The Brain

Updated Sept. 7, 2019

On Jan, 29, 2015, six physicians with expertise on how air pollution affects the brain gave a 75 minute presentation on the latest research on this critical public health topic.  You can listen to it here.

Highlights of the Latest Research:

* The systemic inflammation caused by air pollution also affects the brain.

* Air pollution components, including toxic, metallic nanoparticles, reach the brain and can penetrate deeply into the parenchyma.

* Many of the compounds adsorbed to particulate matter are neurotoxic.

* Air pollution causes CNS oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, neuronal damage, neuronal loss, loss of brain mass in key areas that control memory, cortical stress measured by EEG, enhancement of Alzheimer type-abnormal filamentous proteins (beta amyloid and phosphorylated tau), BBB and microglial (immune system) changes, and cerebrovascular damage. Many of these changes can be found in infants, children and young adults.

* Air pollution exposure is associated with almost the full range of clinical neurologic disorders throughout the age spectrum, including lower intelligence, diminished motor function, attention deficit and behavioral problems, decreased cognition and accelerated dementia in adults, delinquent behavior in adolescents, higher rates of strokes, ALS, relapses in multiple sclerosis, autism, impaired olfactory sense, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, schizophrenia and suicide.

* Acute air pollution exposure on the way to school affects students’ attention span during the ensuing school day.

* Prenatal exposure to air pollution is particularly harmful to fetal brain development, causing neurovascular leakage and impaired neurogenesis, even causing loss of white matter involving the left hemisphere which results in impaired cognition and behavioral disorders in childhood.

[Medical References]