DURHAM, N.C. – Nanoplastics interact with a particular protein that is naturally found in the brain, creating changes linked to Parkinson’s disease and some types of dementia.
In a Duke-led study appearing Nov. 17 in Science Advances, the researchers report that the findings create a foundation for a new area of investigation, fueled by the timely impact of environmental factors on human biology.
“Parkinson’s disease has been called the fastest growing neurological disorder in the world,” said principal investigator, Andrew West, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology at Duke University School of Medicine . “Numerous lines of data suggest environmental factors might play a prominent role in Parkinson’s disease, but such factors have for the most part not been identified.”
Improperly disposed plastics have been shown to break into very small pieces and accumulate in water and food supplies, and were found in the blood of most adults in a recent study.