Association between trace elements in the environment and stroke risk: The reasons for geographic and racial differences in stroke (REGARDS) study

The disparities in stroke mortality between blacks and whites, as well as the increased stroke mortality in the "stroke belt" have long been noted. The reasons for these disparities have yet to be fully explained. The association between trace element status and cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, has been suggested as a possible contributor to the disparities in stroke mortality but has not been fully explored. The purpose of this study is to investigate distributions of four trace elements (arsenic, mercury, magnesium, and selenium) in the environment in relation to stroke risk. The study population (N=27,770) is drawn from the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Disparities in Stroke (REGARDS) cohort. Environmental distribution of each trace element was determined using data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and was categorized in quartiles. A proportional hazards model, adjusted for demographic data and stroke risk factors, was used to examine the association of interest. The results showed that higher selenium levels in the environment were associated with increased stroke risk, and the hazard ratio for the 4th quartile compared to the 1st quartile was 1.33 (95% CI: 1.09, 1.62). However, there was no statistically significant relationship between environmental arsenic, mercury or magnesium and the risk of stroke. Because of dietary and non-dietary exposure as well as bioavailability, further research using biomarkers is warranted to examine the association between these trace elements and the risk of stroke.

Publication Date:
Apr 07 2017
Date Submitted:
Nov 21 2018
Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology
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 Record created 2018-11-21, last modified 2019-04-03

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