Air pollution and the brain-dead British Medical Journal
They are heavily politicized and perhaps in a tacit recognition of that they have renamed themselves as the BMJ. They still however publish articles that look like good academic research and which tend to be accepted as such in the media. Below is an example: I give what the public are reading first followed by the journal abstract.
I am reluctant to quote the founding philosopher of Leftism, GWF Hegel but he did say one wise thing: “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”
He could have been talking about the article below. It repeats a tired old folly that now has a long history. There is much I could say about the article (error-rate approach etc) but I will confine myself to one major point: The article does not control for income.
Blind Freddy knows that the poor have worse health across the board. They die up to ten years younger. And poor people mostly live in poor areas. So if your data show that certain areas house people with worse healh, those areas are likely to be filled with poor peple. So if you wish to show that there is some other cause of ill health in those areas, you first have to control for income. The article below did not do that so is all but brain dead. Its conclusions are moot. The ill health episodes surveyed could be due to poverty, not pollution. Given previous findings about the negligible effects of pollution, they probably are. Sigh! Why on earth the BMJ publishes such junk is a mystery. It makes zero contribution to knowledge
Air pollution has been linked to septicaemia and renal failure for the first time
US researchers discovered that even levels below international air quality guidelines are causing serious health problems
Air pollution has for the first time been linked to fatal diseases such as septicaemia and renal failure after researchers discovered that even levels below international guidelines are causing serious health problems.
Urinary tract infections, skin and tissue infections, and fluid and electrolyte disorders were also among the illnesses not previously thought to be linked to exposure to low levels of fine particulate matter in the air - known as PM2.5. The study also confirms several previously established causes of hospital admission associated with short term exposure to PM2.5- including heart and lung diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes.
A research team at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health in Boston analysed more than 95 million hospital insurance claims for adults aged 65 or older in the United States from 2000 to 2012. Causes of hospital admission were classified into 214 mutually exclusive disease groups and these were linked with estimated daily exposure to PM2.5 based on data from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Short term exposure to fine particulate matter and hospital admission risks and costs in the Medicare population: time stratified, case crossover study
Yaguang Wei et al.
Objective: To assess risks and costs of hospital admission associated with short term exposure to fine particulate matter with diameter less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) for 214 mutually exclusive disease groups.
Design: Time stratified, case crossover analyses with conditional logistic regressions adjusted for non-linear confounding effects of meteorological variables.
Setting: Medicare inpatient hospital claims in the United States, 2000-12 (n=95 277 169).
Participants: All Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 65 or older admitted to hospital.
Main outcome measures: Risk of hospital admission, number of admissions, days in hospital, inpatient and post-acute care costs, and value of statistical life (that is, the economic value used to measure the cost of avoiding a death) due to the lives lost at discharge for 214 disease groups.
Results: Positive associations between short term exposure to PM2.5 and risk of hospital admission were found for several prevalent but rarely studied diseases, such as septicemia, fluid and electrolyte disorders, and acute and unspecified renal failure. Positive associations were also found between risk of hospital admission and cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, phlebitis, thrombophlebitis, and thromboembolism, confirming previously published results. These associations remained consistent when restricted to days with a daily PM2.5 concentration below the WHO air quality guideline for the 24 hour average exposure to PM2.5. For the rarely studied diseases, each 1 µg/m3 increase in short term PM2.5 was associated with an annual increase of 2050 hospital admissions (95% confidence interval 1914 to 2187 admissions), 12 216 days in hospital (11 358 to 13 075), US$31m (£24m, €28m; $29m to $34m) in inpatient and post-acute care costs, and $2.5bn ($2.0bn to $2.9bn) in value of statistical life. For diseases with a previously known association, each 1 µg/m3 increase in short term exposure to PM2.5 was associated with an annual increase of 3642 hospital admissions (3434 to 3851), 20 098 days in hospital (18 950 to 21 247), $69m ($65m to $73m) in inpatient and post-acute care costs, and $4.1bn ($3.5bn to $4.7bn) in value of statistical life.
Conclusions: New causes and previously identified causes of hospital admission associated with short term exposure to PM2.5 were found. These associations remained even at a daily PM2.5 concentration below the WHO 24 hour guideline. Substantial economic costs were linked to a small increase in short term PM2.5.