Exposure to environmental pollution may cause brain changes that make people more vulnerable to developing autism or schizophrenia, according to a new study published in Environmental Heath
This research falls in line with a 2013 study published in JAMA Psychiatry,
which demonstrated an epidemiological link between pollution and
autism; the researchers found that children who lived in areas with high
levels of traffic pollution seemed to be more likely to be diagnosed
with the neurodevelopmental disorder.
Now, researchers from the University of Rochester have uncovered the
biological mechanism that may explain how pollution can put people at a
higher risk for both autism and schizophrenia.
“From a toxicological point of view, most of the focus of air
pollution research has been on the cardiopulmonary system – the heart
and lungs,” study author Deborah Cory-Slechta, professor of
environmental medicine at the University of Rochester, told FoxNews.com.
“But I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that the adverse things
happening there are also happening in the brain, and this may be adding
to risks for neurodevelopmental disorders like autism that we hadn’t
thought about before.”
Cory-Slechta and her colleagues executed several experiments to
examine the effects of air pollution on different groups of young mice
during a critical time in the brain’s development. Each group of mice
was exposed to levels of air pollution equivalent to those seen in rush
After four hours of pollution exposure during two four-day periods,
mice exposed to pollution experienced marked changes in behavior
compared to mice living in an environment with filtered air.
Read the whole story at FoxNews.com