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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 11, Issue 9 (September 2014), Pages 8612-9937

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Pneumoconiosis in Hubei, China from 2008 to 2013
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8612-8621; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908612
Received: 9 July 2014 / Revised: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (377 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We have investigated newly reported pneumoconiosis cases in the province of Hubei, China from 2008 to 2013, to identify the major problems and challenges, and explore possible solutions for its prevention and control. We analyzed the data on new cases of pneumoconiosis [...] Read more.
We have investigated newly reported pneumoconiosis cases in the province of Hubei, China from 2008 to 2013, to identify the major problems and challenges, and explore possible solutions for its prevention and control. We analyzed the data on new cases of pneumoconiosis from annual reports, including case distributions, patient ages, exposure duration, disease stages, and enterprise types. A total of 3665 new pneumoconiosis cases were reported between 2008 and 2013 in Hubei Province. Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis and silicosis, which accounted for 97.19% of the total, were the most common types. The duration of exposure of 33.32% cases was less than 10 years. Most of the new pneumoconiosis cases worked in industries that produced coal, nonferrous metal, or building materials. About 42.46% of pneumoconiosis cases were from small and medium-sized enterprises. The proportion of cases with combined pneumoconiosis and tuberculosis was 6.6%, and the incidence of tuberculosis was highest in workers with silicosis. The current situation of pneumoconiosis in China is serious. Lack of attention to occupational health, inefficient surveillance, and weak occupational health services may have contributed to the increased new pneumoconiosis cases. Full article
Open AccessArticle Mineral Resource Dilemma: How to Balance the Interests of Government, Local Communities and Abiotic Nature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8632-8644; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908632
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is noted that over the last few years the implementation of several mineral exploration, development and mining projects has been suspended and even completely stopped due to resistance from local communities. The key concerns of local residents typically include perceived or [...] Read more.
It is noted that over the last few years the implementation of several mineral exploration, development and mining projects has been suspended and even completely stopped due to resistance from local communities. The key concerns of local residents typically include perceived or real impact of mining enterprises on the environment, unfair distribution of profits from mining and exploration activities, insufficient contributions to local government budgets and lack of transparency regarding ultimate ownership of companies conducting exploration and mining. The article looks at social conflicts of this kind and suggests some alternative solutions that could prevent such conflicts at the stage of granting exploration and mining rights. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
Open AccessArticle Clinical and Metabolic Parameters in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma and Colorectal Cancer Patients with and without KRAS Mutations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8645-8660; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908645
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (278 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lung cancer (LC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are the first and second deadliest types of cancer worldwide. EGFR-based therapy has been used in the treatment of these cancers with variable success. Presence of mutations in the KRAS driver oncogene, possibly induced by [...] Read more.
Lung cancer (LC) and colorectal cancer (CRC) are the first and second deadliest types of cancer worldwide. EGFR-based therapy has been used in the treatment of these cancers with variable success. Presence of mutations in the KRAS driver oncogene, possibly induced by environmental factors such as carcinogens in diet and cigarette smoke, may confer worse prognosis and resistance to treatment for reasons not fully understood. Data on possible associations between KRAS mutational status and clinical and metabolic parameters, which may help in clinical management, as well as in identifying risk factors for developing these cancers, are limited in the current literature. We sequenced the KRAS gene and investigated the associations of variations in 108 patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC), the most common form of LC, and in 116 patients with CRC. All of the mutations originated from the guanosine nucleotide and over half of all transversions in NSCLC and CRC were c.34 G>T and c.35 G>T, respectively. c.35 G>A was the most frequent type of transition in both cancers. Excluding smoking, the clinical and metabolic parameters in patients carrying mutant and wild type KRAS were similar except that the CRC patients with transversion mutations were 8.6 years younger than those carrying the transitions (P < 0.01). Dyslipidemia, hypertension, family cancer history, and age of diagnosis older than 60 years were more frequent in NSCLC than CRC (P ≤ 0.04). These results suggest that most of the clinical and metabolic parameters investigated in this study are probably not associated with the more aggressive phenotype and differences in response to EGFR-based treatment previously reported in patients with KRAS mutations. However, the increased rates of abnormal metabolic parameters in patients with NSCLC in comparison to CRC indicate that these parameters may be more important in the management of NSCLC. CRC patients carrying transition mutations are older than those carrying transversions, suggesting that age may determine the type of KRAS mutation in CRC patients. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hypotension and Environmental Noise: A Replication Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8661-8688; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908661
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 21 July 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (570 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Up to now, traffic noise effect studies focused on hypertension as health outcome. Hypotension has not been considered as a potential health outcome although in experiments some people also responded to noise with decreases of blood pressure. Currently, the characteristics of these [...] Read more.
Up to now, traffic noise effect studies focused on hypertension as health outcome. Hypotension has not been considered as a potential health outcome although in experiments some people also responded to noise with decreases of blood pressure. Currently, the characteristics of these persons are not known and whether this down regulation of blood pressure is an experimental artifact, selection, or can also be observed in population studies is unanswered. In a cross-sectional replication study, we randomly sampled participants (age 20–75, N = 807) from circular areas (radius = 500 m) around 31 noise measurement sites from four noise exposure strata (35–44, 45–54, 55–64, >64 Leq, dBA). Repeated blood pressure measurements were available for a smaller sample (N = 570). Standardized information on socio-demographics, housing, life style and health was obtained by door to door visits including anthropometric measurements. Noise and air pollution exposure was assigned by GIS based on both calculation and measurements. Reported hypotension or hypotension medication past year was the main outcome studied. Exposure-effect relationships were modeled with multiple non-linear logistic regression techniques using separate noise estimations for total, highway and rail exposure. Reported hypotension was significantly associated with rail and total noise exposure and strongly modified by weather sensitivity. Reported hypotension medication showed associations of similar size with rail and total noise exposure without effect modification by weather sensitivity. The size of the associations in the smaller sample with BMI as additional covariate was similar. Other important cofactors (sex, age, BMI, health) and moderators (weather sensitivity, adjacent main roads and associated annoyance) need to be considered as indispensible part of the observed relationship. This study confirms a potential new noise effect pathway and discusses potential patho-physiological routes of actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound and Health related Quality of Life)
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Open AccessArticle Creating an Interest in Research and Development as a Means of Reducing the Gap between Theory and Practice in Primary Care: An Interventional Study Based on Strategic Communication
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8689-8708; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908689
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 20 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
PDF Full-text (1132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Today, healthcare professionals are faced with the challenge of implementing research results in an optimal way. It is therefore important to create a climate that is conducive to research and development (R&D). For this reason, new strategies are required to enhance healthcare [...] Read more.
