Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

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SusanJ
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Re: Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

Postby SusanJ » Sat Aug 07, 2021 8:55 am

MarcR wrote:Because observational studies like this one are vastly easier to perform than prospective and interventional studies, we're under constant pressure (the streetlight effect) to pretend that they reveal causal relationships with precision when they actually just identify statistical correlations for which the arrows and sources of causality are unknown.


Totally agree, and the study could be missing other lifestyle differences in various areas, such as higher income in the suburban areas leading to better food quality, lifestyle choices, etc.

I do hope someone comes along and does a more rigorous look. It's personal for me, given I'm immersed in wildfire smoke at the moment and Colorado and the West still have lots of dead trees to burn.

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Re: Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

Postby MarcR » Sat Aug 07, 2021 7:27 pm

SusanJ wrote:the study could be missing other lifestyle differences in various areas, such as higher income in the suburban areas leading to better food quality, lifestyle choices, etc.

Yes, they "stratified by apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype, and adjusted for sex, education, race, neighborhood median household income", but those analyses overwhelmed the study's power. Table S4 shows how the n=4744 was sliced and diced, and Table S8 shows the dismal p-values and confidence intervals: "Our exploratory interaction analyses suggest effect modification by sex for all-cause dementia [male: 1.23 (1.08, 1.39); female: 1.13 (1.00, 1.28); p-value=0.007], but other interaction term p-values were not significant for other subgroup analyses."

Table S6 shows how they mined the data by varying "Exposure Averaging Period" to come up with the splashiest possible result, what they call the "a priori model". It's not great with a CI from 1.03-1.31, but the 1.16 HR is the best of the sad bunch. That's the one they used for all of the subsequent stratifications and adjustments as well as the ScienceDaily PR piece.

I do think they did the best that they could with the limited data available, and they deserve credit for being honest about their methods.

I do hope someone comes along and does a more rigorous look. It's personal for me, given I'm immersed in wildfire smoke at the moment and Colorado and the West still have lots of dead trees to burn.

As a fellow westerner, I too would love to know more about the effects of wildfire smoke on my cognition. I'm not holding my breath though as this question seems prohibitively difficult to answer authoritatively.

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Re: Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

Postby J11 » Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:31 pm

I want to provide an update on some of activities in trying to improve my air quality. This is relation especially to some asthma problems that I have been coping with for some time. The doctor prescribed an inhaler, though I wanted to explore other options.

I bought an air quality monitor. This has given me some idea of the rough air quality that I face in my environment. I have it attached to me computer via USB so I have a real time measure of my air. One interesting feature that I have noticed is that the CO2 level tends to climb through the day. I can move up to 1000 ppm CO2 from ~500 ppm in the morning. At 1000 ppm websites report that people can start to feel the affects of carbon dioxide as they will feel tired etc.. It is goo to have at least some awareness of these concerns and it is helpful to know when you are at your cognitive best during the day.

Another idea that I have moved into implementation is air filtering. I bought a relatively inexpensive merv 8 filter and placed this in front ( actually in the back of the fan -- when it is at the back the filter is sucked forward. When you put a filter in front of the fan it will try to blow away from the fan. What is of interest here is that a merv 8 filter can actually be fairly inexpensive. When you move up to ~ merv 17 ( which is a hepa quality filter) prices can escalate. Even still simply doing a DIY hepa air filter with a cheap box fan and hepa filter can be a much cheaper route to high quality air. A hepa filter can remove ~99.97% of particulates. Nevertheless, even a fairly cheap merv filter can offer clean air (removing ~80% of particulates).

I recently saw a 2.5, 5 , 10 etc./ ppm monitor on sale for a reasonable price and bought one. This monitor will give me even better understanding of my air quality. The air in my city is already clean to start with. With a monitor and a filter I could have extremely clean air. Some of the online posters were showing near 0 ppm air exiting their DIY hepa filter! In some places in China and India, air quality reaches 100+ ppm 2.5 which is quite unhealthy. Even with a little effort and modest expense most people can have dramatically improved air quality.

I also recently purchased a robo vacuum cleaner. I think this has been the actual source of most of my breathing problems. We have been highly negligent in house cleaning and this robot cleaner will make keeping a tidy house almost effortless. I have run this handy little cleaner for hours every day since i received it and the house is now cleaner than it has been in years.

These are a few of my recent efforts to improve my air quality. I hope others find these ideas helpful.
Last edited by J11 on Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

Postby circular » Sun Sep 12, 2021 12:24 pm

J11 wrote:I want to provide an update on some of activities in trying to improve my air quality. This is relation especially to some asthma problems that I have been coping with for some time. The doctor prescribed an inhaler, though I wanted to explore other options.

I bought an air quality monitor. This has given me some idea of the rough air quality that I face in my environment. I have it attached to me computer via USB so I have a real time measure of my air. One interesting feature that I have noticed is that the CO2 level tends to climb through the day. I can move up to 1000 ppm CO2 from ~500 ppm in the morning. At 1000 ppm websites report that people can start to feel the affects of carbon dioxide as they will feel tired etc.. It is goo to have at least some awareness of these concerns and it is helpful to know when you are at your cognitive best during the day.

