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July 2, 2003
Climate Change and Human Health Topic of July 4 Friday Evening Lecture at the MBL
WOODS HOLE, MA - Anthony J. McMichael, Director of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at Australian National University, will present the third lecture in the Marine Biological Laboratory's (MBL's) Friday Evening Lecture Series this Friday, July 4. Dr. McMichael's talk, entitled "Climate Change and Human Health: The Picture Begins to Clarify," will be held at 8:00 PM in the MBL's Lillie Auditorium, located on MBL Street in Woods Hole. The presentation is free and open to the public. Dr. Christopher Neill, Assistant Scientist at the MBL's Ecosystems Center, will introduce Dr. McMichael.
The increasing global temperature over recent decades suggests that human induced global climate change is now real. Many non-human physical and biological systems have recently undergone alterations apparently due to warming. The human species is better buffered against environmental stressors than are other plant and animal species. So, when, and where, might we expect to see human health impacts?
According to Dr. McMichael, some evidence suggests, as yet inconclusively, that climate change is already affecting aspects of human health. For example, the pattern of some vector-borne infectious diseases has recently changed in climate attributable fashion, per-capita cereal grain yields have declined for the past half-decade, and extreme, hazardous weather events appear to have increased in tempo. Dr. McMichael will speak about the wide range of expected health impacts of climate change. Most entail changes in the frequency or severity of familiar health risks, such as those due to floods, storms, and fires; the mortality toll of heat waves; the range and seasonality of infectious diseases; agricultural productivity; reduced freshwater supplies; and the repercussions of economic dislocation and population displacement.
Dr. McMichael directs the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. From 1994 until 2001, he was Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, U.K. His research interests over three decades have spanned occupational diseases, dietary influences on chronic diseases, environmental epidemology and, more recently, the population health consequences of global environmental change. From 1993 to 2001, he chaired the assessment of health impacts for the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is an advisor to various UN and other international agencies in relation to issues of environmental change, sustainable development, human wellbeing and health. His recent book "Human Frontiers, Environments and Disease: Past Patterns, Uncertain Futures," was published in 2001, by Cambridge University Press.
The Friday Evening Lecture Series will continue throughout the summer at the MBL. The remaining lectures in the series are:
"Making an Effort to Listen: Mechanical Amplification by Novel Molecular Motors in the Ear"
James Hudspeth, The Rockefeller University
"Brain to Brain: A Neurobiology of Vocal Communication"
Darcy Kelley, Columbia University
"Generating Male and Female Brains: A Molecular Alphabet for Sexual Differentiation"
Darcy Kelley, Columbia University
"Addressing the Threat of Anthrax"
R. John Collier, Harvard Medical School
"Intraflagellar Transport and Cilia-Dependent Diseases"
Joel Rosenbaum, Yale University
"Regulation of Aging by SIR2"
Lenny Guarente, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Gene Action in the Pathobiology of Aging"
George Martin, University of Washington
The Marine Biological Laboratory is an independent scientific institution, founded in 1888, that undertakes the highest level of creative research and education in biology, including the biomedical and environmental sciences.