If you don’t know this about me by now, I need to confess something, I’m a bit of a geek. I love Star Trek (all of em), and I regularly check the NASA website to see how the Voyager pairs are doing. And yes, of course I follow the Mars rover’s twitter feed, who wouldn’t?. So as I was perusing my issue of Chest recently, there was a study that really got my attention. It wasn’t only because of the incredibly important issue of Cystic Fibrosis and identifying what causes exacerbations. It was the novel way that the authors identified air pollution as a factor that contributed to CF exacerbations.
Air pollution has long been thought to play a role in leading to lung disease. Air pollution is also thought to contribute to exacerbations in people with known lung disease such as asthma, COPD, and Cystic Fibrosis. However, these correlations have been difficult to show, and have primarily depended upon looking at admission rates for people with exacerbations of lung disease during periods where there is a known environmental anomaly or excess pollution. Unfortunately such conditions are not very predictable.
A study published in this month’s issue of Chest showed an intriguing relationship between air pollution and exacerbations of cystic fibrosis. What was intriguing to me about this study was not only that the authors showed a relationship between CF exacerbations and environmental pollution, but also how they set about demonstrating an association between the two.
They first went back and identified 2204 individual CF exacerbations that occurred at their institution in Belgium. Using the patients’ home addresses, they calculated concentrations of particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide the patients would have been exposed to around the time of their exacerbations. Continue reading “The Relationship Between Cystic Fibrosis Exacerbations and Environmental Pollution.”