Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teens in smoggy areas at high risk for starting adulthood with serious lung deficits

09.09.2004


USC study in NEJM signals likely future health problems



By age 18, the lungs of many children who grow up in smoggy areas are underdeveloped and will likely never recover, according to a study in this week’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The research is part of the Children’s Health Study, the longest investigation ever into air pollution and kids’ health. Between 1993 and 2001, study scientists from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California tracked levels of major pollutants in 12 Southern California communities while following the pulmonary health of 1,759 children as they progressed from 4th grade to 12th grade. The 12 communities included some of the most polluted areas in the greater Los Angeles basin, as well as several low-pollution sites outside the area.


Keck School researchers previously found that children who were exposed to more air pollution scored more poorly on respiratory tests. In this latest study, researchers analyzed the same children’s respiratory health at age 18, when lungs are almost completely mature. "Teenagers in smoggy communities were nearly five times as likely to have clinically low lung function, compared to teens living in low-pollution communities," explains W. James Gauderman, Ph.D., associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School and lead author of the study. People with clinically low lung function have less than 80 percent of the lung function expected for their age-a significant deficit that would raise concerns during a doctor’s exam.

"When we began the study 10 years ago, we had no idea we would find effects on the lung this serious," says John Peters, M.D., Hastings Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine, director of the Southern California Environmental Health Sciences Center, and senior author of the study.

Study technicians traveled to participating schools every year and tested children’s lung function, a measure of how well their lungs work. As an example, someone with sub-par lung function cannot exhale and blow up a balloon as quickly or as big as someone with good lung function could.

Researchers correlated the students’ lung health measurements with levels of air pollutants monitored in the communities during the same time period. They found greater deficits in lung development in teenagers who lived in communities with higher average levels of nitrogen dioxide, acid vapor, particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers (about a tenth the diameter of a human hair) and elemental carbon. "These are pollutants that all derive from vehicle emissions and the combustion of fossil fuels," says Gauderman.

Deficits in lung function have both short- and long-term effects. "If a child or young adult with low lung function were to have a cold, they might have more severe lung symptoms, or wheezing," Gauderman says. "They may have a longer disease course, while a child with better lung function may weather it much better." And potential long-term effects are more alarming. "Low lung function has been shown to be second only to smoking as a risk factor for all-cause mortality," Gauderman explains.

Lung function grows steadily as children grow up, peaking at about age 18 in women and sometime in the early 20s in men. Lung function stays steady for a short time and then declines by 1 percent a year throughout adulthood. As lung function decreases to low levels in later adulthood , the risk of respiratory diseases and heart attacks increases.

Researchers are unsure how air pollution may retard lung development. Gauderman believes chronic inflammation may play a role, with air pollutants irritating small airways on a daily basis. Scientists also suspect that pollutants might dampen the growth of alveoli, tiny air sacs in the lungs.

The research team will continue to follow the study participants into their early 20s, when their lungs will mature and stop developing entirely. They seek to find out if the participants begin to experience respiratory symptoms and if those who moved away from a polluted environment show benefits.

Jon Weiner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.usc.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>