Sunday 10:00–10:45 in LG7

Is having dementia linked to where you live?

Frank Kelly, Ondrej Urban

Audience level:
Novice

Description

In this talk we will explore the results from a short, collaborative ‘hack’ project with a focus on using Python machine learning tools and open data to find evidence linking increased diesel engine and tyre particulate emissions (PM10, PM2.5 and NO2) in certain residential areas with greater likelihood of diagnosis of dementia amongst the residents of that area.

Abstract

Overview

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that currently affects over 55 million people worldwide and this is set to increase with trends in population growth and demographics. Meanwhile, particulate emission levels in large cities across Europe and the world have been under scrutiny, as diesel emissions related to a huge uptick in diesel vehicle purchases (due to governments' push to reduce CO2 emission levels) are found to have caused many medical problems in the area of breathing difficulties.

Breathing function and the lungs may not be the only parts affected; there is now more than one scientific study (see link [1] for an example below) that has found a link between higher incidence of dementia (in particular Alzheimer’s) in those who have lived in highly polluted urban areas for large periods of their lives.

This talk is about a short, collaborative ‘hack’ project with a focus on using Python machine learning tools and open data to test this hypothesis and look for evidence either confirming or denying the link between increased diesel engine and tyre particulate emissions (PM10, PM2.5 and NO2) in a given residential area with a greater likelihood of diagnosis of dementia amongst the residents of that area.

The idea behind this endeavour is that this ‘pilot’ study might enable a funded venture to take root that, for example, increases awareness of the true impact of high diesel car pollution in dense conurbations.

Questions asked

Challenges encountered on the way

Approach

Starting at a high level, it is possible to determine if there is a higher incidence of dementia cases linked with an increase in airborne pollutants (diesel source):

Other research inputs (articles and papers)

[1] http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/brain-pollution-evidence-builds-dirty-air-causes-alzheimer-s-dementia

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