Exploring the relationship between Air Pollution and Alzheimer's Disease within California

Authors: Sophia Reyes*, California State University, Northridge
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Geography and Urban Health, Environmental Science
Keywords: Air pollution, Alzheimer's disease, California, health
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Alzheimer’s disease is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the US and is predicted to increase as the baby boomer population reaches retirement age. This degenerative brain disease is caused by any damage or destruction of nerve cells to the cognitive functions of the brain. Currently it is assumed that this damage could be a result of aging, lifestyle and environmental factors that an individual is exposed to throughout their life. Additionally, recent studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease has a higher probability of occurring to individuals exposed to high levels air pollution (Chen 2017). Therefore, in this study I utilize county data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) to examine if counties with higher levels of air pollution might additionally have higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease. The study is still in the preliminary stages, but takes into consideration other factors that could induce high level of Alzheimer’s disease such as age of the population or levels of industrialization within these counties. This preliminary research additionally suggests that there is a high correlation between Alzheimer’s and particle pollution use in Kings and Kern counties, both important agricultural areas. Currently, there are no definitive conclusions since the project is ongoing, but the results can ultimately work in aiding the push for stricter laws and regulations of the management of air quality as well as other health risks that may be a result of high levels of particle pollution.

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