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Long-term exposure to air pollution and trajectories of cognitive decline among older adults.

TitleLong-term exposure to air pollution and trajectories of cognitive decline among older adults.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsKulick ER, Wellenius GA, Boehme AK, Joyce NR, Schupf N, Kaufman JD, Mayeux R, Sacco RL, Manly JJ, Elkind MSV
Date Published2020 04 28
KeywordsAged, Air Pollutants, Air Pollution, Cognitive Dysfunction, Cohort Studies, Cross-Sectional Studies, Environmental Exposure, Female, Humans, Male, New York City, Particulate Matter, Prospective Studies

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and cognitive decline in older adults residing in an urban area.
METHODS: Data for this study were obtained from 2 prospective cohorts of residents in the northern Manhattan area of New York City: the Washington Heights-Inwood Community Aging Project (WHICAP) and the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS). Participants of both cohorts received in-depth neuropsychological testing at enrollment and during follow-up. In each cohort, we used inverse probability weighted linear mixed models to evaluate the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between markers of average residential ambient air pollution (nitrogen dioxide [NO], fine particulate matter [PM], and respirable particulate matter [PM]) levels in the year prior to enrollment and measures of global and domain-specific cognition, adjusting for sociodemographic factors, temporal trends, and censoring.
RESULTS: Among 5,330 participants in WHICAP, an increase in NO was associated with a 0.22 SD lower global cognitive score at enrollment (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.30, -0.14) and 0.06 SD (95% CI, -0.08, -0.04) more rapid decline in cognitive scores between visits. Results were similar for PM and PM and across functional cognitive domains. We found no evidence of an association between pollution and cognitive function in NOMAS.
CONCLUSION: WHICAP participants living in areas with higher levels of ambient air pollutants have lower cognitive scores at enrollment and more rapid rates of cognitive decline over time. In NOMAS, a smaller cohort with fewer repeat measurements, we found no statistically significant associations. These results add to the evidence regarding the adverse effect of air pollution on cognitive aging and brain health.

Pubmed Link
Alternate JournalNeurology
PubMed ID32269113
PubMed Central IDPMC7274848
Grant ListR01 ES020871 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
RF1 AG054023 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
RF1 AG051641 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States
P30 ES007033 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
T32 HL134625 / HL / NHLBI NIH HHS / United States
R01 AG016206 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States

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