A study by the University of Edinburgh and Umeå University measured the effects of diesel exhaust on heart and blood vessel function in men who have previously experienced a heart attack.
The research, funded by the British Heart Foundation and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that inhalation of diesel exhaust caused changes in the heart’s electrical activity, suggesting that air pollution reduces the amount of oxygen available to the heart during exercise.
Dr Nicholas Mills, of the University’s Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, said: “This study provides an explanation for why patients with heart disease are more likely to be admitted to hospital on days in which air pollution levels are increased. Most people tend to think of air pollution as having effects on the lungs but, as this study shows, it can also have a major impact on how our heart functions.”
Twenty men who had suffered a previous heart attack were carefully screened to ensure they did not suffer from angina or heart rhythm problems and that their heart condition was stable and appropriately treated. The men were exposed for one hour to either filtered air or dilute diesel exhaust while intermittently riding a stationary bicycle in a carefully monitored exposure chamber in Umeå University. Heart function was monitored continuously and blood tests taken six hours after leaving the chamber.
Electrical monitoring of the heart showed that inhalation of diesel exhaust caused a three-fold increase in the stress of the heart during exercise. In addition, the body’s ability to release a “guardian” protein known as t-PA (tissue plasminogen activator), which can prevent blood clots from forming, was also reduced by more than one third following exposure.
The link between air pollution and heart disease is strongest for the fine exhaust particles produced by road traffic. Researchers are particularly interested in diesel engines because they generate 10-100 times more pollutant particles than petrol engines. The number of diesel-powered automobiles is increasing in Europe and other parts of the world.
“Diesel exhaust consists of a complex mixture of particles and gases. Before we can recommend the widespread use of particle traps in diesel engines, we need to show that particles are the responsible component,” Dr Mills said.
“If we do that, then it is likely that devices to filter particles from exhaust, will reduce exposure and benefit public health.”
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “There is already evidence that air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse. This research is helping us work out why. It shows that in patients with coronary heart disease, diesel exhaust can reduce the amount of oxygen available to the heart during exercise, which may increase the risk of a heart attack.
“Because of the overwhelming benefits of exercise on heart health, we would still encourage heart patients to exercise regularly, but preferably not when there is a lot of local traffic around. Heart patients can look out for pollution levels on their local weather forecasts.”
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine