Smog May Be Harming Your Brain

 – April 23, 2015  –– 

Long-term exposure to tiny particles of air pollution may be linked to subtle changes in the brain that could lead to thinking and memory problems, a new study suggests. These fine particles, smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (much smaller than a pinhead), are released by burning wood or coal, car exhaust and other sources. Long-term exposure may shrink the brain and increase the risk of silent strokes, the researchers suggested. Sam Gandy, MD, director of the Center for Cognitive Health at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, said, "There have been several studies like this one that link air pollutants to chronic inflammatory diseases, such as diabetes and lung disease as well as to brain disease." He pointed out that "in Mexico City, where the air pollution is at record levels, brain inflammation, including brain damage linked to Alzheimer's, has been found even in teenagers."

- Dr. Samuel Gandy, Professor, Neurology, Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Associate Director, Mount Sinai Alzheimer's Disease Research Center

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