Asked • 04/24/19

How does toluene inhalation damage the brain?

We just had a discussion about toluene abuse. It is known, that people inhaling toluene for a long time have significant brain damage, including decreased intelligence.I found that toluene is a lipid solvent, and that it can damage the myelin. However, myelin is only present in the white matter, but intelligence is related to the grey matter which does not contain myelin.Is there any indirect damage, or did we miss some important point in this case? Second, how does toluene get to the brain? Is it able to infiltrate from the nose through the mucous membrane, or is it carried in the blood? I am just curious.

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