Bisphenol A – a ubiquitous chemical encountered in everyday life – disrupts neurological function
October 2021 saw the biggest communications outage in history. Facebook went down. Although the disruption only lasted six hours, it caused worldwide chaos and cost Mark Zuckerberg $6 billion. Researchers have discovered that our brains experience similar network failures in response to bisphenol A. We’re exposed to this chemical every day – it’s in food packaging, shopping receipts, and medical equipment. Here, we see neurons (black) from mice exposed to bisphenol A for two months. Compared to untreated cells, the number of dendritic spines on these neurons decreased by 42%. These long thin structures allow neurons to talk to each other, and are vital for learning and memory. Mice exposed to bisphenol A suffered from anxiety and disrupted memory processing, and the scientists have uncovered how the chemical causes these changes to the brain’s network. This work explains how a ubiquitous chemical can disturb our brains, supporting efforts to regulate its use.
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