21 October 2021


Online Presentation

Our second lecture took place on Thurs 21st Oct at 4pm and was delivered by Beth Cheshire from Lancaster University. Beth's full presentation can be seen below.

Beth presented some of the key findings in her longitudinal study looking at ageing and the relationship with chronic exposure to carbon monoxide (CO).

There is a knowledge gap regarding ‘safe’ levels of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure and whether chronic exposure to low-levels of CO are associated with neuropsychological deficits. Working alongside West Midlands Fire Service, Beth's PhD has examined the health and cognitive effects of such exposures from household appliances such as cookers and heaters within an older adult population.

Although limited, chronic exposure studies of low-level CO indicate the presence of neuropsychological deficits such as memory and attention impairments following these less severe exposures. Older adults may be more susceptible to the effects of CO due to reduced physiological reserve and pre-existing disease through which the adequate regulation of oxygen supply or metabolism is already compromised.

Fire Officers often report high levels of confusion in older residents who may be at risk of chronic CO exposure at levels not sufficient to trigger CO alarms, but which could still be harmful to health. With evidence indicating that neuropsychological deficits may result from less severe CO exposures, and that older adults may be particularly vulnerable, such exposures may be a significant unidentified cause of cognitive impairments that improved awareness and identification could prevent.

This research has examined the prevalence of low-level CO within a sample of older adult homes in Coventry and aims to determine the effects of such exposures on cognitive function, health and mental health. The extent to which intervention by the Fire Service, in reducing levels of CO in the home, results in measurable changes in functioning over time has also been examined.