Unborn children acquire asthma through traffic pollution


A researcher doctor in the UK is sounding the call for nationwide attention to the growing instances of pediatric asthma. He believes the condition is acquired prenatally through maternal exposure to traffic pollution.

Dr. Mohammad Shamssain and his research team recently completed a study in Cairo that revealed the impact of high levels of pollution on schoolchildren’s respiratory systems, allergies and asthma. He is hoping to conduct a similar study in England.

He tested the lungs of almost 1400 children ages 7-10 and measured the air pollutants in Cairo while he noted the corresponding levels of asthma, wheezing, eczema and hay fever. Cairo is one of the most traffic congested cities in the world. He has discovered that all over the world, traffic pollution contributes to the premature deaths of two million people each year.

“Our aim is to improve the respiratory health of children, as well as adults and the aging population, by studying lung function, respiratory symptoms and risk factors that might cause diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD),” explain Dr. Shamssain, a senior lecturer in human physiology - respiratory pathophysiology and epidemiology at the University of Sunderland.

“We have identified that pollutants such as nitrogen and sulphur dioxide as well as particle matter from vehicle exhausts and road dust is linked to the onset of asthma. The risk can start from the time a child is in the womb, as the placenta does not offer protection to mothers exposed to pollutants,” he explained.

Source: University of Sunderland, ScienceDaily


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