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Coronavirus: "About 15 percent of Covid-19 deaths are due to air pollution"

2020-10-27T00:03:04.398Z

Dementia, Parkinson's, stroke - and now also the coronavirus: Here the doctor Thomas Münzel explains how tiny particles from the environment endanger health.



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Photo: Virojt Changyencham / Getty Images

SPIEGEL:

In previous studies, you and researchers had shown that fine dust can lead to diseases of the respiratory tract and the cardiovascular system.

Most recently, you also looked at whether polluted air also damages the brain.

What is the result?

Münzel:

There is more and more evidence that dementia, Parkinson's, strokes, epilepsy and migraines have something to do with exposure to particulate matter.

Studies in Canada, the UK, Taiwan and the US have shown that people who live in areas with higher levels of air pollution are three to five times more likely to develop dementia than people elsewhere.

In the vicinity of Mexico City, where there are very high concentrations of fine dust in the air, the first deposits in the brain that resemble Alzheimer's plaques have even been found in children.

SPIEGEL:

Those are correlations.

Can you also prove that tiny particles cause this disease?

Münzel:

That could be proven well in animal models.

The smallest particles of pollution get into the brain, for example, where they fuel the formation of so-called free radicals ...

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Source: spiegel

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