• A record number of stroke deaths linked to air pollution
• A study reveals a link between poor air quality and happiness levels
By Muntaka Chasant | 384 words | Reading time: 1.5 min
Accra, Ghana/ December 2018
Air Pollution and Stroke Deaths
According to a preliminary study (1) to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2019, a nationwide study shows a record number of air pollution-linked stroke deaths and short life expectancies in US counties with higher levels of PM2.5 pollutants (inhalable ultra-fine particles of less than 2.5 micrometers which can clog human lungs).
The higher the poverty rate and fewer healthcare providers, the greater the health impact of particulate pollution (PM2.5), the study also found.
The lead author of the study, Longjian Liu, advised clinicians to encourage at-risk patients to avoid polluted roads at times when traffic is high, keep car windows closed and set air conditioners to circulate internal air.
Air Quality and Happiness
In a separate study (2), researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have linked higher pollution levels to a decrease in people’s happiness levels in Chinese cities.
The researchers used real-time data from social media to measure how changing daily pollution levels affect people’s mood in 144 cities in China.
Using machine learning algorithms, the team analyzed more than 200 million geotagged tweets from Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblogging website. The algorithms measured the sentiments of each post and rated the tweets on a happiness index (from 0 to 100).
The researchers then merged this information with daily PM2.5 pollution levels and weather data.
They found a remarkable negative correlation between pollution and happiness levels. Women and high-income earners were more sensitive to higher pollution levels, the study found.
Air pollution in China is linked to close to 2 million premature deaths every year, the World Health Organization figures show. (3)
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1. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/counties-with-dirtier-air-have-more-stroke-deaths?preview=9208 (Retrieved February, 2019) ↩
2. http://news.mit.edu/2019/china-link-happiness-air-quality-0121 (Retrieved February, 2019)↩
3. http://breathelife2030.org/city-data-page/?city=755 (Retrieved February, 2019)↩