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Traffic Linked to Worse Lung Measures in Kids with Asthma

Children with asthma appear to be more susceptible to air pollution than healthy children

MONDAY, Dec. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Traffic-related exposures are associated with reduced lung volumes and increased airway inflammation in children with asthma, according to research published in the Dec. 15 issue of the American Journal of Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine.

Fernando Holguin, M.D., of Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues followed 200 children aged 6 to 12 years, including 100 with asthma and 100 matched controls, to investigate the association between traffic exposure and measures of lung function. The children underwent biweekly measurements of exhaled nitric oxide (a marker of airway inflammation) and spirometry, and answered a daily symptom questionnaire. Air pollution, including particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide levels, was measured at participating schools, and road and traffic density measured at schools and at each participant's house.

In children with asthma, increased road density within 50-, 100-, and 200-m of a child's home was associated with increased exhaled nitric oxide and reduced forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). Exposure to nitrogen dioxide at school was marginally associated with a decrease in FEV1. These relationships were not noted in non-asthmatic children.

"Results from our study provide further evidence that traffic-related exposures are associated with increased airway inflammation and reduced lung function in children with asthma. This finding could have significant public health policy implications because a significant proportion of schools in many countries are located in close proximity to major roads," the authors conclude.

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