Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
Life Support: The Environment and Human Health,
a new book edited by Michael McCally, gathers scientific information on the
effects of the global environmental crisis on human health. A sequel to the
1993 Critical Condition, now out of print, Life Support presents the evidence that humans, through
our own actions, now threaten the global environment that we all need to survive.
Each chapter begins with brief background on an issue, including historical
perspectives, if relevant. Most important, each chapter ends with a thoughtful
prescription to address the problem. The chapter by Paul Epstein and colleagues
on global climate change is particularly useful. Factors in global climate
change include increased greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere,
more frequent extremes of weather, and accelerated melting of polar and Greenland
ice resulting in rising seas. The resulting threats to health include heat
and cold-related illness and death, altered geographic range of vector-borne
diseases such as West Nile virus and malaria, and increases in asthma, malnutrition,
and infectious diseases. The chapter on world population presents a balanced
discussion of the projections for population stabilization over the next century.
Cone JE. Environmental HealthEnvironmental Health. JAMA. 2003;290(5):674. doi:10.1001/jama.290.5.674-a