As any parent knows, kids change fast. By the time a child is born, its brain is about a quarter of the size it will be in adulthood, but much of the development of the cerebral cortex – the bit responsible for memory, language and thought – happens as they grow into a toddler. But it doesn't stop there, and throughout the primary school years a child's brain is constantly changing as they learn new things. Researchers in Spain have discovered that in schools in areas with the highest pollution – shown by the black dots on this map – kids seem to have slightly slower memory development than children in less polluted areas (white dots). Figuring out why this is happening, and what might be done about it, could have implications for air pollution regulations in cities as well as the location of new schools in the future.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.