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Assessing the short term impact of air pollution on mortality: a matching approach

Overview of attention for article published in Environmental Health, February 2017
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (89th percentile)

Mentioned by

1 news outlet
1 blog
2 tweeters


27 Dimensions

Readers on

64 Mendeley
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Assessing the short term impact of air pollution on mortality: a matching approach
Published in
Environmental Health, February 2017
DOI 10.1186/s12940-017-0215-7
Pubmed ID

Michela Baccini, Alessandra Mattei, Fabrizia Mealli, Pier Alberto Bertazzi, Michele Carugno


The opportunity to assess short term impact of air pollution relies on the causal interpretation of the exposure-response association. However, up to now few studies explicitly faced this issue within a causal inference framework. In this paper, we reformulated the problem of assessing the short term impact of air pollution on health using the potential outcome approach to causal inference. We considered the impact of high daily levels of particulate matter ≤10 μm in diameter (PM10) on mortality within two days from the exposure in the metropolitan area of Milan (Italy), during the period 2003-2006. Our research focus was the causal impact of a hypothetical intervention setting daily air pollution levels under a pre-fixed threshold. We applied a matching procedure based on propensity score to estimate the total number of attributable deaths (AD) during the study period. After defining the number of attributable deaths in terms of difference between potential outcomes, we used the estimated propensity score to match each high exposure day, namely each day with a level of exposure higher than 40 μg/m(3), with a day with similar background characteristics but a level of exposure lower than 40 μg/m(3). Then, we estimated the impact by comparing mortality between matched days. During the study period daily exposures larger than 40 μg/m(3) were responsible for 1079 deaths (90% CI: 116; 2042). The impact was more evident among the elderly than in the younger age classes. Exposures ≥ 40 μg/m(3) were responsible, among the elderly, for 1102 deaths (90% CI: 388, 1816), of which 797 from cardiovascular causes and 243 from respiratory causes. Clear evidence of an impact on respiratory mortality was found also in the age class 65-74, with 87 AD (90% CI: 11, 163). The propensity score matching turned out to be an appealing method to assess historical impacts in this field, which guarantees that the estimated total number of AD can be derived directly as sum of either age-specific or cause-specific AD, unlike the standard model-based procedure. For this reason, it is a promising approach to perform surveillance focusing on very specific causes of death or diseases, or on susceptible subpopulations. Finally, the propensity score matching is free from issues concerning the exposure-confounders-mortality modeling and does not involve extrapolation. On the one hand this enhances the internal validity of our results; on the other, it makes the approach scarcely appropriate for estimating future impacts.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 64 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 1 2%
Unknown 63 98%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 14 22%
Student > Ph. D. Student 7 11%
Student > Master 7 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 4 6%
Student > Bachelor 4 6%
Other 9 14%
Unknown 19 30%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Environmental Science 13 20%
Medicine and Dentistry 10 16%
Nursing and Health Professions 6 9%
Mathematics 4 6%
Economics, Econometrics and Finance 3 5%
Other 6 9%
Unknown 22 34%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 16. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 15 November 2018.
All research outputs
of 20,568,640 outputs
Outputs from Environmental Health
of 1,415 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 386,698 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Environmental Health
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 20,568,640 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 91st percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 1,415 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 30.0. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 74% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 386,698 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them