Scientists identify enzyme responsible for vascular damage caused by aircraft noise during night/sleep
A lot of different studies have shown there are negative health impacts on people exposed to aircraft noise at night, when people sleeping should be experiencing many hours of quiet. Now a study from Germany shows that this may be caused by an enzyme (phagocytic NADPH oxidase) they have identified. Aircraft noise during the hours people are trying to sleep leads to an increased development of cardiovascular diseases in the long term. Studies have shown that simulated nocturnal noise increases the stress hormone epinephrine, reduces sleep quality, and damages the vascular system, causing endothelial dysfunction. There is increased oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes in the vessels as well as a marked change in the expression of genes in the vessel wall. This damage is not seen in the absence of the enzyme. The scientists now also examined the effects of aircraft noise on the brain, looking at neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase, the function of which is impaired when there is aircraft noise during the night period that should be quiet. The study shows it is important to protect the night’s sleep from noise, with a period of 8 hours (10pm to 6am) protected from noise. Heathrow’s airlines do NOT want a proper ban on night flights even for six and a half hours, let alone more.
Scientists identify enzyme responsible for vascular damage caused by aircraft noise
- Date: June 14, 2018
- Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz
- In a recent study, scientists have identified an enzyme responsible for aircraft-related vascular damage. The researchers were also able to show that night-time noise has a particularly harmful effect and thus demand that night-time sleep be protected from noise.
Aircraft noise leads to an increased development of cardiovascular diseases in the long term, as a series of precursor studies has now shown unequivocally. In 2013, the research group of Professor Thomas Münzel succeeded in demonstrating that simulated nocturnal noise increases the stress hormone epinephrine, reduces sleep quality, and damages the vascular system, called endothelial dysfunction. Further studies on a newly developed animal model showed last year that aircraft noise leads to a significant increase in stress hormones, a vascular dysfunction, increased oxidative stress, and inflammatory processes in the vessels as well as a marked change in the expression of genes in the vessel wall.
“With this new study, we can demonstrate for the first time that ‘night-time noise’, i.e., noise during the sleep phase of the mice, and not the noise during the waking phase is responsible for vascular dysfunction,” stated Münzel and Daiber. “We can also show that the elimination of the enzyme phagocytic NADPH oxidase, which is located mainly in inflammatory cells, completely avoids aircraft noise-induced negative effects on vessels and brain.” This enzyme was also in the focus of the scientists in the last study. The current investigations finally prove its central role and provide also proof that the negative aircraft noise effects are mediated by this enzyme.
The scientists now also examined the effects of aircraft noise on the brain. The focus was on neuronal nitric oxide (NO) synthase, an important enzyme in the brain. Responsible for learning and memory, this enzyme is down-regulated by aircraft noise and its function is impaired. This new finding may explain the described cognitive developmental disorders in children after exposure to aircraft noise.
Another finding is that the transcription factor FoxO3 plays a central role in noise-induced vascular and brain damage. The consequence of the observed down-regulation of this transcription factor by night-time noise leads to a defective gene expression network that controls cellular events as a function of circadian rhythm. Disturbance of the circadian rhythm can lead to sleep disorders and subsequently to more cardiovascular, mental, and metabolic disorders. To this end, the scientists came to this recognition through extensive genetic analysis by means of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) and by demonstrating a prevention of the aforementioned vascular damage by treatment with the FoxO3 activator Bepridil.
According to the study initiators, these results represent a further breakthrough in noise research. “With our findings, especially with regard to night-time noise, we can now explain clinical results, e.g., according to the so-called HYENA study, where night-time noise in particular can trigger high blood pressure. The finding that the elimination of the enzyme phagocytic NADPH oxidase completely prevents vascular damage may enable us to develop drug strategies to reduce the negative effects of aircraft noise for our body,” both scientists commented.
The authors conclude from their findings that it must be an important goal to protect the night’s sleep from noise and in particular to implement the legally defined night’s sleep from 10 o’clock at night to 6 o’clock in the morning.
