Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health: Aspirin may halve air pollution harms

27 Oct

Yvette Brazier in the article, Uses, benefits, and risks of aspirin, which was reviewed by Justin Choi, MD, wrote:

Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), is commonly used as a pain reliever for minor aches and pains and to reduce fever. It is also an anti-inflammatory drug and can be used as a blood thinner.
People with a high risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack can use aspirin long-term in low doses.
Aspirin contains salicylate, which derives from willow bark. Its use was first recorded around 400 BCE, in the time of Hippocrates, when people chewed willow bark to relieve inflammation and fever.
It is often given to patients immediately after a heart attack to prevent further clot formation and cardiac tissue death.
Fast facts on aspirin
Here are some key points about aspirin. More detail is in the main article.
• Aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world.
• It comes from salicylate, which can be found in plants such as willow trees and myrtle.
• Aspirin was the first non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to be discovered.
• It interacts with a number of other drugs, including warfarin and methotrexate.
What is aspirin?
Aspirin has a range of uses, including the treatment of pain and inflammation and reduction of blood clotting.
Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).
NSAIDs are medications with the following effects:
• Analgesic: Relieves pain without anesthesia or loss of consciousness
• Antipyretic: Reduces a fever
• Anti-inflammatory: Lowers inflammation when used in higher doses
Non-steroidal means they are not steroids. Steroids often have similar benefits, but they can have unwanted side effects.
As analgesics, NSAIDs tend to be non-narcotic. This means they do not cause insensibility or stupor. Aspirin was the first NSAID to be discovered…. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161255.php

Another use for aspirin is to reduce the harm caused by pollution.

Science Daily reported in Aspirin may halve air pollution harm:

A new study is the first to report evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin may lessen the adverse effects of air pollution exposure on lung function. The team of researchers from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine published their findings in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The researchers analyzed a subset of data collected from a cohort of 2,280 male veterans from the greater Boston area who were given tests to determine their lung function. The average age of participants was 73 years. The researchers examined the relationship between test results, self-reported NSAID use, and ambient particulate matter (PM) and black carbon in the month preceding the test, while accounting for a variety of factors, including the health status of the subject and whether or not he was a smoker. They found that the use of any NSAID nearly halved of the effect of PM on lung function, with the association consistent across all four weekly air pollution measurements from same-day to 28 days prior to the lung function test.
Because most of the people in the study cohort who took NSAIDs used aspirin, the researchers say the modifying effect they observed was mainly from aspirin, but add that effects of non-aspirin NSAIDs are worthy of further exploration. While the mechanism is unknown, the researchers speculate that NSAIDs mitigate inflammation brought about by air pollution.
“Our findings suggest that aspirin and other NSAIDs may protect the lungs from short-term spikes in air pollution,” says first and corresponding author Xu Gao, PhD, a post-doctoral research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia Mailman School. “Of course, it is still important to minimize our exposure to air pollution, which is linked to a host of adverse health effects, from cancer to cardiovascular disease.”
“While environmental policies have made considerable progress toward reducing our overall exposure to air pollution, even in places with low levels of air pollution, short-term spikes are still commonplace,” says senior author Andrea Baccarelli, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia Mailman School. “For this reason, it is important to identify means to minimize those harms.”
An earlier study by Baccarelli found that B vitamins may also play a role in reducing the health impact of air pollution…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191002165233.htm

Citation:

Aspirin may halve air pollution harms
Date: October 2, 2019
Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health
Summary:
A new study is the first to report evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin may lessen the adverse effects of air pollution exposure on lung function. The researchers found that the use of any NSAID nearly halved of the effect of PM on lung function, with the association consistent across all four weekly air pollution measurements from same-day to 28 days prior to the lung function test.

