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Study Concludes Air Pollution Can Lead to Stroke, Thrombosis

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Ottawa, ON: Continuing research suggests that air pollution delivers more than just a bad smell. A recent study focused on the Chilean population but undertaken by researchers at the Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa Department of Medicine in Canada found that "ambient air pollution is a risk factor for stroke and myocardial infarction, possibly because of alterations in coagulation that influence the arterial circulation. Whether air pollution influences diseases associated with peripheral venous thrombogenesis remains largely unknown."

R.E. Dales and colleagues undertook the research and published their findings in the Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis. The report, titled "Air pollution and hospitalization for venous thromboembolic disease in Chile," determined to reveal an association between air pollution and venous thromboembolic disease (VTE) in a sample of the general population.

"A time-series analysis was used to test the association between daily air pollution and VTE hospitalizations in Santiago between 2001 and 2005," writes Dales and colleagues, in comments summarized in the 5/3/10 issue of Health & Medicine Week through Life Sciences. "Results were adjusted for long-term trends, day of the week and average daily humidex. From a population of 5.4 million, there were, on average, 2.3 admissions for VTE per day."

The researchers concluded that air pollution appeared to be a risk factor for venous thrombosis and PE, "a disease with a significant fatality rate."

This study and those conducted previously on the effects of air pollution could prove to have an interesting impact on major urban centers, especially in an age when workers have the technical capacity to telecommute and network with peers from anywhere.

As for individuals whose jobs require them to live in large urban centers where air quality is a continuing concern, it remains to be seen if municipalities or major urban centers can be sued by individuals for bad air quality.

To that end, it will be interesting if individuals who are felled by thrombosis or stroke decide to start launching legal action against the municipalities in which they live, for the air they breathe.


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