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How Air Quality Affects Your Brain And Personality

Posted in Air Quality, on December 22, 2015

You're probably aware that air pollution could potentially result in various health problems, including respiratory issues. However, do you know that air pollution may be affecting your personality and brain? Pollution and global warming don't just wreak havoc on the planet, they also have detrimental effects on our health. Researchers have linked poor air quality to health issues, including asthma, respiratory ailments, and increased likelihood of stroke for a long time. However, new findings reveal that air pollution affects our brain and personality as well. If you're curious about the link between pollution and changes in your brain and personality, check this out.

Air Pollution and the Brain

Mercury and Developmental Damage

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that could cause severe harm to your brain and the developing nervous system. Exposure to mercury arises due to air pollution from natural sources, for instance volcanoes and man-made sources such as cement kilns, coal-fired power plants, and industrial boilers. These sources release mercury into the air where it remains until rain transports it back to the earth. When mercury enters streams and lakes, bacteria change it to methylmercury, a chemical form that builds up in the tissues of fish. Consequently, humans ingest the neurotoxin through fish consumption, with swordfish, tuna, and king mackerel having the highest concentrations of methylmercury. When expectant women consume foods with methylmercury, they end up exposing their developing babies to the dangerous substance. Exposure in the womb can affect a baby's developing system and brain, leading to impacts on memory, cognitive thinking, and language. These may comprise impairment of speech, walking, and hearing. Nevertheless, decreasing emissions from man-made sources is important in preventing additional amounts from entering the environment.

Effects of Lead on the Brain

Lead poisoning is particularly detrimental throughout early childhood since children absorb the substance more readily than adults do. Consequently, lead typically circulates into children's brain more often. Lead poisoning in childhood or infancy can have long-term socio-emotional and mental effects and exposure during childhood can lead to reduced cognitive functioning. Researchers have also linked exposure to aggression, behavioral problems, and increased delinquent behavior.

Studies Linking Air Quality to Cognitive Impairment

A new study has discovered that long-term air pollution can impair cognitive function and damage brain structures in older and middle aged adults. The study assessed the proximity of the participants to roadways and used satellite imagery to evaluate the relative protracted exposure to fine particulate matter. The findings of the study revealed the link between high levels of particulate matter and smaller brain volume and higher probability of brain infarcts. Other studies have also discovered that air quality affects your brain irrespective of age. The study, which took place March 2015, revealed that air pollution could hamper a child's cognitive development. The researchers measured three cognitive results (working memory, attentiveness, and superior working memory) in 2715 children (primary school) from 39 schools. The researchers discovered that children attending very polluted schools with the same socio-economic index exhibited lower cognitive results even after adjusting other factors that can influence cognitive development. The findings imply that the developing brain is susceptible to traffic-related air pollution into middle childhood.

Study Linking Air Pollution to Personality

Researchers from Harvard University conducted a study with the aim of establishing whether higher past exposure to particulate pollution has a link to prevalent high anxiety symptoms. The researchers followed female patients aged 57-85 years to establish a link. During the investigation, the women answered standard questions concerning anxiety symptoms. Their responses revealed that 15% demonstrated high anxiety symptoms overall. The investigators then approximated the women's exposure to atmospheric pollution based on their residential area. Generally, the study discovered that the women's likelihood of anxiety symptoms increased together with their exposure. Are you aware that air pollution has negative effects on your brain and personality? If not, these studies reveal the correlation between poor air quality and brain and personality changes. If you need assistance with issues associated with air quality, kindly contact us so we can help (416) 414-5690

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