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2016 Grants - Adar
Neighborhood Noise, Socioeconomic Context, and Alzheimer’s Disease
Sara Dubowsky Adar, Sc.D., M.H.S.
University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
2016 New Investigator Research Grant
Does neighborhood noise contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease?
Neighborhood noise, such as from traffic and construction, has been linked to impaired brain function in humans. High noise levels are associated with impairments in memory, reading, and problem solving. Older individuals may be especially sensitive to the negative effects of neighborhood noise. In mice, noise has been linked to harmful changes in regions of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These changes can affect nerve cell function and may even promote nerve cell death.
It is possible that neighborhood noise may impact risk for the development or progression of Alzheimer’s disease in older individuals. Studying this environmental risk factor has been difficult to date, due to a lack of long-term, comprehensive, community noise data.
Sara Dubowsky Adar, Sc.D., M.H.S. and colleagues have developed a strategy to investigate the relationship between neighborhood noise and Alzheimer’s disease. The research team will combine 10 years worth of health and behavioral data from the Chicago Health and Aging Project (CHAP) with Chicago residential noise estimates produced using a model developed by Dr. Adar.
These data will allow the researchers to examine associations between long-term neighborhood noise exposure and Alzheimer’s disease. The data are detailed enough to allow additional analysis of the social and economic factors that may contribute to noise exposure.
If successful, the results of this research could provide insights about a unique environmental risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Identifying the social and economic factors that increase an individual’s exposure to noise may help focus future interventions to those at highest risk.