You only have to be exposed to air pollution for a few weeks or your cognitive performance will deteriorate. This is shown by a study by Columbia University. However, it appears that aspirin counteracts the harmful effects.
Examples of brief exposure to air pollution are forest fires, smog, passive smoking or barbecuing. The researchers looked at the cognitive functions of 854 elderly American men and the air quality in their environment. If the amount of particulate matter (PM2.5) was increased during 28 days, the men got worse scores on memory, language and arithmetic tests. When they took aspirin, they performed just as well as normal again. Possibly because the drug counteracts inflammation in the brain or changes in the blood circulation caused by ingestion of dirty air, the scientists suspect.
“Although there are regulations on CO2 emissions, short-term spikes in air pollution remain common and have adverse health effects,” said researcher Andrea Baccarelli. “It appears that aspirin is limiting its harmful effects.”
The link between long-term exposure to particulate matter and reduced cognitive performance in the elderly has been known for some time. Reported effects are lower brain volume, cognitive decline and even dementia. Air pollution has also been linked to reduced brain power in younger people and children.
In the category: if it does not work, it does not harm, so you could take aspirin if you know that you are dealing with dirty air.