London: Long-term exposure to air pollution could damage the brain and cause depression, besides triggering learning and memory problems.
Fonken and her colleagues at Ohio State exposed mice to either filtered air or polluted air six hours a day, five days a week for almost half their lifespan which was 10 months. After 10 months of exposure, behavioural tests were carried out on the rodents, including a learning and memory test. After five days of training they were placed on a brightly lit area and given two minutes to find the dark escape hole where they would be more comfortable. The mice which breathed the polluted air took longer to learn where the escape hole was and at later tests they were more likely to forget where it was. In another experiment, mice exposed to the polluted air showed more depressive-like and higher levels of anxiety-like behaviours in one test, but not in another. IANS