EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Effects of air pollution on neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia) over Europe for present and future climate change scenarios

Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero1,2, Patricia Guzmán1, Patricia Tarín-Carrasco1, and María Morales-Suarez-Varela3,4
Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, Regional Campus of International Excellence Campus Mare Nostrum (CEIR), University of Murcia, 30100 Murcia, Spain (
  • 2Biomedical Research Institute of Murcia (IMIB-Arrixaca), 30120 Murcia, Spain
  • 3Unit of Public Health and Environmental Care, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain
  • 4CIBER Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain

Air pollution has a serious impact on health and this problem will be aggravated under the action of climate change. This climate penalty can play an important role when trying to assess future impacts of air pollution on several pathologies. Among these diseases, the scientific literature is scarce when referring to the influence of atmospheric pollutants on neurodegenerative diseases for future climate change scenarios. Under this framework, this contribution evaluates the incidence of dementia (Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia) occurring in Europe due to exposure of air pollution (essentially NO2 and PM2.5) for the present climatic period (1991-2010) and for a future climate change scenario (RCP8.5, 2031-2050). The GEMM methodology has been applied to climatic air pollution simulations using the chemistry/climate regional model WRF-Chem. Present population data were obtained from NASA's Center for Socioeconomic Data and Applications (SEDAC); while future population projections for the year 2050 were derived from the United Nations (UN) Department of Economic and Social Affairs-Population Dynamics.

Overall, the estimated incidence of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia associated to air pollution over Europe is 498,000 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 348,600-647,400] and 314,000 (95% CI 257,500-401,900) new cases per year, respectively. An important increase in the future incidence is projected (around 72% for both types of dementia) when considering the effect of climate change together with the foreseen changes in the dynamics of population (expected aging of European population). The climate penalty has a limited effect on the total changes of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia (approx. 0.5%), since the large increase in new annual cases over southern Europe is offset by the decrease of the incidence associated to these pathologies over more northern countries, favored by an improvement of air pollution caused by the projected enhancement of rainfall.

How to cite: Jiménez-Guerrero, P., Guzmán, P., Tarín-Carrasco, P., and Morales-Suarez-Varela, M.: Effects of air pollution on neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia) over Europe for present and future climate change scenarios, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-14494,, 2021.


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