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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1-2

Environmental diseases

Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201, USA

Date of Web Publication14-Apr-2016

Correspondence Address:
Kezhong Zhang
Center for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI 48201
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Zhang K. Environmental diseases. Environ Dis 2016;1:1-2

How to cite this URL:
Zhang K. Environmental diseases. Environ Dis [serial online] 2016 [cited 2023 May 27];1:1-2. Available from: http://www.environmentmed.org/text.asp?2016/1/1/1/180330

Global environmental challenges, such as climate change, overuse of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and environmental health issues, are increasingly recognized. In modern times, while human society has achieved improved medical care, advanced technologies, and enriched material supplies, we are experiencing increased morbidity and mortality that are directly attributed to environmental factors. According to the World Health Organization, more than 13 million deaths annually are due to environmental causes.[1] Approximately, two-fifths of infant mortality in the developing countries is associated with environmental factors. Modern human common diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, neurodegenerative disease and cancer, are closely associated with environmental challenges. From a broad view, modern human common diseases are environmental diseases.

While new types of environmental disease, such as Gulf War syndrome, Sick Building syndrome, and antibiotic-resistant infections are emerging, we also confront the increased challenges of old environmental “enemies,” for example, air pollution. An extensive body of scientific evidence showed that long- and short-term exposures to airborne fine particle pollution, also known as fine particulate matter (PM2.5), not only cause pulmonary disease and premature death, but also exert harmful effects on the cardiovascular and metabolic systems.[2],[3] Epidemiological and animal model studies have consistently linked air pollutants, primarily derived from stationary and traffic-related combustion sources to the increased rates of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, and type-2 diabetes mellitus.[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Ambient PM2.5 levels are strongly associated with the pathogenesis of air pollution-associated systemic diseases and even life expectancy.[10] A linear dose–risk relationship between PM2.5 concentrations and occurrence of metabolic disease exists, even in the countries compliant with the US National Air Quality Standards (average daily PM2.5 level <15 μg/m 3), such as the USA and European countries.[11] In the developing countries, such as China, India, and Latin America, where daily and annual PM2.5 levels range from 100 to 300 μg/m [3],[12],[13] the detrimental effects of PM2.5 exposure on public health have been grossly underestimated.

A hopeful perspective is that many of the environmental challenges to the public health are modifiable - that is, many are readily amenable to change through policies or existing technologies. Understanding the pathogenesis of environmental diseases and biological mechanisms of environmental factors is crucial to developing interventions or strategies for the prevention and treatment of systemic diseases, and therefore, has a high impact in medical care and public health policy-making. Under the current circumstances, intensive research in environmental health and diseases is timely and highly impactful to the wellbeing of the modern human society.

The newly launched journal Environmental Disease provides a timely and effective platform for front-running biomedical scientists, public health professionals, and physicians to address the interrelationships, mechanistic factors, and interventional strategies for environment-associated modern common diseases. The journal will cover, but not be limited to, the topics of: (1) mechanisms and interactions between genetic and environmental factors in health and disease; (2) adverse health effects of environmental pollutions (air, water, and noise pollutions); (3) influences of life styles on health and disease; (4) food safety and genetically modified food; (5) impact of climate change in health and disease; (6) human cell- and tissue-based in vitro models to study the effects and mechanisms of environmental stressors; (7) animal models to study the effects and mechanisms of environmental stressors; and (8) health care and therapeutic strategies to address environmental challenges. The related concepts are particularly informative to the public health and biomedical research communities, clinical professionals, as well as the public at large.

The Editors and Editorial Staff at Environmental Disease will take specific measures to avoid unnecessary delays in the publication process, yet the integrity and high standard of the work will be emphasized. The editorial office will work closely with the authors and reviewers to facilitate the peer review and revision process. We would like to extend our invitations to the international communities of scientists, physicians, and public health professionals to submit their high-quality works to the journal. We are confident that Environmental Disease will be a premier platform to convey high-impact information dealing with the global public health challenges.

  References Top

Prüss-Üstün A, Corvalán C. Preventing Disease Through Healthy Environments. Towards an Estimate of the Environmental Burden of Disease. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization (WHO) Press; 2006.  Back to cited text no. 1
Peters A, von Klot S, Heier M, Trentinaglia I, Hörmann A, Wichmann HE, et al. Exposure to traffic and the onset of myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med 2004;351:1721-30.  Back to cited text no. 2
Pope CA 3rd, Burnett RT, Thurston GD, Thun MJ, Calle EE, Krewski D, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and long-term exposure to particulate air pollution: epidemiological evidence of general pathophysiological pathways of disease. Circulation 2004;109:71-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
Coogan PF, White LF, Jerrett M, Brook RD, Su JG, Seto E, et al. Air pollution and incidence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus in black women living in Los Angeles. Circulation 2012;125:767-72.  Back to cited text no. 4
Chen JC, Schwartz J. Metabolic syndrome and inflammatory responses to long-term particulate air pollutants. Environ Health Perspect 2008;116:612-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
Raaschou-Nielsen O, Sørensen M, Ketzel M, Hertel O, Loft S, Tjønneland A, et al. Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution and diabetes-associated mortality: a cohort study. Diabetologia 2013;56:36-46.  Back to cited text no. 6
Rajagopalan S, Brook RD. Air pollution and type 2 diabetes: mechanistic insights. Diabetes 2012;61:3037-45.  Back to cited text no. 7
Sun Q, Wang A, Jin X, Natanzon A, Duquaine D, Brook RD, et al. Long-term air pollution exposure and acceleration of atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation in an animal model. JAMA 2005;294:3003-10.  Back to cited text no. 8
Zheng Z, Xu X, Zhang X, Wang A, Zhang C, Hüttemann M, et al. Exposure to ambient particulate matter induces a NASH-like phenotype and impairs hepatic glucose metabolism in an animal model. J Hepatol 2013;58:148-54.  Back to cited text no. 9
Pope CA 3rd, Ezzati M, Dockery DW. Fine-particulate air pollution and life expectancy in the United States. N Engl J Med 2009;360:376-86.  Back to cited text no. 10
Pearson JF, Bachireddy C, Shyamprasad S, Goldfine AB, Brownstein JS. Association between fine particulate matter and diabetes prevalence in the U.S. Diabetes Care 2010;33:2196-201.  Back to cited text no. 11
Tao J, Gao J, Zhang L, Zhang R, Che H, Zhang Z, et al. PM2.5 pollution in a megacity of Southwest China: Source apportionment and implication. Atmos Chem Phys 2014;14:8679-99.  Back to cited text no. 12
Zhang R, Jing J, Tao J, Hsu SC, Wang G, Cao J, et al. Chemical characterization and source apportionment of PM2.5 in Beijing: Seasonal perspective. Atmos Chem Phys 2013;13:7053-7074.  Back to cited text no. 13


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