A study conducted illustrating how quickly living in a very smoggy area can potentially change the course of one’s life. An examination of brainstems among children and young adults living within the smoggy cities has uncovered unsettling early markers of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS.
Moreover, tiny and distinct nanoparticles were also seen in participants’ brainstems. These patients are as young as 11 months old to 27 years old. According to the study’s authors, the unique composition of those nanoparticles suggests they are available from vehicle pollution like car exhaust.
With this in mind, researchers theorize vehicular pollution almost certainly puts one at an increased risk of neurological harm.
How smog affects the brainstem
The brainstem, of course, is a useful portion of the human body. It regulates the whole central nervous system. Not only did the brainstems of the youngsters within the study show the signs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS, they also had high concentrations of iron, aluminum, and titanium-rich nanoparticles within the brainstem. The iron and aluminum-rich nanoparticles found within the brainstem are strikingly like those, which occur in air pollution caused by engines and braking systems.
“The titanium-rich particles were also observed in nerve cells of the gut cells, suggesting these particles reach the brain after being swallowed and moving from the gut into the nerve cells which connect the brainstem with the gastrointestinal system.
Even an 11-month-old infant shows abnormal proteins in their brains. All the participants had experienced lifelong exposure to particulate air pollution. Examinations of similarly aged people living in less-polluted areas didn’t reveal identical signs of neurological decay.
A pollution pandemic?
Overall, the study’s authors believe their work confirms that metal-rich nanoparticles from pollution can indeed make their way to the brainstem after being inhaled or swallowed. Once there, they will do serious damage to a variety of important brainstem nerve cells.
Study authors warn it’s quite possible that polluted areas will see a “pandemic” of neurological diseases. This can be more likely in the future, as more and more people live to older ages.
“Different people will have different levels of vulnerability to such particulate exposure but our new findings indicate that what air pollutants you’re exposed to, what you’re inhaling and swallowing, are really significant within the development of neurological damage. With this in mind, control of nanoparticulate sources of air pollution becomes critical and urgent.”