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Air pollution exposure poses brain function risk, global evidence reveals


Air pollution exposure poses brain function risk, global evidence reveals

Exposure to air pollution from traffic and chemicals increases the risk of cognitive impairment, according to latest global research.

Findings from researchers at the University of Wolverhampton have revealed the detrimental risks of air pollution to brain function throughout a person’s lifespan.

Dr Ruoling Chen, of the University of Wolverhampton, led a research team in a systematic worldwide literature review on the impact of air pollution on the brain. They identified 31 studies published over the past 10 years, incorporating both children and older people.

They found that exposure to chemical and traffic-related pollutants increased risk of damaging brain development in children and young people and cognitive impairments in adults and older people.

The paper was published in a journal of Environmental Research last month and is the first study to look at the entire lifespan about the impacts of air pollution on the cognitive function of the brain. The findings may also suggest that air pollution increases the risk of dementia in older people.

Dr Chen, Reader in Public Health, said that air pollution was a major international health problem, and the situation was worse in developing countries, such as China. He said: “There is much that can and should be done to reduce vehicular pollution, which is having a detrimental effect on society’s health.”

Professor Linda Lang, Dean of the University of Wolverhampton’s Faculty of Education, Health and Wellbeing, one of the authors in this paper, added that many places in the UK and other European countries have high levels of air pollutions, and the findings of the report  would now call for governments to make the air which we breathe in cleaner.


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