Asthma Linked to Congested Highways

Newswise–Researchers at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., found that living near a heavily congested highway correlates with a higher presence of asthma.

In a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, the researchers found higher rates of asthma among those living closer to Interstate 278, near a portion known locally as the Gowanus Expressway, and lower rates of disease in those living in the same community but farther from the Interstate.

SUNY Downstate’s Maria-Anna Vastardi, MD, said, “Our participants were randomly recruited and we observed that the patients who reported asthma live significantly closer to the Gowanus Expressway, compared to the healthy controls who live in the same area, but at a longer distance from the Gowanus.”

The findings indicate that proximity to a heavily trafficked highway correlates with the presence of asthma in adults, but not with seasonal allergy, according to Dr. Vastardi. The results suggest that vehicle emissions may increase the risk for developing inflammatory lung disease in adults.

The study involved 62 adults recruited from the outpatient department of Lutheran Medical Center, including 45 patients with rhinoconjunctivitis or asthma and 17 healthy controls.

Dr. Vastardi gave an oral presentation of her findings at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Vastardi is a first-year fellow in Downstate’s Division of Allergy and Immunology.

SOURCE: SUNY Downstate Medical Center