Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Exposure to parental stress increases pollution-related lung damage in children

Psychosocial stress appears to enhance the lung-damaging effects of traffic-related pollution (TRP) in children, according to new research from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles.

The results will appear online ahead of the print edition of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"This is the first study demonstrating that growing up in a stressful household was associated with larger traffic pollution-induced lung deficits in healthy children compared to low stress households," said lead researcher Talat Islam, MBBS, assistant professor in the Division of Environmental Health at Keck School of Medicine.

Dr. Islam and colleagues administered a validated stress questionnaire, the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), to the parents of nearly 1,400 children who participated in the USC Children's Health Study in Southern California. The children, ranging between 10-12 years old, were assessed for lung function and other respiratory health outcomes. Their exposure to traffic-related pollutants (TRP) was assessed by estimating exposure to nitric oxide (NO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and total oxides of nitrogen (NOX) at school and at home.

The researchers identified a number of socio-demographic factors associated with stress levels among the participants' parents. Hispanic and Asian parents had relatively higher levels of perceived stress than White parents. Characteristics associated with low socioeconomic levels were also associated with high stress, such as income below $30,000 a year, low parental education, lack of health insurance and lack of an air conditioner in the home. Similarly, exposures to traffic-related pollution varied widely within the study. NOX, for example, ranged from 6 to 108 ppb in different locations.

The researchers did not observe any statistically significant associations between parental stress alone and lung function levels in children. However, they found that as levels of traffic-related pollution increased among children who grew up in high-stress households, lung function decreased, but there was no corresponding lung effect in low- stress households. In high stress households, children had on average a 4.8 percent and 4.5 percent lower lung volume (FVC) and flow in the larger airways (FEV1) for each 22 ppb increase in NOX. "Based on the emerging data we expected to see a modifying effect of stress," said Dr. Islam. "However, we were surprised by the magnitude of effect."

The study also revealed the novel finding that lung function declines were related to both at-home and at-school exposures. "Children in this age group spend almost one-third of their day-time hours at school so exposure at school is an important contributor to total exposure," said Dr. Islam. "Perhaps children maintain the chronic and systemic effect of stress from their home environments as they go to school, further modifying their response to traffic exposure."

"One possible explanation for the stress-related pattern of TRP respiratory effects is the biological pathways common to effects of TRP and stress," said Dr. Islam. "Like air pollution, stress has been linked to both inflammation and oxidative damage at the cellular level, so this may explain the association."

While further research is needed on biological pathways, Dr. Islam believes the public health implications are clear: "The magnitude of the TRP-associated deficits in FEV1 and FVC levels in children growing up in high-stress households was larger than deficits reported for children exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy and second-hand tobacco smoke," said Dr. Islam. "Our findings suggest that by regulating TRP levels around residential areas and schools, we could reduce the adverse effect of TRP on lung function among vulnerable children."

Keely Savoie | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: FEV1 FVC Medicine NOx TRP USC biological pathways exposure health services lung function

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>