Over the last few months, much of New York has experienced air pollution levels not usually seen thanks in large part to the ongoing Canadian wildfires.

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For New Yorkers who don't live in areas that regularly deal with high levels of air pollution, the pollution from the wildfires has caused alarm and raised health questions but it would appear that short-term health concerns might be just one of our concerns.

A recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health suggests that there is a potential connection between air pollution and dementia. The study examined various sources of emissions, including agriculture, wildfires, road traffic, and coal combustion.

In addition to the potential link between air pollution and dementia, the study also found that long-term exposure to certain pollutants may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

Dr. Charles Bernick is a neurologist from the Cleveland Clinic and although Bernick was not involved in the study he explained, "There are multiple ways in which air pollution could impact the brain." Bernick explained that "One possibility is through the inflammation it causes in the lungs and the body, which may also affect the brain. Additionally, the toxic components of air pollution itself could directly enter the brain."

The study conducted by the National Institutes of Health analyzed data from over 28,000 people who were age 50 and older over a 10-year period. The findings of the study certainly suggest that there is a need for more research as well as education for the general public surrounding the potential risks associated with air pollution on cognitive health.

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