Air pollution exposure and mortality from neurodegenerative diseases in the Netherlands: A population-based cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution has been linked with all-cause mortality and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Suggestive associations between ambient air pollutants and neurodegeneration have also been reported, but due to the small effect and relatively rare outcomes evidence is yet inconclusive. Our aim was to investigate the associations between long-term air pollution exposure and mortality from neurodegenerative diseases.

METHODS: A Dutch national cohort of 10.8 million adults aged ≥30 years was followed from 2013 until 2019. Annual average concentrations of air pollutants (ultra-fine particles (UFP), nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), fine particles (PM 2.5 and PM 10) and elemental carbon (EC)) were estimated at the home address at baseline, using land-use regression models. The outcome variables were mortality due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson's disease, non-vascular dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Hazard ratios (HR) were estimated using Cox models, adjusting for individual and area-level socio-economic status covariates.

RESULTS: We had a follow-up of 71 million person-years. The adjusted HRs for non-vascular dementia were significantly increased for NO 2 (1.03; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.02-1.05) and PM 2.5 (1.02; 95%CI 1.01-1.03) per interquartile range (IQR; 6.52 and 1.47 μg/m 3, respectively). The association with PM 2.5 was also positive for ALS (1.02; 95%CI 0.97-1.07). These associations remained positive in sensitivity analyses and two-pollutant models. UFP was not associated with any outcome. No association with air pollution was found for Parkinson's disease and MS. Inverse associations were found for Alzheimer's disease.

CONCLUSION: Our findings, using a cohort of more than 10 million people, provide further support for associations between long-term exposure to air pollutants (PM 2.5 and particularly NO 2) and mortality of non-vascular dementia. No associations were found for Parkinson and MS and an inverse association was observed for Alzheimer's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119552
JournalEnvironmental Research
Early online date2 Jul 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jul 2024


  • ALS
  • Dementia
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Parkinson
  • Particulate matter


Dive into the research topics of 'Air pollution exposure and mortality from neurodegenerative diseases in the Netherlands: A population-based cohort study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this