Our children will pay for our mindless consumption habits.

“The authors argue that sustained exposures to urban air pollution result in cognitive underperformance and metabolic brain changes that reflect glial and neuronal alterations. ”

Still spending life in trivial gossips? Who will win the Cricket Match? India or Bangladesh? 😀 God bless our children.



Decreases in Short-Term Memory, IQ, and Altered Brain Metabolic Ratios in Urban Apolipoprotein ε4 Children Exposed to Air Pollution

A new study by researchers at the Universities of Montana, Carleton, and North Carolina, and the Centro de Ciencias de la Atmósfera, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, heightens concerns over the detrimental impact of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele — the most prevalent genetic risk for Alzheimer’s disease — upon cognition, olfaction, and metabolic brain indices in healthy urban children and teens. These findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

These children have lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current USA standards, including fine particulate matter (PM 2.5). Metropolitan Mexico City is an example of extreme urban growth and serious environmental pollution and 8 million children are involuntarily exposed to harmful concentrations of PM 2.5 every day since conception.

The study focused on children’s and teens’ cognitive and olfaction responses using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-R) and the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test. Researchers measured three major brain metabolites in hippocampus, pons and the white matter of the frontal and parietal lobes using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Carriers of the APOE ε4 versus ε3 children had a key metabolite NAA/Cr ratio reduced in the right frontal white matter and showed significant decrements on attention, and short-term memory.

A worrisome finding in this study was the below-average scores in Verbal and Full Scale IQ (>10 points) in the Mexico City carriers of the gene associated with the risk for Alzheimer. APOE4 children had problems with odor detection and failed to identify the smell of soap more often than ε3 carriers. Interestingly, this finding strongly correlated with the left hippocampus mI/Cr ratio, a ratio of key importance in Alzheimer’s patients.

“APOE ε4 is likely playing a role in Mexico City children’s response to their cumulative air pollution exposures. Of importance for health and educational issues, since Mexico City children mostly attend underprovided public schools that do not help in the development of executive function skills and do not build cognitive reserves, the >10 point IQ difference will likely have a negative impact on academic and social issues, including bullying and teen delinquency,” said investigators Lilian Calderon-Garcidueňas, MD, PhD,The Center for Structural and Functional Neurosciences, University of Montana, and Amedeo D’Angiulli, PhD, Department of Neuroscience, Carleton University.