Short- and long-term sunlight radiation and stroke incidence

Ann Neurol. 2013 Jan;73(1):32-7. doi: 10.1002/ana.23737. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Objective: Examine whether long- and short-term sunlight radiation is related to stroke incidence.

Methods: Fifteen-year residential histories merged with satellite, ground monitor, and model reanalysis data were used to determine sunlight radiation (insolation) and temperature exposure for a cohort of 16,606 stroke and coronary artery disease-free black and white participants aged ≥45 years from the 48 contiguous United States. Fifteen-, 10-, 5-, 2-, and 1-year exposures were used to predict stroke incidence during follow-up in Cox proportional hazard models. Potential confounders and mediators were included during model building.

Results: Shorter exposure periods exhibited similar, but slightly stronger relationships than longer exposure periods. After adjustment for other covariates, the previous year's monthly average insolation exposure below the median gave a hazard ratio (HR) of 1.61 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.15-2.26), and the previous year's highest compared to the second highest quartile of monthly average maximum temperature exposure gave an HR of 1.92 (95%, 1.27-2.92).

Interpretation: These results indicate a relationship between lower levels of sunlight radiation and higher stroke incidence. The biological pathway of this relationship is not clear. Future research will show whether this finding stands, the pathway for this relationship, and whether it is due to short- or long-term exposures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Black People*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Stroke / mortality
  • Stroke / prevention & control*
  • Sunlight*
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People*