Even low levels of air pollution may pose stroke risk

May 31st, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, May 31 (IANS) Exposure to air pollution, even for a short time, is likely to enhance risk of a stroke or mini-stroke, according to new research. “The vast majority is exposed to ambient air pollution at the levels observed in this community or greater every day, suggesting a potentially large public health impact,” said Lynda Lisabeth of the University of Michigan and co-author of the study.

However, Lisabeth stressed that the association requires further study in other areas with varying climates and different study designs.

The study examined particulate air pollution in a southeast Texas community where there is a large petroleum and petrochemical industry presence.

Particulate matter comprises tiny particles of solids or liquids that causes numerous health problems when inhaled. These particles can be man-made or from natural sources.

Researchers identified ischemic strokes and transient ischemic attacks (TIA), sometimes called mini strokes but that often lead to a stroke later. Ischemic attacks are caused by a blockage of blood flow to the brain by a blood clot.

The results showed borderline significant associations between same day and previous day fine particulate matter exposures and ischemic stroke/TIA risk.

Similar associations were also seen with ozone, another type of pollution. Despite the fossil fuel industry in the area, fine particulate matter exposures were low relative to other regions of the country, probably because of the proximity to the coast and prevailing wind patterns.

Researchers looked at data from the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi Project, a population-based stroke surveillance project designed to capture all strokes in Nueces County, Texas.

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