Friday February 28, 2020
Home Environment Exposure To H...

Exposure To High Levels of Air Pollution May Lead To Changes in Children’s Brain Structure

Previous studies of traffic-related air pollution suggest that it contributes to neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders

0
//
Air Pollution
The researchers found that children with higher levels of air pollution exposure at birth had reductions at age 12 in gray matter volume and cortical thickness as compared to children with lower levels of exposure. Pixabay

Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution at age 1 may lead to structural changes in the brain at the age of 12 which can influence the development of various physical and mental processes, warns a study.

The researchers found that children with higher levels of air pollution exposure at birth had reductions at age 12 in gray matter volume and cortical thickness as compared to children with lower levels of exposure. Gray matter includes regions of the brain involved in motor control as well as sensory perception, such as seeing and hearing. Cortical thickness reflects the outer gray matter depth.

The study, published online in the journal PLOS One, found that specific regions in the frontal and parietal lobes and the cerebellum were affected with decreases on the order of three to four per cent. “The results of this study, though exploratory, suggest that where you live and the air you breathe can affect how your brain develops,” said lead author of the study Travis Beckwith, PhD, a research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in the US.

“While the percentage of loss is far less than what might be seen in a degenerative disease state, this loss may be enough to influence the development of various physical and mental processes,” Beckwith said. For the study, the researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to obtain anatomical brain images from 147 kids.

These children are a subset of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), which recruited volunteers prior to the age of six months to examine early childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution and health outcomes.

Pollution
Exposure to high levels of traffic-related air pollution at age 1 may lead to structural changes in the brain at the age of 12 which can influence the development of various physical and mental processes, warns a study. Pixabay

The volunteers in the CCAAPS had either high or low levels of pollution exposure during their first year of life. The researchers estimated exposure using an air sampling network of 27 sites in the Cincinnati area, and 24/7 sampling was conducted simultaneously at four or five sites over different seasons.

ALSO READ: Reported Deaths from New Coronavirus Probably an Underestimation: WHO

Participating children and their caregivers completed clinic visits at ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 12. Previous studies of traffic-related air pollution suggest that it contributes to neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. (IANS)

Next Story

Air Pollution Increases Risk of Developing Kidney Diseases

India may face kidney diseases due to air pollution

0
Kidney disease pollution
People living in countries with higher levels of air pollution such as India and China may face higher risks of developing kidney diseases. Pixabay

Researchers have found that people living in countries with higher levels of air pollution such as India and China may face higher risks of developing kidney diseases.

The findings may be especially important for parts of the world with higher air pollution where fine particulate matter levels are five to 10 times higher than in the US, the study said.

It’s known that breathing in air pollution can have detrimental health effects beyond the lungs, but few studies have shown how it impacts the kidneys, which act as filters for the blood.

“As rates of chronic kidney disease rise worldwide, it is important to understand whether and how exposure to air pollution plays a role,” said study researcher Matthew F. Blum from the Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Kidney disease pollution
It’s known that breathing in air pollution can have detrimental health effects beyond the lungs, but few studies have shown how it impacts the kidneys, which act as filters for the blood. Pixabay

For the findings, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the research team examined information on 10,997 adults across four sites in the US who were followed from 1996-1998 through 2016.

The researchers estimated the monthly average levels of tiny particles of air pollution–called fine particulate matter–based on participants’ home addresses.

Fine particulate matter comes from a variety of sources including fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and natural sources, they said.

Also Read- 4 in 10 American Adults are Obese: Survey

The team found that exposure to higher amounts of fine particulate matter was associated with a higher degree of albuminuria — a marker of kidney dysfunction — at the start of the study as well as a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

According to the researchers, future studies should examine whether efforts to improve air quality yield health benefits, including reducing rates of chronic kidney disease. (IANS)