Air pollution and dementia: cardiovascular pathways, population impact and potential for prevention

Year of award: 2023


  • Dr Yuntao Chen

    University College London, United Kingdom

Project summary

Emerging evidence such as recent Lancet Commission (2020) shows that air pollution is a likely modifiable risk factor of cognitive decline and dementia. The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (2022) concluded that cardiovascular pathways are important. However, the contribution of cardiovascular pathways to dementia development has not been addressed systematically. Also, little is known about a vital next-step question, i.e., if there is an effect of air pollution on dementia, would it make an important difference to a benefit assessment of policies designed to reduce levels of air pollutants? This project aims to make a major novel scientific contribution to the science of air pollution and dementia, focusing on cardiovascular pathways, the impact of air pollution on dementia burden at population level, and estimating the potential benefits of air pollution control in dementia prevention in England and Wales. Identification of intermediate processes that lie on the casual pathways linking air pollution to dementia could guide appropriate policy and action, including behavioural change, to mitigate the effects of air pollution on health. This project will be a key step to guide policymakers in the development of strategy to protect populations from adverse impacts of air pollution on dementia.