Mapping the Global Burden of Disease project’s Summary Exposure Values by state for 2019

As part of a current project with Calvin Isch and Richard Brown, I’ve been looking at the Global Burden of Disease project’s Summary Exposure Values (SEVs). The SEV is a really useful measure for us, because we’re interested in the extent to which people’s perceptions of risk are associated with objective measures of exposure to health risks. Luckily, the Global Burden of Disease project have done some incredibly detailed work to try to quantify exposures to certain risks.

The GBD describe the SEV as follows:

“A measure of a population’s exposure to a risk factor that takes into account the extent of exposure by risk level and the severity of that risk’s contribution to disease burden. SEV takes the value zero when no excess risk for a population exists and the value one when the population is at the highest level of risk; we report SEV on a scale from 0% to 100% to emphasize that it is risk-weighted prevalence.”

I would recommend this excellent Lancet paper for more details on the construction of this measure.

Since I’m particularly interested in perceptions about uncontrollable mortality risks (risk exposures which are not impacted by individual behaviour), I’ve been using the SEV values for environmental and occupational risks, which is a combined index of those risks not classified by the GBD project as being related to behaviour (see for more on the data).

This all seemed like an excellent excuse to make a new map, this time using Leaflet, an excellent R package, which allows you to create and customise interactive web maps without knowing any JavaScript. Here’s the resulting map. To see the interactive version, please click on the image link and view the map in RPubs, as WordPress won’t allow me to embed it using an iframe.

A map of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Project’s summary exposure values (SEV) by state for the USA in 2019.

Adventures with the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ EPSIG: video & links

I am pleased to say that I have recently joined the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ evolutionary psychiatry special interest group (EPSIG). My first encounter with the group was being invited to give a talk following their AGM (video below). However, I’ve since learned a lot about the group.

The RcPsych EPSIG aims to raise awareness of the value of evolutionary theory to psychiatry, as well as encouraging research on the topic. The group has a fascinating mix of members with a range of expertise, bringing together clinical and academic expertise, across disciplines. They hold talks and host symposia, some of which can be found on their YouTube channel. Their newsletters are also available to all, if you want to read more.

Mapping Census data from Newcastle commuters – update!

People – especially students – get in touch with me on a surprisingly regular basis to ask for the data and shape files I used in my previous post on mapping methods of travel to work in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Unfortunately, since Google discontinued their support for Fusion Tables, people are now unable to download the data and shape files from the maps I created. Never fear! You can find them here.

Link to download KMZ file for the Lower Layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs*) within Newcastle upon Tyne**.

Link to download data on methods of travel to work, from the 2011 Census, organised by LSOA**.

Link to download data on methods of travel to work from the 2011 Census, organised by ward* (sorry, but I don’t have a shape at ward level).

*For a guide to administrative geographies, see the ONS page on Census geography.

**This link will take you Dropbox, but you don’t need an account to download the file

Getting other Census and geographies data:

What’s even better than being able to simply download the data from this page? Probably, it’s knowing where to get your own data (especially since the 2011 Census data are about to become outdated). There are couple of really handy websites for accessing Census data and information on UK geographies:

The Nomis website provides a useful portal for accessing census data.

The ONS Open Geography Portal provides a lot of helpful products, including shape files for various geographies.

Hopefully these resources will help you to get your projects done. Happy mapping!

A map from the original project, showing the percentage of residents in each LSOA travelling to work by bicycle (in shades of green), with all data represented in the pop-out bubbles in the interactive version.

ISEMPH 2021 – online meeting

I’m on the programme for the excellent International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health‘s annual meeting again this year. As usual, I expect the conference will be superb. However, things will be a little different this year, as the whole event will be virtual:

Although I understand that many people are suffering from “Zoom fatigue”, an online conference offers a number of fresh advantages. It becomes easier for people from all over the world to participate without time, cost, or carbon footprint concerns becoming barriers. We can be innovative about our scheduling too. Having some pre-recorded talks and posters available in advance of the conference will mean more time to interact with each other on the day. More interaction can mean more ideas, more fun, and more potential for collaboration. Another advantage of having some pre-recorded talks: you can pause, rewind, and watch again! No more wondering if you’re asking a silly question because you didn’t quite hear something that was said earlier on in the talk. Equally, if the topic of the talk isn’t quite as you expected, you can stop watching without fear of disrupting others in the audience. This year’s meeting will enjoy all these advantages, plus some of the buzz of a live event with some live talks and Q&A sessions.

To really boost the interactivity of the conference, we’ll also be running our first ever Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health Grand Challenges! Conference delegates can sign up to work in virtual teams to address the big questions and challenges facing medicine and public health today, with topics ranging from ageing to tuberculosis. The aim of these events is to encourage new connections and collaborations, and to spark innovation in the EMPH community. Check out the ISEMPH-2021 website for further details:

Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona.
Delegates at the Inaugural ISEMPH meeting in 2015, in Tempe, Arizona

Shape file for Newcastle upon Tyne LSOAs

A little while ago, I was contacted by someone who was looking for a shape file for the Newcastle upon Tyne area, as they wanted to map some data as part of a research project.

It occurred to me that other people might be looking for such a file since, back when I made my maps of transport usage in Newcastle (see previous blog), I’d had to source an ONS shape file of all the LSOAs in England and then manually edit it down to only those contained within the Newcastle area. Should you wish to avoid doing all that work yourself, here is the file!

It is a KML file showing the Lower Level Super Output Areas (LSOAs) in Newcastle Upon Tyne (2011 boundaries). Click here to download.

Example map, based on the KML file provided above, showing percentage of people walking to work by LSOA.