How Wildfire Smoke Can Alter Brain Health and Trigger Inflammation

By University of New Mexico
Neuroscience News
August 28, 2023
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States

Researchers discovered that wildfire smoke can trigger long-lasting inflammation in the brain. Their study shows that this inflammation specifically targets the hippocampus, a brain area crucial for learning and memory. Using rodents exposed to wood smoke, the scientists identified changes in neurotransmitters and signaling molecules in the brain that lasted for over a month. The findings highlight an urgent concern for populations regularly exposed to wildfire smoke, including older adults and those with respiratory conditions. A new paper published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation gives new cause for alarm, finding that wildfire smoke can trigger inflammation in the brain that persists for a month or more. Worse, the inflammatory process affects the hippocampus – the brain region associated with learning and memory – altering neurotransmitters and signaling molecules.

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