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City Kids May Breathe Easier in the Country
Date:3/13/2009

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., March 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Children with asthma have an easier time breathing if they spend even a few days in the country, safeguarded from urban air pollution, a study led by Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, finds.

The study, published in the March issue of the journal Pediatrics, shows for the first time that limiting allergic children's exposure to outdoor air pollutants can improve lung function while reducing inflammation of the airways.

"This finding is significant because inflammation creates health risks for children with chronic respiratory problems," Dr. Piedimonte explains. "Now we know that simply providing a cleaner environment in terms of air quality helps provide relief fairly rapidly for children with asthma."

He adds, "This study suggests that possibly we could manage asthmatic children with much less medication if the air they breathed was cleaner."

Researchers from the United States and Italy studied 37 Italian children with allergies and mild but persistent asthma, transporting them to a relatively pristine countryside setting - with lower levels of pollution - for a week.

Children recruited for the study were patients ages 7 to 14 at an asthma clinic in Pescara, Italy. For the rural part of the study, the children stayed in a hotel during a school camp in Ovindoli, Italy. They remained medicine-free and treatment-free for the duration of the study so the researchers could make correlations between the environmental air quality and the biomarkers that signal inflammation.

Air pollution, pollen counts and meteorological conditions were monitored at both sites.

"A whole host of pollutants in the air of cities in economically developed countries has contributed to a worldwide rise in ast
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SOURCE West Virginia University Health Sciences Center
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