What is it about?

We have found iron-rich air pollution nanoparticles in the human brain. Excess iron is toxic to brain cells. Iron-rich air pollution nanoparticles are abundant at roadsides (released from brake wear and exhaust emissions) and can be inhaled htrough the nose and into the brain via the olfactory nerve. It is known that dementia incidence is higher for people who live in proximity to major roads. Exposure to the iron- and associated metal-rich nanoparticles may be a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.

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Why is it important?

We provide for the first time evidence of a plausible route by which exposure to air pollution particles might be causing Alzheimer's and other brain diseases.


It's great to have the chance to contribute to new understanding of Alzheimer's disease, and other brain diseases, and to provide evidence which will expedite progress in seeking and achieving major reductions in air pollution, to avoid damage to the health of the next generation.

Professor Barbara A Maher
Lancaster University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Airborne Magnetite- and Iron-Rich Pollution Nanoparticles: Potential Neurotoxicants and Environmental Risk Factors for Neurodegenerative Disease, Including Alzheimer’s Disease, Journal of Alzheimer s Disease, September 2019, IOS Press,
DOI: 10.3233/jad-190204.
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