Introduction: The detrimental effects of air pollution on the brain are well established. However, few studies have examined the effect of air pollution on traumatic brain injury (TBI). This pilot study evaluated the association between short-term air pollution exposure and traumatic intracranial hemorrhage (TIH). Methods: Hospital data of patients with TBI following road traffic accidents were retrospectively collected from the electronic medical records at five trauma centers in Taiwan between 1 January and 31 December 2017. TIH was employed as an outcome measure. All road accident locations were geocoded, and air quality data were collected from the nearest monitoring stations. Air pollutants were entered into five multivariable models. A sensitivity analysis was performed on patients who are vulnerable to suffering TBI after road accidents, including motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Results: Among 730 patients with TBI, 327 had TIH. The ages of ≥65 [odds ratio (OR), 3.24; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.85–5.70], 45–64 (OR, 2.61; 95% CI, 1.64–4.15), and 25–44 (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.13–2.84) years were identified as significant risk factors in the multivariable analysis. In the best-fit multivariable model, exposure to higher concentrations of particulate matter ≤ 2.5 μm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) was associated with an elevated TIH risk (OR, 1.50; 95% CI, 1.17–1.94). The concentration of nitrogen oxides (NOX) did not increase the risk of TIH (OR, 0.45; 95% CI, 0.32–0.61). After categorizing the air pollution concentration according to quartile, the trend tests in the multivariate model showed that the concentrations of PM2.5 and NOX were significant (p = 0.017 and p < 0.001, respectively). There was a negative borderline significant association between temperature and TIH risk (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.56–1.00, p = 0.05). Notably, the single-vehicle crash was a significant risk factor (OR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.30–3.42) for TIH. Discussion: High PM2.5 concentrations and low temperatures are risk factors for TIH in patients with TBI. High NOX concentrations are associated with a lower TIH risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1087767
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • air pollution
  • fine particulate matter
  • geographic information system
  • road traffic accident
  • short-term exposure
  • traumatic intracranial hemorrhage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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