USC Researchers Say Pollution May Be Harming Our Brains

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — New research suggests that pollution in Southern California may be harming our brains.

We already know that pollution can do harm to our lungs, but research from the University of Southern California suggests that residents here are even worse off thanks to our traffic-polluted freeways.

“It’s not like what you see in smog and the days when you don’t get to see the mountains,” says Todd Morgan a researcher with USC referring to the type of pollution investigated in the study.

Researchers looked at the smallest of particles that are not visible to the naked eye. Air samples were taken from the 110 Freeway near USC and exposed to mice over a 10 week exposure period, over about 150 hours. The results showed brain damage — keeping neurons from developing — which could eventually lead to memory loss, even developmental disorders in children. According to researchers there is suggestive evidence, it could happen to us too.

“I’m hoping that with further research, we can perhaps be able to figure out additional ways of lowering the effect of these particulates, other than just staying away from traffic because that’s really not doable,” says Morgan.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • Steve C

    Not surprised. Look how the people voted in california last election.

    • Jack Kinch(1uncle)

      Pollution caused by population, more by overpopulation. The demos are still letting them come in and not getting rid of them. They are tax users and gasoline users.

    • Al R

      I agree, they should not be allowed to vote, they are brain damaged zombies.

      • HipHopAbs

        Oh sure.

        This pollution is damaging more than lungs and brains. Every body part suffers from poisonous gas.

        And this is happening in every city on earth.

        If you live in the middle of a city, or even downwind, you are a moron.

        Your brains are so damaged that you can’t even tell you’re being scammed by the government over taxes.

        Search tax law for “excluded income”
        ECFR dot GPOACCESS dot GOV
        (Title 26)

        Or just Google excluded income.

        Make the government obey the law.

      • MissouriKyle-Reaganite

        These is liberal lies lies preptrated by the communist elitists in office who want to enslave the world and tax everything!!!! USC is a leftist school! that porchmonkey NObama hussein secretly hates america and wants to force abortion and green taxes on all of us.. there taxing OXYGEN FOR GODS SAKE!!!!! vote him out now! vote for a commensense constitutionalest conservative so we can end this madness! vote vote vote!!!!!!

      • adam

        What a sane and well written response MissouriKyle.

    • RightUnite

      Well, that certainly explains Peelosi’s everyday behavior!

      • MDWhite

        Pelosi’s from Baltimore. That’s in Maryland…in case you didn’t know.

      • Greg Miller

        And that explains why Maryland is in the miserable shape it is in…

      • EducatingLiberalsDaily

        Baltimore? Pelosi represents the 8th California Congressional District, which covers much of San Francisco.

      • Jos. Blough

        TO MD White: Pilozi moved to Calif in 1969. She’s a carpetbagge, a left winger, and definitely has a mental disorder, whether or not caused by airborne particulates.

      • HGirl

        MD White–Pelosi has lived in CA for over 40 years.

    • EM

      I’m born and raised in So Cal I I can assure you, we deserve all of these bad comments.

      • J in Pasadena

        What happened when the dumbest man in California moved to Texas? Texas’ average IQ went up, and California’s average went down!

      • ritpg

        EM, you sound like a wonderful person. Please do your best to escape CA. TX is a great state. I’m planning to head there myself.

      • JustPlainFolks

        EM, be wary of ritpgs’ advice. Remember, Texans live in Texas.

      • Justin

        If you live in Texas, you are a Texan. Duh.

    • aVoice

      Wow! All this time I thought it was something in their water.

    • thezapper

      brain damage i think not its called liberalism

      • karl anglin

        Obama suffers from that as well!

      • Billv

        Karl, if there was a like button you would have gotten it.

    • John

      and WHAT of any importance or creativity comes out of where you live Steve C? What do you do except hate people who aren’t the same as you. What do you do ? Really. I thought so. YOu are NO crhistian. You are a racist, hating hypocrite. I can peg you from your one sentence.

      • Billv

        Steve C Said: “Not surprised. Look how the people voted in california last election”

        Wow, John. No hate eminating from you.

    • Dave R

      OHHH .Native so cal resident.Now I understand the reason for california being the laughing stock of the USA.Brain dead politically correct enviromental nazi voters. AHHH utopia at its finest.

    • Glammer

      You post like a liberal troll who wants to make conservatives look stupid and racist.

    • ritpg

      Good for you S D. But you live in a state that is hopelessly left. Why would you want to keep doing that? Do you really think it’s going to change in your life time? Get out if you can.

    • Albert MacMeda

      An excellent point on the surface, but remember not all of us out here are that foolish (not all of us voted for “Moonbeam”) even though all of us are exposed to the same air, so obviously the theory is more propaganda from the left being used to justify extending government power needlessly.

