Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

15 new conservation concerns

 

The Earth flag is not an official flag, since ...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 12 December 2011 Eureka News Alert

A review carried out by a group of international specialists has identified several emerging issues that are likely to damage biodiversity in the coming years.

The review was conducted by 22 specialists from 20 institutions, including the University of Cambridge and the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, and aims to provide a ‘critical list’ of issues that need investigating in the near future.

The analysis focused on changes in climate, technology and human behaviour, with particular attention on the way developments in these areas could impact on the conservation of biodiversity. The authors hope that by identifying these issues, which are often at the very edge of our current understanding, researchers and policy-makers can be given early warning of what tomorrow’s problems are likely to be – allowing them to take appropriate preventative action now.

A total of 15 issues have been highlighted by the review, each focusing on a specific development. One of the issues is the potentially damaging impact of pharmaceuticals that are released into the environment after human use. As populations age and our use of drugs increases, these chemicals are beginning to affect fish, birds and other organisms, but the larger scale impact on our ecosystems is mostly unknown. Another area identified by the study highlights the increasing use of nuclear batteries and the safe disposal of their waste. These novel power sources could provide electricity to remote and deprived communities but the implications for the environment are yet to be determined….

….

This review has highlighted a number of issues that are likely to be of great importance throughout the 21st century. From the warming of the deep sea to placing hydro-electric turbines in rivers, it is clear that our potential to damage the natural environment will continue to be a crucial area in which we should conduct research. By identifying these issues at an early stage we hope to gain an understanding that can drive changes in policy and behaviour, ultimately helping to preserve biodiversity and increase the adoption of sustainable ways of living.”

 

December 12, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Reducing Climate Change Is Good For Your Health

From the 15 June 2011 Medical News Today article

Greener investments in transport, housing and household energy policies can help prevent significant cardiovascular and chronic respiratory disease, obesity-related conditions and cancers.

These are among the findings of a new global World Health Organization series that looks systematically, for the first time ever, at the health ‘co-benefits’ of investments in climate change mitigation reviewed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Overall, sustainable development policies in housing, transport, and household energy may benefit health right away – even if the broader climate gains are realized over years or decades.

The new WHO series, Health in the Green Economy, finds that the health sector needs to become stronger advocates for those green economic investments that prevent disease at the outset.

June 15, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , | Leave a comment

The Future Of Our Planet Linked To The Health Of Its People

Se below

Image via Wikipedia

From the 14 June 2011 Medical News Today article

A major new research project will examine how policies deProfessor Clive Sabel, from the University of Exeter’s Geography department and European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) and leader of the project, said: “If we don’t start reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cities, the planet will get hotter and hotter, but every policy to tackle those emissions has a potentially profound effect on human health.

“That could be positive or negative, so in order to make that assessment we have to look at all the evidence and relate that to the on-the-ground technical, social, economic, political and cultural realities. This research aims to integrate data from a large variety of sources to inform key policy decisions to ensure city life is a healthy, positive experience that is sustainable for the future of our planet.”

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), part of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, will also be taking part in the research. Professor Lora Fleming, Director of the centre, said: “One of the unique strengths of this study is the cross cultural comparisons of approaches across many nations, both developing and developed. Climate change is a global environment and human health issue which must be addressed on both local and international levels. This study will help provide some of these future approaches.”

The research will look ahead to 2030 and 2080 to see what the impact would be if various carbon reduction policies would be, particularly in context of a warming climate where issues such as heat stress and water availability will become more prevalent.
signed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could impact human health.

Led by the University of Exeter the three year 3.5 million Euros programme of research will involve experts from 17 institutions across eight countries. …

…Professor Clive Sabel, from the University of Exeter’s Geography department and European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) and leader of the project, said: “If we don’t start reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cities, the planet will get hotter and hotter, but every policy to tackle those emissions has a potentially profound effect on human health.

“That could be positive or negative, so in order to make that assessment we have to look at all the evidence and relate that to the on-the-ground technical, social, economic, political and cultural realities. This research aims to integrate data from a large variety of sources to inform key policy decisions to ensure city life is a healthy, positive experience that is sustainable for the future of our planet.”

