Air Pollution Tied to Cognitive Decline
Air pollution can impair cognitive performance, especially in older people, men, and those with less education, new research suggests.
Investigators studied the verbal and mathematical skills of more than 25,000 people in China over a 4-year period. They found a correlation between worse air quality and cognitive decline, especially on verbal test scores and particularly in older men who were less educated.
“Long-term exposure to air pollution impeded cognitive performance in verbal and math tests, and the negative impact was more pronounced for men than women, with the damage increasing as people age,” senior author Xiaobo Zhang, PhD, National School of Development, Peking University, Beijing, China, and the Division of Development Strategy and Governance, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington, DC, told Medscape Medical News “Investing in cleaner air not only improves human health but also cognitive capital, so when evaluating the impact of air pollution, the hidden cost on intellect should not be ignored,” Zhang added.
The study was published online August 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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