Hopkins Med News Update

NEWS STORIES IN THIS ISSUE:

-Study: Race and Ethnicity May Impact Prevalence and Treatment of Heart Valve Dysfunction
-Johns Hopkins Medicine Suggests Eliminating Nerve Cell Protein May Stop ALS, Dementia
-Researchers Tell Doctors to Avoid Routine Urinary Tests for Older Patients with Delirium
-Johns Hopkins Medicine Researchers Show How Air Pollution May Cause Chronic Sinusitis
-Researchers ID Location on Brain Protein Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development
-COVID-19 News: The Return of Onsite Schooling — and How to Keep Your Kids Safe from COVID

COVID-19 Shutdowns Reveal Racial Disparities in Exposure to Air Pollution

A new GW study of COVID-19 shutdowns in the United States reveals pronounced disparities in air pollution — with disenfranchised, minority neighborhoods still experiencing more exposure to a harmful air pollutant compared to wealthier, white communities.

How air pollution changed during COVID-19 in Park City, Utah

Throughout the pandemic, air sensors watched during lockdowns as air pollution fell in residential and commercial areas, and then as pollution rose again with reopenings. The changing levels, the researchers found, which behaved differently in residential and commercial parts of the city, show where pollution is coming from and how it might change in the future under different policies.

Empowering a Neighborhood to Breathe Easy

Companies like Purple Air and IQAir, with air pollution sensors that cost under $300, have brought air quality monitoring to the masses. But when Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Tom Kirchstetter looked at Purple Air’s map last year during wildfire season, he noticed a big hole in Richmond, a city of 110,000 to the north of Berkeley.

Increased use of household fireworks creates a public health hazard, UCI study finds

Irvine, Calif., June 29, 2021 – Fireworks are synonymous in the United States with the celebration of Independence Day and other special events, but the colorful displays have caused a growing risk to public safety in recent years, according to a study by environmental health researchers at the University of California, Irvine.

Research News Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins Medicine

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Medicine Media Relations is focused on disseminating current, accurate and useful information to the public via the media. As part of that effort, we are distributing our “COVID-19 Tip Sheet: Story Ideas from Johns Hopkins” every other Wednesday.

In Utero Exposure to Tiny Pollution Particles in the Air Is Linked to Asthma in Preschoolers, Study Shows

Women who were highly exposed to ultra-fine particles in air pollution during their pregnancy were more likely to have children who developed asthma, according to a study published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in May. This is the first time asthma has been linked with prenatal exposure to this type of air pollution, which is named for its tiny size and which is not regulated or routinely monitored in the United States.

Greening the Earth and Improving Health through Human-Powered Transport

Driving has become a way of life for people throughout the world. However, heavy reliance on gas-powered vehicles contributes to three problems (global climate change, air pollution and physical inactivity) that result in millions of deaths per year. As developing…

The Role of Air Pollution in Pulmonary Fibrosis

To mark Clean Air Month, the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) aims to increase public understanding of the role air pollution has in the development of interstitial lung diseases (ILD) such as pulmonary fibrosis (PF), including how polluted air can make you sick and the telltale signs to be aware of.

As Wildfires Increase in Severity, Experts Call for Coordinated Federal Response;

In advance of a wildfire season projected to be among the worst, the American Thoracic Society has released a report that calls for a unified federal response to wildfires that includes investment in research on smoke exposure and forecasting, health impacts of smoke, evaluation of interventions, and a clear and coordinated communication strategy to protect public health.

@POTUS decision comes at a time when we are bracing for a particularly challenging #wildfire season: Dr. Mary Rice. @atscommunity

Mary Rice, MD, MPH,  is a pulmonary and critical care physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.  As a physician, she cares for adults with respiratory disease, including asthma and chronic obstructive…

George Washington University Experts Available for Interviews on Climate Change, Air Pollution and Sustainability

WASHINGTON (April 16, 2021) — For Earth Day 2021, President Joe Biden has invited 40 world leaders to take part in a virtual summit to focus on solutions for climate change and other environmental problems. The George Washington University has experts who…

COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgent global need to control air pollution

More than 91 percent of the world’s population lives in areas that exceed air quality guidelines recommended by the World Health Organization, and more people are impacted by worsening air quality each year. Ambient air pollution – including potentially harmful pollutants such as small particles and toxic gases emitted by industries, households, cars and trucks – has been shown to worsen viral respiratory infections. Now, new studies are showing a similar association between ambient air pollution and worse COVID-19 outcomes.

COVID-19 Pandemic Highlights the Urgent Global Need to Control Air Pollution

A new commentary published online in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society provides an exhaustive examination of published research that discusses whether air pollution may be linked to worse COVID-19 outcomes. The studies that the authors examined look at several potential disease mechanisms, and also at the relationship between pollution, respiratory viruses and health disparities.

