June 16, 2009

Traffic Pollution could cause Asthma

Traffic pollution could cause asthma in children, rather than simply trigger attacks.Scientists at the University of California at Davis studied the effect of repeated exposure to ozone - a constituent of traffic smog - on rhesus monkeys.They found that after living in an environment described as "similar to Mexico City" for only a few months, the young animals had developed symptoms of borderline asthma.These included reduced lung capacity, and an apparently increased sensitivity to the dust mite allergen, wheezing when exposed to it for short periods.Monkeys exposed on a regular basis to both ozone and dust mite allergen had more severe reactions, including decreased blood oxygen levels.
Dr Ira Tager, of the University of California at Berkeley, told New Scientist magazine: "It fits well with what's known in humans about developmental effects."
But Dr Adnan Custovic, a National Asthma Campaign senior research fellow and an honorary consultant allergist at Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester said
"The problem with animal models of asthma is that you don't have one that is really representative of human asthma."That is why this kind of research is so difficult."It seems to be very clear that air pollution has a lot to do with triggering asthma attacks, but is not actually a cause."

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