Could Using Air Purifiers Help Prevent Dementia?

by Nils Osmar. July 20, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

Many people in the anti-aging community are hoping to live unusually long lives. Some people talk openly about hoping to live to 150, 200, or even 250 or more in good health.

Of course, living longer would be more desirable if we can avoid diseases of aging such as frailty and dementia.

Poor air quality appears to be a contributing cause of dementia. It’s not the only suspected cause, but is one to be aware of, and one we can do something about.

Air pollution and dementia

According to a Medical News Today article,

 An increasing amount of evidence suggests that air pollution is associated with cognitive decline, and that it may contribute to the ever growing number of Alzheimer’s disease cases.

For example, one study … suggests that people with the most exposure to top air pollutants have a higher risk of dementia, while another went as far as to argue that poor air quality causes around a fifth of dementia cases.

New research in the journal Brain adds to the evidence linking air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease. It also points out a potential mechanism through which pollutants may affect brain function.

Where it comes from

Sources of pollution are ubiquitous in our environments. They include traffic, industry, internal household products (including furniture), and smoke from wildfires.

So what to do?

Filtering our air to remove particles and gases that may be damaging is one obvious possibility.

The good news is that today’s air purifiers are far better than the ones that were available a few years ago.

A genuine HEPA filter will trap microscopic particles of pollution, and a high-quality carbon filter will remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde off-gassing from furniture and carpets.

Do houseplants make a difference?

Do houseplants remove significant pollution from the air?

  • According to the 2019 study cited in this article, they do help, but not much. They’re effective in a 2′ x 2′ box, but not in a room large enough to live in. You’d need hundreds of plants in your house to purify the air in a single room. I have several houseplants, which I love having in my environment; they make me feel connected to the world of nature; but I don’t count on them to keep the air clean. They’re “buddies”, not air purifiers.
  • Your best bet is to buy some high quality air purifiers. Buying two or three inexpensive air purifiers, if they’re well designed, can remove dust, smoke, and harmful chemicals from the air and keep your house air clean and fresh.
  • I have three purifiers working quietly in the background in my (large, open) living room. They were inexpensive ($150 each) and work great. The air is noticeably fresher and cleaner, free of dust and odors, when they’re running. My breathing becomes clearer shortly after turning them on (if I’ve had them off for some reason).

The cost of filters

  • Filters aren’t cheap. But when you set up an array of air purifiers, the filters last much longer before they need to be changed, as in, two or three years instead of once a year.

Let us know what you’re doing

Are you taking measures to protect yourself from the effects of air pollution? Are there solutions or products (or product categories) you’d recommend? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below.

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