Diesel Fumes Damage Normal Brain Function

Mar 11, 2008
Inhalation of the diesel fumes may evoke stress response in the brain and have long-term effects for the normal brain functioning, Dutch researchers reported.

Earlier, it was found that tiny particles of soot, also called nanoparticles found in traffic fumes can make their way through the nose and lodge in the brain. The new study showed that it can also damage brain activity.

Paul Borm from Zuyd University, who lead the research explained that regular exposure to air pollution especially in busy cities may seriously interfere with brain functioning and information processing.

During the experiment, 10 volunteers spent one hour in a room filled with diesel fumes, having the same level of pollution found on a busy road. After the exposure to exhaust, scientists checked their brain waves with the help of EEG (electroencephalograph). The EEG showed that after 30 minutes of diesel fumes exposure, the stress response appears, which is known to have a long-term effect on brain activity.

It is also necessary to define how the stress response of a brain will affect verbal skills and memory activity. Nanoparticles found in diesel fumes were found to have a toxic effect on respiratory function and may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The research was published in the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology.