Can an air purifier help prevent cognitive loss?

Can an air purifier make your smarter? Well, at the very least it might help protect whatever smarts you already have by reducing your exposure to particle air pollution. That’s inference that might be drawn from a study published this week examining the effects of particulate air pollution on the cognitive health of older women.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, found that women who were exposed to elevated levels of particle air pollution over a long term experienced measurable declines in cognitive function. The link was found at levels of exposure to pollution typical in many urban areas in the United States. Although the research team did not pinpoint exactlyhowair pollution might cause decreased brain functionality, they speculated it may be related to air pollution’s association with cardiovascular risk. “Exposure to particulate air pollution is associated with cardiovascular risk, which itself may play a role in causing or accelerating cognitive decline,” the Rush University Medical Center press release said.

The study said if the findings can be corroborated in other studies there may be an opportunity for intervention through public policy. “If our findings are confirmed in other research, air pollution reduction is a potential means for reducing future population border of age-related cognitive decline, and eventually, dementia,” said the study author, Jennifer Weuve, an assistant professor at the Rush Institute of Healthy Aging.

Corroboration of the research could add another reason for those who live in areas with elevated levels of pollution to consider purchasing a high-efficiency air purifier. IQAir’s air purifiers with HyperHEPA filtration, for example, remove more than 99.97% of particle air pollution in the air inside a home or office. Government health agencies recommend source reduction and ventilation, along with air purification, as a three-tiered approach to combating the effects of air pollution.

The Rush University Medical Center study on air pollution and cognitive function joins a pair of other particle air pollution studies released in the past few days. One, conducted in Boston, found that even brief increases in traffic-related air pollution increases a person’s risk of a stroke. The other study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association, links particle air pollution to an increase in the short-term risk of a heart attack.

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