      • Billv

        Didn’t a USC professor just get fired for releasing research that didn’t support this propaganda?

    • hans

      why do comments sections always attract the biggest idiots?

      • BillyGoat

        That explains why you are here, hans.

      • chris

        Comments sections are the most immediately visible portion of the mass media that’s subject to free speech. so, to keep real free speech curbed, the global elite flood all of the most accessible public forums with spam, in order to keep the common man convinced that every other common man out there is an idiot, and not to be trusted with freedom. After all, it’s a lot easier for a power to strip your rights when you don’t believe that your fellow man is smart enough to handle having those same fights for themselves.

      • MattsAssistant

        This article was linked to by Drudge. He’s sort of like a fire hose that shoots out morons.

    • Jim LV

      Exactly, Steve. Maybe the rats should vote in the 2012 election?

      • kate

        My pet rats have more intelligence than what has been displayed in the comments here… I must say, I certainly would much prefer the rats to vote.

      • Gardentoolnumber5

        Probably have better results… That’s if you were referring to real rats and not the commies.

      • Andy Del Tor

        Rats do vote. The Democ-rats. It explains Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, Jerry.

    • Gibbs Bentley

      May be harming?

    • gommygoomy

      It does explain a lot.

  • Doug Rose

    Well…that explains why those on the Left Coast are the way they are!

    • Vin-E

      why all the hate for Cali? We are human beings just like you. You are human right?

      • Dee

        The people who beat up the fan at Dodger stadium were not.

      • JohnRingaux

        You’re a human. but if you’re from SoCal you’re not like me.

      • ChileCat

        The Taliban is human too!
        Ok we’ll quite bullying your gay, gerbil loving lazy ass’s.

      • Albert MacMeda

        They don’t hate “Cali”, just the idiots that vote for people like Gerry Brown. Now I’m not a hater so I don’t hate people that are that foolish, but I can’t say I understand them either and it is clear they are destroying this state.

      • SonnyJIM

        Because Cali is full of knuckleheads who keep electing leftists and then wondering why the worlds 7th largest economy can’t work.

      • sueinmi

        Nancy Pelosi…

  • Jay

    No wonder all the idiots are out there and vote the way they do. It explains it all!

  • agNau

    I cannot agree that pollution is the culprit. But I can agree there are an abundance of brain disorders in California!

    • MDWhite

      …Let’s not forget New York and Massachusetts and Oregon and Nevada and Illinois…Washington DC and, of course, wherever you’re from.

    • Albert MacMeda

      I was born and raised here I can confirm and explain your comment: “I can agree there are an abundance of brain disorders in California!”

      True, there are a great number of people who clearly are mentally ill here – but many of them came here from ultra-liberal places, such as the east coast. Many of them are not from here. Many of us that ARE from here are sick and tired of them destroying our state and we would do what we can to kick them out. Further, they’re increasing their power by encouraging illegal immigration, which as a rule brings in more people who vote like them – i.e. FOOLISHLY!

  • John West

    Ya all those damaged brains at the jet propulsion lab in Pasadena and all those dull wits in silicone valley, …. what a crock. Souther California has too many lefties and they are brain damaged to begin with …. this another mney grab and law making opportunity for those brain dead lefties who cannot stop controlling everyone’s slightest activities.

    • john

      You’re an idiot. If it were up to you racist, backward conservatives:

      Women still woudn’t be able to vote.
      There would still be slavery.
      We’d still be burning witches at the stake. AND YOU KNOW ITS TRUE JOHN WEST. Conservatives are ALWAYS on the wrong side of history. ALWAYS.

      • LOLA

        Oh really? It was southern democrates in the 60’s who were against the Civil Rights movement/amendment. It was conserviatives who pushed it through. Educate yourself. Your “ALWAYS” is a lie.

      • LOLA

        Oh, and BTW Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. So who’s the idiot? Educate yourself.

      • Jeff

        Right and Lincoln who freed the slaves was a…Republican? Don’t you just love these guys? I mean I’m no fan of Repubs but in comparison to these yahoos its all we got.

      • Albert MacMeda

        Nice, but you forget that it was DEMOCRATS, not Republicans, who tried to oppose civil rights legislation.

        You are good at spouting talking points but you know NOTHING about truth, facts, logic and history.

        Republicans were behind freeing the slaves, IDIOT!

      • styrgwillidar

        Wow… I never realized that Martin Luther King was on the wrong side of history….

      • Gardentoolnumber5

        There is nobody more regressive than a Progressive. For lack of sense and facts they regurgitate nonsense. Never fails.

      • sueinmi

        And just whose state is banning Happy Meals…talk about being on the wrong side of history!

