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Alva Käte Enoksson Wallas

About me

I'm a doctoral candidate at the devision of environmental epidemiolgy at IMM with a background in public health

Research description

The overall aim of my PhD-project is to assess potential associations between the long-term exposure to noise from different traffic sources, such as roads, railways and aircrafts, and the health of children and adolescence.

Four separate research projects are planned:

1.) Traffic-related noise exposure and blood pressure: Traffic noise has previously been found to increase the risk of hypertension in adults. However, there are still few studies investigating physiological effects of noise in children and adolescence. In this study, we will analyse associations between long-term traffic noise exposure at children’s home, day-care centres and schools, and the children’s’ blood pressure.

2.) Traffic-related noise exposure and salivary cortisol: The primary mechanism through which noise may affect cardiovascular and metabolic functions is probably via a stress reaction, characterized by an increased release of stress hormones such as cortisol. The second project in my thesis will therefore focus on potential associations between traffic noise exposure and salivary cortisol levels. 3.) Traffic-related noise exposure, respiratory disease and allergic disorders: Traffic noise induced stress and sleep disturbance may also affect the immune system. By analysing the information on environmental noise and allergic disorders, we therefore aim to examine environmental noise as a risk factor for asthma and allergies.

4.) Traffic-related noise exposure and weight development: The fourth project will study the potential effects of traffic-related noise exposure on children’s weight development. Only recently, a few studies on adults have indicated associations between traffic noise exposure and obesity. Here, we aim to assess these associations in early ages.

All projects will be conducted within the Swedish population-based birth cohort BAMSE (Barn, Allergi, Miljö, Stockholm, Epidemiologi). BAMSE is an ongoing prospective birth cohort study including 4089 children which were born between 1994 and 1996 within predefined areas of Stockholm County. The BAMSE data was collected from parental questionnaires and, additionally, questionnaires from the adolescents at the 12-and 16-year follow-up. At years 4, 8 and 16, the individuals of the cohort were invited to a medical examination. The medical examination covered, inter alia, blood pressure and lung function measurements as well as blood sampling. Cortisol levels in morning and evening saliva samples were collected during the 16-year-old follow-up of the BAMSE birth cohort and were measured with a radioimmunoassay technique. The next follow-up of the BAMSE cohort is planned for 2016/2017.

To assess the children’s exposure to noise, the research group that I am part of is currently developing a database containing in-data for calculations of environmental noise. The database covers the time-period 1990-2015 and includes information on road, railway and aircraft traffic. Geographic coordinates will be used to estimate noise exposure for the children’s home and day-care/school addresses.


I took my master degree in Public Health at the University of Bremen, Germany in September, 2013

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