Today, healthcare professionals are faced with the challenge of implementing research results in an optimal way. It is therefore important to create a climate that is conducive to research and development (R&D). For this reason, new strategies are required to enhance healthcare professionals’ interest in innovative thinking and R&D. Strategic communication with roots in sociology, psychology and political science was employed as a means of achieving long-term behavioural change. The aim of this study was to describe, follow up and evaluate a primary care intervention based on strategic communication intended to increase healthcare professionals’ interest in R&D over time. An interventional cohort study comprising all staff members (N = 1276) in a Swedish primary care area was initiated in 1997 and continued for 12 years. The intention to engage in R&D was measured on two occasions; at 7 and 12 years. Both descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses were employed. The results demonstrated that the positive attitude to R&D increased over time, representing a first step towards new thinking and willingness to change work practices for the benefit of the patient. Strategic communication has not been previously employed as a scientific tool to create a long-term interest in R&D within primary care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Does Primary Care Mental Health Resourcing Affect the Use and Costs of Secondary Psychiatric Services?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8743-8754; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908743
Received: 25 June 2014 / Revised: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (577 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Collaborative care models for treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in primary care have been shown to be effective. The aim of this study was to investigate at the municipal level to what extent investment in mental health personnel at primary care [...] Read more.
Collaborative care models for treatment of depression and anxiety disorders in primary care have been shown to be effective. The aim of this study was to investigate at the municipal level to what extent investment in mental health personnel at primary care health centres in the study area is reflected in the costs and use of secondary psychiatric services. Furthermore, we analysed whether the service provision and use of secondary psychiatric care correlates with the socioeconomic indicators of need. We found significant variation in the amount of mental health personnel provided at the health centres, uncorrelated with the indicators of need nor with the costs of secondary psychiatric care. The amount of mental health nurses at the health centres correlated inversely with the number of secondary psychiatric outpatient visits, whereas its relation to inpatient days and admission was positive. The costs of secondary psychiatric care correlated with level of psychiatric morbidity and socioeconomic indicators of need. The results suggest that when aiming at equal access of care and cost-efficiency, the primary and secondary care should be organized and planned with integrative collaboration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
Open AccessArticle Safety and Protective Effectiveness of Two Strains of Lactobacillus with Probiotic Features in an Experimental Model of Salmonellosis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8755-8776; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908755
Received: 23 July 2014 / Revised: 12 August 2014 / Accepted: 17 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1360 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Two strains of Lactobacillus, previously isolated from bovine faeces and tested in vitro for properties desired in probiotics, were evaluated for their in vivo effectiveness in protecting against experimental salmonellosis. L. salivarius L38 and L. acidophilus L36 previously demonstrated the ability [...] Read more.
Two strains of Lactobacillus, previously isolated from bovine faeces and tested in vitro for properties desired in probiotics, were evaluated for their in vivo effectiveness in protecting against experimental salmonellosis. L. salivarius L38 and L. acidophilus L36 previously demonstrated the ability to successfully colonize the gastrointestinal tract of germ-free mice and stimulate the immune system associated with the intestinal mucosa. L38- or L36-feeding showed no detrimental effect on the general health indicators and did not induce changes in normal architecture of liver and small intestine, indicating that the use of these strains is apparently safe. In control animals fed L38 strain, several cytokines had augmented mRNA levels that can be associated with a homeostatic state of intestinal mucosa, while L36 had less diverse regulation. IgA production and secretion in the intestinal lumen induced by infection was abrogated by pretreating with both lactobacilli. In addition, liver and small intestine histological scores and, translocation of Salmonella cells to liver and spleen, indicated that these strains did not confer protection against the infection. So, the IL-12:IL-18àIFN-g axis, essential for an effective immune response against Salmonella, was not favored with L38 or L36 strains. However, increased expression of IL-10 in different portions of the gastrointestinal tract of L38-fed animals is indicative of anti-inflammatory effect to be explored furthermore. Full article
Open AccessArticle Air Quality Modeling in Support of the Near-Road Exposures and Effects of Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8777-8793; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908777
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (2544 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A major challenge in traffic-related air pollution exposure studies is the lack of information regarding pollutant exposure characterization. Air quality modeling can provide spatially and temporally varying exposure estimates for examining relationships between traffic-related air pollutants and adverse health outcomes. A hybrid [...] Read more.
A major challenge in traffic-related air pollution exposure studies is the lack of information regarding pollutant exposure characterization. Air quality modeling can provide spatially and temporally varying exposure estimates for examining relationships between traffic-related air pollutants and adverse health outcomes. A hybrid air quality modeling approach was used to estimate exposure to traffic-related air pollutants in support of the Near-Road Exposures and Effects of Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS) conducted in Detroit (Michigan, USA). Model-based exposure metrics, associated with local variations of emissions and meteorology, were estimated using a combination of the American Meteorological Society/Environmental Protection Agency Regulatory Model (AERMOD) and Research LINE-source dispersion model for near-surface releases (RLINE) dispersion models, local emission source information from the National Emissions Inventory, detailed road network locations and traffic activity, and meteorological data from the Detroit City Airport. The regional background contribution was estimated using a combination of the Community Multi-scale Air Quality (CMAQ) and the Space-Time Ordinary Kriging (STOK) models. To capture the near-road pollutant gradients, refined “mini-grids” of model receptors were placed around participant homes. Exposure metrics for CO, NOx, PM2.5 and its components (elemental and organic carbon) were predicted at each home location for multiple time periods including daily and rush hours. The exposure metrics were evaluated for their ability to characterize the spatial and temporal variations of multiple ambient air pollutants compared to measurements across the study area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling)
Open AccessArticle Odor and Noise Intolerance in Persons with Self-Reported Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8794-8805; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908794
Received: 11 May 2014 / Revised: 10 August 2014 / Accepted: 19 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (222 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lack of confirmation of symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and triggered by EMF exposure has highlighted the role of individual factors. Prior observations indicate intolerance to other types of environmental exposures among persons with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). This study assessed differences [...] Read more.
