Just a few hours ago we discovered that pollution is the real enemy of chess players, but can it also create problems for the brain? The incredible answer is in the new study by some Canadian universities.
“For many decades, scientists have thought that the brain could be protected from the harmful effects of air pollution, however the new study offers new evidence“. This is stated by Dr. Chris Carlsten, professor of respiratory medicine at British Columbia in Canada.
The Canadian research was conducted on 25 healthy volunteers exposed for 129 minutes to two conditions: to clean and filtered air or to the exhaust fumes of diesel vehicles, carefully diluted and aged to guarantee the real conditions of city streets. The same subjects were also subjected to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) both before and after the test, in order to evaluate the conditions of a specific neural network of the brain that regulates its basic activities defined “DMN”that is to say Default Mode Network.
It is a system of fundamental importance in various cognitive tasks, as well as for memory and introspective thinking. The results showed that prolonged exposure to smog causes a decrease in connectivity in large regions of the DMN.
To evaluate the importance of these data, it must be emphasized that various previous studies affirm the existence of a strong association between an altered functional connectivity of the DMN and appearance of depressive symptoms.
What is worrying is how the emissions due to heavy traffic interrupt these same circuits in a very short time. If on the one hand we have in fact found our secret weapon against pollution, on the other the problem appears much more serious than we thoughtwith this new information that obviously needs further studies to understand if a chronic exposure determines long-term consequences.