But after examining the brainstems of 186 young Mexico City residents aged between 11 months and 27 years of age, researchers, including Professor Barbara Maher from Lancaster University, found markers not only of Alzheimer’s disease, but also of Parkinson’s and of motor neurone disease (MND) too. These markers of disease were coupled with the presence of tiny, distinctive nanoparticles within the brainstem – their appearance and composition indicating they were likely to come from vehicle pollution.

This has led researchers to conclude that air pollution of this nature – whether inhaled or swallowed – puts people at risk of potential neurological harm. The brainstem is the posterior part of the brain which regulates the central nervous system, controls heart and breathing rates, and how we perceive the position and movement of our body, including, for example, our sense of balance.



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