Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Global warning: Hotter days, increased hospitalizations for respiratory problems

23.02.2009
High summer temperatures, pushed higher by global climate change, may bring with them a spike in hospitalizations for respiratory problems, according to an analysis of data from twelve European cities, from Dublin to Valencia.

The data comes from the "Assessment and Prevention of Acute Health Effects of Weather Conditions in Europe" (PHEWE), a multi-center, three-year collaboration between epidemiologists, meteorologists and experts in public health collaboration that investigated the short-term effects of weather in Europe.

As climate change has gone from a scientific theory to an accepted and encroaching reality, more extreme weather, including hotter summers, is anticipated around the planet. But the secondary effects of climate change are also coming into sharper focus.

The PHEWE project evaluated the effects of higher temperatures on hospitalizations for a number of different conditions in Europe. They found that for every degree increase over a temperature threshold, there was a four percent average increase in respiratory-related hospitalizations, but not for cardiovascular or neurovascular- related problems.

The results were published in the first issue for March of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

"The PHEWE project represents the first attempt to evaluate the effect of temperature on several morbidity outcomes using a standardized methodology in a multi-center European study," wrote Paola Michelozzi Ph.D., head of Environmental Epidemiology at the Department Epidemiology of the Local Health Authority, in Rome.

The study tracked hospital admissions in twelve European cities. Each city provided data for a minimum of a three-year period between 1990 and 2001 that included hospital admissions, meteorological and air pollution data. They then computed a "maximum apparent temperature"—Tappmax for each city, using an index that accounted for both air temperature and humidity. At the far ends of the spectrum, the researchers found that Dublin had a Tappmax of 14.7ºC (about 58ºF) whereas Valencia's was 29.5ºC (about 85ºF). In most cities, each degree increase over 90 percent of the Tappmax, respiratory disease-related hospital admissions increased for all ages and especially in the 75+ age group.

Interestingly, while cardiovascular deaths are known to go up with the temperature, there was a slight decrease in hospitalizations. The researchers speculated that the acute onset of cardiovascular events could result in sudden deaths before medical treatment was possible.

"The contrasting pattern between admissions and mortality could also be related to differences in physiopathologic mechanisms," wrote Dr. Michelozzi. "...[C]ardiovascular deaths during hot days tend to occur suddenly in persons whose health is compromised. Respiratory mortality, on the contrary, tends to peak later than cardiovascular mortality, with effects observed up to three weeks after exposure..."

Despite the increase of respiratory-related hospitalizations overall, the observed effect was heterogeneous among cities, indicating the need for further study.

"This is in part due to differences in exposure, the large variability among the cities analyzed, the differences in adaptive capacity and the vulnerability of populations due to their socio-demographic characteristics, as well as differences in the preventive measures in place," said Dr. Michelozzi. "Moreover, across European countries there is wide variation in healthcare and hospital admissions availability. Although all these differences are important, our results document an effect of high temperature on hospital admissions for respiratory causes in several cities, and this is the strength of the study."

"These findings are important for public health because the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as COPD, is expected to increase in developed countries as a result of population aging," wrote Dr. Michelozzi. "Furthermore, under climate change scenarios, the increase in extreme weather events and certain air pollutants, especially ozone, are likely to further aggravate chronic respiratory diseases. Public health interventions should be directed at preventing this additional burden of disease during the summer season. The observed heterogeneity of the health effects indicates a need to tailor programs for individual cities."

Keely Savoie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.thoracic.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht A promising target for kidney fibrosis
21.04.2017 | Brigham and Women's Hospital

nachricht Stem cell transplants: activating signal paths may protect from graft-versus-host disease
20.04.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

Im Focus: Quantum-physical Model System

Computer-assisted methods aid Heidelberg physicists in reproducing experiment with ultracold atoms

Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...

Im Focus: Glacier bacteria’s contribution to carbon cycling

Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.

A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New quantum liquid crystals may play role in future of computers

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A promising target for kidney fibrosis

21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

Light rays from a supernova bent by the curvature of space-time around a galaxy

21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>