Photo credit: Chris LeBoutillier from Pexels

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

The title of this post refers to the title of an important article just published by Thomas Münzel’s research group in Mainz, Germany. They note that aging is a complex multifactorial process, with about 25% determined by genetics but the rest affected by a multitude of environmental, sociodemographic, and biopsychosicoal factors.

The paper focuses on two related environmental factors, air pollution and road traffic noise. Both cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which accelerate the aging process, especially for cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases. The latter include Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

The authors state that “there is general consensus that we urgently need measures to reduce exposure to environmental pollutants.” Most people don’t realize that noise is an environmental pollutant, and has been recognized as such by the Environmental Protection Agency since the 1970s. There is a strong correlation between urban road traffic noise and the levels of vehicular emissions. Quieter, cleaner air is better for health.

Münzel’s research group concludes by stating, that “large-scale macro interventions in the long run, on a political and societal level that question the way we work and live are clearly needed to achieve sustainable success.”

I couldn’t agree more.