World Alzheimer's Day- Constant exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk of dementia caused due to Alzheimer's disease while music could have positive impact, say doctors.
According to a recent study published in international health journals around the world, constant exposure to traffic noise increases the risk of dementia among aged population.
Each year, September 21 is commemorated as the World Alzheimer's Day, and Alzheimer's disease has been found to be the commonest cause of dementia.
Doctors say with India fast racing towards becoming the most populated country in the world, and with improved healthcare delivery mechanism, aged population is on the rise in the country. This section of the society is at the risk of developing age-related complications like dementia, which is often considered a serious mental problem caused by brain disease or injury, that affects the ability to think, remember and behave normally.
Commenting on the problem, Sritheja Reddy, Consultant Neurologist, Gleneagles Global Hospital believes that music usually has a soothing effect on individuals of all ages, but loud and persistent noise can cause mental disturbance, and could even trigger experiences of ill being among those people who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's related problems. "Cities are usually bustling with great activity during the day times and in the nights, but this could increase exposure to excessive noise, that can lead to short term impairments in cognitive function, particularly with respect to the ability to focus and remember. And the most important aspect here is that chronic exposure to noise pollution may increase the risk for dementia," the doctor said.
Abhinay M. Huchche, Consultant Neurologist, SLG Hospitals says that musical sounds could have a positive impact on people suffering from dementia, caused due to Alzheimer's disease." Listening to or singing songs can provide emotional and behavioral benefits for people with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. Musical memories are often preserved in Alzheimer's disease because key brain areas linked to musical memory are relatively undamaged by the disease," he added.
Changala Praveen, Consultant - Neurophysician, Aware Gleneagles Global Hospital pointed out that ageing patients require extra attention, and those impacted by dementia require proper evaluation and management of the disease through a multidisciplinary approach. "Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause for dementia, and there are multiple reasons for aged population developing this problem. Constant exposure to loud and unsavoury sounds like traffic noise is also a major cause for the older people to develop dementia. People who have aged family members in the house must ensure the elderly are protected from loud noises, and this is the best solution to arrest complexities," he said.
Having exposure to high levels of noise during the night is especially concerning, as sleep is a critical period for mental and cognitive restoration. Fragmented sleep resulting from noise disturbance is associated with increased oxidative stress causes alterations in the immune system and increased systemic inflammation.
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Chennai, Sep 6 (IANS) Bringing down tax and providing subsidies can help decrease lead pollution that has the potential to harm the mental and physical health of people, as well as contaminate the environment, according to a study by researchers at the Indian Institutes of Technology - Madras and Kanpur.The study, published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, used a system dynamics model to explore the implications of economic policies quantitatively on the recycling of used lead-acid batteries.Lead is used in various industries such as paints, cosmetics, dyes, ammunition, and jewellery, among numerous others, but the battery sector remains the major consumer of this metal by utilising 85 per cent of the production.While recycling is a good way to deal with scarcity as well as pollution, proper recycling of lead is still a concern due to mushrooming of the unregulated battery recycling sector alongside the regulated ones.The team suggested policy guidelines such as reducing the tax on the regulated recycling sector and providing subsidies to regulated recycling and remanufacturing sectors to reduce lead pollution from lead-acid battery (LAB) recycling.A very high subsidy to the formal remanufacturing sector can also lead to the shutting down of both regulated and unregulated recycling sectors, they said."The insufficiency of primary lead sources to satisfy the demand makes the recycling of used batteries necessary. However, the unscientific way of recycling by the unregulated sector poses serious environmental and health threats due to the high amount of lead excretion," said Professor R.K. Amit, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, in a statement."We studied to quantitatively assess the impact of different policy instruments on shifting the recycling business from unorganised to the organised sector in India," he added.As per a recent report by UNICEF, approximately a third of the world's children, including 27.5 crore Indian children, have higher exposure to lead as their blood lead levels have 5 micrograms per decilitre or more -- levels which are hazardous to their health.Though high lead levels are equally harmful to grown-ups, the high levels of lead in children are known to reduce IQ, decrease attention span, cause anaemia, kidney and liver disorders, among other issues in children."From the implementation point of view, the policymakers can consider the results of this study to frame policies and rules for the LAB recycling activity in India," Amit said.--IANSrvt/vd
