Understanding the health impacts of climate change: search filter development for exposure pathways
2Cochrane Haematology, Department I of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital Cologne, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
3Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, United Kingdom
4Cochrane Complementary Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA
5Department of Research, Instituto Universitario Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina
6Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada
Background: Climate change is the great challenge facing humanity in the 21st century. It has a wide range of health impacts that policymakers need to act upon. High-quality evidence syntheses (ES) are vital for policymaking. Search filters—validated combinations of search terms on a specific topic—play an important role in ensuring robust search methods for ES. Developing search strategies for climate health is complicated by the breadth of impacts and by the fact that relevant studies may not be labeled as related to climate change. Currently, no validated search filters for climate health studies are available.
Objectives: Our aim is to develop and validate search filters for MEDLINE to identify studies on health-related impacts of climate change per exposure pathway.
Methods: Climate change impacts human health via several pathways: extreme weather events, heat stress, changes in air quality, changes in water quality and quantity, effects upon food supply and safety, vector distribution and ecology, and social factors. We conducted a search for climate health–related ES in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, and ProQuest Dissertations and Theses in February 2021. The search yielded 8,614 records after deduplication. These were dually screened and 110 climate-related ES were identified for inclusion, classified into exposure pathways, and sorted by number of included studies. We extracted each included study from the first 79 ES, classified each study according to exposure pathway, and checked each study for indexing in PubMed.
Results: We present an ongoing project by the Cochrane Climate-Health Working Group to develop MEDLINE search filters for the seven major exposure pathways through which human health is affected by climate change. We extracted 2,327 studies and are currently developing and validating search filters per pathway.
Conclusions: We will present the development and validation of climate health search filters for different exposure pathways and will discuss challenges encountered.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: We describe information retrieval methods; therefore, patients or healthcare consumers were not involved. However, robust search methods for climate health ES are of interest to the global health community.