air pollution and Alzheimer's

Can Air Pollution Cause Damage to the Brain?

Air pollution continues to be an unseen crisis around the world. According to new data from the World Health Organization, 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants and at least 7 million people around the world die every year due to exposure from polluted air.

But just as we thought that we’ve already seen the worst effects of air pollution, a new study suggests that it could also cause damages to the brain and even affect neurodevelopment.

This raises cause for concerns, especially for older people in Alzheimer’s care facilities who are already suffering from significant brain damage due to their condition.


The Study

Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas, a neuropathologist from the University of Montana studied human brain samples from autopsy examinations in Mexico City as part of her research on the effects of the environment on neural development.

After gathering the samples herself, Calderon-Garciduenas’ colleagues prepared the slides where she identified the proteins amyloid-beta and hyperphosphorylated tau that are both linked to Alzheimer’s disease in all 203 brain samples she studied.

But what raised more concern was the fact that these brains belonged not only to seniors who likely spent time in Alzheimer’s care facilities but also in young adults, teenagers, and even children. She said that the youngest of the subjects was just 11 months old.

Calderon-Garciduenas was devastated and she knew that Mexico City’s notoriously polluted air has something to do with this discovery. What used to only be a theory that air pollution causes damage to the brain can now be backed up by research.


The Damage to Neurodevelopment

Although Alzheimer’s disease is common in older people, younger patients who suffer from it raise concerns for health experts. In fact, a report released by the WHO revealed that 93% of children under 15 years old breathe enough polluted air to jeopardize their health. The organization further reported that in 2016, at least 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

But the worst news of all is the fact that bad air has some really bad effects on the brains of young children.

A WHO research wrote: “Exposure to air pollutants can negatively affect neurodevelopment, resulting in lower cognitive test outcomes and the development of behavioral disorders such as autism spectrum and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Research suggests that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution represent threats to neurodevelopment.”

This was also supported by a study conducted among 783 children in the Netherlands, which revealed that exposure to PM2.5, small particulate air pollution was “found to cause structural alterations to the cerebral cortex” by the time these children were aged 6 to 10 years old.


The Takeaway

Air pollution is causing serious damage to the brains of both the young and older generations. This should already raise some serious alarms in governments to do something to at least reduce air pollution to secure a better future for everyone.


Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper

nursing homes

4 Steps to Preventing Infection in Nursing Homes

The United States is expecting its highest senior population rate as more than 76 million baby boomers enter into retirement. This also means that nursing homes will have to accommodate more residents and that could have a huge impact on the quality of care being given in these facilities, especially in preventing infections.

In the effort to keep the home-like environment in nursing homes, four practices should be implemented to make sure that residents are safe from infections and given the best quality of life possible:


Proper Hand Hygiene

Although healthcare workers in nursing homes want to be seen more like friends, they still need to implement strict measures, especially in terms of maintaining good hygiene within themselves and the residents.

Hand hygiene is particularly important for residents before meals and healthcare workers should also practice hand hygiene and wear appropriate gloves when taking care of residents since they’re more vulnerable to infections.

Protective gowns and gloves should also be kept in the rooms of high-risk residents to keep healthcare workers safe while taking care of them.


Proper Wound Care

If residents have any open sores or wounds, they need to be cared for properly to avoid infections. Healthcare workers have the responsibility to make sure that their residents don’t incur any injuries or sores, but if they do, they need to be cleaned and covered with a bandage.

Wounds also need to be checked regularly and proper medications should be given for pain and to prevent infection.


Proper Isolation

In a regular hospital setting, anyone with an infected wound or uncontrolled secretions would instantly be isolated in a private room and kept from away from other patients.

But in nursing homes, isolating residents could lead to anxiety, depression, and social stigma. This is why healthcare workers need to implement measures that keep residents with infections separated from other residents without fully isolating them or making them feel like they’re in a hospital.

Personal protective equipment like gloves, masks, and gowns should also be readily available for healthcare workers to use in caring for residents.

In the case of an outbreak, however, strict policies need to be implemented to protect the entire community even if it means isolating residents temporarily.


Proper Preventive Measures

The most common mode of transmission for infection in nursing homes is through the hands of healthcare workers who spread pathogens as they transfer from one resident to the other.

This is why it’s very important for these facilities to have proper preventive measures among healthcare workers, especially in caring for vulnerable residents who have wounds, infections, and antibiotic-resistance.

As more Americans enter their retirement years, the need to improve the quality of service in nursing homes also becomes more important.

Aside from these four important practices, other measures specific to every institution should be implemented to make sure that all residents are not only safe from infections but also other health conditions that could affect their quality of life.


Fallbrook Assisted Living is proud to offer its services to Fremont, NE, and surrounding areas and cities: Arlington, Cedar Bluffs, Ames Nickerson, Fontanelle, Arlington, Leshara, Colon, and Hooper