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Curr Environ Health Rep. 2017 Jun;4(2):180-191. doi: 10.1007/s40572-017-0134-3.

Cognitive Effects of Air Pollution Exposures and Potential Mechanistic Underpinnings.

Author information

1
Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, 14642, USA.
2
Box EHSC, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY, 14642, USA. deborah_cory-slechta@urmc.rochester.edu.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

This review sought to address the potential for air pollutants to impair cognition and mechanisms by which that might occur.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Air pollution has been associated with deficits in cognitive functions across a wide range of epidemiological studies, both with developmental and adult exposures. Studies in animal models are significantly more limited in number, with somewhat inconsistent findings to date for measures of learning, but show more consistent impairments for short-term memory. Potential contributory mechanisms include oxidative stress/inflammation, altered levels of dopamine and/or glutamate, and changes in synaptic plasticity/structure. Epidemiological studies are consistent with adverse effects of air pollutants on cognition, but additional studies and better phenotypic characterization are needed for animal models, including more precise delineation of specific components of cognition that are affected, as well as definitions of critical exposure periods for such effects and the components of air pollution responsible. This would permit development of more circumscribed hypotheses as to potential behavioral and neurobiological mechanisms.

KEYWORDS:

Air pollution; Attention; Glutamate; Inflammation; Learning; Memory

PMID:
28435996
PMCID:
PMC5499513
DOI:
10.1007/s40572-017-0134-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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