Community noise may affect dementia risk

October 21, 2020

Results from a new study published in Alzheimer's & Dementia support emerging evidence suggesting that noise may influence individuals' risk of developing dementia later in life.

Researchers studied 5,227 participants of the Chicago Health and Aging Project who were aged 65 years or older, of whom 30% had mild cognitive impairment and 11% had Alzheimer's disease. They found that persons living with 10 decibels more noise near their residences during the daytime had a 36% higher odds of having mild cognitive impairment and a 30% higher odds of having Alzheimer's disease.

"These findings suggest that within typical urban communities in the United States, higher levels of noise may impact the brains of older adults and make it harder for them to function without assistance. This is an important finding since millions of Americans are currently impacted by high levels of noise in their communities," said senior author Sara D. Adar, ScD, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor. Professor Adar added that "although noise has not received a great deal of attention in the United States to date, there is a public health opportunity here as there are interventions that can reduce exposures both at the individual and population level."

The study was supported by grants from the Alzheimer's Association and the National Institute on Aging.
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Wiley

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