Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Air pollution’s impact on the heart is as bad as having been a smoker

16.12.2003


In a follow-up analysis of the most extensive study of its kind on the long-term effects of air pollution on human health, researchers have found that people living in U.S. cities face an increased risk of dying from a heart attack as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution. This increased risk was found to be as large as that associated with being a former smoker. The new analysis is published as a study in the rapid access issue of the journal Circulation, published by the American Heart Association.



"It is clear that long-term exposure to the levels of air pollution that Americans are routinely exposed to is a significant contributor to ischemic heart disease," says George Thurston, Sc.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine at NYU School of Medicine, and one of the new study’s authors. "When we looked at the data, we observed that the increased risk of dying from some forms of heart disease among non-smokers living in polluted cities is roughly comparable to the increased risk caused by being a former smoker."

The new analysis is based on data collected by the American Cancer Society (ACS) on the cause of death of some 500,000 adults over a 16-year period from 1982 to 1998 and on data on pollution levels in cities nationwide. These data sets were also the basis for an earlier study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 2002. The JAMA study showed that over many years, the danger of breathing soot-filled air in American cities significantly raised the risk of dying from lung cancer and heart disease, and the risk was comparable to the health risks of living with a smoker.


The new analysis by researchers George Thurston of New York University School of Medicine, and Arden Pope of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, (both Drs. Thurston and Pope were authors of the JAMA study), and by colleagues from other institutions, further categorized the cause of death in the group of 500,000 adults. They identified death from ischemic heart disease (i.e., heart failure resulting from decreased oxygen supply to the heart muscle), and death from other forms of heart disease, such as hypertension, and aortic aneurysms (bulges in the aorta). They also looked at diseases of the respiratory system that were listed as the primary cause of death on death certificates.

They found that long-term exposure to tiny particles of soot and dust, or PM2.5, was linked to a 31 percent increase in the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, including fatal myocardial infarctions. This risk is comparable to the increased risk of dying of ischemic heart disease found by this study to be associated with being a former smoker (33 percent). The researchers based this calculation on an average mean of 17.1 micrograms of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) per cubic meter in the air of 51 metropolitan areas in the study across the nation. These metro areas include some 319,000 individuals who were part of the earlier study. They used this group because pollution data were available for these cities at both the start and end of the study, allowing the best characterization of long-term PM2.5 exposure in these cities.

Previous studies have linked chronic exposure to small particles in the air to death from heart disease and lung cancer. However, these earlier studies did not include such a large and well-characterized cohort of participants as the ACS cohort does. Consequently, the previous studies could not meaningfully investigate these sub-categories of mortality, such as ischemic heart disease, in order to evaluate the underlying mechanisms of causing deaths associated with air pollution. This study is the first to provide such insight into the origins of this association, and therefore the first also to allow detailed comparisons with other causes of cardiac death, such as smoking.


In addition to Drs. Thurston and Pope, the authors of the study are: Richard Burnett, Ph.D., an Daniel Krewski, Ph.D. of University of Ottawa; Michael Thun, and Eugenia Calle, Ph.D., of the American Cancer Society; and John Godleski, M.D., of Harvard Medical School.

Pam McDonnell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.med.nyu.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: 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

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

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>