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Ecology, ecology, ecology
  1. Carlos Alvarez-Dardet,
  2. John R Ashton, Joint Editors

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    In this issue, our Glossary tackles the vexed issue of differing definitions that are prevalent in ecological perspectives on health research—something that is of growing importance in public health: many of our papers, in one way and another, involve some kind of ecological approach.

    A paper from Montreal, with a linked Editorial, explores the dimensions of socioeconomic status that influence toddlers’ health, and concludes that a serious lack of money has an impact regardless of the mother’s level of education and of neonatal health problems.
 See pages 2, 42

    The wonder-drug aspirin continues to find new applications, and a conference held in Wales, UK earlier this year is the subject for an Editorial that asks “what next for low dose aspirin?” Meanwhile, the battle for tobacco control finds a voice from Spain in Speakers’ Corner.
 See pages 3, 5

    Isn’t it remarkable how words come and go and get recycled in the lexicon of public health? Hygiene is surely due for a revival. In two Galleries this month we revisit John Snow on cholera, and bring ourselves right up to date with SARS, and raise the question about the relative importance of the environment and hygiene in both. Sticking with the Chinese theme, Levi Tafari’s poem presents Tai Chi at the heart of holistic health. And in Evidence Based Public Health Policy and Practice, a paper from the Harvard School of Public Health adds to our knowledge of the use of environmental indicators for evaluating interventions.
 See pages 4, 30, 48, 15

    Other research findings this month include:

    • the finding that specific, work related stressful life events seem to be potential triggers of the onset of myocardial infarction;

    • from Switzerland, which is one of the countries at the forefront of the new demographic transition, a case is made for monitoring nonagenarians and centenarians as new populations;

    • a Danish study concludes that father’s occupational social class is associated with adult mortality in all members of the mother-father-offspring triad. Material wealth seems to be an explanatory factor for this association;

    • from Aberdeen comes the finding that neither childhood nor adulthood socioeconomic adversity is associated with pregnancy induced hypertension;

    • marital termination may adversely affect health and dietary behaviours among US male health professionals;

    • smoking cessation programmes may benefit from taking into account the modification of stressful features of the work environment;

    • a study of depression and early retirement found that depressed people retired on average 1.5 years younger than those without depression.

    See pages 23, 31, 38, 49, 56, 63, 70

    Papers in Theory and Methods explore the reliability and validity of the short form of the child health questionnaire for parents, and look at consistency in gene-Alzheimer’s disease association studies.
 See pages 75, 83

    Several book reviews this month deserve particular attention, not least Mildred Blaxter’s offering on “Health”, a multi-author work from the Oxford University Press on health economic perspectives on global health, George Davey Smith’s book on life course approaches to health inequalities, and an important reference book on the MONICA project from Tunstall-Pedoe and WHO.
 See pages 86, 87

    Finally, don’t forget to look at Hygieia.
 See page 88

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