Saturday, 20 January 2018

Air Pollution Linked to Kidney Disease

Air pollution is well known to be a health hazard, hence the drive in many countries to switch to lead free petrol and improve the way deisel engines work to reduce dangerous exhaust fumes. And of course fuel efficient cars giving higher miles per gallon means less fuel being burnt, which automatically reduces your car's contribution to pollution. So don't drive around in large engined gas guzzlers!

And, unfortunately, now we can add kidney disease to the problems caused by pollution.

A recent article published in the Journal of the American Society of Neprology followed 2,482,737 veterans for an average of 8 and a half years (so quite a big long-term study, which increases the accuracy of the results).

Combining data from NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency, their detailed analyses showed a linear relationship between PM2.5 (a class of partical size) concentrations and risk of kidney outcomes. Exposure estimates derived from National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data yielded consistent results. Our findings demonstrate a significant association between exposure to PM2.5 and risk of incident CKD, eGFR decline, and ESRD.

Experimental laboratory evidence suggests that exposure to deep exhaust particles leads to disturbances in renal hemodynamics, promotes oxidative stress, inflammation, and DNA damage in renal tissue, exacerbates AKI, and further promulgates chronic renal injury in murine models. And now they've shown the risk to humans is just as real. They calculated that pollution was resulting in an annual increase of 44,793 cases of CKD, with 2,438 cases requring dialysis.

It's great to see the work of NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency being put to such good use, to increase public awareness of the health risks of airborne pollution.