[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the "Content") contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct contact with biodiversity is culturally important in a range of contexts. Many people even join conservation organisations to protect biodiversity that they will never encounter first-hand. Despite this, we have little idea how biodiversity affects people's well-being and health through these cultural pathways. Human health is sensitive to apparently trivial psychological stimuli, negatively affected by the risk of environmental degradation, and positively affected by contact with natural spaces. This suggests that well-being and health should be affected by biodiversity change, but few studies have begun to explore these relationships. Here, we develop a framework for linking biodiversity change with human cultural values, well-being, and health. We argue that better understanding these relations might be profoundly important for biodiversity conservation and public health.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution 02/2014; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linking environmental, socioeconomic and health datasets provides new insights into the potential associations between climate change and human health and wellbeing, and underpins the development of decision support tools that will promote resilience to climate change, and thus enable more effective adaptation. This paper outlines the challenges and opportunities presented by advances in data collection, storage, analysis, and access, particularly focusing on "data mashups". These data mashups are integrations of different types and sources of data, frequently using open application programming interfaces and data sources, to produce enriched results that were not necessarily the original reason for assembling the raw source data. As an illustration of this potential, this paper describes a recently funded initiative to create such a facility in the UK for use in decision support around climate change and health, and provides examples of suitable sources of data and the purposes to which they can be directed, particularly for policy makers and public health decision makers.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 01/2014; 11(2):1725-46. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent ecosystem service models have placed biodiversity as a central factor in the processes that link the natural environment to health. While it is recognized that disturbed ecosystems might negatively affect human well-being, it is not clear whether biodiversity is related to or can promote "good" human health and well-being. The aim of this study was to systematically identify, summarize, and synthesize research that had examined whether biodiverse environments are health promoting. The objectives were twofold: (1) to map the interdisciplinary field of enquiry and (2) to assess whether current evidence enables us to characterize the relationship. Due to the heterogeneity of available evidence a narrative synthesis approach was used, which is textual rather than statistical. Extensive searches identified 17 papers that met the inclusion criteria: 15 quantitative and 2 qualitative. The evidence was varied in disciplinary origin, with authors approaching the question using different study designs and methods, and conceptualizations of biodiversity, health, and well-being. There is some evidence to suggest that biodiverse natural environments promote better health through exposure to pleasant environments or the encouragement of health-promoting behaviors. There was also evidence of inverse relationships, particularly at a larger scale (global analyses). However, overall the evidence is inconclusive and fails to identify a specific role for biodiversity in the promotion of better health. High-quality interdisciplinary research is needed to produce a more reliable evidence base. Of particular importance is identifying the specific ecosystem services, goods, and processes through which biodiversity may generate good health and well-being.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health Part B 01/2014; 17(1):1-20. · 3.90 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In its decision (2010/477/EU) relating to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC), the European Commission identified the following points as focuses for monitoring:
(i) 10.1.1: Trends in the amount, source and composition of litter washed ashore and/or deposited on coastlines,
(ii) 10.1.2: Trends in the amount and composition of litter in the water column and accumulation on the sea floor,
(iii) 10.1.3: Trends in the amount, distribution and composition of micro-particles (mainly microplastics), and
(iv) 10.2.1 Trends in the amount and composition of litter ingested by marine animals.
Monitoring the impacts of litter will be considered further in 2014. At that time, the strategy will be discussed in the context of the Mediterranean Sea, providing information on constraints, protocols, existing harm and research needed to support monitoring efforts.
The definition of targets and acceptable levels of harm must take all factors into account, whether entanglement, ingestion, the transport and release of pollutants, the transport of alien species and socio-economic impacts. It must also reflect on the practical deployment of "ingestion" measures (10.2.1). The analysis of existing data will reveal the potential and suitability of some higher trophic level organisms (fish, turtles, birds and mammals) for monitoring the adverse effects of litter. Sea turtles appear to be useful indicator species, but the definition of an ecological quality objective is still needed, as well as research on alternative potential indicator species.
