Posted on June 16, 2014

Most people would say that breathing air that is full of dust is not healthy. We assume that is true, but do we know for sure?

With a grant from the Qatar National Research Foundation (QNRF), UCQ nursing faculty and students are researching of the connection between weather patterns and respiratory health in Qatar. An example of evidence-based research in action, Dr. Kim Critchley, UCQ Dean and CEO is leading the study along with Canadian biologist, Dr. Kevin Teather.

UCQ nurses research the effects of Qatar[].jpg

Under their direction the research is being conducted by UCQ nursing students Asma Hussain, Nicola Dsouza, Lea Jabonete, and Nawal Ali.

The UCQ research group works closely with Al Rayyan Health Centre. For the past six months the students have been gathering evidence on the numbers and types of breathing conditions that are treated, and correlating that information with weather conditions on those dates. The privacy of individuals is strictly protected, and only information directly relevant to the study is obtained. The particular information that is gathered concerns the relationship between weather patterns and incidents of treatment for breathing problems.

“Other studies have been conducted in New York City,” says Asma, “and they reveal that more people are admitted to New York hospitals with breathing problems when the weather is dry and windy. A separate study showed that dust-sand storms in the Middle East could contribute to lung diseases like silicosis, a disease caused by breathing in small, airborne particles.”

Nicola points out that the UCQ research used these studies as part of their background, and gathers their own information from Qatar. “The information we have from Hamad Medical Corporation [HMC] is that incidence of respiratory problems is rising in Qatar. While some health conditions, like stroke and cancer, are decreasing, chronic respiratory diseases are increasing.  As nurses, we want to know why and what can be done about it.”

The UCQ research team presented the findings of the first part of their current study in Italy at the International Conference on Atmospheric Dust this week and have had their abstract accepted for publication.