Author(s): Carvalhais Carlos, Neves Paula, Laffon Blanca, Teixeira João Paulo, Costa Pereira Cristiana
Noise is a major problem in many workplaces (occupational exposure) and recently the World Health Organization established noise as the second largest environmental cause of health problems (environmental exposure), just after the impact of air quality.\nLong-term exposure to relevant noise levels has been associated with negative health outcomes, and evidence from epidemiological studies demonstrates that environmental noise is associated with an increased incidence of arterial hypertension, myocardial infarction and stroke. \nEpigenetic alterations are potentially major mechanisms by which environmental factors can affect physiological functions and disease risk. Epigenetic mechanisms include, among others, DNA methylation and microRNA alterations that can be recognized and used as diagnostic or prognostic markers. Some of these epigenetic alterations have already been described for cardiovascular disease in environmental exposure experiments.\nThis study has been designed to enroll 180 subjects exposed to noise, occupationally and non-occupationally, in six different settings. Aditionally, 60 subjects apparently non-exposed to noise will be recruited as the control population. This study will comprehend two fundamental phases: the first, regarding the thorough description of the exposure scenarios, and population. The second phase will involve the epigenetic testing for cardiovascular disease markers, and, concurrently, the evaluation of DNA damage levels, in all subjects.\nThe results obtained will be analysed for statistical association, and risk ratios will be established. This study is expected to bring advances to relevant areas such as noise impact, epigenetic markers use, and public health data, with benefits to both, workers and general population. It is also our intention to contribute to policy making with evidences pointing out the adjustements regarding noise exposure that are needed, as preconized in the most recent reports from WHO.
Name: Dr Carlos Carvalhais