Researchers looked at almost 5,400 45- to 84-year-olds across six U.S. cities without a history of heart problems and found that the thickness of the carotid artery increased by 0.014 millimeters, on average, each year. Reducing exposure to fine particulate air pollution can delay the thickening of the artery, possibly reducing odds of heart attacks and stroke, according to the study in the journal PLoS Medicine.

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