A very interesting article from May on air pollution's effect on the brain. - DG
Inhaled pollutants may inflame more than the lungs
When Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas recruited children for a study probing the effects of air pollution, Ana was just 7. The trim girl with an above-average IQ of 113 “was bright, very beautiful and clinically healthy,” the physician and toxicologist recalls.
But now Ana (not her real name) is 11. And after putting her and 54 other children from a middle-class area of Mexico City through a new battery of medical and cognitive tests, Calderón-Garcidueñas found that something has been ravaging the youngsters’ lungs, hearts — and, especially troubling, their minds.
Brain scans and screening for chemical biomarkers in the blood pointed to inflammation affecting all parts of the brain, says Calderón-Garcidueñas, of the National Institute of Pediatrics in Mexico City and the University of Montana in Missoula. On MRI scans, white spots showed up in the prefrontal cortex. In the elderly, she says, such brain lesions tend to denote reduced blood flow and often show up in people who are developing dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease.
Read the rest on Science News.
Sometime last decade, scientists ran a similar battery of tests in Canadian schools, comparing wall-to-wall carpeting institutions to hard washable floors ones. The results were stunning, the levels of violent behaviour and absenteism, among other non desirable behaviours, were MUCH higher in carpeted schools. Cheap synthetic carpeting is a common sight in the cold Canadian school landscape. These carpets release formaldehyde many years after manufacturing and in addition, they simply rarely get cleaned, so countless germs and dirt live in them.
It would be interesting to apply these new methods to those old results...