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A new study shows a strong link between air pollution and Alzheimer’s-like brain shrinkage. It’s not like we thought air pollution was good for us, but yeesh!

Researchers at the University of Southern California found that fine particle pollution in the air was linked to shrinkage in the brain, particularly in older women. Scientists point to these studies to advocate for stricter air quality standards in order to protect dementia in older populations.

According to the study, “fine particle pollution, or PM2.5, consists of microscopic particles of chemicals, car exhaust, smoke, dust, and other pollutants suspended in the air. The particles are 30 times smaller than the width of a human hair. When breathed in, they can reach deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.”

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