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Smog in our Brains: Air Pollution May Change Brain Structure, Function

August 16, 2012|

That yellow haze of smog hovering over the skyline isn't just a stain on the view. It may also leave a mark on your mind.

Researchers have known since the 1970s that high levels of air pollution can harm both cardiovascular and respiratory health, increasing the risk of early death from heart and lung diseases. The effect of air pollution on cognition and mental well-being, however, has been less well understood. Now, evidence is mounting that dirty air is bad for your brain as well.

Over the past decade, researchers have found that high levels of air pollution may damage children’s cognitive abilities, increase adults risk of cognitive decline and possibly even contribute to depression.

“This should be taken seriously,” says Paul Mohai, PhD, a professor in the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment who has studied the link between air pollution and academic performance in children. “I don’t think the issue has gotten the visibility it deserves.”

via Smog in our brains.

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