publicado em 07/01/2012 às 06h00:00
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Study shows impact of climate change on human health

Research conducted at USP shows that the elderly and children up to nine years are at high risk for respiratory diseases

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Study of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities (FFLCH) USP indicates that the climate and its variations, especially in winter, have an influence on human health, encouraging the development of certain diseases. The study's author, geographer Isabel Barbosa dos Anjos did his research using the city of Maringá (PR) as an example.

According to the researcher, the objective was to investigate the relationship between climate and health, already widespread in popular culture. Analyzing the hospitalizations for respiratory diseases in the urban area of ​​Maringá in the years 2000 to 2007, Elizabeth was able to realize that the cold air masses are unprepared the body, causing a thermal shock and favoring the development of diseases. This process takes place especially in winter.

In winter temperatures are not constant, that is, is not cold all the time, increasing the intensity of shock. There is also the decrease in relative humidity, which can be found in this period less than 40%, causing dryness of mucous membranes of the airways. And this process facilitates the attack by viruses and bacteria in the air, she says. The relationship between climate and health is stronger mainly in winter, about twice that records of cases of hospitalizations compared to summer.

The study analysis of hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, patients residing in Maringá-PR: links with the urban climate variability and examined the main types of respiratory diseases. In the period analyzed, there were 18,339 cases of hospitalizations and 736 deaths due to these diseases. The geographer explains that a spread of respiratory diseases is the fact that they are not socioeconomic disease, that is, it does not affect only the poorest of the population. The highest risk areas are, in fact, the most populated areas, where transmission is facilitated. Children under 9 years old and seniors over 60 also form a weaker portion of the population.

The predominance of cases were influenza (flu) and pneumonia, accounting for 59% of admissions. During the study period, the number of admissions in January (summer) was lower, while in June and July (winter months) showed the highest number of cases. This is due, among other factors, decreased rainfall and more active mass Polar Atlantic (mPa), which causes sudden drops in temperature and relative humidity.

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Maringá, the city considered, if located inside / center of the Parana, and has fewer cold days. The climate is Cfa (subtropical, mesothermal humid), with hot summers and infrequent frosts. According to the researcher, this characteristic of the climate of Maringá can also influence the sensitivity that people have for the cold and its biological reaction to thermal shock.

The research, directed by Gil Soder of Toledo and Maria Eugenia Costa Moreira Ferreira also analyzed the thermal comfort of the population in relation to climate. Again, it was observed that winter causes more discomfort than the summer heat. According to the geographer, the cold thermal discomfort also helps spread diseases and this fact which does not occur with such intensity in the summer

The study's author believes is necessary to relate the fields of climate and health. For her, studying the basic weather of a region is of great importance as it opens fields for other disease studies using climate data, can help set goals and guidelines that can prevent and even prevent more serious consequences for human health . This research also aims to contribute to open fields in other studies of diseases using data from the weather.

   Palavras-chave:   Climate    Climate variability    Winter    Influence human health    Respiratory diseases    Maringa    Parana    Study    Research    USP   
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