Medical Degree Program in China - Environmental Medicine

 1. Introduction

Environmental Medicine is a discipline that studies the relationship between the environment and human health, especially studies the detrimental effect of environmental pollution on people health and its prevention; it is an important component of environmental science and preventive medicine. Environmental medicine includes environmental epidemiology, environmental toxicology, environmental monitoring, etc. Continuous human activities affect the natural environment, causing change of environmental quality; the changes in turn affect people's normal life and health. When the mode of production is relatively simple and the scale is small, human activities have little impact on the environment. The industrial revolution promotes the development of productive forces of human society, but also influences and destroys the human environment, especially the ecological system.
2. Research Objects
Environmental factors affecting human health can be broadly divided into three categories: chemical factors, such as toxic gases, heavy metals, pesticides and others; physical factors, such as noise and vibration, radioactive substances and RF radiation; biological factors, such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Among them, the chemical factors are the most influential factors. When these harmful factors come into the atmosphere, water and soil and cause pollution, it can harm the human body.
3. Environmental Pollution Characteristics
Effect of environmental pollutants on human health is extremely huge and complex. They can invade the human body from a variety of ways. Toxic gases and soot in the atmosphere affect the human body mainly through respiratory; the poison in water and soil is absorbed by the body mainly by drinking water and food through the digestive tract; some of the fat soluble toxins, such as benzene and organic phosphate esters and pesticide, and poisons that can be combined with skin fatty acid, such as mercury, arsenic, etc., can be absorbed by human body through the skin.
4. Program Branches
The main research content of environmental medicine includes environmental epidemiology, environmental toxicology, environmental medicine testing, environmental health standards, etc.
The main task of environmental epidemiology is to carry out retrospective or prospective investigation to groups, to analyze the incidence of disease and the relationship between mortality and environmental pollutants, to illuminate the effects of environmental pollutants on human health, in order to provide clues or build hypothesis for finding out the environmental causes of certain diseases for further study.
Environmental toxicology studies acuteness, sub acuteness and chronic toxicity of environmental pollutants, including teratogenic, mutagenic and carcinogenic experiment and identification; studies characteristics of toxic effect and dose response relationship (especially to determine toxicity threshold concentration) and toxic effect mechanism; studies the joint toxicity of  a variety of poisons, to provide toxicological basis for working out hygiene standards, standards for environment quality and preventing damage to human health causing by environmental pollutants.
Environmental medicine testing studies pollutant load in human body and its impact on health and makes environmental medicine assessment on the environment quality based on determination of concentration of environmental pollutants and its metabolic products in human biological materials (blood, urine, feces, hair and saliva) through physiology, biochemistry, immunology.
Public nuisance disease and its prevention is the comprehensive application of clinical medicine, toxicology and epidemiology method, studies public nuisance disease etiology, pathogenic condition and early performance of damage to the health and clinical features and outcome of public nuisance disease, to provide medical basis for the prevention and control of public nuisance disease.
Environmental health standard is an important legal basis for health supervision, health assessment and environmental management. It has important health significance to study and formulate environmental health standards by application of environmental toxicology experiment and epidemiological investigation, in accordance with the principle of the most sensitive.
The current research focuses of environmental medicine are the epidemic characteristics and laws of the diseases that seriously harm human health, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease; in-depth study of environmental toxicology; and to study subclinical changes caused by environmental pollutants and to detect people in high risk using the theory and method of modern molecular biology, providing the basis for health forecasting and early diagnosis.

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Anhui Medical University

Wenzhou Medical University

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