Blood Vessels in Eye Reveal Connection Between Heart Disease and Air Pollution
December 1, 2010 11:18 AM
comment(s) - last by
Narrowing of retinal arterioles could indicate heart attack or stroke
Researchers from the
University of Washington - Seattle
University of Michigan
have found that a closer look at blood vessels in the eye shows a connection between
heart disease and air pollution
Dr. Joel Kaufman, study leader and professor of medicine and occupational and environmental health sciences at the University of Washington, along with Sara Adar, co-author of the study and research assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of public Health, have used digital photography to observe blood vessels in the eye and found a link between air pollution and heart disease in the process.
Up until this point, previous studies have indicated that heart disease may be linked to pollution, but the study conducted by Kaufman and Adar is the first to observe the connection between pollution and tiny blood vessels, called the microvasculature.
Kaufman and Adar found this link by digitally photographing the tiny
located in the back of our eyes. These vessels are very similar to those found in the heart, but it is much easier to photograph those that are in the eye because they can be measured without the use of anesthesia or probes.
Researchers used 4,607 participants who had no
history of heart disease
and were between the ages of 45 and 84. They snapped digital photos of the retina and calculated the fine particulate matter in the air of each participant's home. They performed this procedure over a two year span before the eye exam, and also measured short-term exposure by checking pollution levels the day before the eye exam.
Kaufman and Adar concluded that healthy people exposed to increased levels of air pollution had "narrower retinal arterioles." The pollution levels throughout the study were, for the most part, below the EPA's
, but the tiny blood vessels still narrowed by 1/100th of a human hair. This may not seem like much, but researchers warn that this is enough to indicate a higher risk of heart disease. If all microvasculature in the body were affected the same way, it could lead to severe health consequences like a stroke or heart attack.
When comparing short-term with long-term exposure, the study shows that participants with short-term exposure to pollution had the microvascular blood vessels of a person that is three years older while long-term exposure left participants with microvascular blood vessels of a person seven years older. According to Adar, this type of change would mean a three percent increase of heart disease risk for women who live in polluted areas as opposed to cleaner ones. Adar did not note what the percentage of increased risk for men would be.
"The fact that this study identified a relationship between microvascular width and
exposures provides a strong potential link between the epidemiological observations of more cardiovascular events like fatal heart attacks with higher pollution exposures and a verifiable biological mechanism," said Kaufman.
Kaufman and Adar are continuing to study the effects over time in this same group of participants. They are looking to see if air pollution causes changes in vessel diameters over time in order to provide more evidence that air pollution causes the narrowing of the tiny blood vessels, thus proving that it is linked to heart disease.
was published in
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
12/1/2010 12:42:40 PM
The gas mask photoshopped into the boy on the right doesn't even look right. And the one dad is wearing looks crooked and a bit too high on his head.
12/1/2010 1:44:49 PM
You win a medal for uncovering this vast conspiracy!
12/1/2010 7:30:09 PM
Ah, the sweet life of a fully deregulated world where corporate-ocracy runs the nation.
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls
New Therapeutic Implant Saves Those with Mild to Moderate Heart Failure
November 15, 2010, 10:52 AM
Researchers Directly Convert Human Skin Cells into Blood Stem Cells
November 8, 2010, 12:52 PM
Eastern China Has Poorest Air Quality in the World
September 28, 2010, 2:03 PM
Inside Lines Tests Plug-in Prius, London Violates EU Air Pollution Guidelines
June 29, 2010, 3:30 PM
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Band 2 Stays Focused on Fitness, Debuts Oct. 30, Priced at $249
October 6, 2015, 9:16 PM
Microsoft's HD-500 ("Display Dock"), the Magic Sauce Behind Continuum
October 6, 2015, 5:30 PM
Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL Finally Launch, w/ Windows 10, Liquid Cooling
October 6, 2015, 3:35 PM
Legere Blasts Microsoft for "Bull***t" Snub of T-Mobile and Verizon
October 9, 2015, 3:02 PM
Apple's First Fixes to iOS 9 Land w/ iOS 9.0.1 Release
September 23, 2015, 6:11 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information