Journal Reference:
Xu Gao, Brent Coull, Xihong Lin, Pantel Vokonas, Joel Schwartz, Andrea A Baccarelli. Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Modify the Effect of Short-Term Air Pollution on Lung Function. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201905-1003LE

Here is the press release from Columbia:

Aspirin may prevent air pollution harms

by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health

A new study is the first to report evidence that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin may lessen the adverse effects of air pollution exposure on lung function. The team of researchers from the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, Harvard Chan School of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine published their findings in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The researchers analyzed a subset of data collected from a cohort of 2,280 male veterans from the greater Boston area who were given tests to determine their lung function. The average age of participants was 73 years. The researchers examined the relationship between test results, self-reported NSAID use, and ambient particulate matter (PM) and black carbon in the month preceding the test, while accounting for a variety of factors, including the health status of the subject and whether or not he was a smoker. They found that the use of any NSAID nearly halved of the effect of PM on lung function, with the association consistent across all four weekly air pollution measurements from same-day to 28 days prior to the lung function test.
Because most of the people in the study cohort who took NSAIDs used aspirin, the researchers say the modifying effect they observed was mainly from aspirin, but add that effects of non-aspirin NSAIDs are worthy of further exploration. While the mechanism is unknown, the researchers speculate that NSAIDs mitigate inflammation brought about by air pollution.
“Our findings suggest that aspirin and other NSAIDs may protect the lungs from short-term spikes in air pollution,” says first and corresponding author Xu Gao, Ph.D., a post-doctoral research scientist in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia Mailman School. “Of course, it is still important to minimize our exposure to air pollution, which is linked to a host of adverse health effects, from cancer to cardiovascular disease.”
“While environmental policies have made considerable progress toward reducing our overall exposure to air pollution, even in places with low levels of air pollution, short-term spikes are still commonplace,” says senior author Andrea Baccarelli, MD, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Columbia Mailman School. “For this reason, it is important to identify means to minimize those harms.”
An earlier study by Baccarelli found that B vitamins may also play a role in reducing the health impact of air pollution.
________________________________________
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More information: Xu Gao et al, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Modify the Effect of Short-Term Air Pollution on Lung Function, American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2019). DOI: 10.1164/rccm.201905-1003LE
Journal information: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Provided by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health
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The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH) site has good basic information about air pollution.

According to NIH:

Air pollution is a mixture of natural and man-made substances in the air we breathe. It is typically separated into two categories: outdoor air pollution and indoor air pollution.
Outdoor air pollution involves exposures that take place outside of the built environment. Examples include:
• Fine particles produced by the burning of fossil fuels (i.e. the coal and petroleum used in energy production)
• Noxious gases (sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, chemical vapors, etc.)
• Ground-level ozone (a reactive form of oxygen and a primary component of urban smog)
• Tobacco Smoke
Indoor air pollution involves exposures to particulates, carbon oxides, and other pollutants carried by indoor air or dust. Examples include:
• Gases (carbon monoxide, radon, etc.)
• Household products and chemicals
• Building materials (asbestos, formaldehyde, lead, etc.)
• Outdoor indoor allergens (cockroach and mouse dropping, etc.)
• Tobacco smoke
• Mold and pollen
In some instances, outdoor air pollution can make its way indoors by way of open windows, doors, ventilation, etc.
What health effects are linked to air pollution?
Over the past 30 years, researchers have unearthed a wide array of health effects which are believed to be associated with air pollution exposure. Among them are respiratory diseases (including asthma and changes in lung function), cardiovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes (such as preterm birth), and even death.
In 2013, the World Health Organization concluded that outdoor air pollution is carcinogen to humans.
How can I reduce my risk for air pollution exposure?
Indoor air pollution can be reduced by making sure that a building is well-ventilated and cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of agents like dust and mold. Occupants would also be wise to remove any known pollutants and or irritants (aerosols, stringent cleaning supplies, etc.) whenever possible.
Outdoor air pollution exposures can be reduced by checking one’s Air Quality Index (AQI), avoiding heavy traffic when possible, and avoiding secondhand tobacco smoke…. https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/air-pollution/index.cfm

As with any medical procedure, before beginning a medical regime, a competent medical practitioner must be consulted.

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