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Long-Term Exposure to Air Pollution Ups Insulin Resistance

Effect estimates much larger and highly significant for individuals with prediabetes

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MONDAY, Sept. 12, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with insulin resistance (IR) among the general population, according to a study published online Sept. 7 in Diabetes.

Kathrin Wolf, Ph.D., from the Institute of Epidemiology in Neuherberg, Germany, and colleagues examined the correlation between long-term exposure to air pollution at residence and biomarkers related to IR, subclinical inflammation, and adipokines. Data were included for 2,944 participants of the study.

The researchers found that a 7.9 µg/m³ increment in particulate matter <10 µm correlated with higher homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and insulin among all participants. There were correlations for nitrogen dioxide with HOMA-IR, glucose, insulin, and leptin. For individuals with prediabetes, the effect estimates were much larger and highly significant, while weak associations were seen for those without diabetes and with diabetes. There was no correlation seen for glycated hemoglobin.

"Our results suggested an association between long-term exposure to air pollution and IR in the general population mainly attributable to prediabetic individuals," the authors write.

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