Marine environmental research 01/2014; · 2.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite growing evidence of public health benefits from urban green space there has been little longitudinal analysis. This study used panel data to explore three different hypotheses about how moving to greener or less green areas may affect mental health over time. The samples were participants in the British Household Panel Survey with mental health data (General Health Questionnaire scores) for five consecutive years, and who relocated to a different residential area between the second and third years (n = 1064; observations = 5,320). Fixed-effects analyses controlled for time-invariant individual level heterogeneity and other area and individual level effects. Compared to pre-move mental health scores, individuals who moved to greener areas (n=594) had significantly better mental health in all three post-move years (P=.015; P=.016; P=.008), supporting a 'shifting baseline' hypothesis. Individuals who moved to less green areas (n=470) showed significantly worse mental health in the year preceding the move (P=.031) but returned to baseline in the post-move years. Moving to greener urban areas was associated with sustained mental health improvements, suggesting that environmental policies to increase urban green space may have sustainable public health benefits.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: In recent years there has been an exponential increase in tungsten demand, potentially increasing human exposure to the metal. Currently, the toxicology of tungsten is poorly understood, but mounting evidence suggests that both the elemental metal and its alloys have cytotoxic effects. Here, we investigate the association between tungsten and cardiovascular disease (CVD) or stroke using six waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Methods: We investigated associations using crude and adjusted logistic regression models in a cohort of 8614 adults (18– 74 years) with 193 reported stroke diagnoses and 428 reported diagnoses of CVD. We also stratified our data to characterize associations in a subset of younger individuals (18–50 years).
Results: Elevated tungsten concentrations were strongly associated with an increase in the prevalence of stroke, independent of typical risk factors (Odds Ratio (OR): 1.66, 95% Confidence Interval (95% CI): 1.17, 2.34). The association between tungsten and stroke in the young age category was still evident (OR: 2.17, 95% CI: 1.33, 3.53).
Conclusion: This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of the human health effects of tungsten to date. Individuals with higher urinary tungsten concentrations have double the odds of reported stroke. We hypothesize that the pathological pathway resulting from tungsten exposure may involve oxidative stress.
PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e77546. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: On June 2013 a workshop at the University of Siena (Italy) was organized to review current knowledge and to clarify what is known, and what remains to be investigated, concerning plastic litter in the sea. The content of the workshop was designed to contribute further to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) following an inaugural workshop in 2012. Here we report a number of statements relevant to policymakers and scientists that was overwhelming agreement from the participants. Many might view this as already providing sufficient grounds for policy action. At the very least, this early warning of the problems that lie ahead should be taken seriously, and serve as a stimulus for further research.
Marine environmental research 10/2013; · 2.34 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Scientific investigations have progressively refined our understanding of the influence of the environment on human health, and the many adverse impacts that human activities exert on the environment, from the local to the planetary level. Nonetheless, throughout the modern public health era, health has been pursued as though our lives and lifestyles are disconnected from ecosystems and their component organisms. The inadequacy of the societal and public health response to obesity, health inequities, and especially global environmental and climate change now calls for an ecological approach which addresses human activity in all its social, economic and cultural complexity. The new approach must be integral to, and interactive, with the natural environment. We see the continuing failure to truly integrate human health and environmental impact analysis as deeply damaging, and we propose a new conceptual model, the ecosystems-enriched Drivers, Pressures, State, Exposure, Effects, Actions or 'eDPSEEA' model, to address this shortcoming. The model recognizes convergence between the concept of ecosystems services which provides a human health and well-being slant to the value of ecosystems while equally emphasizing the health of the environment, and the growing calls for 'ecological public health' as a response to global environmental concerns now suffusing the discourse in public health. More revolution than evolution, ecological public health will demand new perspectives regarding the interconnections among society, the economy, the environment and our health and well-being. Success must be built on collaborations between the disparate scientific communities of the environmental sciences and public health as well as interactions with social scientists, economists and the legal profession. It will require outreach to political and other stakeholders including a currently largely disengaged general public. The need for an effective and robust science-policy interface has never been more pressing. Conceptual models can facilitate this by providing theoretical frameworks and supporting stakeholder engagement process simplifications for inherently complex situations involving environment and human health and well-being. They can be tools to think with, to engage, to communicate and to help navigate in a sea of complexity. We believe models such as eDPSEEA can help frame many of the issues which have become the challenges of the new public health era and can provide the essential platforms necessary for progress.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Horizon scanning is being increasingly regarded as an instrument to support strategic decision making. It requires the systematic examination of information to identify potential threats, emerging issues and opportunities to improve resilience and decrease risk exposure. Horizon scanning can use the Web to augment the acquisition of information, though this involves a search for novel and emerging issues without knowing them beforehand. To optimise such a search, we propose the use of relevance feedback, which involves human interaction in the retrieval process so as to improve results. As a proof-of-concept demonstration, we have carried out a horizon scanning exercise which showed that our implementation of relevance feedback was able to maintain the retrieval of relevant documents constant over the length of the experiment, without any reduction. This represents an improvement over previous studies where relevance feedback was not considered.
