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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Drexel: Association of Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk with Proximity to Traffic

Dr. Anneclaire De Roos, an associate professor at the Drexel University School of Public Health, is the lead author of a recent report that confirmed a previously observed association of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk with proximity to traffic, and suggested that neither noise levels nor traffic-related air pollutants are responsible for this relationship.  

The study was published online ahead of print in Environmental Health Perspectives. Co-authors included colleagues from the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health.

The authors examined proximity to traffic, ambient air pollution, and community noise in relation to RA in the Vancouver and Victoria regions of British Columbia, Canada.

Cases and controls were identified in a cohort of adults, assembled using health insurance registration records. Incident RA cases from 1999 through 2002 were identified by diagnostic codes in combination with prescriptions and type of physician (e.g., rheumatologist). Controls were matched to RA cases by age and sex. Environmental exposures were assigned to each member of the study population by their residential postal code(s). The authors estimated relative risks using conditional logistic regression, with additional adjustment for median income at the postal code.

The researchers suggested that additional investigation of neighborhood and individual correlates of residence near roadways may provide new insight into risk factors for RA.