Presidential Forum
First Environment and Health Symposium


About the possible influence of the weather on asthma episodes: St. Thomas University and surrounding communities

David Quesada, Saint Thomas Univ., Miami Gardens, FL; and A. Audate and I. Perez

Asthma is estimated to affect about 5 % of adults and about 10 % of children worldwide. Both, asthma prevalence and mortality have increased considerably over the last ten years and it is foreseen to be one of the most important respiratory and occupational lung diseases in the coming decade. Additionally, climatic and environmental changes occurring since the middle of the Twentieth Century as well as the aggravating pollution levels in megacities seems to exacerbate asthma episodes and number of hospitalizations. According to the latest estimates, in the U.S. the prevalence of asthma in children less than 18 years ranges from 4.5 to 7 %, while in children 2 5 years are around 5.6 %. In Miami Dade County, where St. Thomas University is located, in 1999 the hospitalization rates were double the Healthy People 2010 objectives in every age group. Motivated by this existing situation, St. Thomas School of Science decided to initiate a gathering of weather and health information, and also, look for possible correlations between these data. It is noteworthy that St. Thomas University is surrounded by many communities with a Hispanic and African American composition predominantly. These minority groups are the one with the highest rates of asthma prevalence and severity. Then, in partnership with AWS Convergence Technologies (WeatherBug) a weather tracking station operating on campus 24/7 year round has recorded weather data for six years. A statistical processing of these data based on Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) and Time Series Analysis (TSA) is included in this presentation. Attention was paid to averages of pressure, wind velocity and direction, temperature, humidity, and rain fall, as well as the ranges between the maximum and minimum values of these quantities. Additionally, the number of days above a certain cut-off value of temperature and humidity in a month was addressed. Complementary to above results, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) information about Ozone and pollen levels and particulate matter was considered. Then, in order to look for possible seasonal patterns of asthma as well as some possible predictors, health information from regional hospitals located in different areas of Miami Dade are discussed for further correlation analysis. Our results are compared with others obtained from different States within continental U.S. as well as from oversea.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (1.1M)

Joint Poster Session , Environment and Health Posters
Monday, 18 January 2010, 2:30 PM-4:00 PM

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