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The Impact of Temperature on Mortality in Tianjin, China: A Case-Crossover Design with a Distributed Lag Nonlinear Model

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      Background: Although interest in assessing the impacts of temperature on mortality has increased, few studies have used a case-crossover design to examine nonlinear and distributed lag effects of temperature on mortality. Additionally, little evidence is available on the temperature–mortality relationship in China or on what temperature measure is the best predictor of mortality.Objectives: Our objectives were to use a distributed lag nonlinear model (DLNM) as a part of case-crossover design to examine the nonlinear and distributed lag effects of temperature on mortality in Tianjin, China and to explore which temperature measure is the best predictor of mortality.Methods: We applied the DLNM to a case-crossover design to assess the nonlinear and delayed effects of temperatures (maximum, mean, and minimum) on deaths (nonaccidental, cardiopulmonary, cardiovascular, and respiratory).Results: A U-shaped relationship was found consistently between temperature and mortality. Cold effects (i.e., significantly increased mortality associated with low temperatures) were delayed by 3 days and persisted for 10 days. Hot effects (i.e., significantly increased mortality associated with high temperatures) were acute and lasted for 3 days and were followed by mortality displacement for nonaccidental, cardiopulmonary, and cardiovascular deaths. Mean temperature was a better predictor of mortality (based on model fit) than maximum or minimum temperature.Conclusions: In Tianjin, extreme cold and hot temperatures increased the risk of mortality. The effects of cold last longer than the effects of heat. Combining the DLNM and the case-crossover design allows the case-crossover design to flexibly estimate the nonlinear and delayed effects of temperature (or air pollution) while controlling for season.

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          Many studies have linked weather to mortality; however, role of such critical factors as regional variation, susceptible populations, and acclimatization remain unresolved. We applied time-series models to 107 US communities allowing a nonlinear relationship between temperature and mortality by using a 14-year dataset. Second-stage analysis was used to relate cold, heat, and heat wave effect estimates to community-specific variables. We considered exposure timeframe, susceptibility, age, cause of death, and confounding from pollutants. Heat waves were modeled with varying intensity and duration. Heat-related mortality was most associated with a shorter lag (average of same day and previous day), with an overall increase of 3.0% (95% posterior interval: 2.4%-3.6%) in mortality risk comparing the 99th and 90th percentile temperatures for the community. Cold-related mortality was most associated with a longer lag (average of current day up to 25 days previous), with a 4.2% (3.2%-5.3%) increase in risk comparing the first and 10th percentile temperatures for the community. Mortality risk increased with the intensity or duration of heat waves. Spatial heterogeneity in effects indicates that weather-mortality relationships from 1 community may not be applicable in another. Larger spatial heterogeneity for absolute temperature estimates (comparing risk at specific temperatures) than for relative temperature estimates (comparing risk at community-specific temperature percentiles) provides evidence for acclimatization. We identified susceptibility based on age, socioeconomic conditions, urbanicity, and central air conditioning. Acclimatization, individual susceptibility, and community characteristics all affect heat-related effects on mortality.

            Author and article information

            [1 ]School of Public Health, and
            [2 ]Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
            [3 ]School of Public Health, Peking University, Beijing, China
            Author notes
            Address correspondence to Y. Guo, School of Public Health, Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove, Brisbane, Queensland 4059, Australia. Telephone: 61 7 31383996. Fax: 61 7 31383130. E-mail: guoyuming@
            Environ Health Perspect
            Environmental Health Perspectives
            National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
            09 August 2011
            December 2011
            : 119
            : 12
            : 1719-1725

            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 work is properly cited.



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