Archives "Press releases"

Argus december 2007

Horizonte dezember 2006 "Frühmerkmale schwerer Krankheiten"

Horizonte Décembre 2006 "Des marqueurs précoces de maladies graves"


Archives "Latest News


May 2009 : Improved PM10 exposure attenuates age-related lung function decline: genetic variants in p53, p21 and CCND1 modify this effect. Environ Health Perspect 2009

In 2007, the SAPALDIA investigators had reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that improvements in air quality, measured as PM10, had attenuated the age-related lung function decline. The new report published in the Journal “Environmental Health Perspectives” presents evidence that the benefit from improved air quality depends on genetic background. Common variants in three cell cycle control reduction genes (CCND1, p53 and p21) modified the association between lung function decline and PM10 exposure. The results are intriguing as they provide first epidemiologic proof that genes involved in cancer biology might also play a role in the mechanism by which air pollutants affect respiratory health. For example, SAPALDIA participants carrying the genetic variant not associated with increased cancer risk benefit most from an improvement in PM10 exposure. They experience the most pronounced attenuation of age-related lung function decline. The observed differences in lung function decline between genotypes were comparable to the effects of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day. This report gives a novel perspective to protecting subjects most susceptible from harmful levels of air pollutants, as legally required in Switzerland.


April 2009 : Traffic-related air pollution correlates with adult-onset asthma among never-smokers.

This is the title of a new paper published on line in Thorax on 8th of April 2009 by N. Künzli and co-workers, based on an analysis of the Sapaldia cohort. Among 2725 never-smokers, 41 reported new asthma between 1991 and 2002. Asthma incidence was associated with change in traffic-related PM10: participants were less likely to develop asthma if TPM10 had decreased at their home address during the 11 years interval. Thus, the data suggest a role for traffic-related pollution in adult-onset asthma. As traffic-related pollution prevails, the finding may be of substantial public health relevance.



January 2009 :  Good news from the Swiss National Foundation !

The Swiss National Science Foundation  has communicated to the Sapaldia investigators that it is willing to provide a financial support to a third survey of the Sapaldia  cohort in 2010. These are very good news for it will make possible the further study of the complex interaction between respiratory and cardio-vascular health in relation to air pollution and other environmental exposure. Although the SNF financial contribution will support the largest part of the planned expenses for  this survey, additional funding sources will have to be found within a short time !


January 2009 :  A new paper in the blue journal

The paper “Improvement in PM10-exposure and reduced rates of respiratory symptoms in a cohort of Swiss adults” by Christian Schindler and co-workers has just been accepted for publication in the “blue journal” (i.e. the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine). In this paper, Sapaldia investigators show that people who lived at places  with a larger improvement of air quality between 1991 and 2002 were less likely to report chronic cough, phlegm or wheezing with dyspnea than people living at places with less improvement. This paper is an important addition to the work published in December, 2007, by the Sapaldia investigators in the New England Journal of Medicine (Downs SH et al, N Engl J Med 2007, 357, 2338). In this article, the improvement of PM10 was associated with an attenuation of the individual, annual decline of lung function. Thus, the new publication anchors the results of the previous one: not only lung function, but also symptoms continue to improve in the general population when air quality improves.

November 2008: Publication on Results on age at menopause and determinants from two population-based studies, SAPALDIA and ECRHS: Age at menopause varies across Europe and may be shifting towards higher ages.

The observed secular trend seems paradoxical, since several adult determinants, overweight, smoking, sedentarity and nulliparity, associated with early timing of menopause, are on the rise in Europe. Amongst other influences, it may reflect the impact of improved early childhood nutrition and health on reproductive aging. (Dratva J. et al  Menopause. 2008 Nov 20. [Epub ahead of print]) 

September 2008 : Respiratory symptoms are of major importance for predicting long term clinical outcomes in subjects with stage 1 chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD)

The long-term outcomes of persons presenting with light obstructive ventilatory defect in the population is not clear. In the SAPALDIA cohort, 9 % of the participants had stage 1 COPD as measured by spirometry in 1991. Half of them also had respiratory symptoms (cough, phlegm, etc) while the other half had no symptoms (asymptomatic). In 2002, participants who had symptomatic stage 1 COPD had faster lung function decline, increased health care utilisation, and lower quality of life than the normal population. Asymptomatic stage 1 COPD did not differ from normal individuals for these outcomes. We concluded that the presence of symptoms is of major importance in stage 1 COPD. This article was published with an accompanying editorial by R. De Marco in the September issue of "Thorax". (Bridevaux PO et al, Thorax 2008, 63, 768-774)

July 2008: Oxidative stress negatively influences the autonomic nervous system

Examining gene variants, SAPALDIA was able to show a mechanism of the negative effect of passive smoking or obesity on the autonomic nervous system. (Probst-Hensch NM et al. Environ Health Perspect doi:10.1289/ehp.11402)

June 2008: Publication on the association betwenn obesity and physical activity with cardiovascular health

In analyses of SAPALDIA data we found that persons who are obese and regularly physical active have a similar heart rate variability than normal weight inactive. (Felber Dietrich D et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Oct;104(3):557-65.)

June 2008: Publication on the association between long-term air pollution exposure and cardiovascular health

SAPALDIA could show that heart rate variability in women and persons with cardiovascular problems is negatively associated with annual mean concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. (Felber Dietrich D et al. Environ Health Perspect 116:1357–1361 (2008)