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World: Reducing Air Pollution Could Lower Risk for Dementia and Alzheimer's

Taiwan deploys advanced F-16V fighter jets amid China threat

  Taiwan deploys advanced F-16V fighter jets amid China threat CHIAYI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan has deployed the most advanced version of the F-16 fighter jet in its air force, as the self-ruled island steps up its defense capabilities in the face of continuing threats from China, which claims it as part of its territory. Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen commissioned into service 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi on Thursday. The aircraft represent part of Taiwan's total 141 F-16 A/BTaiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen commissioned into service 64 upgraded F-16V fighter jets at an air force base in Chiayi on Thursday. The aircraft represent part of Taiwan's total 141 F-16 A/B jets, an older model from the 1990s that will be completely retrofitted by the end of 2023.

Cutting down on ambient air pollution can reduce the risk for devastating cognitive ailments such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease in old age, according to the results of two new studies.

a sky view of a city: Smog hovers over Jakarta, Indonesia. The country is among the most polluted on earth. Improved air quality was recently associated with reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease. © BAY ISMOYO/AFP/Getty Images Smog hovers over Jakarta, Indonesia. The country is among the most polluted on earth. Improved air quality was recently associated with reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

While pollution exposure is something of an occupational hazard of everyday life in modern big cities and towns, it negatively affects the body and mind in a number of ways.

Breathing in pollutants, especially those that result from the burning of fuel and those so small they are invisible to the naked eye, has been associated with increased risk for a diverse cross-section of diseases, disorders, and other conditions, including but not limited to: mouth cancer, poor bone health and mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and major depression. In addition, it has been linked to the aggregation of Alzheimer's disease-associated protein fragments in the brain, according to a press release issued by the Alzheimer's Association.

EXPLAINER: Why India has repeated air pollution problems

  EXPLAINER: Why India has repeated air pollution problems WASHINGTON (AP) — New Delhi struggles with pollution year-round, but the problem becomes acute during fall and winter months. On Wednesday, the concentration of tiny pollution particles was nearly 30 times above the level deemed safe over a 24-hour period by the World Health Organization. Around the world, researchers closely track levels of airborne particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter — known as PM 2.5 — because it can lodge in the lungs and other organs, causing long-term health damage. In 2020, 13 of the 15 cities with the most polluted air were in India.

Presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2021 in Denver on Monday, the new studies are the first to indicate that the reverse is true as well.

"These data demonstrate the importance of policies and action by federal and local governments, and businesses, that address reducing air pollutants," Claire Sexton, the Alzheimer's Association's director of scientific programs and outreach, said in the release.

The first of the studies focused on the impact of improved air quality on cognitive function in women ages of 74 to 92 in the United States, according to the release. Lead author Xinhui Wang, PhD, and colleagues followed individuals from 2008 to 2018. Their investigation revealed that individuals in locations that had a more significant reduction in air pollution experienced slower cognitive decline and were less likely to develop dementia than individuals in locations that had a comparatively negligible reduction in pollution.

Governors abandon pact to reduce transportation pollution

  Governors abandon pact to reduce transportation pollution BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker is abandoning his administration's ambitious plan to create a multi-state compact aimed at dramatically reducing transportation pollution after the deal failed to gain traction in other states. The announcement comes after Democratic Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who supported the initiative, indicated this week he was backing away from the Transportation and Climate Initiative. Rhode Island was the only other state to have expressed interest in the compact. Baker quickly followed suit on Thursday. The Republican had initially hoped more than a dozen states would sign on.

Similarly, the second study found that a reduction in fine particulate matter—a particularly dangerous form of air pollution—was correlated with a decline in dementia and Alzheimer's risk in older French adults.

"Our findings are important because they strengthen the evidence that high levels of outdoor air pollution in later life harm our brains, and also provide new evidence that by improving air quality we may be able to significantly reduce risk of cognitive decline and dementia," Wang said, according to the release. "The possible benefits found in our studies extended across a variety of cognitive abilities, suggesting a positive impact on multiple underlying brain regions."

In 2021, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia, Afghanistan, India, Indonesia, Bahrain, Nepal, Uzbekistan, and Iraq ranked among the most polluted countries on Earth, according to the website World Population Review. In a 2018 effort to improve air quality in the Indian capital of New Delhi, the Dubai-based architecture firm Znera Space proposed erecting 330-foot towers around the city to filter particles from the air.

Prominent poet Robert Bly, author of 'Iron John', dies at 94

  Prominent poet Robert Bly, author of 'Iron John', dies at 94 MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Robert Bly, one of the most prominent American poets of the last half century and author of the best-selling men’s movement classic “Iron John,” has died. He was 94. Bly, an active poet, writer and editor for more than 50 years and a celebrated translator of the work of international poets, died Sunday at his home in Minneapolis after suffering from dementia for 14 years, his daughter, Mary Bly, said. “Dad had no pain. … HisBly, an active poet, writer and editor for more than 50 years and a celebrated translator of the work of international poets, died Sunday at his home in Minneapolis after suffering from dementia for 14 years, his daughter, Mary Bly, said.

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