November 11, 2013
Air pollution, traffic noise, and atherosclerosis: the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study
A recent article from the West German Heart Center in Essen, Germany published in the European Heart journal discusses the relationship between air pollution, traffic noise, and cardiovascular disease (1).
The authors describe that recent data have linked living close to high traffic to subclinical atherosclerosis, but that it remains unclear if fine particulate matter (PM) air pollution or noise are responsible for the association. The authors therefore investigated the independent associations of long-term exposure to fine PM and road traffic noise with thoracic aortic calcification (TAC), a measure of subclinical atherosclerosis.
The authors used baseline data (2000-2003) from the German Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study, a population-based cohort of 4814 randomly selected participants. They assessed residential long-term exposure to PM and road traffic noise including night-time noise (Lnight). Thoracic aortic calcification was quantified from non-contrast enhanced electron beam computed tomography. Multiple linear regression was used to estimate associations of environmental exposures with ln (TAC+1), adjusting for each other, individual, and neighbourhood characteristics. In 4238 participants (mean age 60 years, 49.9% male), PM2.5 (aerodynamic diameter ≤2.5 µm) and Lnight are both associated with an increasing TAC-burden of 18.1% (95% CI: 6.6; 30.9%) per 2.4 µg/m3 PM2.5 and 3.9% (95% CI 0.0; 8.0%) per 5dB(A) Lnight, respectively, in the full model and after mutual adjustment. The authors did not observe effect measure modification of the PM2.5 association by Lnight or vice versa.
The authors conclude that long-term exposure to fine PM and night-time traffic noise are both independently associated with subclinical atherosclerosis and may both contribute to the association of traffic proximity with atherosclerosis.This topic is increasingly discussed in the medical literature worldwide (2).
Kälsch H, Hennig F, Moebus S, Möhlenkamp S, Dragano N, Jakobs H, Memmesheimer M, Erbel R, Jöckel KH, Hoffmann B; on behalf of the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study Investigative Group. Are air pollution and traffic noise independently associated with atherosclerosis: the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study. Eur Heart J. 2013 Nov 4. [Epub ahead of print]
Meng X, Ma Y, Chen R, Zhou Z, Chen B, Kan H. Size-fractionated particle number concentrations and daily mortality in a Chinese city. Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Oct;121(10):1174-8.
October 29, 2013
The Biodiversity Hypothesis and Allergic Disease
September 29, 2013
September issue onlinie
Our journal's September issue is now online:
August 27, 2013
Lung Disease and Climate Change
In a recent article in Chest Drs. Bernstein and Rice from the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston Children's Hospital discuss that climate change is a health threat no less consequential than cigarette smoking (1).
They describe that increased concentrations of greenhouse gases, and especially CO₂, in the earth's atmosphere have already warmed the planet substantially, causing more severe and prolonged heat waves, temperature variability, air pollution, forest fires, droughts, and floods, all of which put respiratory health at risk. These changes in climate and air quality substantially increase respiratory morbidity and mortality for patients with common chronic lung diseases such as asthma and COPD and other serious lung diseases.
The authors state that physicians should have a vital role in addressing climate change, just as they did with tobacco, by communicating how climate change is a serious, but remediable, hazard to their patients.
Note a related article from the Harvard Center recently published in CDT (2).
1. Bernstein AS, Rice MB Lungs in a warming world: climate change and respiratory health.Chest. 2013 May;143(5):1455-9. doi: 10.1378/chest.12-2384. PMID: 23648909
2. Chivian E. Global Environmental Threats: why they are hard to see and how a medical model may contribute to their understanding. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther 2013;3(2):93-104. doi: 10.3978/j.issn.2223-3652.2013.02.09
July 25, 2013
Global environmental threats: why they are hard to see and how the medical model contributes to their understanding
June 26, 2013
e-Book for June Issue now online