Air pollution affects brain too, hits maths skills: Study

Air pollution not only harms the heart and lungs, a new study indicates it affects the brain so much that people, especially the elderly, could struggle for words or to complete simple maths. Long-term exposure to air pollution severely affects cognition skills, according to the joint study by Yale and Peking Universities and published in the reputed Proceedings of National Academy of Science (PNAS) journal. 

“The study found significant reduction in verbal and maths skills of people exposed to air pollution over a long duration,” said a release sent by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute that conducted the study along with Yale and Peking universities. “The effect was more pronounced among men than women — and worst among the elderly,” it added. 

Nearly 32,000 Chinese were surveyed between 2010 and 2014 and their short- and longterm exposure to air pollution was calculated. One of the main authors, Xiaobo Zhang, said the decline was steeper for verbal scores than maths scores. 

Among males, the decline in verbal scores became more pronounced with age, and was greater in those less educated. The Chinese study’s findings could hold true for India, where roughly 25 lakh people died in 2015 due to causes arising out of air pollution. Sunil Dahiya, senior Greenpeace India campaigner, said the impact of air pollution in China is comparable to India. 

“The trajectory of development for both China and India are similar and hence are the levels and sources of pollution...Read more


Source web page: Economic Times

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