Title: Modeling Particulate Air Pollution for Inference About Neurodegenerative Effects
Abstract: Evidence is accumulating to support a link between chronic air pollution exposures and neurotoxic effects. For instance, EPA’s most recent Integrated Science Assessment for particulate matter concluded that the associations between PM2.5 and nervous system effects, including brain inflammation, oxidative stress, reduced cognitive function, and neurodegeneration, are likely causal. We are conducting an epidemiologic cohort study, the Adult Changes in Thought Air Pollution (ACT-AP) study, to determine whether, in an elderly population free of dementia at baseline, long-term air pollution exposure is associated with cognitive decline, incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and all-cause dementia, and adverse neuruopathological changes in brain tissue. For exposure assessment in this study we are modeling criteria air pollutants using existing regulatory monitoring data supplemented with measurements from low-cost sensors. One important scientific question we are addressing is whether low-cost sensor data improve our ability to quantify PM2.5 exposure in the Puget Sound. I will discuss our approach and our preliminary conclusions that suggest that low-cost sensor can improve exposure assessment in epidemiologic cohort studies. I will also describe the innovative mobile monitoring campaign we have just started. We designed this campaign with epidemiologic inference in mind; it will allow us to estimate whether there are adverse effects to the brain associated with infrequently monitored traffic-related pollutants, including ultrafine particles and black carbon.
Bio: Dr. Sheppard is Professor and Assistant Chair of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and Professor of Biostatistics. Her current research portfolio includes several studies of air pollution exposures and their neurotoxicant effects. She has a Ph.D. in biostatistics. Her methodologic interests center on observational study methods, exposure modeling, and epidemiology, and; her applied research focuses on the the health effects of occupational and environmental exposures. She is principal investigator of a NIH-funded training grant called Biostatistics, Epidemiologic & Bioinformatics Training in Environmental Health and SURE-EH, a project to promote diversity in the environmental health sciences. She leads the biostatistical cores for several projects and collaborates with DEOHS faculty on air pollution cohort studies, identifying the effects of multipollutant exposures, and studying manganese exposures. She is a member of the Epidemiology editorial board, the Health Effects Institute Review Committee, the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee , and has served on the several EPA Scientific Advisory Panels, most recently for the Carcinogenic Potential of Glyphosate. Board Chemical Assessment Advisory Committees for Ethylene Oxide Review and for Toxicological Review of Libby Amphibole Asbestos.