Researchers Link Common Air Pollutant, Magnetite, to Alzheimer’s disease Onset

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A recent study suggests that magnetite, a common air pollutant, could be linked to Alzheimer’s disease development. Researchers in Australia have found evidence indicating the role of magnetic materials in the air we breathe in contributing to health issues, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

Magnetite could be a factor in onset of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, a degenerative ailment resulting in reduced quality of life, memory impairment, and cognitive deterioration impacts millions globally and stands as a significant contributor to mortality in older individuals. According to a study conducted by Associate Professors Cindy Gunawan and Kristine McGrath from the University of Technology Sydney, magnetite is identified as a magnetic form of iron oxide.

Researchers have discovered elevated levels of magnetite concentrations within the brains of individuals afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease. These particles stem from various origins, including emissions from vehicular exhaust, coal-fired stations, and the attrition of brake pads and engines. The outcomes of the study indicate that upon inhalation, these minute particles can circumvent the body’s protective mechanisms and directly interfere with brain function, possibly precipitating the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

Associate Professor Gunawan of the Australian Institute for Microbiology and Infection (AIMI) explained that less than 1% of Alzheimer’s cases are genetically passed down, indicating that environmental factors and lifestyle choices may significantly contribute to the onset of the illness. This research marks the inaugural investigation into the potential correlation between the existence of magnetite particles within the brain and the manifestation of Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Exposure to magnetite causes neuronal cell loss

Researchers conducted experiments on mice and human neuronal cells in the lab, exposing them to iron particles, magnetite, and diesel hydrocarbons for four months. They found that exposure to magnetite caused significant Alzheimer’s disease symptoms, such as neuronal cell loss in key brain regions, heightened amyloid plaque formation, and behavioral changes consistent with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study highlights that magnetite exposure triggers immune responses, inflammation, and oxidative stress, leading to cell damage and potentially contributing to dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Even healthy mice showed adverse effects from magnetite exposure, implying a universal risk regardless of genetic predisposition.

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