NEW YORK: Although the impact of inhaling polluted air on the lungs is well known, now the researchers have revealed that it can pose a serious threat to brain health as well. The study details how researchers are connecting air pollution to dementia, autism and other neurological diseases.
Air pollution has become a fact of modern life, with a majority of the global population facing chronic exposure and scientists at American Chemical Society in the US are now beginning to understand how it affects the brain.
Arising from vehicle emissions, power plants and factories, air pollution is a complex soup of gases, metals, organic contaminants and other materials.
"Over 90 per cent of the world's population is continually exposed to particulate matter (PM) pollution, which is known to penetrate deep into the lungs, at levels above the World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidelines," Contributing Editor Janet Pelley, wrote.
"Inhaling these substances causes inflammation, which is the body's healthy response to injury or infection, but over time chronic inflammation can damage healthy tissues," Pelley added.
Although the correlation between PM and lung damage is clear, scientists believe that these harmful particles can also impact the brain, either directly or indirectly.
In a recent study, infant mice exposed to air pollution showed altered social behaviours similar to those of autistic children. (IANS)