Medical Effects: Air Pollution and the Brain


Old Stove in a Maine Cabin circa 1970.  Notice how nice it is to nap and relax around a fire? Carbon monoxide and other chemicals provide a sedative. Oh, the new stoves are air-tight. The gases come right back inside the house, with indoor readings at 70% of outdoor measurements.

Brain Inflammation and Alzheimer's-Like Pathology in Individuals Exposed to Severe Air Pollution

Source: Toxicologic Pathology, Volume 32, Number 6, November-December 2004, pp. 650-658(9) Abstract    Full Article PDF (3,193.4kb)

"These findings suggest that exposure to severe air pollution is associated with brain inflammation and Abeta42 accumulation, two causes of neuronal dysfunction that precede the appearance of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease."

Second Hand Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Dementia

"This is one of the first studies to look at the risk of dementia in people who never smoked, but were exposed to secondhand smoke," Haight said. "These results show that secondhand smoke is associated with increased risk of dementia, even in people without known risk factors for dementia related to diagnosed cardiovascular disease."


Tiny inhaled motes can travel beyond the lungs; new research suggests these particles may ravage the brain.  Mexico City children surveyed showed persistent, growing brain lesions.  They also exhibit cognitive impairments in memory, problem solving and judgment and deficiencies in their sense of smell compared with age-matched children from a cleaner city 120 kilometers away.

Allergic and cardiovascular responses to concentrated ambient particle exposure (CAP).

(PDF-296KB) 2004 Conference slide show by Michael T. Kleinman, Univ. of CA, Irving 

"The finding that significant inflammatory responses are observed in brain tissues two weeks after the CAPs exposures were completed are possibly of relevance to the role of environmental agents in neurologic diseases such as Parkinson's."

Toxic Brain Fog

Excerpts From 'An Epidemic in Disguise--Toxic Encephalopathy or "Brain Fog" from TOTAL WELLNESS Newsletter By Sherry Rogers, M.D. 1996 with reference to: (Baker EL, A Review of Recent Research on Health Effects of Human Occupational Exposure to Organic Solvents. A Critical Review, Journal of Occupational Medicine 36:10 1079-1092 Oct. 1994)

"For these chemicals can diffuse through the nose and lung membranes right into the blood stream and brain rather rapidly. And once there, if the person is low in any vitamins or minerals in the pathways to rapidly detoxify the chemical, the the undetoxified amount back up and starts to do its damage, producing these bizarre symptoms."

Cognative Function

A new study suggests that long-term exposure can cause damage to brain structures and impair cognitive function in middle-aged and older adults.


Fine particulate air pollution linked with increased autism risk

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the first two years of the child's life may be associated with an increased risk of a child developing autism spectrum disorder

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