A large change in temperature between neighbouring days increases the risk of mortality

Yuming Guo, Adrian G. Barnett, Weiwei Yu, Xiaochuan Pan, Xiaofang Ye, Cunrui Huang, Shilu Tong

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Background: Previous studies have found high temperatures increase the risk of mortality in summer. However, little is known about whether a sharp decrease or increase in temperature between neighbouring days has any effect on mortality. Method: Poisson regression models were used to estimate the association between temperature change and mortality in summer in Brisbane, Australia during 1996-2004 and Los Angeles, United States during 1987-2000. The temperature change was calculated as the current day's mean temperature minus the previous day's mean. Results: In Brisbane, a drop of more than 3°C in temperature between days was associated with relative risks (RRs) of 1.157 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.024, 1.307) for total non-external mortality (NEM), 1.186 (95%CI: 1.002, 1.405) for NEM in females, and 1.442 (95%CI: 1.099, 1.892) for people aged 65-74 years. An increase of more than 3°C was associated with RRs of 1.353 (95%CI: 1.033, 1.772) for cardiovascular mortality and 1.667 (95%CI: 1.146, 2.425) for people aged <65 years. In Los Angeles, only a drop of more than 3°C was significantly associated with RRs of 1.133 (95%CI: 1.053, 1.219) for total NEM, 1.252 (95%CI: 1.131, 1.386) for cardiovascular mortality, and 1.254 (95%CI: 1.135, 1.385) for people aged ≥75 years. In both cities, there were joint effects of temperature change and mean temperature on NEM. Conclusion: A significant change in temperature of more than 3°C, whether positive or negative, has an adverse impact on mortality even after controlling for the current temperature.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16511
Number of pages9
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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