Inhaled particulates may inflame the brain and cause dementia-like harm in children

Inhaled particulates may inflame the brain and cause dementia-like harm in children

Prior posts have noted the significant evidence that particulates, particularly PM 2.5, can cause inflammation of the lungs and blood vessels of the body.  These posts have also noted that evidence had been found that very small particulates can travel through arteries and veins.  Now, evidence has been developed which indicates that particulates can lead to inflammation of brain tissue.

Studies done on children in Mexico City appear to indicate that air pollution is causing a variety of adverse affects to the brain, including the development of damage normally seen in adults developing dementia, and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.  Earlier studies by the same researchers found similar abnormalities in dogs, and much exaggerated abnormalities adults 20-50 yrs. old.  Because the air in Mexico City is a stew, causation becomes a question.  Other research, using animal models, have found that ultra-small particulates can lead to the types of abnormalities seen in the children.

The result is not a complete surprise.  Earlier studies in Germany have found memory impairment associated with living close to roadways.  Similarly, a study in Boston found that children living closest to roadways had lower memory and IQ scores.  Given that children's brains are more susceptible to damage than adults, these types of results are not a surprise.

These types of data and studies certainly indicate that controls on particulates will likely be increased in the future to protect a very sensitive population, children.

Studies which address these issues can be found at http://www.cell.com/trends/neurosciences/abstract/S0166-2236(09)00128-3, http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/tx700210j, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WDS-4X541NJ-1&_user=10&_coverDate=11%2F30%2F2009&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=8fd7bf545949888e6567de5a00bf8e7e,  and http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/167/3/280.