ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
CAREGIVING
Health Tip: Benefitting From Adult Day Care
MRSA Infections Spreading to Kids in Community
Stressed Health Care Workers Battle 'Compassion Fatigue'
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
COSMETIC
Health Tip: After Liposuction
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
An Oral Approach to Heart Disease
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
Olive Oil May Be Key to Mediterranean Diet's Benefits
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
Stem Cells Repair Damaged Corneas in Mice
Just Like Skin, Eyes Can 'Burn' in Strong Sun
Diabetic Hispanics Missing Out on Eye Exams
FITNESS
Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
FDA Mandates New Warnings for Botox
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Household Insecticides May Be Linked to Autoimmune Diseases
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Obese People Seem to Do Better With Heart Disease
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
MEN'S HEALTH
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Man's Best Friend Helps Mend Broken Hearts
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Yoga's Benefits Outweigh Risks for Pregnant Women
SENIORS
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
The Healthy Habits of Centenarians
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Vitamin D Deficiency Puts 40% of U.S. Infants and Toddlers At Risk
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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