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Study shows link between traffic noise, heart attack

We've written before on the health risks associated with commuting. Now comes new research out of Denmark showing that it's not just sitting in traffic, but being exposed to traffic-related noise, that can be problematic. CBS News' Ryan Jaslow reports today:

For the study, researchers looked at more than 57,000 Danes who have been part of a long-running population study of cancer that enrolled participants between the ages of 50 and 64 from 1993 to 1997, and tracked them for an average of ten years.

Of the study pool, 1,600 people suffered their first ever myocardial infarction (MI) - or heart attack - between study enrollment and the follow-up period ending in 2006. Using address information, the researchers estimated the participants' exposure to traffic noise and air pollution over a more than 20-year period. The researchers determined participants were exposed from anywhere from 42 decibels of traffic noise - considered ambient noise - to 84 decibels. Repeated exposure to sounds at or above 85 decibels can cause hearing loss.

The researchers found that for every 10 decibels of added traffic noise near a participant's residence, heart attack risk jumped up 12 percent...

The work provides no definitive answer for why there may be an association between traffic-noise exposure and heart attack. But the researchers, who adjusted for pollution when analyzing the data, note in their paper that the stress and sleep disturbances associated with noise exposure might play a role.

Previously: Can commuting by car or public transit negatively impact your health? and The hazards of sitting in traffic
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