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Medical News and Perspectives
October 6, 2004

Study Finds Carbon Monoxide Can Trigger Brain-Damaging Attack by Immune System

JAMA. 2004;292(13):1542. doi:10.1001/jama.292.13.1542

Carbon monoxide’s reputation as a stealth toxin goes beyond its odorless, colorless properties. The gas can also surreptitiously cause delayed permanent brain damage, an effect that scientists have been unable to explain.

But now they are no longer in the dark. A new study reveals that the damage arises from overactivation of immune cells that attack proteins that help insulate nerves.

The findings were published in the September 1 online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org).

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