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J Neurosci Rural Pract. 2018 Oct-Dec;9(4):529-534. doi: 10.4103/jnrp.jnrp_123_18.

Association between Indoor Air Pollution and Cognitive Impairment among Adults in Rural Puducherry, South India.

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Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India.



Recent evidences showed that outdoor air pollution had significant influence on cognitive functioning of adults. However, little is known regarding the association of indoor air pollution with cognitive dysfunction. Hence, the current study was done to assess the association between indoor air pollution and cognitive impairment among adults in rural Puducherry.


A community-based cross-sectional study was done among 295 adults residing in rural field practice area of tertiary care institute in Puducherry during February and March 2018. Information regarding sociodemographic profile and household was collected using pretested semi-structured questionnaire. Mini-Mental State Examination was done to assess cognitive function. We calculated adjusted prevalence ratios (aPR) to identify the factors associated with cognitive impairment.


Among 295 participants, 173 (58.6) were in 30-59 years; 154 (52.2%) were female; and 59 (20.0%) were exposed to indoor air pollution. Prevalence of cognitive impairment in the general population was 11.9% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.7-16.1). Prevalence of cognitive impairment among those who were exposed to indoor air pollution was 27.1% (95% CI: 17.4-39.6). Individuals exposed to indoor air pollution (aPR = 2.18, P = 0.003) were found to have two times more chance of having cognitive impairment.


About one-fourth of the participants were exposed to indoor air pollution, out of which more than one-fourth was found to have cognitive impairment which is twice that of the general population. Hence, prevention of exposure to indoor air pollution needs to be done through increased availability to cleaner fuels for household usage.


Cognition; dementia; indoor air pollution

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