I imagine this is lousy news for most of our readers: UCLA researchers found that breathing auto emissions can trigger a change in "good" cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein, HDL) to the "bad" kind, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the result of this is more clogged arteries and heart problems and all sorts of other unpleasantness. Crap.
The study finds that particles in the exhaust activates other components of oxidation, which leads to cell and tissue damage that causes the hardening of arteries and other types of tissue inflammation. Normally, "good" cholesterol, aside from picking you up from the airport, lending you money, and helping you move, also normally protects against these oxidation effects. Sadly, the chemicals and particles in exhaust actually alters the cholesterol so it contributes to the oxidation process.
To be fair, the study was done on mice, and in the following circumstances:
Mice were exposed for a few hours, several days a week, to whole diesel exhaust at a particulate mass concentration within the range of what mine workers usually are exposed to.
"Whole diesel exhaust?" Concentration like what mine workers are exposed to? That seems a good bit more than what most people would normally encounter, even for us gearheads with old, exhaust-leaky cars.
While this is by no means good news for anyone's health, feel free to follow my long-term health plan to deal with this: I'm going to cut all calcium out of my diet and keep breathing exhaust, so that as my arteries harden, my bones will hollow out, and I'm pretty sure my body will just switch roles between my circulatory and skeletal systems. See, I'll keep my body supported with my hardened network of arteries, and flow my blood through the network of now-hollow bones. It's foolproof!
(Source: Science Daily)