New York, Aug 13 (IANS) With schools set to open in many places, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) suggest that open windows and good heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can help keep the classrooms safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.The study also shows how specific classroom configurations may affect air quality and necessitate additional measures, beyond HVAC use or open windows, to reduce the spread of aerosols -- those tiny, potentially Covid-carrying particles that can stay suspended in the air for hours."There are sets of conditions where we found clearly there's a problem, and when you look at the predicted concentration of aerosols around other people in the room, in some cases it was much higher than what the (standard) models would say," said Leon Glicksman, an MIT architecture and engineering professor.For the study, appearing online in the journal Building and Environment, the researchers used computational fluid dynamics -- sophisticated simulations of air flow -- to examine 14 different classroom ventilation scenarios, nine involving HVAC systems and five involving open windows. The research team also compared their modelling to past experimental results.One ideal scenario involves fresh air entering a classroom near ground level and moving steadily higher, until it exits the room through ceiling vents. This process is aided by the fact that hot air rises, and people's body warmth naturally generates rising "heat plumes," which carry air toward ceiling vents, at the rate of about 0.15 meters per second.Given ceiling ventilation, then, the aim is to create upward vertical air movement to cycle air out of the room, while limiting horizontal air movement, which spreads aerosols among seated students.This is why wearing masks indoors makes sense, Glicksman said. Masks limit the horizontal speed of exhaled aerosols, keeping those particles near heat plumes so the aerosols rise vertically, as the researchers observed in their simulations. Normal exhaling creates aerosol speeds of 1 metre per second, and coughing creates still higher speeds -- but masks keep that speed low.But, with closed windows and HVAC use, airflow problems emerged in a simulated classroom in winter, with cold windows on the side. In this case, because the cold air near the windows naturally sinks, it disrupts the overall upward flow of classroom air, despite people's heat plumes.In this scenario, someone infected with Covid-19 sitting near a window would be particularly likely to spread their aerosols around. But there are fixes for this problem: Among other things, placing heaters near cold windows limits their impact on classroom airflow, Glicksman said.--IANSrvt/vd
New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) There is a link between improving air quality and a reduction in the risk of dementia, a new research in the US has shown.Using data from two large, long-running study projects in the Puget Sound region -- one that began in the late 1970s measuring air pollution and another on risk factors for dementia that began in 1994 -- University of Washington (UW) researchers identified a link between air pollution and dementia.In the UW-led study, a small increase in the levels of fine particle pollution (PM2.5 or particulate matter 2.5 micrometers or smaller) averaged over a decade at specific addresses in the Seattle area was associated with a greater risk of dementia for people living at those addresses."We found that an increase of one microgram per cubic meter of exposure corresponded to a 16 per cent greater hazard of all-cause dementia. There was a similar association for Alzheimer's-type dementia," said lead author Rachel Shaffer, who conducted the research as a doctoral student in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.The study, published on August 4 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looked at more than 4,000 Seattle-area residents enrolled in the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study run by Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in collaboration with UW.Of those residents, the researchers identified more than 1,000 people who had been diagnosed with dementia at some point since the ACT Study began in 1994."The ACT Study is committed to advancing dementia research by sharing its data and resources, and we're grateful to the ACT volunteers who have devoted years of their lives to supporting our efforts, including their enthusiastic participation in this important research on air pollution," said Eric Larson, ACT's founding principal investigator and a senior investigator at KPWHRI.Once a patient with dementia was identified, researchers compared the average pollution exposure of each participant leading up to the age at which the dementia patient was diagnosed.For instance, if a person was diagnosed with dementia at 72 years old, the researchers compared the pollution exposure of other participants over the decade prior to when each one reached 72.In these analyses, the researchers also had to account for the different years in which these individuals were enrolled in the study, since air pollution has dropped dramatically in the decades since the ACT study began.In their final analysis, the researchers found that just a one microgram per cubic meter difference between residences was associated with 16 per cent higher incidence of dementia.To put that difference into perspective, Shaffer said, in 2019 there was approximately one microgram per cubic meter difference in PM2.5 pollution between Pike Street Market in downtown Seattle and the residential areas around Discovery Park."We know dementia develops over a long period of time. It takes years -- even decades -- for these pathologies to develop in the brain, and so we needed to look at exposures that covered that extended period," Shaffer said.And, because of long-running efforts by many UW faculty and others to build detailed databases of air pollution in our region, "we had the ability to estimate exposures for 40 years in this region. That is unprecedented in this research area and a unique aspect of our study."In addition to extensive air pollution and dementia data for the region, other study strengths included lengthy address histories and high-quality procedures for dementia diagnoses for the ACT Study participants."Having reliable address histories lets us obtain more precise air pollution estimates for study participants," said senior author Lianne Sheppard, a UW professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and of biostatistics."These high-quality exposures combined with ACT's regular participant follow-up and standardized diagnostic procedures contribute to this study's potential policy impact."--IANSvg/dpb
