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Daytime Noise Tied to Higher Dementia Risk

More daytime noise tied to 30 percent higher risk for mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer disease

Empty New York City street

FRIDAY, Oct. 23, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- More daytime noise exposure may increase the risk for poorer late-life cognition and risk for dementia, according to a study published online Oct. 21 in Alzheimer's & Dementia.

Jennifer Weuve, M.P.H., Sc.D., from Boston University, and colleagues evaluated associations between noise exposure and mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer disease (AD), cognitive performance, and rate of cognitive decline. Residential noise levels were estimated for 5,227 participants (≥65 years) in the Chicago Health and Aging Project.

The researchers found that an increment of 10 A-weighted decibels (dBA) in daytime noise corresponded to higher odds of prevalent MCI (odds ratio, 1.36) and AD (odds ratio, 1.29). Noise level was associated with worse global cognitive performance, driven by perceptual speed (−0.09 standard deviation per 10 dBA), but there was not a consistent association with cognitive decline.

"These findings suggest that within typical urban communities in the United States, higher levels of noise may impact the brains of older adults and make it harder for them to function without assistance," a coauthor said in a statement. "This is an important finding since millions of Americans are currently impacted by high levels of noise in their communities."

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