world in terms of causes of mortality, accounting for roughly 11% of deaths. 50M people are currently living with dementia, and by 2050, that number is expected to reach 150M. The study suggests that such health risks may not be simply age-related, as previously thought. 

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    It should come as no surprise that improving air quality is beneficial to our health. The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors global air quality standards throughout the world. Unfortunately, many countries exceed the WHO's standards for air quality. Recent studies suggest a correlation between improved air quality and a lower risk of neurological illnesses. These are hard facts that must be taken into account when making environmental and health policies.

    Narrative B

    While this study is a step in the right direction, there's currently no consensus on a single cause of dementia. There are, however, preventative steps that can be taken to mitigate neurodegenerative diseases, including maintaining good mental health, engaging in physical and social activities, and eating a balanced diet. We must be careful not to dismiss the importance of these activities.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that outdoor pollution will cause at least 113M disability-adjusted life years in 2030, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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