Forgetting How to Breathe: Alzheimer’s and Air Pollution

Old Man from Indiana with Alzheimer’s DiseaseResearchers found another link to Alzheimer’s disease: an abundance of toxic nanoparticles from air pollution.

Hospice of the Calumet Area notes that there are millions of people in the United States suffering from Alzheimer’s and this research may shed some light as to the brain activity of those who suffer from the disease.

The Potential Link

There are 47 million people suffering from Alzheimer’s globally and scientists expect this number to rise to 74.7 million by 2030.

The accumulation of brain materials is a key point to Alzheimer’s disease, this may attribute to a prior study on the damage seen in Alzheimer’s brains caused by magnetite.

Researchers believe there is a possibility of tiny magnetic particles from air pollution can boost the production of free radicals in the brain, aggravating the development of Alzheimer’s.

They analyzed the brain tissue of 37 people aged 3 to 92. Most of which lived and died in Mexico, which is an area known for its significant urban pollution. They concluded that most of the magnetic nanoparticles are present in the pollution coming from vehicles on the road.

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Unlike the magnetite particles found in the previous study, what Professor Barbara Maher of Lancaster University and her team found were very distinctive – “They are very rounded nanospheres, because they were formed as molten droplets of material from combustion sources, such as car exhausts, industrial processes, and power stations, anywhere you are burning fuel.”

Further Study

While the link isn’t final, people should still consider this a risk factor for debilitating brain disorders.

Further study is necessary for researchers to provide more concrete conclusions. As the study progresses, hopefully, it opens development and trials for Alzheimer’s treatment. For now, the practical ways to prevent the disease include regular exercise and a healthy diet.

Alzheimer’s is prevalent in the United States, as more than 5 million suffer from it, the majority being the elderly. For those with family members that are suffering from this disease, don’t give up on them and instead, ask for help. Hospices are available, especially for those who are in the last stages of their lives.