Long-term exposure to air pollution can impair cognitive function

Long-term exposure to air pollution can impair cognitive function

Pollution also increases the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, the study suggests.

The team found that both verbal and math scores "decreased with increasing cumulative air pollution exposure", with the decline in verbal scores being particularly pronounced among older, less educated men.

The researchers from the University of Texas, University of British Columbia, Brigham Young University in Utah, Imperial College London and the Boston-based Health Effects Institute looked at outdoor air pollution from PM smaller than 2.5 microns.

Above all, air pollution reduces liveablity of different cities, including the capital already ranked among the world's worst liveable cities for different reasons by different global agencies.

The findings underscore the need for China to clean up the air, says study co-author Xi Chen, a professor of health policy and economics at the Yale School of Public Health.

The longer a person was exposed to toxic air, the worse the damage was to their intelligence.

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More than 95 per cent of the world's population is breathing unhealthy air, with India and China jointly contributing to over 50 percent of global deaths attributed to pollution, an earlier report by State of Global Air Report had mentioned.

But the study found that those aged over 64 were the ones whose cognitive abilities were hit the most by air pollution. These included steps such as implementing control and mitigation measures related to vehicular emissions, re-suspension of road dust and other fugitive emissions, bio-mass, municipal solid waste burning, industrial pollution, and construction and demolition activities.

According to who, the 20 most polluted cities in the world are in countries that are developing. The authors attribute this to the fact that air pollution tends to have a stronger effect on areas of brain that are relied on in verbal tests, which the authors wrote tend to be better-developed in women in the first place.

New research shows that air pollution causes a "huge" reduction in brain power, the equivalent of losing a year in education. Not to mention, transportation of the animals and the entire production of meat products also contribute to air pollution.

The authors point to the 98 percent of cities with more than 100,000 people in low and middle-income countries that fail to meet World Health Organization air quality guidelines.

The reasons for the impairment are ambiguous but according to the study, the decreasing performance of those observed could be due to behavioural changes caused by air pollution.


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