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DMU students help to protect the humans of New York

Health and Life Sciences students from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been monitoring carbon monoxide levels across New York city.

The third years - who are in the Big Apple as part of a #DMUglobal trip - are learning how to protect humans against chronic and acute diseases as part of their Biomedical Science and Medical Science courses.

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Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless gas that can produce toxicity in humans, with sources including car fumes, heaters and cigarette smoke.

The expectation is that levels would be high in New York because of the heavy traffic high levels.

Senior Lecturer Dr Antonio Peña Fernández said: "Environmental contamination is highly linked with increasing morbidity and mortality in the population.

"The students are aware of the importance of monitoring contaminants in an urban environment to be able to deliver interventions to protect humans.

"They're detecting levels throughout the day - inside the subway, in Times Square, close to a road, in a park.

"So far there is no apparent risk to humans."

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The groups are using both home and laboratory carbon monoxide detectors, giving their project an extra angle.

Dr Fernández said: "The students are doing proper environmental monitoring research, which is valid particularly because the equipment from the lab is more sensitive, so will detect lower levels of carbon monoxide in the air.

"We can also compare if the home devices being sold are good quality."

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Biomedical Science student Amy Nguyen feels the activity is highly relevant to her course.

“Being in a very big city, we are taking the opportunity to measure pollution levels, which we can compare to a much smaller and less busy city (Leicester).

“Pollution is obviously a very serious world problem and causes many health issues. I am finding it an insightful experience, as New York has twice as many cars on the roads as Leicester.”

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The students will analyse the results when they're back at DMU, with each group producing a poster to be peer reviewed on 25 January. The winner will get to present at the Health and Life Sciences conference this summer.

Biomedical Science student Eleanor Green has shared her initial findings: "We found the readings were a little bit higher in Times Square than they were at our hotel. We're not sure why this is so we're going to analyse data when we get back to the UK to see if we can draw some conclusions."

Posted on Sunday 7th January 2018

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