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Journal ArticleDOI

Air quality and individual-level academic performance in Brazil: A nationwide study of more than 15 million students between 2000 and 2020.

01 Mar 2023-Environmental research-Vol. 226, pp 115689 - 115689
TL;DR: In this article , the association between air pollution and individual-level academic performance at the student level in Brazil between 2000 and 2020 has been investigated and shown that air pollution exposure was associated with drops in the students' marks varying from 0.13% to 5.39%.
Abstract: Studies have shown that living and studying in places with poor air quality is associated with cognitive deficits. However, there is still a limitation in the literature in terms of study design and geographic location. Also, only a few studies have looked at the effects of more than one air pollutant. To address this research gap, in this study we estimated the association between air pollution (considering three criteria air pollutants - PM2.5, NO2, and O3) and academic performance (a proxy of cognitive performance) at the student level in Brazil between 2000 and 2020. We assessed academic performance data from a nationwide high school exam. The data included 15,443,772 students who took this national test between 2000 and 2020 in Brazil. Air pollution data was derived from satellite remote sensing observations. We fit mixed-effects regression models with a state-specific random intercept and adjusted for school characteristics, spatio-temporal factors, and socioeconomic status. We performed sub-group analyses by stratifying the analysis by type of school management (private or public), location of the school (urban or rural), sex, and periods. Our findings suggest air pollution exposure was associated with drops in the students' marks varying from 0.13% to 5.39%. To our knowledge, this is the first study that estimates the association between air pollution and individual-level academic performance in Brazil. This study is of substantial environmental and educational importance by supporting policymakers to improve the air quality surrounding schools.
References
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Higher levels of black carbon predicted decreased cognitive function across assessments of verbal and nonverbal intelligence and memory constructs and in analysis adjusting for sociodemographic factors.
Abstract: While studies show that ultrafine and fine particles can be translocated from the lungs to the central nervous system, the possible neurodegenerative effect of air pollution remains largely unexplored. The authors examined the relation between black carbon, a marker for traffic particles, and cognition among 202 Boston, Massachusetts, children (mean age = 9.7 years (standard deviation, 1.7)) in a prospective birth cohort study (1986-2001). Local black carbon levels were estimated using a validated spatiotemporal land-use regression model (mean predicted annual black carbon level, 0.56 mug/m(3) (standard deviation, 0.13)). The Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test were administered for assessment of cognitive constructs. In analysis adjusting for sociodemographic factors, birth weight, blood lead level, and tobacco smoke exposure, black carbon (per interquartile-range increase) was associated with decreases in the vocabulary (-2.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): -5.5, 1.1), matrices (-4.0, 95% CI: -7.6, -0.5), and composite intelligence quotient (-3.4, 95% CI: -6.6, -0.3) scores of the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test and with decreases on the visual subscale (-5.4, 95% CI: -8.9, -1.9) and general index (-3.9, 95% CI: -7.5, -0.3) of the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning. Higher levels of black carbon predicted decreased cognitive function across assessments of verbal and nonverbal intelligence and memory constructs.

365 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The biologic basis of children's unique vulnerability to highly prevalent outdoor air pollutants is reviewed, with a special focus on ozone, respirable particulate matter, lead, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
Abstract: A growing body of research supports the role of outdoor air pollutants in acutely aggravating chronic diseases in children, and suggests that the pollutants may have a role in the development of these diseases. This article reviews the biologic basis of children's unique vulnerability to highly prevalent outdoor air pollutants, with a special focus on ozone, respirable particulate matter (PM 2.5 [ 10 [

348 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: The findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PAH air pollutants contributes to slower processing speed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, and externalizing problems in urban youth by disrupting the development of left hemisphere white matter, whereas postnatal PAH exposure contributes to additional disturbances in theDevelopment of white matter in dorsal prefrontal regions.
Abstract: Importance Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are ubiquitous and neurotoxic environmental contaminants. Prenatal PAH exposure is associated with subsequent cognitive and behavioral disturbances in childhood. Objectives To identify the effects of prenatal PAH exposure on brain structure and to assess the cognitive and behavioral correlates of those abnormalities in school-age children. Design, Setting, and Participants Cross-sectional imaging study in a representative community-based cohort followed up prospectively from the fetal period to ages 7 to 9 years. The setting was urban community residences and an academic imaging center. Participants included a sample of 40 minority urban youth born to Latina (Dominican) or African American women. They were recruited between February 2, 1998, and March 17, 2006. Main Outcomes and Measures Morphological measures that index local volumes of the surface of the brain and of the white matter surface after cortical gray matter was removed. Results We detected a dose-response relationship between increased prenatal PAH exposure (measured in the third trimester but thought to index exposure for all of gestation) and reductions of the white matter surface in later childhood that were confined almost exclusively to the left hemisphere of the brain and that involved almost its entire surface. Reduced left hemisphere white matter was associated with slower information processing speed during intelligence testing and with more severe externalizing behavioral problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms and conduct disorder problems. The magnitude of left hemisphere white matter disturbances mediated the significant association of PAH exposure with slower processing speed. In addition, measures of postnatal PAH exposure correlated with white matter surface measures in dorsal prefrontal regions bilaterally when controlling for prenatal PAH. Conclusions and Relevance Our findings suggest that prenatal exposure to PAH air pollutants contributes to slower processing speed, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms, and externalizing problems in urban youth by disrupting the development of left hemisphere white matter, whereas postnatal PAH exposure contributes to additional disturbances in the development of white matter in dorsal prefrontal regions.

272 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: A role for air pollution in CNS damage and its impact upon the developing brain and the potential etiology of AD and mood disorders is supported.
Abstract: Air pollution exposures have been linked to neuroinflammation and neuropathology. Autopsy samples of the frontal cortex from control (n = 8) and pollution-exposed (n = 35) children and young adults were analyzed by RT-PCR (n = 43) and microarray analysis (n = 12) for gene expression changes in oxidative stress, DNA damage signaling, NFκB signaling, inflammation, and neurodegeneration pathways. The effect of apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype on the presence of protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) pathology was also explored. Exposed urbanites displayed differential (>2-fold) regulation of 134 genes. Forty percent exhibited tau hyperphosphorylation with pre-tangle material and 51% had amyloid-β (Aβ) diffuse plaques compared with 0% in controls. APOE4 carriers had greater hyperphosphorylated tau and diffuse Aβ plaques versus E3 carriers (Q = 7.82, p = 0.005). Upregulated gene network clusters included IL1, NFκB, TNF, IFN, and TLRs. A 15-fold frontal down-regulation of the prion-related protein (PrP(C)) was seen in highly exposed subjects. The down-regulation of the PrP(C) is critical given its important roles for neuroprotection, neurodegeneration, and mood disorder states. Elevation of indices of neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, down-regulation of the PrP(C) and AD-associated pathology are present in young megacity residents. The inducible regulation of gene expression suggests they are evolving different mechanisms in an attempt to cope with the constant state of inflammation and oxidative stress related to their environmental exposures. Together, these data support a role for air pollution in CNS damage and its impact upon the developing brain and the potential etiology of AD and mood disorders.

228 citations

Trending Questions (2)
How does the poor environmental conditionimpact student’s academic performance?

Poor air quality, indicated by pollutants like PM2.5, NO2, and O3, is linked to decreased academic performance in Brazilian students, with marks dropping between 0.13% to 5.39%.

Does air pollution affect school performance?

Yes, the paper found that air pollution was associated with drops in students' academic performance in Brazil, with marks varying from 0.13% to 5.39%.