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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Texas A&M: 2.4 Million, Multi-University NIH Study on Air Pollution’s Impact on Alzheimer’s and Dementia-Related Diseases

Researchers from Texas A&M University, George Washington University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been awarded $2.4 million by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Institute of Aging to study the effects of air pollution exposure on brain health based on the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study (ARIC). A total of 15,792 middle-aged (45–64 years) men and women from four U.S. communities participated in the ARIC study that included extensive examinations, information on demographics, medical history, medication use and health behaviors.

Dr. Xiaohui Xu, associate professor and department head at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, is the Texas A&M site principal investigator on this RO1 study that will examine emerging evidence that the air we breathe over the life course impacts our brain health as we age. Dr. Xu and Texas A&M researchers Dr. Qi Ying and Dr. Eun Sug Park, will develop air pollution modelling, generate air quality data to assess exposure, manage data, and develop statistical approaches for analysis. The research group will focus on studying midlife to later life air pollution exposure.

In order to recommend or develop interventions to reduce the dementia burden through reducing ambient air pollution exposure, the researchers must determine whether there is a link between specific pollutants and Alzheimer’s and dementia-related diseases, and what groups are most affected.

The research team includes Dr. Melinda Power, principal investigator, from George Washington University; Dr. Eric Whitsel, University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill site principal investigator; and Dr. Richard Smith, also from UNC.