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(1/162) Short-term associations between outdoor air pollution and visits to accident and emergency departments in London for respiratory complaints.

Many epidemiological studies have shown positive short-term associations between health and current levels of outdoor air pollution. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between air pollution and the number of visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments in London for respiratory complaints. A&E visits include the less severe cases of acute respiratory disease and are unrestricted by bed availability. Daily counts of visits to 12 London A&E departments for asthma, other respiratory complaints, and both combined for a number of age groups were constructed from manual registers of visits for the period 1992-1994. A Poisson regression allowing for seasonal patterns, meteorological conditions and influenza epidemics was used to assess the associations between the number of visits and six pollutants: nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and particles measured as black smoke (BS) and particles with a median aerodynamic diameter of <10 microm (PM10). After making an allowance for the multiplicity of tests, there remained strong associations between visits for all respiratory complaints and increases in SO2: a 2.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.7-4.9) increase in the number of visits for a 18 microg x (-3) increase (10th-90th percentile range) and a 3.0% (95% CI 0.8-5.2) increase for a 31 microg x m(-3) increase in PM10. There were also significant associations between visits for asthma and SO2, NO2 and PM10. No significant associations between O3 and any of the respiratory complaints investigated were found. Because of the strong correlation between pollutants, it was difficult to identify a single pollutant responsible for the associations found in the analyses. This study suggests that the levels of air pollution currently experienced in London are linked to short-term increases in the number of people visiting accident and emergency departments with respiratory complaints.  (+info)

(2/162) Deriving meteorological variables across Africa for the study and control of vector-borne disease: a comparison of remote sensing and spatial interpolation of climate.

This paper presents the results of an investigation into the utility of remote sensing (RS) using meteorological satellites sensors and spatial interpolation (SI) of data from meteorological stations, for the prediction of spatial variation in monthly climate across continental Africa in 1990. Information from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) polar-orbiting meteorological satellites was used to estimate land surface temperature (LST) and atmospheric moisture. Cold cloud duration (CCD) data derived from the High Resolution Radiometer (HRR) on-board the European Meteorological Satellite programme's (EUMETSAT) Meteosat satellite series were also used as a RS proxy measurement of rainfall. Temperature, atmospheric moisture and rainfall surfaces were independently derived from SI of measurements from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) member stations of Africa. These meteorological station data were then used to test the accuracy of each methodology, so that the appropriateness of the two techniques for epidemiological research could be compared. SI was a more accurate predictor of temperature, whereas RS provided a better surrogate for rainfall; both were equally accurate at predicting atmospheric moisture. The implications of these results for mapping short and long-term climate change and hence their potential for the study and control of disease vectors are considered. Taking into account logistic and analytical problems, there were no clear conclusions regarding the optimality of either technique, but there was considerable potential for synergy.  (+info)

(3/162) Short-term associations between outdoor air pollution and mortality in London 1992-4.

OBJECTIVES: A previous study of the short term effects of air pollution in London from April 1987 to March 1992 found associations between all cause mortality and black smoke and ozone, but no clear evidence of specificity for cardiorespiratory deaths. London data from 1992 to 1994 were analysed to examine the consistency of results over time and to include particles with a mean aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns (PM10) and carbon monoxide. METHODS: Poisson regression was used of daily mortality counts grouped by age and diagnosis, adjusting for trend, seasonality, calendar effects, deaths from influenza, meteorology, and serial correlation. The pollutants examined were particles (PM10 and black smoke), nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide with single and cumulative lags up to 3 days. RESULTS: No significant associations were found between any pollutant and all cause mortality, but, with the exception of ozone, all estimates were positive. Each pollutant apart from ozone was significantly associated with respiratory mortality; PM10 showed the largest effect (4% increase in deaths of all ages for a 10th-90th percentile increment). The pollutants significantly associated with cardiovascular deaths were nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and black smoke but there was no evidence of an association with PM10. In two pollutant models of respiratory deaths, the effect of black smoke, which in London indicates fine particles of diesel origin, was independent of that of PM10, but not vice versa. CONCLUSION: These results from a new data set confirm a previous report that there are associations between various air pollutants and daily mortality in London. This new study found greater specificity for associations with respiratory and cardiovascular deaths, and this increases the plausibility of a causal explanation. However, the effects of ozone found in the earlier study were not replicated. The fraction of PM10 which comprises black smoke accounted for much of the effect of PM10.  (+info)

(4/162) Propagation of seismic ground motion in the Kanto Basin, Japan.

The pattern of ground motion for a magnitude 5.7 earthquake near Tokyo was captured by 384 strong ground motion instruments across the Kanto sedimentary basin and its surroundings. The records allow the visualization of the propagation of long-period ground motion in the basin and show the refraction of surface waves at the basin edge. The refracted wave does not travel directly from the earthquake epicenter, but traverses the basin obliquely to the edge. The surface wave inside the basin propagates more slowly than that outside such that the wavefronts separate from each other, and the refracted wave heals the discrepancy in the speed of advance of the wavefronts inside and outside the basin. The refracted arrival is dominant near the edge of the Kanto basin.  (+info)

(5/162) Model for the analysis of binary time series of respiratory symptoms.

