The fMRI showed that subjects had decreased functional connectivity in widespread regions of the DMN after exposure to diesel exhaust, compared to filtered air.

First author of the study, Doctor Jodie Gawryluk, said: “We know that altered functional connectivity in the DMN has been associated with reduced cognitive performance and symptoms of depression, so it’s concerning to see traffic pollution interrupting these same networks.

“While more research is needed to fully understand the functional impacts of these changes, it’s possible that they may impair people’s thinking or ability to work.”

How to protect yourself

It was noted that the changes in the brain were temporary and participants’ connectivity returned to normal after the exposure.

READ MORE: Woman, 41, was unable to eat due to ‘burning sensation’ in mouth from B12 deficiency

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