Chinese researchers have found that indoor air purifiers may greatly improve the health of heart disease patients. Moreover, the devices may also help lowering the risk in healthy adults of developing a heart condition.
Scientists currently hope that their findings would be “especially important” for the cities that face a serious air pollution problem.
Dr. Sanjay Rajagopalan, co-auhor of the study and a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, reported that air purifiers helped study participants have a lower occurrence of cardiovascular events.
A review of the study was published this week in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
The latest finds are consistent with previous studies that had shown air pollution is linked to a higher risk of developing heart conditions such as heart attacks or strokes. The research was conducted by Dr. Ang Zhao and Dr. Renjie Chen from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
For their study, the researchers asked 35 college students with no heart problems to use either a real or a bogus indoor air purifier in their dorm room for a couple of days. After two weeks, they were asked to repeat the procedure.
Researchers explained that they wanted to conduct this study because China is currently facing the world’s worst air pollution crisis. While the WHO set a “healthy” threshold of 35 micrograms of toxic air particles for every cubic meter, China’s major urban areas often report 100 to 500 micrograms for every cubic meter.
Scientists noted that air purifiers used in the study participants’ rooms reduced harmful air particle by nearly 60 percent from 96 micrograms to about 40 micrograms per cubic meter.
Moreover, participants who used genuine air purifiers scored better in measures of blood clotting and inflammatory processes. Their blood pressure was also reduced, while their lungs were less affected by nitrous oxide.
Dr. Rajagopalan believes that all those results are a strong body of evidence supporting the benefits air purifiers may bring. But Dr. Rachel Taliercio, an Ohio lung expert, said that not all patients might benefit from indoor air purifiers, while the clear benefits the rest may receive remained “unclear.”
She also argued that North America air pollution is not as severe as it is in China. So, the results may not be similar in both countries. She suggested to test the new findings first on Americans that live or work in highly polluted areas such as highways or coal power plants.
But for those living in the suburbs an investment in such devices may simply not pay off, Dr. Taliercio argued.
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