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Boys who are exposed to pollution in the womb and childhood may have poorer thinking skills and working memory, scientists claim.
Researchers assessed whether inhaling a tiny pollutant emitted by diesel fumes, known as PM2.5, affected schoolchildren in tests.
Boys - Levels - Pollutant - Diesel - Fumes
They found boys exposed to greater levels of the tiny pollutant emitted by diesel fumes performed worse on memory tests.
However, the findings did not apply to girls. The Spanish researchers believe this may be because they have different hormones and genetics.
Boys - Girls - Pollution - Womb - Childhood
Both boys and girls exposed to pollution in the womb and throughout childhood were also less able to stay focused on a computerised task.
Poor working memory skills can have an impact on children’s learning as it is required in the classroom for concentration, as well as in every day life.
Findings - Evidence - Air - Pollution - Children
The findings add to the growing evidence that shows air pollution is threatening children's brains and cognitive function.
Researchers at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) used data from 2,221 children aged between seven and ten.
Children - Abilities - Tests - Computer - Study
The children's cognitive abilities were assessed using various tests on the computer, found the study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.
Their exposure to air pollution at home during pregnancy and throughout childhood was estimated with a model using real measurements.
Study - PM2 - Exposure - Pregnancy - Age
The study found greater PM2.5 exposure from pregnancy until age seven years was associated with lower working memory scores on tests in boys.
The results suggest exposure to fine particulate matter throughout the study period had a cumulative effect, meaning they got worse over time.
Memory - System - Brain - Information - Term
Working memory is a system inside the brain responsible for temporarily holding information, similar to short term memory.
It has a limited capacity, and the information is being processed...
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