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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Is Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution Associated with Episodic Memory? A Longitudinal Study from Northern Sweden.

Oudin, Anna; Forsberg, Bertil; Lind, Nina; Nordin, Steven; Astrom, Daniel Oudin; Sundstrom, Anna; Nordin, Maria


Associations between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and cognitive function have been observed in a few longitudinal studies. Our aim was to investigate the association between long-term exposure to air pollution and episodic memory, a marker of early cognitive decline. We used data from the Betula study in Northern Sweden, and included participants 60 to 85 of age at inclusion, 1,469 persons in total. The participants were followed for up to 22 years, five years apart between 1988 and 2010. A composite of five tasks was used as a measure of episodic memory measure (EMM), and the five-year change in EMM score (Delta EMM) was calculated such that a participant could contribute with up to four measurement pairs. A Land Use Regression Model was used to estimate cumulative annual mean of NOx at the residential address of the participants (a marker for long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution). There did not seem to be any association between exposure to traffic air pollution and episodic memory change, with a Delta EMM estimate of per 1 mu g/m3 increase in NOx of 0.01 (95% Confidence Interval: -0.02,0.03). This is in contrast to a growing body of evidence suggesting associations between air pollution and cognitive function.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2017, Volume: 7, article number: 12789

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
    Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology

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