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Articles on Neurotoxins

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Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of toxic pollutants that can be harmful to both the lungs and the brain. Bloomberg Creative/ Bloomberg Creative Photos via Getty Images

Neurotoxins in the environment are damaging human brain health – and more frequent fires and floods may make the problem worse

Pollution from more frequent floods and wildfires – exacerbated by the warming climate – is threatening human health and poses particular risks to the brain.
Margot Gage Witvliet was hospitalized with COVID-19 in March. More than four months later, she has yet to recover. Courtesy of Margot Gage Witvliet

I’m a COVID-19 long-hauler and an epidemiologist – here’s how it feels when symptoms last for months

Margot Gage Witvliet went from being healthy and active to fearing she was dying almost overnight. An epidemiologist, she dug into the research to understand what’s happening to long-haulers like her.
Industrial activities like mining, fossil fuel combustion, and cement production release mercury into the environment. Shutterstock

Plants safely store toxic mercury. Bushfires and climate change bring it back into our environment

Plants can store mercury and keep it from contaminating waterways, air and soils. Unfortunately, that mercury is released when plants burn.
Motor symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremors, stiffness and slowness or loss of spontaneous movement. Lisa/Flickr

What causes Parkinson’s disease? What we know, don’t know and suspect

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most-prevalent neurodegenerative condition in Australia, with an estimated 70,000 living with the disease. But what do we know about the causes and risk factors?
South Africa needs to ensure that it is equipped to deal with bioterrorism attacks and possible laboratory outbreaks. Mariana Bazo/Reuters

Explainer: biosafety and biosecurity in South Africa

In the science world, laboratories are essential but safety precautions should be taken to prevent any incidents like the Ebola outbreak or biochemical attacks.
Pretty but deadly: researchers now understand how blue-green algae is linked to neurodegenerative diseases. Mark Sadowski

Toxic load: blue-green algae’s role in motor neuron disease

Scientists have known for some time now that exposure to blue-green algae is linked to increased incidence of several neurodegenerative diseases. But the reason for the link has been a mystery until now…
The vast majority of us will never be exposed to aluminium in high enough concentrations to do damage. ezioman/Flickr

Does aluminium cause Alzheimer’s and breast cancer?

Silvery, ductile, malleable and so very, very useful, aluminium is the most common metal in the Earth’s crust. But despite its importance (or perhaps because of it), there are fears that this metal causes…

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