Climate, Environment, and Disease

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Epidemiology & Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2021) | Viewed by 31128

Special Issue Editors

1. Miami VA, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Miami, FL, USA
2. Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL, USA
Interests: dry eye disease; dry eye; aqueous tear deficiency; evaporative deficiency; ocular surface inflammation; tear osmolarity; epidemiology
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Guest Editor
Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA
Interests: health effects of the environment; climate; and extreme weather; time–space modeling of the health effects of air pollution; climate-mediated health effects of air pollution; optimal spatiotemporal sampling; personalized real-time time health risk surveillance; personalize real-time air pollution monitoring; time–space kriging
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many medical conditions are indirectly and directly affected by weather, especially changing weather patterns due to changing climate, such as asthma, allergies, ocular surface disorder, and infectious and vector-borne diseases. For example, sudden changes in temperature, humidity, and wind directly impact mucosal and tear function as well as impact the levels and types of bioaerosols and air pollutants, which in turn impact the onset, severity, and persistence of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary lung disease, allergic conjunctivitis and rhinitis, and dry eye. Given the high prevalence of these diseases in the general population, their morbidity to the individual and society, and their high healthcare costs, it is imperative for clinicians to understand relationships between changing weather and climate mediated environmental conditions and diseases. This knowledge will translate into better diagnosis and treatment algorithms both on individuals and populations.

Dr. Anat Galor
Dr. Naresh Kumar
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Climate
  • Weather
  • Environment
  • Disease
  • Asthma
  • Allergy
  • Dry eye

