Global warning spells increased hospitalisations for respiratory problems

February 20th, 2009 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Feb 20 (IANS) High summer temperatures, pushed higher by global climate change, may increase hospitalisations for respiratory problems, according to an analysis of data from 12 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-centre, 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 hospitalisations 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 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 of epidemiology of the Local Health Authority, in Rome, said a Local Health release.

The results are scheduled for publication in the March issue of the American Thoracic Society’s American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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