A new study conducted by a team of international researchers raises concerns over the evolving and relentless Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology observed in young people living in Metropolitan Mexico City (MMC). The findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Children growing up in Metropolitan Mexico City have lifetime exposures to concentrations of air pollutants above the current U.S. standards, including for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5).

Metropolitan Mexico City is an example of extreme urban growth and serious environmental pollution. Millions of children are involuntarily exposed to harmful concentrations of PM 2.5 every day of their lives since conception.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 507 samples of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from children, teens and young adults living in Metropolitan Mexico City as well as from control cities with low levels of air pollutants. The team looked for a type of tau antibody (Non-P-Tau) as a potential biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease and axonal damage, as well as other biomarkers.

Non-P-Tau increased significantly faster with age among the Mexico City children versus controls. Non-P-Tau is potentially an early biomarker of axonal damage and Alzheimer’s axonal pathology in highly exposed young populations.

According to the researchers, air pollution is a serious public health issue and exposures to concentrations of air pollutants at or above the current standards have been linked to neuroinflammation and high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

In the United States alone, 200 million people live in areas where pollutants such as ozone and fine particulate matter exceed the standards. Previous research has shown that exposure to air pollution is linked to diminished cognitive development, increased behavioral problems, and even structural differences in the brains of children.

The study was conducted by an international team of researchers from the Universities of Montana, Valle de México, Boise State (Idaho), Universidad Veracruzana (Mexico), Instituto Nacional de Pediatría (Mexico), Paul-Flechsig-Institute for Brain Research (Germany) and analytical technology company Analytik Jena (Germany).

The research team stated efforts should be made to identify and mitigate environmental factors influencing the development of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the neuroprotection of children and young adults should be a public health priority, they said, and all efforts should be made to halt the development of Alzheimer’s disease in the first two decades of life.

Source: IOS Press