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Preliminary results of the BREATHE project presented

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Preliminary results of the BREATHE project presented


On last 7th May took place at the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), the first presentation of the results of BREATHE project for the participating schools. The event began with a welcome by Professor Jordi Sunyer, main project researcher, followed by the presentation of the protocol. Then, the first results of tests and measures of children pollution in schools have been presented. Finally, Dr. Antoni Ramos Quiroga spoke about Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The event was attended by a large number of participants, as well as representatives from the Public Health Agency of Barcelona, Department of Environment of the City Council and the Government of Catalonia, and the Agenda 21 of most schools.

Preliminary data BREATHE

Prof. Jordi Sunyer, BREATHE (BRain dEvelopment and Air polluTion ultrafine particles in scHool childrEn) principal researcher and co-director at the Center for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), thanked the collaboration at the schools involved in the project. "The data we present today are preliminary and descriptive, in few months we will get the first results on the harmful effects of pollution on schoolchildren”, said Sunyer. Then Dr. Mar Alvarez, coordinator of the project, summed up the protocol of the project citing the participation of 2,904 children at 39 schools.

Results of the tests

Dr. Joan Forns, head of the neuropsychology at the CREAL, defined what tests had been done on the project. He explained the evolution of results in four visits, frequency of ADHD, low school performance and behaviour problems in the studied schools. He concluded that "the frequency of children with ADHD is a subtype of 10.2% and they committed more mistakes on psychometric testing." He also explained how to interpret the reports with the results of the test by children who had received the day before school, noting that "were not valid tests to diagnose any condition, but could provide useful information in some cases."

Pollution in schools

Then Dr. Xavier Querol, head of the environmental pollution and research professor of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), explained the main pollutants in the city, and what measures had been made in the schools. He concluded that "levels of pollutants found in schools were more typical of environments with traffic than urban background, there are schools with similar levels of pollutants inside the street and the courtyard of sand is a fountain of PM2.5, which can accumulate metals." This last point caused some alarm among the participants, and Querolt announced that CSIC is currently researching a polymer to reduce exposure to contaminants accumulated at the courtyard of sand.

Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity

To conclude the presentation, Dr. Antonio Ramos Quiroga, a psychiatrist expert in Attention Deficit Disorder and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron, gave a lecture entitled "ADHD: a long way from 1902." He explained that the disorder has always existed and it has a high incidence in most schools. Specifies that "children sufferers do not understand what is happening and they go very wrong." He stressed the importance of diagnosis and treatment and, if necessary, the help of their parents, teachers and specialists. He also noted that there are genetic and environmental factors that could predispose to the disorder. Finally, he gave a series of useful guidelines for teachers to deal with these children.


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