Watch back to hear from the experts and find out about the current understanding of the links between air pollution and dementia risk.
In this event, Dr Louise Kelly and Dr Jake Brooks share their research into how air pollution and dementia are connected.
Air pollution is a big problem that affects our health. It can affect the quality of the air we breathe and there is more evidence emerging around the harmful effects that air pollution has on our brain health and thinking abilities. Scientists are studying this issue, but they haven't figured out exactly how air pollution affects our brains yet. In the next few years, these research findings could help the government make rules to reduce air pollution and protect our brain health.
Dr Susan Mitchell is Head of Policy, as part of the policy and public affairs team at the UK’s leading dementia research charity, with responsibility for developing evidence-based policy to ensure people affected by dementia benefit from the progress in research.
Susan leads the charity’s policy development and engagement to improve early and accurate diagnosis for dementia, working with multiple stakeholders to develop an evidence base for the case for change. Susan has an ongoing interest in dementia risk reduction and brain health, leading Alzheimer’s Research UK engagement with policy makers to reframe dementia risk reduction as the concept of brain health.
Susan has previous experience of management in the NHS and health policy in several clinical areas, and is a former academic volcanologist.
Dr Louise Kelly completed a PhD at the University of Portsmouth focused on early changes in the locus coeruleus caused by Alzheimer’s pathology. Subsequently, she has worked at the University of Southampton with Roxana Carare on diverse projects, including an anti-amyloid vaccine and potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. During her talk, she will focus on the role of pollution in the development of Alzheimer’s disease, specifically whether exposure to pollution can impair the brains ability to remove solutes, such as amyloid beta, from the brain. In addition to her research roles she is also an early career representative for the ARUK South Coast Network.
Dr Jake Brooks trained in materials engineering at the University of Birmingham, before completing an EPSRC-funded PhD at the University of Warwick investigating metal dysregulation in neurodegenerative disorders. Dr Brooks’ research is based in the Trace Metals in Medicine Laboratory at Warwick, whilst he is also a frequent user of Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility in Oxfordshire.
Dr Brooks was awarded a Race Against Dementia Fellowship in 2023. His research uses advanced chemical imaging techniques to study the olfactory bulb, a region of the brain affected in the earliest stages of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The olfactory bulb is also particularly vulnerable to the deposition of air pollutant particles inhaled through the nose. Dr Brooks’ research investigates how air pollution may contribute to different types of dementia.