Smog, Freeway Emissions Can Be Stroke, Heart Attack Risks

Smog, Freeway Emissions Can Be Stroke, Heart Attack Risks
Al Pavangkanan / Flickr

You've heard of good and bad cholesterol before, right? Fish oil good, Big breakfast with hotcakes bad. Simple enough.

Maybe not. UCLA researchers this week announced that merely breathing some of the air around here could turn your good cholesterol into bad. And that's before you even hit the drive-thru:

This is such bad news for the smog capital of America.

According to the study, to be published in next month's journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, UCLA academics exposed mice to two weeks of smog and found that breathing car emissions can turn the good stuff (HDL) into bad (LDL).

And the bad, as you know, can block arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.

According to a summary:

In the study, the researchers found that after two weeks of exposure to vehicle emissions, mice showed oxidative damage in the blood and liver -- damage that was not reversed after a subsequent week of receiving filtered air. Altered HDL cholesterol may play a key role in this damaging process, they said.

The investigators said that the mice exposed to emissions for two weeks "had a much-decreased ability to protect against oxidation and inflammation induced by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol," according to the summary.

This can't bode well for the rest of us living in the L.A. basin. One of the study's authors, Fen Yin of UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine, says the obvious:

We suggest that people try to limit their exposure to air pollutants ...

Don't everybody move to the beach at once.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]


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