(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

Two-vehicle crash in Langford sends one to hospital Monday morning

Driver sent to hospital with unspecified injuries

Recent arrests skim surface of Victoria’s human trafficking problem

Port city makes desirable place for traffickers flying under the radar

Victoria Canadian Forces member honored with exceptional Rotary Club award

Capt. Jacqueline Zweng is the Western Canada Ambassador of Wounded Warriors Canada

Oak Bay athletes rule the slopes at Island ski and snowboard series

Oak Bay boys take top ski, snowboard honours

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

Amtrak warns of delays as railways from Seattle to B.C. blocked by Wet’suwet’en supporters

Coastal GasLink said it’s signed benefits agreements with all 20 elected band councils along pipeline route

Federal emergency group meets on pipeline protests as rail blockades continue

There’s mounting political pressure for Trudeau to put an end to the blockades

Most Read