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Expert reaction to study investigating road traffic noise, strokes and death, as published in the European Heart Journal

Prof Francesco Cappuccio, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine and Epidemiology, University of Warwick, said:


“The present study is a welcome addition to the growing body of evidence to suggest that environment, in its own entirety as well as in its different facets, plays an important role in determining avoidable ill-health. The authors show that long term excessive road traffic noise, even when allowing for the effect of pollution, is associated with a small but significant increased risk of death and hospitalisation in one of the largest urbanised areas of Europe (Greater London), most of which is due to strokes.

“The results do not imply a direct cause-effect relationship. However, they are consistent with other evidence to suggest a possible causal link. For instance, it has been well established that nocturnal traffic noise disrupts sleep quantity and quality. If sustained over time, these disturbances, like sleep deprivation, have been associated with a 12% increased risk of all-cause mortality (1), mainly due to a 15% increase in stroke events (2) and high blood pressure (3). Public health policies must pay more attention to this emerging evidence.”


(1) Cappuccio FP, D’Elia L, Strazzullo P & Miller MA. Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep 2010; 33(5): 585-592

(2) Cappuccio FP, Cooper D, D’Elia L, Strazzullo P & Miller MA. Sleep duration predicts cardiovascular outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Eur Heart J 2011; 32: 1484-92

(3) Cappuccio FP, Stranges S, Kandala N-B, Miller MA, Taggart FM, Kumari M, Ferrie JE, Shipley MJ, Brunner E, Marmot MG. Gender-specific associations of short sleep duration with prevalent and incident hypertension: the Whitehall II Study. Hypertension 2007; 50: 694-701



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