"The results of this new study, called MESA Air, can be used in future efforts to better define air pollution standards on both an individual and community basis," said Gregory L. Burke, M.D., M.S., professor and chairman of the Department of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest.
With $30 million in funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the researchers will incorporate air pollution assessments in ongoing efforts that are following 6,814 participants from the six-city Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a 10-year study that began in 1999. Participants from the ancillary MESA Family study and three new MESA Air study sites will bring the total number followed to 8,700.
Forsyth County, N.C., is one of six MESA study sites. The others are Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Baltimore and St. Paul. In Los Angeles, in addition to the existing site, additional participants will be recruited from coastal parts of the city that have less pollution, and from a more central area with more pollution. Additional participants from New York will be recruited from an area with more pollution.
In atherosclerosis, also called hardening of the arteries, deposits of fatty substances, cholesterol, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery. The narrower arteries are susceptible to blockages, which are related to heart attacks and most strokes.
The researchers will be measuring the effect of repeated exposure over a 10-year period to six major air pollutants: particulate matter (smoke, soot, airborne dirt and dust), sulfur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and lead. They will be measuring air pollution levels both outside participants' homes and a
Contact: Robert Conn
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center