Researchers from the University of British Columbia found that living near a major road or highway is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
The researchers analyzed data from 678,000 adults in Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1994 to 1998 and then during a follow-up period between 1999 and 2003.
The scientists found that living less than 50 meters, or about 164 feet, from a major road or less than 150 meters, about 492 feet, from a highway can increase the risk of developing these neurological disorders.
Conversely, the researchers found that living near green spaces has protective effects against the disorders.
“For the first time, we have confirmed a link between air pollution and traffic proximity with a higher risk of dementia,” Weiran Yuchi, the study’s lead author, told Science Daily. “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.”