Researchers from two Brooklyn medical centers have found higher rates of asthma among people living closer to the Gowanus Expressway compared with those living in the same community but farther from the interstate.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center in East Flatbush and Lutheran Medical Center in Sunset Park reported that living near a heavily congested highway correlates with a higher presence of asthma.
“Our participants were randomly recruited and we observed that the patients who reported asthma live significantly closer to the Gowanus Expressway, compared to the healthy controls who live in the same area, but at a longer distance from the Gowanus," said SUNY Downstate’s Maria-Anna Vastardi, M.D.
The findings indicate that proximity to a heavily trafficked highway correlates with the presence of asthma in adults, but not with seasonal allergy, according to Dr. Vastardi. The results suggest that vehicle emissions may increase the risk for developing inflammatory lung disease in adults.
The study involved 62 adults recruited from the outpatient department of Lutheran Medical Center, including 45 patients with rhinoconjunctivitis or asthma and 17 healthy controls.
Dr. Vastardi gave an oral presentation of her findings at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Vastardi is a first-year fellow in Downstate’s Division of Allergy and Immunology.