Air pollution, pollens, and daily admissions for asthma in London 1987-92. (1/445)

BACKGROUND: A study was undertaken to investigate the relationship between daily hospital admissions for asthma and air pollution in London in 1987-92 and the possible confounding and modifying effects of airborne pollen. METHODS: For all ages together and the age groups 0-14, 15-64 and 65+ years, Poisson regression was used to estimate the relative risk of daily asthma admissions associated with changes in ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particles (black smoke), controlling for time trends, seasonal factors, calendar effects, influenza epidemics, temperature, humidity, and autocorrelation. Independent effects of individual pollutants and interactions with aeroallergens were explored using two pollutant models and models including pollen counts (grass, oak and birch). RESULTS: In all-year analyses ozone was significantly associated with admissions in the 15-64 age group (10 ppb eight hour ozone, 3.93% increase), nitrogen dioxide in the 0-14 and 65+ age groups (10 ppb 24 hour nitrogen dioxide, 1.25% and 2.96%, respectively), sulphur dioxide in the 0-14 age group (10 micrograms/m3 24 hour sulphur dioxide, 1.64%), and black smoke in the 65% age group (10 micrograms/m3 black smoke, 5.60%). Significant seasonal differences were observed for ozone in the 0-14 and 15-64 age groups, and in the 0-14 age group there were negative associations with ozone in the cool season. In general, cumulative lags of up to three days tended to show stronger and more significant effects than single day lags. In two-pollutant models these associations were most robust for ozone and least for nitrogen dioxide. There was no evidence that the associations with air pollutants were due to confounding by any of the pollens, and little evidence of an interaction between pollens and pollution except for synergism of sulphur dioxide and grass pollen in children (p < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particles were all found to have significant associations with daily hospital admissions for asthma, but there was a lack of consistency across the age groups in the specific pollutant. These associations were not explained by confounding by airborne pollens nor was there convincing evidence that the effects of air pollutants and airborne pollens interact in causing hospital admissions for asthma.  (+info)

Comparison between two districts of the effects of an air pollution intervention on bronchial responsiveness in primary school children in Hong Kong. (2/445)

STUDY OBJECTIVE: This study examined the impact on children's respiratory health of a government air quality intervention that restricted the sulphur content of fuels to 0.5% from July 1990 onwards. DESIGN/SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: This study examined the changes, one and two years after the introduction of the intervention, in airway hyperreactivity of non-asthmatic and non-wheezing, primary 4, 5, and 6, school children aged 9-12 years living in a polluted district compared with those in a less polluted district. Bronchial hyperreactivity (BHR)(a 20% decrease in FEV1 provoked by a cumulative dose of histamine less than 7.8 mumol) and bronchial reactivity slope (BR slope) (percentage change in logarithmic scale in FEV1 per unit dose of histamine) were used to estimate responses to a histamine challenge. The between districts differences after the intervention were studied to assess the effectiveness of the intervention. MAIN RESULTS: In cohorts, comparing measurements made before the intervention and one year afterwards, both BHR and BR slope declined from 29% to 16% (p = 0.026) and from 48 to 39 (p = 0.075) respectively in the polluted district; and from 21% to 10% (p = 0.001) and 42 to 36 (p > 0.100) in the less polluted district. Comparing measurements made in 1991 (one year after intervention) with those in 1992 (two years after intervention), only the polluted district showed a significant decline from 28% to 12% (p = 0.016) and from 46 to 35 (p = 0.014), for BHR and BR slope respectively, with a greater decline in both responses (p = 0.018 and 0.073) than in the less polluted district. CONCLUSION: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness tests can be used to support the evaluation of an air quality intervention. The demonstrated reduction in bronchial hyperresponsiveness is an indication of the effectiveness of the intervention.  (+info)

Association of air pollution with daily GP consultations for asthma and other lower respiratory conditions in London. (3/445)

