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County-Level Socio-Environmental Factors Associated With Stroke Mortality in the United States: A Cross-Sectional Study.

Angiology 2024 April 4
We used machine learning methods to explore sociodemographic and environmental determinants of health (SEDH) associated with county-level stroke mortality in the USA. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of individuals aged ≥15 years who died from all stroke subtypes between 2016 and 2020. We analyzed 54 county-level SEDH possibly associated with age-adjusted stroke mortality rates/100,000 people. Classification and Regression Tree (CART) was used to identify specific county-level clusters associated with stroke mortality. Variable importance was assessed using Random Forest analysis. A total of 501,391 decedents from 2397 counties were included. CART identified 10 clusters, with 77.5% relative increase in stroke mortality rates across the spectrum (28.5 vs 50.7 per 100,000 persons). CART identified 8 SEDH to guide the classification of the county clusters. Including, annual Median Household Income ($), live births with Low Birthweight (%) , current adult Smokers (%), adults reporting Severe Housing Problems (%), adequate Access to Exercise (%) , adults reporting Physical Inactivity (%), adults with diagnosed Diabetes (%), and adults reporting Excessive Drinking (%) . In conclusion, SEDH exposures have a complex relationship with stroke. Machine learning approaches can help deconstruct this relationship and demonstrate associations that allow improved understanding of the socio-environmental drivers of stroke and development of targeted interventions.

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