Assessing the effects of tobacco smoke and air pollution exposure on heart rate variability
Research questions/goals: In this project we aim to establish associations between air pollution and tobacco smoke exposure and changes in hear rate dynamics. To this end, we are using non-linear time series analysis methods to study interbeat interval time series from participants of the SAPALDIA cohort. Current main results and/or publications:We have demonstrated a statistically significant association between tobacco smoke exposure and changes in heart rate variability, heart rate dynamics, and in the properties of the cardiovascular regulation. Moreover, we have explored the potential long term cardiovascular benefits of smoking cessation in former light and heavy smokers. We were honored with the “Best Paper of 2015” award by the scientific journal “ Environmental Research” for this work: Long-term smoking cessation and heart rate dynamics in an aging healthy cohort: Is it possible to fully recover? More recently, we also found out that long-term exposure to traffic-related particulate matter triggers adverse changes in the regulation of the cardiovascular system. For more details, check out our publication Association of long-term exposure to traffic-related PM10 with heart rate variability and heart rate dynamics in healthy subjects. Funding: Tabakpräventionsfonds, Bundesamt für Gesundheit and Research Fund Junior Researchers at University of Basel. Collaborators: Prof. Nicole Probst-Hensch, Prof. Nino Künzli, Dr. Emmanuel Schaffner, and Dr. Martin Adam of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and the SAPALDIA team.