skip to main content

Title: Temperature, Disease, and Death in London: Analyzing Weekly Data for the Century from 1866 to 1965
Using novel weekly mortality data for London spanning 1866-1965, we analyze the changing relationship between temperature and mortality as the city developed. Our main results show that warm weeks led to elevated mortality in the late nineteenth century, mainly due to infant deaths from digestive diseases. However, this pattern largely disappeared after WWI as infant digestive diseases became less prevalent. The resulting change in the temperature-mortality relationship meant that thousands of heat-related deaths—equal to 0.9-1.4 percent of all deaths— were averted. These findings show that improving the disease environment can dramatically alter the impact of high temperature on mortality.
Authors:
; ;
Award ID(s):
1552692
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10318196
Journal Name:
The Journal of Economic History
Volume:
81
Issue:
1
ISSN:
0022-0507
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Children, and particularly infants, have physiological, anatomic, and social factors that increase vulnerability to temperature extremes. We performed a systematic review to explore the association between acute adverse infant outcomes (children 0–1 years) and exposure to high and low ambient temperatures. MEDLINE (Pubmed), Embase, CINAHL Plus, and Global Health were searched alongside the reference lists of key papers. We included published journal papers in English that assessed adverse infant outcomes related to short-term weather-related temperature exposure. Twenty-six studies met our inclusion criteria. Outcomes assessed included: infant mortality (n = 9), sudden infant death syndrome (n = 5), hospital visits or admissions (n = 5), infectious disease outcomes (n = 5), and neonatal conditions such as jaundice (n = 2). Higher temperatures were associated with increased risk of acute infant mortality, hospital admissions, and hand, foot, and mouth disease. Several studies identified low temperature impacts on infant mortality and episodes of respiratory disease. Findings on temperature risks for sudden infant death syndrome were inconsistent. Only five studies were conducted in low- or middle-income countries, and evidence on subpopulations and temperature-sensitive infectious diseases was limited. Public health measures are required to reduce the impacts of heat and cold on infant health.
  2. More than 5 million children under five years die from largely preventable or treatable medical conditions every year, with an overwhelmingly large proportion of deaths occurring in under-developed countries with low vaccination uptake. One of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDG 3) aims to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under five years of age. We focus on Nigeria, where the rate of infant mortality is appalling. We collaborate with HelpMum, a large non-profit organization in Nigeria to design and optimize the allocation of heterogeneous health interventions under uncertainty to increase vaccination uptake, the first such collaboration in Nigeria. Our framework, ADVISER: AI-Driven Vaccination Intervention Optimiser, is based on an integer linear program that seeks to maximize the cumulative probability of successful vaccination. Our optimization formulation is intractable in practice. We present a heuristic approach that enables us to solve the problem for real-world use-cases. We also present theoretical bounds for the heuristic method. Finally, we show that the proposed approach outperforms baseline methods in terms of vaccination uptake through experimental evaluation. HelpMum is currently planning a pilot program based on our approach to be deployed in the largest city of Nigeria, which would be the first deploymentmore »of an AIdriven vaccination uptake program in the country and hopefully, pave the way for other data-driven programs to improve health outcomes in Nigeria.« less
  3. Abstract Children (<5 years) are highly vulnerable during hot weather due to their reduced ability to thermoregulate. There has been limited quantification of the burden of climate change on health in sub-Saharan Africa, in part due to a lack of evidence on the impacts of weather extremes on mortality and morbidity. Using a linear threshold model of the relationship between daily temperature and child mortality, we estimated the impact of climate change on annual heat-related child deaths for the current (1995–2020) and future time periods (2020–2050). By 2009, heat-related child mortality was double what it would have been without climate change; this outweighed reductions in heat mortality from improvements associated with development. We estimated future burdens of child mortality for three emission scenarios (SSP119, SSP245 and SSP585), and a single scenario of population growth. Under the high emission scenario (SSP585), including changes to population and mortality rates, heat-related child mortality is projected to double by 2049 compared to 2005–2014. If 2050 temperature increases were kept within the Paris target of 1.5 °C (SSP119 scenario), approximately 4000–6000 child deaths per year could be avoided in Africa. The estimates of future heat-related mortality include the assumption of the significant population growth projectedmore »for Africa, and declines in child mortality consistent with Global Burden of Disease estimates of health improvement. Our findings support the need for urgent mitigation and adaptation measures that are focussed on the health of children.« less
