Study explores how living close to roadways may impact the brain
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have found a link between traffic-related air pollution and an increased impact on brain development relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders. "While air pollution has long been a concern for pulmonary and cardiovascular health, it has only been within the past decade that scientists have turned their attention to its effects on the brain", said UC Davis toxicologist Pamela Lein, senior author of the study.
Researchers had previously documented links between proximity to busy roadways and neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, but data based on real-time exposures to traffic-related air pollution was missing.
Researchers developed a novel approach to study the impacts of traffic-related air pollution and set up a vivarium near a traffic tunnel in Northern California to mimic, as closely as possible, the experience of humans.
"This approach was a creative way to get at the question of what impacts air pollution has on the brain in the absence of confounding factors such as socioeconomic influences, diet, etc.," Lein said. "It's important to know if living close to these roadways poses a significant risk to the developing human brain.