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Approved research

Individual-level analysis on health risks associated with environmental exposures

Principal Investigator: Professor Antonio Gasparrini
Approved Research ID: 56431
Approval date: June 24th 2020

Lay summary

It has long been known that our health is affected by the exposure to environmental stressors such as air pollution, extreme temperature, and pollen. However, individual risks are difficult to determine, as they depend on personal exposure patterns and different degree of susceptibility. This project will make use of novel data resources and analytical methods to investigate these complex health risk patterns. First, the project will generate individual profiles of daily exposure to various environmental factors by linking high-resolution maps reconstructed by spatio-temporal models with the residential history of over 500,000 participants to the BioBank UK cohort. Second, associations between these exposures with increased risks for mortality, hospital admissions, and primary care consultations will be estimated using state-of-the-art epidemiological designs and statistical methods. Third, the project will investigate individual risk patterns and will identify sub-groups particularly vulnerable to environmental stressors, by an analysis of susceptibility determined by various factors, such as lifestyle behaviours, pre-existing clinical conditions, medications, and contextual characteristics. This project will advance the research in this field by improving our knowledge on the mechanisms linking exposure to environmental stressors and health. This evidence will be crucial for informing public health, environmental, and climate change policies aiming at reducing the associated risks.