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Loud Road Noise Linked to Stroke in Older Adults
Date:1/26/2011

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 25 (HealthDay News)-- Prolonged exposure to loud traffic noise is strongly associated with stroke in people aged 65 and older, a new Danish study finds.

The researchers discovered that for every 10 decibels or more of road noise, a person's risk of having a stroke increased by 14 percent.

For people younger than 65, that did not translate into a statistically significant risk, but researchers found that among those 65 or older, stroke risk increased significantly, by 27 percent for every additional 10 decibels of noise. Also, in older people the researchers found evidence of a threshold limit around 60 decibels, above which the risk of stroke increased still more.

The study involved more than 57,000 people between the ages of 50 and 64 living near Copenhagen and Aarhus who were recruited for the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort study between 1993 and 1997, according to study author Mette Sorensen, senior researcher at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology of Danish Cancer Society in Copenhagen. The average follow-up time was 10 years.

"Although our study was the first study on traffic noise and stroke, I was not surprised of the results as earlier studies have found traffic noise to be associated with other cardiovascular diseases," Sorensen said. The study showed only an association between loud noise and stroke, she noted, adding that more research would need to be done to confirm the findings.

The study authors noted that their study took place in an urban area and so was not representative of the whole country. But by taking noise exposures at different dwellings into account and applying the findings across Denmark, Sorensen estimates that 600 new cases of stroke each year in her country could be attributed to road traffic noise. The 5.5 million inhabitants of Denmark suffer 12,400 new cases of stroke annually.

Although the study does
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