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CHECKUP: MORE EVIDENCE OF POLLUTION'S DAMAGE TO KIDS.

Byline: - Mariko Thompson

One of the nation's most comprehensive studies on the long-term effects of smog on children confirms that breathing polluted air impacts lung function.

The latest study by USC followed 1,678 children who were in fourth grade in 1996. Over four years, researchers found that the growth rate of lung function in children in the most polluted community was about 11 percent lower than that of children in the least polluted community.

Each year, USC scientists tested lung function by having each child take a deep breath, then measuring how much and how fast air was blown out. Children's lung function usually grows steadily until they reach adulthood. Children with decreased lung function are more likely to be susceptible to respiratory disease, to have weaker or smaller lungs, and to suffer from chronic respiratory problems as adults.

Acid vapors, released directly or indirectly from vehicles burning fossil fuels, emissions from industrial plants and other sources, was the key offender. Nitrogen dioxide and elemental carbon also were strongly associated with reduced lung function growth. Much of the elemental carbon in the Southern California air comes from combustion of diesel fuel, researchers said.

Though air quality in Southern California has improved over the last two decades, ``these latest findings emphasize the need to continue the clean-up efforts,'' said James Gauderman, associate professor of preventive medicine at USC and the study's lead author.

A CRANBERRY CURE: Cranberry juice has long been a home remedy for treating urinary tract infections. Now a study conducted by Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey and the University of Michigan explains how cranberry juice disables even antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria and the duration of the effect.

The study found drinking eight ounces of cranberry juice prevented 79 percent of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract. In total, cranberry juice stopped 80 percent of all bacteria from sticking. The study also found that the beneficial effect begins within two hours of consumption and can last up to 10 hours.

The findings suggest that regular consumption of cranberry juice reduces the development of urinary tract infections for women. UTIs account for nearly 11 million doctor visits a year in the U.S. With public health officials concerned about the overuse of antibiotics, foods with preventive effects such as cranberry juice should warrant further consideration, researchers said.

The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Mitra Ray, author of ``From Here to Longevity,'' will discuss her book and her approach to nutrition at a seminar at the Camarillo Boys and Girls Club at 7 p.m. Thursday. Ray advocates a diet that eliminates processed foods and favors fresh fruits and vegetables as well as organic meats, eggs and fish. The Boys and Girls Club is at 1500 Temple Ave. in Camarillo.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: UCLA's Jonsson Cancer Center will offer a free program on the legal rights of cancer patients at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Barbara Ullman Schwerin, director of the Cancer Legal Resource Center at Loyola Law School, will discuss issues related to employment discrimination, health insurance and HMOs. The event will be held in the R.P.B. Auditorium on the UCLA campus. For more information, call (310) 794-6644.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jul 8, 2002
Words:544
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