Air pollution can damage the brain, far-reaching Chinese study finds

What is in our air

Air pollution leads test scores to drop over time: study - Business Insider

Researchers analyzed language and arithmetic tests conducted as part of the China Family Panel Studies on 20,000 people across the nation between 2010 and 2014.

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. - However, we know that the effect is worse for the elderly, especially for people over 64 years for men and for people with a low level of education.

Coauthor Xi Chen tells NPR that if China were to reduce levels of PM10 to less than 50 μg/m, the cognitive gains would be equivalent to that of an extra year of education for the entire population.

Air pollution can significantly impede intelligence, revealing that the impact of toxic air to society is far more significant than the impact on physical health.

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It is high time that the government comes out of their "denial mode" of worldwide studies which quantified the number of deaths caused by air pollution, they said.

Next, researchers compared the results of these with the relative levels of pollution (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and PM10) in test-takers' localities.

In the research done recently, it was for the first time that data on air pollution and lifespan was studied together to examine the global variations and find out how they affect the overall life expectancy.

Almost 32,000 Chinese were surveyed between 2010 and 2014 and their short- and long-term exposure to air pollution was calculated. The scientists also discovered that language ability is more harmed than mathematical ability, and men are more susceptible than women, The Guardian reported. "If we calculate [the loss] for those, it may be a few years of education". Additionally, animal agriculture is linked to the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that makes human infections increasingly more hard to treat, which is an extremely serious global public health concern that we can not take lightly.

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China, like many developing countries, has a large number of cities with serious air quality problems.

Dr Chen said the fact that there was also a short-term impact could have important consequences for example students who had to take important exams on highly polluted days.

The researchers were able to show that the scores of the cognitive module of the test fell with increased long-term and transient exposure to air pollution. "Cognitive decline or impairment are risk factors of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia for elderly persons".

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