"I have no hesitation whatsoever to say that air pollution causes dementia"

(Josh Cohen) #1

“The Evidence Is Strong: Air Pollution Seems to Cause Dementia”

I saw this article today:

The evidence is so compelling, in fact, that many leading researchers now believe it’s conclusive. “I have no hesitation whatsoever to say that air pollution causes dementia,” says Caleb Finch, gerontologist and the leader of USC’s Air Pollution and Brain Disease research network, which has completed many of these new studies. In terms of its effects on our health and welfare, Finch says, “air pollution is just as bad as cigarette smoke.”

(also on Wired)

And a related article:

Indoor Pollution Risks

I also recently saw this article about air pollution inside of homes.

Cleaning Indoor Pollution

I don’t know how much plants would help, but NASA did a study on indoor air pollution.

The NASA Clean Air Study was a project led by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in association with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) to research ways to clean the air in space stations. Its results suggested that, in addition to absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen through photosynthesis, certain common indoor plants may also provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene from the air.

The study further suggested that efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of space, but was conducted under sealed space station conditions and research conducted since has shown mixed results in the home or office.

A different study in 2004 has also shown that the micro-organisms in the soil of a potted plant remove benzene from the air, and that some plant species themselves also contribute to removing benzene.

There is a list of plants and results on the Wikipedia page:

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So then smoking also causes Dementia? Probably another study out there that concludes the same for alcohol and/or coffee… and whatever happened to it being Diabetes III and we all have to go keto to avoid the sugar that causes Alzheimer? Unbelievable how we’ve managed to survived the last 10,000 years. :wink:

Just so many studies out there telling you there is a correlation and magazines picking it up as causation. Plus what does having proof something can cause something mean (title of the article)? Either you have proof or you don’t… that’s like saying, the district attorney has more proof that the defendant may be guilty… is it proof or isn’t it???

“We found the Mother Jones article compelling,” Ketcham says. “It was informative about the plausible pathways and the need for more rigorous studies that could test causality.”

“If people who have lower levels of education, who are less wealthy, and who are less healthy for reasons that we can’t observe end up living in more polluted areas,” says Ketcham, “it’s difficult to say which of those factors could have led to disease.”

Martin now believes that air pollution could be one potential cause of dementia, although he wants more evidence on the mechanisms, “and, ideally, on a specific component or components of air pollution.”

(Josh Cohen) #3

There’s a page about that here.

I still think it’s worth hearing what people who study that field have to say, even if there aren’t conclusive answers yet.

Unfortunately, the Internet is full of clickbait titles as websites try to stay alive.


Lol… where do you even find these pages? A UK charity with a video like this: https://youtu.be/WTABZm9xdws claiming “1 in 3 people born today will develop it.” I wonder if that’s a special UK phenomenon; otherwise, we’re talking China + India as far as the world’s population.

Also the UK’s population is ~65 million and they next claim that 2021 the number will rise to 1 million people with dementia… so shouldn’t that really be north of 20 million?!? Damn, talk about lying with statistics… maybe they really mean out of the people “today” as in just this one day.

More fun-with-math (or maths since they’re British) when they go into a new case every three minutes. I’ll leave that to you 20 x 24 x 365 = 175,200, so what… patient zero 4-5 years ago given today’s number of cases? Please explain any of these three to me.

The link itself states:

  • There are many different chemicals and toxins in cigarette smoke so it is unclear which ones would be causing damage. There is some evidence that one (nicotine) actually reduces the risk of dementia.

So smoking is good for you then. Wonder if that is the same science they use to make the world flat… are flat earthers and anti-vaxxer also caused by air pollution?

Sure, but MoJo hardly falls into that category and I don’t need to hear from people with a BA in English who can’t spell heteroscedasticity if their life depended on it, confusing evidence and proof (you’d think their liberal arts degree would actually cover that)… I’ll leave it at that.


This just in: The National Enquirer interviews Bigfoot after setting sub 10 seconds world record in speed cards.

(Josh Cohen) #5

I don’t have time to investigate criticisms of the non-profit that hosts that page at the moment, but if you search for “smoking and alzheimer’s” there are some studies that might be worth looking at. I haven’t looked closely.

You can find clickbait everywhere, even in publications targeted at a more technical audience.

Here’s an example I saw on a site aimed at a more technical audience recently – an article on “hacker-proof cryptography” that actually says:

it does not herald an era of perfectly secure software. Protzenko noted there will always be attacks that no one has thought of before. EverCrypt can’t be proven secure against those, if only for the simple reason that no one knows what they will be.”

Websites are trying to survive the effects of social media.


Didn’t find any clickbait on Google Scholar:

Also, I don’t care about smoking and dementia as my original point with that was the the article reads like it was written by a 12 year old.

Right… fighting fire with fire. Snake oil existed before Facebook.

(Josh Cohen) #7

Great, it looks like there are plenty of studies about it that might answer your question about smoking and dementia.

This is a friendly site where people discuss memory respectfully with each other. I think you could find a more constructive way to word things. :slight_smile:

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Sure thing…

  • Bachelor or Bachelorette of Arts
  • reads like it was written in crayon

The BA in English is actually a reference to a famous Broadway musical. Also, I don’t see anything wrong with calling a spade a spade and that article was far from a literary masterpiece, so not sure which part could be misconstrued as disrespectful.


Interesting, though I’d take the info and attitude with a grain of salt.

Oft-times science reveals what it opts for the best. Revealing something that many people would be suspicious of without research anyway may be attractive, but for all practical purposes there just might be some other catch to them (i.e. policies that use research like that as a stepping stone to consent).

As anecdotal counter-proof on my part, many elderly people living in the countryside often develop dementia, in which case the lesser air pollution does not manifest as the most decisive factor.
What I’ve noticed so far from conversations with others is that, while there may certainly be much more to it, some kind of pattern arises in the overall behavioral profile of people with dementia (too self-dependent, used to taking massive action, some chasm in relating with others [wanting control, embracing suspicion, etc.] because of this during their life, etc.).

So, of course that could be just me, but neuroscience that zeroes in on thinking and behavioral patterns could be more useful, even if it could take some good working out on what method to follow^^ (at least in the stage science now stands).