Does air pollution contribute to poor attention, memory problems for kids?

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Image: Healthline

Over the past decade or so, in both animals and humans, in the lab and in the real world, scientists have documented associations between air pollution and brain-related issues, like anxiety, poor attention, and memory deficits. Children appear to be especially susceptible.

[When particles of pollution] arrive, in rodent brains at least, neural immune cells called microglia move in to engulf and destroy the particles. A similar process may occur in humans. However, the microglia may not remove all particles, leaving them to accumulate in the brain. These particles can trigger inflammation which may lead to more serious brain disorders and cognitive effects.

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In the meantime, people most affected by air pollution, such as children from low-income families and children of color, will continue to bear most of the burden, as polluting sources and heavily trafficked roadways often coincide with these communities. 

Scientists now have good reason to believe that airborne pollution directly affects the brain. Additional research in the coming years is likely to reveal a lot more about what effects these tiny particles have on our mental and physical well-being.

Read full, original post: Air Pollution Gets Into Your Brain, and Scientists Want to Know What It’s Doing to You

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