Meet the scientist connecting the dots between air pollution and dementia

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Meet the scientist connecting the dots between air pollution and dementia

At first blush, you might not think air quality is related to brain health. But what if the two are connected? Air pollution continues to worsen in the developing world, especially in rapidly developing countries like China and India; at the same time, our global population is aging, and dementia rates are expected to rise accordingly. Increasingly, research suggests a link between air pollution exposure and the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. How might this relationship be possible, and what might it mean for what the world is — or isn’t — prepared to handle in the coming decades?

Aaron Reuben is a science writer, recovering policy wonk, and neuropsychologist-in-training who’s exploring just these questions. A PhD student at Duke...

http://grist.org/climate-energy/meet-the-scientist-connecting-the-dots-b...

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dArKeR
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

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Burn-Baby-Burn. Big Oil owns our politicians so this is what we get.

Instant-RunOff-...
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Jun. 17, 2015 11:41 am

There are a couple ways we think it works. One is by nature of the fact that some of the particles are very small. Your sense of smell is a very potent sense, and there is a direct connection from the nose to the brain via the nasal nerve. That means that once you get something in your nose, if it’s small enough, it can pass into the nerve and make its way all the way to the brain.

Keep in mind that pollution particles typically bring in a host of other nasty things with them, including heavy metals: things that can directly kill neurons. The end result is a disruption of the brain’s homegrown immune system. Microglia cells — which clear waste, trim away dead neurons, improve synaptic connections, and clear pathogens — end up performing an unsuccessful process. They continue to release oxidative chemicals that are designed to kill pathogens, but instead of killing anything, the chemicals just accumulate and disrupt neural activity. The damage this causes looks a lot like what you see in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

Another mechanism comes via the lungs. When pollution particles are inhaled into the lungs, they tend to be small enough to make it past the body’s defenses and end up in the deepest tissue, where they then pass into the bloodstream. When they do that, they trigger an immune reaction that circulates molecules related to inflammation, cytokines, in the bloodstream — the kind of thing that seems to cause chronic low-level inflammation wherever the particles go. We’re not sure if the particles can enter the brain through the blood directly or if the chemicals they trigger actually reach the brain, but there’s evidence that they interact with the blood-brain barrier and damage it somehow. It’s all about low-level inflammation that turns into long-term damage. Particles that enter through the nose will cause neuroinflammation directly, and particles that enter through the lungs will also cause neuroinflammation indirectly.

See it's those damn regulations that are causing it. The free market would clean the air out itself. Or that's god's plan and and causing the elderly needing home care increases family consolidation and , and, and. Creationist neurosurgeon Ben Carson might include the devil in this formula. He said the devil was involved in Darwin's theory. Maybe the devil caused that rice to be held in the pyramids, or he caused the rice and seeds to disappear.

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douglaslee
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America: Meet Your Overlord Rupert Murdoch...

Thom plus logo The main lesson that we've learned so far from the impeachment hearings is that if Richard Nixon had had a billionaire like Rupert Murdoch with a television network like Fox News behind him, he never would've resigned and America would have continued to be presided over by a criminal.
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