Recent studies are indicating that there may be a potential link to various brain changes in people who may live in higher polluted areas. Concerns, such as autism and schizophrenia, seem to be more prevalent in these areas due to potential vulnerability from such environmental challenges.
The study was originally conducted in order to research the affects of environmental pollution on the cardiopulmonary system, mentioned Deborah Cory-Slechta, an environmental professor at the University of Rochester. Scientists believe it is becoming very clear that environmental pollution may be adding risk factors for various neurodevelopment disorders to potentially occur. Researchers do wonder why they have not thought of this connection before.
Various groups of young mice were used in this study, and were subjected to levels of pollution that is seen in rush hour traffic. Scientists wanted to see what the effects of such pollution could do on critical brain development. For two four-day periods the mice were subjected to this pollution. Both male and female mice showed significant changes in behavior compared to mice that were living in filtered air, even after 10 months have passed. Male mice were discovered to have more predominant damage than the females, possibly indicating why more males are diagnosed with autism than females.
Brain changes were physically noted showing significant enlargement and inflammation within the ventricle chambers that contain cerebral-spinal fluid on each side of the brain. Social and emotional behaviors are controlled by the corpus-callosum (white matter above the ventricles), and it is thought that autism seems to have connectivity loss issues, but both autism and schizophrenia have ventricular enlargements as well.
The US Environmental Protection Agency only monitors large-particle pollution. Although, the current study focused primarily on the effects of ultra super fine lesser-known particles in the environment. This research may lead to scientists understanding why some people are more vulnerable than others when it comes down to environmental pollution concerns.
So what can our community in St. Cloud do in order to reduce such tiny emissions of pollutants? Well, some ideas would be to try and bike more instead of driving. Using natural pesticides and herbicides. Think about using a push mower when the grass isn’t too long (this is also great exercise!). Plus so many more green ideas can be researched into what works for your family.
By Tina Elliott