Tuesday, January 20, 2015

How Does Stress Combine with Air Pollution to Affect Health Impacts?

English: Air pollution
English: Air pollution (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Social stressors and air pollution across New York City communities: a spatial approach for assessing correlations among multiple exposures (25 page pdf, Jessie LC Shmool, Laura D Kubzansky, Ogonnaya Dotson Newman, John Spengler, Peggy Shepard and Jane E Clougherty, Environmental Health, Nov. 6, 2014)

Today we review research into the association, if any, between between social environment stresses and air pollution as they both affect health outcomes in a large city (New York) in the assumption that stress may weaken the body’s reaction to air pollution . The stresses range from murder rates to Food Bank registrations. Results indicate that linking a single stress proxy to air pollution may not produce reliable conclusions for environmental health policy– rather the authors recommend both more research and the use of multiple stress measures.

Key Quotes:

“Chronic psychosocial stress is associated with negative emotional states and maladaptive behaviors that influence immune, endocrine, and metabolic function to produce cumulative wear-and-tear – often referred to as allostatic load [16]. These physiologic changes may alter individuals’ reactivity to chemical exposures (e.g., pathogens, pollutants) and increase risk for multiple disease etiologies”

"using any single stressor (including SEP) measure to serve as a proxy for psychosocial stress may be misleading; because areas that may be similar with respect to area-level SEP measures may differ regarding social stressors, single measures may inadvertently lead to confounding, and fail to capture important nuances of the social environment.”

"air pollution was strongly correlated only with the spatial factor corresponding to ‘Noise complaints and property crime’ (Factor 3), not with the other factors, or with indicators of area-level SEP.”

"Our findings demonstrate that selection of social stressors and geographic scale may substantially alter observed effect modification, caution against using single SEP indicators as proxies for social stressors, and demonstrate the risks associated with mis-specification of social stressor exposures.”

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