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J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Aug;48(8):780-8.

Short-term effects of air pollution on heart rate variability in senior adults in Steubenville, Ohio.

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Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.



We examined the association between ambient air pollution levels and heart rate variability (HRV) in a panel study of 32 subjects.


We used linear mixed models to analyze the effects of fine particles (PM2.5), sulfate (SO4), elemental carbon (EC), and gases on log-transformed standard deviation of normal RR intervals (SDNN), mean square of differences between adjacent RR intervals (r-MSSD), and high- and low-frequency power (HF, LF).


An interquartile range (IQR) increase of 5.1 mug/m in SO4 on the previous day was associated with a decrease of -3.3% SDNN (95% confidence = -6.0% to -0.5%), -5.6% r-MSSD (-10.7% to -0.2%), and -10.3% HF (-19.5% to -0.1%). Associations with total PM2.5 were similar. HRV was not associated with EC, NO2, SO2, or O3.


In addition to traffic-related particles, elevated levels of sulfate particles may also adversely affect autonomic function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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