In the tell-us-something-we-don't-know department, USC researchers today declared that freeway air might just be bad for your brain.

Unfortunately, according to the study, even short-term exposure had a bad effect on little mice brains. Some even came down with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease.

According to a USC statement on the research:

The mind-numbing toxin is not an exhaust gas, but a mix of tiny particles from burning of fossil fuel and weathering of car parts and pavement, according to the study to be published Thursday, April 7 in the leading journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

What's really cool about this study is that the researchers created a freeway-like environment within a lab (complete with homeless encampments?).

“Significant damage” to mice neurons was observed along with premature aging and other bad stuff.

Welcome to L.A.

Senior author Caleb Finch says of the freeway particles at-hand:

You can't see them, but they are inhaled and have an effect on brain neurons that raises the possibility of long-term brain health consequences of freeway air.


See our story, “Black Lung Lofts,” about how L.A. City Hall doesn't seem to care about health-hazardous development near freeways — here.

LA Weekly