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Volume 38, No. 2

Pollution particles 'get into brain'

Tiny particles of pollution have been discovered inside samples of brain tissue, according to new research.

Suspected of toxicity, the particles of iron oxide could conceivably contribute to diseases like Alzheimer's - though evidence for this is lacking.

The finding - described as "dreadfully shocking" by the researchers - raises a host of new questions about the health risks of air pollution.

Many studies have focused on the impact of dirty air on the lungs and heart.

Now this new research provides the first evidence that minute particles of what is called magnetite, which can be derived from pollution, can find their way into the brain.

Earlier this year the World Health Organisation warned that air pollution was leading to as many as three million premature deaths every year.

Tracing origins

The estimate for the UK is that 50,000 people die every year with conditions linked to polluted air.

The research was led by scientists at Lancaster University and is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Read the full article.


Originally published by BBC News on September 5, 2016. By David Shukman.

Image by Phil Richards. See the licensing agreement.

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