News Headlines Article

Quiet, please! Researchers worry urban noise may be linked to belly fat, stroke, even death
The Washington Post

The sounds of urban life may give you a headache, but could they also make your belly fatter, cause premature aging and lead to stroke?

As gadgets that can measure the decibel of sounds become inexpensive and ubiquitous (there are even dozens of mobile phone apps that do this), a growing number of researchers have sought to find patterns in the noise of our lives and what that means for our health.

In two unrelated studies published in recent weeks, scientists have made intriguing links using data about environmental noise pollution and health survey data. In a paper published in May in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, researchers calculated how much road traffic, railroad and aircraft noise 5,075 people in Sweden were exposed to since 1999 by looking at official government statistics. The information they looked at included everything from building heights, speed limits and noise barriers. Then they looked at detailed questionnaires and checkups the volunteers, who were ages 43 to 66, had completed as part of a diabetes prevention program.