Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lung doctors expect respiratory diseases will worsen with global climate change

15.03.2012
Worldwide increases in the incidences of asthma, allergies, infectious and cardiovascular diseases will result from a variety of impacts of global climate change, including rising temperatures, worsening ozone levels in urban areas, the spread of desertification, and expansions of the ranges of communicable diseases as the planet heats up, the professional organization representing respiratory and airway physicians stated in a new position paper released today.

The paper is published online and in print in the Proceedings of the American Thoracic Society. The society is the professional organization for pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons and respiratory therapists, among others.

It issued the position paper to help its members know how to respond to these changes with their patients and within their communities, and to add their voices to calls for international cooperation to respond to the existing and anticipated negative health effects of global warming.

While based in the United States the 15,000-member society has members from around the globe. The position paper was written by a 10-member committee that included representatives from Europe, Asia, India, the Middle East and Africa.

"In these proceedings, we address such questions as how climate change may impact the distribution of respiratory disease worldwide, the impact of heat stress and adaptation, and how extreme heat affects the individual and the community," said Kent Pinkerton, professor of pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine and director of the UC Davis Center for Health and the Environment.

"Since my research focuses on environmental air pollution and its impact on the respiratory system, my biggest concern has been with issues of air quality," said Pinkerton, who is co-author of the paper and the organizer of the workshop upon which the paper is based. "These include more smoke and particulate matter from more wildfires, which are known to increase in frequency as the climate warms, and the presence of airborne particles from dust storms caused by desertification."

The position paper outlines a complex web of interrelated respiratory health effects from global climate change. For example, mold spores that previously only were seen in Central America have been found as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia, promoting increases in allergy and asthma, with climate-change conditions implicated. Infectious diseases common in the Mediterranean region now are being seen as far north as Scandinavia, as that area grows warmer.

"There are certain vector-borne diseases caused by certain types of parasites or organisms whose range has expanded and that has been associated with increases in temperature," Pinkerton said.

Pinkerton said that some of the prospective respiratory health impacts from global climate change will be direct, such as more asthma due to increases in particulate matter in the atmosphere because of desertification, or increases in pollen because of more and extended plant blooms. But some will be indirect, he said.

For example, greater concentrations of displaced populations following extreme weather events -- such as hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian or Japanese tsunamis -- could lead to increases in outbreaks of infectious diseases. The health impacts will, of course, be more serious for sensitive populations, he noted.

"There are individuals who will be much more susceptible to the effects of global climate change than will the members of the general population," Pinkerton said. "In particular, we know that infants and young children, people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and those who are elderly or who have compromised immune systems will have more difficulties when air quality is poorer."

The position paper also categorizes the main issues that workshop participants deemed of key importance to respiratory health. The society placed heat-related disease resulting from increased frequency and severity of heat waves as the most serious and direct health risk of climate change. Higher surface temperatures, especially in developed urban areas, will promote the formation of greater amounts of ground-level ozone, exposure to which has been linked to exacerbations of asthma, lung cancer and acute lower-respiratory infections.

Public health measures should be developed to support vulnerable populations during specific climate-change related events, such as heat waves or severe air pollution episodes and other extreme weather events (e.g., extreme rainfall and floods) or rising sea levels and storm surges that challenge or threaten community infrastructure, Pinkerton said.

"Our greatest concern is infants, children, the elderly and other sensitive populations," he said. "They will be the first to experience serious climate change-related health problems."

The position paper was co-authored by William Rom, professor of medicine and environmental medicine at the New York University School of Medicine.

The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at medschool.ucdavis.edu

Phyllis Brown | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>