It is well known that air pollution from cars and trucks on Southern California freeways -- a combination of soot, pavement dust and other toxic substances -- can cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer and premature death.
Now, exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, according to a USC study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
In a statement, senior author Caleb Finch, an expert on the effects of inflammation and holder of USC's ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging, said “You can’t see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air.”
The study relied on a unique technology developed at USC for collecting particulates in a liquid suspension and recreating air laden with freeway particulate matter in the laboratory, which enabled scientists to conduct controlled experiments on cultured brain cells and live animals.
Exposure lasted a total of 150 hours, spread over 10 weeks, in three sessions per week lasting five hours each. ...
via Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice | Greenspace | Los Angeles Times.