Air Pollution as a Risk Factor for Central Nervous System Diseases and Disorders

Saturday, 15 February 2014: 1:30 PM-4:30 PM
Crystal Ballroom A (Hyatt Regency Chicago)
Increasing evidence suggests that adverse consequences of air pollution, a global environmental health concern, are not specific to the cardiovascular system and can target the brain to produce many of the same inflammatory and other adverse consequences documented in the lung. Such findings have been described in experimental models for exposures, such as the metal constituents of ultrafine particulate matter of air pollution for diesel exhaust and for ozone. Both direct effects via constituents of air contaminants translocated to the brain and indirect effects via induction of systemic acute phase responses have to be considered. In addition, epidemiological studies have now begun to report associations of traffic- and combustion-related air pollutants with cognitive deficits in children, including autism. While our understanding of the extent of such impacts is still quite limited, these emerging highly provocative findings could suggest that air pollution has been a greatly underappreciated risk factor for neurodevelopmental and/or neurodegenerative diseases. The symposium will stimulate discussion, especially in the context of future research needs, about this rapidly emerging area of neurotoxicology, which requires a multidisciplinary approach involving expertise in the toxicology of the central nervous system, air pollution, mixtures, and nanoparticles in order to conduct appropriate risk assessment.
Deborah A. Cory-Slechta, University of Rochester
Michelle L. Block, Virginia Commonwealth University
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