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Temperature swings more deadly than AIDS

Temperature swings more deadly than AIDS

Publish date: 2015-07-23

Scientists warn, that ongoing climate changes could became one of the most effective killers of elderly people. The greatest hazard are not hot summers and cold winters, but sudden temperature jumps.

Tags: climate change , temperature

The increase in global temperature is not the only symptom of ongoing climate changes. This would suggest that the average ratio of deaths caused by summer hot waves and winter cold is balanced. It is not. As we read in Science Magazine, a rise of 1 °C in mean summer temperatures killed 1 % more people, whereas that same rise in mean winter temperatures saved a mere 0.6 %, according to an analysis of death records for nearly 3 million people 65 years and older living in New England from 2000 to 2008.

What is really a threat is a sudden temperature change in either winter or summer, when a thermometer indicator bounces back and forth. Such swings probably don’t give enough time for the organism to adapt in terms of their cardiovascular or respiratory systems. Joel Schwartz, an environmental epidemiologist at Harvard University and the study author, says the killing power of jumpy temperature swings is greater than that of AIDS. He wants to extend his study to other regions in U.S. and also Europe, where air-conditioning is less prevalent.

 

Monika Kossakowska-Zwierucho

Source: Science Magazine

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