ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Know Your Asthma Triggers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Pain-Relieving Powers of Acupuncture Unclear
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
In Elderly Women, Hip Fractures Often Follow Arm Breaks
CANCER
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Tanning Beds Shown To Raise Cancer Risk, Study Says
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
CAREGIVING
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
Simpler Sleep Apnea Treatment Seems Effective, Affordable
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Support Network May Play Role in Benefits of Drinking
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
COSMETIC
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes Updated
DIET, NUTRITION
Uncover Why Turmeric Helps You Heal
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Golf Course Insecticides Pose Little Danger to Players
Showerheads Harbor a Bounty of Germs
EYE CARE, VISION
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Ordinary Chores Cause Half of All Eye Injuries
FITNESS
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Basketball Star Details His Struggle With Gout
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
GENERAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Traffic Seems to Make Kids' Asthma Worse
MEN'S HEALTH
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sugary Colas Tied to Gestational Diabetes
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
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Pollution Particles Impair Blood Vessel Function

WEDNESDAY, May 14 (HealthDay News) -- Just a few hours of exposure to particulate matter air pollution can increase blood pressure and harm blood vessel function within 24 hours, a new study finds.

The findings may explain why air pollution can trigger a range of cardiovascular events such as heart attack, heart failure and stroke, the researchers said.

Particulate matter (PM) is a component of air pollution emitted from vehicles, power plants, and factories. It's believe that PM is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide, but the link between PM and death hasn't been well understood.

"Not everyone is equally at risk to the effects of poor air quality," researcher Robert Brook, an assistant professor of medicine, division of cardiovascular medicine, University of Michigan, said in a prepared statement.

"Yet, as traffic worsens and millions of vulnerable people are exposed to PM, it is incumbent upon us to understand how and why people are affected so that we can take steps to limit our personal exposure -- and consider making broader changes to the public agenda to control air pollution," Brook said.

In the study, researchers looked at adults living in Toronto and Ann Arbor, Mich.

In Toronto, 30 adults, aged 18 to 50, were exposed for two hours to concentrated ambient PM (CAPS alone), CAPS and ozone, ozone alone, or filtered air. Exposure to air pollution that contains PM (CAP or CAP and ozone) resulted in an average diastolic blood pressure increase of 3.6 mm/Hg. Blood vessel function was impaired 24 hours after (but not immediately after) all exposures to all exposures containing PM, but not ozone alone.

In Ann Arbor, 50 adults were pre-treated with either the antioxidant vitamin C -- which blocks the vasoconstrictor hormone endothelin (bosentan) -- or placebo. Diastolic blood pressure increased between 2.5 and 4.0 mm/Hg during all exposures. However, blood pressure function was not impaired at any time after all exposures, and blood pressure returned to normal within 10 minutes after exposure.

The fact that vitamin C didn't block the blood pressure response suggests that it's likely caused by a sudden increase in sympathetic nervous system activity.

The findings confirm that PM, not ozone, is responsible for the rapid increase in diastolic blood pressure and that this occurs only during actual inhalation of PM. The research also confirms that PM impairs blood vessel function one day after exposure. However, this blood vessel function response occurred only in Toronto, which suggests that the composition of PM or its source may play a role in determining that kind of response, the researchers said.

The study was expected to be presented Wednesday at the American Society of Hypertension annual meeting, in New Orleans.

"These findings are a springboard for further study that will specifically determine how the sympathetic nervous system responds and to what types of particles in air pollution," Brook said. "But this glimpse helps us determine the triggers behind a range of CV events -- some deadly. Learning how this dangerous cascade starts can help the medical and public health community make advances toward limiting their impact in the future."

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about air pollution and health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: American Society of Hypertension, news release, May 14, 2008

Last Updated: May 14, 2008

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