The topic of particulate matter has been in our heads at the latest since the debate on diesel driving bans. Now US scientists have the strong assumption that tiny particles from our exhaust gases are jointly responsible for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Examinations of brains of deceased persons suggest a connection.
203 brains of younger people from Mexico City of different ages were examined more closely after the autopsy of the dead. In the metropolis there is permanent smog. Who lives there, breathes particulate matter – a life long. The ozone levels are high. And scientists at Montana University believe that this is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer stands. The youngest brain examined came from a child just eleven months old. This also already had deposits in the brain, which point to a later illness with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is visible in an autopsy in the brain by protein particles that have not been broken down. Such deposits are considered a disease feature and are already visible long before Alzheimer’s shows recognizable symptoms. Brain cells gradually die off in the brains of those affected and the connections between the cells (synapses) also dissolve. According to the researchers Alzheimer already begins in the brainstem of toddlers.
In metropolises, particulate matter pollution is particularly high
The particulate matter pollution in Mexico City is well above the limits set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The researchers explain that 99.5 percent of Mexico City’s young urban residents are affected by the features of Alzheimer’s disease. This is a “serious health crisis”.
So far, particulate matter has primarily been considered a risk factor for respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Following the results of the US scientists, comes with Alzheimer’s another risk factor added.
Particulate matter as a health risk: The smallest particulate matter particles from our exhaust gases are at most as large as bacteria and can penetrate into the alveoli. The microparticles are swirled in the air and can fly up to 1000 kilometers. An assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that particulate matter exposure of the smallest size is associated with major cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. There seems to be no threshold. This means that the negative health effects can also occur at loads below the specified limits. Source: Federal Environmental Agency
More information about the Emergence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias get here. Medical research is currently trying to find out what causes protein deposits in the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease and is looking for ways to prevent or reverse them before permanent brain damage occurs.