Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

A new study jointly published by Professors David Smith and Helga Refsum confirms that chronic exposure to air pollution in the elderly increases the risk of developing dementia a few years later.

Their research found a 70% increased risk of dementia for each unit increase in exposure to particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers in size. This is the commonest form of pollution in urban environments. The groups found that about half of this increased risk was related to raised blood levels of homocysteine. Since homocysteine levels can be lowered by taking B vitamins, this suggests a way of reducing the harmful effect of pollution, although of course it would be better to avoid pollution in the first place. The paper is the outcome of a collaboration with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. The paper is free online at:

Similar stories

Pharmacology scientist awarded Royal Society of Chemistry prize

Professor Angela Russell, who holds a joint appiontment with the Departments of Pharmacology and Chemistry, is one of four scientists from the University of Oxford who have won prizes from the Royal Society of Chemistry in recognition of brilliance in research and innovation. The awards are among the oldest and most prestigious research prizes in the world, having recognised excellence in the chemical sciences for more than 150 years.