Climate change leads to increase in immune health issues

According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Kari Nadeau, diseases related to immune health issues have increased in recent years, with climate change playing a significant role. Nadeau, who is the John Rock Professor of Climate and Population Studies, co-authored a study that outlined how climate-driven stressors are contributing to immune dysregulation and an increase in immune-mediated diseases.

In an opinion piece for STAT News, Nadeau provided examples of how climate change is impacting immune health. For instance, irritants like soot from wildfires and high levels of pollen due to warm springs can damage bodily structures that protect against infection. Extreme weather events can lead to hunger and malnourishment, which prevents the healthy development of the immune system.

Nadeau highlighted that the persistent inflammation caused by climate-related stressors can lead to cancer and other diseases. To address the global rise in immune-mediated diseases, she called for implementing policies to mitigate climate change and funding more research on the impact of climate change on immune health. She also emphasized the importance of raising awareness among scientists, clinicians, journalists, politicians, and the public about the effects of climate change on human health.

The Frontiers in Science study authored by Nadeau discusses immune-mediated diseases caused by climate change-related environmental hazards, and the need for mitigation and adaptation efforts. The STAT opinion piece by Nadeau explores how climate change is fueling a global epidemic of immune health problems and suggests ways to address this issue.

By Samantha Robertson

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