Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Primary biliary cirrhosis more prevalent around toxic waste sites in NYC

02.03.2006


Significant cluster found on Staten Island



According to a new study, exposure to toxins from hazardous waste sites may be a significant risk factor for developing primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Published in the March 2006 issue of Hepatology, researchers found significant clusters of the disease near Superfund toxic waste sites (SFS) and that the majority of patients in New York City who need liver transplants because of PBC, reside near SFS. Hepatology is published on behalf of the society by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and is available online via Wiley InterScience at http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology.

PBC is an uncommon liver disease of unknown cause, though it reportedly appears in geographic clusters. Researchers, led by Aftab Ala, M.D. of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, examined the prevalence and potential clustering of PBC near New York City’s most toxic waste sites, which are state-designated SFS.


The researchers collected zip code data on 172 patients in New York City in need of orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) between 1995 and 2003 due to either PBC or primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). They compared the patients’ zip codes to zip codes of known SFS in the city. Of the city’s 174 zip codes, 89 included or bordered SFS and 85 did not.

The researchers then calculated the expected prevalence of PBC-OLT and PSC-OLT, adjusting for demographic characteristics. They compared the mean standardized prevalence ratios in zip codes containing or adjacent to a SFS to the remaining zip codes. Lastly, they utilized SaTScan, a statistical software package, to detect specific clusters.

"The prevalence ratio of PBC-OLT, not PSC-OLT, was significantly higher in zip codes containing or adjacent to SFS," the authors report. The standardized prevalence ratio of PBC-OLT cases near SFS was statistically significantly higher than in zip codes that did not have, nor border with, a toxic site. Meanwhile, the standardized prevalence ratio of PSC-OLT cases near SFS was not statistically different from zip codes without a toxic site nearby. The density of SFS and the prevalence ratio of PBC-OLT were both highest in the borough of Staten Island, while Manhattan had the lowest values for both.

The cluster-detection software uncovered five clusters of PBC-OLT. One was on Staten Island, two were in Brooklyn, and two in Queens. SFS near these clusters were contaminated by volatile organic compounds, like benzene and toluene, and chlorinated hydrocarbons, like tri- and tetra-chloroethylene. The cluster on Staten Island was statistically significant, and located near a SFS contaminated with volatile aromatic hydrocarbons and trichloroethylene. "This is the first epidemiological study to show a statistically significant clustering of PBC patients near known sources of environmental toxins and one of relatively few studies linking proximity to SFS to a specific disease," the authors write. Though the exact mechanism by which proximity to toxins may increase PBC patient exposure is not clear, the authors suggest inhalation is the likely method. Still, confounding factors may play a role, such as socioeconomics that influence where people live.

"Our observations further support the hypothesis that environmental toxin exposure is a risk factor for PBC," the authors conclude. They urge researchers in other locations to further investigate the association.

David Greenberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/hepatology
http://www.wiley.com

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study tracks inner workings of the brain with new biosensor
16.08.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Foods of the future
15.08.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>