The emergence in the human brain of a mineral called magnetite that can cause Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, scientists associated with unfavorable environmental conditions. That this substance may be the brain, has been known for a quarter of a century, but only now the team were able to find evidence that this occurs primarily because of air pollution.
photo: Gennady Cherkasov
American and Mexican experts under the leadership of Barbara Maher from Lancaster University examined samples of brain tissue taken from the 37 dead people, and found particles of magnetite with a diameter of from 18 to 150 nanometers, the shape of which suggests that they formed in it a natural way — they were nanospheres, and not tetrahedrons or octahedrons. The scientists also found in the brain substance, are not formed in it in a natural way — particles of platinum, Nickel and cobalt, also possessing spherical shape. All this has forced researchers to assume that the magnetite has entered the body of people from the outside. Further study of the magnetite particles also showed that they, in all probability, formed at extremely high temperatures.
Magnetite, in the past called magnetic ore — mineral black colour from the class of oxides with magnetic properties. The magnetite toxic: getting into the human brain it can damage its cells, which the researchers believe, leads to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases of this kind. According to the researchers, “industrial” magnetite for the brain more dangerous than one that can actually occur in it naturally.
Scientists expect that their findings will be taken into account, in particular, in drafting laws, regulations on industrial emissions.