Another idea that I have moved into implementation is air filtering. I bought a relatively inexpensive merv 8 filter and placed this in front ( actually in the back of the fan -- when it is at the back the filter is sucked forward. When you put a filter in front of the fan it will try to blow away from the fan. What is of interest here is that a merv 8 filter can actually be fairly inexpensive. When you move up to ~ merv 17 ( which is a hepa quality filter) prices can escalate. Even still simply doing a DIY hepa air filter with a cheap box fan and hepa filter can be a much cheaper route to high quality air. A hepa filter can remove ~99.97% of particulates. Nevertheless, even a fairly cheap merv filter can offer clean air (removing ~80% of particulates.

I recently saw a 2.5, 5 , 10 etc./ ppm monitor on sale for a reasonable price and bought one. This monitor will give me even better understanding of my air quality. The air in my city is already clean to start with. With a monitor and a filter I could have extremely clean air. Some of the online posters were showing near 0 ppm air exiting their DIY hepa filter! In some places in China and India, air quality reaches 100+ ppm 2.5 which is quite unhealthy. Even with a little effort and modest expense most people can have dramatically improved air quality.

I also recently purchased a robo vacuum cleaner. I think this has been the actual source of most of my breathing problems. We have been highly negligent in house cleaning and this robot cleaner will make keeping a tidy house almost effortless. I have run this handy little cleaner for hours every day since i received it and the house is now cleaner than it has been in years.

These are a few of my recent efforts to improve my air quality. I hope others find these ideas helpful.

Great, practical post J11!

I'm curious what air monitor you're using. I use the Eve Room which measures VOCs but doesn't break them down. I notice that with the whole house fan running all the time the VOC air quality remains high, so I leave it on. This, however, may not work well for people whose outdoor air quality isn't that good.

I also replace our HVAC intake filter every three months. It's repeat event on my calendar, and once a year I have another event to buy a year's worth of the filters. I just to just replace and forget. I had to lower the quality of the intake filter because when I used to use the one that filtered the most, I could hear our condenser straining. Now I don't hear that … until the filter is in such need of replacement that the unit is working too hard.

The last time I needed to buy a new vaccum cleaner, I bought a Dyson at a steep discount (sale plus coupons at Bed, Bath and Beyond) that is supposed to be good at not spewing dirty air into the room. I do run my particulate air cleaner higher when I'm vacuuming or sweeping just to help pick up anything that might have been kicked up into the air.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.

J11
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Re: Better Air, Better Brains--even after age 70.

Postby J11 » Sun Sep 12, 2021 7:03 pm

Thank you for your kind post circ.

Yes, that was exactly what I was going for in that post: practicality.
Mostly, I see myself more as a theoretical person-- more of stay in the lab with the mice type because I am really not sure how to handle the larger primate species, though I thought for this post about better air I would stay with being practical and hopefully helpful.

I suspect that there are many out there (including me) that are somewhat unsure about the ins and outs of higher respiratory function. I really was not that clear about lung health -- basically breath in and then breath out, I wasn't that sure what else there was to say about it. I remember someone once explaining how they were experiencing sick building syndrome at work and I was very unsure how to respond. How can a building be sick? It was only recently when the breath in and then breath out plan was no longer as successful that I began to appreciate how respiratory well-being is not a given. So I have been doing my best to try and understand how to achieve better lung health from a practical, intuitive level.

My game plan as of now is to start with cleaning up the house. We have really let the vacuuming, dusting and cleaning slide for quite some time. Almost right from the start of making a determined effort to clean out the house's dust, I noticed an improvement in my breathing health and the overall indoor air quality. There is probably not much point in buying a bunch of expensive air quality monitors if there is no commitment to basic cleaning.

The recent purchase of the robotic vacuum cleaner has turbocharged our house cleaning efforts. I have been running this robot hours each day and it keeps finding more and more dirt and dust. Where does all of this dirt originate? It is really easy to be determined to have a cleaner house when you don't have to put in any effort-- turn on the robovac and let it do its job. I would strongly recommend that others who might be slacking back on their house cleaning duties consider purchasing one of these marvels. They have been in development for about 20 years now and while they are not perfect (they might have a robot equivalent IQ of ~75) for ~$100 they are certainly worth the price. It is somewhat frustrating that they have a habit of getting stuck in corners sometimes for what seems to be an eternity. These robots have some trouble navigating more complex rooms with many chairs and obstacles, though a straight rectangular room should not create much trouble for them. Good thing about them is that the brushes are about the only ongoing expense; they often do not have bags to purchase which sometimes can add up.

The first air quality monitor that I bought was a simple, fairly inexpensive unit of no reported brand name (in English at least) that measures CO2, TVOC (volatile organic) and HCHO (formaldehyde). I wanted a starter unit that would give me some idea of the air quality that I was exposed to. I can plug it into a USB port on my computer and have it on all the time. I realize now that having such a monitor is almost essential. A basic air quality monitor helps to direct your attention to basic features of the air that you are breathing. The main take away that I have from this first monitor was how the CO2 level tends to increase through the day. 1000 ppm CO2 can start to make you feel tired; it is good to be aware of this and perhaps corrective action can be taken. Another idea I am thinking about is adding some house plants for better air quality. Perhaps such plants could provide some much needed oxygen.

