April 10, 2024 at 9:23 am

Researchers Speculate That Airborne Particles Of Magnetite, Iron, And Diesel Hydrocarbons Could Cause Alzheimer’s Disease

by Trisha Leigh

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Alzheimer’s Disease affects thousands of families every year, and the devastating effect it has on everyone it touches is one of the reasons so many are keen to see it solved.

Its foundation is one of the more well-funded medical research entities out there, which means updates show up relatively often.

This one posits that a particle floating around in the air could cause the disease to take hold.

Australia’s University of Technology in Sydney put out a press release detailing new research into a possible link between Alzheimer’s and magnetite, a common pollutant found in vehicle exhaust.

Although there is a genetic component to Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers have found the only a small percentage of people get it that way – and where the rest of patients get it has long been a hotly debated mystery.

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That statistic is what sparked this study, according to associate professor Cindy Gunawan.

“Fewer than one percent of Alzheimer’s cases are inherited, so it’s likely that the environment and lifestyle play a key role in the development of the disease.”

People living in high-pollution areas are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s, and magnetite is often found in significant amounts in the brains of people suffering from the disease. Those links had the team exploring a possible connection, looking specifically at whether or not air pollution had a direct effect on the brains of mice and human neuron cells.

The mice that were exposed to nanoparticles of magnetite, iron, and diesel hydrocarbons over four months showed increased formations of amyloid brain plaques associated with the disease.

They also noted behavioral changes like short-term memory loss and disorientation, both common symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Both the mice and the human neuron cells also showed immune responses like inflammation and oxidative stress when exposed to the magnetite. These are thought to contribute to dementia.

Source: Shutterstock

This research could be important, because even if people exposed to pollution don’t develop full-blown Alzheimer’s, they could still feel an impact to their overall cognitive functioning.

One more thing to think about when you’re deciding where to put down roots. You might want to think about the air you’ll be breathing.

Good luck.

If you thought that was interesting, you might like to read a story that reveals Earth’s priciest precious metal isn’t gold or platinum and costs over $10,000 an ounce!