The European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), part of the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, will also be taking part in the research. Professor Lora Fleming, Director of the centre, said: “One of the unique strengths of this study is the cross cultural comparisons of approaches across many nations, both developing and developed. Climate change is a global environment and human health issue which must be addressed on both local and international levels. This study will help provide some of these future approaches.”

The research will look ahead to 2030 and 2080 to see what the impact would be if various carbon reduction policies would be, particularly in context of a warming climate where issues such as heat stress and water availability will become more prevalent.

June 14, 2011 Posted by | environmental health | , , , | Leave a comment

Cities and Climate Change: Global Report on Human Settlements [pdf]

The UN Global Report on Human Settlements  is geared to planners and others interested in exploring on how cities worldwide will be affected by climate change in the near and far future.
The 62 page document shows linkages between urbanization and climate change, arguing that  “local action is indispensable for the realization of national climate change commitments agreed through international negotiations.”
“[The report]  illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change while at the same time highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations.
It reviews policy responses, strategies and practices that are emerging in urban areas to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as their potential achievements and constraints.
In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas have a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.

April 23, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Psychology, Coping And Creating Solutions

Mean surface temperature change for the period...

Image via Wikipedia

From the 19 April 2011 Medical News Today article

Psychologists are offering new insight and solutions to help counter climate change, while helping people cope with the environmental, economic and health impacts already taking a toll on people’s lives, according to a special issue of American Psychologist, the American Psychological Association’s flagship journal.

[The May-June issue is not yet online, as of 19 April 2011, the articles are by paid subscription only.
For information on how to get medical/scientific articles for free or at low cost, click here]

Climate change “poses significant risks for and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems,” according to the May-June issue’s introductory article, “Psychology’s Contributions to Understanding and Addressing Global Climate Change.” The authors call upon psychologists to increase research and work closely with industry, government and education to address climate change.

The role psychologists can play may be different from what many people expect. “Psychological contributions to limiting climate change will come not from trying to change people’s attitudes, but by helping to make low-carbon technologies more attractive and user-friendly, economic incentives more transparent and easier to use, and information more actionable and relevant to the people who need it,” wrote Paul C. Stern, PhD, of the National Research Council.

In the United States, “motor vehicle use and space heating are the most significant causes of climate change and therefore the most important targets for emissions reduction,” according to Stern’s article, “Contributions of Psychology to Limiting Climate Change.”….

…The issue updates and builds upon the findings and recommendations of APA’s 2009 Task Force report, Psychology and Global Climate Change: Addressing a Multi-faceted Phenomenon and Set of Challenges

.

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change Threatens Global Security, Warn Medical And Military Leaders

Percentage of advancing glaciers in the Alps i...

Image via Wikipedia

Climate Change Threatens Global Security, Warn Medical And Military Leaders

From the April 5 2011 Medical News Today item

Medical and military leaders have come together today to warn that climate change not only spells a global health catastrophe, but also threatens global stability and security.

“Climate change poses an immediate and grave threat, driving ill-health and increasing the risk of conflict, such that each feeds upon the other,” they write in an editorial published on bmj.com today [full text]. Their views come ahead of an open meeting on these issues to be held at the British Medical Association on 20 June 2011….

 

 

April 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

Climate Change and Human Health – A New US Govt Web Site

Many government, education, and nonprofit agencies and organizations are studying and reporting on the effect of climate change on human health.  These proposed effects include  sea-level rise, heat waves,  and poor air quality  which may affect human health both directly and indirectly.

Climate Change and Human Health presents an organized set of resources both for professionals and the general public.
It is one of many Specialized Information Services sponsored by the (US) National Library of Medicine and the (US) National Institutes of Health.

Headings include: 

Overview – 10 links including Climate Change and Human Health(National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) 

Specific Impacts in 6 areas (Agriculture, Extreme Weather ,General Health, Infectious Disease, Population Displacement and Water Quality and Scarcity)

A sampling:

The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States 
United States Global Change Research Program

Climate Change Futures: Health, Ecological and Economic Dimensions (PDF, 5.5 MB) 
The Center for Health and the Global Environment, Harvard Medical School

Vector Borne Diseases 
Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean

Water Resources 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Law, Policy and Regulation

Resources from the National Library of Medicine
Links to professional literature and consumer information Web sites

 

May 8, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: