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      An Association between Air Pollution and Daily Outpatient Visits for Respiratory Disease in a Heavy Industry Area

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          In this work we used daily outpatient data from the Landseed Hospital in a heavily industrial area in northern Taiwan to study the associations between daily outpatient visits and air pollution in the context of a heavily polluted atmospheric environment in Chung-Li area during the period 2007–2011. We test the normality of each data set, control for the confounding factors, and calculate correlation coefficient between the outpatient visits and air pollution and meteorology, and use multiple linear regression analysis to seek significance of these associations. Our results show that temperature and relative humidity tend to be negatively associated with respiratory diseases. NO and are two main air pollutants that are positively associated with respiratory diseases, followed by , , , CO, and . Young outpatients (age 0–15 years) are most sensitive to changing air pollution and meteorology factors, followed by the eldest (age 66 years) and age 16–65 years of outpatients. Outpatients for COPD diseases are most sensitive to air pollution and meteorology factors, followed by allergic rhinitis, asthma, and pneumonia diseases. In the context of sex difference to air pollution and meteorological factors, male outpatients are more sensitive than female outpatients in the 16–65 age groups, while female outpatients are more sensitive than male outpatients in the young 0–15 age groups and in the eldest age groups. In total, female outpatients are more sensitive to air pollution and meteorological factors than male outpatients.

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          Most cited references 21

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          Confounding control in healthcare database research: challenges and potential approaches.

          Epidemiologic studies are increasingly used to investigate the safety and effectiveness of medical products and interventions. Appropriate adjustment for confounding in such studies is challenging because exposure is determined by a complex interaction of patient, physician, and healthcare system factors. The challenges of confounding control are particularly acute in studies using healthcare utilization databases where information on many potential confounding factors is lacking and the meaning of variables is often unclear. We discuss advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to confounder control in healthcare databases. In settings where considerable uncertainty surrounds the data or the causal mechanisms underlying the treatment assignment and outcome process, we suggest that researchers report a panel of results under various specifications of statistical models. Such reporting allows the reader to assess the sensitivity of the results to model assumptions that are often not supported by strong subject-matter knowledge.
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            Regression modelling and other methods to control confounding.

             R McNamee (2005)
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              Urban air pollution and emergency admissions for asthma in four European cities: the APHEA Project.

              A study was undertaken to assess the combined association between urban air pollution and emergency admissions for asthma during the years 1986-92 in Barcelona, Helsinki, Paris and London. Daily counts were made of asthma admissions and visits to the emergency room in adults (age range 15-64 years) and children (< 15 years). Covariates were short term fluctuations in temperature and humidity, viral epidemics, day of the week effects, and seasonal and secular trends. Estimates from all the cities were obtained for the entire period and separately by warm or cold seasons using Poisson time-series regression models. Combined associations were estimated using meta-analysis techniques. Daily admissions for asthma in adults increased significantly with increasing ambient levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) (relative risk (RR) per 50 micrograms/m3 increase 1.029, 95% CI 1.003 to 1.055) and non-significantly with particles measured as black smoke (RR 1.021, 95% CI 0.985 to 1.059). The association between asthma admissions and ozone (O3) was heterogeneous among cities. In children, daily admissions increased significantly with sulphur dioxide (SO2) (RR 1.075, 95% CI 1.026 to 1.126) and non-significantly with black smoke (RR 1.030, 95% CI 0.979 to 1.084) and NO2, though the latter only in cold seasons (RR 1.080, 95% CI 1.025 to 1.140). No association was observed for O3. The associations between asthma admissions and NO2 in adults and SO2 in children were independent of black smoke. The evidence of an association between air pollution at current urban levels and emergency room visits for asthma has been extended to Europe. In addition to particles, NO2 and SO2--by themselves or as a constituent of a pollution mixture--may be important in asthma exacerbations in European cities.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                25 October 2013
                : 8
                : 10
                [1 ]Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Central University, Chung-Li, Taiwan
                [2 ]Department of Community Medicine, Taiwan Landseed Hospital, Ping-Jen, Taiwan
                University of Liverpool, United Kingdom
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: KYW TTC. Performed the experiments: KYW. Analyzed the data: KYW TTC. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: KYW. Wrote the paper: KYW.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 25
                This work was supported by National Central University-Landseed Hospital-100-A-004 and National Central University-Landseed Hospital-101-A-006. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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