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Behavior

Rainy Day Concept

7 months, 1 week ago

2250  0
Posted on Feb 14, 2018, 11 a.m.

People have been trying to make links between their achy muscle and joints for a very long time. Previous research has resulted in a variation of mixed results. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have conducted a new study, published in BMJ, with their results evaluating these claims by tracking patients visits to doctors on days with rainfall finding no relationship between the two.

 

People have been trying to make links between their achy muscle and joints for a very long time. Previous research has resulted in a variation of mixed results. Researchers at Harvard Medical School have conducted a new study, published in BMJ, with their results evaluating these claims by tracking patients visits to doctors on days with rainfall finding no relationship between the two.

 

Claims of weather and a variety of symptoms being linked go together, walking hand in hand since antiquity. This notion, belief even, had persisted and endured over the centuries into modern day. It’s most likely that this folklore has stayed fueled by small studies that have repeatedly offered up mixed results.

 

This new research used a big data approach, using Medicare insurance claims from million of visits to doctors linking to days with rainfall using thousands of Nation Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather stations.

 

According to Professor Anupam Jena, regardless of how the researchers examined the data they were unable to see any correlation between rainfall and patients visiting doctors for joint and back pain. Stating that the two may very well be unreliable forecasters at the bottom line of it all.

 

Over 11 million primary care Medicare records were examined of older Americans over a 4 year period. Researchers posed a variety of questions such as: Even in the absence of rainfall in the overall group did patients with prior diagnosis report more pain? What were the effects if any of consecutives rainy days? Did the patients report more than one source of pain on rainy days? Did more patients seek care for pain on rainy days or following periods of rain? Did patients going to see the doctor for other reasons also report pain on rainy days? The answers to these questions, and others, yielded no meaningful links between rainy days and joint pain. 6.35% of the office visits included reports of pain on days with rainfall. 6.39% of office visits included reports of pain on days that were dry with no rain.

 

Jena says that if there were a clinically significant pain increase on days with rainfall with this huge amount of data they would be expected to see at least a small significant sign of effect, but there wasn’t one, the results showed more pain on dry days with no rain. Noting that the human brain is excellent at finding patterns, and that often these beliefs are self-fulfilling. Therefore if you expect to have pain and aches when it rains, and it does not, you will forget about it. BUT if there is rainfall and you have pain to which you blame it on, that will stick in your mind. Going on to add that physicians need to be sensitive to what patients say, BUT it is most important to know that at the clinical level joint pains do not appear to ebb and flow with the rainy weather.

 

 

Materials provided by Harvard Medical School.

 Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Anupam B Jena, Andrew R Olenski, David Molitor, Nolan Miller. Association between rainfall and diagnoses of joint or back pain: retrospective claims analysis. BMJ, 2017; j5326 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j5326

 

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