Tuesday April 23, 2019

Air Pollution Linked to Changes in Heart Structure

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart, the findings showed

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Air Pollution.
Air pollution may also lead to changes in heart structure. Pixabay

Researchers have found that people exposed to even low levels of air pollution can have changes in the structure of the heart, similar to those seen in the early stages of heart failure.

For every one extra microgram per cubic metre of PM2.5 — small particles of air pollution — and for every 10 extra microgram per cubic metre of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), the heart enlarges by approximately 1 per cent, showed the findings of the Britain-based study published in the journal Circulation.

“Although our study was observational and hasn’t yet shown a causal link, we saw significant changes in the heart, even at relatively low levels of air pollution exposure,” said one of the researchers Nay Aung from Queen Mary University of London.

For the study, the researchers looked at data from around 4,000 participants in the UK Biobank study, where volunteers provided a range of personal information, including their lifestyles, health record and details on where they have lived.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart,
Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart. Pixabay

Participants also had blood tests and health scans, and heart MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) was used to measure the size, weight and function of the participants’ hearts at fixed times.

The team found a clear association between those who lived near loud, busy roads, and were exposed to nitrogen dioxide or PM2.5 and the development of larger right and left ventricles in the heart.

Also Read: Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year

The ventricles are important pumping chambers in the heart and, although these participants were healthy and had no symptoms, similar heart remodelling is seen in the early stages of heart failure.

Higher exposures to the pollutants were linked to more significant changes in the structure of the heart, the findings showed. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Develop, New Adhesive Patch That Can Minimize Heart Attack Damage

For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage. 

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Heart
The researchers said the patch, which costs "less than a penny", has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material's mechanical properties. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a new adhesive patch that could reduce the stretching of cardiac muscle following a heart attack.

Developed by a team of researchers from Brown University, US; Fudan University, China and Soochow University, China, the patch is made from a water-based hydrogel material and can be placed directly on the heart to prevent left ventricular remodelling — a stretching of the heart muscle.

A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber.

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The researchers say the initial results are promising for eventual use in human clinical trials. Pixabay

“Part of the reason that it’s hard for the heart to recover after a heart attack is that it has to keep pumping,” said co-author Huajian Gao, a professor at Brown University.

“The idea here is to provide mechanical support for damaged tissue, which hopefully gives it a chance to heal,” he added.

The researchers said the patch, which costs “less than a penny”, has been optimised using a computer model of the heart to perfectly match the material’s mechanical properties.

“If the material is too hard or stiff, then you could confine the movement of the heart so that it can’t expand to the volume it needs to,” Gao said.

“But if the material is too soft, then it won’t provide enough support. So we needed some mechanical principles to guide us,” he pointed out.

For the research, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team tested the patch with rats and showed that the patch could be effective in reducing post-heart attack damage.

heart
A heart attack puts the cardiac muscle at a risk of stretching out that can reduce the functioning of the heart’s main pumping chamber. Pixabay

“The patch provided nearly optimal mechanical supports after myocardial infarction (i.e. massive death of cardiomyocytes),” said co-author Ning Sun, a cardiology researcher at Fudan University.

“[It] maintained a better cardiac output and thus greatly reduced the overload of those remaining cardiomyocytes and adverse cardiac remodelling.”

Also Read: China’s Political System Helps It To Take A Lead in Artificial Intelligence

The researchers say the initial results are promising for eventual use in human clinical trials.

“It remains to be seen if it will work in humans, but it’s very promising,” Gao said. (IANS)