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 Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>