Traffic-related air pollution increased the risk of Parkinson's disease in Taiwan: A nationwide study

Environ Int. 2016 Nov:96:75-81. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.08.017. Epub 2016 Sep 9.


Background: Ambient air pollution has been associated with many health conditions, but little is known about its effects on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's disease (PD). In this study, we investigated the influence of ambient air pollution on PD in a nationwide population-based case-control study in Taiwan.

Methods: We identified 11,117 incident PD patients between 2007 and 2009 from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database and selected 44,468 age- and gender-matched population controls from the longitudinal health insurance database. The average ambient pollutant exposure concentrations from 1998 through the onset of PD were estimated using quantile-based Bayesian Maximum Entropy models. Basing from logistic regression models, we estimated the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of ambient pollutant exposures and PD risk.

Results: We observed positive associations between NOx, CO exposures, and PD. In multi-pollutant models, for NOx and CO above the 75th percentile exposure compared with the lowest percentile, the ORs of PD were 1.37 (95% CI=1.23-1.52) and 1.17 (95% CI=1.07-1.27), respectively.

Conclusions: This study suggests that ambient air pollution exposure, especially from traffic-related pollutants such as NOx and CO, increases PD risk in the Taiwanese population.

Keywords: Ambient air pollution; Parkinson's disease.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Air Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollutants / analysis
  • Air Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Air Pollution / analysis
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Research Design
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity*


  • Air Pollutants
  • Vehicle Emissions