Earth 2021, 2(1), 140-150; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/earth2010009 - 28 Feb 2021
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Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia in older adults. Treatment of AD symptoms is very challenging and expensive. Appropriate diet as well as mental and physical activity may delay or reduce the occurrence of [...] Read more.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease and the most common form of dementia in older adults. Treatment of AD symptoms is very challenging and expensive. Appropriate diet as well as mental and physical activity may delay or reduce the occurrence of AD. It is unknown whether environmental factors offer potentially protective effects against the development of AD. We explored the possible beneficial effects of greenspace (trees and herbaceous cover) on the rate of AD in the mid-Atlantic US. Data for initial AD medical claims during 2011–2013 were obtained from Medicare records for 2999 ZIP codes. The percentages of land cover classes in each ZIP code were calculated based on high-resolution land cover imagery. Associations between AD and greenspace, blue space (water), and other variables were examined using zero-inflated Poisson models. The rate of AD was negatively associated with greenspace (for a greenspace increase of 10%, risk ratio (RR) = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.89–0.94), and blue space (for a water area increase of 10%, RR = 0.85, 95% CI: 0.81–0.89). The inverse relationships between greenspace and the risk of AD held across season, gender, and race. The rate of AD was positively associated with the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) (RR = 1.03, 95% CI: 1.02–1.05 for an increase in PM2.5 of 1 µg/m3). Our results suggest that greenspace may have protective effects for AD, although potential mechanisms are unclear and require further investigation. Full article