Breathing in air pollution could change our brain. A new study shows that car fumes can change how our brain is wired – how parts of the brain connect with other parts. The research is from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Researchers found that car fumes can change our brain's connectivity in just two hours. A researcher, Professor Chris Carlsten, was surprised at what he found. He said: "For many decades, scientists thought the brain may be protected from the harmful effects of air pollution." He added: "This study, which is the first of its kind in the world, provides fresh evidence supporting a connection between air pollution and [thinking]."
The traffic pollution study was on 25 adults. The researchers asked the adults to breathe in car fumes in a laboratory. The research team took brain scans of the adults for two hours. The scans showed that networks in the brain that we use for thinking and remembering changed. There were fewer connections between the networks. Another professor said the research was worrying. She said: "It's concerning to see traffic pollution interrupting these networks." The researchers said there needed to be more research to see how car fumes change our brain. They also advised people to close car windows when in traffic. The brains of the 25 people returned to normal after they breathed clean air.