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Contaminación atmosférica y aterosclerosis en la población de Hermes (REGICOR-AIR)

2007- 2009
Jordi Sunyer Deu
Funded by
This project pursues the hypothesis that cumulative exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with sonographically measured carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). CIMT is an established marker of subclinical atherosclerosis – the primary pathology of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and a strong determinant of CVD. Air pollution is a cause of systemic inflammation – a hallmark of atherosclerosis. A pilot study (N.Künzli et al.) reported significant associations between pollution and CIMT in adults. Atherogenic effects of air pollution have also been observed in animals.

The project capitalizes on one cohort out of the first large-scale CVD study in Spain, REGICOR (FIS 02/471), to investigate cardiovascular risk profiles in a population-based sample of adults, age 35-79yrs (total N=3’000 by 2008). Availability of extensive cardiovascular health data makes it an outstanding resource to test the air pollution hypothesis. With participation rates exceeding expectations, we measured CIMT among 2036 REGICOR participants (last visit: April 2009). Exposure to ambient air pollution – in particular traffic related pollution – will be modelled and assigned to each subject using all measurements taken with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) passive samplers.. NO2 concentrations measured outdoors (e.g. on the balcony) is a well established marker of traffic related pollution. Residential, work, and commute data are now available and will complement the exposure modelling activity (fall 2009)..First analyses will be expected in November 2009.

Atherosclerosis is the main cause of morbidity and mortality, and air pollution affects the vast majority of the Spanish population on a daily basis. Thus, this research will be of high scientific value and of outstanding relevance for European policy makers.

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