BACKGROUND: Very few published studies have looked at the effects of air pollution on health in the primary care setting. As part of a large study to examine the association between air pollution and a number of health outcomes, the relationship between daily GP consultations for asthma and other lower respiratory diseases (LRD) and air pollution in London was investigated. METHODS: Time-series analysis of daily numbers of GP consultations controlling for time trends, seasonal factors, day of week cycles, influenza, weather, pollen levels, and serial correlation was performed. Consultation data were available from between 268 718 and 295 740 registered patients from 45-47 London practices contributing to the General Practice Research Database during 1992-4. RESULTS: Positive associations, weakly significant and consistent across lags, were observed between asthma consultations and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and carbon monoxide (CO) in children and particulate matter of less than 10 microm in diameter (PM10) in adults, and between other LRD consultations and sulphur dioxide (SO2) in children. A consistently negative association with ozone in children was observed in both disease categories. The effect estimates of most pollutants were much larger when analysed separately by season, particularly in the children: percentage change in asthma consultations during the warm season (April-September) for a 10-90th percentile increase in 24 hour NO2 lagged by one day = 13.2% (95% CI 5.6 to 21.3), with CO = 11.4% (95% CI 3.3 to 20.0), and with SO2 = 9.0% (95% CI 2.2 to 16.2). In adults the only association consistent over different lag periods was with PM10 = 9.2% (3.7 to 15.1). The associations of pollution and consultations for LRD were increased mainly in the winter months: percentage change in consultations by children in winter with NO2 = 7.2% (95% CI 2.8 to 11.6), CO = 6.2% (95% CI 2.3 to 10.2), and SO2 = 5.8% (95% CI 1.6 to 10.2). CONCLUSIONS: There are associations between air pollution and daily consultations for asthma and other lower respiratory disease in London. The most significant associations were observed in children and the most important pollutants were NO2, CO, and SO2. In adults the only consistent association was with PM10.  (+info)

Galileo imaging of atmospheric emissions from Io. (4/445)

The Galileo spacecraft has detected diffuse optical emissions from Io in high-resolution images acquired while the satellite was eclipsed by Jupiter. Three distinct components make up Io's visible emissions. Bright blue glows of more than 300 kilorayleighs emanate from volcanic plumes, probably due to electron impact on molecular sulfur dioxide. Weaker red emissions, possibly due to atomic oxygen, are seen along the limbs, brighter on the pole closest to the plasma torus. A faint green glow appears concentrated on the night side of Io, possibly produced by atomic sodium. Io's disk-averaged emission diminishes with time after entering eclipse, whereas the localized blue glows brighten instead.  (+info)

Point source sulphur dioxide peaks and hospital presentations for asthma. (5/445)

OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect on hospital presentations for asthma of brief exposures to sulphur dioxide (SO2) (within the range 0-8700 micrograms/m3) emanating from two point sources in a remote rural city of 25,000 people. METHODS: A time series analysis of SO2 concentrations and hospital presentations for asthma was undertaken at Mount Isa where SO2 is released into the atmosphere by a copper smelter and a lead smelter. The study examined 5 minute block mean SO2 concentrations and daily hospital presentations for asthma, wheeze, or shortness of breath. Generalised linear models and generalised additive models based on a Poisson distribution were applied. RESULTS: There was no evidence of any positive relation between peak SO2 concentrations and hospital presentations or admissions for asthma, wheeze, or shortness of breath. CONCLUSION: Brief exposures to high concentrations of SO2 emanating from point sources at Mount Isa do not cause sufficiently serious symptoms in asthmatic people to require presentation to hospital.  (+info)

Respiratory tract inflammation during the induction of chronic bronchitis in rats: role of C-fibres. (6/445)

