Diesel exhaust linked to magnetic particles in our brains and Alzheimer’s Disease

Photo: From the Smithsonian article linked below, “Diesel fumes, like the ones emitted by trains, vehicles and industrial operations, are thought to be to blame for magnetite in the human brain. (Stuart Wainstock (Flickr/Creative Commons))”

Last week’s blockbuster bad news about diesel exhaust is research showing that large amounts of magnetite – a dangerous component of diesel exhaust (and other sources) associated with Alzheimer’s Disease  – are getting into human brains.


Photo by researcher Barbara Maher shows natural magnetite in brain on left, magnetites in the air in the middle, and magnetite pollution particles in the brain on the right. (Source, Huffington Post)

“The problem with magnetite is that it’s toxic. It causes oxidative stress, disrupting normal cellular function and contributing to the creation of destructive free radicals—unstable molecules that can damage other important molecules. Previous work has also shown a correlation between high amounts of brain magnetite and Alzheimer’s disease, and recent studies suggest it increases the toxicity of the disease’s hallmark β amyloid plaques, clumps of protein that can interfere with cell signaling. Nothing definitively links magnetite to Alzheimer’s, but the kinds of cellular damage it can cause are consistent with what’s seen in the disease.” (Science Magazine)

Learn more about this new research at:

Industrial air pollution leaves magnetic waste in the brain, Science Magazine

Your Brain Is Full of Magnetic Minerals, and You Might Not Like the Reason Why, Smithsonian Magazine

Air Pollution Leaves Significant Traces Of Magnetic Metals In Your Brain, Huffington Post

A large number of other brain-related diseases and disorders have been linked to toxins in diesel exhaust– including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, autism and autism spectrum disorder, brain cancer. impulsivity and emotional problems. mental illness, reduced intelligence, Parkinson’s diseases, cognitive decline, reduction in brain volume, dementia. hyperactivity, strokes, and increased risk of suicide.

To learn more about the relationship between air pollution and Alzheimer’s Disease, check out the very informative article, Does Air Pollution Cause Dementia?