(Black Press Media files)

Living near major roads linked to higher risk of dementia, Parkinson’s: UBC study

Green space could mitigate some of the risks, researchers found

Living near major roads is linked to a higher risk of neurological disorders, a study from the University of B.C. has found.

Researchers analyzed data from 678,000 people in Metro Vancouver between the ages of 45-84 from 1994 to 1998 and again from 1999 to 2003.

During the follow up, they identified around 20,000 cases of non-Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

The study looked at how living within 50 metres of a major road, or 150 metres from a highway, increased the risk of these degenerative neurological diseases. Little is known so far about why those diseases progress.

Because relatively few people had Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis in the region, researchers focused on non-Alzheimer’s dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The data showed a 14-per-cent increase in non-Alzheimer’s dementia and a seven-per-cent uptick in Parkinson’s for those living near major routes.

The effect was largely due to air pollution, but could be mitigated through living near green spaces.

“More research is needed, but our findings do suggest that urban planning efforts to increase accessibility to green spaces and to reduce motor vehicle traffic would be beneficial for neurological health,” said lead author Weiran Yuchi, a PhD candidate at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.

Researchers believe green space could lessen the risk of neurological disorders in several ways.

“For people who are exposed to a higher level of green space, they are more likely to be physically active and may also have more social interactions,” said professor and senior study author Michael Brauer. “There may even be benefits from just the visual aspects of vegetation.”

ALSO READ: Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Health and safety regulations to be followed by schools as they reopen Monday

Ministry of Education wrote a letter to parents dated May 28.

Wear a mask to protect others, says Vanderhoof’s top doctor

“I think wearing a mask is a small inconvenience when weighed against the possibility of giving vulnerable members of our community an infection that could kill them,” the doctor said.

Here is what school will look like for FLESS students

Students are going back to school on June 1 on a voluntary, part-time basis.

7 projects in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Burns Lake receive NKDF funding

Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced $139,702 in funding on May 29.

School buses for SD91 to start running from June 1

Parents urged to drop off and pick kids up whenever possible.

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

RCMP, coroner investigate ‘unexpected deaths’ on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Most Read