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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14 pages, 3013 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Changes and Temporal Association with Ambient Temperatures: Nonlinear Analyses of Stroke Events from a National Health Insurance Database
by Che-Wei Lin, Po-Wei Chen, Wei-Min Liu, Jin-Yi Hsu, Yu-Lun Huang, Yu Cheng and An-Bang Liu
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(21), 5041; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10215041 - 28 Oct 2021
Viewed by 1805
Abstract
Background: The associations between ambient temperatures and stroke are still uncertain, although they have been widely studied. Furthermore, the impact of latitudes or climate zones on these associations is still controversial. The Tropic of Cancer passes through the middle of Taiwan and divides [...] Read more.
Background: The associations between ambient temperatures and stroke are still uncertain, although they have been widely studied. Furthermore, the impact of latitudes or climate zones on these associations is still controversial. The Tropic of Cancer passes through the middle of Taiwan and divides it into subtropical and tropical areas. Therefore, the Taiwan National Health Insurance Database can be used to study the influence of latitudes on the association between ambient temperature and stroke events. Methods: In this study, we retrieved daily stroke events from 2010 to 2015 in the New Taipei and Taipei Cities (the subtropical areas) and Kaohsiung City (the tropical area) from the National Health Insurance Research Database. Overall, 70,338 and 125,163 stroke events, including ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, in Kaohsiung City and the Taipei Area were retrieved from the database, respectively. We also collected daily mean temperatures from the Taipei and Kaohsiung weather stations during the same period. The data were decomposed by ensemble empirical mode decomposition (EEMD) into several intrinsic mode functions (IMFs). There were consistent 6-period IMFs with intervals around 360 days in most decomposed data. Spearman’s rank correlation test showed moderate-to-strong correlations between the relevant IMFs of daily temperatures and events of stroke in both areas, which were higher in the northern area compared with those in the southern area. Conclusions: EEMD is a useful tool to demonstrate the regularity of stroke events and their associations with dynamic changes of the ambient temperature. Our results clearly demonstrate the temporal association between the ambient temperature and daily events of ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage. It will contribute to planning a healthcare system for stroke seasonally. Further well-designed prospective studies are needed to elucidate the meaning of these associations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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15 pages, 864 KiB  
Article
Interrelationship of Seasons with Inflammation, Red Meat, Fruit, and Vegetable Intakes, Cardio-Metabolic Health, and Smoking Status among Breast Cancer Survivors
by Tianying Wu, Rajashree Shinde, Robert Castro and John P. Pierce
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(4), 636; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10040636 - 7 Feb 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3679
Abstract
Seasons can affect human inflammatory status and the occurrence of diseases, and foods may also have differential impacts on inflammation across seasons; however, few studies have investigated whether there are independent and joint impacts of seasons and red meat, fruit and vegetable intakes [...] Read more.
Seasons can affect human inflammatory status and the occurrence of diseases, and foods may also have differential impacts on inflammation across seasons; however, few studies have investigated whether there are independent and joint impacts of seasons and red meat, fruit and vegetable intakes on inflammation in breast cancer survivors. We conducted a cross-sectional study by leveraging a large cohort, the Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) study. The WHEL study comprised primarily early stage breast cancer survivors and collected blood samples, dietary intake, demographic, and health status information at baseline. We selected 2919 participants who provided baseline dietary information and had measurement of C-reactive protein (CRP), a general marker of inflammation. In our multivariable-adjusted analyses, we found that red meat intakes were positively associated, while fruit and vegetable intakes were inversely associated with CRP; blood collected in the winter season was associated with lower CRP when compared to summer; and increased smoking intensity and body mass index (BMI) as well as having cardio-metabolic conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes) were positively associated with CRP. Furthermore, we examined the joint associations of food intakes and the season of blood draw with CRP in different subgroups. We found that moderate intakes of red meat were associated with a reduction of CRP in winter but not in other seasons; increased intakes of fruit and vegetables were associated with reduced inflammation in most seasons except winter. These associations were observed in most subgroups except past smokers with pack-years ≥ 15, in whom we observed no benefit of red meat intakes in winter. Our study provides valuable evidence for considering seasonal impacts on inflammation and seasonal food impacts in different subgroups among breast cancer survivors. The results of our study are in line with one of the emphases of the current NIH 2020–2030 nutrition strategy plan—namely, pay attention to what, when, and who should eat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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18 pages, 2277 KiB  
Article
Winter Exercise and Speleotherapy for Allergy and Asthma: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial
by Johanna Freidl, Daniela Huber, Herbert Braunschmid, Carina Romodow, Christina Pichler, Renate Weisböck-Erdheim, Michaela Mayr and Arnulf Hartl
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(10), 3311; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9103311 - 15 Oct 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3125
Abstract
(1) Background: The prevalence of allergic respiratory diseases is still rising and efforts towards holistic treatments should be made. Although speleotherapy is widely applied in Europe to treat chronic airway diseases, the existing scientific evidence is rather low. Recreational winter exercise has been [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The prevalence of allergic respiratory diseases is still rising and efforts towards holistic treatments should be made. Although speleotherapy is widely applied in Europe to treat chronic airway diseases, the existing scientific evidence is rather low. Recreational winter exercise has been shown to improve allergic airway inflammation, but little is known about the combined effects of speleotherapy and recreational winter exercise. (2) Methods: In this clinical study we investigated the effects of winter exercise and speleotherapy on adults with allergic rhinitis and/or asthma. The speleotherapy group (n = 23) participated in a ten-day combined winter exercise and speleotherapy program and the exercise group (n = 18) joined a full-day winter sports program. The effects on allergic airway inflammation, quality of life, spirometry and cardiorespiratory fitness were assessed. (3) Results: No significant effects were found for fractional exhaled nitric oxide or nasal nitric oxide. Quality of life (p < 0.001 time effect) and allergic symptoms (p < 0.001 time effect) were improved in the speleotherapy and in the exercise group. (4) Conclusions: Winter exercise alone and winter exercise in combination with speleotherapy improve quality of life and allergic symptoms in adults with allergic rhinitis and/or asthma. Further studies are required to investigate the specific effects of speleotherapy. To our knowledge, this is the first investigation examining speleotherapy in combination with winter exercise. Recreational outdoor winter exercise and speleotherapy may be recommended for highly functioning patients with good disease control. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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17 pages, 2892 KiB  
