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Air Pollution Could Trigger Appendicitis

Tuesday, 06 Oct 2009 09:57 AM

A Canadian study has linked air pollution with appendicitis in adults, possibly as a result of the body’s response to inflammation.
The study looked at 5,191 adults admitted to hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Just over half of the admissions occurred during the warmest months of the year, when people are most likely to be outside.
Scientists always have believed that appendicitis was the obstruction of the appendix opening. But records show that cases of appendicitis increased dramatically in industrialized countries in the 19th and 20th centuries, although they decreased in the middle of the 20th century, according to the study at the University of Calgary, University of Toronto, and Health Canada.
The dramatic decrease coincided with legislation to improve air quality. The incidence of appendicitis has been growing in developing countries, however, as they become more industrialized and their air more polluted, said the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Using air pollution data from Calgary, the researchers determined the levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide and other air-borne pollutants along with temperature. They found that higher levels of ozone and nitrogen dioxide were linked to higher incidence of appendicitis. Men were especially vulnerable.
"For unexplained reasons, men are more likely than women to have appendicitis," wrote Dr. Gilaad Kaplan of the University of Calgary and coauthors. "Men may be more susceptible to the effects of outdoor air pollution because they are more likely to be employed in outdoor occupations."
Although the Canadian researchers aren’t sure how air pollution increases the risk, they suggested that pollutants may trigger inflammatory responses.

© HealthDay

 
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