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| 11 December, 2017

Air pollution linked with bone health

New research has found a link between osteoporosis and pollution

Image used for illustrative purpose. People walk behind a road sign at a closed toll gate on a highway in Jilin city, Jilin province, October 22, 2013.

Image used for illustrative purpose. People walk behind a road sign at a closed toll gate on a highway in Jilin city, Jilin province, October 22, 2013.

Reuters/Stringer

Studies recently published in Lancet Planetary Health found a link between levels of air pollution and an increase in the frequency of bone fractures.

One study looked at the medical records of 9.2 million Medicare members over the age of 65 living in the US.

Researchers concluded that those living in locations with higher concentrations of pollution, were 42 per cent more likely to be admitted to hospital for bone fractures. Research also established that for those living in low-income areas, the risk increased by an additional 7.6 per cent.

The second study of 692 middle-aged men living in low-income districts of Boston in the US had lower than average levels of parathyroid hormone in their blood. Parathyroid hormone helps regulate calcium levels in the blood, needed for rebuilding bones.

They also discovered that men had more bone loss than average in their thigh bones and lower arm bones. The scientists associated the condition to the high levels of black carbon and small particle matter or air pollution in the neighbourhood where the men lived.

The research was carried out by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, New England Research Institute, Northwestern University, the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, with contributions from other institutions.

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