Danger in the Air: Air Pollution and Cognitive Dysfunction

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Abstract

Background:

Clean air is considered to be a basic requirement for human health and well-being.

Objective:

To examine the relationship between cognitive performance and ambient pollution exposure.

Methods:

Studies were identified through a systematic search of online scientific databases, in addition to a manual search of the reference lists from the identified papers.

Results:

Air pollution is a multifaceted toxic chemical mixture capable of assaulting the central nervous system. Despite being a relatively new area of investigation, overall, there is mounting evidence implicating adverse effects of air pollution on cognitive function in both adults and children.

Conclusions:

Consistent evidence showed that exposure to air pollution, specifically exposure to particulate matter, caused poor age-related cognitive performance. Living in areas with high levels of air pollution has been linked to markers of neuroinflammation and neuropathology that are associated with neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease-like brain pathologies.

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