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      Short-Term Changes in Ambient Temperature and Risk of Ischemic Stroke

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          Abstract

          Background: Despite consistent evidence of a higher short-term risk of cardiovascular mortality associated with ambient temperature, there have been discrepant findings on the association between temperature and ischemic stroke. Moreover, few studies have considered potential confounding by ambient fine particulate matter air pollution <2.5 μm in diameter (PM<sub>2.5</sub>) and none have examined the impact of temperature changes on stroke in the subsequent hours rather than days. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether changes in temperature trigger an ischemic stroke in the following hours and days and whether humid days are particularly harmful. Methods: We reviewed the medical records of 1,705 patients residing in the metropolitan region of Boston, Mass., USA, who were hospitalized with neurologist-confirmed ischemic stroke, and we abstracted data on the time of symptom onset and clinical characteristics. We obtained hourly meteorological data from the National Weather Service station and hourly PM<sub>2.5</sub> data from the Harvard ambient monitoring station. We used the time-stratified case-crossover design to assess the association between ischemic stroke and apparent temperature averaged over 1-7 days prior to stroke onset adjusting for PM<sub>2.5</sub>. We assessed whether differences in apparent temperature trigger a stroke within shorter time periods by examining the association between stroke onset and apparent temperature levels averaged in 2-hour increments prior to stroke onset (0-2 h through 36-38 h). We tested whether the association varied by health characteristics or by PM<sub>2.5</sub>, ozone or relative humidity. Results: The incidence rate ratio of ischemic stroke was 1.09 (95% confidence interval 1.01-1.18) following a 5°C decrement in average apparent temperature over the 2 days preceding symptom onset. The higher risk associated with cooler temperatures peaked in the first 14-34 h. There was no statistically significant difference in the association between temperature and ischemic stroke across seasons. The risk of ischemic stroke was not meaningfully different across subgroups of patients defined by health characteristics. The association between ischemic stroke and ambient temperature was stronger on days with higher levels of relative humidity. Conclusions: Lower temperatures are associated with a higher risk of ischemic stroke onset in both warm and cool seasons, and the risk is higher on days with higher levels of relative humidity. Based on this study and the body of literature on ambient temperature and cardiovascular events, identifying methods for mitigating cardiovascular risk may be warranted.

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          The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants.

          Because human activities impact the timing, location, and degree of pollutant exposure, they play a key role in explaining exposure variation. This fact has motivated the collection of activity pattern data for their specific use in exposure assessments. The largest of these recent efforts is the National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS), a 2-year probability-based telephone survey (n=9386) of exposure-related human activities in the United States (U.S.) sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The primary purpose of NHAPS was to provide comprehensive and current exposure information over broad geographical and temporal scales, particularly for use in probabilistic population exposure models. NHAPS was conducted on a virtually daily basis from late September 1992 through September 1994 by the University of Maryland's Survey Research Center using a computer-assisted telephone interview instrument (CATI) to collect 24-h retrospective diaries and answers to a number of personal and exposure-related questions from each respondent. The resulting diary records contain beginning and ending times for each distinct combination of location and activity occurring on the diary day (i.e., each microenvironment). Between 340 and 1713 respondents of all ages were interviewed in each of the 10 EPA regions across the 48 contiguous states. Interviews were completed in 63% of the households contacted. NHAPS respondents reported spending an average of 87% of their time in enclosed buildings and about 6% of their time in enclosed vehicles. These proportions are fairly constant across the various regions of the U.S. and Canada and for the California population between the late 1980s, when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) sponsored a state-wide activity pattern study, and the mid-1990s, when NHAPS was conducted. However, the number of people exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in California seems to have decreased over the same time period, where exposure is determined by the reported time spent with a smoker. In both California and the entire nation, the most time spent exposed to ETS was reported to take place in residential locations.
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            A language and environment for statistical computing

             RCR Team,  R.C. Team,  RC Team (2013)
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              Referent selection in case-crossover analyses of acute health effects of air pollution.

              The case-crossover design was proposed for the study of a transient effect of an intermittent exposure on the subsequent occurrence of a rare acute-onset disease. This design can be an alternative to Poisson time series regression for studying the health effects of fine particulate matter air pollution. Characteristics of time-series of particulate matter, including long-term time trends, seasonal trends, and short-term autocorrelations, require that referent selection in the case-crossover design be considered carefully and adapted to minimize bias. We performed simulations to evaluate the bias associated with various referent selection strategies for a proposed case-crossover study of associations between particulate matter and primary cardiac arrest. Some a priori reasonable strategies were associated with a relative bias as large as 10%, but for most strategies the relative bias was less than 2% with confidence interval coverage within 1% of the nominal level. We show that referent selection for case-crossover designs raises the same issues as selection of smoothing method for time series analyses. In addition, conditional logistic regression analysis is not strictly valid for some case-crossover designs, introducing further bias.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                CEE
                CEE
                Cerebrovasc Dis Extra
                10.1159/issn.1664-5456
                Cerebrovascular Diseases Extra
                S. Karger AG
                1664-5456
                2014
                January – April 2014
                22 January 2014
                : 4
                : 1
                : 9-18
                Affiliations
                aCardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and Departments of bEpidemiology and cEnvironmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, dChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Mass., and eDepartment of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brown University, Providence, R.I., USA
                Author notes
                *Murray A. Mittleman, MD, DrPH, Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 375 Longwood Avenue, Room 423, Boston, MA 02215 (USA), E-Mail mmittlem@bidmc.harvard.edu
                Article
                357352 PMC3934677 Cerebrovasc Dis Extra 2014;4:9-18
                10.1159/000357352
                PMC3934677
                24575110
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Open Access License: This is an Open Access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC) ( http://www.karger.com/OA-license), applicable to the online version of the article only. Distribution permitted for non-commercial purposes only. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Pages: 10
                Categories
                Original Paper

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