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Dirty Air Linked to Diabetes

Research finds more of one means more of the other

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 7, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- A dramatic statistical correlation between diabetes cases and air pollution shows the need to take a closer look at the link between the two.

That's the opinion of a University of Buffalo researcher, whose work appears in the August issue of Diabetes Care.

"The significance of this relationship demands attention," says Dr. Alan Lockwood, a professor or neurology and nuclear medicine at the University of Buffalo's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

"The correlation between the two was striking. The probability that these two variables are not related is approximately five chances in 100,000," he says.

He says his statistical analysis doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship between diabetes and air pollution. However, the correlation he found is significant enough to merit more research.

For his analysis, Lockwood took data from the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) for each state, and compared that with diabetes prevalence data from each state. Heavily industrialized states with high TRI emissions also had more people with diabetes.

For example, Ohio had 147 million pounds of TRI emissions and a diabetes rate of 7.5 percent. Alaska had 2.6 million pounds of TRI emissions and a diabetes rate of 4.4 percent.

Lockwood's analysis appears in the "Letters: Observations" column of Diabetes Care.

More than 15 million Americans have diabetes, and about a third of them are undiagnosed. Diabetes accounts for one of every seven health-care dollars spent in the United States.

More information

Here's more on diabetes and pollution.

SOURCE: University of Buffalo, news release, July 2002
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