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11 died in Ludhiana Gas Leak case, Here we explain why neurotoxic substances are so deadly

At least 11 people died in a gas leak in Punjab’s Ludhiana on Sunday. While the authorities carry out rescue operations and the cause of the tragedy is under investigation, preliminary reports indicate death due to neurotoxicity.

“The nature of the gas was neurotoxic,” said Dr Hatinder Kaur, civil surgeon of Ludhiana. “According to the medical examination so far, the deaths were not caused by suffocation, but by the harmful effect of the gas on the nervous system of the victims.”

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What is neurotoxicity?

Neurotoxicity occurs when exposure to natural or man-made toxic substances (neurotoxic substances) alters the normal activity of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

Nerve cells, or neurons, communicate with each other through a series of electrical and chemical signals and are at greatest risk of damage from neurotoxins because of their high metabolic rate.

Neurotoxicants can damage nerve cell function by altering the structure of the cell membrane that controls the passage of ions in and out of the neuron. As a result, the electrical activity of the neuron can change.

In addition, neurotoxins can prevent the release of neurotransmitters or their uptake by other neurons, thereby preventing their production or release. Neurotransmitters are responsible for signal transmission between neurons.

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