The Influence of Air Pollution, Pollen, and Ambient Temperature on Asthma and Allergies in Changing Climate (APTA)

Project name:

The Influence of Air Pollution, Pollen, and Ambient Temperature on Asthma and Allergies in Changing Climate (APTA)

Principal investigator:

Jouni Jaakkola (Center for Environmental and Respiratory Research, CERH, University of Oulu)

Co-principal Investigator:

Jaakko Kukkonen (Finnish Meteorological Institute, FMI, Helsinki)

Jan Hjort (Geography Unit, University of Oulu)

Maritta Jaakkola (Center for Environmental and Respiratory Research, CERH, University of Oulu)

Other investigators:

Timo Hugg, Simo Näyhä, Taina Lajunen, Aino Rantala (CERH)

Mikhail Sofiev, Mia Aarnio (FMI)

Harri Antikainen, Jarmo Rusanen (Geography Unit, University of Oulu)

Graduate students:

Mirkka Tuokila, Elina Paaso, Niilo Ryti, Sirpa Heikkinen (CERH)

Tiina Lankinen, Tiina Huotari (Geography Unit, University of Oulu)

Marje Prank (FMI)

Objectives:

The overall objective is to assess the influence of environmental exposures related to changing climate on asthma and allergies and cause-specific mortality. The special focus is on health effects of air pollution, allergenic pollen and extreme climatic factors, especially ambient temperatures. We also address the influences on susceptible populations defined by age, gender, chronic diseases, socioeconomic status, and genetic factors. This includes gene-environment interactions and joint effects of different environmental exposures.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To develop and refine methodologies to spatially predict the distribution of allergenic pollen and concentrations of air pollutants in urbanized areas at local and regional scales. WP1-2.
  2. To compare the accuracy, utility and feasibility of statistically-based spatial models with physically-based dispersion models of air pollutants, pollen and extreme temperatures in examining respiratory diseases. WP2.
  3. To develop GIS-based exposure assessment methodology. WP3.
  4. To assess the effects of short-term exposures to air pollution, aeroallergens and ambient temperatures on the development of asthma and allergic rhinitis, exacerbations of asthma and episodes of respiratory infections, and total and cause-specific mortality and morbidity. WP4.
  5. To assess the effects of life-time exposures to air pollution, aeroallergens and ambient temperatures on the development of asthma and allergic rhinitis as well as exacerbations of asthma and episodes of respiratory infections. WP4
  6. To study the joint synergistic or antagonistic effects of exposures to air pollutants, aeroallergens, and high and low temperatures on development of asthma and allergic rhinitis, and exacerbations of asthma and episodes of respiratory infections. WP4.
  7. To study the joint effects of genetic factors and exposures to air pollutants, aeroallergens and high and low temperatures on development of asthma and allergic rhinitis, and exacerbations of asthma and episodes of respiratory infections. WP5.
  8. To integrate and synthesize the results produced for the past and the present times, and to make predictions based on them for future scenarios of the respiratory health impact of air pollution, pollen and ambient temperature in changing climate. WP6.
Description:

We assess both short-term and long-term effects of environmental exposures related to changing climate on asthma and allergies and cause-specific mortality. Two large prospective, population-based epidemiologic studies, the Espoo Cohort Study (ECS) and the Finnish Environment and Asthma Study (FEAS), will form the basis for investigating health impacts in addition to registry-based hospitalization and mortality data. The focus is on health effects of air pollution, allergenic pollen and extreme climatic factors in vulnerable populations. We apply multidisciplinary complementary research methodologies including dispersion modeling, including unique expertise regarding the emissions and dispersion of allergenic pollen, and statistical environmental and information technology oriented expertise, including in particular GIS-based land-use regression methods, genetics, clinical medicine and epidemiology.

Schedule/duration:

Funding period is between 01.09.2013 – 31.08.2017. This project is part of the on-going prospective cohort studies initiated in 1990.

Funding:

Academy of Finland Research program, grant no. 266314

APTA Panel Study

The data collection for  APTA panel study in Helsinki Metropolitan area has been completed.

APTA Case-control Study

Participants are currently being recruted for the APTA case-control study.

More information:

The APTA project website

Last updated: 28.6.2016