A study carried out by two Portuguese researchers, which was recently unveiled during the European Epidemiology Congress in Oporto, shows that that the risk of suffering heart complications increases significantly in the wake of an earthquake.
The chance of experiencing heart problems rises by more than 60 percent in the days following an earthquake, according to the research.
Authors Ana Isabel Ribeiro, of Oporto University’s Superior Institute for Public Health, and Maria de Fátima Pina, of the Oporto University Medical Faculty’s Epidemiology Department, claim that the association between heart problems and quakes was already known. However, according to the two researchers, there were few studies that evaluated the impact that smaller tremors could have on non-lethal heart problems.
For their work, the co-authors looked at hospital registers from 59 municipalities, home to 1.7 million inhabitants, where earthquakes of 5.3 in magnitude have been registered to understand the impact of quakes on hospital admissions through acute heart attacks.
Based on the results the investigators stressed the need for public authorities to invest in raising awareness among the population with regards to this problem and educate society, with a view to avoiding panic and reducing the impact of earthquakes on the health of the most sensitive populations.
Mainland Portugal, as many other countries, registers frequent seismic activity even though it is only of a low intensity.
The first longitudinal study into the growth of Portuguese babies has also been recently revealed.
Developed by a team of researchers from Oporto, associated to the FMUP Generation XXI project, the study reveals that Portuguese newborn girls weigh, on average, 3.1 kilos and measure around 48 centimetres in length, while boys weigh slightly more, at 3.22 kilos, and measure 49 centimetres.
Researchers also documented children’s growth rates until the age of four and found that “children who gain weight quickly during the first years of life are at greater risk of developing obesity later on.”