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Ischemic Heart Disease and Recent Climate Change in Canada
Bayentin, L., El Adlouni, S., Ouarda, T.B.M.J., Gosselin, P., Doyon, B. and Chebana, F. 2010. Spatial variability of climate effects on ischemic heart disease hospitalization rates for the period 1989-2006 in Quebec, Canada. International Journal of Health Geographics 9:10.1186/1476-072X-9-5.

What was done
Employing a generalized additive statistical model that blends the properties of generalized linear models with additive models, the authors analyzed the standardized daily hospitalization rates for ischemic heart disease (IHD) and their relationship with climatic conditions up to two weeks prior to the day of admission -- controlling for time trends, day of the season and gender -- in order to determine the short-term effects of climate conditions on the incidence of IHD over the 1989-2006 time period for 18 different health regions of Quebec.

What was learned
Perhaps the most interesting and important finding of Bayentin et al.'s study was, as they describe it, the fact that "a decline in the effects of meteorological variables on IHD daily admission rates was observed over the period of 1989-2006," which observation, in their words, "can partly be explained by the changes in surface air temperature," which they describe as warming "over the last few decades," as is further described by Bonsal et al. (2001) and Zhang et al. (2000) for the 20th-century portion of the study's duration. In addition, they note that "winters have been steadily warmer," while "summers have yet to become hotter for most regions," which is another beneficial characteristic of the warming that was experienced over most of the planet throughout the latter part of the 20th century (Easterling et al., 1997). Last of all, the six scientists report what they call their "counter-intuitive finding," which was that "cold temperatures resulted in a protective effect for women except for most Northern regions."

What it means
As in most places throughout the world, the climatic changes experienced over the past couple of decades has proven beneficial to the people of Quebec, especially in terms of its ameliorative effect on their propensity to suffer ischemic heart disease.

Bonsal, B.R., Zhang, X., Vincent, L.A. and Hogg, W.D. 2001. Characteristics of daily and extreme temperatures over Canada. Journal of Climate 14: 1959-1976.

Easterling, D.R., Horton, B., Jones, P.D., Peterson, T.C., Karl, T.R., Parker, D.E., Salinger, M.J., Razuvayev, V., Plummer, N., Jamason, P. and Folland, C.K. 1997. Maximum and minimum temperature trends for the globe. Science 277: 364-367.

Zhang, X.B., Vincent, L.A., Hogg, W.D. and Niitsoo, A. 2000. Temperature and precipitation trends in Canada during the 20th century. Atmosphere-Ocean 38: 395-429.

Reviewed 23 June 2010