Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dynamic maps aid epidemiological investigations

Date:
January 21, 2010
Source:
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Summary:
Using data on Salmonella infections, researchers demonstrate how dynamic mapping can be used to visualize the relationships between disease and environmental factors. The animated maps allow researchers to better detect temporal trends, the origins of an outbreak, patterns of disease spread, timing of seasonal outbreaks and clustering of diseases.

A team of researchers has developed a dynamic mapping tool to gain a more nuanced view of the links between diseases and environmental exposures. The application of the method is illustrated by a number of examples of associations between environmental exposures and Salmonella infections among people in the US age 65 and over in 2002. Analysis of the dynamic maps revealed that Salmonella infections were more common during the summer months, were highly clustered in the South, and were potentially more common in areas with high broiler chicken sales.

Related Articles


The study, published online in Environmental Health, features a set of principles the researchers developed to enhance the use of dynamic mapping technology in epidemiological research.

"Dynamic mapping creates a visual representation of data over time, allowing us to detect relationships between disease and environmental factors that cannot be deciphered from static maps. It enables us to pose new hypotheses about the origins of an outbreak, patterns of disease spread, peak timing of seasonal outbreaks, and clustering of diseases," said senior author Elena Naumova, PhD, professor of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

The dynamic mapping principles Naumova and colleagues developed advise proper selection of temporal and geographical aggregation schemes, color schemes, legends, and frame speed. They also recommend using a simple design that includes navigation tools. The authors emphasize the importance of gaining an understanding of the technology's limitations and carefully interpreting dynamic maps.

The researchers used hospitalization records from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services for patients age 65 and over with a diagnosis of Salmonella infections. The data were superimposed onto maps of environmental exposures such as average monthly temperature and broiler chicken sales from farms to food distributors. The data were then transformed into an interactive movie, allowing the researchers to view changes in the data over time.

"In providing a comprehensive visual of the massive volume of data over time, dynamic mapping can reveal relationships that might otherwise go unnoticed. As demonstrated by our application to cases of Salmonella, dynamic mapping can be a valuable tool for identifying patterns and generating new hypotheses," said Naumova.

Naumova is the director of the Tufts University Initiative for the Forecasting and Modeling of Infectious Diseases (Tufts InForMID), which works to improve biomedical research by developing computational tools in order to assist life science researchers, public health professionals, and policy makers. The center is focused on developing methodology for analysis of large databases to enhance disease surveillance, exposure assessment, and studies of aging.

Co-authors included first author Denise A. Castronovo, MS, Mapping Sustainability, LLC; and Kenneth KH Chui, PhD, MPH, research assistant professor in the department of public health and community medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine.

This study was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, both parts of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Tufts University, Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Castronovo et al. Dynamic maps: a visual-analytic methodology for exploring spatio-temporal disease patterns. Environmental Health, 2009; 8 (1): 61 DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-8-61

Cite This Page:

Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Dynamic maps aid epidemiological investigations." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119111045.htm>.
Tufts University, Health Sciences. (2010, January 21). Dynamic maps aid epidemiological investigations. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119111045.htm
Tufts University, Health Sciences. "Dynamic maps aid epidemiological investigations." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100119111045.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Antarctic Ice Is Melting Faster Than Ever

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) A new study of nearly two decades of satellite data shows Antarctic ice shelves are losing more mass faster every year. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

Raw: Homes Near Landslide in Washington

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) Aerial footage from KOMO shows several homes near a landslide in Washington. KOMO reports that at least one of the homes has been damaged. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

Clean-Up Follows Deadly Weather in Okla.

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) Gov. Mary Fallin has declared a state of emergency for 25 Oklahoma counties after powerful storms rumbled across the state causing one death, numerous injuries and widespread damage. (March 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

At Least Four Dead After Floods in Northern Chile

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 26, 2015) At least four people have been killed by severe flooding in northern Chile after rains battered the Andes mountains and swept into communities below. Rob Muir reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins