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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport eTheses
Title: Spatial-temporal analysis of endocrine disruptor pollution, neighbourhood stress, maternal age and related factors as potential determinants of birth sex ratio in Scotland
Author(s): McDonald, Ewan W.
Supervisor(s): Watterson, Andrew
Tyler, Andrew
Keywords: reproductive health
environmental heath
multiple deprivation
secondary sex ratio
endocrine disruptors
maternal heath
mens health
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Background: The human secondary sex ratio has been the subject of long-standing medical, environmental and social scientific curiosity and research. A decline in male birth proportion in some industrialised countries is linked to endocrine disruption and is validated by some empirical studies. Increasing parental age and population stress and associated decreases in sex ratio have also been demonstrated. A thorough literature review of 123 relevant and diverse studies provides context for these assessments. Methods: A spatial-temporal investigation of birth sex ratio in Scotland and potential determinants of endocrine disruptor pollution, socio-economic factors including neighbourhood stress, deprivation, smoking, and maternal age, was conducted. This involved review of national and regional sex ratio time trends, and stratified/spatial analysis of such factors, including the use of GIS tools. Secondary data were sourced from Scottish Government web portals including Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency. Results: Regional differences in sex ratio between 1973 and 2010 are observed which likely lever the national male birth proportion downwards, with the region of poorest air quality from industrial emissions, the Forth Valley, displaying the greatest sex ratio reduction. Further analysis shows significant upwards skewing in sex ratio for the population cohort experiencing the least and 2nd most deprivation. Localised reductions in sex ratio for areas of high modelled endocrine disruptor pollution within the Central Region in Scotland are also displayed. Discussion: Limitations of the analyses include the danger of ecological fallacy in interpreting from area-based measurement and the simplified pollution modelling adopted. Despite this, and given elevated incidence of testicular cancer in Scottish regions mirrors the study’s results, tentative confirmation of the endocrine disruptor hypothesis can be substantiated. Further, elucidation on advanced parental age as a contributory factor to secondary sex ratio change is also given. Recommendations are made with respect to environmental monitoring and health protection, and preventative health strategies in Scotland.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

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