ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
Spot light on Dani Antman New Lionheart teacher
Massage Fosters Healing in Bereaved Relatives
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Studies Struggle to Gauge Glucosamine's Worth
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
DIET, NUTRITION
Fatty Acid in Olive Oil Wards Off Hunger
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Radiation Exposure Linked to Aggressive Thyroid Cancers
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
EYE CARE, VISION
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
FITNESS
You Can Get Great Exercise In The Garden
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Years of Heavy Smoking Raises Heart Risks
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Boosting Kids' Stroke IQ May Save Lives
Coconut Oil May Help Fight Childhood Pneumonia
Safety Should Be Priority for Those Involved in Kids' Sports
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
MENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Martial Arts Training May Save Seniors' Hips
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
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Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest

While a decade of efforts to reduce air pollution in the United States has improved air quality in many cities in the Northeast and Midwest, 175 million people are still exposed to dangerous levels of smog and soot, a new report reveals.

The survey, from the American Lung Association, credits a considerable overall drop in air pollution nationwide to a shift towards cleaner fuels and engines, along with curbs on coal-fired power plant emissions. Along with recent industrial clean-up efforts, the result has been a drop-off in both particle pollution (fine specks of soot, dust and aerosols) and ozone pollution, the report suggests.

However, the organization's analysis also indicates that improvements in air quality have not been spread evenly across the nation, with many urban areas in the Western part of the country seeing poor air quality. That means that 58 percent of Americans still breathe dirty air.

"Air doesn't just get cleaned up by itself," said Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy and advocacy for the lung association. "We have a history of knowing that you have to put some control equipment on things that produce pollution in order to get results."

"So, certainly we're pleased to see that the air control measures we worked for a long time to put in place are working," she stressed. "There are improvements. But we want people to know that while there are good trends we've still got a lot more clean-up to do. This isn't a done deal."

Nolen highlighted the findings during a recent press conference co-hosted by Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer for the lung association.

Essentially an air quality "report card," the latest annual analysis is based on air pollution data collected between 2006 and 2008 from thousands of official air-quality monitors distributed across the country.

After crunching the numbers, the analysts were able to grade cities and regions on the basis of their air quality.

Some locales demonstrated considerable air quality improvements. Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York City, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Washington, D.C. and Baltimore all experienced a drop in both smog and soot levels, the researchers found.

In terms of exposure to short-term "spikes" of particle pollution, Alexandria, Louisiana topped the list as the nation's "cleanest city." In terms of year-round particle pollution exposure, Cheyenne, Wyo., came out on top.

Others were not so fortunate. Overall, one-quarter of Americans (more than 70 million) currently live in places where such short-term spikes render the air they breathe "unhealthful," the report found, while one in 10 Americans (nearly 24 million) are exposed to year-round particle pollution.

The metropolitan Phoenix/Mesa/Scottsdale perimeter of Arizona topped the list of "most polluted" urban jurisdiction in terms of year-round particle pollutant exposure. In terms of short-term particle pollutant spikes, Bakersfield, Calif., ranked as the city with the most days per year of unhealthy air quality.

With respect to the ozone pollution that stems from vehicle and industrial emissions, the upside appeared to be a drop in the number of "unhealthful" days experienced in 14 of the 25 most polluted urban areas.

Bismarck, N.D., got the top "A" grade for least ozone exposure, with several cities in Texas, Idaho, Wisconsin, Hawaii, Nebraska, Florida and South Dakota also faring well.

On the downside, the report indicated that some cities actually demonstrated a worsening of air quality over the prior 10 years; most of those were located in California.

Los Angeles topped the list for worst ozone pollution. Nevertheless, the current report struck a hopeful chord by noting that the city, nonetheless, recorded its second-lowest ozone levels since 2000.

Edelman pointed out that certain groups are more vulnerable to air pollution than others. The elderly, the very young, and those suffering from heart and/or lung disease are the most vulnerable to smog, he noted.

In the lung association's first look at how economic status affects air pollution exposure, the report found that poor Americans form a specific high-risk group that faces a relatively greater hardship -- such as an increased risk for premature death -- than the general population as a result of chronic air pollution exposure. When it comes to air pollution, said Edelman, "it's bad to be poor."

Meanwhile, Frederica P. Perera, a professor in the department of environmental health sciences with the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City, expressed little surprise with the report.

The mention in the report of the risk to children from such air pollutants is particularly relevant, added Perera, who also serves as director of the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health. "With our work, we have found that the very young are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollutants."

SOURCES: Janice Nolen, assistant vice president, national policy and advocacy, American Lung Association, Washington, D.C.; Norman H. Edelman, M.D., chief medical officer, American Lung Association; Frederica P. Perera, Ph.D., professor, department of environmental health sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, and director, Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, New York City; American Lung Association's State of the Air 2010 Report Published on: April 28, 2010