2013 Federated Conference on Computer Science and Information Systems (FedCSIS 2013), Krakow, Poland; 09/2013
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analysis of English census data revealed a positive association between self-reported health and living near the coast. However that analysis was based on cross-sectional data and was unable to control for potential selection effects (e.g. generally healthier, personality types moving to coastal locations). In the current study we have used English panel data to explore the relationship between the proximity to the coast and indicators of generic and mental health for the same individuals over time. This allowed us to control for both time-invariant factors such as personality and compare the strength of any relationship to that of other relationships (e.g. employment vs. unemployment). In support of cross-sectional analysis, individuals reported significantly better general health and mental health when living nearer the coast, controlling for both individual (e.g. employment status) and area (e.g. green space) level factors. No coastal effect on life satisfaction was found. Although individual level coastal proximity effects for general health and mental health were small, their cumulative impact at the community level may be meaningful for policy makers.
Health & Place 06/2013; 23C:97-103. · 2.42 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Urbanization is a potential threat to mental health and well-being. Cross-sectional evidence suggests that living closer to urban green spaces, such as parks, is associated with lower mental distress. However, earlier research was unable to control for time-invariant heterogeneity (e.g., personality) and focused on indicators of poor psychological health. The current research advances the field by using panel data from over 10,000 individuals to explore the relation between urban green space and well-being (indexed by ratings of life satisfaction) and between urban green space and mental distress (indexed by General Health Questionnaire scores) for the same people over time. Controlling for individual and regional covariates, we found that, on average, individuals have both lower mental distress and higher well-being when living in urban areas with more green space. Although effects at the individual level were small, the potential cumulative benefit at the community level highlights the importance of policies to protect and promote urban green spaces for well-being.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The oceans and coastal seas provide mankind with many benefits including food for around a third of the global population, the air that we breathe and our climate system which enables habitation of much of the planet. However, the converse is that generation of natural events (such as hurricanes, severe storms and tsunamis) can have devastating impacts on coastal populations, while pollution of the seas by pathogens and toxic waste can cause illness and death in humans and animals. Harmful effects from biogenic toxins produced by algal blooms (HABs) and from the pathogens associated with microbial pollution are also a health hazard in seafood and from direct contact with water. The overall global burden of human disease caused by sewage pollution of coastal waters has been estimated at 4 million lost person-years annually. Finally, the impacts of all of these issues will be exacerbated by climate change. A holistic systems approach is needed. It must consider whole ecosystems, and their sustainability, such as integrated coastal zone management, is necessary to address the highly interconnected scientific challenges of increased human population pressure, pollution and over-exploitation of food (and other) resources as drivers of adverse ecological, social and economic impacts. There is also an urgent and critical requirement for effective and integrated public health solutions to be developed through the formulation of politically and environmentally meaningful policies. The research community required to address "Oceans & Human Health" in Europe is currently very fragmented, and recognition by policy makers of some of the problems, outlined in the list of challenges above, is limited. Nevertheless, relevant key policy issues for governments worldwide include the reduction of the burden of disease (including the early detection of emerging pathogens and other threats) and improving the quality of the global environment. Failure to effectively address these issues will impact adversely on efforts to alleviate poverty, sustain the availability of environmental goods and services and improve health and social and economic stability; and thus, will impinge on many policy decisions, both nationally and internationally. Knowledge exchange (KE) will be a key element of any ensuing research. KE will facilitate the integration of biological, medical, epidemiological, social and economic disciplines, as well as the emergence of synergies between seemingly unconnected areas of science and socio-economic issues, and will help to leverage knowledge transfer across the European Union (EU) and beyond. An