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The geographical and biometeorological corralates of childhood asthma morbidity in Tasmania

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Giles, Graham Gerald (1980) The geographical and biometeorological corralates of childhood asthma morbidity in Tasmania. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

Environmental aspects of asthma and wheezy breathing have
been investigated in three Tasmanian populations; wheezers from
the 1968 survey of the 1961 birth cohort, admissions to public
hospitals 1972-1977 for asthma and asthmatics from the 1971
birth cohort. Significant spatial clustering was detected in
those members of the 1961 cohort defined as suffering from
reversible airways obstructions. Geographic concentrations of
persons showing respiratory symptoms defined 'good' and 'bad'
areas. Such areas differed, indeed were mutually exclusive,
for the two sexes. These areas were used as the basis for
sampling asthmatics from the 1971 cohort for the purposes of
prospective study. Significant clustering was not confined to
spatial distributions; hospital admissions over a six year period
demonstrated marked temporal variation. The seasonal
distribution of attacks differed for males and females and
peaks in admissions of either sex were shown to be related to
strong weather changes.
A prospective study of wheezy breathing in samples of
children from the 1971 birth cohort allowed a closer examination
of the interaction between reversible airways obstruction and
meteorological variables. Study area selection was guided by the
spatial analyses of the wheezers from the 1961 cohort. In each
area the children kept daily diaries of their wheeziness for
nineteen months. The aggregated morbidity series for each area
were then examined in relation to daily weather parameters
and other atmospheric measurements.
Relationships between weather and wheezing were seen to
differ between individual times or parts of the series. Major
fluctuations in wheeziness were due to the occurrence of
certain weather situations. Regression models for each area and
sex were constructed to predict wheeziness under various
synoptic conditions. With the inclusion of only commonly
available weather variables as predictors the level of
explanation achieved for certain weather patterns was very high,
up to ninety-six per cent. High levels were maintained during
tests on new data. During certain weather types, however,
wheeziness was low and was poorly predicted by meteorological
factors.
Risks to asthmatics differed depending upon sex and were
localised both in the domains of space and of time. Maps
delineated areas of increased risk and regression equations
Indicated times of increased risk. Armed with this knowledge,
a primary preventive approach could be advocated for the
populations at risk.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Asthma in children, Asthmatics, Medical geography
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1980 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1980. Includes bibliographies

Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2014 23:54
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2016 04:17
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