News Flash > Cardiovascular Health


Air Pollution Affects the Heart

Reported April 29, 2010

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A post-mortem study of the hearts of 21 young people in Mexico City found that the heart begins to show the effects of air pollution at a young age. Researchers believe tiny bits of inactivated bacteria that attach to the pollutants may make the problem worse.


Mexico City has some of the worst air pollution in North America and has high concentrations of microscopic pollutants, known as particle pollution. Most particle pollution enters the body when someone breathes in smoke or haze. Once inside, the particles can travel to various parts of the body, including the heart, where they can cause damage or disease, according to researchers.


The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Montana and the Instituto Nacional de Pediatria in Mexico City. The study found that residents of both north and south Mexico City showed signs of inflammation in the heart. However, residents in the south had a stronger inflammatory response, which is linked to heart disease and sepsis.


"As people age, this chronic inflammation may become a factor in heart disease," Rodolfo Villarreal, study co-author was quoted as saying. "The bottom line is, the air we breathe affects our heart health. The more research is conducted in this field, the more it is becoming clear we need to address the issue of air quality and its intricate ties to our health."


Source: Experimental Biology Conference, 2010