Predicting asthma attacks: Effects of indoor PM concentrations on peak expiratory flow rates of asthmatic children

Dohyeong Kim, Sunghwan Cho, Lakshman Tamil, Dae Jin Song, Sungchul Seo

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    17 Citations (Scopus)


    Despite ample research on the association between indoor air pollution and allergic disease prevalence, public health and environmental policies still lack predictive evidence for developing a preventive guideline for patients or vulnerable populations mostly due to limitation of real-time big data and model predictability. Recent popularity of IoT and machine learning techniques could provide enabling technologies for collecting real-time big data and analyzing them for more accurate prediction of allergic disease risks for evidence-based intervention, but the effort is still in its infancy. This pilot study explored and evaluated the feasibility of a deep learning algorithm for predicting asthma risk. It is based on peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) of 14 pediatric asthma patients visiting the Korea University Medical Center and indoor particulate matter PM10 and PM2.5 concentration data collected at their residence every 10 minutes using a PM monitoring device with a low-cost sensor between September 1, 2017 and August 31, 2018. We interpolated the PEFR results collected twice a day for each patient throughout the day so that it can be matched to the PM and other weather data. The PEFR results were classified into three categories such as 'Green' (normal), 'Yellow' (mild to moderate exacerbation) and 'Red' (severe exacerbation) with reference to their best peak flow value. Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) model was trained using the first 10 months of the linked data and predicted asthma risk categories for the next 2 months during the study period. LSTM model is found to predict the asthma risk categories better than multinomial logistic (MNL) regression as it incorporates the cumulative effects of PM concentrations over time. Upon successful modifications of the algorithm based on a larger sample, this approach could potentially play a groundbreaking role for the scientific data-driven medical decision making.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8936445
    Pages (from-to)8791-8797
    Number of pages7
    JournalIEEE Access
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


    • Asthma
    • deep learning
    • indoor particulate matter
    • peak expiratory flow rates
    • real-time monitoring

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Computer Science(all)
    • Materials Science(all)
    • Engineering(all)


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