Long-term exposure to road traffic noise and stroke incidence: a Danish Nurse Cohort study

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  • Christian Dehlendorff
  • Heresh Amini
  • Amar Mehta
  • Jeanette T Jørgensen
  • Shuo Li
  • Barbara Hoffmann
  • Elvira V. Bräuner
  • Matthias Ketzel
  • Ole Hertel
  • Jørgen Brandt
  • Steen Solvang Jensen
  • Jesper H Christensen
  • Camilla Geels
  • Lise M Frohn
  • Claus Backalarz
  • Mette K. Simonsen

BACKGROUND: Road traffic noise has been linked to increased risk of ischemic heart disease, yet evidence on stroke shows mixed results. We examine the association between long-term exposure to road traffic noise and incidence of stroke, overall and by subtype (ischemic or hemorrhagic), after adjustment for air pollution.

METHODS: Twenty-five thousand six hundred and sixty female nurses from the Danish Nurse Cohort recruited in 1993 or 1999 were followed for stroke-related first-ever hospital contact until December 31st, 2014. Full residential address histories since 1970 were obtained and annual means of road traffic noise (Lden [dB]) and air pollutants (particulate matter with diameter < 2.5 μm and < 10 μm [PM2.5 and PM10], nitrogen dioxide [NO2], nitrogen oxides [NOx]) were determined using validated models. Time-varying Cox regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) (95% confidence intervals [CI]) for the associations of one-, three-, and 23-year running means of Lden preceding stroke (all, ischemic or hemorrhagic), adjusting for stroke risk factors and air pollutants. The World Health Organization and the Danish government's maximum exposure recommendations of 53 and 58 dB, respectively, were explored as potential Lden thresholds.

RESULTS: Of 25,660 nurses, 1237 developed their first stroke (1089 ischemic, 148 hemorrhagic) during 16 years mean follow-up. For associations between a 1-year mean of Lden and overall stroke incidence, the estimated HR (95% CI) in the fully adjusted model was 1.06 (0.98-1.14) per 10 dB, which attenuated to 1.01 (0.93-1.09) and 1.00 (0.91-1.09) in models further adjusted for PM2.5 or NO2, respectively. Associations for other exposure periods or separately for ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke were similar. There was no evidence of a threshold association between Lden and stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: Long-term exposure to road traffic noise was suggestively positively associated with the risk of overall stroke, although not after adjusting for air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115
JournalEnvironmental Health
Issue number1
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021. The Author(s).

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