busy roads traffic

Living near busy roads can lead to dementia: study

People living near busy roads amid heavy traffic and noise pollution stand the chance of suffering from dementia, a study conducted by researchers from the Public Health Ontario and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Canada said.

Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning, Google Search says, giving synonyms such as mental illness, madness, insanity, derangement and lunacy.

However, the study might not be welcomed with open arms in Africa, where eight out of 10 people interviewed by Sifa News seem to believe that living near busy roads is good for business, night life vibration and pleasure.

“Honestly speaking, I would love to rent or buy a property near a busy road where trucks, public transport vehicles and commuters move up and down. If you open a business in an area nearby, it will flourish,” Alice Mushy said.

“Dementia? Maybe for white people. I’m not sure about blacks because my parents have been living in this property since the 70s and all of us were born here. And none of us has ever felt any symptoms of memory disorder or whatever it is. At night, the vibration is just magic with these pubs and shops lined up here,” college student Marcel S said.

Nevertheless, the Public Health Ontario study – published in the Lancet – has found that those who live closest to major traffic arteries were up to 12% more likely to be diagnosed with dementia – a small but significant increase in risk.

Hong Chen, the scientist who led the research, said: “Increasing population growth and urbanisation has placed many people close to heavy traffic, and widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia.

Even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden, Chen added.

“We know that major road air pollution is bad for general health and this latest study doesn’t tell us whether the small increase in dementia risk is driven by indirect effects or whether proximity to traffic directly influences dementia pathology,” Rob Howard, a professor of old age psychiatry at University College London, was quoted by the UK’s Guardian newspaper as saying.

“Regardless of the route of causation, this study presents one more important reason why we must clean up the air in our cities,” Howard, who was not involved in the study, added.

(with the assistance of UK’s Guardian, additional reporting and editing by Issa Sikiti)

Photo: Odyssey Online

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