The use of masks does not cause neuronal damage or neurodegenerative diseases, as claimed by messages on social networks based on the statements of a German doctor who practices in the United Kingdom, publications that are denied by experts.
EFE Verifica has received a query on its WhatsApp channel about an article that ensures that the use of the mask, widely used as a protection measure against COVID-19, causes neurodegenerative diseases due to the lack of oxygen they produce.
The content is based on statements by the German doctor Margareta Griesz-Brisson, who in a video maintains that the masks cause the breathed air to be re-inhaled and deprive the brain of oxygen, which causes a progressive degeneration of said organ and a loss of nerve cells that “will never regenerate again”.
Likewise, Griesz-Brisson calls its use by children and adolescents a crime, since the lack of oxygen “inhibits the development of the brain and the resulting damage cannot be repaired.”
These messages have been shared in Spanish, English, German and French.
Facts: The masks do not produce a lack of oxygen or cause neurodegenerative diseases, nor do they affect the development of children and adolescents, as confirmed by the experts consulted by EFE.
It is true that the brain needs “a constant supply of oxygen to function” and that its lack can cause damage to this organ, however, masks do not produce this effect, explains Pablo Eguía, member of the Spanish Society of Neurology.
“The fabric that the masks are made of only filters particles, it does not filter gases. And oxygen, like carbon dioxide, are gases, so they circulate through the tissue”, says Eguía.
Similarly, it highlights that no mask is “capable of creating a sealed chamber and there will always be holes (on the sides, below, above) where these gases are also released.”
For his part, Juan Antonio Sanz Salanova, spokesman for the Spanish Society of Preventive Medicine, Public Health and Hygiene (SEMPSPH), points out that in the manufacturing process the masks are “subjected to rigorous tests” to analyze their “breathability”.
In order to assess the ability to breathe with these health protection elements, the University of San Diego carried out an experiment in which it measured the oxygen saturation in a person with seven surgical masks placed at the same time. Using a pulse oximeter, the researchers found that blood oxygen levels did not change.
They do not cause neurodegenerative diseases
Both experts agree that the frequent use of this medical device cannot lead to the development of neurodegenerative diseases.
“Masks do not cause neurodegenerative diseases or dementia,” says this neurologist, who indicates that they do not stop “the cognitive development of children or adolescents”, as Griesz-Brissona states in the aforementioned video.
“That is strictly a lie”, ditch Sanz for his part, for whom the credibility of this doctor “is scarce”.
Likewise, the fact that many professionals have been using masks for many years and for long periods without any risk being verified also proves the safety of these products, Eguía points out.
“In the event that the masks had some kind of negative effect, of any kind, their effects would already be known and their use would have been prohibited,” he insists.
A doctor disseminating falsehoods
Griesz-Brisson is registered as a Practitioner and Neurologist with the UK General Medical Council. She also, according to the information available on her own website, she is specialized in the field of neurophysiology.
She is also the founder and director of the London Neurology & Pain clinic in the British capital. On the website it is indicated that the center “does not work with pharmacotherapy”.
This clinic is not registered as a company with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), a regulatory body for health services in the United Kingdom in which medical service providers operating in the country must be registered, reports the German media outlet Correctiv, a member of the International Verification Network (IFCN), to which EFE Verifica also belongs.
Griesz-Brisson has been repeatedly debunked by German fact checkers for spreading falsehoods about the coronavirus. On her Telegram channel, she shares daily messages against the restrictions due to the pandemic.
In short, the design of the masks allows you to breathe normally, so it is false that they cause neuronal damage or neurodegenerative diseases due to lack of oxygen.
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