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I knew it! (Auto exhaust and asthma)

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  • kitka97205
    The epidemiology of asthma has always struck me as pointing to automobile exhaust as a major culprit. Although I was spared the curse of asthma, I did develop
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2009
      The epidemiology of asthma has always struck me as pointing to
      automobile exhaust as a major culprit. Although I was spared the curse
      of asthma, I did develop severe respiratory allergies when I was six,
      but only after my family moved from a quiet residential side street to
      a house located on the main highway through town (a street where
      trucks and cars ran constantly day and night).

      However, articles about asthma typically ignore or give short shrift
      to the idea. Typically, writers talk about city versus country,
      exposure to animals in child, developed versus undeveloped countries,
      or excessive cleanliness in the modern world.

      Now here's a causal link to car exhaust.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7888735.stm

      POLLUTION LINK TO ASTHMA IN THE WOMB

      Traffic pollution causes genetic changes in the womb which increase a
      child's risk of developing asthma, research suggests.

      A study of umbilical cord blood from 56 children found "reprogramming"
      of a gene associated with exposure to compounds in traffic fumes.

      The gene was associated with asthma symptoms at age five, the
      researchers reported in the PLoS ONE journal.

      It is the first time pollution has been shown to influence genes,
      experts said.

      In the study, researchers looked at a gene called ACSL3, which is
      expressed in the lung.


      We know that children living in polluted areas have a higher incidence
      of asthma but what we didn't know was it was affecting a gene
      Dr Keith Prowse, British Lung Foundation

      They also recorded the mothers' exposure to polycyclic aromatic
      hydrocarbons (PAHs) - a by-product of combustion present in high
      levels in heavy-traffic areas - during their pregnancy with backpack
      air monitors.

      The researchers found a significant association between chemical
      changes which control activation of the gene and high levels of
      maternal PAH exposure.

      Although the finding needs to be confirmed in larger studies,
      researchers say changes in the ACSL3 gene may be help early diagnosis
      of pollution-related asthma.

      Environment

      It is an example of an epigenetic change - where environmental factors
      influence the activity of genes but do not cause structural changes or
      mutations in the genes.

      Previous work suggests the ACSL3 gene is involved in the structure of
      cell membranes.

      But more work is needed to unpick the role of the gene in asthma.

      Studies have suggested asthma risk is linked to environmental
      pollution in early life and the incidence of asthma is higher in areas
      with high traffic density.

      "Our data support the concept that environmental exposures can
      interact with genes during key developmental periods to trigger
      disease onset later in life, and that tissues are being reprogrammed
      to become abnormal later," said Dr Shuk-mei Ho, study leader and
      director of the Center for Environmental Genetics at the University of
      Cincinnati.

      She said detecting early signs of asthma could help prevent the
      disease than can affect as many as 25% of children in areas with high
      levels of traffic pollution.

      Dr Keith Prowse, vice-president of the British Lung Foundation, said
      the study was interesting.

      "We know that children living in polluted areas have a higher
      incidence of asthma but what we didn't know was it was affecting a gene."

      "If you look at cord blood and you find the gene has been modified you
      know the child is more likely to get asthma so you can treat them early."

      He added there were probably many factors contributing to the
      development of asthma so the issue was fairly confused but in 10
      years' time there would be a clearer picture.

      Dr Elaine Vickers, research relations manager at Asthma UK, said: 'We
      don't yet know whether air pollution can actually cause asthma and
      although this study is very interesting, further research is needed
      before we can say for sure.

      "We do know however that pollution triggers symptoms in two thirds of
      people with asthma, and many say that a reduction in air pollution
      would make the single biggest difference to their quality of life."
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