Pollution cuts improve heart health - Beijing study
Published: 16th May 2012 00:31:35
Cutting air pollution has an instant impact on heart health, experts believe, after reviewing studies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
The work in the Journal of the American Medical Association involved medical tests on 125 volunteers living in one of the world's most polluted cities.
When pollution dipped during the Games, the researchers saw significant signs of better health among the volunteers.
They say this is "biological proof" that pollution can harm the heart.
The British Heart Foundation said the link between heart disease and pollution had been known for some time but it was still not clear why this relationship existed.
China took major steps to improve Beijing air quality for the 2008 Olympic Games after the International Olympic Committee had warned of some events being postponed.
We believe this is the first major study to clearly demonstrate that changes in air pollution exposure affect cardiovascular disease mechanisms in healthy young people”
China managed to clean up its air that summer by closing factories and allowing cars on the roads only every other day.
There were concerns at the time that air quality could prove hazardous to the health of athletes and spectators.
The team at the University of Southern California took blood samples from the healthy volunteers both before and after the Games - when pollution levels were high - as well as during the Games, when the levels were much lower. This was to see if changing levels of air pollution had any effect on heart risk.
Specifically, they measured blood pressure and looked for blood markers linked to clotting and inflammation - known risk factors for heart disease.
They saw big improvements in these measures when the pollution levels went down.
Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the study' s lead author, Prof Junfeng Zhang, said: "We believe this is the first major study to clearly demonstrate that changes in air pollution exposure affect cardiovascular disease mechanisms in healthy young people."
Caroline Dilworth, from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS), which provided funding for the study, said: "When air pollution levels are lowered, health benefits can be immediate."
But the researchers stress that their work could not look at long-term consequences, such as actual heart attack or stroke risk.
Amy Thompson of the British Heart Foundation said more research was needed.
"This small study found that exposure to higher levels of air pollution made the blood more likely to clot. For someone who already has heart disease, this could possibly trigger a heart attack.
"If you have heart disease, try to avoid spending long periods in heavily polluted areas where possible. If you have any concerns about your condition, you should speak to your GP."
At 13:02:52 in ScotlandThe Labour-led administration on Aberdeen City Council is to press ahead with sending out letters endorsing a No vote in September's independence referendum.
At 13:00:40 in SportConference Premier strugglers Aldershot Town have re-signed Portsmouth defender Dan Butler on a one-month loan deal.
At 13:00:15 in EntertainmentUS President Barack Obama has followed in the footsteps of Justin Bieber and Bradley Cooper, after being interviewed by comedian Zach Galifianakis for his spoof chat show Between Two Ferns.
At 12:59:25 in HeadlinesThe number of Syrian children in need has more than doubled in the past year to 5.5 million, the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) says.
At 12:56:27 in BusinessThe insurance regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has promised to crack down on so-called "add-on" policies.
At 12:54:21 in Northern IrelandGCSE and A level exams in Northern Ireland are to remain largely unchanged.
At 12:50:46 in Northern IrelandA murder victim was left in an "unrecognisable state" after one of two attackers jumped on his head "as if it was a trampoline", a court has heard.
At 12:46:59 in SportCaptain Kelly Brown wants to see Scotland reduce their penalty count in their final Six Nations encounter away to Wales on Saturday.
At 12:46:59 in HeadlinesBob Crow, who has died at the age of 52, was an intensively divisive figure. But he was easily the best-known trade unionist in the UK.
At 12:45:25 in EnglandA man who alleges he was sexually abused by MP Nigel Evans has told a court the politician put his hand down his trousers twice during a night out in Soho.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Pollution cuts improve heart health - Beijing study [Online] (Updated 16th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1428821/Pollution-cuts-improve-heart-health-Beijing-study [Accessed 11th Mar 2014]
News In Other Categories
The price of NHS prescriptions is to rise by 20 pence in April and again next year.
The BBC has unveiled an update to its on-demand iPlayer service, which will include new online-only shows for "a BBC Three audience".
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
GCSE and A level exams in Northern Ireland are to remain largely unchanged.
The insurance regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has promised to crack down on so-called "add-on" policies.
US President Barack Obama has followed in the footsteps of Justin Bieber and Bradley Cooper, after being interviewed by comedian Zach Galifianakis for his spoof chat show Between Two Ferns.