Adding to the health hazards of air pollution, a new study has revealed that air pollution could cut down the white matter in our brains.
For the study, the research team studied brain MRIs of 1403 women who were 71 to 89 years old. They used residential histories and air monitoring data to estimate their exposure to air pollution in the previous 6 to 7 years.
Older women who lived in places with higher air pollution had significantly reduced white matter in their brain. These findings suggest that ambient particulate air pollutants may have a deleterious effect on brain aging.
Lead author Dr. Jiu-Chiuan Chen said, "Our study provided the convincing evidence that several parts of the aging brain, especially the white matter, are an important target of neurotoxic effects induced by long-term exposure to fine particles in the ambient air."
The study appears in Annals of Neurology.