The need for a focus on air pollution research in the elderly.
ABSTRACT During recent years an increasing focus has been directed towards the adverse health effects associated with ambient air pollution. Elderly people appear to be particularly susceptible to the adverse effects involving the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, resulting in symptoms, exacerbations of disease and even mortality. From an epidemiological point of view it is essential to obtain a more detailed description and identification of factors associated with these health effects. Novel study designs are needed with complementary exposure and biomedical characterisation. Long-term prospective studies are required. A better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms is considered important and requires an interaction between epidemiological and mechanistic studies in elderly individuals with or without complementary diseases that put in them especially at risk. Generally a synergy between complementary disciplines is warranted to move this important research area forward, also including in vitro models of cell responses in the elderly, animal models of diseases of the elderly, together with controlled air pollution exposure studies identifying health-related events and mechanisms. The generation of an understanding of air pollution effects in the elderly, at an elevated level, is a prerequisite to substantially reducing the adverse health effects of this population group. At local, national and European Union levels, some steps have been taken to support the research in this area. A major focus on the adverse air pollution effects in the elderly requires a long-term commitment that still remains to be established.
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ABSTRACT: Efforts to understand and mitigate thehealth effects of particulate matter (PM) air pollutionhave a rich and interesting history. This review focuseson six substantial lines of research that have been pursued since 1997 that have helped elucidate our understanding about the effects of PM on human health. There hasbeen substantial progress in the evaluation of PM health effects at different time-scales of exposure and in the exploration of the shape of the concentration-response function. There has also been emerging evidence of PM-related cardiovascular health effects and growing knowledge regarding interconnected general pathophysiological pathways that link PM exposure with cardiopulmonary morbidiity and mortality. Despite important gaps in scientific knowledge and continued reasons for some skepticism, a comprehensive evaluation of the research findings provides persuasive evidence that exposure to fine particulate air pollution has adverse effects on cardiopulmonaryhealth. Although much of this research has been motivated by environmental public health policy, these results have important scientific, medical, and public health implications that are broader than debates over legally mandated air quality standards.Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (1995) 07/2006; 56(6):709-42. · 1.52 Impact Factor