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Air pollution exposure increase the risk for autism and schizophrenia
- Updated: June 8, 2014
Air pollution causes many problems for people. The higher the level of pollution, the higher the hazards for many people. According to a new study, published in Environmental Heath Perspectives, breathing polluted air can be more damaging then we even realize.
Th study at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, provides new evidence that higher levels of ambient pollutants may increase the risk of autism, schizophrenia, cognitive decline, and depression.
“From a toxicological point of view, most of the focus of air pollution research has been on the cardiopulmonary system – the heart and lungs,” the study’s lead author Deborah Cory-Slechta, professor of environmental medicine at the University of Rochester, said. “But I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that the adverse things happening there are also happening in the brain, and this may be adding to risks for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism that we hadn’t thought about before.”
During the study, researchers exposed younger than 2 weeks old mice to levels of air pollution equivalent to those seen in rush hour traffic, after that their brains, compared to mice living in an environment with filtered air, showed damage that is consistent with brain changes in humans with autism and schizophrenia.
Researchers reported these behavioral differences seen between the two groups of mice were present up to 10 months after the pollution exposure.
“When we looked closely at the ventricles, we could see that the white matter that normally surrounds them hadn’t fully developed,” Deborah Cory-Slechta, said in a press release. “It appears that inflammation had damaged those brain cells and prevented that region of the brain from developing, and the ventricles simply expanded to fill the space.”
This is now another study claiming an epidemiological link between pollution and autism and researchers are hopeful that additional research into the link between air pollution and autism may lead to a better understanding of the damaging effects of superfine pollution particles.