Lack of confirmation of symptoms attributed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and triggered by EMF exposure has highlighted the role of individual factors. Prior observations indicate intolerance to other types of environmental exposures among persons with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). This study assessed differences in odor and noise intolerance between persons with EHS and healthy controls by use of subscales and global measures of the Chemical Sensitivity Scale (CSS) and the Noise Sensitivity Scale (NSS). The EHS group scored significantly higher than the controls on all CSS and NSS scales. Correlation coefficients between CSS and NSS scores ranged from 0.60 to 0.65 across measures. The findings suggest an association between EHS and odor and noise intolerance, encouraging further investigation of individual factors for understanding EMF-related symptoms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessArticle Field Application of Modified In Situ Soil Flushing in Combination with Air Sparging at a Military Site Polluted by Diesel and Gasoline in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8806-8824; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908806
Received: 28 April 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study the full-scale operation of soil flushing with air sparging to improve the removal efficiency of petroleum at depths of less than 7 m at a military site in Korea was evaluated. The target area was polluted by multiple gasoline [...] Read more.
In this study the full-scale operation of soil flushing with air sparging to improve the removal efficiency of petroleum at depths of less than 7 m at a military site in Korea was evaluated. The target area was polluted by multiple gasoline and diesel fuel sources. The soil was composed of heterogeneous layers of granules, sand, silt and clay. The operation factors were systemically assessed using a column test and a pilot study before running the full-scale process at the site. The discharged TPH and BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) concentrations in the water were highest at 20 min and at a rate of 350 L/min, which was selected as the volume of air for the full-scale operation in the pilot air sparging test. The surfactant-aid condition was 1.4 times more efficient than the non-surfactant condition in the serial operations of modified soil flushing followed by air sparging. The hydraulic conductivity (3.13 × 10−3 cm/s) increased 4.7 times after the serial operation of both processes relative to the existing condition (6.61 × 10−4 cm/s). The removal efficiencies of TPH were 52.8%, 57.4%, and 61.8% for the soil layers at 6 to 7, 7 to 8 and 8 to 9 m, respectively. Therefore, the TPH removal was improved at depth of less than 7 m by using this modified remediation system. The removal efficiencies for the areas with TPH and BTEX concentrations of more than 500 and 80 mg/kg, were 55.5% and 92.9%, respectively, at a pore volume of 2.9. The total TPH and BTEX mass removed during the full-scale operation was 5109 and 752 kg, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of the Human Buccal Cell Assay and the Pollen Abortion Assay in Assessing Genotoxicity in an Urban-Rural Gradient
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8825-8838; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908825
Received: 18 July 2014 / Revised: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 21 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1770 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air pollution is exacerbated near heavy traffic roads in cities. Air pollution concentration and composition vary by region and depend on urban-rural gradients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the distribution of air pollution in areas of varying population densities [...] Read more.
Air pollution is exacerbated near heavy traffic roads in cities. Air pollution concentration and composition vary by region and depend on urban-rural gradients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the distribution of air pollution in areas of varying population densities and to compare plant biomonitoring with an established biomarker of human exposure to traffic-related air pollution in children. The areas of study were selected near a major street in 3 different regions. Areas A, B and C represent high, intermediate and low population densities, respectively. Micronucleus assay, an established biomarker of human exposure, was performed in children from these areas. For a plant biomonitoring assay, the pollen abortion assay was performed on Bauhinia variegata in these areas. NO2 and O3 concentrations were determined by passive sampling. We report here that the pollen abortion frequency in Bauhinia variegata is correlated with NO2 concentration (P = 0.004) and is strongly associated with vehicular flow and population density in the studied areas. Micronuclei frequency in buccal cells of children was higher in the regions with more degree of urbanization (P < 0.001) following the same pattern of O3 concentrations (P = 0.030). In conclusion, our results demonstrate that high concentrations of air pollutants in Porto Alegre are related to both human and plant genotoxicity. Areas with different concentration of pollutants demonstrated to have an urbanization gradient dependent pattern which also reflected on genotoxic damage among these areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Alternative Zoning Scenarios for Regional Sustainable Land Use Controls in China: A Knowledge-Based Multiobjective Optimisation Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8839-8866; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908839
Received: 2 April 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1860 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alternative land use zoning scenarios provide guidance for sustainable land use controls. This study focused on an ecologically vulnerable catchment on the Loess Plateau in China, proposed a novel land use zoning model, and generated alternative zoning solutions to satisfy the various [...] Read more.
Alternative land use zoning scenarios provide guidance for sustainable land use controls. This study focused on an ecologically vulnerable catchment on the Loess Plateau in China, proposed a novel land use zoning model, and generated alternative zoning solutions to satisfy the various requirements of land use stakeholders and managers. This model combined multiple zoning objectives, i.e., maximum zoning suitability, maximum planning compatibility and maximum spatial compactness, with land use constraints by using goal programming technique, and employed a modified simulated annealing algorithm to search for the optimal zoning solutions. The land use zoning knowledge was incorporated into the initialisation operator and neighbourhood selection strategy of the simulated annealing algorithm to improve its efficiency. The case study indicates that the model is both effective and robust. Five optimal zoning scenarios of the study area were helpful for satisfying the requirements of land use controls in loess hilly regions, e.g., land use intensification, agricultural protection and environmental conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings from 2014 Global Land Project (GLP) Asia Conference)
Open AccessArticle Altered Gene Transcription in Human Cells Treated with Ludox® Silica Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8867-8890; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908867
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
PDF Full-text (993 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) have found extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, biomedical and biotechnological fields. Therefore, the increasing exposure to such ultrafine particles requires studies to characterize their potential cytotoxic effects in order to provide exhaustive information to assess the [...] Read more.
