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September 13, 2019

Climate Change and Health: JAMA Network Open Call for Papers

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 2Editor, JAMA Network Open
  • 3Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • 4Deputy Editor, JAMA Network Open
JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(9):e1912502. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12502

The scientific community widely agrees that climate change is occurring due to the increase in greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.1 These changes are likely to have profound implications in a range of human experiences worldwide.2 As a global open access health journal, JAMA Network Open is issuing a call for papers on the health outcomes and risks associated with climate change.

Our interest in this topic is broad and includes the direct health outcomes associated with climate change as well as the indirect outcomes mediated by climate change that affect other organisms, the food supply, and the degradation of the natural environment. Since the initiation of JAMA Network Open, the journal has published a variety of studies on health and the environment. We are interested in reports of original research on the associations of heat with the health of humans3 and their potential adaptations to global warming.4 Air pollution is a critically important topic because it is associated with increases in the risk of cardiovascular disease,5,6 impaired lung function,7 allergies and asthma, altered thyroid function,8 food insecurity and malnutrition, and forced migration. The increasing incidence of wildfires further lessens air quality and has immediate and long-term effects on humans and other organisms. We are also interested in studies on changes in the incidence of infectious diseases, including vector-borne and food-borne illnesses,9,10 occurring as a result of changes in a region’s temperature, biome, and capacity to combat these illnesses.

Climate change may also be associated with risks to mental health, including increased stress, anxiety, and depression. As extreme weather occurs with greater frequency, threats to health are associated with the traumas of natural disasters, which bring loss of life and the destruction of community infrastructure.11,12 These studies are thus critically important to fully understand the magnitude and breadth of the health consequences of environmental changes. Climate change may also impact a community’s ability to support and develop health-promoting resources, such as green space, which has been shown to be associated with improvements in mental health.13,14

JAMA Network Open is particularly interested in examining how climate change affects people most susceptible to environmental degradation: people at the extremes of age, those with chronic illness, those performing physical work in the heat, and those living with homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, and discrimination. Public health and medical care systems will have to adapt to these changes, and studies of innovative strategies to ameliorate these changes and protect individuals and populations are needed.

We are interested in articles that examine these topics with various study designs. These include experimental studies and observational studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, and studies using computer modeling and simulation. Note that JAMA Network Open does not publish narrative review articles, case reports, or unsolicited opinion articles.

All favorable research manuscripts undergo peer review, including statistical review. All articles accepted for publication will be eligible to have accompanying Invited Commentaries published by experts in the field and will be published quickly. In addition, all articles will be featured in an online collection dedicated to the topic of environmental health on the JAMA Network Open and JAMA Network journals’ websites. All JAMA Network Open articles are indexed in MEDLINE and other databases and are included in Apple News. The journal has broad reach through press releases and coverage by major news media and social media. Please see the journal’s Instructions for Authors15 for additional information on manuscript preparation and submission. Manuscripts should be submitted by March 1, 2020.

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Article Information

Published: September 13, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.12502

Open Access: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the CC-BY License. © 2019 Rivara FP et al. JAMA Network Open.

