News Flash > Asthma & Allergies


Air & Asthma: Pollution Changing Our DNA?

Reported October 15, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO (Ivanhoe Newswire) --Between 2001 and 2009 the number of people diagnosed with asthma grew by 4.3 million people. While it’s no secret that pollution could trigger attacks, new research shows dirty air could be doing more than making your symptoms worse but could have longer-lasting effects!

What triggers your asthma?

“Pollution in our air,” one woman told Ivanhoe.

“Certain foods can, lot of times the change in weather,” Ian Rideaux, an asthma sufferer told Ivanhoe.

“Particles will really get down into my lungs and I can really feel the tightness,” Kathy Serrahn, an asthma sufferer told Ivanhoe.

Asthma has more than 24 million Americans feeling fresh out of breath.

“Every breath that I took it was wheeze and it kept on getting worse,” Serrahn explained.

For people like Serrahn it all traces back to one thing…pollution. But the latest research out of Stanford University may have millions of sufferers reaching for their inhalers. Researchers found that dirty air doesn’t just pollute our lungs, but that it has long-lasting effects on our DNA! Air pollution reduces the immune system’s T cells –or---T Regs in the body.

“If you have lower amounts of the cell or the cell doesn’t function or the function is impaired in any way we think that it leads to a higher rate of asthma and a more severe state of asthma,” Kari Nadeau M.D., Ph.D., Assistant professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine told Ivanhoe.

T Regs help block autoimmune disorders like lupus, type 1 diabetes, and celiac disease. Altering these cells --could mean altering your entire immune system. Your chemically altered DNA can also be passed on!

“When mothers were exposed to it, it caused changes in the DNA of the children born to those mothers,” Dr. Nadeau said.

While experts are still working to see if the DNA can be reversed --they suggest finding ways to manage.

“Eat the right food eat a healthy diet and take their vitamins. I think that just builds a good immune system,” Dr. Nadeau added.

“When it’s an air quality alert I usually just don’t go outside,” Serrahn concluded.

Sound advice and new research to help you breathe, a little easier.

Researchers say while there are no medications to permanently reverse DNA changes, they want to find out if it can be reversed by simply moving to a less polluted area.