Air pollution Affects Brain Function in Children

Jun 27, 2012

Two recent research studies from Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease carried out by Calderon-Garciduenas, L. reported links between air pollution exposure and neuroinflammation and neuropathology. Brain samples from healthy children who died in accidents in Mexico City where air pollution levels are high, were compared with brain samples from healthy children in Veracruz, an area with no air pollution. Samples were subjected to analysis for gene expression changes in oxidative stress, DNA damage signaling, inflammation and neurodegeneration pathways including presence of protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

The alternation in gene expression in air pollution exposed individuals suggested that their brains were suffering from a constant state of inflammation and oxidative stress related to their environmental exposures and were evolving different mechanisms to cope with the challenge imposed by environment. The central nervous damage and its impact upon the developing brain revealed in the study could potentially lead to Alzheimer’s disease and mood disorders.

These studies are striking in that they show air pollution not only affects lung development and function, but can also enter the brain and interfere with brain function. It’s critical that we eliminate air pollution and protect our children from brain damage and neurological disorders.

To see abstract for the research: click here