Brain function restricted by exhaust fumes after only a short time – healing practice

How exhaust fumes affect our brain

Even relatively short loads through Autoabgase according to a recent study, are sufficient to brain function to deteriorate. The polluted air therefore affects important brain regionswho with the cognitive performance are connected.

A Canadian research team University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria has shown in the first study of its kind that brief exposure to normal air pollution by traffic fumes sufficient to impair human brain function. The research results were recently published in the journal “Environmental Health” presented.

Two hours in polluted air is enough

Already one two-hour load by Diesel exhaust gases According to the study, in normal amounts lead to a decrease in functional connectivity of the brain. According to the working group, the study thus provides the first evidence that air pollution from exhaust gases thinking ability of humans can restrict.

Brain is not protected from air pollution

For many decades, scientists thought the brain was protected from the harmful effects of air pollution.”explains study lead author Professor Dr. Chris Carlsten from the University of British Columbia. This study, which is the first of its kind in the world, provides new evidence for one Relationship between air pollution and cognition.

First study of this kind

For the study, 25 healthy participants stayed briefly in a laboratory room in which a usual exposure to exhaust fumes in traffic ruled. The brain activity of the subjects was measured before and after exposure to the polluted air using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

The comparison showed that after exposure to air pollution there was a change in the so-called Default Mode Network of the brain gave. This is a group together connected brain regionswhich plays an important role in memory and at Think spielen.

Important brain regions work less well together

When the air was clean, these brain regions worked together more effectively, while when the air was polluted, the connectivity of the areas was reduced.

“We know that altered functional connectivity in the Default Mode Network is associated with decreased cognitive performance and symptoms of depression, so it is worrying to see traffic contamination disrupting the same networks.”Professor of Psychology and first author of the study Dr. Jodie Gawryluk out.

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“While more research is needed to fully understand the functional implications of these changes, it is possible that they affect people’s thinking or ability to work”sums up Professor Gawryluk.

Changes appear to be intermittent

Another finding of the study is that the changes in the brain caused by the exhaust fumes appear to be only temporary. Connectivity between brain regions improved again when participants spent some time in clean air.

However, the working group points out that permanent damage cannot be ruled out if there is regular and sustained exposure to charges. However, this was not examined in the study.

Breathe less polluted air

“It’s important to make sure the car’s air filter is in good condition, and if you’re walking or cycling on a busy road, you should choose a less traveled route”, recommends Dr. Carlsten. (vb)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of medical specialist literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.


Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek


  • University of British Columbia: Traffic pollution impairs brain function (veröffentlicht: 24.01.2023),
  • Jodie R. Gawryluk, Daniela J. Palombo, Jason Curran, et al.: Brief diesel exhaust exposure acutely impairs functional brain connectivity in humans: a randomized controlled crossover study; in: Environmental Health (2023),

Important NOTE:
This article contains general advice only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.

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