Ambient temperature and cerebrovascular hemodynamics in the elderly

Wen Chi Pan, Melissa N. Eliot, Petros Koutrakis, Brent A. Coull, Farzaneh A. Sorond, Gregory A. Wellenius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose Some prior studies have linked ambient temperature with risk of cerebrovascular events. If causal, the pathophysiologic mechanisms underlying this putative association remain unknown. Temperature-related changes in cerebral vascular function may play a role, but this hypothesis has not been previously evaluated. Methods We evaluated the association between ambient temperature and cerebral vascular function among 432 participants ≥65 years old from the MOBILIZE Boston Study with data on cerebrovascular blood flow, cerebrovascular resistance, and cerebrovascular reactivity in the middle cerebral artery. We used linear regression models to assess the association of mean ambient temperature in the previous 1 to 28 days with cerebrovascular hemodynamics adjusting for potential confounding factors. Results A 10°C increase in the 21-day moving average of ambient temperature was associated with a 10.1%(95% confidence interval [CI], 2.2%, 17.3%) lower blood flow velocity, a 9.0% (95% CI, 0.7%, 18.0%) higher cerebrovascular resistance, and a 15.3%(95%CI, 2.7%, 26.4%) lower cerebral vasoreactivity. Further adjustment for ozone and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) did not materially alter the results. However, we found statistically significant interactions between ambient temperature and PM2.5 such that the association between temperature and blood flow velocity was attenuated at higher levels of PM2.5. Conclusions In this elderly population, we found that ambient temperature was negatively associated with cerebral blood flow velocity and cerebrovascular vasoreactivity and positively associated with cerebrovascular resistance. Changes in vascular function may partly underlie the observed associations between ambient temperature and risk of cerebrovascular events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0134034
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 10 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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