Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice

Just in case you thought air pollution was good for you ... LA Times summarizes an Environmental Health Perspectives article:

Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice:

"Now, exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a USC study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

In a statement, senior author Caleb Finch, an expert on the effects of inflammation and holder of USC's ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging, said ‘You can’t see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air.’

The study relied on a unique technology developed at USC for collecting particulates in a liquid suspension and recreating air laden with freeway particulate matter in the laboratory, which enabled scientists to conduct controlled experiments on cultured brain cells and live animals.

Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each.

How can we protect the millions of people who live alongside freeways from this type of toxicity?

In an interview, lead author Todd Morgan, a research professor in gerontology at USC, said, ‘Our data would suggest that freeway pollution could have a profound effect on the development of neurons and brain health in children and young kids, especially those who attend schools built alongside freeways.’

‘So limiting one’s exposure -- especially children’s exposure -- to freeway pollution is essential to control asthma, cardiovascular conditions and cognitive development,’ Morgan said."

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on April 11, 2011 9:15 AM.

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