Pollution has an effect on the brain of the new generations

The conditions in which the new generations live are not the same as those of a few years ago. The number of vehicles circulating in the streets and the smoke from their exhaust pipes has caused an increase in the levels of pollution and this is causing effects on the population.

One of the effects that is already being tested is how the new generations are affected in their brains. This is what explains Jordi Sunyer is the head of the Children's Health program ISGlobal who has analyzed in his latest study the consequences of pollution on people and how young people are suffering from pollution.


Reduced attention span

The staff of ISGlobal has studied a total of 300 classrooms with different exposures to pollution. The data that has been obtained after analyzing these data has been verified that according to the different levels of pollution to which the child has been exposed, their cognitive development is different depending on the case. Especially it is the attention capacity that is most altered in these situations.

"Pollution is a determinant more that affects the development of the brain, which has to do with our genes (...) but it is also related to the negative effects of ultrafine particles in the air. We know that they produce neuroinflammation in the brain and this leads to a delay in knowledge", explains Jordi Sunyer.


To solve these situations, Dr. Sunyer suggests taking note of what has been done in other countries such as Denmark. In this country, Law dictates that schools can not be built in areas with high levels of traffic in which the exhaust smoke is a constant.

Permanent effects

The data from this study reveal that the greater the amount of exposure to pollution, the greater are the effects they have on the health of children. Those students who expose themselves the most to pollution, have more irreversible effects. "We have the evidence of studies that have been carried out until the youth that show us that when the expositions are very early in life, you are they remain forever", clarifies Sunyer.

Other effects of pollution

The data from another study conducted by ISGlobal and the University of Leeds they reveal that there are approximately 334 million asthmatics in the world, a number in which infantile cases stand out. The number of children suffering from this respiratory condition has grown alarmingly since the 1950s without stopping this trend.


At this point the researchers wanted to see to what extent the increase in air pollution caused by traffic in large cities has had something to do. According to Haneen Khreis, a researcher at the University of Leeds, thanks to this review, it has been possible to cross-examine multiple cases and establish an "association between exposure to air pollution and the development of childhood asthma."

This new research shows that exposure during childhood to harmful elements emitted by vehicles, such as nitrogen dioxide, NO2, black carbon or soot and suspended particles PM2.5 Y PM10, increases the chances of developing asthma.

"Our analysis shows that the strongest effects are associated with exposures to black carbon, a specific marker in the exhaust pipes of vehicles and a pollutant related to diesel engines," says Dr. Khreis who also points out that "they need more research to draw definitive conclusions. "These new studies should include, in his opinion, the exploration of contaminants that go beyond the exhaust pipes.

Damián Montero

Video: Air Pollution Is Letting Teeny, Tiny, Toxic Particle Into Your Brain


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