Air pol­lu­tion linked to asthma in chil­dren and teens

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

NEW YORK: Ex­po­sure to air pol­lu­tion early in life may con­trib­ute to the de­vel­op­ment of asthma in child­hood and ado­les­cence, a Euro­pean study sug­gests. Re­searchers fol­lowed more than 14,000 chil­dren from birth through ages 14 to 16 and found those born in com­mu­ni­ties with more pol­luted air were more likely to de­velop asthma than other kids, par­tic­u­larly af­ter age 4.

While pre­vi­ous re­search has linked asthma to air pol­lu­tion ex­po­sure in early child­hood, the cur­rent study of­fers new ev­i­dence that this con­nec­tion ex­tends into ado­les­cence, said lead au­thor Dr. Ul­rike Gehring, a re­searcher at Utrecht Univer­sity in The Nether­lands. “Ex­po­sure to air pol­lu­tion is thought to cause asthma by ef­fect­ing the size and struc­ture of the de­vel­op­ing lung as well as the de­vel­op­ing im­mune sys­tem,” Gehring said by email. “The ex­act mech­a­nisms be­hind the as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween air pol­lu­tion ex­po­sure and asthma in chil­dren, how­ever, are not clear.”

To look at the link be­tween asthma and air pol­lu­tion, Gehring and col­leagues ex­am­ined con­cen­tra­tions of ni­tro­gen diox­ide, a byprod­uct of fos­sil fu­els that can con­trib­ute to smog, and so-called par­tic­u­late mat­ter, a mix­ture of solid par­ti­cles and liq­uid droplets that can in­clude dust, dirt, soot and smoke. Then, they ex­am­ined ques­tion­naire data about the chil­dren’s res­pi­ra­tory health that was col­lected sev­eral times dur­ing child­hood. Par­ents were asked if kids were di­ag­nosed with asthma, pre­scribed asthma drugs or ex­pe­ri­enced wheez­ing. Par­ents were also asked if kids had sneez­ing, con­ges­tion or itchy, wa­tery eyes when they didn’t have colds.

The study in­cluded kids from Ger­many, Swe­den and The Nether­lands. Over­all, the risk of asthma by ages 14 to 16 in­creased with in­creas­ing ex­po­sure to ni­tro­gen diox­ide and par­tic­u­late mat­ter at the birth ad­dress, but not with ex­po­sure lev­els for the ad­dress at the end of the study. Re­searchers didn’t find a link be­tween air pol­lu­tion ex­po­sure and al­ler­gies. One lim­i­ta­tion of the study is that re­searchers used air pol­lu­tion mea­sure­ments from 2008 to 2010 for the en­tire du­ra­tion of fol­low-up, the re­searchers ac­knowl­edge in The Lancet Res­pi­ra­tory Medicine. Re­searchers also didn’t look at air qual­ity at school or day­care cen­ters, which might dif­fer from where the chil­dren lived.

It’s also pos­si­ble that chil­dren grow­ing up near ma­jor, heav­ily traf­ficked road­ways, who are at the great­est risk for ex­po­sure to air pol­lu­tion, may dif­fer from kids who grow up in other lo­ca­tions like sub­urbs in other re­spects, such as lower so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus, that also in­crease asthma risk, said Steve Ge­o­ras, a re­searcher at the Univer­sity of Rochester Med­i­cal Cen­ter who wrote an ac­com­pa­ny­ing ed­i­to­rial.

Even so, the find­ings add to a grow­ing body of re­search link­ing asthma to pol­lu­tion, Ge­o­ras said by email. “It is prob­a­bly time to doubt no more that early life air pol­lu­tion ex­po­sure is a risk fac­tor for asthma for some chil­dren,” Ge­o­ras said. “What we need now are more stud­ies to understand (why) some chil­dren are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to th­ese ad­verse ef­fects.” — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.