Health Effects and Toxicology Literature Review
Literature reviews are important steps in resear...
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Literature reviews are important steps in research processes, as they provide context and background knowledge for whatever situation you are interested in further exploring. There is a companion wiki to this one with detailed descriptions of literature review purpose and process, found here. In the present wiki, we focus on exactly how to conduct a literature review specifically about health effects of a contaminant. We delineate a guide including steps for how to conduct searches in the literature review, and include a template for how to write up a health effects literature review.
1st paragraph: Basic Information.
Explain that X substance has health consequences ranging from Y to Z. State that we can be exposed to X through these ways. Provide the concentration range of X that can be harmful given various exposure durations.
2nd paragraph: Routes of Exposure / Kinds of Exposure
Explain different ways people are exposed, such as occupational and environmental routes. If relevant, explain different exposure routes for different species of X. Detail typical or maximum likely exposure concentrations in a few relevant scenarios.
3rd paragraph: Most drastic health effect that is strongly associated with with exposure:
Reference the ATSDR Toxicological Profile and specific studies. Clump health effects into whole body systems (e.g. respiratory) if several systems are affected. Discuss the populations studied (and identify the populations that are not well studied). Discuss health outcomes at various exposure levels.
4th - nth paragraph: Lesser health impacts strongly associated with exposure:
Discuss less drastic health impacts, again lumping impacts into whole body systems. Follow the guide for the 3rd paragraph for content to include.
(n+1)th paragraph: Possible health impacts:
Discuss studies with lower exposure-outcome associations and/or animal studies. Follow the guide for the 3rd paragraph for content to include. Be sure to include relative certainty or uncertainty of the association.
(n+2)nd paragraph: Toxicokinetics and Mechanisms:
Discuss the mechanisms by which substance X impacts the human body. If the mechanism for interaction is highly varied, it may be better to structure the literature review by body system, with each section including a paragraph for health effects and a paragraph for toxicological mechanism.
(n+3)rd paragraph: Wrap-up Summary and Conclusion:
Highlight the most well-known health effects and the possible/likely health impacts at various exposure levels, identify the populations who have not been widely studied, and potential exposure routes.