Modern health mapping shows how poverty and ill health persist over 100 years
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London are aiming to improve the health of Londoners by combining a century-old mapping technique with up-to-the-minute technology.
Using type 2 diabetes as their example, the researchers have compiled detailed maps of east London highlighting the geographical hotspots of disease risk.
The maps, which are published today in BMJ Open reveal startling similarities to the renowned poverty maps created in the late 19th Century by Victorian reformist, Charles Booth.
The researchers chose to study type 2 diabetes risk because it has well-known risk factors and is preventable. It is strongly associated with poverty and South Asian ethnicity, both of which are common in east London today.
The aim of the project is to help local authority and NHS services to tackle poor health by directing efforts where they are most needed. Although the study examined the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham, the researchers say that the same technique could be applied anywhere in the country, and to other diseases.
Unlike the Booth maps which were based on observation, the new study uses an entire set of electronic records from GP surgeries in the area. This very precise information means that the maps are much more accurate and will be useful to individual GP surgeries.
Electronic records from over half a million people were included in the research. Each was assessed for risk of developing diabetes using a well-established prediction tool, the QDScore.
People were categorised as high-risk if they were found to have a one in five or greater risk of developing diabetes within ten years.
Overall around ten per cent of the adult population fell into the high-risk category. However the maps showed hotspots where up to 17 per cent were at high risk. Further analysis showed that these hotspots were associated with areas of poverty.
These hotspots were surprisingly similar to areas of poverty highlighted in Booths maps from over 100 years ago.
The study was led by Douglas Noble, a Public Health Doctor and Lecturer at Queen Mary, and published in BMJ Open with additional material in a full report aimed at the NHS and Public Health specialists.
Dr Noble said: It was no surprise to see that diabetes risk is high in areas where poverty was high. What was surprising was that some of these pockets of deprivation and ill-health have persisted for over 100 years.
But unlike in Booths time, we now know how diseases like diabetes can be prevented. Using electronic records to create maps like these throughout the country could improve health and save money for the NHS.
When you think of what life was like in the East End in the late 1800s its extraordinary what the NHS and public health professionals have achieved, often with limited resources. But theres more still to do, and we hope this detailed information will help to reduce risk of diseases like diabetes
The research also looked at known risk factors and could show where a lack of green space or a proliferation of fast food outlets could be contributing to ill-health.
Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Health Care at Queen Mary, University of London, also worked on the report. She said: Health mapping has enormous potential for the NHS, especially with a disease like type 2 diabetes which we know can be prevented by keeping a healthy weight and staying active.
This study, which concentrates on three of the Olympic boroughs, highlights the dire need for a major and lasting Olympic legacy to improve health and longevity in east London.
Steven Cummins Professor of Urban Health at Queen Marys School of Geography commented: "Population health has vastly improved over the last 100 years. However, as these maps starkly illustrate, a century of social, economic and physical change has failed to eliminate underlying geographical inequalities in disease in east London."
This work was funded by Tower Hamlets, Newham, and City and Hackney primary care trusts and by the National Institute for Health Research. The National Information Governance Board advised on data protection issues.
Provided by Queen Mary University of London
- Tools for predicting diabetes exist but are not used, research shows Nov 29, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Diabetes linked to higher rate of birth defects Feb 07, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- New videos, website offer important resources for people affected by diabetes Jun 22, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Cigarettes, diet, alcohol and obesity behind more than 100,000 cancers Dec 07, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Research indicates obesity and diabetes risk is determined in the womb Nov 10, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
An increasing number of U.S. children are experiencing gastrointestinal issues that require interventions to resolve, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
Health 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Research shows that the earlier the age at which youth take their first alcoholic drink, the greater the risk of developing alcohol problems. Thus, age at first drink (AFD) is generally considered a powerful predictor of ...
Health 21 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
One quarter of British lawmakers believe there is an "unhealthy" drinking culture in the Houses of Parliament, according to a survey published on Friday.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) have found that the race and sex of study personnel can influence a patient's decision on whether or not to participate in clinical research.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
The processes to allow people to self-manage their own illness are not being used appropriately by health professionals to the benefit of their patients, new research suggests.
Health May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
The latest makeover to a massive psychiatric tome honored by some, reviled by others and even called the "Bible" of mental disorders is being released Saturday with a host of new changes.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
13 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
A ground-breaking advance in colonoscopy technology signals the future of colorectal care, according to research presented today at Digestive Disease Week(DDW). Additional research focuses on optimizing the minimal withdrawal ...
4 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
22 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |