Thursday, April 07, 2011

Freeway air bad for the brain

Study finds brain damage typical of aging and memory loss after short-term exposure to vehicle pollution

A new study reveals that after short-term exposure to vehicle pollution, mice showed significant brain damage — including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

The mind-numbing pollution is not an exhaust gas, but a mix of tiny particles from burning of fossil fuel and weathering of car parts and pavement, according to the study to be published today in the leading journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Many studies have drawn a link between vehicle pollution and health problems. This is the first to explore the physical effect of freeway pollution on brain cells.

The authors found a way to recreate air laden with freeway particulate matter inside the laboratory. Whether in a test tube or in live mice, brain cells showed similar responses:
  • Neurons involved in learning and memory showed significant damage,
  • The brain showed signs of inflammation associated with premature aging and Alzheimer's disease,
  • Neurons from developing mice did not grow as well.
Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each.

AllerAir recommends to anyone living in close proximity to highways to consider using an air purifier like an Air Medic, with a medical-grade HEPA filter for fine particles and a deep-bed activated carbon filter for chemicals and odors.

For more information on AllerAir air cleaners, connect with us:

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