ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Birds Don't Miss a Beat
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
A Little Drink May Be Good for Your Bones
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
CANCER
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
CAREGIVING
Weekend Admission May Be Riskier for GI Bleeding
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
Newborn Screenings Now Required Across U.S.
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Laughter Can Boost Heart Health
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
DIABETES
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Chamomile Tea May Ward Off Diabetes Damage
Fructose-Sweetened Drinks Up Metabolic Syndrome Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
Indian Spice May Thwart Liver Damage
Adults Need To Get Thier Food Facts Straight
Compound in Berries May Lessen Sun Damage
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Skin Woes Take Toll on U.S. Combat Troops
Genetics, Environment Shape Sexual Behavior
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
EYE CARE, VISION
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Glaucoma Associated With Reading Impairments in Elderly
Gene-Transfer Proves Safe for Vision Problem
FITNESS
Bursts of Vigorous Activity Appear to Be a 'Stress-Buffer'
Maximize Your Run
Higher Fitness Levels Tied to Lower Heart, Death Risks
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Best Taken With Largest Meal of Day, Study Finds
Hidden Salt in Diet Haunts Many With Heart Failure
U.S. Prepares for Possible Return of Swine Flu in Fall
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Implanted Defibrillators Boost Long-Term Survival
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
MEN'S HEALTH
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Musicians' Brains Tuned to Emotions in Sound
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
SENIORS
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Broccoli May Help Battle Breast Cancer
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
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Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma

MONDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Traffic pollution may cause genetic changes in the womb that increase a child's risk of developing asthma, say U.S. researchers who studied umbilical cord blood from New York City children.

They found evidence of a possible new biomarker -- an epigenetic alteration in the gene ACSL3 -- associated with prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are created as byproducts of incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels such as gasoline.

PAH levels are high in heavy-traffic areas, and exposure to PAHs has been linked to such diseases as cancer and childhood asthma.

The findings, published in the Feb. 16 issue of the journal PLoS One, offer a potential clue for predicting environmentally-related asthma in children, particularly those born to mothers who live in high-traffic areas, said the researchers from the University of Cincinnati and Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

Epigenetic changes can disrupt the normal functioning of genes by affecting their expression but don't cause structural changes or mutations in the genes.

"Our data support the concept that environmental exposure can interact with genes during key developmental periods to trigger disease onset later in life, and that tissues are being reprogrammed to become abnormal later," the study's senior author, Shuk-mei Ho, chairwoman of UC's Department of Environmental Health and director of the Center for Environmental Genetics, said in news release.

If the findings are confirmed in future studies, changes in the ACSL3 gene could offer a new biomarker for early diagnosis of pollution-related asthma.

"Understanding early predictors of asthma is an important area of investigation because they represent potential clinical targets for intervention," study co-author Dr. Rachel Miller, director of the asthma project at Mailman's Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, said in the release.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about childhood asthma.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: University of Cincinnati, news release, Feb. 13, 2009

Last Updated: Feb. 17, 2009

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