Air pollution not only harms the heart and lungs, a new study indicates it affects the brain so much that people, especially the elderly, could struggle for words or to complete simple maths. Long-term exposure to air pollution severely affects cognition skills, according to the joint study by Yale and Peking Universities and published in the reputed Proceedings of National Academy of Science (PNAS) journal.

“The study found significant reduction in verbal and maths skills of people exposed to air pollution over a long duration,” said a release sent by the Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute that conducted the study along with Yale and Peking universities. “The effect was more pronounced among men than women — and worst among the elderly,” it added.

Nearly 32,000 Chinese were surveyed between 2010 and 2014 and their short- and longterm exposure to air pollution was calculated. One of the main authors, Xiaobo Zhang, said the decline was steeper for verbal scores than maths scores.

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Source: Aug 28, 2018, The Times of India