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Approved Research

Multiple environmental exposures, cardiovascular, mental, and cognitive health

Principal Investigator: Dr Kai Chen
Approved Research ID: 87264
Approval date: July 21st 2022

Lay summary

Cardiovascular, mental, and cognitive disorders are leading causes of death and morbidity globally, especially in the elderly population. Many epidemiological studies have found associations between environmental exposures (e.g., air pollutants, weather, and green space) and these health outcomes. However, most of these studies of environmental exposures estimated their impact in isolation and the previous long-term exposure metrics are usually confined to the average air pollutant concentrations over periods that are within a decade and close to time points of outcome measurement. Air pollution level in developed countries such as the U.K. has been declining over the past decades. Thus, not having long enough historical exposure cannot accurately estimate the long-term exposure to air pollution and will result in limited variability in air pollution exposures across study participants. This study aims to evaluate the association between multiple environmental exposures and risks of these major health outcomes in the era of population aging. We will also explore the potential interactions between air pollution and other environmental exposures (e.g., temperature, greenness, and noise). For mental and cognitive health effects, we will also explore potential mediation by pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular diseases. The successful completion of this 36-month study is likely to contribute to our knowledge on how exposures to air pollution, weather, and greenspace independently and jointly impact these major health outcomes in the era of population aging and will inform the development of targeted interventions to reduce the health burden due to multiple environmental exposures.