As coronavirus lockdowns have led to noticeably clearer skies above many metropolitan areas, people are beginning to wonder anew about the effects of air pollution. Traffic and industrial exhaust have long been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular disease, but far fewer studies have examined what this smog might do to the brain. That has begun to change. In PubMed, searching for “pollution and dementia” returned a paltry half-dozen papers for each year before 2014, but 51 for 2018, 56 for 2019, and 22 already in 2020, some of which are summarised below.
- The study of air pollution and dementia is gaining traction.
- Data points to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline.
- Researchers agree that more definitive studies are needed.