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Air Pollution Affects Young Adults' Cardiovascular Health

Effect on inflammation, coagulation and other factors measured in healthy students

TUESDAY, Aug. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to air pollution is associated with a variety of simultaneous cardiovascular effects in healthy adults, including systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, blood coagulation and autonomic dysfunction, according to the results of a study published in the Aug. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Chang-Chuan Chan, Sc.D., of the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues collected blood samples and electrocardiogram tests from 76 college students (aged 18 to 25 years) once a month for three months. These data were compared with air pollution and weather data from two monitoring sites: one on the students' metropolitan campus and one nearby.

There was an association between pollution levels and increases in high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, and plasminogen activator fibrinogen inhibitor-1. Pollution levels were also associated with decreases in heart rate variability. Especially strong correlations were noted in relation to exposures to two major traffic-related pollutants: sulfate and ozone.

"Their stated intent was to determine whether the various pathways were activated 'simultaneously,' but the study relied on exposure averaging periods that were too imprecise to hope to determine the time course of physiologic events or determine which pathways are the most important," according to an editorial by Joel D. Kaufman, M.D., of the University of Washington in Seattle. "This simply may be too much to ask of this study design, especially when daily exposure concentrations are highly correlated with preceding days."

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