There is a growing understanding that air contaminants have a significant influence on the progression of neurodegenerative disorders. "Alzheimer's Disease and Air Pollution: The Development and Progression of a Fatal Disease from Childhood and the Opportunities for Early Intervention," edited by Lilian Calderón-Garcidueas, MA, MD, Ph.D., brings together the most recent studies linking air pollution and neurodegeneration. It is part of the IOS Press's Advances in Alzheimer's Disease series.
Mexican researchers find positive neurites and tangles typical of Alzheimer's disease on a slide of brain cells from an 11-year-old who died in a car accident. "It gave me an overwhelming terror all of a sudden," says Dr. Calderón-Garcidueas.
"Alzheimer's disease begins in early childhood and develops throughout the first four decades for inhabitants of Mexico City exposed to quantities of air pollution exceeding US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limits. For millions of people who are exposed to contaminated settings daily, the idea of a protracted asymptomatic time before clinical cognitive impairment does not apply."
A Book About Air Pollution and Alzheimer's
More than 40 chapters organized into six sections present new research findings and overviews on the impact of pollutants on the brain. Discussions on how neuroinflammation, traffic, air pollution, and cigarette smoke harm the brain and why education is important when considering the effect of pollutants.
More than 40 scientific studies establish a strong link between dementia and particulates and ozone to papers describing pollution properties.
Pollution in Urban Settings
The book starts with a detailed analysis of nanoparticle origins and production in traffic-influenced urban settings. Nanoparticles, which are particles with a diameter of less than 100 nanometers, have been detected in significant quantities in the ambient air of intensively frequented metropolitan areas. Particulate matter pollution has been linked to a number of illnesses, including Alzheimer's and other neurological conditions.
Particulate matter is released by cars that run on gasoline, diesel, ethanol, or gaseous fuels. It is made up of both wheel brakes and gas-powered emissions. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, such as focusing on a certain vehicle or engine.
Traffic pollution, such as smoking or high blood pressure, is widespread and difficult to avoid. The authors point out the huge potential for health benefits if road pollution is minimized. While the specific processes are unknown, a growing body of data suggests that increased exposure to traffic-related air pollution is linked to various neurodegenerative disorders.
Exposure to Emission
Another research found that exposure to MVE (mixed vehicle emissions) enhanced the expression of markers linked to Alzheimer's disease in the central nervous system. For 50 days, young and old mice were given either MVE or filtered air six hours a day, seven days a week.
Oxidative stress and the expression of A and other Alzheimer's disease indicators were shown to increase with age. The findings emphasize the need to identify contaminants that cause Alzheimer's so regulatory action may be taken, and mechanistic pathways can be specified for preventative and therapeutic targeting.
A portion of the book focuses on detecting Alzheimer's disease in children and young people exposed to air pollution. Research shows that this sort of setting poses considerable hazards for developing Alzheimer's disease, even at a young age.
The Montreal Cognitive Assessment was used to evaluate 517 young individuals of Metropolitan Mexico City and other Mexican cities with particulate matter concentrations higher than EPA limits for cognitive impairment (MoCA). Subjects with a score of 26 or above are unlikely to fulfill clinical criteria for moderate cognitive impairment (MCI). A score of less than 25 suggests that MCI is likely.
Fifty-five percent of these ostensibly healthy young people scored in the MCI and dementia MoCA range. To aid early detection and prevention of Alzheimer's disease in high-risk young populations, it is recommended that significant neurotoxicants are identified, and reduced and cognitive function is monitored.
Amidst the Pandemic
Air pollution and mental illnesses, neurotoxicity, and the potential relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and neurodegenerative worsening are largely unknown. Individual responses to air pollution are influenced by the pollutant mixture's interaction with biological characteristics such as age, sex, genetic background, and other variables such as cigarette smoke exposure.
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