Chandigarh, Aug 4 (IANS) Even as the season for poll manifestos seem to have begun in Punjab with the Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party releasing its initial 13-point election agenda, members of 'Clean Air Punjab', which is a network of citizens and civil society organisations, on Wednesday urged parties to feature time-bound plans to tackle air pollution and public health issues.In a bid to highlight the rising air pollution as well as the serious health hazards faced by the people, a group of organisations, think tanks and civil society groups have joined hands to form 'Clean Air Punjab'.The aim of this collective is to work alongside the state authorities to help achieve clean air by ensuring all non-attainment cities across the state implement the Clean Air Action Plan.The collective has also expressed its displeasure with the Akali Dal-BSP manifesto, which was released on Tuesday, as it failed to address the issue of deteriorating air quality in the state.Air quality data reported across six of the nine non-attainment cities in Punjab suggests that particulate matter (PM10) concentrations were beyond safe limits on more than 50 per cent of the days in the first half of 2021.Punjab also recorded 41,090 deaths due to air pollution in 2019, accounting for nearly 19 per cent of all deaths, said a Down to Earth and Centre for Science and Environment annual study titled 'State of India's Environment 2021'.Samita Kaur, citizen activist from Innovative Farmers group, said despite facing its worst health crisis due to air pollution, the authorities were still not ready to accept the problem."The air quality in Punjab has been worsening to an extent where air pollution has now become a major killer. Even during the second wave of Covid-19 lockdown when most industries were shut, Punjab's air quality was still a serious matter of concern," she said, adding the state's green regions such as Fazilka and Ropar had an air quality index (AQI) of 113 and 129 respectively, which are well beyond safe standards."We need to accept that our state is in a health emergency and there is an immediate need for an intervention and prompting action to reduce the prevalent severe air pollution. Hence, as members of 'Clean Air Punjab' we want to strongly urge all parties to make air pollution management a priority in their election manifestos and to specify time-bound measures to protect public health from the harmful impact of air pollution," she added.--IANSvg/khz
<br>As per the association, a comprehensive system should be set in place that allows hassle free travel for those inoculated.Moreover, the system should also ensure testing and verification of those passengers who have not been inoculated but without increasing the already set restrictions."Vaccination and testing have a role to play in the recovery of international travel. It is not an option to wait for vaccines to be widely available before reopening borders. The global vaccine roll-out is likely to take time," said Conrad Clifford, IATA's Deputy Director General and Regional Vice President for Asia Pacific."That's why testing is the alternative for those who do not have access to vaccines or are unable to be vaccinated for various reasons."According to Clifford, it is not sustainable to maintain a zero case load approach, especially with scientists believing that Covid-19 will end up becoming endemic."We have been and continue to urge governments to make data driven decisions to manage the risks of Covid-19 when reopening their borders to international travel."Recently, independent data modelling conducted by Airbus and Boeing respectively have show that strategies without quarantine measures can enable international travel to restart with a very low risk of introduction of Covid-19 to the travel destination.On the global level, vaccination drives have accelerated, thereby, triggering hopes for a faster economic rival of the world economy.However, rising Delta variant cases around the world remains a key concern for governments globally."We are seeing governments around the world start to open borders to vaccinated travelers. More than 20 countries have wholly or partially lifted restrictions for vaccinated travellers.""In Asia, while there is a travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand, and Thailand has implemented a sandbox in Phuket, the borders of most countries are pretty much closed to international travel."Besides, a recent passengers' survey conducted by IATA, showed that majority of them are confident about the safety of air travel and support mask-wearing in the near-term.Further, the survey cited that 85 per cent of 4,700 travellers in 11 markets around the world believe that aircraft are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.Nonetheless, many were frustrated with the "hassle factor" around Covid-19 protocols, including confusion and uncertainty about travel rules, testing requirements, and excessive test costs.The survey pointed out that 65 per cent agree the air on an aircraft is as clean as an operating room.Furthermore, passengers strongly supported mask wearing onboard (83 per cent) and strict enforcement of mask rules (86 per cent), but a majority also believe the mask requirement should be ended as soon as possible.(Rohit Vaid can be contacted at [email protected])<br>--IANS<br>rv/sn<br>