Silica (SiO2) nanoparticles (NPs) have found extensive applications in industrial manufacturing, biomedical and biotechnological fields. Therefore, the increasing exposure to such ultrafine particles requires studies to characterize their potential cytotoxic effects in order to provide exhaustive information to assess the impact of nanomaterials on human health. The understanding of the biological processes involved in the development and maintenance of a variety of pathologies is improved by genome-wide approaches, and in this context, gene set analysis has emerged as a fundamental tool for the interpretation of the results. In this work we show how the use of a combination of gene-by-gene and gene set analyses can enhance the interpretation of results of in vitro treatment of A549 cells with Ludox® colloidal amorphous silica nanoparticles. By gene-by-gene and gene set analyses, we evidenced a specific cell response in relation to NPs size and elapsed time after treatment, with the smaller NPs (SM30) having higher impact on inflammatory and apoptosis processes than the bigger ones. Apoptotic process appeared to be activated by the up-regulation of the initiator genes TNFa and IL1b and by ATM. Moreover, our analyses evidenced that cell treatment with LudoxÒ silica nanoparticles activated the matrix metalloproteinase genes MMP1, MMP10 and MMP9. The information derived from this study can be informative about the cytotoxicity of Ludox® and other similar colloidal amorphous silica NPs prepared by solution processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
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Open AccessArticle Soil Microbial Functional and Fungal Diversity as Influenced by Municipal Sewage Sludge Accumulation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8891-8908; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908891
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 12 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1058 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Safe disposal of municipal sewage sludge is a challenging global environmental concern. The aim of this study was to assess the response of soil microbial functional diversity to the accumulation of municipal sewage sludge during landfill storage. Soil samples of a municipal [...] Read more.
Safe disposal of municipal sewage sludge is a challenging global environmental concern. The aim of this study was to assess the response of soil microbial functional diversity to the accumulation of municipal sewage sludge during landfill storage. Soil samples of a municipal sewage sludge (SS) and from a sewage sludge landfill that was 3 m from a SS landfill (SS3) were analyzed relative to an undisturbed reference soil. Biolog EcoPlatesTM were inoculated with a soil suspension, and the Average Well Color Development (AWCD), Richness (R) and Shannon-Weaver index (H) were calculated to interpret the results. The fungi isolated from the sewage sludge were identified using comparative rDNA sequencing of the LSU D2 region. The MicroSEQ® ID software was used to assess the raw sequence files, perform sequence matching to the MicroSEQ® ID-validated reference database and create Neighbor-Joining trees. Moreover, the genera of fungi isolated from the soil were identified using microscopic methods. Municipal sewage sludge can serve as a habitat for plant pathogens and as a source of pathogen strains for biotechnological applications. Full article
Open AccessArticle Study on an Air Quality Evaluation Model for Beijing City Under Haze-Fog Pollution Based on New Ambient Air Quality Standards
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8909-8923; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908909
Received: 24 July 2014 / Revised: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (365 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since 2012, China has been facing haze-fog weather conditions, and haze-fog pollution and PM2.5 have become hot topics. It is very necessary to evaluate and analyze the ecological status of the air environment of China, which is of great significance for [...] Read more.
Since 2012, China has been facing haze-fog weather conditions, and haze-fog pollution and PM2.5 have become hot topics. It is very necessary to evaluate and analyze the ecological status of the air environment of China, which is of great significance for environmental protection measures. In this study the current situation of haze-fog pollution in China was analyzed first, and the new Ambient Air Quality Standards were introduced. For the issue of air quality evaluation, a comprehensive evaluation model based on an entropy weighting method and nearest neighbor method was developed. The entropy weighting method was used to determine the weights of indicators, and the nearest neighbor method was utilized to evaluate the air quality levels. Then the comprehensive evaluation model was applied into the practical evaluation problems of air quality in Beijing to analyze the haze-fog pollution. Two simulation experiments were implemented in this study. One experiment included the indicator of PM2.5 and was carried out based on the new Ambient Air Quality Standards (GB 3095-2012); the other experiment excluded PM2.5 and was carried out based on the old Ambient Air Quality Standards (GB 3095-1996). Their results were compared, and the simulation results showed that PM2.5 was an important indicator for air quality and the evaluation results of the new Air Quality Standards were more scientific than the old ones. The haze-fog pollution situation in Beijing City was also analyzed based on these results, and the corresponding management measures were suggested. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling)
Open AccessArticle Identification of Diarrheagenic Escherichia coli Strains from Avian Organic Fertilizers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8924-8939; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908924
Received: 11 March 2014 / Revised: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 22 July 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Brazilian poultry industry generates large amounts of organic waste, such as chicken litter, which is often used in agriculture. Among the bacteria present in organic fertilizer are members of the Enterobacteriaceae family. The objective of this study was to detect the [...] Read more.
The Brazilian poultry industry generates large amounts of organic waste, such as chicken litter, which is often used in agriculture. Among the bacteria present in organic fertilizer are members of the Enterobacteriaceae family. The objective of this study was to detect the presence of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli (DEC) strains in avian organic fertilizer, and assess the potential damage they can cause in humans due to antimicrobial resistance. The presence of DEC pathotypes and phylogenetic groups were detected by multiplex-PCR. Phenotypic assays, such as tests for adhesion, cytotoxicity activity, biofilm formation and especially antimicrobial susceptibility, were performed. Fifteen DEC strains from 64 E. coli were isolated. Among these, four strains were classified as enteropathogenic (EPEC; 6.2%), three strains as Shiga toxin-producing (STEC; 4.7%), 10 strains as enteroaggregative (EAEC; 12.5%), but two of these harbored the eaeA gene too. The low number of isolated strains was most likely due to the composting process, which reduces the number of microorganisms. These strains were able to adhere to HEp-2 and HeLa cells and produce Shiga-toxins and biofilms; in addition, some of the strains showed antimicrobial resistance, which indicates a risk of the transfer of resistance genes to human E. coli. These results showed that DEC strains isolated from avian organic fertilizers can cause human infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
Open AccessArticle Examination of Spatial Polygamy among Young Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men in New York City: The P18 Cohort Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8962-8983; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908962
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (622 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The few previous studies examining the influence of the neighborhood context on health and health behavior among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YMSM) have predominantly focused on residential neighborhoods. No studies have examined multiple neighborhood contexts [...] Read more.