Materials provided by Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
German study shows link between aircraft noise (day or night) and atrial fibrillation
With an increasing level of noise, the incidence of atrial fibrillation also increases dramatically. From a study of 15,000 men and women aged 35 to 74 in Germany, scientists found that the incidence of atrial fibrillation in subjects who reacted to noise with extreme annoyance increased to 23%, compared to 15% without the noise. Looking at the proportion of sources of extreme noise pollution, aircraft noise came first with 84% during the day and 69% during sleep. The results were published recently in the International Journal of Cardiology. Other studies have shown the link between noise (that may be causing anger, disturbed sleep, exhaustion or stress) that impairs wellbeing, health (including cardiovascular disease), and the quality of life. There is probably a link between cardiac impacts and noise, even when the person is not aware of being made irritated or angry by the noise. The increase in atrial fibrillation may be the reason why there is a connection between noise and strokes. The ban in night flights at Frankfurt from 11pm to 5am did not lead to less noise annoyance, but more – as the overall number of flights did not reduce. Noise was worse than before between 10-11pm and 5-6am.
Studies show that at least 7 hours of sleep are needed, each night, by adults
Living under a flight path, along which aircraft fly at below – say 7,000 feet – is noisy. It is all the more noisy now that the aviation industry is introducing narrow, concentrated flight paths. These are replacing the older more dispersed routes, as aircraft have new “PBN” technology (like car satnav) and can fly far more accurately than in the past. And it suits the air traffic controllers to keep flight paths narrow. But if airports allow flights at night, or if the “night” period when flights are not allowed is short, this has consequences for people living near, or under, routes. Studies carried out scientifically show adults need at least 7 hours of sleep, each night to be at their healthiest. Children and teenagers need more.There are some people who need more than 7 hours per night, and some need less. It is not good enough to get less one night, and more the next – the brain does not process the day’s memories adequately. Studies show adverse effects of not getting enough sleep, which are not only related to concentration, speed of thinking or reacting etc, but also medical effects. The concentrated flight paths, and airports allowed to have flights all night, are causing very real problems. A study into noise and sleep by the CAA in 2009 looked at the issue, and said a large and comprehensive study is needed, but it is “likely to be expensive.”
Night flight noise likely to increase risk of Type 2 diabetes for those living under flightpaths
Research by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel has shown that people who live below an airport flightpath are more than 80% more likely to have type 2 diabetes than people who live in quieter areas. The findings have led scientists to suggest that aircraft noise, rather than air pollution, could be to blame. The noise of the planes overhead, when they are low and loud, is likely to have a devastating effect on the body’s metabolism, leading to increased blood sugar levels. The effect is largely from noise at night, confirming that night flights are damaging to health. The cost to the health of over-flown populations needs to be properly taken into account, and given enough significance against small economic benefits of night flights to airports and airlines (which is how the DfT assesses the issue at present). Heathrow already has – by an order of magnitude – the most people affected by night flights, with over 700,000 living within the 55 Lden noise average contours. The link to diabetes is through the body’s reaction to stress, raising blood pressure. Noise stimulates the body’s sympathetic nervous system and the hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal axis, leading to increased blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol. Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, strokes, limb amputations and blindness. It affects over 3 million people in the UK.
Willie Walsh adamant Heathrow must have arrivals well before 5.30am – then full on for next 2 hours.
He won’t accept a six and a half hour ban on scheduled night flights, let alone unscheduled.
International Airlines Group (IAG), which is Heathrow’s biggest customer, has submitted its evidence to the Transport Committee, to its inquiry into the Airports NPS. IAG does not agree there should be a ban on night flights of six and a half hours, that the NPS and the DfT are proposing – hoping that would overcome local opposition to the runway. The WHO says for good health, people need 7 – 8 hours sleep, and more for some age groups. Therefore even six and a half hours is not enough. But IAG says …”the NPS does not recognise the operational flexibility required for flights to connect and deliver the associated benefits. The Government should therefore avoid unreasonable restrictions on night operations that would prevent economically valuable connections.” … from small changes IAG has made “Local communities have therefore benefited … from a reduction in noise while no additional night movements have been granted at Heathrow in return.” … if Heathrow opened at 7am, that would be 2 hours later than Frankfurt … to make the best use of the new runway, increase connectivity etc … “the first arrivals will need to be scheduled to have landed and be on-stand ready to disembark passengers by 05:30, with a high arrival movement capacity in the subsequent 1-2 hours.”