Article
Association between African Dust Transport and Acute Exacerbations of COPD in Miami
by Miguel Pardinas Gutierrez, Paquita Zuidema, Mehdi Mirsaeidi, Michael Campos and Naresh Kumar
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(8), 2496; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9082496 - 3 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3327
Abstract
Background: Air pollution is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Changing climate and weather patterns can modify the levels and types of air pollutants. For example, dust outbreaks increase particulate air pollution. Objective: This [...] Read more.
Background: Air pollution is increasingly recognized as a risk factor for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Changing climate and weather patterns can modify the levels and types of air pollutants. For example, dust outbreaks increase particulate air pollution. Objective: This paper examines the effect of Saharan dust storms on the concentration of coarse particulate matter in Miami, and its association with the risk of acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Methods: In this prospective cohort study, 296 COPD patients (with 313 events) were followed between 2013 and 2016. We used Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and satellite-based Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) to identify dust events and quantify particulate matter (PM) exposure, respectively. Exacerbation events were modeled with respect to location- and time-lagged dust and PM exposures, using multivariate logistic regressions. Measurements and main results: Dust duration and intensity increased yearly during the study period. During dust events, AOD increased by 51% and particulate matter ≤2.5 µm in aerodynamic diameter (PM2.5) increased by 25%. Adjusting for confounders, ambient temperature and local PM2.5 exposure, one-day lagged dust exposure was associated with 4.9 times higher odds of two or more (2+ hereto after) AECOPD events (odds ratio = 4.9; 95% CI = 1.8–13.4; p < 0.001). Ambient temperature exposure also showed a significant association with 2+ and 3+ AECOPD events. The risk of AECOPD lasted up to 15 days after dust exposure, declining from 10× higher on day 0 to 20% higher on day 15. Conclusions: Saharan dust outbreaks observed in Miami elevate the concentration of PM and increase the risk of AECOPD in COPD patients with recurring exacerbations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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13 pages, 2347 KiB  
Article
Relationships Between Short-Term Exposure to an Indoor Environment and Dry Eye (DE) Symptoms
by Maria A. Idarraga, Juan S. Guerrero, Samantha G. Mosle, Frank Miralles, Anat Galor and Naresh Kumar
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(5), 1316; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9051316 - 2 May 2020
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 2818
Abstract
Air composition influences Dry Eye (DE) symptoms as demonstrated by studies that have linked the outdoor environment to DE. However, there is insufficient data on the effect of short-term exposure to indoor environments on DE symptoms. We conducted a prospective experimental research, in [...] Read more.
Air composition influences Dry Eye (DE) symptoms as demonstrated by studies that have linked the outdoor environment to DE. However, there is insufficient data on the effect of short-term exposure to indoor environments on DE symptoms. We conducted a prospective experimental research, in which an older building served as an experimental site, and a newer building served as the control site. Indoor air quality was monitored in both buildings. One-hundred-and-ninety-four randomly selected individuals were interviewed in the afternoon exiting the buildings and de-identified responses were recorded. Self-reported DE symptoms were modeled with respect to experimental and control buildings, adjusting for potential confounders. The experimental site had 2-fold higher concentration of airborne particulate matter (24,436 vs. 12,213 ≥ 0.5 µm/ft3) and microbial colonies (1066 vs. 400/m3), as compared to the control building. DE symptoms were reported by 37.5% of individuals exiting the experimental and 28.4% exiting the control building. In the univariate analysis, subjects exiting the experimental building were 2.21× more likely to report worsening of DE symptoms since morning compared to the control building (p < 0.05). When adjusting for confounders, including a history of eye allergy, subjects from the experimental building were 13.3× more likely to report worsening of their DE symptoms (p < 0.05). Our findings suggest that short-term exposure to adverse indoor environmental conditions, specifically air pollution and bioaerosols, has an acutely negative impact on DE symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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15 pages, 264 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Selected CNR1, MC4R, LEP, FTO and VDR Gene Polymorphisms and Several Basic Toxicological Parameters Among Persons Occupationally Exposed to Arsenic, Cadmium and Lead
by Tomasz Matys, Anna Szymańska-Chabowska, Katarzyna Bogunia-Kubik, Beata Smyk, Małgorzata Kamińska, Grzegorz Mazur, Rafał Poręba and Paweł Gać
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(4), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9041040 - 7 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1922
Abstract
The purpose of this work was to assess the influence of selected CNR1, MC4R, LEP, FTO and VDR FOKI gene polymorphisms on blood and urine concentration markers of lead, cadmium and arsenic in a population directly exposed to these metals. Eighty-five people exposed [...] Read more.
The purpose of this work was to assess the influence of selected CNR1, MC4R, LEP, FTO and VDR FOKI gene polymorphisms on blood and urine concentration markers of lead, cadmium and arsenic in a population directly exposed to these metals. Eighty-five people exposed to lead, arsenic and cadmium were qualified to take part in the study. Standard urine samples and 25 mL of venous blood from each worker were collected to assay basic laboratory and toxicological markers as well as selected single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within CNR1—cannabinoid receptor 1 gene (rs806368, rs806381, rs1049353, rs12720071), MC4R—melanocortin 4 receptor gene (rs17782313), LEP—leptin promoter gene (rs7799039), FTO—alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase gene (rs9939609) and VDR—vitamin D receptor (rs10735810) genes. It appeared that, except for the MC4R SNP, all the other polymorphisms were found to be associated with various laboratory parameters. Arsenic concentration in urine was associated with all four CNR1 and LEP SNPs, while cadmium concentration in blood was affected by the VDR polymorphism. Moreover, some significant relationships were also observed between CNR1 rs1049353 and FTO rs9939609 gene variants and markers of lead exposure. These results imply SNPs within genes coding for proteins involved in development of metabolic syndrome may be of prognostic value for persons directly exposed to lead, cadmium and arsenic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)

