Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Air pollution may cause and speed up artery disease

08.11.2004


Air pollution may trigger and accelerate narrowing of carotid arteries, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2004.



Researchers found an association between long-term air pollution exposure and the early stages of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). "We knew that people in more polluted areas die earlier from cardiovascular disease, but it was not clear how early in the disease process air pollution contributes. Our study found that air pollution may contribute to cardiovascular problems at a very early stage of the disease, similar to smoking, and enhances atherosclerosis, which is the underlying disease process of cardiovascular diseases," said study author Nino Kuenzli, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor, division of environmental health, Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Researchers reviewed data from two clinical trials on 798 people age 40 and older who lived in the Los Angeles area. The data included baseline measurements of the thickness of the inner lining of participants’ neck arteries (carotid artery intima-media thickness or CIMT). CIMT is measured by ultrasound and used to determine the level of subclinical atherosclerosis.


Researchers then assigned a PM2.5 particle level to the study subjects’ home ZIP codes. PM2.5 particles are pollutants with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. They are commonly produced by burning fossil fuels such as driving cars, and smelting and processing metals. They are tiny enough to be inhaled into the smallest airways. PM2.5 levels are measured in micrograms per meter cubed (ug/m3). In this study, readings ranged from 5.2 to 26.9 ug/m3.

For every 10 ug/m3 increase of PM2.5, CIMT increased by 5.9 percent. After adjusting for age, socio-demographic, lifestyle (including active and passive smoking) and physiological factors, researchers determined that CIMT rose by 3.9 percent to 4.3 percent for every 10 ug/m3 increase in PM2.5. The association between air pollution and CIMT was even greater among people over age 60, women and people taking cholesterol-lowering medication. Overall, the strongest association was seen in women age 60 or older, with a 15.7 percent increase in CIMT for every 10 ug/m3 increase of PM2.5.

Kuenzli said that the air pollution causes the body to produce oxidants (unstable molecules) that cause inflammatory reactions in both the respiratory tract and blood vessels, triggering artery damage. Some air particles find their way into the blood or even the brain, he said. Other constituents of air pollution may be neutralized locally, but secondary reaction products may still cause systemic responses. "The responses may involve both the autonomic nervous system (which controls breathing and blood pressure) and inflammation in the blood. Both pathways together can lead to a state of subclinical chronic inflammation, causing adverse consequences in the blood vessels where oxidized lipids damage the artery walls. This can lead to thickening of the artery wall, calcification and plaques – and ultimately ruptures," Kuenzli said.

"It is interesting that the effects of air pollution were particularly strong in older women. Also, those with increased cardiovascular risk profiles appeared to be at higher risk of an association between air pollution and narrowing of the arteries," he said. "However, the study is too small and not designed to clarify whether effects are truly different in men and women, old and young, or whether part of the differences are caused by uncertainties such as in how exposure was assessed," Kuenzli said. "Given that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, and that large populations are exposed to ambient PM2.5 at the levels observed in this study, these findings need to be corroborated. The public health implications could be immense," he said.

Co-authors are Wendy J. Mack, Ph.D.; Howard N. Hodis, M.D.; Michael Jerrett, Ph.D.; Laurie LaBree, M.S.; Frank Gilliland, M.D., Ph.D.; Duncan Thomas, Ph.D.; John Peters, M.D., Sc.D.; and doctoral student Bernardo Beckermann.

Carole Bullock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.heart.org

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>