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Exposures to light pollution and heat, and neurodevelopment in adolescents. Project Code: PI20/01695

ELHNA project
Photo: Warren Wong / Unsplash
01/01/2021 - 31/12/2023
Mònica Guxens
Funded by
Instituto de Salud Carlos III. This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). "A way of doing Europe".

More than half of the world's population lives in cities. Light pollution and heat are two emerging urban exposures. The maturation of the brain during adolescence is a decisive phase for the development of cognitive function and underlies the initiation of many mental health problems. Although experimental studies show that these two exposures can affect brain function, epidemiological studies are non-existent or scarce, particularly in adolescence.


To investigate the association between the exposure to both light pollution and heat, and the cognitive function and the mental health problems in adolescents of 14-16 years old.


We will include two population-based birth cohort studies, the Spanish INMA project (n=3238) and the Dutch Generation R study (n=9978). Between 2017 and 2021 the follow-ups at 14-16 years old are ongoing. We will estimate the annual levels of outdoor light pollution exposure in the houses of the adolescents for the year before the neurodevelopment assessment using calibrated images of the satellite Jilin-1, and obtaining a blue light spectrum index and a melatonin suppression index. We will estimate the daily levels of heat exposure in the houses and the schools of the adolescents for the year before the neurodevelopment assessment using the climate model UrbClimTM, and obtaining data of temperature, urban heat islands intensity, and number of heat wave days. The neurodevelopment evaluation of the adolescents includes several cognitive function tests and a questionnaire of mental health problems. We will run the appropriate statistical analysis.

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