Air pollution has long been linked to negative effects on human health, including respiratory and cardiovascular issues. However, new research suggests that air pollution may also have significant impacts on the brain. Studies have shown that exposure to air pollution can lead to cognitive decline, decreased brain function, and even structural changes in the brain.
One of the main ways that air pollution affects the brain is through its impact on the cardiovascular system. Fine particulate matter and other pollutants can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, leading to decreased blood flow to the brain. This can lead to cognitive decline, particularly in older adults and individuals with existing cardiovascular issues.
But a new study has found other concerning aspects as well, claiming that even short-term exposure to air pollution can have some effects on our brains.
A few hours of pollution can be enough
New research has unveiled that a mere two hours of exposure to diesel exhaust can lead to a decrease in the functional connectivity of our brains by interfering with the ability of different areas of the brain to interact and communicate with one another, as Devdiscourse reveals.
The research team exposed 25 healthy adults to diesel exhaust and filtered air in a laboratory setting and measured their brain activity before and after each exposure.
Dr. Chris Carlsten, who is a professor at the Canada Research Chair, stated as the same publication mentioned above quotes:
For many decades, scientists thought the brain may be protected from the harmful effects of air pollution,
This study, which is the first of its kind in the world, provides fresh evidence supporting a connection between air pollution and cognition.
The study, which was the first of its kind to use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in a controlled experiment, was published in the journal Environmental Health.