Medicine is such an intense occupation that often I find that my body has made the transition from work to home faster than my brain. Such a situation occurred recently: I was reading some Christmas cards and the phrase “and the best in ’02” triggered a schizoid “what has oxygen to do with Christmas?” I enjoyed a good chuckle at my own expense and then began to think that maybe it’s time that we had a Year of the Lungs. What better year than ’02?
The lungs are the only major organ in the body that continuously expose an absorptive surface to the external environment. As a result they are very susceptible to environmental toxins, irritants, and carcinogens. My challenge to you, colleagues, is to make this the year that you expend a little extra effort in support of these most vital of organs by working on your immediate environment.
Over the last 25 years or so, tremendous strides have been made in getting cigarette smoke out of the public environment. However, there are still many places, especially in rural BC, where the indoor air could be a great deal less smoky. Search out these areas and give your support to making them smoke free. Less attention has been paid to other irritants in our indoor environment: chief among these are perfumes, colognes, and other fragrances. Make the Year of the Lungs the year that your office becomes scent free—your asthmatics will love you for it!
Outdoor air quality is a tougher problem, but there are many possibilities here as well. Smoke from forest fires is hard to stop, but smoke from everything—from beehive burners to wood-burning fireplaces—contributes to the poor air quality in many BC communities, especially in winter. Speak out in your community. Burning wood is cheap in the short term but will cost us dearly in the long term.
Finally, unless you really need to drive through drifts of snow, leave your SUV at home and drive a fuel-efficient car. Better yet, walk, take the bus, or ride a bike. SUVs are very inefficient users of gasoline and contribute enormously to pollution, especially in the Lower Mainland where most of them are used to drive from home to work on streets that are bare, albeit wet, most of the time.
Now, before you purists remind me that it is officially the Year of the Horse I will claim editorial privilege and declare 2002 the Year of the Lungs—after all, horses have lungs too!
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org