Use of spatial models and the MCMC method for investigating the relationship between road traffic pollution and asthma amongst children

by Yong Zhang

Institution: University of Greenwich
Year: 2000
Keywords: QA Mathematics; T Technology (General)
Record ID: 1403707
Full text PDF: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/8247/


This thesis uses two datasets: NCDS (National Child Development Study) and Bartholomew's Digital road map to investigate the relationship between road traffic pollution and asthma amongst children. A pollution exposure model is developed to provide an indicator of road traffic pollution. Also, a spatially driven logistic regression model of the risk of asthma occurrence is developed. The relationship between asthma and pollution is tested using this model. The power of the test has been studied. Because of the uncertainty of exact spatial location of subjects, given a post-code, we have considered error-in-variable model, otherwise known as measurement error model. A general foundation is presented. Inference is attempted in three approaches. Compared with models without measurement error, no improvement on log-likelihood is made. We suggest the error can be omitted. We also take a Bayesian approach to analyse the relationship. A discretized MCMC (Markov Chain Monte Carlo) is developed so that it can be used to estimate parameters and to do inference on a very complex posterior density function. It extends the simulated tempering method to 'multi-dimension temperature' situation. We use this method to implement MCMC on our models. The improvement in speed is remarkable. A significant effect of road traffic pollution on asthma is not found. But the methodology (spatially driven logistic regression and discretized MCMC) can be applied on other data.