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Air pollution is a killer, but it also does damage in subtle ways - such as having effects on the brain. A recent study found that early childhood exposure to high amounts of traffic-related air pollution (city life, living next to a highway) resulted in the brain having structural changes (differences in brain volume and cortical ...continue reading "What Is Air Pollution From Traffic Doing To Your Brain?"

Several recent studies have highlighted the negative effects of air pollution on the brain, specifically from the tiniest particles in polluted air (called PM 2.5). These tiny particles get to the human brain and cause all sorts of damage. Even at levels within government guidelines. Two studies found that with higher chronic (daily) exposure to PM2.5 ...continue reading "Air Pollution and the Brain, Part 1"

Another study finding a link between air pollution and negative health effects - this time a higher incidence of decline in cognitive functioning  and dementia in older women (65 and older) exposed to fine particles (PM2.5 ). These extremely small particles from vehicle emissions are a major source of urban air pollution throughout the world. ...continue reading "Air Pollution, the Aging Brain, and Dementia"

Several recent studies found that air pollution has a negative effect on the brain. This study of elderly women in North Carolina found that long-term exposure to higher levels of air pollution (specifically fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 micrometers (called PM2.5) resulted in smaller brain volumes (especially the brain's white matter). They studied elderly women (aged ...continue reading "Air Pollution May Shrink the Aging Brain"

Another study finding negative effects of air pollution - this time high levels of traffic-related air pollution is linked to slower cognitive development among 7 to 10 year old children in Barcelona, Spain. From Science Daily: Air pollution linked to slower cognitive development in children Attendance at schools exposed to high levels of traffic-related air ...continue reading "Air Pollution and the Developing Brain"

Long-term air pollution can cause damage to the brain: covert brain infarcts ("silent strokes") and smaller brain volume (equal to one year of brain aging). The authors of a study looking at 900 men in the Boston area concluded that, on average, participants who lived in more polluted areas had the brain volume of someone ...continue reading "Long Term Air Pollution and the Brain"

Notice that the carbon dioxide levels in the air keep rising and rising? Along with the world getting hotter, the carbon dioxide levels are rising, and last year it hit 414.7 parts per million (ppm). This is the highest it has been in at least 800,000 years, and maybe for millions of years! (It's from the burning of ...continue reading "What Will Rising Carbon Dioxide Levels Do To Our Brains and Thinking Abilities?"

Once again research is finding effects on health from nanoparticles and air pollution - this time the heart. Tiny air pollution particles less than 100 nm (nanometers) in size are typically called "ultrafine  particles", but actually they are so small that they are nanoparticles. They are NOT regulated in the United States, even though many researchers ...continue reading "Pollution Nanoparticles Found In Human Hearts"

There has been a lot of discussion recently about whether older adults form new neurons in the brain. Neurons are specialized cells transmitting nerve impulses in the brain - they are nerve cells. In other words, if elderly people form new neurons in the brain, then this is excellent news for brain function. This means we can look ...continue reading "New Neurons Form In the Brains Of Older Adults"

Uh-oh, it looks like some (many?) new or fairly new kitchen cabinets are outgassing several types of PCBs from the wood sealants used on the cabinets. PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) were banned in the 1970s due to health risks - for example, they are known carcinogens, and some are neurotoxic (also here). Researchers from the University ...continue reading "Kitchen Cabinet Sealants Can Be A Source of Indoor Air Pollution"