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Diesel exhaust associated with higher heart attack, stroke risk in men
Date:11/6/2007

his was seen at both two and six hours after diesel exposure.

The researchers also found an increase in platelet activation, assessed by measuring the number of platelets associated with white blood cells. Platelets play a central role in blood clotting, and when they are activated, they associate with white blood cells such as neutrophils and monocytes, Lucking said. Diluted diesel exhaust inhalation increased platelet-neutrophil aggregates from 6.5 percent to 9.2 percent and platelet-monocyte aggregates from 21 percent to 25 percent at two hours after exposure. At six hours, researchers found a trend toward platelet activation, but it was not statistically significant.

After exposure to diesel exhaust, the participants had increased levels of activated platelets that became attached to white blood cells, he said. When activated, the platelets can stick together and form a clot.

High levels of traffic pollution are known to increase the risk of heart attack in the immediate hours or days after exposure. These findings provide a potential mechanism that could link exposure to traffic-derived air pollution with acute heart attack. Its unclear whether these findings would apply to gasoline-powered engines, Lucking said. Diesel engines generate many times more fine pollutant particles than comparable-sized gasoline engines.

Diesel engines are becoming very popular because of increased fuel economy, Lucking said. While diesel engines burn more efficiently, they also put more fine particulate matter into the air.

Lucking encourages physical activity but suggested that people with existing cardiovascular disease try to exercise away from traffic congestion.

The researchers plan to collaborate again with researchers at the University of Umea, Sweden, to test particle traps retrofitted on diesel engines to determine whether these devices are effective in reducing diesel particles.

Exposure to air pollution clearly is detr
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Contact: Karen Astle
karen.astle@heart.org
214-706-1392
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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