Environmental exposures and cardiovascular morbidity in Scotland: a study of the effects of air pollution on health.
MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Air pollution has been an ongoing problem around the world for centuries. It was brought to the public's attention in the mid 1900s with the London Smog which resulted in approximately 3000 excess deaths. Since then, there have been numerous studies carried out to determine the extent to which air pollution is related to human health. There are two main aims to this thesis, the first of which is
to investigate the effects of PM10 exposure on cardiovascular illness in Scotland, focusing on the three largest cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. As this
study makes use of readily available data, the second aim is to determine whether or not such data can be used to accurately estimate the effects of air pollution.
Chapter 1 provides a detailed discussion of air pollution, focussing on the history of air pollution and the change in pollutants over time, and cardiovascular illnesses, giving a definition of cardiovascular disease, details of how they occur and giving incidence rates in Scotland. This chapter also gives an overview of the Information Services Division of the NHS (ISD), the Scottish Air Quality Website and the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC).
Chapter 2 is a review of the relevant literature covering the standard modelling approach used in air pollution and health studies and will also outline the data used in these studies and the covariates involved. This chapter focuses exclusively on the short-term effects of air pollution as this is the focus of this thesis.
Chapter 3 uses Poisson generalised linear models to explore the relationship between exposure to air pollution and cardiovascular admissions to hospital in Scotland, focusing specifically on Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Chapter 4 comprises a set of subanalyses of these data focusing on the effects of air pollution on various subclasses of cardiovascular morbidity in Glasgow. All
analyses will be implemented using a generalised linear model, within the statistical programming language R (R 2.2.0 - A Language and Environment (2005)).
Chapter 5 provides a summary of the results from the analyses. It also discusses the limitations associated with the use of routinely collected data and describes
some of the dilemmas faced by researchers in this field.
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