University of Montana Relations reports that the brains of healthy children respond to long-term air pollution exposure with symptoms like those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. 

A paper co-written by University of Montana Associate Professor Dr. Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas, titled “Early Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease Pathology in Urban Children. Friend vs. Foe Responses: It Is Time to Face the Evidence,” will be published in an online journal from BioMed Research International.

Dr. Calderon-Garciduenas said that the study specifically concentrated on the brains of healthy children living in highly polluted environments, such as Mexico City, or larger cities in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, Chicago or even Salt Lake City.

Dr. Calderon-Garciduenas said the pre-frontal cortex of a child's brain exposed to excessive air pollution also show signs of an inability to block anti-social and impulsive behaviors, in addition to having a lack of concentration and decreased cognition levels.

She says the neuroinflammation that occurs in a child's brain because of air pollution can lead to symptoms that mirror those of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. The solution to such problems lies in reducing the amounts of air pollution, in addition to providing children with good food, and healthy brain stimulation, such as reading and physical exercise, along with reducing their exposure to passive activities like video games.

Dr. Calderon-Garciduenas says parents and other caregivers must take action to help children live healthier, more active lives, so that their brains can combat the effects of pollution.

Dr. Lilian Calderon-Garciduenas