Tuesday, November 8, 2011

WSJ: The HIdden Toll of Traffic Jams

The Wall Street Journal has a very interesting article today on p. D2 (print version) on the relationship between vehicle exhaust and brain-cell damage. I found an online version that I will link but my direct quotes and paraphrasing are from the print version.
The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams: Scientists Increasingly Link Vehicle Exhaust With Brain-Cell Damage, Higher Rates of Autism http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203733504577024000381790904.html

 "Researchers found that children born to mothers living within 1,000 feet of a major road or freeway in Los Angeles , San Francisco, or Sacramento were twice as likely to have autism..."

"New public-health studies and laboratory experiments suggest that, at every stage of life, traffic fumes exert a measurable toll on mental capacity, intelligence, and emotional stability"

The researchers controlled for gender, ethnicity, education level, maternal age, exposure to tobacco smoke and other factors.

At age 3, kids who evidenced the most exhaust in their genes "were developing mental capacities fractionally more slowly.... By age 7, the children were more likely to show symptoms of anxiety, depression, and attention problems..."

Research on mice found that inhaled particles affected the brain, "causing inflammation and altering neuorochemistry among neurons involved in learning and memory"

The research was originally published in the excellent journal, Environmental Health Perspectives (which I read, but must have missed this article).
I am having trouble finding the article cited by the WSJ but I did find some of the earlier studies by the lead researcher, Jiu-Chiuan Chen

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