The few previous studies examining the influence of the neighborhood context on health and health behavior among young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YMSM) have predominantly focused on residential neighborhoods. No studies have examined multiple neighborhood contexts among YMSM or the relationships between sociodemographic characteristics, psychosocial factors, social support network characteristics, health behaviors, and neighborhood concordance. In this study, we assessed spatial polygamy by determining the amount of concordance between residential, social, and sex neighborhoods (defined as boroughs) in addition to examining individual-level characteristics that may be associated with neighborhood concordance. These data come from the baseline assessment of Project 18, a cohort of racially and ethnically diverse YMSM residing in the New York City metropolitan area. Participants (N = 598) provided information on their residential, social, and sex boroughs as well as information on their sociodemographic characteristics, psychosocial factors, social support network characteristics, and health behaviors (e.g., substance use and condomless sex). Descriptive analyses were conducted to examine the distribution of boroughs reported across all three contexts, i.e., residential, social, and sex boroughs. Next, concordance between: (1) residential and social boroughs; (2) residential and sex boroughs; (3) social and sex boroughs; and (4) residential, social, and sex boroughs was assessed. Finally, bivariable analyses were conducted to examine the relationships between sociodemographic characteristics, psychosocial factors, social support network characteristics, and health behaviors in relation to borough concordance. Approximately two-thirds of participants reported concordance between residential/socializing, residential/sex, and sex/socializing boroughs, whereas 25% reported concordance between all three residential/socializing/sex boroughs. Borough concordance varied by some individual-level characteristics. For example, White YMSM and YMSM reporting lower perceived socioeconomic status were significantly more likely to report residential/socializing/sex borough concordance (p < 0.001). With regard to psychosocial factors, YMSM who reported experiencing gay-related stigma in public forums were more likely to report discordant socializing/sex and residential/socializing/sex boroughs (p < 0.001). Greater frequency of communication with network members (>weekly) was associated with less residential/social borough concordance (p < 0.05). YMSM who reported residential/socializing/sex borough concordance were more likely to report recent (last 30 days) alcohol use, recent marijuana use, and recently engaging in condomless oral sex (all p < 0.05). These findings suggest that spatial polygamy, or an individual moving across and experiencing multiple neighborhood contexts, is prevalent among urban YMSM and that spatial polygamy varies by multiple individual-level characteristics. Future research among YMSM populations should consider multiple neighborhood contexts in order to provide a more nuanced understanding of how and which neighborhood contexts influence the health and well-being of YMSM. This further examination of spatial polygamy (and individual-level characteristics associated with it) may increase understanding of the most appropriate locations for targeted disease prevention and health promotion interventions (e.g., HIV prevention interventions). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Strong Associations Between the Pesticide Hexachlorocyclohexane and Type 2 Diabetes in Saudi Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8984-8995; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908984
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 20 August 2014 / Published: 29 August 2014
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Abstract
Pesticide exposure has been implicated as an environmental risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The aim of this study was to investigate the association of the body burden of the pesticide hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) with the risk of [...] Read more.
Pesticide exposure has been implicated as an environmental risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The aim of this study was to investigate the association of the body burden of the pesticide hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) with the risk of T2DM in a sample of adults from Saudi Arabia. Serum samples were obtained from 280 adult subjects. Hexachlorocyclohexane isomer residues were measured by high-resolution gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Data on lifestyle, dietary habits, and health status were gathered. Associations between exposure and T2DM were analyzed by logistic regression. Around 49% of adults enrolled in this study were diagnosed with T2DM. Among various HCH isomers, serum concentrations of the pesticides β and γ-HCH were most strongly and consistently linked to T2DM in our studied subjects. Associations of HCH varied across five components of the metabolic syndrome. It positively and significantly associated with four out of the five components, especially elevated triglycerides, high fasting glucose, high blood pressure and HOMA-IR but negatively and significantly with HDL-cholesterol. This study in line with earlier ones about diabetes associated with HCH pesticide exposure and proposes possible hormonal pathways worthy of further investigation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Climatic Factors and Community — Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Skin and Soft-Tissue Infections — A Time-Series Analysis Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8996-9007; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908996
Received: 23 June 2014 / Revised: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 29 August 2014
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Abstract
Skin and soft tissue infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (SA-SSTIs) including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have experienced a significant surge all over the world. Changing climatic factors are affecting the global burden of dermatological infections and there is a lack of information [...] Read more.
Skin and soft tissue infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (SA-SSTIs) including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have experienced a significant surge all over the world. Changing climatic factors are affecting the global burden of dermatological infections and there is a lack of information on the association between climatic factors and MRSA infections. Therefore, association of temperature and relative humidity (RH) with occurrence of SA-SSTIs (n = 387) and also MRSA (n = 251) was monitored for 18 months in the outpatient clinic at a tertiary care hospital located in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India. The Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method was used for antibiotic susceptibility testing. Time-series analysis was used to investigate the potential association of climatic factors (weekly averages of maximum temperature, minimum temperature and RH) with weekly incidence of SA-SSTIs and MRSA infections. The analysis showed that a combination of weekly average maximum temperature above 33 °C coinciding with weekly average RH ranging between 55% and 78%, is most favorable for the occurrence of SA-SSTIs and MRSA and within these parameters, each unit increase in occurrence of MRSA was associated with increase in weekly average maximum temperature of 1.7 °C (p = 0.044) and weekly average RH increase of 10% (p = 0.097). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
Open AccessArticle Prevalence, Patterns and Correlates of Cigarette Smoking in Male Adolescents in Northern Jordan, and the Influence of Waterpipe Use and Asthma Diagnosis: A Descriptive Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9008-9023; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909008
Received: 14 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
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Abstract
Our study investigates the prevalence, patterns and predictors of tobacco smoking among early adolescent males in Northern Jordan and whether asthma diagnosis affects smoking patterns. A descriptive cross sectional design was used. Males in grades 7 and 8 from four randomly selected [...] Read more.
Our study investigates the prevalence, patterns and predictors of tobacco smoking among early adolescent males in Northern Jordan and whether asthma diagnosis affects smoking patterns. A descriptive cross sectional design was used. Males in grades 7 and 8 from four randomly selected high schools in the city of Irbid were enrolled. Data on waterpipe (WP) use and cigarette smoking patterns were obtained (n = 815) using a survey in Arabic language. The overall prevalence of ever having smoked a cigarette was 35.6%, with 86.2% of this group smoking currently. Almost half of the sample reported WP use. The most common age in which adolescents started to experiment with cigarettes was 11–12 years old (49.1%), although 10 years was also common (25.3%). Significant predictors of male cigarette smoking were WP use (OR = 4.15, 95% CI = 2.99–5.76), asthma diagnosis (OR = 2.35, 95% CI = 1.46–3.78), grade 8 (OR = 1.52, 95% CI = 1.10–2.11), and having a sibling who smokes (OR = 2.23, 95% CI = 1.53–3.24). However, this cross-sectional study cannot establish causality, thus longitudinal studies are needed. Public health programs and school-based anti-tobacco smoking interventions that target children in early years at high schools are warranted to prevent the uptake of tobacco use among this vulnerable age group. High school students with asthma should be specifically targeted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Urinary 1-Hydroxypyrene is Associated with Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Biomarkers in Acute Myocardial Infarction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9024-9037; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909024
Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
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Abstract
Several studies have associated exposure to environmental pollutants, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), with the development of cardiovascular diseases. Considering that 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) is the major biomarker of exposure to pyrenes, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential association [...] Read more.
