BEIJING, China (CNN) — Air pollution may do more than affect your lungs; it may also negatively impact your brain.
A study in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says breathing polluted air results in a “steep reduction in verbal and math test scores.”
The data is based on roughly 32,000 people over a four-year period in China.
Researchers say older men seemed to be especially susceptible to a drop in cognitive abilities.
According to the study, cognitive problems can lead to other health problems including dementia.
The world health organization says nine out of every 10 people on the planet breathe air containing a high level of pollutants.
Africa and Asia were listed as the worst affected regions.