publicado em 04/04/2010 às 13h30:00
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Meeting discusses effects of climate change on human health

Model presented by Cuban examines changes over time and gives advance warning signs to clinics and hospitals

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Weather variations, changes in temperature and reflections on health was the basic theme of the conference biometeorology Elements of human and health, conducted by Cuban Luis Bartolomé Lecha Estela, Center for Environmental Studies and Services (Cesam) Central University Maria Abreu Las Villas (UCLV). The lecture delivered at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of São Paulo (IEA-USP), last week, addressing the high risk factors that contribute to the increased occurrence of chronic diseases and communicable diseases, directly and indirectly and that potentially increase the prevalence of some diseases.

Lecha and colleagues developed a classification methodology biometeorological in order to evaluate the effects of time in humans. The methods seek to evaluate the conditions peculiar to the tropical climate and the adaptation of the Cuban population to local weather. The forecasts developed in Cuba that are targeted at doctors in health institutions and assist in the prevention of diseases with high incidence, such as asthma, cardiovascular problems, stroke, hypertension, headache, hepatitis, meningitis, dengue and malaria, said the Lecha Agency FAPESP. Preliminary results of the study were published in the Revista Cubana de Salud Pública.

The researcher was in Brazil to teach a course at the School of Public Health School and disclose the method developed in Cuba for over 20 years. The coming of Lecha was supported by FAPESP through the modality Aid to Research - Visiting

The city of São Paulo is an important laboratory for studying this relationship. We want to create a program using the methods developed by Lecha, said Helen Reddy, director of the School of Public Health School.

The method notifies up to 180 hours before the occurrence of favorable conditions for triggering health crises and uses as the main indicator to change within 24 hours of partial density of oxygen in the air, the predominant type of situation and the occurrence of local effects of atmospheric contamination, the teacher explained Helena.

Lecha presented the results of biometeorological method, which was applied as a pilot project in the municipality of Sagua La Grande, Villa Clara province. The data analyzed refer to the Cuban winter period from December, January and February 2006-2007.


Outpatient data

According to Cuban researcher, the hit rate has been generally greater than 80%. Between 1 December 2006 and April 30, 2007 were detected by the model about 63 complex situations of time with warning notices, 24 to hyperoxia (high oxygen concentration) and 39 for hypoxia (low oxygen) .

The low air density in Cuba provokes asthma attacks more severe in winter months and are associated with the density of oxygen in the air. But it was found that on days when there were conditions of hypoxia there was a prevalence of massive crises associated with hypertension, headache and stroke, for example, said Lecha.

He said the method still has some limitations. The problem is false alarms, they turned around 8%, and the changes of time that were not detected by the system. We are improving the system to reduce errors, said.

According to Cuban researcher, one of the major difficulties is the outpatient data collection. Communication with physicians is the most difficult task. We have to invest their own resources to pay and train a person who can go all day to put to analyze the daily occurrences, he said.

During the discussions, also discussed the effects of pollution on health. Pollution has a weight, but this has been more subtle, because there has been an effort to control. Since the meteorological factors are increasingly being amplified, said Fabio Goncalves, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the USP and one of the discussants of the meeting.

Helen Reddy, who directs research related to urban health and climate change, spoke of the difficulty in Brazil to get statistical information about emergency care in ERs, beyond the few studies in this area. The link between climate change and health is still incipient in the country. Most projects address climate change in large scale, he said.

Lecha also highlighted the application in tourism. The model can help Cuba, which receives many tourists, the plan is in relation to weather changes. The profile of tourists included many people over 60 years. Besides the risk of thrombosis during flights, there are health risks due to atmospheric changes, he stressed.

He said the method is interdisciplinary and involves a partnership between different faculties of medical and meteorological fields. It's a job that involves applying expert in other areas. The doctor will need to read the images and decode them correctly. This takes time, he said.


Source: FAPESP
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