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  1. Abstract

    Continued climate change is increasing the frequency, severity, and duration of populations’ high temperature exposures. Indoor cooling is a key adaptation, especially in urban areas, where heat extremes are intensified—the urban heat island effect (UHI)—making residential air conditioning (AC) availability critical to protecting human health. In the United States, the differences in residential AC prevalence from one metropolitan area to another is well understood, but its intra-urban variation is poorly characterized, obscuring neighborhood-scale variability in populations’ heat vulnerability and adaptive capacity. We address this gap by constructing empirically derived probabilities of residential AC for 45,995 census tracts across 115 metropolitan areas. Within cities, AC is unequally distributed, with census tracts in the urban “core” exhibiting systematically lower prevalence than their suburban counterparts. Moreover, this disparity correlates strongly with multiple indicators of social vulnerability and summer daytime surface UHI intensity, highlighting the challenges that vulnerable urban populations face in adapting to climate-change driven heat stress amplification.

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  2. Abstract

    Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the principal cause of blindness in developed countries, and its prevalence will increase to 288 million people in 2040. Therefore, automated grading and prediction methods can be highly beneficial for recognizing susceptible subjects to late-AMD and enabling clinicians to start preventive actions for them. Clinically, AMD severity is quantified by Color Fundus Photographs (CFP) of the retina, and many machine-learning-based methods are proposed for grading AMD severity. However, few models were developed to predict the longitudinal progression status, i.e. predicting future late-AMD risk based on the current CFP, which is more clinically interesting. In this paper, we propose a new deep-learning-based classification model (LONGL-Net) that can simultaneously grade the current CFP and predict the longitudinal outcome, i.e. whether the subject will be in late-AMD in the future time-point. We design a new temporal-correlation-structure-guided Generative Adversarial Network model that learns the interrelations of temporal changes in CFPs in consecutive time-points and provides interpretability for the classifier's decisions by forecasting AMD symptoms in the future CFPs. We used about 30,000 CFP images from 4,628 participants in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study. Our classifier showed average 0.905 (95% CI: 0.886–0.922) AUC and 0.762 (95% CI: 0.733–0.792) accuracy on the 3-class classification problem of simultaneously grading current time-point's AMD condition and predicting late AMD progression of subjects in the future time-point. We further validated our model on the UK Biobank dataset, where our model showed average 0.905 accuracy and 0.797 sensitivity in grading 300 CFP images.

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  3. Abstract

    Does information about how other people feel about COVID-19 vaccination affect immunization intentions? We conducted preregistered survey experiments in Great Britain (5,456 respondents across 3 survey waves from September 2020 to February 2021), Canada (1,315 respondents in February 2021), and the state of New Hampshire in the United States (1,315 respondents in January 2021). The experiments examine the effects of providing accurate public opinion information to people about either public support for COVID-19 vaccination (an injunctive norm) or public beliefs that the issue is contentious. Across all 3 countries, exposure to this information had minimal effects on vaccination intentions even among people who previously held inaccurate beliefs about support for COVID-19 vaccination or its perceived contentiousness. These results suggest that providing information on public opinion about COVID vaccination has limited additional effect on people’s behavioral intentions when public discussion of vaccine uptake and intentions is highly salient.

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  4. Abstract

    Climate change is adversely impacting the burden of diarrheal diseases. Despite significant reduction in global prevalence, diarrheal disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality among young children in low- and middle-income countries. Previous studies have shown that diarrheal disease is associated with meteorological conditions but the role of large-scale climate phenomena such as El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and monsoon anomaly is less understood. We obtained 13 years (2002–2014) of diarrheal disease data from Nepal and investigated how the disease rate is associated with phases of ENSO (El Niño, La Niña, vs. ENSO neutral) monsoon rainfall anomaly (below normal, above normal, vs. normal), and changes in timing of monsoon onset, and withdrawal (early, late, vs. normal). Monsoon season was associated with a 21% increase in diarrheal disease rates (Incident Rate Ratios [IRR]: 1.21; 95% CI: 1.16–1.27). El Niño was associated with an 8% reduction in risk while the La Niña was associated with a 32% increase in under-5 diarrheal disease rates. Likewise, higher-than-normal monsoon rainfall was associated with increased rates of diarrheal disease, with considerably higher rates observed in the mountain region (IRR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.19–1.92). Our findings suggest that under-5 diarrheal disease burden in Nepal is significantly influenced by ENSO and changes in seasonal monsoon dynamics. Since both ENSO phases and monsoon can be predicted with considerably longer lead time compared to weather, our findings will pave the way for the development of more effective early warning systems for climate sensitive infectious diseases.

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