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Cognition Alters With Air Pollution Exposure During Early Stages Of Life

According to novel research conducted by the scientists and experts at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), exposure to air pollution during the pregnancy phase and the initial years of newborns leads to a decline in essential cognitive abilities, such as decision-making attentiveness and working memory. Based on the new data, particulate matter floating in the air with a size below 2.5 microns (PM<2.5 μm) has significant effects on exposed children’s cognitive abilities.

The researchers have published their study findings in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The key purpose of this study was to extend their previous research, in which the team discovered that children who were exposed to higher levels of traffic pollution have weak cognitive abilities.

The team conducted trials on 2,221 students in Barcelona within the age group of 7–10. The cognitive abilities of the participants were evaluated using several computerized assessments.

The study outcomes revealed that participants who were exposed to PM>2.5 μm throughout the period of seven years had scored less in working memory tests. However, exposure to PM<2.5 μm had a comparatively stronger effect throughout the study.

On a similar subject, apart from particulate matter exposure, several other factors directly or indirectly affect mind productivity. The surrounding temperature is one of the factors.

Tom Chang, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, along with Agne Kajackaite of the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, conducted a trial on 543 German college students. The researchers kept all the participants in a room and conducted several tests at different temperatures, ranging from 61°F to 91°F.

The research revealed a significant variation in performance between women and men based on the temperature of the surrounding. Chang said that with the escalation in the temperature, the ability of women to perform mathematical and verbal tasks went on improving gradually. The reverse outcomes were achieved in the case of men.

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