General, Research, Technology

Indoor carbon dioxide impairs our ability to think

The steady growth of carbon dioxide (CO2) inEarth's atmosphere in many ways affects human health. Already today, due to abnormal heat, people are more often sick, and the range of various infectious diseases is expanding. Moreover, a global increase in temperature increases the formation of smog, which contributes to greater air pollution. However, according to the results of a study presented at the conference of the American Geophysical Society, carbon dioxide itself should be considered as an air pollutant that can slowly dull our ability to think. You can get acquainted with the work on the EarthArXiv preprint service.

A high concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is associated with a concentration of CO2 in the room

In recent years, the results of severalStudies have found a link between high levels of carbon dioxide in the room and a decrease in cognitive skills. Higher brain functions are called cognitive, namely our ability to think, speak, navigate in space, etc. When a large number of people are in a room with a poor ventilation system, the carbon dioxide emitted by them becomes concentrated. The results of the study showed that poorly ventilated classrooms in schools are associated with impaired memory, concentration and student grades. And in 2016, the work of scientists from Harvard University attracted the attention of the general public after researchers found that elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the room cause a decrease in a number of cognitive functions - from making decisions to developing a complex behavior strategy. The higher the CO2 level in the room, the worse the cognitive skills of the subjects became.

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Does CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere affect cognitive skills?

Yes. The study did not mention climate change, but it is directly related to previous work, including the study of specialists from Harvard University. Scientists believe that the range of carbon dioxide indicated in the work of 2016 directly correlates with an increase in CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere. Right now, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has peaked in history. According to the forecast of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if emissions remain the same, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could more than double by the end of the century - from 410 ppm today to 930 ppm by 2100.

Learning ability of schoolchildren decreases with a high concentration of CO2 level in the room

To find out how an increase in CO2 in the atmosphereaffects the level of CO2 in the room, a team of researchers relied on the work of scientists from Harvard. According to the results, with a CO2 level in the atmosphere of 930 ppm, the CO2 level in the room will be more than 1250 ppm. Such a concentration of carbon dioxide can lead to a significant decrease in cognitive skills. So, if you do not reduce the amount of harmful emissions, by 2100, the cognitive abilities of students will decrease by 25%, and their ability to solve complex problems by 50%. The mechanism underlying cognitive decline is still not entirely understood, but researchers associate it with carbon dioxide, which makes it harder for the brain to absorb oxygen. Concentrated carbon dioxide can also lower the pH level in the blood, leading to a number of symptoms, including confusion.

Read even more interesting facts about climate change on our channel in Yandex.Zen

The good news is that similarthe future can be prevented by reducing air emissions. Otherwise, we run the risk of a general inability to solve problems. Researchers believe that such a hidden effect of climate change on humans can affect the ability to somehow solve the problem of global warming.