Corresponding Author: Frederick P. Rivara, MD, MPH, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, 325 Ninth Ave, PO Box 359960, Seattle, WA 98104 (fred.rivara@jamanetwork.org).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Coutts  C, Hahn  M.  Green infrastructure, ecosystem services, and human health.  Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;12(8):9768-9798. doi:10.3390/ijerph120809768PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Reidmiller  DR, Avery  CW, Easterling  DR,  et al, eds.  Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: Fourth National Climate Assessment. Vol 2. Washington, DC: US Global Change Research Program; 2018.
Remigio  RV, Jiang  C, Raimann  J,  et al.  Association of extreme heat events with hospital admission or mortality among patients with end-stage renal disease.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(8):e198904. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8904PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Zhao  Q, Li  S, Coelho  MSZS,  et al.  Assessment of intraseasonal variation in hospitalization associated with heat exposure in Brazil.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(2):e187901. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7901PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Yang  BY, Guo  Y, Markevych  I,  et al.  Association of long-term exposure to ambient air pollutants with risk factors for cardiovascular disease in China.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(3):e190318. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0318PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Wang  M, Hou  ZH, Xu  H,  et al.  Association of estimated long-term exposure to air pollution and traffic proximity with a marker for coronary atherosclerosis in a nationwide study in China.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(6):e196553. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.6553PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Zhang  C, Guo  Y, Xiao  X,  et al.  Association of breastfeeding and air pollution exposure with lung function in Chinese children.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e194186. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.4186PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Howe  CG, Eckel  SP, Habre  R,  et al.  Association of prenatal exposure to ambient and traffic-related air pollution with newborn thyroid function: findings from the Children’s Health Study.  JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(5):e182172. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.2172PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
DeFelice  NB, Birger  R, DeFelice  N,  et al.  Modeling and surveillance of reporting delays of mosquitoes and humans infected with West Nile virus and associations with accuracy of West Nile virus forecasts.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(4):e193175. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3175PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Dombrowski  JG, Souza  RM, Lima  FA,  et al.  Association of malaria infection during pregnancy with head circumference of newborns in the Brazilian Amazon.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(5):e193300. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.3300PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Orengo-Aguayo  R, Stewart  RW, de Arellano  MA, Suárez-Kindy  JL, Young  J.  Disaster exposure and mental health among Puerto Rican youths after Hurricane Maria.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(4):e192619. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.2619PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Thompson  RR, Holman  EA, Silver  RC.  Media coverage, forecasted posttraumatic stress symptoms, and psychological responses before and after an approaching hurricane.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e186228. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.6228PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
Astell-Burt  T, Feng  X.  Association of urban green space with mental health and general health among adults in Australia.  JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(7):e198209. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.8209PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
South  EC, Hohl  BC, Kondo  MC, MacDonald  JM, Branas  CC.  Effect of greening vacant land on mental health of community-dwelling adults: a cluster randomized trial.  JAMA Netw Open. 2018;1(3):e180298. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0298PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
JAMA Network Open. Instructions for Authors. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/pages/instructions-for-authors. Accessed August 5, 2019.
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    2 Comments for this article
    Requesting papers on one side only would seem to be inviting confirmation bias
    Stephen Pruett, Ph.D. | College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University
    The call for papers on climate change and adverse health effects only (excluding positive health effects) is puzzling coming from a scientific journal. A number of positive health effects of global climate change are evident already or can reasonably be anticipated (e.g., "greening" of substantial regions of the globe due to the positive effects of carbon dioxide on plant growth, decreased death related to cold temperatures in regions in which deaths related to cold temperatures are common, and decreased cold-related deaths due to the phenomenon of "energy poverty" which has been documented in the U.K. and results from increased energy prices caused by attempts to rapidly increase use of renewables). It is conceivable that the only way to avert massive starvation as the human population increases is the increased crop productivity caused by additional carbon dioxide. Seeking ever more dramatic adverse outcome scenarios has yielded some truly awful science. My favorite example is PNAS August 10, 2010 107 (32) 14257-14262. Please read this and ask yourself if this was a biomedical/epidemiological paper, would it have passed typical peer review? It involves plugging output data from an unvalidated model into a second unvalidated model and then using the output from that model in a third unvalidated model to reach conclusions with no effort whatsoever to account for confounders. This is the type of science that has been generated by a tacit or active acceptance of confirmation bias in favor of a preferred narrative. So, now JAMA has decided to plead for more work of this type.
    Climate and health
    Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH | University of Washington
    I'd like to thank Dr. Pruett for his comment. I am sorry that he misinterpreted our call for papers. As the title states, we are interested in all papers on climate change and health, whether the effects on health be positive or negative.
    CONFLICT OF INTEREST: Editor in Chief, JAMA Network Open