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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(9), 1051; doi:10.3390/ijerph14091051

Applying Nonparametric Methods to Analyses of Short-Term Fine Particulate Matter Exposure and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases among Older Adults

1
Cox Associates Consulting, Denver, CO 80218, USA
2
Gradient, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2017 / Revised: 8 September 2017 / Accepted: 10 September 2017 / Published: 12 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Health)
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Abstract

Short-term exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), but whether such associations are supportive of a causal relationship is unclear, and few studies have employed formal causal analysis methods to address this. We employed nonparametric methods to examine the associations between daily concentrations of PM2.5 and hospital admissions (HAs) for CVD among adults aged 75 years and older in Texas, USA. We first quantified the associations in partial dependence plots generated using the random forest approach. We next used a Bayesian network learning algorithm to identify conditional dependencies between CVD HAs of older men and women and several predictor variables. We found that geographic location (county), time (e.g., month and year), and temperature satisfied necessary information conditions for being causes of CVD HAs among older men and women, but daily PM2.5 concentrations did not. We also found that CVD HAs of disjoint subpopulations were strongly predictive of CVD HAs among older men and women, indicating the presence of unmeasured confounders. Our findings from nonparametric analyses do not support PM2.5 as a direct cause of CVD HAs among older adults. View Full-Text
Keywords: air pollution; fine particulate matter; epidemiology; causal analysis; nonparametric; cardiovascular disease air pollution; fine particulate matter; epidemiology; causal analysis; nonparametric; cardiovascular disease
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MDPI and ACS Style

Cox, L.A.T.; Liu, X.; Shi, L.; Zu, K.; Goodman, J. Applying Nonparametric Methods to Analyses of Short-Term Fine Particulate Matter Exposure and Hospital Admissions for Cardiovascular Diseases among Older Adults. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1051.

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