Respiratory infections are among the leading causes of death and disability globally. Respirable aerosol particles released by agricultural crop-residue burning (ACRB), practised by farmers in all global regions, are potentially harmful to human health.

The observational association between mortality and body mass index (BMI) is U-shaped, leading to highly publicized suggestions that moderate overweight is beneficial to health. However, it is unclear whether elevated mortality is caused by low BMI or if the association is confounded, for example by concurrent ill health.

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In a longitudinal, multi-country study, parents of 24 168 offspring aged 2–51 years provided information on their life-course smoking habits, occupational exposure to welding and metal fumes, and offspring’s asthma before/after age 10 years and hay fever. Logistic regressions investigated the relevant associations controlled for age, study centre, parental characteristics (age, asthma, education) and clustering by family.

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Early life environments induce long-term changes in neurocognitive development and behaviour. In animal models, early environmental cues affect neuropsychological phenotypes via epigenetic processes but, as yet, there is little direct evidence for such mechanisms in humans. The researchers examined the relation between DNA methylation at birth and child neuropsychological outcomes in two culturally diverse populations using a genome-wide methylation analysis and validation by pyrosequencing.

In many Western populations, blood pressure varies moderately with season and outdoor temperature. Relatively little is known about effects of seasonal changes in blood pressure on the detection and control of hypertension in general populations, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The researchers analysed cross-sectional data of 57 375 (42% men) participants aged 30–79 (mean 52.3) years who were enrolled during 2004–08, as part of the China Kadoorie Biobank, from a rural county in the south-east costal Zhejiang Province.

Mobile phone (cell phone) use is increasing extraordinarily rapidly worldwide. There are now 4.6 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide. In many low and middle-income countries use of cell phones has made communications possible in vast areas lacking cable connections. Increasingly, in high-income countries, cell phones have replaced

The rapid increase in mobile telephone use has generated concern about possible health risks related to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from this technology. An interview-based case