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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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AMA Meeting: More Docs Willing to Take on Climate Change

June 15, 2010

CHICAGO - America's doctors are more ready to take on one of the toughest ailments facing the entire planet. Physicians at a major annual meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago Monday discussed the effects of climate change on public health that can be felt in Illinois and every other region of the country.

Dr. Paul Epstein, who is associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard, led the discussion. He says spring is now starting two weeks earlier in the Northern Hemisphere than it did in the 1970s, and that's just one of the climate-related changes extending and intensifying the allergy season.

"The rise in pollen counts from carbon dioxide is playing a role in increasing allergies and asthma."

Epstein says the medical community and the general public should also be preparing for more health complications as a result of an increasing number of heat waves.

Epstein says he believes the medical community has turned a corner in the way it views climate change.

"They are asking how we can adapt, how we can prepare, how we can prepare health facilities for surge capacity for heat waves, how we can advocate for sound public policies."

He says the crowd was receptive and ready to confront the problems, which he says are many.

Epstein suggested support for a plan to make transportation and cities more healthy through the use of such things as electric cars, renewable energy, light rail, and more comprehensive city planning.

Delegates at the AMA meeting will also be voting today and Wednesday on a number of policy positions on topics ranging from lead exposure in children to the public health impact of the Gulf oil spill.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - IL