Several studies have associated exposure to environmental pollutants, especially polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), with the development of cardiovascular diseases. Considering that 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) is the major biomarker of exposure to pyrenes, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the potential association between 1-OHP and oxidative stress/inflammatory biomarkers in patients who had suffered an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). After adopting the exclusion criteria, 58 post-infarction patients and 41 controls were sub-divided into smokers and non-smokers. Urinary 1-OHP, hematological and biochemical parameters, oxidative stress biomarkers (MDA, SOD, CAT, GPx and exogenous antioxidants) and the inflammatory biomarker (hs-CRP) were analyzed. 1-OHP levels were increased in post-infarct patients compared to controls (p < 0.05) and were correlated to MDA (r = 0.426, p < 0.01), CAT (r = 0.474, p < 0.001) and β-carotene (r = −0.309; p < 0.05) in non-smokers. Furthermore, post-infarction patients had elevated hs-CRP, MDA, CAT and GPx levels compared to controls for both smokers and non-smokers. Besides, β-carotene levels and SOD activity were decreased in post-infarction patients. In summary, our findings indicate that the exposure to pyrenes was associated to lipid damage and alterations of endogenous and exogenous antioxidants, demonstrating that PAHs contribute to oxidative stress and are associated to acute myocardial infarction. Full article
Open AccessArticle Multiple Zoonotic Parasites Identified in Dog Feces Collected in Ponte de Lima, Portugal—A Potential Threat to Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9050-9067; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909050
Received: 23 June 2014 / Revised: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
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Abstract
Dogs play many roles and their presence within people’s houses has increased. In rural settings dog faeces are not removed from the streets, representing an environmental pollution factor. Our aim was to evaluate the occurrence of environmental contamination with zoonotic intestinal parasites [...] Read more.
Dogs play many roles and their presence within people’s houses has increased. In rural settings dog faeces are not removed from the streets, representing an environmental pollution factor. Our aim was to evaluate the occurrence of environmental contamination with zoonotic intestinal parasites of three groups of dogs in Ponte de Lima, Portugal, with a particular emphasis on Echinococcus granulosus. We collected 592 dog faecal samples from the environment, farm and hunting dogs. Qualitative flotation coprological analysis was performed and the frequency in the positive samples ranged between 57.44% and 81.19% in different groups. We isolated up to four different parasites in one sample and detected seven intestinal parasitic species, genera or families overall. Ancylostomatidae was the most prevalent parasite, followed by Trichuris spp., Toxocara spp., Isospora spp., Dipylidium caninum, Taeniidae and Toxascaris leonina. Taeniidae eggs were analyzed with the PCR technique and revealed not to be from Echinococcus. The parasite prevalence and the diversity of zoonotic parasites found were high, which calls for a greater awareness of the problem among the population, especially hunters. Promoting research at the local level is important to plan control strategies. Health education should be developed with regard to farmers and hunters, and a closer collaboration between researchers, practitioners and public health authorities is needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Family-Related Opinions and Stressful Situations Associated with Psychological Distress in Women Undergoing Infertility Treatment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9068-9081; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909068
Received: 27 May 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 2 September 2014
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate how family-related opinions and stressful situations are related to psychological distress in women undergoing infertility treatment. The subjects in this cross-sectional study were recruited from female patients undergoing infertility treatment (n = 2540) [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to investigate how family-related opinions and stressful situations are related to psychological distress in women undergoing infertility treatment. The subjects in this cross-sectional study were recruited from female patients undergoing infertility treatment (n = 2540) at 70 infertility treatment institutions in Japan. Because of non-participation or missing data, the number of subjects included in the analysis was 635 (response rate, 25.0%). The family-related opinions and stressful situations were evaluated using the original questions. Psychological distress was assessed using a self-report measure, the Kessler Six-question Psychological Distress Scale (K6). The K6 scores of the following participants were significantly (p < 0.05) and independently high: those with more frequent miscarriage/stillbirth/abortions, those with repeated miscarriages as the cause of infertility, those with infertility of unknown causes, those living with no child, those having a low joint income with their partner, those with the opinion that “women should devote themselves to their household duties” those who had considered stopping treatment, those without the opinion that “married life without children is favorable” and those who had experienced stressful situations such as inadequate explanation by doctors, frustration of multiple failed attempts, differences of opinion with the partner, and lack of knowledge regarding when to stop treatment. Family-related opinions and stressful situations associated with psychological distress in women undergoing infertility treatment are outlined. The results of this study may contribute to the prevention of and care for psychological distress in female patients undergoing infertility treatment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Endurance Sport and “Cardiac Injury”: A Prospective Study of Recreational Ironman Athletes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9082-9100; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909082
Received: 20 July 2014 / Revised: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 24 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
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Abstract
Background: Participation in triathlon competitions has increased in recent years. Many studies have described left or right ventricular injury in endurance athletes. The goal of this study was to examine the right and left ventricular cardiac structures and function and dynamic [...] Read more.
