How Does Pollution Affect the Brain?

Researchers have recently found that pollution not only affects the lungs but it also affects the brain.  We need to be concerned about what we eat and how we take care of our bodies, but we also need to make sure the environment in which we live is not polluted.  In her study, Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas:

“recruited healthy children from Mexico City and nearby Polotitlan, where the air is much cleaner.  After two years, Calderon was shocked to find that the Mexico City children lagged significantly on test of memory and learning.  MRIs revealed that about half of them had brain lesions similar to those found in Alzheimer’s patients.”

The article also stated that in another study at the University of Ohio, they found that mice, when exposed to particulate matter, showed learning, sensory and memory impairments.  Calderon goes on to say:

“Although pollution appears to cause measurable harm to the brain, she does not believe that Mexico City’s kids are destined to develop a severe neurodegenerative disease.  They may be at higher risk, but exercising the mind can mediate damage that is otherwise beyond control.  “There is a lot of plasticity in the brain,” Calderon emphasizes.  The child whose parents read to him will fare better than the child left to sit in front of the TV all day.  “You make new connections, new synapses.  But if you are not using your brain, you cannot compensate.”

This being said, keeping a healthy brain is essential to a child’s growth and well-being.  To see the full article, please visit Psychology Today.