of combustion may increase one's risk of developing cockroach allergy,
subsequently leading to asthma, reveals research.
protein in their saliva feces and body parts. This protein acts as an allergen
for causing asthma. When inhaled these proteins enter the respiratory tract and
cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes or asthmatic attack.
Devid Peden, director
of the Center for Environmental Medicine, Asthma, and Lung Biology at UNC
School of Medicine, said that in contrast to cats and dust mites, cockroach
allergies result in serious repercussions and emergency trips to hospital.
However cockroaches are only a part of the story. A recent research published
in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology revealed that 'exposure to a
certain type of air pollutant found in diesel exhaust and other
combustion-related byproducts can increase the likelihood of developing a
The scientists studied
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a class of combustion byproducts which is
released by the engines of trucks and buses.
paper's lead author mentioned, "Asthma research has been going on for a
long time, and we haven't found a smoking gun for why asthma has
He added, "This
isn't a smoking gun. What it suggests is that this is a complicated
The research also showed exposure during the pregnant state
can affect the immune system of the child.
puts the child at the threat of being affected by cockroach allergy and
targeted non-smoking females for the first seven years of their child's lives.
These females lived in the Northern Manhattan and South Bronx.
The duct samples were
collected from the kitchens and beds of these women during the third trimester
of pregnancy and when their kids were 1, 3 and 5 years of age.
The dust samples were
tested for the presence of cockroach allergens.
The air was also
tested for the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
dust from the beds and kitchens of these women during their third trimester of
pregnancy and again when the children were 1, 3 and 5 years old. All dust
samples were tested for the cockroach allergens.
sampled the air for the presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and took
blood tests to check for the GSTM1 gene mutation and allergies.'
observed that '80 percent tested positive for high levels of the cockroach
allergen. By age 7, 82 children, or 31 percent tested, had the cockroach
discovered that high level of cockroach allergen were responsible for allergy
in kids of those mothers who were exposed to combustion byproducts during
pregnancy and this risk was more pronounced in those with genetic mutation.
Peden , a member of
the research team said, "Studies have shown that diesel exhaust, a source of
PAH, shifts the immune response so that you're more highly allergic."
He further said, 'The
GSTM gene mutation, known as GSTM1, plays a role in the body's ability to
detoxify these pollutants. And it's an extremely common mutation -- as many as
40 percent of people have it.'
"GSTM1 is found across genders and ethnicities. The race risk is the human
race. It's a pretty huge polymorphism that results in a pretty big chunk of the
Perzanowski, "Being allergic to cockroaches is one of the number-one risk
factors for asthma, and it's important to know what leads to the allergy.
Exposure is happening really early in life. So intervention would have to
happen really early in life."
The protection steps
involve pest management, getting rid of food leftovers, restricting exposure to
combustion byproducts and sealing holes in walls to prevent cockroaches cannot
The significance of
this research paper is that it highlights an important fact that no single
factor is responsible for the occurrence of asthma. There is a multitude or mix
of risk factors that are accountable for increasing the chances of asthmatic
According to Peden a combination of pollutant
exposure and cockroach exposure can result in increasing the chances of