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Air Pollution is Clouding Our Brains

A recent article published in Science Magazine is providing evidence that air pollution contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.  While it has been established that air pollution plays a role in lung cancer and asthma, new studies are showing the neurological impact with dementia and Alzheimer’s development. The University of Southern California is performing studies on mice using polluted particles gathered from Route 110, the major Los Angeles freeway.  One group of mice was exposed to clean, filtered air; while the other group was exposed to the freeway particles.  The results showed the mice breathing contaminated air had a high level of inflammatory molecules.  This can be an indicator of Alzheimer’s and brain damage. The study indicates that the size of air pollution particles has a large impact on a cell; the smaller the particle the more damage it causes to a cell’s DNA and cellular structure. Human studies have supported the animal findings, but more studies and experiments are being performed.  Future research will help us determine how to properly address the role of air pollution within the population, and its impact on dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

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