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Yesterday
There appears to be a high rate of emergency department (ED) admission for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD), with patients having significant in-hospital mortality, according to data from the *AANZDEM study. Furthermore, compliance with evidence-based treatments in the ED is suboptimal.
Tristan Manalac, 5 days ago
Of the newly identified genetic loci for primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG), two are significantly associated with primary angle-closure suspect (PACS), indicating involvement in the earlier stages of the disease, a recent Singapore study has shown.
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Pearl Toh, 2 days ago
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who had primary nonresponse to an anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agent ─ or inadequate response to the initial loading doses ─ were less likely to respond to second-line biologics compared with those who had secondary loss of response (LOR) or intolerance to the primary therapy, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis presented at the Crohn's & Colitis Congress (CCC) 2018 held recently in Las Vegas, Nevada, US.

Climate change negatively affects health

Dr Joslyn Ngu
12 Sep 2017

Doctors need to understand the relationship between climate change and health in order to better communicate the risks with patients and influence public policy, says a respiratory physician.

Climate change affects the environmental and social determinants of health, and causes heat-related, respiratory and mental health disorders; infectious diseases; and malnutrition secondary to food insecurity, said Dr Hooi Lai Ngoh, who was speaking at the Malaysian Thoracic Society Annual Congress 2017.

Heat waves bring with them an elevated risk of heat stroke, especially for the elderly, obese and those with medical illnesses, she said. Patients with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) bears a disproportionate disease burden from climate change related to increased heat, temperature variability, extreme weather events, worsening air pollution and other environmental exposures caused by climate change such as increased aeroallergens.

Forest fires, dust storms, and increased production of pollens and spores—which are results of climate change—contribute to air pollution. For instance, burning fires release a range of pollutants such as particulate matter and carcinogens, said Hooi. Studies have shown that exposure to particulate matters can increase the risk of lung cancer incidence and mortality.

Elevated temperature and rain precipitation variability are also likely to be the culprit for malnutrition as food production is adversely affected in regions with lower socioeconomic classes, she explained.

Over the last 130 years, the world’s temperature has increased by around 0.85˚C; glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. Rising sea levels and increasingly extreme weather events have destroyed homes, medical facilities and other essential services.

The temperature of the world has been significantly increasing because of increased greenhouse gas emission, said Hooi. The main sources of greenhouse gases are human activities, such as combustion of fossil fuels, overuse of nitrate fertilizers and accumulation of chlorofluorocarbons from use in solvents.

Efforts must be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change before the impact on health worsens. The areas that need to be addressed are those that contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, namely energy production, house heating, transportation, agriculture and foodproduction, and waste management, explained Hooi.

On a more personal level, there are numerous methods that members of the medical community can adopt to help battle climate change. First, reduce the frequency of long distance air travel and opt for electronic communication methods such as video-conferences instead. Second, reduce the frequency of large, annual scientific meetings to once every 2 years. Smaller local meetings that do not require long distance air travel can be held in the alternate years, she suggested.

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Most Read Articles
Yesterday
There appears to be a high rate of emergency department (ED) admission for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD), with patients having significant in-hospital mortality, according to data from the *AANZDEM study. Furthermore, compliance with evidence-based treatments in the ED is suboptimal.
Tristan Manalac, 5 days ago
Of the newly identified genetic loci for primary angle-closure glaucoma (PACG), two are significantly associated with primary angle-closure suspect (PACS), indicating involvement in the earlier stages of the disease, a recent Singapore study has shown.
3 days ago
Resistance training appears to confer significant benefits for inflammation and insulin pathway profiles in postmenopausal breast cancer survivors, according to a study. However, the magnitude and degree of benefit from exercise may be influenced by whether or not women gained strength and/or lost weight during exercise.
Pearl Toh, 2 days ago
Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) who had primary nonresponse to an anti-tumour necrosis factor (TNF) agent ─ or inadequate response to the initial loading doses ─ were less likely to respond to second-line biologics compared with those who had secondary loss of response (LOR) or intolerance to the primary therapy, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis presented at the Crohn's & Colitis Congress (CCC) 2018 held recently in Las Vegas, Nevada, US.