Just in case anyone wasn’t already convinced that air pollution is hazardous to your health, a new study at Ohio State University has revealed that prolonged exposure to it can lead to negative physical changes in the brain. Specifically, mice exposed to pollution were found to develop learning disabilities, depression, and anxiety. And if that’s not depressing, we don’t know what is! From the Telegraph:
After 10 months of exposure behavioural tests were carried out on the rodents including a learning and memory test where after five days of training they were placed on a brightly lit area and given two minutes to find the dark escape hole where they would be more comfortable.
The mice who breathed the polluted air took longer to learn where the escape hole was and at later tests they were more likely to forget where it was.
In another experiment, mice exposed to the polluted air showed more depressive-like and higher levels of anxiety-like behaviours in one test, but not in another.
Even worse, the air these mice were exposed to was basically on par with what we breathe every day. After only 10 months, their brains were found to have shorter dentrites (the ends of neurons that transmit information to other neurons) and a smaller hippocampus, the area of the brain that deals with short-term memory.
Great. Add that to Alzheimer’s-causing brain deposits, respiratory illnesses, and birth defects.
By Robert O’Connor