Background: Participation in triathlon competitions has increased in recent years. Many studies have described left or right ventricular injury in endurance athletes. The goal of this study was to examine the right and left ventricular cardiac structures and function and dynamic cardio-pulmonary performance in a large cohort of middle- and long-distance triathletes. Methods: 87 triathletes (54 male and 33 female) were examined using spiroergometry and echocardiography. The inclusion criterion was participation in at least one middle- or long distance triathlon. Results: Male triathletes showed a maximum oxygen absorption of 58.1 ± 8.6 mL/min/kg (female triathletes 52.8 ± 5.7 mL/min/kg), maximum ergometer performance of 347.8 ± 49.9 W (female triathletes 264.5 ± 26.1 W). Left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) was normal (male triathletes EF: 61.9% ± 3%, female triathletes EF: 63.0% ± 2.7%) and systolic right ventricular area change fraction (RV AFC%) showed normal values (males RV AFC%: 33.5% ± 2.2%, females 32.2% ± 2.8%). Doppler indices of diastolic function were normal in both groups. With respect to the echocardiographic readings the left ventricular mass for males and females were 217.7 ± 41.6 g and 145.9 ± 31.3 g, respectively. The relative wall thickness for males was 0.50 ± 0.07, whereas it was 0.47 ± 0.09 for females. The probability of left ventricular mass >220 g increased with higher blood pressure during exercise (OR: 1.027, CI 1.002–1.052, p = 0.034) or with higher training volume (OR: 1.23, CI 1.04–1.47, p = 0.019). Conclusions: Right or left ventricular dysfunction could not be found, although the maximal participation in triathlon competitions was 29 years. A left ventricular mass >220 g is more likely to occur with higher arterial pressure during exercise and with a higher training volume. Full article
Open AccessArticle Fast Inverse Distance Weighting-Based Spatiotemporal Interpolation: A Web-Based Application of Interpolating Daily Fine Particulate Matter PM2.5 in the Contiguous U.S. Using Parallel Programming and k-d Tree
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9101-9141; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909101
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
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Abstract
Epidemiological studies have identified associations between mortality and changes in concentration of particulate matter. These studies have highlighted the public concerns about health effects of particulate air pollution. Modeling fine particulate matter PM2.5 exposure risk and monitoring day-to-day changes in PM [...] Read more.
Epidemiological studies have identified associations between mortality and changes in concentration of particulate matter. These studies have highlighted the public concerns about health effects of particulate air pollution. Modeling fine particulate matter PM2.5 exposure risk and monitoring day-to-day changes in PM2.5 concentration is a critical step for understanding the pollution problem and embarking on the necessary remedy. This research designs, implements and compares two inverse distance weighting (IDW)-based spatiotemporal interpolation methods, in order to assess the trend of daily PM2.5 concentration for the contiguous United States over the year of 2009, at both the census block group level and county level. Traditionally, when handling spatiotemporal interpolation, researchers tend to treat space and time separately and reduce the spatiotemporal interpolation problems to a sequence of snapshots of spatial interpolations. In this paper, PM2.5 data interpolation is conducted in the continuous space-time domain by integrating space and time simultaneously, using the so-called extension approach. Time values are calculated with the help of a factor under the assumption that spatial and temporal dimensions are equally important when interpolating a continuous changing phenomenon in the space-time domain. Various IDW-based spatiotemporal interpolation methods with different parameter configurations are evaluated by cross-validation. In addition, this study explores computational issues (computer processing speed) faced during implementation of spatiotemporal interpolation for huge data sets. Parallel programming techniques and an advanced data structure, named k-d tree, are adapted in this paper to address the computational challenges. Significant computational improvement has been achieved. Finally, a web-based spatiotemporal IDW-based interpolation application is designed and implemented where users can visualize and animate spatiotemporal interpolation results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Non-Invasive Radiofrequency Treatment and Hyperthermia on Malignant and Nonmalignant Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9142-9153; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909142
Received: 1 August 2014 / Revised: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
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Abstract
Background: Exposure of biological subjects to electromagnetic fields with a high frequency is associated with temperature elevation. In our recent studies, we reported that non-invasive radiofrequency (RF) treatment at 13.56 MHz with the field ranging from 1 KeV to 20 KeV/m2 [...] Read more.
Background: Exposure of biological subjects to electromagnetic fields with a high frequency is associated with temperature elevation. In our recent studies, we reported that non-invasive radiofrequency (RF) treatment at 13.56 MHz with the field ranging from 1 KeV to 20 KeV/m2 inhibits tumor progression in animals with abdominal tumor xenografts and enhances the anticancer effect of chemotherapy. The RF treatment was followed by temperature elevation in tumors to approximately 46 °C during 10 min of exposure. In contrast, the temperature of normal tissues remained within a normal range at approximately 37 °C. Whether all biological effects of RF treatment are limited to its hyperthermic property remains unclear. Here, we compared how RF and hyperthermia (HT) treatments change the proliferation rate, oxygen consumption and autophagy in malignant and nonmalignant cells. Methods: In the current study, cancer and nonmalignant cells of pancreatic origin were exposed to the RF field or to conventional HT at 46 °C, which was chosen based on our previous in vivo studies of the tumor-specific RF-induced hyperthermia. Results: Only RF treatment caused declines in cancer cell viability and proliferation. RF treatment also affected mitochondrial function in cancer cells more than HT treatment did and, unlike HT treatment, was followed by the elevation of autophagosomes in the cytoplasm of cancer cells. Importantly, the effects of RF treatment were negligible in nonmalignant cells. Conclusion: The obtained data indicate that the effects of RF treatment are specific to cancer cells and are not limited to its hyperthermic property. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Dose-Response Relationship between Organic Mercury Exposure from Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines and Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9156-9170; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909156
Received: 12 July 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
A hypothesis testing case-control study evaluated concerns about the toxic effects of organic-mercury (Hg) exposure from thimerosal-containing (49.55% Hg by weight) vaccines on the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). Automated medical records were examined to identify cases and controls enrolled from their [...] Read more.
A hypothesis testing case-control study evaluated concerns about the toxic effects of organic-mercury (Hg) exposure from thimerosal-containing (49.55% Hg by weight) vaccines on the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). Automated medical records were examined to identify cases and controls enrolled from their date-of-birth (1991–2000) in the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) project. ND cases were diagnosed with pervasive developmental disorder (PDD), specific developmental delay, tic disorder or hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood. In addition, putative non-thimerosal-related outcomes of febrile seizure, failure to thrive and cerebral degenerations were examined. The cumulative total dose of Hg exposure from thimerosal-containing hepatitis B vaccine (T-HBV) administered within the first six months of life was calculated. On a per microgram of organic-Hg basis, PDD (odds ratio (OR) = 1.054), specific developmental delay (OR = 1.035), tic disorder (OR = 1.034) and hyperkinetic syndrome of childhood (OR = 1.05) cases were significantly more likely than controls to receive increased organic-Hg exposure. By contrast, none of the non-thimerosal related outcomes were significantly more likely than the controls to have received increased organic-Hg exposure. Routine childhood vaccination may be an important public health tool to reduce infectious disease-associated morbidity/mortality, but the present study significantly associates organic-Hg exposure from T-HBV with an increased risk of an ND diagnosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Contaminants in the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Effects of Chronic Intoxication with Inorganic Mercury on Memory and Motor Control in Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9171-9185; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909171
Received: 21 July 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
The aims of this study were to evaluate whether chronic intoxication with mercury chloride (HgCl2), in a low concentration over a long time, can be deposited in the central nervous tissue and to determine if this exposure induces motor and [...] Read more.
