Pollution Problem

By Health Day

Smoggy air might lead to foggy thinking - and even life-threatening brain problems.

Some of the pollution that floats in the air we breathe contains tiny particles. These particles often come from vehicles, power plants, and factories.

A new study finds that in older women, problems thinking clearly might be linked to particle pollution. Researchers included more than 19,000 women, ages 70 to 81. They used high-tech methods to estimate how much pollution surrounded the women in recent months and years. The women also volunteered for tests that checked their thinking ability.

Women who were exposed to more particle pollution had a faster decline in their ability to think clearly. Even the levels of pollution that surround many Americans may lead to worse memory and other thinking problems in older women, according to the researchers.

Another study from the same journal found a link between a type of particle pollution and strokes. Researchers included more than 1,700 Boston-area residents who'd had a stroke, and looked at records of particle pollution shortly before each stroke.

As particle pollution grew thicker, the risk of stroke went up. Even levels that the Environmental Protection Agency generally considers safe may raise the risk of strokes!

Visit the EPA's website for ways to help protect yourself from particle pollution.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news that doctors are reading; health news that matters to you.