Japan: Cold Kills Almost 100x More Than Heat – Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests

Cold Kills

“… out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is “an on-going public health issue with a high case fatality rate and associated with both patient and environmental factors,” including temperature. And recognizing the concern that exists over the potential impacts of climate change on human health, the two scientists set out to investigate the population attributable risk of OHCA in Japan due to temperature, and the relative contributions of low and high temperatures on that risk, for the period 2005-2014.

To accomplish their objective, Onozuka and Hagihara obtained OHCA data from the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which data amounted to over 650,000 cases in the ten-year period from all across the 47 Japanese prefectures. Thereafter, using climate data acquired from the Japan Meteorological Agency, they conducted a series of statistical analyses to determine the temperature-related health risk of OHCA.

Results of their study, in the words of the authors, “showed that temperature accounted for a substantial fraction of OHCAs, and that most of [the] morbidity burden was attributable to low temperatures.” Indeed, out of the nearly 24 percent of all OHCAs that were attributable to non-optimal temperature, low temperature was responsible for 23.64 percent. The fraction of OHCAs attributed to high temperature, in contrast, amounted to a paltry 0.29 percent — a morbidity burden that is two orders of magnitude smaller than that due to low temperature.

In further breaking down the temperature-OHCA relationship, Onozuka and Hagihara also examined the impact of extreme vs moderate temperatures, as well as the effects of gender and age on OHCA risk. With respect to extreme vs moderate temperatures, as shown in the figure below, the two scientists report that “the effect of extreme temperatures was substantially less than that of moderate temperatures.” For gender, they determined the attributable risk of OHCA was higher for females (26.86%) than males (21.12%). For age, they found that the elderly (75-110 years old) had the highest risk at 28.39%, followed by the middle-aged (65-74 years old, 25.24% attributable risk) and then the youngest section of the population (18-64 years old, 17.93% attributable risk).”


50,000 Excess Winter Deaths In UK 2017/2018 – Climate Change Kills Alright

Cold Kills

“New figures from the Office of National Statistics today show that the number of excess winter deaths exceeded 50,000 the highest on record since the winter of 1975/76. Over 15,000 of these deaths will be relatable directly to a cold home. The vast majority will have multiple hospital and GP visits behind them. The figures also worryingly show a doubling in the number of male deaths under 65.

Adam Scorer, Chief Executive of NEA commented:

“Today’s excess winter death figures should be a huge shock to the system. The cost in human suffering and lost lives is a tragedy. The cost to the NHS is significant and largely avoidable.

Predictable, preventable and shameful. We seem to have accepted excess winter deaths to be as much a part of winter as darker evenings.

On top of these preventable deaths we know that many millions more people will have suffered the preventable health impacts of living in a cold and damp home, as well as resorting to harmful coping strategies.

New evidence provided by frontline workers to NEA, has revealed the top 10 unsafe fuel poverty coping strategies being used to survive winter. The regular use of older, dangerous or un-serviced heating appliances is common place, despite being potentially fatal or leading to heightened risks for nearby neighbours as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning or in extreme situations, fires and explosions. The charity says many more people are going to bed early to keep warm and using candles to save on electricity. People struggling to heat their homes are also spending their days in heated spaces such as libraries, cafes or even A&E to avoid the cold.”


Some previous blog posts on the same subject.


Cold weather kills far more people than hot weather

Cold Kills

Cold weather kills 20 times as many people as hot weather, according to an international study analyzing over 74 million deaths in 384 locations across 13 countries. The findings also reveal that deaths due to moderately hot or cold weather substantially exceed those resulting from extreme heat waves or cold spells.

Around 7.71% of all deaths were caused by non-optimal temperatures, with substantial differences between countries, ranging from around 3% in Thailand, Brazil, and Sweden to about 11% in China, Italy, and Japan. Cold was responsible for the majority of these deaths (7.29% of all deaths), while just 0.42% of all deaths were attributable to heat.

The study also found that extreme temperatures were responsible for less than 1% of all deaths, while mildly sub-optimal temperatures accounted for around 7% of all deaths — with most (6.66% of all deaths) related to moderate cold.


Cold Kills – Quebec Study

Cold kills

In a recent study a team of scientists led by Prof. Pierre Gosselin assessed 112,793 people aged 65 years and older who had been diagnosed with heart failure in Quebec between 2001 and 2011. Over an average of 635 days, the researchers measured the mean temperature, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure and air pollutants in the surrounding environment and studied the data to see if there was any relationship.

Their results: for each decrease of 1°C in the daily mean temperature of the previous 3 and 7 days, the risk of heart failure events is increased of about 0.7%. In other words, a drop of 10°C in the average temperature over 7 days, which is common in the province of Quebec because of seasonal variations, is associated with increased risk to be hospitalized or to die for the main cause of heart failure of about 7% in elderly diagnosed with this disease.




Save Lives – Raise the Temperature

The concept of “Excess Winter Deaths” is straightforward. Winter kills.

You could save 3 people a day from dying in the winter by raising temps 5C.

If the temperature went up 5C in Ontario, it would kill 4 people a day in summer.

If the temperature went up 5C in Ontario, it would save 7 people a day in winter.

In warm seasons, each 5°C increase in daily mean temperature was associated with a 2.5% increase in nonaccidental deaths (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3% to 3.8%) on the day of exposure (lag 0). In cold seasons, each 5°C decrease in daily temperature was associated with a 3.0% (95% CI 1.8% to 4.2%) increase in nonaccidental deaths, which persisted over 7 days (lag 0-6). The cold-related effects (lag 0-6) were stronger for cardiovascular-related deaths (any cardiovascular death: 4.1%, 95% CI 2.3% to 5.9%; ischemic heart disease: 5.8%, 95% CI 3.6% to 8.1%), especially among people less than 65 years of age (8.0%, 95% CI 3.0% to 13.0%). Conversely, heat most strongly increased respiratory-related deaths during admission to hospital (26.0%, 95% CI 0% to 61.4%).

Across Ontario, each 5°C change in daily temperature was estimated to induce 7 excess deaths per day in cold seasons and 4 excess deaths in warm seasons.

Interpretation: Heat contributed to excess deaths in Ontario, although the effect of cold weather appeared to be greater. Further work is required to better define high-risk subgroups, which might include the homeless and people with inadequately heated housing.


Benefits Of Global Warming

A good article by Bjorn Lomborg.

If our climate conversation managed to include the good along with the bad, we would have a much better understanding of our options. Last week, a study in the prestigious journal Nature revealed just how much CO₂ increases have greened the Earth over the past three decades. Because CO₂ acts as a fertilizer, as much as half of all vegetated land is persistently greener today. This ought to be a cause for great joy.

The biggest study on heat and cold deaths, published last year in Lancet, examined more than 74 million deaths from 384 locations in 13 countries from cold Sweden to hot Thailand. The researchers found that heat causes almost one-half of one percent of all deaths, while more than 7 percent are caused by cold.

Indeed, climate-related deaths have droppedfrom half a million per year in the 1920s to less than 25,000 per year in the 2010s. A recent Nature studyexpecting more severe hurricanes from global warming still found that damages would halve from 0.04 per cent to 0.02 per cent of global GDP, because the increased ferocity would be more than made up by increased prosperity and resilience.

Read the rest.