Latest evidence for environmental factors in dementia: air and cold

22 Oct 2020

Quality air and cold-water swimming join the growing ranks of dementia-prevention through environmental and lifestyle modifications.

Harvard University just published findings across 63 million adults and a 17 year period. The study, published in the Lancet Planetary Health, demonstrated that air pollution was significantly associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions for several neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Poor air quality has also been linked to Parkinson's, mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder, diabetes, and to general poor health worldwide.

Meanwhile, early research from Cambridge University suggests that cold water swimming could be a preventative for dementia. Cold water 'therapy', which is evidenced in improving the immune system, metabolism and cardiovascular system, as well as impacting pain and mood, can now add neuro-protectivity to its list.

Early research suggests that cold water swimming increases protein RBM3, something which has been found to be protective against dementia in mice. The lead researcher Professor Giovanna Mallucci of the UK Dementia Research Institute, discussed the study during yesterday's BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Dementia Academy supported development of the Brain Health Clinic blueprint, a healthcare service model designed to maximise use of lifestyle modification to prevent, or slow the progression of dementia.

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Led by proactive clinicians determined to see improvement in the way we prevent, diagnose and manage dementias, Dementia Academy supports healthcare professionals with the latest tools, resources and courses to do just that.