  4. Abstract Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) the causal agent for COVID-19, is a communicable disease spread through close contact. It is known to disproportionately impact certain communities due to both biological susceptibility and inequitable exposure. In this study, we investigate the most important health, social, and environmental factors impacting the early phases (before July, 2020) of per capita COVID-19 transmission and per capita all-cause mortality in US counties. We aggregate county-level physical and mental health, environmental pollution, access to health care, demographic characteristics, vulnerable population scores, and other epidemiological data to create a large feature set to analyze per capita COVID-19 outcomes. Because of the high-dimensionality, multicollinearity, and unknown interactions of the data, we use ensemble machine learning and marginal prediction methods to identify the most salient factors associated with several COVID-19 outbreak measure. Our variable importance results show that measures of ethnicity, public transportation and preventable diseases are the strongest predictors for both per capita COVID-19 incidence and mortality. Specifically, the CDC measures for minority populations, CDC measures for limited English, and proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county were the most important features for per capita COVID-19 cases within a month after the pandemicmore »started in a county and also at the latest date examined. For per capita all-cause mortality at day 100 and total to date, we find that public transportation use and proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county are the strongest predictors. The methods predict that, keeping all other factors fixed, a 10% increase in public transportation use, all other factors remaining fixed at the observed values, is associated with increases mortality at day 100 of 2012 individuals (95% CI [1972, 2356]) and likewise a 10% increase in the proportion of Black- and/or African-American individuals in a county is associated with increases total deaths at end of study of 2067 (95% CI [1189, 2654]). Using data until the end of study, the same metric suggests ethnicity has double the association as the next most important factors, which are location, disease prevalence, and transit factors. Our findings shed light on societal patterns that have been reported and experienced in the U.S. by using robust methods to understand the features most responsible for transmission and sectors of society most vulnerable to infection and mortality. In particular, our results provide evidence of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on minority populations. Our results suggest that mitigation measures, including how vaccines are distributed, could have the greatest impact if they are given with priority to the highest risk communities.« less
  5. Objective: Mortality-trends from alcoholic liver disease (ALD) have recently increased and they differ by various factors in the U.S. However, these trends have only been analyzed using univariate models and in reality they may be influenced by various factors. We thus examined trends in age-standardized mortality from ALD among U.S. adults for 1999-2017, using multivariable piecewise log-linear models. Methods: We collected mortality-data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database, using the Underlying Cause of Death. Results: We identified 296,194 deaths from ALD and 346,386 deaths indirectly attributable to ALD during the period from 1999-2017. The multivariable-adjusted, age-standardized ALD mortality was stable during 1999-2006 (annual percentage change [APC]=-2.24, P=0.24), and increased during 2006-2017 (APC=3.18, P<0.006). Their trends did not differ by sex, race, age or urbanization. Subgroup analyses revealed upward multivariable-adjusted, age-standardized mortality-trends in alcoholic fatty liver (APC=4.64, P<0.001), alcoholic hepatitis (APC=4.38, P<0.001), and alcoholic cirrhosis (APC=5.33, P<0.001), but downward mortality-trends in alcoholic hepatic failure (APC=-1.63, P=0.006) and unspecified ALD (APC=-0.86, P=0.013). Strikingly, non-alcoholic cirrhosis also had an upward multivariable-adjusted, age-standardized mortality-trend (APC=0.69, P=0.046). By contrast, recent mortality-trends were stable for all cause of deaths (APC=-0.39, P=0.379) and downward for malignant neoplasms excludingmore »liver cancer (APC=-2.82, P<0.001), infections (APC=-2.60, P<0.001), cardiovascular disease (APC=-0.69, P=0.044) and respiratory disease (APC=-0.56, P=0.002). The adjusted mortality with ALD as a contributing cause of death also had an upward trend during 2000-2017 (APC=5.47, P<0.001). Strikingly, common comorbidities of ALD, including hepatocellular carcinoma, cerebrovascular and ischemic heart cardiovascular diseases and sepsis, had upward trends during the past 14 to 16 years. Conclusions: ALD had an upward multivariable-adjusted, age-standardized mortality-trend among U.S. adults, without significant differences by sex, race, age or urbanization. Three ALD subtypes (alcoholic fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis and alcoholic cirrhosis) and non-alcoholic cirrhosis had upward morality-trends, while other ALD subtypes and other causes of death did not.« less