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Video: Predict Your Allergies
Predict your allergies
A huge number of people suffer from pollen allergy, and therefore many need to observe pollen and predict its behavior. Based on user data, the Pollen. Corks project works according to the Yandex Traffic Jams principle: allergy sufferers in different parts of the city report their state of health via a special application, and from this a picture emerges for the city as a whole.
Every spring, problems begin for hay fever (a reaction to the pollen of flowering trees) townspeople. In the modern world, a huge number of people suffer from spring allergies, and therefore many need to monitor pollen and predict its behavior. Based on user data, the Pollen. Corks project works according to the Yandex. Corks principle: allergy sufferers in different parts of the city report their state of health through a special application, and from this a picture emerges for the city as a whole.
In the central part of Russia, the season of spring allergy begins, and the first patients appeared in Moscow clinics who faced its manifestations after a trip to the country. During the spring exacerbation of hay fever, the most aggressive allergen is birch pollen (alder, hazel, birch). Moreover, sometimes the amount of pollen itself is not as important as its "quality", and therefore even small concentrations of pollen in the atmosphere at the beginning of spring are perceived by allergy sufferers more acutely than mass dusting, which will begin later.
Pollen monitoring helps to obtain information about how the pollen concentration changes, which plants are blooming and which have already faded. The founders of pollen monitoring in Russia, which was launched in 1992, were employees of the Department of Higher Plants, Faculty of Biology, Moscow State University. Thanks to their daily work, allergy sufferers get an up-to-date picture of the risks, and doctors (many years ago) were able to identify causal allergens in our country and provide assistance to patients.
The entire process of identifying and counting pollen concentration is done manually. Volumetric traps are installed on the roof of the laboratory complex that collect pollen particles of various plants from the air. Inside the device is a moving sticky tape that "records" the pollen by the hour. Then the collected samples are stained with a special substance that releases organic material against the background of the rest of the dust, examined under a microscope and the number of pollen grains is counted.
Unfortunately, in Russia today there is practically no developed network of pollen monitoring stations that would monitor the distribution of pollen. Last year, only two stations operated on the territory of the country (in Moscow and Ryazan). Counting requires many hours of labor-intensive work and expensive equipment. The measurement coverage radius is only 10-40 km. In addition, it is technically impossible to track pollen concentration in real time, and we can talk either about yesterday or about forecast indicators.
Rescue of drowning people is the work of hands …
The solution was offered by the creators of a specialized online service for people with various forms of allergy "Pollen Club". According to the leading analyst of the service Andrey Mirgorodsky, in the application “Pollen. Traffic jams ", working on the principle of" Yandex. Traffic jams ", priority is given to data received from individuals. Each individual user reports his condition, and from this emerges a picture for the city as a whole. In addition, a dust forecast is used based on historical data, current meteorological data and observations of kidney swelling.
According to the authors of the application, the best effect is achieved by combining two types of information: data from biologists and data from users, which help maintain an up-to-date risk map. And the main features of this approach are the relevance of information (updating in real time) and the linking of the risk map to the main allergen.
In European countries, such applications also exist and are actively supported by states. The domestic project was also recognized: the jury of the Second All-Russian Competition "Open Data of the Russian Federation" awarded the Pollen Club project the first place as the best application using open data.
How it works
The procedure for collecting information is simple - you need to launch the mobile application and touch the icon corresponding to the person's well-being at the moment. Based on more than 20-year statistics of observations of plant flowering in the Moscow region, a scale was prepared with the help of which everyone can assess the level of activity of a particular allergen, as well as the degree of individual risk. The scores are presented in the form of a risk map, which is updated in real time in the mobile application. On the website, the broadcast of the well-being of allergy sufferers is located in the "Traffic" section. Thus, any user of the application can track the level of pollen in the air, and assess their health, as well as compare it with the condition of other allergy sufferers.
The data is distributed throughout the country, the daily number of marks in 2016 ranged from 500 to 1000, on some days - more than 1500. The map is built strictly according to the types of allergens. A birch allergy sufferer sees the Pollen. Corks card only according to the state of health of the same allergy sufferers. The health card allows the allergy sufferer to decide whether to go outside at this time, and the doctor - to adjust the treatment.
At the same time, according to Mirgorodsky, it is important to assess the current situation and risks for allergy sufferers not only in relation to time, but also to geo-location. For example, the Black Sea coast poses a danger for allergy sufferers already in February, and when going skiing in Sochi, you need to remember about the possibility of being exposed to local allergens. Another example: a person is in Moscow and, like most allergy sufferers in the capital by mid-May, feels relatively good. But he needs to assess the danger of going to St. Petersburg. This can be done by looking at the map "Pollen. Traffic" for Moscow and St. Petersburg, where there are already quite a few marks of the health status of other allergy sufferers, and compare them with each other.
Pollen Club does not collect data on the well-being of Ivanov's or Petrov's users, the service works with general impersonal information and reports the level of well-being of the entire social group. But at the same time, every time the user enters the application, there is an opportunity to mark his health. The pollen level curve is painted in a color corresponding to the state of health that was recorded by the user. Thus, it becomes possible to track the dynamics of your health in connection with the state of the environment. And the most important thing is to determine which levels are thresholds for you. The new version of the mobile application also adds the ability to enter symptoms.
Experts predict that this spring, birch, which will bloom in late April - early May, will cause the most problems for Russian allergy sufferers. According to Mirgorodsky, in the past season, alder and hazel have brought an unusual amount of trouble to allergy sufferers, and the intensity of birch dusting was relatively low, but now the birch can "recoup". Birch pollen is a set of more than 40 protein structures, and the body's hypersensitivity to birch is determined by the Bet v1 protein. The pollen released from the anthers can retain its properties for several days.
The expert recalled that unlike insect-pollinated lush apple or lilac trees, wind-pollinated plants produce huge amounts of pollen and bloom before the leaves appear. And their pollen can travel hundreds and even thousands of kilometers, and therefore allergy sufferers may not even guess about the true causes of their troubles.
Pollinosis is not limited to spring, says a member of the European Respiratory Society, professor of the Department of Faculty Therapy No. 1 of the First Moscow State Medical University named after THEM. Sechenova Natalia Chichkova. All allergy sufferers usually know the flowering schedule of "their" plants. The middle zone of the European part of Russia is characterized by three seasonal periods of plant flowering. From mid-April to the end of May, mainly tree pollen flies - birch, hazel, alder, oak, willow, maple. In June-July, the next stage begins when cereal grasses bloom. These are timothy, fescue, all spikelets. By August, weeds begin to bloom (quinoa, wormwood, plantain), then sunflower also ripens. However, depending on the weather, the flowering time of plants can deviate from the calendar by 7-14 days.
Oddly enough, townspeople suffer from hay fever more often than people living in nature. According to Chichkova, among patients with pollen allergies, the share of rural residents is only 25%, the remaining 75% live in the city. "Cleansing the respiratory tract from foreign particles and microorganisms occurs due to their settling on the mucous membranes and their subsequent excretion along with mucus," explains the allergist. - However, in large cities, the human respiratory tract is exposed to powerful effects of chemicals that damage the mucous membrane and lead to a gradual depletion of defense mechanisms. As a result, pollen allergens easily penetrate the human respiratory tract. On the other hand, chemical agents also affect the pollen shell, destroying it and making it more aggressive."