Asthma attacks linked to thunderstorms: study

July 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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |