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Air pollution blunts the brain

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China, According to new research, air pollution erodes intelligence, making the human brain become more blunt. This research was conducted on 20 thousand people in China.

However, this finding is relevant for the whole world. Because 95 percent of the global population breathes unsafe dirty air.

According to a new study published in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, high levels of pollution can reduce cognitive abilities. This was revealed through the drop in test scores. If it is compared, the average decline is equivalent to losing one year of education for that person.

“Polluted air can cause everyone’s education level to decrease by one year, this has a huge effect,” said a member of the research team, Xi Chen at Yale School of Public Health, United States.

“But we know the effect is worse for parents, especially those over the age of 64, and for men, and for those with low education. If we calculate (losses) for them, maybe the amount is several years of education. ”

This damage is more significant because research finds people aged 64 years and over must bear serious consequences when exposed to unhealthy air.

Recent studies by researchers Xi Chen, Xin Zhang, and Xiaobo Zhang analyzed arithmetic and language tests conducted on more than 20 thousand people in 162 districts in China between 2010 and 2014.

The air quality for this study is based on measurements of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter at the location of the participants.

The team found that the longer people were exposed to polluted air, the higher the damage in the field of intelligence, with language skills becoming more inhibited than mathematical abilities.

Also, the damage that occurs is more common in men than in women. Scientists conclude that this can occur due to differences in brain function for both sexes.

“The effect of air pollution on verbal tests becomes clearer as we get older, especially for men and those who are less educated,” the authors concluded.

For example, for men with elementary school education alone, exposure to air pollution is associated with a decrease in verbal skills far greater than the age of 44 years, while for men with higher education, the effect appears after 65 years.

The authors believe their conclusions might be relevant for each location with ongoing levels of air pollution – covering 98 percent of cities in low- and middle-income countries with a population of more than 100,000. Zhang observed that the impact on India could be much worse, because pollution levels in New Delhi were higher than Beijing.

The consequences at the individual and community level are very surprising. Cognitive decline is a risk factor for dementia and has a serious impact on quality of life.

Economic consequences for people who are less able to take care of themselves or make important decisions are difficult to calculate, but of course very large.

Researchers admit they don’t know how pollution can cause cognitive decline. But they say pollution might have an impact on white matter in the brain, given its role in coordinating communication between brain regions.

Also, it is not clear which element of air pollution triggers. In the study the researchers only tested several parts of pollutants. Leaves all possible segments, including carbon monoxide, ozone, and larger particles.

Poor and ethnic minorities are often exposed to higher levels of air pollution than luckier peers, reflecting differences in the environment. In the future maybe we will hear more claims of differences in IQ scores between populations that are genetic, not environmental.

The World Health Organization claims 4.2 million people per year die as a result of exposure to outside air pollution.

China emerged as the most polluted country in a separate study by the research group Eco Experts, with three cities ranked in the top 10 – Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Meanwhile, another study earlier this month revealed that even low levels of air pollution could increase the risk of heart disease.

A study published by Environment International found that toxic air is associated with “very high mortality” in people with mental disorders. While other studies reveal people who live closest to the main traffic arteries reach 12 percent more likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

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