EPOCHAL: Effects of Pollen on Cardiorespiratory Health and Allergies
Goal of the study
The EPOCHAL study aims to find out how pollen from trees, grasses and herbs affect our health. If you have a pollen allergy, you may recognize typical symptoms, such as sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes. Besides these well-known symptoms, research has shown that pollen allergy may affect heart, lung, and brain health. Pollen allergy symptoms may also cause poor sleep, difficulty with concentration, and reduced productivity. So far, we know very little about these health effects and how they might be dependent on your personal sensitivity, the species and amount of pollen. Furthermore it is not clear whether pollen affects the health of non-allergic people.
Why is this important?
With almost 20% of the population affected, pollen allergy is the most common chronic disease in Switzerland, and this number has increased dramatically in recent decades. Meanwhile, climate change is increasing our exposure to pollen: some plants are releasing pollen earlier, over for a longer period of time, and many plants are releasing more pollen. It is important to study the different health impacts of pollen which have so far been unrecognized, and enable better individual recommendations to reduce pollen allergy symptoms in the future.
Who can participate?
We are looking to recruit adults (age 18 – 65) who are living in Switzerland, and maximum 40 minutes from Basel. Whether you are suffering from one or multiple severe pollen allergies, mild allergies, or have no known pollen allergies at all, we would like to hear from you!
I am interested in taking part! What can I expect?
Between January and September, the months when pollen is typically abundant in the Basel region, one of our study nurses will visit you at home weekly, in total 6 times, to ask you about your symptoms and measure your respiratory and cardiovascular health. Here, you will get insight into your personal lung function and blood pressure values. These visits will take about 60 minutes each and we will work with you to find a convenient time. We will also ask you to wear a Fitbit fitness wristband and record your symptoms for 10 days during the study period, which will take about 20 minutes per day. In doing so, you will learn more about your daily physical activity and sleep. If you have a pollen allergy, we would like to schedule these visits during the months when you normally have symptoms.
In addition, you will have a 1.5 hour appointment at the University Hospital’s allergy clinic to be tested for sensitivity to more than10 common plants pollen free of charge.
What is my personal benefit?
By participating in EPOCHAL, you get unique insight into your sensitization to different pollen types, your respiratory and cardiac health as well as your activity and sleep patterns. By participating in EPOCHAL, you contribute to important, cutting-edge research. As an appreciation for your efforts, you will further receive a small CHF 40 financial compensation and we will take care of your travel expenses for your visit to the University Hospital Allergy clinic.
Have we sparked your interest?
Please fill out this non-binding contact form
We are looking forward to hearing from you.