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Diesel Particles May Cause Asthma Attacks

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LOS ANGELES, Nov 10, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A new study shows for the first time that diesel exhaust particles alone may be enough to induce acute asthma attacks in some people.

The UCLA research used a new testing method to help better isolate the effect of diesel exhaust particles, a component of air pollution, on asthma.

Lead researcher Dr. Andre Nel of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, said: "Previously, we thought air pollution alone was not enough to incite acute asthma attacks, but [that an attack] also required the presence of allergens, such as pollen or house dust mites, to establish airway inflammation and allergic responses in the airways.

"However, this new experimental study shows we need to pay closer attention to the intrinsic abilities of the air pollutant particles to induce asthma."

The study, conducted in collaboration with scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., appears in the November issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Asthma affects 15 to 20 million people in the United States, with the largest increase in cases seen among school-age children.

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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