Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research

Cedric Burden

Project: Exploring the Mediating Role of Air Quality in the Association Between Asthma and Educational Outcomes

PhD overview

PhD Title: Exploring the Mediating Role of Air Quality in the Association Between Asthma and Educational Outcomes

Funded by: Health Data Research UK (HDR-UK)

Supervisors: Professor G Davies, Professor R Fry, Doctor M Al Sallakh, Professor J Quint. ​​​​​

Based at: Swansea University


Cedric Burden
Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research PhD student, Cedric Burden

Understanding the underlying drivers of asthma outcomes is crucial to the development of future interventions to prevent asthma attacks in vulnerable populations. There is a substantial body of literature investigating the association of air quality with asthma.  There is also an understanding that asthma leads to worse school attendance and questions have been raised about the reduced attainment of school children with asthma.  However, it is unclear whether the association of asthma and school attendance is mediated by air quality, which might act as a driver for health and educational inequalities. I aim to investigate whether the association between asthma and educational outcomes might be mediated in part by exposure to air pollution.

The relevance of the project to the perspective of patients is being addressed with the PPI groups of HDR UK and the SAIL Databank.  The planned scoping review of literature will establish what is known about air quality as a potential mediator of worse attendance for children, from deprived areas, with asthma.   Several datasets will be interrogated in the SAIL Databank: Education Wales, the Education Daily Attendance Dataset, the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation, the Primary Care dataset, and the household-level air quality dataset.  Multilevel models will be applied to account for spatial dependencies in the data. Using air quality as the main exposure, mediation analysis will be used to explore the relationship between asthma and educational outcomes, and outdoor environmental exposures such as airborne pollutants and allergens.

About me

I studied physics as an undergraduate and then spent many happy years as a teacher in secondary schools. I enjoy learning, solving problems and making the lives of people better.