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.
“Magnetite in the brain is not something you want to have because it is particularly toxic there.”
—Professor Barbara Maher,
Lancaster UniversityThis latest study “suggests that most magnetite found in the human brain, a magnetic iron oxide compound, comes from industrial air pollution. And because unusually high concentrations of magnetite are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, the findings raise the specter of an alarming new environmental risk factor for this and other neurodegenerative diseases,” writes Science.