If elderly women are exposed to air pollution, they might be at increased risk of facing dementia, finds a study. The findings showed the fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) — coming from power and automobile plants — could invade the brain and wreak havoc in older women who live in these places. The air quality of those places which exceeds the US Environmental Protection Agency`s standard of 81 per cent were more likely to experience global cognitive decline. These women were also 92 per cent more likely to develop dementia, including Alzheimer`s. “Microscopic particles generated by fossil fuels get into our body directly through the nose into the brain,” said Caleb Finch, Professor at the University of Southern California (USC). “Cells in the brain treat these particles as invaders and react with inflammatory responses, which over the course of time, appear to exacerbate and promote Alzheimer`s disease,” Finch added. The effects were stronger in women who had the APOE4 gene — a genetic variation that increases the risk for Alzheimer`s.