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The Global Challenges of Noncommunicable Diseases: A PLOS Medicine Collection: The First Installment

Image Credit: (Clockwise from top left)  Image Credit: No Smoking (Top Left): Satish Krishnamurthy, Flickr; Body Scale (Top Right): Daniel Oines, Flickr; Finger Test (Bottom Left): Biswarup Ganguly, Wikimedia Commons; Gauge (Bottom Right): Bernard Goldbach, Flickr
Image Credit: (Clockwise from top left) Image Credit: No Smoking (Top Left): Satish Krishnamurthy, Flickr; Body Scale (Top Right): Daniel Oines, Flickr; Finger Test (Bottom Left): Biswarup Ganguly, Wikimedia Commons; Gauge (Bottom Right): Bernard Goldbach, Flickr

In December 2012, PLOS Medicine launched a call for papers on noncommunicable diseases including mental health.(1) In this first installment of the PLOS Medicine Collection, “The Global Challenges of Noncommunicable Diseases,” we feature 38 articles, from research to essays.  The research ranges from policy to public health to translational medicine, with plenty of clinical medicine in between. The studies show that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs associated with increased cardiovascular risk not only accounted for one-third of NSAID use in 15 low-, middle-, and high-income countries, but also were included in Essential Medicines Lists (2); higher long-term fine particulate air pollution was associated with increased intima-media thickness, a marker of atherosclerosis (3); cognitive-behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy all had robust effects for patients with depression (4); the most effective way to improve hypertension control from a systems standpoint is to reduce or eliminate the patient’s treatment copayment (5); walking and bicycling to work was associated with reduced cardiovascular risk in India (6); endometrial, breast, and ovarian cancer could be predicted using new risk prediction models (7); and colon cancer could be classified in a prognostically important way using new gene expression classification into molecular subtypes (8). A study surveying policies found that, although nearly 80% of the over 36 million people who die each year from NCDs live in low- and middle-income countries and NCDs are all related to the risk factors of tobacco use, physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets,(9) most national policies of low and middle income countries don’t propose actions to promote healthier diets and physical activity (10). The Magazine includes the Grand Challenges in Mental Health series (11-15), plus a Health in Action article (16) and Editorial (17) on mental health, Perspectives placing Research Articles in context, Essays on access to drugs (18) and improving research in LMICs (19), and more. Read, enjoy and share — open access — this outstanding collection on the all-important global public health, policy, and clinical health challenge of NCDs.

Authors, the call for papers is still open through the end of 2013, and PLOS Medicine’s interest  in NCDs including mental health will continue long after the call is done. We will update the collection after the call has closed and related papers have been published.

View the collection-level metrics including researchers’ locations, page views, bookmarking, and usage by topic here.

This Collection is also available on Flipboard – search “PLOS Collections” to subscribe.

Collection Citation:  The Global Challenges of Noncommunicable Diseases (2013)


1. The PLOS Medicine Editors (2012) Addressing Global Disparities in the Burden of Noncommunicable Diseases: Call for Papers. PLoS Med 9(12): e1001360. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001360

2. McGettigan P, Henry D (2013) Use of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs That Elevate Cardiovascular Risk: An Examination of Sales and Essential Medicines Lists in Low-, Middle-, and High-Income Countries. PLoS Med 10(2): e1001388. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001388

3. Adar SD, Sheppard L, Vedal S, Polak JF, Sampson PD, et al. (2013) Fine Particulate Air Pollution and the Progression of Carotid Intima-Medial Thickness: A Prospective Cohort Study from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution. PLoS Med 10(4): e1001430. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001430

4. Barth J, Munder T, Gerger H, Nüesch E, Trelle S, et al. (2013) Comparative Efficacy of Seven Psychotherapeutic Interventions for Patients with Depression: A Network Meta-Analysis. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001454. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001454

5. Maimaris W, Paty J, Perel P, Legido-Quigley H, Balabanova D, et al. (2013) The Influence of Health Systems on Hypertension Awareness, Treatment, and Control: A Systematic Literature Review. PLoS Med 10(7): e1001490. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001490

6. Millett C, Agrawal S, Sullivan R, Vaz M, Kurpad A, et al. (2013) Associations between Active Travel to Work and Overweight, Hypertension, and Diabetes in India: A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS Med 10(6): e1001459. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001459

7. Pfeiffer RM, Park Y, Kreimer AR, Lacey JV Jr, Pee D, et al. (2013) Risk Prediction for Breast, Endometrial, and Ovarian Cancer in White Women Aged 50 y or Older: Derivation and Validation from Population-Based Cohort Studies. PLoS Med 10(7): e1001492. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001492

8. Marisa L, de Reyniès A, Duval A, Selves J, Gaub MP, et al. (2013) Gene Expression Classification of Colon Cancer into Molecular Subtypes: Characterization, Validation, and Prognostic Value. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001453. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001453

9. World Health Organization. Noncommunicable diseases.

10. Lachat C, Otchere S, Roberfroid D, Abdulai A, Seret FMA, et al. (2013) Diet and Physical Activity for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Policy Review. PLoS Med 10(6): e1001465. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001465

11. Collins PY, Insel TR, Chockalingam A, Daar A, Maddox YT (2013) Grand Challenges in Global Mental Health: Integration in Research, Policy, and Practice. PLoS Med 10(4): e1001434. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001434

12. Rahman A, Surkan PJ, Cayetano CE, Rwagatare P, Dickson KE (2013) Grand Challenges: Integrating Maternal Mental Health into Maternal and Child Health Programmes. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001442. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001442

13. Ngo VK, Rubinstein A, Ganju V, Kanellis P, Loza N, et al. (2013) Grand Challenges: Integrating Mental Health Care into the Non-Communicable Disease Agenda. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001443. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001443

14. Kaaya S, Eustache E, Lapidos-Salaiz I, Musisi S, Psaros C, et al. (2013) Grand Challenges: Improving HIV Treatment Outcomes by Integrating Interventions for Co-Morbid Mental Illness. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001447. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001447

15. Patel V, Belkin GS, Chockalingam A, Cooper J, Saxena S, et al. (2013) Grand Challenges: Integrating Mental Health Services into Priority Health Care Platforms. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001448. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001448

16. Nakimuli-Mpungu E, Alderman S, Kinyanda E, Allden K, Betancourt TS, et al. (2013) Implementation and Scale-Up of Psycho-Trauma Centers in a Post-Conflict Area: A Case Study of a Private–Public Partnership in Northern Uganda. PLoS Med 10(4): e1001427. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001427

17. The PLOS Medicine Editors (2013) The Paradox of Mental Health: Over-Treatment and Under-Recognition. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001456. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001456

18. Bollyky TJ (2013) Access to Drugs for Treatment of Noncommunicable Diseases. PLoS Med 10(7): e1001485. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001485

19. Ebrahim S, Pearce N, Smeeth L, Casas JP, Jaffar S, et al. (2013) Tackling Non-Communicable Diseases In Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Is the Evidence from High-Income Countries All We Need? PLoS Med 10(1): e1001377. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001377

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