Sunday, January 23, 2011

Will this nonsense never die?

A well-known effect demonstrated yet again and the same fallacious explanation given again. What they overlook: People living beside main roads are POOR. Rich people wouldn't want to live there. And poor people have worse health anyway

Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Preterm Births

By Yorifuji, Takashia et al.


Background: Preterm births cause a large public-health burden, and air pollution is considered to be a potential risk factor. We evaluated the association between proximity to major roads (as an index for air pollution) and preterm births, classified by gestational age and specific clinical manifestations.

Methods: Data on parental information and birth outcomes were extracted from the database maintained by the perinatal hospital in Shizuoka, Japan. We restricted the analysis to mothers who delivered liveborn single births from 1997 to 2008 (n = 14,226). Using the geocoded residential information, each birth was classified on its proximity to major roads. We estimated the multivariate-adjusted odds ratios and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the association of proximity to major roads with preterm births, using logistic regression.

Results: We found positive associations between proximity to major roads and preterm births at all gestational ages. Living within 200 m increased the risk of births before 37 weeks by 1.5 times (95% CI = 1.2–1.8), birth before 32 weeks by 1.6 times (1.1–2.4), and births before 28 weeks by 1.8 times (1.0–3.2). Proximity specifically increased the risk of preterm births with preterm premature rupture of the membranes and with pregnancy hypertension.

Conclusions: This study demonstrates that exposure to traffic-related air pollution increases even the risk of preterm births of less than 30 weeks' gestational age and proposes a possible mechanism.


Daily pill for people with MS 'in months'

The first daily pill for multiple sclerosis (MS) could be available in Britain within a few months. At the moment people whose MS returns frequently have to inject themselves with a drug as often as every day to control their symptoms, or travel to hospital for treatment.

But now a committee of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended that the drugs regulator approves the pill, called Gilenya, to be marketed across the EU. It is already approved for sale in Russia and the US.

Novartis, which makes Gilenya, said a licence allowing Gilenya to be marketed in the UK was expected "in the next few months".

Dr Jayne Spink, policy and research director of the MS Society, welcomed the news as "great for people with MS".

She said: "The availability of a tablet to treat the condition will give people more choice and for many will come as a welcome relief from frequent injections."

Besides from being more convenient and less painful, a trial has also showed Gilenya to be twice as effective at stopping relapses as one of the injectable drugs, called interferon beta 1a.

However, the EMA's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has only recommended the pill for use by patients with highly active relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) who fail to respond adequately to interferon beta, or who have rapidly evolving severe relapsing-remitting MS.

Once Gilenya receives a UK licence, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) will decide if and to whom it should be prescribed on the NHS.

A rival to Gilenya, the brand name for the drug fingolimod, is expected to be granted approval later this year. Cladribine, which only has to be taken between eight and 20 times a year, has shown to be similarly effective.

MS, an auto-immune disease, affects around 100,000 people in Britain. It occurs when immune system cells attack the brain and spinal cord, causing the protective insulation around nerve fibres to be destroyed. The disease can lead to a wide variety of symptoms ranging from mild tingling to paralysis.


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