The effects of noisy urban environment may cause the loss of memory to elderly person

Aim: We have contacted a survey among 120 patients, who have been exposed for many years to noises with various sound intensity, with intention to investigate the effects a noisy environment might have in the loss of memory. These individuals visited our Neurological Center either for a routine check up or due to neck pain. No one of these individuals was reported as having a dementia.

Method: The 120 persons (aged 55-70 years old) were divided in two groups of 80 comprise of people of same sex and age depending on whether they came from a rural area, or from an urban one. In both groups the lifestyle and diets were the same. People with a history of working in particularly noisy place were excluded from the sample. By all person were registered the Electroencefalography, auditory and visual evoked response and the memory was measured by the Wechsler Memory Scale Revised (WMS-R). The results of the different neurophysiological test as well as the memory tests for the two groups were compares.

Results: It was found that there is a significant difference between the two groups with the people living in a noisy environment rating lower (for auditory and visual response and memory p<0,05). Furthermore it is observed that people belonging to group of noisy environment with chronic habits of smoking presented even more serious damage compared to those who lived in a quiet environment.

Conclusions: The results corroborate the damaging effects of chronically noisy environment on memory. Additionally our findings support the vie that the damaging effect is stronger to those person of our sample who were chronic smokers.

Abstract published in abstract book in 1st World Congress of Health and Urban Environment.

Paper presented at the in 1st World Congress of Health and Urban Environment., Madrid, Spain, July 6-10 1998.


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