  • Bill in Tennessee

    I wonder if we could get President B.O. to move there…maybe the exposure would “fix” his brain. Oh wait…California. No, never mind.

  • Chris D.

    Brain damage… This explains how Jerry Brown got re-elected…

  • endgametime

    And the air in an office building if 5000 times more toxic than air outside, but nothing is done about it.

    • Brady Vitrano

      We fired the last guy that polluted the office air with his gas. Have to start somewhere :P

  • Tim

    I know your looking for a reason that all the fruits, flakes and nutes in Southern California have brain disorders, but I think it’s a stretch to blame it on traffic pollution. I think you have the cause and effect mixed up. The lazy types with brain disorders are drawn to Southern California because of the laid back atmosphere. They don’t come there and become lazy.

  • JohnDD

    I’m pretty sure all Obama supporters have brain disorders. Can I get a Federal grant to study them?

    • Mr. Spooge

      Study them? You mean watch CNN?

  • mike

    without a doubt, look at hollywood, and look at CA’s voting pattern

  • WhatsTheMattaU

    This is nonsense. Another politically motivated study.

    Remember C.A.R.B. and Hein Tran?

    Lying biased scientists influenced by nature worshiping fanatics.

  • Dr Pete

    I used to have problems like that, but I just smoke more pot and I don’t notice it any more.

  • So That’s the Problem: Traffic causing Brain Damage in SoCal | American and Proud

    […] I know there’s been some issues around here. I know the people have become stupid over time. I knew the voters wouldn’t re-elect Brown as Governor but they did! Now I know why. USC Researchers Say Pollution May Be Harming Our Brains […]

  • Cogiito

    The study pre-supposes that people in California do not already suffer from brain disorders.

  • RufusVonDufus

    Hey, everybody in fly-over country always knew there had to be some reason for the insane behaviors of those fool liberals in California. The conservatives must try to spend a lot of time out of California. Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein and Brown must never leave California as they are the biggest azzez in the history of a mexican state.

  • HipHopAbs

    How ridiculous.

    This pollution is damaging more than lungs and brains. Every body part suffers from poisonous gas.

    And this is happening in every city on earth.

    If you live in the middle of a city, or even downwind, you are a moron.

    Your brains are so damaged that you can’t even tell you’re being scammed by the government over taxes.

    Search tax law for “excluded income”
    (Title 26)

    Or just Google excluded income.

    • WhatsTheMattaU

      Sounds like you have fallen for this insanity hook, line and sinker.

      The crowd that has a desire to tax the air we exhale and believes that CO2 is a pollutant when in reality it is a nutrient.

      • sueinmi

        Taxing insanity may be the deficit solution for CA.

  • MadCharles

    The only brain disorder is in Sacramento and with the extreme environmentalist….

  • Anthony Perlingos

    This could explain alot of things. Like why we continue to vote Democrat and are more worried about Happy Meals and the rights of sex offenders.

  • Mike

    Pelosi…’nuff said.

  • Bigjohn4USA

    I’ve lived in CA for 44 years. Air pollution is WAY DOWN from the 70s now that smog checks and cleaner cars are on the road. This study is just another looney left attempt to point to the evils of capitalism.

  • Jim

    Next, maybe some other states need to be tested!(i.e. Illinois?)

  • ra44mr2

    Nah im thinking its just living in such close proximity with so many liberals that causes the brain damage.

  • Quiet Desperation

    The people just accepting this story are the bra8in damaged ones.

    [1] How many stories does there need to be where large or prolonged doses of something are given to mice, the mice get hurt (duh!) and it’s immediately extrapolated to human. Did you see how they carefully worded it so as to suggest it but not get caught outright making the claim?

    [2] Is there something magically different about California traffic? If this study is true, would it not be true in *any* urban area with traffic?

    [3] Is it really smog hiding the mountains anymore? Back in the 1970’s it was. The horizon was always brownish colored. These days it looks like just good old haze.

    QUESTION every news story, people. Hey, maybe there is something to this study. Maybe not. But until anything is verified, ASK QUESTIONS!

    FYI: California voted the way it did last election due to simple ignorance: people don’t pay attention anymore. They don’t ask QUESTIONS.

  • styrgwillidar

    I’ve got some questions:

    – Is this another study by someone with faked credentials and manufactured data commissioned by the California Air Resources Board (similar to the diesel particulate study) to justify them imposing draconian anti-business idealogiaclly driven regulations?

    – Is this some researchers realizing now that the scientific evidence is drying up the man-made global warming research grant teat trying to find the next politcally correct theme for the next grant funding teat?

    BTW Quiet desperation, no the people in CA voted the way they did because they treat political parties and the elected officials like sports teams instead of our paid employees. It’s rep or dem, not who is going to do what makes sense for the good of the state.

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