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.