The hypothesis that chronic stimulation of C-fibres by inhaled irritants contributes to the inflammatory changes that occur during the development of chronic bronchitis was tested. The effect of neonatal capsaicin pretreatment on the development of respiratory tract inflammation was examined in a rat model of chronic bronchitis induced by SO2 exposure. Adult capsaicin- and vehicle-treated rats were exposed to SO2 (250 parts per million (ppm) 5 h x day(-1)) for one day, 2 weeks or 4 weeks. Nasal (NL), airway (AL) and bronchoalveolar (BAL) lavages were performed and the number and types of cells in the lavage fluids measured. SO2-induced changes in ventilation were also measured on day 1 of SO2 exposure and in the 3rd and 5th week of exposure. In the vehicle-treated rats, neutrophils became elevated in NL after just one day of SO2 exposure, in AL after 2 weeks, and in the BAL after 4 weeks. In comparison to vehicle animals, more neutrophils were recovered in the AL of capsaicin-treated rats after one day of SO2 (p=0.012), and in the BAL after 2 or 4 weeks (p=0.004 and p=0.01, respectively). On day 1, SO2 caused a transient increase in tidal volume and a sustained decrease in frequency that was not different in capsaicin- and vehicle-treated rats. With continued exposure, these ventilatory responses to SO2 were attenuated in both groups of rats. These data support the hypothesis that the presence of C-fibres limits or delays the inflammation that occurs during the development of chronic bronchitis induced by SO2 exposure. The protective effect of C-fibres is not the result of ventilatory responses to stimulation of these afferents.  (+info)

Sulphur dioxide sensitivity and plasma antioxidants in adult subjects with asthma. (7/445)

OBJECTIVES: To screen adult subjects with asthma for sensitivity to inhaled sulphur dioxide (SO2) and identify subject characteristics associated with that sensitivity. Medication use, symptoms, and plasma antioxidant nutrients between SO2 responders and non-responders were compared. METHODS: Adult subjects (ages 18-39 years) with asthma were exposed to 0.5 ppm SO2 for 10 minutes during moderate exercise. Pulmonary function tests and symptom ratings were assessed before and after exposure (n = 47). A subject was classified as sensitive to SO2 if forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) showed a drop > or = 8% over baseline. Blood samples were obtained from subjects (n = 38) before the SO2 challenge; plasma ascorbate, alpha-tocopherol, retinol, carotenoids, and lipids were measured. RESULTS: Of the 47 subjects screened, 53% had a drop in FEV1 > or = 8% (ranging from -8% to -44%). Among those 25 subjects, the mean drop in FEV1 was -17.2%. Baseline pulmonary function indices (FEV1% of predicted and FEV1/FVC% (forced vital capacity)) did not predict sensitivity to SO2. Although use of medication was inversely related to changes in pulmonary function after SO2 (p < 0.05), both SO2 responders and non-responders were represented in each medication category. Total symptom scores after exposure were significantly correlated with changes in FEV1 (p < 0.05), FVC (p < 0.05), and peak expiratory flow (PEF) (p < 0.01) but not forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% vital capacity (FEF25-75). Plasma beta-carotene concentrations were inversely associated with PEF values and ascorbate concentrations were inversely associated with FEV1 and FEV1/FVC (p = 0.05 in all cases). High density lipoprotein concentrations were positively correlated with FEV1% of predicted (p < 0.05) and inversely correlated with change in FEF25-75 (p < 0.05) after SO2. CONCLUSION: These results show that the response to SO2 among adults with mild to moderate asthma is very diverse. Severity of asthma defined by medication category was not a predictor of sensitivity to SO2. Lung function values were associated with beta-carotene and ascorbate concentrations in plasma; however, plasma antioxidant nutrient concentrations were not associated with sensitivity to inhaled SO2.  (+info)

Climate change as a regulator of tectonics on Venus. (8/445)

Tectonics, volcanism, and climate on Venus may be strongly coupled. Large excursions in surface temperature predicted to follow a global or near-global volcanic event diffuse into the interior and introduce thermal stresses of a magnitude sufficient to influence widespread tectonic deformation. This sequence of events accounts for the timing and many of the characteristics of deformation in the ridged plains of Venus, the most widely preserved volcanic terrain on the planet.  (+info)