Home | About | Donate

Linking Alzheimer's to Pollution, Study Finds 'Abundant' Toxic Nanoparticles in Human Brains


Linking Alzheimer's to Pollution, Study Finds 'Abundant' Toxic Nanoparticles in Human Brains

Nika Knight, staff writer

Toxic magnetic nanoparticles from air pollution have been discovered in "abundant" quantities in human brains, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is particularly alarming because other research recently raised the strong possibility of a link between such particles and Alzheimer's disease.


The industry's answer to the problem will be to look for a medicine to treat this instead of stopping the pollution at the source.


The late Ronald Reagan was against protecting the environment & had Alzheimer's years before he croaked. He must have thought that what happens to someone else would not happen to him.


This is unbelievable....my mother has Alzheimer's...my grandfather had it....I do believe it is generally genetically inherited disease... HOWEVER, ...I am so very glad these studies are being done...because apparently...we have another cause...it seems, now....also...
My mother and grandfather...were born in the country and lived there all there lives...however, my grandfather was a farmer...my mother grew up on the farm...
my mother also, was in a car once, 1956?... which was left running...it was stuck in the snow ....my mother waited...and back then, an older car...there were too many fumes... she got very sick....
This news is big...it's almost as big as Climate change itself... I mean...just think of the ramifications...


This is truly scary shit. My mother-in-law passed away in April from Alzheimers. It was a slow torturous death from an insidious disease. The life sustaining quality of our air, water, and earth are becoming toxic and our gov't continues to debate the neccessity of the EPA and the existence of climate change.


Alzheimer's is all over both sides of my ancestry. Diseases thought to be inherited can also be due to common culture, common habits, common eating styles, and common favorite poisons. Alzheimer's also is bed partners with stroke, they coincide and produce related symptoms . Finding what they did in the brain is huge. Wouldn't it be nice to have a doctor for a president, one who placed a damaged environment as the main threat to society and dismissed options for war.


My great grandmother died of Alzheimer's in South Florida in 1962, after living there for 44 years, where there were no factories and few people. This disease will be a puzzle for a while, but I still don't want nanoparticles in my brain. They cause problems with your body's electrical system.


I am glad this is finally coming to light. I suspect that heavy metal contamination of our bodies is a top reason for chronic illness. I notice though that the article does not mention two extremely common metals that I believe will turn out to be culprits in Alzheimer's as well as ADHD and other "psychiatric" illness, namely aluminum and mercury. Hopefully further studies will include Al and Hg.


So Reagan poisoned his own brain by fighting the EPA and clean air acts!

The same is true of those who advocate using tactical nukes against our enemies. The fallout goes everywhere. Some is going to get them and their children. Radiation and industrial pollution knows no boundaries. It's even found in the snow in Antarctica and is causing a black soot to form on top of glaciers that negated the previous abledo reflection that reflected heat energy back into space.


Florida produces much of our fruits that are shipped across the country. Farmers and big agr having been using chemicals all used on crops. Rachel Carson worked tirelessly to rid our nation of DDT which was outlawed in late 50's or early 60's. Your great grandmother was exposed more than likely to DDT in Florida.


At this early stage of research, nanoparticles of magnetite seems a more "promising" route than aluminum turned out to be.

Correlation between magnetite in the brain and Alzheimer's disease, and now evidence that magnetite in the brain is largely there from industrial air pollution sources.

"Correlation is not causation," but is good ground for further research.


From the article:

'...The Guardian reports on Maher's further findings:

' "Many of the magnetite particles we have found in the brain are very distinctive," said Maher. "They are very rounded nanospheres, because they were formed as molten droplets of material from combustion sources, such as car exhausts, industrial processes and power stations, anywhere you are burning fuel."...'

Missing from the article is the fact that magnetite occurs naturally in the human brain. It is pure conjecture to claim that the source of the spherical magnetite particles is combustion. Why not a change-of-shape of the naturally-occurring particles?


Yes, likely, as it is the way most medical "research" and policy is oriented. Same as with cancer, which we know can be triggered by many environmental toxins; cardiovascular and other chronic diseases, which are sapping this nation's resources. As a consequence, I've long held that there won't be enough $$ available in the system, regardless of how it is paid (single payer included), because the costs associated with such environmental/behavioral chronic diseases are escalating beyond our collective ability to pay.


It's quite obvious from the article that the amounts of magnetite invvolved are not "natural" (as, for example, might be found in pre-industrial societies).

What are you postulating there? And upon what basis are you hypothesizing that "naturally occurring" particles would change shape to mimic the results of combustion?


Though the conventional thought now is that aluminum is not likely the cause, it is way to soon to dismiss it out of hand. See, e.g.: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21157018

As that article notes, the dismissal was largely based on the known fact that normally, the brain is protected by the blood-brain barrier from any bio-available AL. What none of the available research discusses, including the above study, is another piece of the puzzle which I inadvertently discovered years ago. I don't recall the researchers' name(s), but they demonstrated that in the presence of fluoride, AL is indeed allowed to bypass the blood-braiin barrier.
Another issue I have learned (but is not necessarily addressed in any research on AL/ Alzheimers) is that different people handle / excrete various metals very differently. Some are poor excretors, due to hormonal or other metabolic-cycle differences...many genetically determined.
Furthermore, genetics and likely, many epigenetic triggers, also play a huge role in whether or not a person gets Alzheimers. The possibility is that the triggers are several.
In my view,


If such pollutants are indeed found to be a / one of the epigenetic trigger(s) of Alzheimers, it would be another case of poetic justice. We have brains that have at least some basic capability of understanding that our very lives are interdependent with the environment; yet we willingly dump pollutants into the very air we breathe, further impairing those brains. Brilliant! Black comedy par excellence!


If all the health and environmental costs were factored in, pollution would probably come to a screeching halt.


Quite likely so. Unfortunately, as you know and as with many socio-technical-commerical choices, impacts / costs are externalized - to the public commons (including the treasury). And there is not even a minimal inclusion of such currently externalized costs in product pricing, much less a full accounting. Even if there existed the political will (unobstructed by the $$ of private interests), such full-impact-cost accounting would be at best an ideal; because the very reason such things can be externalized is because complex systems do not lend themselves well to reductionist thinking....there's always more to consider than we know at the time.

But I would propose - that the pricing of all market commodities (and behaviors, for that matter) should reflect the fullest possible inclusion of its associated environmental / public health impacts and those costs - as a principle of any "new" constitution or progressive platform.


Or we could let the people decide with a continuous series of voter initiatives and referendums instead of letting Big Money decide via their political bribes. The Swiss have done successfully it for 300 years without an Internet.

Changing politicians around in representative government is like moving the furniture around on the Titanic.


RogerH wrote:

'It's quite obvious from the article that the amounts of magnetite invvolved are not "natural" (as, for example, might be found in pre-industrial societies)....'

I didn't infer that; I got that the ratio of "jagged" to spherical magnetite was quite high.

'...What are you postulating there? And upon what basis are you hypothesizing that "naturally occurring" particles would change shape to mimic the results of combustion?

I asked a question; I didn't hypothesize anything. What makes you (or Dr. Maher) think that inhaled magnetite would be spherical in shape?

From the article:

'Furthermore, said Maher: "We also observed other metal-bearing particles in the brain, such as platinum, cobalt and nickel. Things like platinum are very unlikely to come from a source within the brain. It is a bit of an indicator of a [vehicle] catalytic converter source."'

Of course, Pt, Ni, and Co are not "metal-bearing particles". The article does not give any reason for the assumption that the source of inhaled magnetite particles would be fuel combustion.