Work packages

WP1 Pollen monitoring and analyses (coordinator Dr. Timo Hugg)

Objectives: 1) To assess actual exposure to pollen in personal, local and regional level. 2) To assess the intra-urban variations of pollen concentrations in Helsinki Metropolitan area.

WP2 Air quality, pollen and allergen modeling (coordinators Prof. Jan Hjort, Adj.Prof. Mikhail Sofiev, Prof. Jaakko Kukkonen)

Objectives: The main objective is to evaluate the concentrations and exposures to the selected allergenic pollen species, outdoor air pollutants, and the ambient air temperatures, for the relevant domains and time periods. These data will be used in the exposure assessment for the population-based epidemiologic studies on the effects of these exposures on asthma and allergies in WP4-WP6.

WP3 GIS-based exposure assessment (coordinators Dr. H. Antikainen, Profs. J. Rusanen, J. Jaakkola)

Objectives: The main objective of this WP is to design and construct a spatial database that is used to store the information related to the models produced in WP1 and WP2. In addition, this WP includes the implementation of a procedure for using this information to calculate the accumulated exposures for the study subjects to environmental conditions. These data will then be used in the subsequent WPs assessing health impacts.

WP4 Causal relations of exposure to air pollution, pollen allergens and temperature to occurrence of asthma and allergies (Coordinators Prof. J. Jaakkola, Prof. M. Jaakkola, Prof. S. Näyhä)

Objectives: The main objective is to assess the causal effects of life-time exposure to ambient air pollution, temperature, pollen allergens and their joint effects on the development of asthma and allergies as well as on the prognosis of these health conditions. In addition we study the effects of these exposures on cause-specific mortality and morbidity in 1985-2015. The exposure assessment is based on measured and modeled data on these environmental exposures (WP1-WP3) and relevant registry-based data. Data management is conducted in GIS created to reconstruct the environment in the Helsinki and Tampere Metropolitan areas between 1980 and 2015. These data are linked to individuals using map coordinates of their place of residence and school and work. Conceptually we reconstruct individual exposure functions over time which can be transformed into cumulative life-time or time-specific exposure parameters which are used in modeling causal relation between exposures of interest and development of asthma and allergies. In addition to exposure data we will also link and model both individual level and group level data on potential confounders and effect modifiers of the studied relations including environmental, behavioral (smoking, diet, exercise) and individual factors (gender, age, socioeconomic status, genetic polymorphisms).

WP5 Gene-environment interaction (Coordinators Prof. M. Jaakkola, Prof. J. Jaakkola)

Objectives: The overall objective of this work package is to investigate the joint effects of genes linked to different pathways of asthma and allergies as well as respiratory infections, and exposure to pollen, ambient air pollution, and low and high temperature on the development and prognosis of asthma, allergies and episodes of respiratory infections. The specific objectives are: 1) To study the joint effects of the genetic factors (i.e. polymorphisms) and repeated short-term exposures as well as life-time exposures to aeroallergens, air pollutants, and low and high temperatures on the development of new asthma and allergic rhinitis, 2) To study the joint effects of the genetic factors (i.e. polymorphisms) and short-term exposures as well as life-time exposures to aeroallergens, air pollutants, and low and high temperatures on the prognosis of asthma and allergic rhinitis and episodes of respiratory infections, and 3) To study the joint effects of combinations of several genes and short-term as well as life-time exposures to aeroallergens, air pollutants, and low and high temperatures on the development (i.e. onset) and prognosis of asthma and allergic rhinitis and episodes of respiratory infections.

WP6 Integration and synthesis of the relevant results for the past and the present, and modeling for the future (Coordinators Profs. J. Jaakkola, J. Kukkonen, J Hjort)

Objectives: Aims of this work package are 1) to integrate the information and findings from WP1-5 and from other sources, and 2) to make predictions for future environmental conditions, socioeconomic development and their potential impact on asthma and allergies under different scenarios. The scenarios are developed taking into account the influences of changes in emissions, land use, and climate change. Using different sources of information, we will develop a dynamic GIS database, which can be used to assess the complex interactions of air pollution, ambient temperature, pollen and health, and to make predictions under different developmental scenarios and policy decisions.

Last updated: 29.6.2016