Raising climate ambitions could save millions of lives

Adopting policies that are consistent with achieving the Paris Agreement and prioritize health, could annually save millions of lives due to healthier diets, cleaner air, and increased physical activity.

Pre-COVID Subway Air Polluted from DC to Boston, But New York Region’s Is the Worst, Study Finds

New York City’s transit system exposes riders to more inhaled pollutants than any other metropolitan subway system in the Northeastern United States, a new study finds. Yet even its “cleaner” neighbors struggle with enough toxins to give health-conscious travelers pause.

Study Links Intensive Blood Pressure Lowering to Reduced Cardiovascular Risk in Patients Exposed to High Levels of Air Pollution

In a new study published this week in the journal Hypertension, researchers at University Hospitals (UH) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine found intensive BP lowering is effective in reducing cardiovascular risk in patients exposed to high levels of air pollution.

Living near Trees May Prevent Vascular Damage from Pollution

Living near an abundance of green vegetation can offset the negative effects of air pollution on blood vessel health. The first-of-its-kind study is published ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology.

EPA Attacks Science and Breaks Precedent in Final Data Transparency Rule

The American Thoracic Society opposes the EPA’s final rule on Data Transparency issued in the waning days of the Trump Administration. The final rule, which is the focus of a press conference today, is a continuation of the Trump Administration’s persistent attack on the science showing the adverse health effects of environmental pollution. This rule would exclude vital scientific data from future EPA decision-making and make patient confidential information more vulnerable to public disclosure.

Taking greenhouse gas analysis on the road, er, rails

Since 2014, the University of Utah has maintained research-grade suites of air quality instruments installed on light rail trains. These mobile sensors cover the same area as 30 stationary sensors, providing the Salt Lake Valley with a highly cost-effective way to monitor its greenhouse emissions and fill in gaps in emissions estimates.

Air pollution spikes linked to lower test scores for Salt Lake County third graders

More frequent exposure to air pollution spikes were associated with reduced test scores for third graders in Salt Lake County. Schools with a higher proportion of students of color and from households experiencing poverty were exposed to more peak pollution days than were schools serving middle- to upper- class and predominately white students.

Pandemic lockdowns caused steep and lasting carbon dioxide decline

An international team of climate experts, including Earth system scientists at the University of California, Irvine, today released an assessment of carbon dioxide emissions by industry, transportation and other sectors from January through June, showing that this year’s pandemic lockdowns resulted in a 9 percent decline from 2019 levels.

New Research Shows Air Pollution Could Play a Role in Development of Cardiometabolic Diseases, Diabetes

Air pollution is the world’s leading environmental risk factor, and causes more than nine million deaths per year. New research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation shows air pollution may play a role in the development of cardiometabolic diseases, such as diabetes. Importantly, the effects were reversible with cessation of exposure.

Understanding Molecular Mechanisms of Air Pollution’s Impact on Interstitial Lung Disease is Critical to Minimizing its Effects

More research must be done to investigate the role of air pollution on the epigenome in patients with interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), in order to develop strategies that minimize the effects of these pollutants, according to a new article published online in the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Study: Air pollution from fracking linked to deaths in Pennsylvania

Approximately 20 people in Pennsylvania lost their lives during a seven-year period because of particulate matter pollution emitted by shale gas wells, according to a recent study including faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

EPA Proposal to Change How It Evaluates Environmental Policy Ignores Science

The American Thoracic Society is extremely concerned with today’s announcement about changes in how the EPA evaluates the costs and benefits of environmental policy. While the details of economic analysis of environmental regulations are complex, the guiding principle is remarkably simple: compare all the costs and benefits of agency actions. The proposed changes in how costs and benefits are evaluated will sufficiently degrade the credibility of economic analysis conducted at the EPA to the point that it is no longer able to function as an objective policy analysis tool.

Persistent inequitable exposure to air pollution in Salt Lake County schools

Salt Lake County, Utah’s air pollution is at times the worst in the United States. Underserved neighborhoods—and their schools—experience the highest concentrations. A new study utilized nearly 200 PM 2.5 sensors through the Air Quality and U network and revealed persistent social inequalities in Salt Lake County schools.

Earth Day 2020: The Human Element

​​​​​​​Fifty years ago, San José State University​ alumnus and Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson established the first Earth Day, which took place across the country on April 22. But what does Earth Day 2020 look like in the midst of a global pandemic? We asked Steve LaDochy, Ph.D., professor of geosciences and environment at Cal State LA, an expert in air pollution and climate, to reflect on the ways in which our human impact has become even more clear in recent weeks, and how it could inform our future actions.