Epidemiological studies have found that transportation noise increases the risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, with high-quality evidence for ischaemic heart disease. According to the WHO, ?1.6 million healthy life-years are lost annually from traffic-related noise in Western Europe. Traffic noise at night causes fragmentation and shortening of sleep, elevation of stress hormone levels, and increased oxidative stress in the vasculature and the brain. These factors can promote vascular dysfunction, inflammation and hypertension, thereby elevating the risk of cardiovascular disease. In this Review, the authors such as Mette Sørensen from the Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Department of Natural Science and Environment, Roskilde University, Denmark as well as Thomas Münzel MD and Andreas Daiber PhD from the University Medical Center Mainz at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz Germany focus on the indirect, non-auditory cardiovascular health effects of transportation noise. They provide an updated overview of epidemiological research on the effects of transportation noise on cardiovascular risk factors and disease, discuss the mechanistic insights from the latest clinical and experimental studies, and propose new risk markers to address noise-induced cardiovascular effects in the general population. The authors also explain, in detail, the potential effects of noise on alterations of gene networks, epigenetic pathways, gut microbiota, circadian rhythm, signal transduction along the neuronal-cardiovascular axis, oxidative stress, inflammation and metabolism. Lastly, they describe current and future noise-mitigation strategies and evaluate the status of the existing evidence on noise as a cardiovascular risk factor.
Thomas Münzel, MD, lead author of the review and director of Cardiology at University Medical Center Mainz, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany, said, "as the percentage of the population exposed to detrimental levels of transportation noise will rise again when the COVID pandemic is over, noise mitigation efforts and legislation to reduce noise are highly important for future public health." (DOI: 10.1038/s41569-021-00532-5)