Air quality is very important to human health. I have recently read up on the lead contamination that occurred during the 1960-1990s and I was truly shocked. Basically, they just dumped thousands of tons of lead into the urban air supply and waited to see what would happen. How difficult could it possibly be to figure out what would happen? Lead is a known neurotoxin. It has been known to cause neurodegenerative illnesses for thousands of years. The epidemic of crime that occurred during the 1970s to the 1990s was likely highly related to the airborne release of this toxin. Now that lead has been removed from car gas, there has been a dramatic reduction in crime and other social pathology on a global scale. It is important to be aware of the quality of air that you are breathing and to make reasonable efforts to improve your air quality.

It is now also exciting that nations are committing to electric vehicles. Norway currently has ~75% of car sales as electric with a target of 100% by 2025. This is amazing! The major source of the poor air quality in urban environments (i.e., typically car exhaust) might soon be eliminated! We could then all breath a sigh of relief. It might not then be that necessary to purchase air filters etc. as the ambient air itself would be much cleaner.

And this improvement in air quality should offer benefits to health and well being. I remember how every time I have left the urban environment to get away from it all-- I have felt immediately better. The first intake of fresh country air always makes me feel so much better, Almost every time I would plead with my parents to stay and live in a tent instead of returning to our city home with the bad air. Unfortunately, we always left the clean air behind.

I have noticed though that my box fan with merv filter approach seems to be producing a similar happiness effect as breathing country air. I have the fan running most of the time and direct the air towards me. Lately I have been feeling so great that I feel like I want to launch in the air and do one of those ballet twinkly toes maneuvers. The box fan merv filter combo is a pretty simple and cheap idea and it does seem to produce results. The air that makes it through the filter and then into my lungs is probably quite clean. It is only a merv 8 so the air is not super clean room clean, though it is likely quite high quality air. I have looked online and some of the fairly high end mervs going up to ~13 merv can still be reasonably priced in a 10 pack for ~$70.

This is where the next air quality monitor could be quite informative; this one will measure 0.3, 2.5, and 10 micrometer particles. Apparently the internal hardware for many of even the higher end air quality monitors use the same gear as some of the less expensive units. I bought one of these less expensive units and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. It has USB connectivity and can record air measurements on my computer. The basic idea here is that once the air passes through a high quality filter very little of the particulate matter will remain. My guess is this is what causes the feel good country air effect. Clean air makes people feel great!
My hunch is that I will be able to create my own clean air with some fairly inexpensive filters and that super clean air will make me feel super great.

This is a little bit of pointy elbows time that I wanted to keep under my hat until I had fully stocked up my shelf, though I will post the scoop now nonetheless -- I was able to find some very inexpensive true hepa filter paper. Yeah! Ridiculously cheap prices. None of this all boxed up in a nice frame and everything just the hepa paper at a shockingly low price. So here's the game plan: stock up on this filter paper and then put this in behind my box fan. With true hepa paper the air quality should be truly stunning -- basically hepa quality filters guarantee near 0 ppm for 2.5 particulate. This should be a simple yet highly reproducible measure for an accurate air quality monitor. As I noted in my above post some posters online were reporting online with the monitor and high quality filters that they were reaching essentially 0.0 ppm (for 2.5 micrometer particulate) that would be amazing! The air quality monitor that is on the way should be able to verify that the emitted air after flowing through the hepa filter should be extremely clean. I can hardly wait to see how this works out. Air quality that good could have immediate feel good effects. Great! Hopefully others can try this out as well and confirm the effectiveness of this approach after I have seen initial success.

I did consider putting a high end filter on my furnace (such as a hepa) though online reports suggest this might not be a good idea as it might wreck the furnace fan. Simply putting the filter on a box fan and directly the air directly to me will be a much easier and cheaper way of achieving super clean air.

I have also bought an air trainer to help restore my respiratory health and have tried the castor oil on the chest approach. The castor oil did not do much for me, though if others have been able to derive success from this idea please post your experience. There might also be nutritional approaches to try. Finally, i remember reading how it could be possible to permanently "pop" the carotid artery by spending time in moderately deep water. This apparently can improve cognitive functioning, I would be interested to know whether anyone has tried this. This thread might be able to develop some of these ideas and perhaps help to improve the well-being of those on forum.

Here's the world 2.5 micrometer pollution map
https://waqi.info/


Hmm, I'm seeing a Merv 13 16' x 25' 6 pack for $40. Me want. Me want now! Who knew that online shopping could be so much fun and also so convenient and life enhancing? As seen in the chart below, Merv 13 starts to have some serious air quality cleaning properties. Possibly I could have 2 box fans in series for extra clean air. (also I could use my hepa paper for extreme clean).


Here's the merv chart:

merv.jpg
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