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The lack of consistent findings across epidemiological studies may be in part because of the different size ranges and exposure metrics examined to characterize ambient UFP exposure. Chen and his co-authors were interested in whether transient UFP exposure could trigger heart attacks and whether alternative metrics such as particle length and surface area concentrations could improve the investigation of UFP-related health effects.
With colleagues from Helmholtz Center Munich, Augsburg University Hospital and Nördlingen Hospital, Chen examined data from a registry of all nonfatal MI cases in Augsburg, Germany. The study looked at more than 5, 898 nonfatal heart attack patients between 2005 and 2015. The individual heart attacks were compared against air pollution UFP data on the hour of the heart attack and adjusted for a range of additional factors, such as the day of the week, long-term time trend and socioeconomic status.
"This represents an important step toward understanding the appropriate indicator of ultrafine particles exposure in determining the short-term health effects, as the effects of particle length and surface concentrations were stronger than the ones of particle number concentration and remained similar after adjustment for other air pollutants," said Chen. "Our future analyses will examine the combined hourly exposures to both air pollution and extreme temperature. We will also identify vulnerable subpopulations regarding pre-existing diseases and medication intake." Source:
Yale School of Public Health Journal reference:
Chen, K., et al. (2020) Hourly Exposure to Ultrafine Particle Metrics and the Onset of Myocardial Infarction in Augsburg, Germany. Environmental Health Perspectives. doi.org/10.1289/EHP5478 .
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