Asthma attacks linked to thunderstorms: studyJuly 14th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, July 14 (IANS) Researchers have explored the link between thunderstorms and asthma attacks in the first-ever exhaustive study that has significant bearing on public health. Researchers studying a database comprising more than 10 million emergency room visits in some 41 hospitals between 1993 and 2004, found a 3 percent higher incidence of visits for asthma attacks on days following thunderstorms.
“While a 3 percent increase in risk may seem modest… a modest relative increase could have a significant public health impact for a region with more than five million people,” said Andrew Grundstein, a climatologist at the University of Georgia and co-author of the study.
As a next step, researchers are preparing, for the first time, to apply Doppler radar modelling and observational data to the “thunderstorm asthma” problem.
According to Paige Tolbert, another co-author: “The study will provide new insight into the mechanisms under the phenomenon of thunderstorm-induced asthma.”
Millions of people worldwide have asthma and there has been a dramatic increase in reported cases of the disease, with its prevalence increasing 75 percent between 1980 and 1994.
Grundstein’s initial findings have been published online in the medical journal Thorax.
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