Review

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15 pages, 588 KiB  
Review
The Impact of Temporary Stay at High Altitude on the Circulatory System
by Karolina Mikołajczak, Karolina Czerwińska, Witold Pilecki, Rafał Poręba, Paweł Gać and Małgorzata Poręba
J. Clin. Med. 2021, 10(8), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm10081622 - 12 Apr 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 7042
Abstract
In recent times many people stay temporarily at high altitudes. It is mainly associated with the growing popularity of regular air travel, as well as temporary trips to mountain regions. Variable environmental conditions, including pressure and temperature changes, have an impact on the [...] Read more.
In recent times many people stay temporarily at high altitudes. It is mainly associated with the growing popularity of regular air travel, as well as temporary trips to mountain regions. Variable environmental conditions, including pressure and temperature changes, have an impact on the human body. This paper analyses the physiological changes that may occur while staying at high altitude in healthy people and in people with cardiovascular diseases, such as arterial hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, ischemic heart disease, or arrhythmias. Possible unfavourable changes were underlined. Currently recognized treatment recommendations or possible treatment modifications for patients planning to stay at high altitudes were also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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23 pages, 867 KiB  
Review
Impact of Air Pollution and Weather on Dry Eye
by Jordan T. Mandell, Maria Idarraga, Naresh Kumar and Anat Galor
J. Clin. Med. 2020, 9(11), 3740; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9113740 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 6556
Abstract
Air pollution has broad effects on human health involving many organ systems. The ocular surface is an excellent model with which to study the effects of air pollution on human health as it is in constant contact with the environment, and it is [...] Read more.
Air pollution has broad effects on human health involving many organ systems. The ocular surface is an excellent model with which to study the effects of air pollution on human health as it is in constant contact with the environment, and it is directly accessible, facilitating disease monitoring. Effects of air pollutants on the ocular surface typically manifest as dry eye (DE) symptoms and signs. In this review, we break down air pollution into particulate matter (organic and inorganic) and gaseous compounds and summarize the literature regarding effects of various exposures on DE. Additionally, we examine the effects of weather (relative humidity, temperature) on DE symptoms and signs. To do so, we conducted a PubMed search using key terms to summarize the existing literature on the effects of air pollution and weather on DE. While we tried to focus on the effect of specific exposures on specific aspects of DE, environmental conditions are often studied concomitantly, and thus, there are unavoidable interactions between our variables of interest. Overall, we found that air pollution and weather conditions have differential adverse effects on DE symptoms and signs. We discuss these findings and potential mitigation strategies, such as air purifiers, air humidifiers, and plants, that may be instituted as treatments at an individual level to address environmental contributors to DE. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate, Environment, and Disease)
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