Blog Archives

Geo-medicine: Mapping our pollution exposures

My latest post on The Atlantic’s Cities website explores geo-medicine, a new field that uses GIS mapping to correlate environmental conditions to health risks like heart attacks and cancer. There’s even a free app that allows you to map the types of toxic exposures in everyplace you’ve ever lived and correlate them to the likelihood of developing cancer or dying of a heart attack.

Beyond charting the potential for your own personal doomsday, however, geo-medicine has many other applications: It can allow doctors to zoom in on a patient’s life to create a geographically enhanced medical history. Or it can zoom out to give public health officials, city planners and activists detail-rich insights on how to improve the well-being of entire communities.

Check out my story and let me know what you think!


CDC Ups Estimates of H1N1 Cases

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just issued a new set of estimates for the numbers of people infected with Swine Flu, AKA the H1N1 virus, between April and mid-October. According to the CDC, these revised figures are meant to correct big-time underreporting of the illness that hampered early efforts to gage the spreading pandemic.

CDC Estimates of 2009 H1N1 Cases and Related Hospitalizationsand Deaths from April-October 17, 2009, By Age Group

2009 H1N1 Mid-Level Range* Estimated Range *
0-17 years ~8 million ~5 million to ~13 million
18-64 years ~12 million ~7 million to ~18 million
65 years and older ~2 million ~1 million to ~3 million
Cases Total ~22 million ~14 million to ~34 million
0-17 years ~36,000 ~23,000 to ~57,000
18-64 years ~53,000 ~34,000 to ~83,000
65 years and older ~9,000 ~6,000 to ~14,000
Hospitalizations Total ~98,000 ~63,000 to ~153,000
0-17 years ~540 ~300 to ~800
18-64 years ~2,920 ~1,900 to ~4,600
65 years and older ~440 ~300 to ~700
Deaths Total ~3,900 ~2,500 to ~6,100

* Deaths have been rounded to the nearest ten. Hospitalizations have been rounded to the nearest thousand and cases have been rounded to the nearest million.

Click here for the full report.