Exposure to traffic noise is associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Could living near a busy road or train tracks increase your risk of developing dementia? According to a study published in The BMJ on Sept. 11, 2021, people who lived near noisy transportation routes for an extended period of time appeared to have an increased risk of dementia, specifically Alzheimer's disease, compared to those who lived in quieter areas.
The authors of the study in Denmark examined national health registers, which included 105,500 dementia cases among adults over the age of 60 between 2004 and 2017. They then examined traffic and railway noise estimates from residential neighborhoods across the country. After adjusting for other variables such as socioeconomic status and air pollution, the researchers discovered that people who lived in areas with heavy traffic or railroad noise for a decade or longer had a 27% increased risk of dementia in general and a 27% increased risk of Alzheimer's disease. Roadway noise, but not train noise, was also associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia, a type of dementia caused by decreased blood flow to the brain due to arterial plaque buildup. The researchers hypothesized that noise could impair sleep quality or contribute to an increase in stress, which could have a detrimental effect on brain health. They assert that the findings demonstrate the critical nature of public programs aimed at reducing noise pollution.
We are keeping an eye on this research.