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Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies in a Changing Climate.

Schmidt CW - Environ. Health Perspect. (2016)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

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That’s the atmospheric concentration that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts by the year 2050, assuming no changes in current emissions. (At present, the atmospheric concentration level is just over 400 ppm. ) Ziska found that the size of the experimental ragweed plants and their pollen output increased in tandem with rising CO2... Ziska’s team planted ragweed in urban Baltimore, where measured CO2 levels were 30% higher and temperatures 3.5°F hotter on average than they were outside the city... To assess the effect of warming temperatures on the length of ragweed’s flowering season, Ziska’s team, including Bielory, studied measures of airborne pollen collected from 10 sampling stations extending from east Texas to Saskatoon, 2,200 kilometers to the north... The results, though not unexpected, were remarkable: Between 1995 and 2009, they found the pollen seasons lengthened by 13–27 days, with greater increases the farther north they looked... During a more recent study published in 2014, Bielory and colleagues reached a similar conclusion... The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, a professional association for public health epidemiologists, has proposed such a system in a draft white paper that it plans to finalize at its June 2016 annual conference... Even as researchers grapple with limited field data, they continue to produce compelling results in climate-controlled chambers that predict future effects on allergenic species... However, any reduction in the plant’s allergenic protein content, Albertine predicted, would be offset by a corresponding increase in pollen production, for a net boost in allergenic threat. (Similarly, Ziska’s research showed that when raised in greenhouses containing up to 600 ppm CO2, ragweed plants produced 60–80% more of their allergenic protein, Amb a 1. ) Stinson acknowledges that, although greenhouses allow for a controlled assessment of how atmospheric conditions affect allergenic plants, they don’t replicate the real world, where other pollutants, humidity, rainfall, and additional soil nutrients—especially nitrogen—also influence plant growth and pollination patterns... Over half the participants queried in the survey reported increases in allergic symptoms among their own patients that the doctors believed were related to climate change... A survey of AAAAI members, currently in press, reached a similar conclusion: In this case, specialists were asked “[How] do you think your patients are being affected by climate change or might be affected in the next 10–20 years?” Nearly two-thirds reported seeing “increased care for allergic sensitization and symptoms of exposure to plants or mold. ” Mona Sarfaty, director of the Program on Climate and Health at George Mason University, led both those surveys... She says that to her surprise, neither study detected regional difference in physician responses. “Instead, greater allergy symptoms seemed to be showing up across the country,” she says, with only the symptoms themselves varying by location. “So a doctor in Michigan who ordinarily sees relief from mold allergies with the arrival of cold weather might see them persisting later into the year,” she explains, “while a doctor in Southern California might be reporting grass allergies all year round. ” Sarfaty says that doctors who claimed not to believe in climate change were less likely to report these trends... Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who also holds a faculty post at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, acknowledges the need for more research. “What we have to do is tease out the chain of events starting with higher temperatures and CO2 levels, to effects on allergenicity, to human health symptoms,” she says. “The studies so far are compelling, but we need more comprehensive studies at larger scales. ” For the tens of millions who have allergies and asthma, this is more than an inconvenience, she says—“Those illnesses can keep you out of school and work, and for some they are absolutely life-threatening.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Findings from studies of ragweed in urban versus rural settings suggest that some city dwellers might be disproportionately affected by climate change with respect to seasonal allergies.© Kristina Stinson
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d36e393: Findings from studies of ragweed in urban versus rural settings suggest that some city dwellers might be disproportionately affected by climate change with respect to seasonal allergies.© Kristina Stinson


Pollen Overload: Seasonal Allergies in a Changing Climate.

Schmidt CW - Environ. Health Perspect. (2016)

Findings from studies of ragweed in urban versus rural settings suggest that some city dwellers might be disproportionately affected by climate change with respect to seasonal allergies.© Kristina Stinson
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4829390&req=5

d36e393: Findings from studies of ragweed in urban versus rural settings suggest that some city dwellers might be disproportionately affected by climate change with respect to seasonal allergies.© Kristina Stinson

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

That’s the atmospheric concentration that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts by the year 2050, assuming no changes in current emissions. (At present, the atmospheric concentration level is just over 400 ppm. ) Ziska found that the size of the experimental ragweed plants and their pollen output increased in tandem with rising CO2... Ziska’s team planted ragweed in urban Baltimore, where measured CO2 levels were 30% higher and temperatures 3.5°F hotter on average than they were outside the city... To assess the effect of warming temperatures on the length of ragweed’s flowering season, Ziska’s team, including Bielory, studied measures of airborne pollen collected from 10 sampling stations extending from east Texas to Saskatoon, 2,200 kilometers to the north... The results, though not unexpected, were remarkable: Between 1995 and 2009, they found the pollen seasons lengthened by 13–27 days, with greater increases the farther north they looked... During a more recent study published in 2014, Bielory and colleagues reached a similar conclusion... The Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, a professional association for public health epidemiologists, has proposed such a system in a draft white paper that it plans to finalize at its June 2016 annual conference... Even as researchers grapple with limited field data, they continue to produce compelling results in climate-controlled chambers that predict future effects on allergenic species... However, any reduction in the plant’s allergenic protein content, Albertine predicted, would be offset by a corresponding increase in pollen production, for a net boost in allergenic threat. (Similarly, Ziska’s research showed that when raised in greenhouses containing up to 600 ppm CO2, ragweed plants produced 60–80% more of their allergenic protein, Amb a 1. ) Stinson acknowledges that, although greenhouses allow for a controlled assessment of how atmospheric conditions affect allergenic plants, they don’t replicate the real world, where other pollutants, humidity, rainfall, and additional soil nutrients—especially nitrogen—also influence plant growth and pollination patterns... Over half the participants queried in the survey reported increases in allergic symptoms among their own patients that the doctors believed were related to climate change... A survey of AAAAI members, currently in press, reached a similar conclusion: In this case, specialists were asked “[How] do you think your patients are being affected by climate change or might be affected in the next 10–20 years?” Nearly two-thirds reported seeing “increased care for allergic sensitization and symptoms of exposure to plants or mold. ” Mona Sarfaty, director of the Program on Climate and Health at George Mason University, led both those surveys... She says that to her surprise, neither study detected regional difference in physician responses. “Instead, greater allergy symptoms seemed to be showing up across the country,” she says, with only the symptoms themselves varying by location. “So a doctor in Michigan who ordinarily sees relief from mold allergies with the arrival of cold weather might see them persisting later into the year,” she explains, “while a doctor in Southern California might be reporting grass allergies all year round. ” Sarfaty says that doctors who claimed not to believe in climate change were less likely to report these trends... Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, who also holds a faculty post at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, acknowledges the need for more research. “What we have to do is tease out the chain of events starting with higher temperatures and CO2 levels, to effects on allergenicity, to human health symptoms,” she says. “The studies so far are compelling, but we need more comprehensive studies at larger scales. ” For the tens of millions who have allergies and asthma, this is more than an inconvenience, she says—“Those illnesses can keep you out of school and work, and for some they are absolutely life-threatening.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus