Tag Archives: You are what you eat

What you breathe can get into your brain

It used to be ‘you are what you eat’, now it’s you are what you breathe according to a paper from the world capital of air pollution — China — Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. vol. 118 e2117083119 ’22.par

They found small particles in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 8/25 people.  What is small?  Well, a hydrogen atom is 1 Angstrom in diameter, E. Coli is a cylinder 10,000 Angstroms in diameter and 20,000 Angstroms long and a red blood cell is 80,000 Angstroms. One particle they show is 500 Angstroms in diameter, a group of 3 was 2,500 Angstroms in diameter.

The paper reviews all sorts of theories of how particles might get into the brain.  One is through the nose, since nerve fibers go outside the skull to the nasal mucosa.  Others include the gut (your are what you eat after all).

So they experimented on mice having them breathe air containing particles 100 – 300 Angstroms made of titanium dioxide (TiO2) which are found in the air we breathe.  To make sure the nose wasn’t involved, they administered the particles into the trachea.  They were able to show the particles got  into the blood and then into the brain across the blood brain barrier, damaging it in the process.  Convincing electron micrographs of the brain are shown.    Whether such particles are harmful is another matter.  Just because they’re there doesn’t mean they’re causing trouble.  We have nearly 10 times as many bacteria on (and in) us as we have cells and we’re still here — https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-human-microbiome-project-defines-normal-bacterial-makeup-body

Finding the particles in human CSF is convincing evidence that they’re in the brain, but (at present) we have no electron micrographs of human brains showing that the particles are present in brain tissue itself.