integrated interdisciplinary systems approach is an effective way to bring together the appropriate groups of scientists, social scientists, economists, industry and other stakeholders with the policy formulators in order to address the complexities of interfacial problems in the area of environment and human health. The Marine Board of the European Science Foundation Working Group on "Oceans and Human Health" has been charged with developing a position paper on this topic with a view to identifying the scientific, social and economic challenges and making recommendations to the EU on policy-relevant research and development activities in this arena. This paper includes the background to health-related issues linked to the coastal environment and highlights the main arguments for an ecosystem-based whole systems approach.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Early steps in the emergence of the discipline of "Oceans and Human Health" are charted in the USA and discussed in relation to past and present marine environment and human health research activities in Europe. Differences in terminology are considered, as well as differences in circumstances related to the various seas of Europe and the intensity of human coastal activity and impact. Opportunities to progress interdisciplinary research are described, and the value of horizon scanning for the early identification of emerging issues is highlighted. The challenges facing researchers and policymakers addressing oceans and human health issues are outlined and some suggestions offered regarding how further progress in research and training into both the risks and benefits of Oceans and Human Health might be made on both sides of the Atlantic.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years there has been an exponential increase in tungsten demand, potentially increasing human exposure to the metal. Currently, the toxicology of tungsten is poorly understood, but mounting evidence suggests that both the elemental metal and its alloys have cytotoxic effects. Here, we investigate the association between tungsten and cardiovascular disease (CVD) or stroke using six waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
We investigated associations using crude and adjusted logistic regression models in a cohort of 8614 adults (18-74 years) with 193 reported stroke diagnoses and 428 reported diagnoses of CVD. We also stratified our data to characterize associations in a subset of younger individuals (18-50 years).
ELEVATED TUNGSTEN CONCENTRATIONS WERE STRONGLY ASSOCIATED WITH AN INCREASE IN THE PREVALENCE OF STROKE, INDEPENDENT OF TYPICAL RISK FACTORS (ODDS RATIO (OR): 1.66, 95% Confidence Interval (95% CI): 1.17, 2.34). The association between tungsten and stroke in the young age category was still evident (OR: 2.17, 95% CI: 1.33, 3.53).
This study represents the most comprehensive analysis of the human health effects of tungsten to date. Individuals with higher urinary tungsten concentrations have double the odds of reported stroke. We hypothesize that the pathological pathway resulting from tungsten exposure may involve oxidative stress.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(11):e77546. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increasing greenhouse gas emissions threaten human health and the environment. In response, healthcare managers face significant challenges in balancing operational decisions about patient care with carbon mitigation targets. We explore a bottom-up modelling framework to aid in the decision-making for both carbon and cost in healthcare, using data from a case study in Cornwall, UK..A model was built and run for secondary healthcare, specifically outpatient clinics, theatre lists, beds, and, diagnostic facilities. Five scenarios were tested: business-as-usual; service expansion; site closure; water temperature reduction; and theatre optimisation. The estimated emissions from secondary healthcare in Cornwall ran to 5787 T CO2eq with patient travel adding 2215 T CO2 eq. Closing selected sites would have reduced this by 4% (261 T CO2 eq), a reduction less than the resulting increases in patient transport emissions. Reducing hot water temperatures by 5 ºC and improving theatre usage would lower the footprint by 0.7% (44 T CO2 eq) and 0.08% (5 T CO2 eq), respectively. We consider bottom-up models important tools in the process of estimating and modelling the carbon footprint of healthcare. For the carbon reduction targets of the healthcare sector to be met, the use of these bottom-up models in decision making and forward planning is pivotal.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents the findings of our fourth annual horizon-scanning exercise, which aims to identify topics that increasingly may affect conservation of biological diversity. The 15 issues were identified via an iterative, transferable process by a team of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist. The 15 topics include the commercial use of antimicrobial peptides, thorium-fuelled nuclear power, and undersea oil production.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution 12/2012; · 15.39 Impact Factor