Cognition impact of sand and dust storms highlights future research needs?
Authors have written a convincing paper establishing the association between prenatal timing and exposure to sand and dust storms and children's cognitive functioning in China. This research is undoubtedly important, given that an estimated 150 parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification are affected in some way by sand and dust storms.
Yet while a lot is known about the role of prenatal exposure to anthropogenic pollution and its effects on various health and cognitive outcomes, we know little about the role of prenatal exposure to sand and dust storms on these outcomes. In particular, Li and colleagues are perhaps the first to link prenatal exposure to sand and dust storms with cognitive outcomes.
While the authors do a commendable job of connecting sand and dust storms exposure to cognitive function, future work in this area should focus on the mechanisms behind this association.