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Sudden Cardiac Death in Israel: The Influence of Temperature
Behar, S. 2000. Out-of-hospital death in Israel - Should we blame the weather? Israel Medical Association Journal 2: 56-57.

What was done
The author presents a brief review of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) and Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI) in Israel and elsewhere, concentrating on the role that temperature may play in the incidence of these deadly-serious health problems.

What was learned
The author found that "most of the recent papers on this topic have concluded that a peak of SCD, AMI and other cardiovascular conditions is usually observed in low temperature weather during winter." As one example, he cites an Israeli study (Green et al., 1994) that revealed that between 1976 and 1985 "mortality from cardiovascular disease was higher by 50% in mid-winter than in mid-summer, both in men and women and in different age groups." And this occurred in spite of the fact that summer temperatures in the Negev, where much of this work has been done, often exceed 30C, while winter temperatures typically do not drop below 10C.

What it means
The author says that these studies "are reassuring for populations living in hot countries." They should also be reassuring for everyone on the planet who may be fortunate enough to be "experiencing" global warming. Although "an ubiquitous complaint of Israeli citizens during summer," according to the author, is that "the heat is killing me," it is much more likely that the heat is keeping them alive, as has also recently been demonstrated to be the case in the United States (Deaths in the United States Due to Extreme Heat and Cold), Siberia (Siberian Cold Enhances Stroke Occurrence), and much of Europe (Global Warming Would Reduce Mortality in Europe).

Green, M.S., Harari, G., Kristal-Boneh, E. 1994. Excess winter mortality from ischaemic heart disease and stroke during colder and warmer years in Israel. European Journal of Public Health 4: 3-11.

Reviewed 20 December 2000