LANCASTER, U.K, (WPVI) --For the first time, scientists have found particles of industrial air pollution in the human brain.
Teams in Mexico and the United Kingdom found nano-particles of industrial metals like platinum,, nickel and cobalt in the brains of people who lived near factories or power plants.
One metal they detected, magnetite, is also found in high levels in people with Alzheimer's disease.
Magnetite can form naturally, and for years, doctors assumed it got there organically.
However, the new findings show that while naturally-occurring particle have multi-sided shapes, whereas those formed by pollution are ball-shaped.
Magnetite is toxic, causing cells stress, disrupting normal function, and damaging other molecules.
But, doctors say it's too early to know if this is a factor in that disease.