For the first time, a study shows that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution on the lungs.
Aspirin to combat the effects of pollution on health?
A new American study, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, shows for the first time that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce the harmful effects of air pollution in the lungs.
To achieve these results, the researchers collected data from 2,280 veterans in the Boston area, 73 years old on average. The researchers investigated the relationship between the test results, self-declared use of NSAIDs and ambient particles (PM) and black carbon in the month preceding the test, taking into account a variety of factors, including the individual’s state of health and whether or not he or she was a smoker.
The effects of pollution were halved
The results showed that the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs halved the effects of fine particles on the lungs. Most participants had taken aspirin. Although the mechanism is unknown, researchers, therefore, assume that these drugs reduce inflammation by air pollution. However, they recommend additional tests, especially on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs without aspirin.
“Our results suggest that aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may protect the lungs from air pollution outbreaks in the short term,” said Xu Gao, lead author of the study and researcher at Columbia University (New York). He continues: “Of course, it is always important to minimize our exposure to air pollution, which relates to a range of adverse health effects, from cancer to cardiovascular disease.
The first priority, of course, is to reduce the number of fine particles in the air, especially in the cities. “Although the environmental policy has made significant progress in reducing our overall exposure to air pollution, even in low-polluted areas, there are still many pollution peaks in the short term”, warns Andrea Baccarelli, also the author of the study. He concludes: “It is therefore important to find ways to minimize this damage.