Tuesday, April 3, 2018

More Air Pollution Equals Shorter telomeres

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There has been growing evidence that large exposure time to air pollution can result in developing health problems. Such as cancer, heart diseases, and respiratory illnesses. In a study done by JAMA Pediatrics, they have observed that moms that were exposed to air pollution for a longer period of time during pregnancy resulted in their babies having shorter telomeres. A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. This study was conducted on 641 newborns whose mothers were exposed to high levels of air pollution. It was determined that these newborns were born with 8.8% shorter telomeres in their cord blood cells and 13.2% shorter telomeres in their placenta cells than those whose mothers were exposed to less pollution.
Air pollution had the strongest impact on the babies when the mothers were exposed during the second trimester. Surprisingly mothers that were exposed to high levels of air pollution during their third trimester resulted in the babies being born with longer telomeres to those whose mothers were exposed to less air pollution. It is not yet clear how these newborns would have benefitted from air pollution that would increase their telomeres. This study indicated that these newborns would age faster throughout their lifetime because of having shorter telomeres. A couple other factors to keep in mind are that air pollution could have not been the only leading cause of for the shortening of the babies telomeres, events such as stress, smoking, violence can have an impact on the baby's development.



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