ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
CANCER
Red Meat No No No But Oily Fish Yes Yes Yes
Scams and Shams That Prey on Cancer Patients
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
CAREGIVING
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
Mild Flu Season Coming to a Close
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Acupuncture May Ease Anxiety Over Dental Work
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Western Diet Linked To Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
Gene Mutation May Cause Some Cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder
EYE CARE, VISION
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Moderate Aerobic Exercise Lowers Diabetics' Liver Fat
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Study Supports Swine Flu's Pandemic Potential
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Eating Fish, Breast-Feeding Boost Infant Development
Family Medicine Cabinet Top Source Of Kid's Poisonings
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Fear Response May Stem From Protein in Brain
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding Benefits Moms and Babies
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
More Whole Grains May Mean Less Fat
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
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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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