Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pollution is heart-breaking

Spikes in pollution are associated with an increase in heart attacks and strokes, but scientists have been at a loss to explain the connection. Now a new study in mice may provide the answer.

Researchers found that mice exposed to the microscopic particles that comprise pollution exhibited significant increases in a blood-clotting protein called interleukin-6 in their lungs. An increase in clotting in response to pollution spikes could explain the rise in heart attacks and strokes, as well as provide a target for therapies that may prevent the deleterious effects.

The findings, which will be published online Sept. 20 by the Journal of Clinical Investigation, will appear in the Oct. 1 print edition of the journal.

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