Nav: Home

Heat now more lethal than cold for people with respiratory diseases in Spain

May 20, 2020

Barcelona, 20 May 2020. A new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by the "la Caixa" Foundation, has analysed deaths linked to respiratory disease in Spain between 1980 and 2016. The study, which analysed data on more than 1.3 million deaths, found that the seasonality of temperature-attributable mortality from respiratory diseases has shifted from the coldest to the hottest months of the year. The authors concluded that the decrease in temperature-attributable mortality during the winter months is driven not by the rising temperatures associated with climate change, but by the adaptation of the population to lower temperatures.

The study, published in Nature Communications, analysed daily temperature data and mortality counts from respiratory diseases--disaggregated by sex, age group and place of residence--from 48 Spanish provinces. Analysis of the data on mortality due to respiratory diseases revealed an average decline in deaths of 16.5% per decade for the colder months compared to relatively stable figures for the warmer months of the year over the 37-year study period. Temperature-attributable deaths from respiratory diseases went from being most frequent in January and December to reaching their peak in July and August.

"Two or three decades ago, respiratory diseases caused by low temperatures represented an additional risk of death in Spain," commented lead author Hicham Achebak, a researcher at ISGlobal and the Autonomous University of Barcelona's Centre for Demographic Studies. "The findings of this study show that this risk has gradually been declining. Thanks to adaptive measures, such as the more widespread use of heating and improved treatment of these conditions, respiratory disease mortality is no longer driven by cold temperatures and we are seeing a complete reversal in the seasonal cycle."

Although this inversion was observed across all sex and age groups, there were differences between the groups. Vulnerability to heat increased with age and was greater in women than in men. Conversely, the effects of cold decreased with age and were less pronounced in women than in men, although the differences between groups were much less striking in this case. "In the later years of our study period, the differences in mortality risk between groups were almost imperceptible for cold temperatures, whereas the differences for the summer months were significant," commented ISGlobal researcher Joan Ballester, co-author of the study. "These observations reflect a remarkable process of adaptation to cold, but not to heat."

Climate Change and Health Policy

Climate change is associated with numerous health effects. Extreme temperatures, for example, correlate with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. "This study shows that the projected decrease in the number of cold days due to global warming over the coming decades will not contribute to a further reduction in mortality from respiratory diseases," commented Achebak.

"Deaths attributable to hot or cold temperatures are caused by a combination of exposure to extreme temperatures and the vulnerability of the population," explained Ballester. "Reducing this vulnerability may require policies associated with socioeconomic development, such as those aimed at improving health services."
-end-
About ISGlobal

The Barcelona Institute of Global Health (ISGlobal) is the result of an innovative alliance between the "la Caixa" Foundation and academic and government institutions. The Institute was set up to contribute to the work undertaken by the international community to address global health challenges. ISGlobal has consolidated a hub of excellence in research and medical care that has its roots in work first started in the world of health care by the Hospital Clínic and the Mar Health Park and in the academic sphere by the University of Barcelona and Pompeu Fabra University. The pivotal mechanism of its work model is the transfer of knowledge generated by scientific research to practice, a task undertaken by the Institute's Education, Policy and Global Development departments. ISGlobal is accredited as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence and is a member of CERCA, the Catalan Government's network of research centres.

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

Related Mortality Articles:

New analysis shows hydroxychloroquine does not lower mortality in COVID-19 patients, and is associated with increased mortality when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin
A new meta-analysis of published studies into the drug hydroxychloroquine shows that it does not lower mortality in COVID-19 patients, and using it combined with the antibiotic azithromycin is associated with a 27% increased mortality.
Hydroxychloroquine reduces in-hospital COVID-19 mortality
An Italian observational study contributes to the ongoing debate regarding the use of hydroxychloroquine in the current pandemic.
What's the best way to estimate and track COVID-19 mortality?
When used correctly, the symptomatic case fatality ratio (sCFR) and the infection fatality ratio (IFR) are better measures by which to monitor COVID-19 epidemics than the commonly reported case fatality ratio (CFR), according to a new study published this week in PLOS Medicine by Anthony Hauser of the University of Bern, Switzerland, and colleagues.
COVID-19: Bacteriophage could decrease mortality
Bacteriophage can reduce bacterial growth in the lungs, limiting fluid build-up.
COPD and smoking associated with higher COVID-19 mortality
Current smokers and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have an increased risk of severe complications and higher mortality with COVID-19 infection, according to a new study published May 11, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Jaber Alqahtani of University College London, UK, and colleagues.
Highest mortality risks for poor and unemployed
Large dataset shows that income, work status and education have a clear influence on mortality in Germany.
Addressing causes of mortality in Zambia
Despite the fact that people in sub-Saharan Africa are now living longer than they did two decades ago, their average life expectancy remains below that of the rest of the world population.
Examining the link between caste and under-five mortality in India
In India, children that belong to disadvantaged castes face a much higher likelihood of not living past their fifth birthday than their counterparts in non-deprived castes.
Mortality rates rising for Gens X and Y too
Declining life expectancies in the US include Gen X and Y Americans, in addition to the older Baby Boomers.
Trust in others predicts mortality in the United States
Do you trust other people? It may prolong your life.
More Mortality News and Mortality Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Warped Reality
False information on the internet makes it harder and harder to know what's true, and the consequences have been devastating. This hour, TED speakers explore ideas around technology and deception. Guests include law professor Danielle Citron, journalist Andrew Marantz, and computer scientist Joy Buolamwini.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#576 Science Communication in Creative Places
When you think of science communication, you might think of TED talks or museum talks or video talks, or... people giving lectures. It's a lot of people talking. But there's more to sci comm than that. This week host Bethany Brookshire talks to three people who have looked at science communication in places you might not expect it. We'll speak with Mauna Dasari, a graduate student at Notre Dame, about making mammals into a March Madness match. We'll talk with Sarah Garner, director of the Pathologists Assistant Program at Tulane University School of Medicine, who takes pathology instruction out of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

What If?
There's plenty of speculation about what Donald Trump might do in the wake of the election. Would he dispute the results if he loses? Would he simply refuse to leave office, or even try to use the military to maintain control? Last summer, Rosa Brooks got together a team of experts and political operatives from both sides of the aisle to ask a slightly different question. Rather than arguing about whether he'd do those things, they dug into what exactly would happen if he did. Part war game part choose your own adventure, Rosa's Transition Integrity Project doesn't give us any predictions, and it isn't a referendum on Trump. Instead, it's a deeply illuminating stress test on our laws, our institutions, and on the commitment to democracy written into the constitution. This episode was reported by Bethel Habte, with help from Tracie Hunte, and produced by Bethel Habte. Jeremy Bloom provided original music. Support Radiolab by becoming a member today at Radiolab.org/donate.     You can read The Transition Integrity Project's report here.