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Title: Neurological disorders vis-à-vis climate change
Authors: Zammit, Christian
Torzhenskaya, Natalia
Ozarkar, Pranali Devendra
Calleja-Agius, Jean
Keywords: Global warming
Air -- Pollution
Cerebrovascular disease
Nervous system -- Degeneration
Oxidative stress
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
Citation: Zammit, C., Torzhenskaya, N., Ozarkar, P. D., & Calleja-Agius, J. (2020). Neurological disorders vis-à-vis climate change. Early Human Development, 105217.
Abstract: Climate change is one of the biggest challenges humanity is facing in the 21st century. Two recognized sequelae of climate change are global warming and air pollution. The gradual increase in ambient temperature, coupled with elevated pollution levels have a devastating effect on our health, potentially contributing to the increased rate and severity of numerous neurological disorders. The main aim of this review paper is to shed some light on the association between the phenomena of global warming and air pollution, and two of the most common and debilitating neurological conditions: stroke and neurodegenerative disorders. Extreme ambient temperatures induce neurological impairment and increase stroke incidence and mortality. Global warming does not participate in the etiology of neurodegenerative disorders, but it exacerbates symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's Disease (PD). A very close link exists between accumulated levels of air pollutants (principally particulate matter), and the incidence of ischemic rather than hemorrhagic strokes. People exposed to air pollutants have a higher risk of developing dementia and AD, but not PD. Oxidative stress, changes in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular haemodynamics, excitotoxicity, microglial activation, and cellular apoptosis, all play a central role in the overlap of the effect of climate change on neurological disorders. The complex interactions between global warming and air pollution, and their intricate effect on the nervous system, imply that future policies aimed to mitigate climate change must address these two challenges in unison.
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