Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U.S.’s Most Comprehensive Study of Air Pollution, Cardiovascular Disease

02.08.2004


Researchers at the University of Washington will direct the largest study of its kind to explore the connection between air pollution and the No. 1 cause of death in the United States: cardiovascular disease.

“We’re going to be looking at questions vital to our understanding of the health effects of air pollution and cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Joel Kaufman, principal investigator on the project and associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences in the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

“There’s a lot yet to be understood about what explains cardiovascular disease besides the known factors such as high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes. There are still many unexplained variations in who gets heart disease, and when they get it. Some of the explanation is likely to come from studying environmental factors,” Kaufman said. “We hope this study will really define the contribution of particulate air pollution to cardiovascular disease.”



The $30 million grant will be funded over 10 years by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (please see companion news release).

“We have a national strategy to dramatically improve America’s air quality,” said EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt. “An important component of this strategy is to improve our understanding of the health risks from long-term exposure to particulate pollution, particularly as it relates to coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in our country.”

This is the first major prospective cohort study designed to look at the chronic impacts of long-term exposure to air pollution on cardiovascular health. The study will look at both subclinical measures of atherosclerosis — by ultrasound of the carotid arteries and CT scan of the coronary arteries — as well as clinical cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes. Exposure to air pollution will be calculated using state-of-the-art measurements from monitors in several communities and questionnaires from subjects.

Participants will be followed for 10 years. About 8,700 people will be recruited in nine communities in California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Maryland and Minnesota. Many of the people expected to participate are already enrolled in other studies of cardiovascular health.

Prior studies that included pollution and cardiovascular disease were originally designed to study other factors. They were either not originally designed to study heart disease or not originally designed to study air pollution, Kaufman said. For example, previous studies have focused on studying the effect of air pollution on the respiratory system or on cancer, with cardiovascular effects studies as a secondary element.

But despite their shortcomings, these prior studies show enough of an effect that clearly warrants nationwide action to limit exposures and conduct further investigation, Kaufman said. The results from the new study should also form a very firm foundation for the most appropriate public health actions, including government regulation of air quality.

“You could look at those previous studies and say it’s as simple as ‘Shouldn’t we just have less pollution?’ In a sense it is really that simple — and the current scientific evidence is clear enough to take action for cleaner air. But some people have raised questions about whether the existing studies really form a strong enough scientific basis to be regulating against pollution. This study is designed to answer those questions,” Kaufman said.

The study will be based at the UW in Seattle, and will include faculty from the UW departments of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, as well as the departments of Medicine, Statistics, Geography and Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Collaborating institutions include the University of California, Los Angeles; Columbia University; Northwestern University; University of Minnesota; Johns Hopkins; Wake Forest; University of Vermont; Tufts-New England Medical Center; and the University of Michigan.

Kaufman, an attending physician in internal medicine, is also director of the UW Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program, associate professor of medicine, and an adjunct associate professor of epidemiology. Kaufman is a member investigator of the School of Public Health’s existing EPA Northwest Research Center for Particulate Air Pollution and Health. The new study is built on the foundation of the National Institutes of Health’s Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study, whose coordinating center is directed by Dr. Richard Kronmal of the school’s Department of Biostatistics.

The 6,600 participants currently involved in the MESA study will be approached for recruitment into this new study. Some new subjects will also be recruited in specific communities in California and New York. The recruiting method has not been announced.

The study will be able to take into account dietary information, family health history, smoking history, exposure to second-hand tobacco, and other factors known or suspected related to cardiovascular disease.

One of the weaknesses of most previous studies was that their researchers could only assume everyone in a particular city has the same exposure to pollution, Kaufman said. In fact, that’s not true. Exposures vary within a metropolitan area. Pollution varies in a community depending on such variables as wind direction, geographic features and proximity to highways or other sources of pollution. The study will use existing air quality monitors in the cities under study, but also use new monitoring networks to characterize air pollution exposures down to the level of the neighborhood. The researchers will use a limited number of home and even personal monitors to estimate participants’ pollution exposures. For example, the researchers will test exposures by putting monitors outside the homes of about 3,600 participants at certain times.

The new study will make unprecedented efforts to pinpoint the air pollution exposures of people involved in the study. The researchers will look at how much time participants spend outside in various activities throughout the day, and how that affects their exposures.

By employing state-of-the-art scientific methods, this study will result in a tremendous amount of new information on the effects of air pollution, and contribute to efforts to prevent heart disease in the future, the researchers hope.

| newswise
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu
http://www.epa.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Strathclyde-led research develops world's highest gain high-power laser amplifier

The world's highest gain high power laser amplifier - by many orders of magnitude - has been developed in research led at the University of Strathclyde.

The researchers demonstrated the feasibility of using plasma to amplify short laser pulses of picojoule-level energy up to 100 millijoules, which is a 'gain'...

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New insights into the ancestors of all complex life

29.05.2017 | Earth Sciences

New photocatalyst speeds up the conversion of carbon dioxide into chemical resources

29.05.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA's SDO sees partial eclipse in space

29.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>