In total, they included more than 3,000 individuals in their analysis.
"We found novel evidence for pollution and temperature effects on sleep-disordered breathing," said Dr. Zanobetti. "Increases in apnea or hypopneawere associated with increases in short-term temperature over all seasons, and with increases in particle pollution levels in the summer months."
Over all seasons, the researchers found that short-term elevations in temperature were associated with increased in Respiratory Disturbance Index (RDI), which was used to gauge the severity of SDB. In the summer, increases in PM10 were also associated with an increase in RDI (representing a 12.9 percent increase), as well as with an increase in the percent of time that blood oxygen saturation levels fell below 90 percent (representing a nearly 20 percent increase) and a decrease in sleep efficiency. There were no such statistically significant associations of particulate pollution with SDB in other seasons.
This is the first study to link pollution exposure and SDB.
"Particles may influence sleep through effects on the central nervous system, as well as the upper airways," wrote Dr. Zanobetti. "Poor sleep [associated with poor health outcomes] may disproportionately afflict poor urban populations. Our findings suggest that one mechanism for poor sleep and sleep health disparities may relate to environmental pollution levels."
Other research has found an association between elevation in pollution and increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There is a known overlap between etiologic factors for SIDS and SDB. Given the results of the current research, "the mechanisms that increase the risk of SIDS in associations with ambient pollutants may be similar to the mechanisms that underlie the risk of SDB,[which] may include pollutant-associated effects
|Contact: Keely Savoie|
American Thoracic Society