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    Microplastics in Our Veins: Unveiling the Cardiovascular Risks

      TL;DR: A significant study reveals the presence of microplastics in the arterial plaques of patients, suggesting a potential link to increased cardiovascular risks. Nearly 60% of participants had detectable levels of plastics like polyethylene and PVC in their plaques, correlating with a higher incidence of stroke, heart attacks, and death. This research highlights the urgent need to understand and mitigate our exposure to microplastics and further investigate their impact on human health.

    Ubiquitous Presence in the Human Body

    Microplastics, the minuscule fragments of plastic that pervade our environment, have been discovered in various human organs, including the placenta. This widespread infiltration into our bodies has raised alarms over potential health risks. Researchers are delving into the impacts of microplastics through organ replicas and animal models, but real-world human exposure remains underexplored.

    Innovative Study Reveals Startling Findings

    A pioneering study in Italy has brought to light the presence of microplastics within the arterial plaques of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy, a procedure to remove fatty deposits that clog arteries and elevate stroke risk. Led by Raffaele Marfella and his team at the University of Campania, the study tracked 257 patients, revealing that nearly 60% of them had detectable levels of polyethylene, and 12% had polyvinyl chloride (PVC) within the removed plaques.

    Implications for Cardiovascular Health

    Microplastics have been previously detected in the human bloodstream, prompting concerns about cardiovascular health. Studies indicate that microplastics can induce inflammation, oxidative stress, and even heart dysfunction in lab animals. Observational studies also suggest a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases in individuals exposed to plastics-related pollution. In Marfella's study, patients with microplastics in their plaques had a significantly higher risk of stroke, heart attack, or death within 34 months compared to those without microplastics.

    Techniques and Observations

    The researchers employed pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry and stable isotopes analysis to detect and confirm the presence of microplastics. Observations under the microscope revealed jagged-edged plastic fragments within immune cells and fatty plaques, alongside elevated inflammatory markers in affected patients. 

    A Call for Further Research

    While this observational study establishes a link between microplastics and cardiovascular risks, it does not prove causation and did not account for other potential risk factors. The discovery of microplastics in arterial plaques, however, opens a new avenue of investigation into the health implications of our growing exposure to plastics. As plastic production surges and cardiovascular disease trends vary globally, understanding this connection becomes imperative.

    The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, highlight the need for comprehensive strategies to mitigate exposure to microplastics and deeper research into their health impacts.

    Image Credit: Midjourney

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    Babies are being born with toxicity. There's no way around it anymore. Even if we get rid of all the plastics, the damage is done. Those who invented plastics didn't foresee the side effects decades later. Cleaning the oceans & land will remove the bigger pieces but microplastics are embedded in the Earth now. Since they are liken to nanoparticles, dust, we breathe it in.

    It's no wonder we just keep getting sicker & sicker!

    We already know it's in the Earth & in our bodies. We have to find Natural ways to help our bodies adjust. But Big Pharma will just keep pushing meds.

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