Study finds air pollution may age the brain

Well, Eddie Albert was right when he sang in the theme from the classic television show Green Acres, “Farm livin’ is the life for me.”

So if you would rather stay in New York because the smell of hay lights up your allergies, think about how a new study has found exposure to air pollution may hasten brain aging.

The study was published in the Annals of Neurology.

The New York Times reports researchers studied 1,403 women without dementia from a large health study conducted from 1996 to 1998. They then studied their brain volume in 2005 and 2006, when the women were 71 to 89 years old.

Researchers found their subjects’ exposure to air pollution from 1999 to 2006 affected their brain. Previous studies have shown that air pollution can cause inflammation and damage to the vascular system, but this study showed damage to the brain itself.

“This tells us that the damage air pollution can impart goes beyond the circulatory system,” the Times quoted the lead author, Dr. Jiu-Chiuan Chen, an associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. “Particles in the ambient air are an environmental neurotoxin to the aging brain.”

To read the whole Times story click here.