Is Air Pollution Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease?

by Guest Blogger,
Tyler Kokjohn, Ph.D

brain-envA scientific study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America unveiled data strongly suggesting large quantities of air pollution particles enter and remain lodged in our brains (1, 2).  Nanoparticles of magnetic iron (magnetite) formed by combustion processes are abundant in urban air-borne particulate matter and so small they may follow a direct path through the olfactory nerves straight into the brain.  These tiny embedded magnetite particles might be intimately involved in the genesis of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

The gray matter of AD patients contains profuse extracellular deposits, termed plaques, composed of clumped chains of 40-42 amino acids known as β-amyloid.  The levels of magnetite deposits are elevated in AD subjects compared to age-matched controls (3).  Several lines of evidence suggest magnetite nanoparticles associated…

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