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Manganese in water affects kids’ IQ

A new study in North America has shown that children exposed to high concentrations of manganese in drinking water performed worse on tests of intellectual functioning than children with lower exposures.

This metal is naturally occurring in soil and in certain conditions is present in groundwater.

In several regions of Quebec and Canada and in other parts of the world, the groundwater contains naturally high levels of manganese. This is the first study to focus on the potential risks of exposure to manganese in drinking water in North America.
For each child, the researchers measured the concentration of manganese in tap water from their home, as well as iron, copper, lead, zinc, arsenic, magnesium and calcium.
The amount of manganese from both tap water and food was estimated from a questionnaire. Finally, each child was assessed with a battery of tests assessing cognition, motor skills, and behaviour.

Pollution increases risk of cardiac arrest

A new study has revealed that the fine particles of pollution that hang in the air can increase the risk for sudden cardiac arrest.

A team from Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Medical Centre and The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research conducted the study.

Robert A Silverman and colleagues have been interested in the effects of ambient fine particulate matter on a number of medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease and asthma.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) keeps tabs on air pollution through dozens of strategically placed pollution sensors in cities and towns throughout the country. This data allowed the researchers to collect data on average 24-hour values of small particulates and other gaseous pollutants around New York City during the summer (when pollution is higher) and winter months.

They then compared that data to the 8,216 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occurred between 2002 and 2006. Most people in the throes of a cardiac arrest do not survive in time for emergency medical service teams to save them. Researchers reported that for a 10ug/m3 rise in small particle air pollution, there was a four-to-10 percent increase in the number of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests. The current EPA standard is 35ug/m3.

Alternate therapy for those with poorly controlled asthma

Scientists have found that a drug commonly used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) could also be used for the treatment of adults whose asthma is not well-controlled on low doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Researchers supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health, conducted the study.

“This study’s results show that tiotropium bromide might provide an alternative to other asthma treatments, expanding options available to patients for controlling their asthma,” said Susan B Shurin of NHLBI.

According to the study, adding tiotropium bromide to low doses of inhaled corticosteroids is more effective at controlling asthma than doubling inhaled corticosteroids alone, and as effective as adding the long-acting beta agonist salmeterol.

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