Environmental epidemiologic research on respiratory symptoms presents unique types of data, typically requiring simultaneous analysis of both time- and person-varying factors. In this paper, the authors propose a new, simple model that incorporates such factors and controls for each person's prior history of symptoms. The Yale Mother and Infant Health Study was undertaken to investigate the effects of ambient pollutant concentrations, meteorologic changes, and demographic variables on daily respiratory symptoms in both mothers and infants. This analysis was restricted to 673 mothers followed in southwestern Virginia from June 10 to August 31, 1995. Of the person-varying factors, husband's level of education, nested within marital status, and having pets in the home were related to an increased likelihood of new episodes; however, neither was related to duration of symptoms. Interestingly, women who were unmarried were least likely to have new episodes of respiratory symptoms, while those with the most highly educated spouses were most likely to have new episodes. Having pets in the home increased the likelihood of a new episode. Having a history of allergies and having children in day care were found to be related to the symptom of a runny or stuffy nose, in terms of both incidence and duration. The level of coarse particles was related to the incidence of new episodes of runny or stuffy nose, and a higher level prolonged the duration of symptoms. Sulfate level was not related to the incidence of new episodes but was associated with the duration of the episodes.  (+info)

(6/162) Earth observation, geographic information systems and Plasmodium falciparum malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

This review highlights the progress and current status of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information systems (GIS) as currently applied to the problem of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The burden of P. falciparum malaria in SSA is first summarized and then contrasted with the paucity of accurate and recent information on the nature and extent of the disease. This provides perspective on both the global importance of the pathogen and the potential for contribution of RS and GIS techniques. The ecology of P. falciparum malaria and its major anopheline vectors in SSA in then outlined, to provide the epidemiological background for considering disease transmission processes and their environmental correlates. Because RS and GIS are recent techniques in epidemiology, all mosquito-borne diseases are considered in this review in order to convey the range of ideas, insights and innovation provided. To conclude, the impact of these initial studies is assessed and suggestions provided on how these advances could be best used for malaria control in an appropriate and sustainable manner, with key areas for future research highlighted.  (+info)

(7/162) Acute respiratory effects of particles: mass or number?

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether associations might be found, in patients with chronic airflow obstruction, between symptoms, peak flow rate (PEF), and particle mass and numbers, and to assess which measure was most closely associated with changes in health. Epidemiological studies have shown associations between particulate air pollution and cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and it has been proposed that these may be mediated by particles of nm size (ultrafine). METHODS: Relations were investigated between symptom scores, PEF, and bronchodilator use in 44 patients aged > or =50 years with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and daily measurements of both mass of ambient particles of aerodynamic diameter less than 10 microm (PM10) and numbers of ultrafine particles (<100 nm), allowing for meteorological variables. Symptom scores, bronchodilator use, and PEF were recorded daily for 3 months. Counts of ultrafine particles were made by the TSI model 3934 scanning mobility particle sizer (SMPS) and PM10 measurements by the tapered element oscillating microbalance (TEOM). RESULTS: Ultrafine particle counts indoors and outdoors were significantly correlated, those indoors being about half of those outdoors. No associations were found between actual PEF and PM10 or ultrafine particles. However, there was a 19% increase in the rate of 10% decrements in daytime PEF with increases in PM10 from 10 to 20 microg/m(3) which was of borderline significance (p=0.05). A change in PM10 from 10 to 20 microg/m(3) was significantly associated with a 14% increase in the rate of high scores of shortness of breath (p=0.003). A similar change in PM10 as a moving average of the same day and 2 previous days was associated with a 31% increase in the rate of high scores for cough (p=0.02). Cough symptoms were also associated with lower temperatures (p=0.02). Higher use of medicines was also associated with higher PM10, but the increases were very small in clinical terms. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence was not found to support the hypothesis that the component of particulate pollution responsible for effects on respiratory symptoms or function resides in the fraction below 100 nm diameter. The consistent associations between symptoms and PM10 suggest that a contribution of the coarser fraction should not be dismissed. Further studies will be needed before the conclusions of this specific project may be generalised.  (+info)

(8/162) Environmental factors and heatstroke.

The objective of this study was to determine the extent of the influence of temperature and humidity on the number of heatstroke presentations. Three hundred and forty-five labourers presented to the Accident and Emergency Hospital in Abu Dhabi with heatstroke during a 3 month summer period. There was no significant predictive association between the maximum daily temperature and/or humidity and the presentation of heatstroke. There was no significant association with the maximum temperature on the previous day, day of the week or temperature trend. The largest statistical correlation was between the maximum temperature and humidity and the log of the number of cases. It is possible that there are other significant explanatory variables that we have not included in the model.  (+info)