Research explores how exposure to air pollution increases the risk of neurodegeneration


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There is a growing awareness that air pollutants are playing a critical role in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. A new book, Alzheimer’s disease and air pollution: development and progression of a fatal disease from childhood and opportunities for early intervention, edited by Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, MA, MD, Ph.D., compiles the latest research establishing links between air pollution and neurodegeneration. It is part of the series Advances in Alzheimer’s Disease, published by IOS Press.

Dr. Calderón-Garcidueñas, from the University of Montana and the University of the Valley of Mexico, recalls watching a brain cell slide of an 11-year-old boy who died in a car accident in Mexico City and saw positive neuritis and usually Alzheimer’s disorders . “It gave me an intense, sudden fear,” he says. “Since then it has become clear that for Mexico City residents exposed to concentrations of above the standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Alzheimer’s disease begins in early childhood and progresses over the first four decades. The concept of a long asymptomatic period decades before clinical cognitive impairment does not apply to millions of people massively exposed day after day to contaminated environments. “

More than 40 chapters organized in six sections present new findings and overviews of the research, ranging from epidemiological studies that establish a strong link between dementia and and ozone; to works describing the properties of ; and works by describing the intricate pathways that lead normal neurons to phantom messes surrounded by a devastated brain. Debates about how neuroinflammation, traffic, air pollution, and tobacco smoke damage the brain and why years of education matter when the brain impact of pollutants is included.

The book begins with an overview of nanoparticle sources and their formation in environments influenced by urban traffic. Generally defined as particles smaller than 100 nm in size, nanoparticles have been found in very high concentrations in ambient air in busy urban areas. Particle contamination is associated with several diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders. Gasoline, diesel and vehicles that use ethanol or gaseous fuels emit particles. It is formed from both wheel brakes and gaseous emissions. Therefore, there is no single solution like focusing on one type of vehicle or engine. However, there are technological solutions that clearly reduce nanoparticle emissions from motor vehicles, and these technologies should be favored when it comes to developing emissions standards and air quality standards.

This book discusses cognitive performance and the fact that levels of air pollutants, accumulated exposure over a lifetime, and the specific characteristics of pollution play a role in neural effects. The book includes a state-of-the-art review on the environment on the association between traffic-related exposure to air pollution and neurodegenerative diseases in the elderly. Although the exact mechanisms are largely unknown, there is growing evidence that increased exposure to traffic-related air pollution is associated with a number of neurodegenerative diseases. Unlike many personal risk factors for neurodegeneration, such as smoking or high blood pressure, traffic pollution is pervasive and cannot be easily avoided. The authors point to the huge potential for health benefits and health care savings if the risk of traffic contamination could be reduced. The book also presents research on ozone, a likely “hidden player” in neurodegeneration.

In another study, exposure to mixed gasoline and diesel engine (MVE) emissions increased the expression of central nervous system factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Young and old mice were exposed to MVE or to filtered air for six hours a day, seven days a week, for 50 days. Age-related increases in oxidative stress and the expression of Aβ and other markers of Alzheimer’s disease were observed. In older mice exposed to MVE, significant increases in markers were observed compared to young and old mice exposed to FA. The findings highlight the need to identify the contaminants that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease for the regulatory action and mechanizing pathways of therapeutic and preventive targets.

The book includes a section on early detection of Alzheimer’s disease in children and adolescents exposed to air pollution. One study illustrates the significant risks that this type of environment poses to the development of Alzheimer’s disease even early in life. Five hundred and seventeen young people living in Mexico City and other urban areas of Mexico with particle concentrations above EPA standards were selected for cognitive impairment using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Normal subjects score 26 or higher, making them unlikely to meet clinical standards for mild cognitive impairment (MCI). A score below 25 indicates that MCI is likely to occur. Fifty-five percent of these seemingly healthy young participants scored in the MoCA score range for MCI and dementia. It is encouraged to identify and reduce key neurotoxicants and monitor cognitive performance to facilitate early diagnosis and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in high-risk young populations.

The final section of the book explores air pollution and mental disorders, neurotoxicity, and the possible link between SARS-CoV-2 and worsening neurodegeneration. The underlying mechanisms and scale of the effects of air pollution remain largely unknown due to chemical and physical complexity. Individual responses to air pollution are configured by interfacing the mixture of pollutants with the biological characteristics of the exposed individual, such as age, sex, and genetic background, but also other environmental factors, including exposure. to cigarette smoke.

“Air pollution and Alzheimer’s disease” shows our only hope, “explains Dr. Calderón-Garcidueñas.” Prevention is close and if we can protect millions of people exposed to air pollutants and improve the its brain effects, we will be on the right track to having a clean planet free of Alzheimer’s disease. “

“Dr. Calderón-Garcidueñas is a pioneer in establishing a significant environmental contributor to Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases. Addressing this modifiable factor, this volume provides a new direction on improving public health,” commented George Perry, Ph.D. D., editor-in -Head of Journal of Alzheimer’s disease and professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

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