Study finds evidence of brain disease in children exposed to dirty air – What can we do to reduce the risk?  |  Photo Credit: iStock Images
- Air pollution is a rising global concern, which poses great risk to human health as well
- A recent study has found evidence of brain diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in children exposed to dirty air
- Know what the study says, and what we can do to reduce the risk of exposure to pollutants
New Delhi: Anyone who lives in Delhi NCR knows that winters are a time that people who reside in the national capital, and in cities around them, dread. The reason for the scare is pollution, which makes visibility, access and commutes even worse than it already is due to the dense dog the city sees. Apart from affecting the normal way of life, air pollution also has serious and adverse effects on people’s health. While we take Delhi NCR as an example here, we know that the condition of air pollution in the rest of the country, and even around the world, is worrisome, and is causing major health issues for people, especially those who are in sensitive groups.
While respiratory problems are the most commonly associated problems with air pollution, studies have found that the damage may be way beyond that. According to a recent study, researchers found markers of not only Alzheimer’s disease, but also Parkinson’s, and of motor neurone disease in brains of children exposed to polluted air.
Here is what the study says
Researchers looked at the brainstems of children and young adults who have been exposed lifelong to air pollution, in Mexico city. They discovered disturbing evidence of harm caused by dirty air, on their brains.
Previously, some researchers have found a link between a particular type of air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease. However, after examining brainstems of 186 young Mexico City residents, aged between 11 months and 27 years, researchers found that dirty air can cause other brains diseases as well, caused by components that even include the ones generated from vehicular pollution.
Researchers have therefore concluded that air pollution of any type, whether inhaled or swallowed, can lead to potential neurological harm.
What we can do to keep ourselves safe from air pollution
As we approach the winter season with the world already battling one big healthcare problem, it is important to stay safe and find ways to prevent air pollution and its potential health effects.
- Take steps to reduce pollution – Not burning firecrackers, incense sticks, waste materials, and not over-using vehicles are of the ways we can reduce air pollution. Carpooling, walking when you can, using public transport can help.
- Eat a healthy diet – A healthy diet can counter the effects of air pollution, to a certain extent, studies have shown. Include foods in your diet that are rich in antioxidants, and keep all your organs healthy and efficient. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats, etc can help.
- Wearing a mask – With the COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks has become mandatory. However, even when the virus was not around, people in high-risk areas were recommended to wear masks when outdoors to avoid inhaling too many pollutants.
- Use air purifiers – Air purifiers are easily available and can be used in indoor spaces such as homes and offices to ensure we breathe in healthy air. However, certain indoor plants also act as air purifiers. Offices and homes should be filled with such plants that help in keeping the air indoors healthy.
- Home workouts – Exercise is known to boost overall health. With the COVID-19 pandemic, most people are anyway working out at home, and high pollution levels in the winters add more reasons to why you should exercise at home to keep your body healthy, and immunity boosted.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.