Questions for Nano Air Pollutants Strike a Blow to the Brain



Before reading

1.    List as many sources of air pollution in your community as you can. How can you avoid breathing in that pollution?

2.    How do you respond when you smell something noxious?

During reading

1.    Why is the air pollution so bad in cities such as Beijing, Los Angeles and Mexico City?

2.    What is mucus?

3.    Why do we sometimes cough?

4.    How big are nanoparticles?

5.    In what ways can nanoparticles harm the body?

6.    Define “blood-brain barrier.”

7.    What is inflammation?

8.    How do neurons communicate?

9.    What are free radicals?

10. How are viruses and nanoparticles similar?

After reading

1.    Describe how the study of the polio virus in the 1930s is giving scientists new insights into the dangers of air pollution.

2.    Explain why scientists would be so worried about someone’s losing their sense of smell.


1.    Each of your fingernails grows about 1 nanometer in 1 second. How many nanometers does a fingernail grow in a day? (Bonus: How many millimeters does a fingernail grow in a month?)