The aims of this study were to evaluate whether chronic intoxication with mercury chloride (HgCl2), in a low concentration over a long time, can be deposited in the central nervous tissue and to determine if this exposure induces motor and cognitive impairments. Twenty animals were intoxicated for 45 days at a dose of 0.375 mg/kg/day. After this period, the animals underwent a battery of behavioral tests, in a sequence of open field, social recognition, elevated T maze and rotarod tests. They were then sacrificed, their brains collected and the motor cortex and hippocampus dissected for quantification of mercury deposited. This study demonstrates that long-term chronic HgCl2 intoxication in rats promotes functional damage. Exposure to HgCl2 induced anxiety-related responses, short- and long-term memory impairments and motor deficits. Additionally, HgCl2 accumulated in both the hippocampus and cortex of the brain with a higher affinity for the cortex. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of the Relaxation Response-Based Group Intervention for Treating Depressed Chinese American Immigrants: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9186-9201; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909186
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
Background: This study examined the feasibility, safety and efficacy of an 8-week Relaxation Response (RR)-based group. Methods: Twenty-two depressed Chinese American immigrants were recruited. Outcomes measures were response and remission rates, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Clinical Global Impressions [...] Read more.
Background: This study examined the feasibility, safety and efficacy of an 8-week Relaxation Response (RR)-based group. Methods: Twenty-two depressed Chinese American immigrants were recruited. Outcomes measures were response and remission rates, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, Clinical Global Impressions Scale, Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support Scale. Results: Participants (N = 22) were 82% female, mean age was 53 (±12). After intervention, completers (N = 15) showed a 40% response rate and a 27% remission rate, and statistically significant improvement in most outcome measures. Discussion: The RR-based group is feasible and safe in treating Chinese American immigrants with depression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Refugees Connecting with a New Country through Community Food Gardening
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9202-9216; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909202
Received: 11 June 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
Refugees are a particularly vulnerable population who undergo nutrition transition as a result of forced migration. This paper explores how involvement in a community food garden supports African humanitarian migrant connectedness with their new country. A cross-sectional study of a purposive sample [...] Read more.
Refugees are a particularly vulnerable population who undergo nutrition transition as a result of forced migration. This paper explores how involvement in a community food garden supports African humanitarian migrant connectedness with their new country. A cross-sectional study of a purposive sample of African refugees participating in a campus-based community food garden was conducted. Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with twelve African humanitarian migrants who tended established garden plots within the garden. Interview data were thematically analysed revealing three factors which participants identified as important benefits in relation to community garden participation: land tenure, reconnecting with agri-culture, and community belonging. Community food gardens offer a tangible means for African refugees, and other vulnerable or marginalised populations, to build community and community connections. This is significant given the increasing recognition of the importance of social connectedness for wellbeing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Application of Magnesium Modified Corn Biochar for Phosphorus Removal and Recovery from Swine Wastewater
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9217-9237; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909217
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
The recycling of lost phosphorus (P) is important in sustainable development. In line with this objective, biochar adsorption is a promising method of P recovery. Therefore, our study investigates the efficiency and selectivity of magnesium modified corn biochar (Mg/biochar) in relation to [...] Read more.
The recycling of lost phosphorus (P) is important in sustainable development. In line with this objective, biochar adsorption is a promising method of P recovery. Therefore, our study investigates the efficiency and selectivity of magnesium modified corn biochar (Mg/biochar) in relation to P adsorption. It also examines the available P derived from postsorption Mg/biochar. Mg/biochar is rich in magnesium nanoparticles and organic functional groups, and it can adsorb 90% of the equilibrium amount of P within 30 min. The Mg/biochar P adsorption process is mainly controlled by chemical action. The maximum P adsorption amount of Mg/biochar is 239 mg/g. The Langmuir-Freundlich model fits the P adsorption isotherm best. Thermodynamics calculation shows ∆H > 0, ∆G < 0, ∆S > 0, and it demonstrates the P adsorption process is an endothermic, spontaneous, and increasingly disordered. The optimal pH is 9. The amounts of P adsorbed by Mg/B300, Mg/B450, and Mg/B600 from swine wastewater are lower than that adsorbed from synthetic P wastewater by 6.6%, 4.8%, and 4.2%, respectively. Mg/biochar is more resistant to pH and to the influence of coexisting ions than biochar. Finally, postsorption Mg/biochar can release P persistently. The P release equilibrium concentrations are ordered as follows: Mg/B600 > Mg/B450 > Mg/B300. The postsorption Mg/B300, Mg/B450, and Mg/B600 can release 3.3%, 3.9%, and 4.4% of the total adsorbed P, respectively, per interval time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Removal and Recovery)
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Open AccessArticle A Synthetic Method for Atmospheric Diffusion Simulation and Environmental Impact Assessment of Accidental Pollution in the Chemical Industry in a WEBGIS Context
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9238-9255; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909238
Received: 9 June 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
The chemical industry poses a potential security risk to factory personnel and neighboring residents. In order to mitigate prospective damage, a synthetic method must be developed for an emergency response. With the development of environmental numeric simulation models, model integration methods, and [...] Read more.
The chemical industry poses a potential security risk to factory personnel and neighboring residents. In order to mitigate prospective damage, a synthetic method must be developed for an emergency response. With the development of environmental numeric simulation models, model integration methods, and modern information technology, many Decision Support Systems (DSSs) have been established. However, existing systems still have limitations, in terms of synthetic simulation and network interoperation. In order to resolve these limitations, the matured simulation model for chemical accidents was integrated into the WEB Geographic Information System (WEBGIS) platform. The complete workflow of the emergency response, including raw data (meteorology information, and accident information) management, numeric simulation of different kinds of accidents, environmental impact assessments, and representation of the simulation results were achieved. This allowed comprehensive and real-time simulation of acute accidents in the chemical industry. The main contribution of this paper is that an organizational mechanism of the model set, based on the accident type and pollutant substance; a scheduling mechanism for the parallel processing of multi-accident-type, multi-accident-substance, and multi-simulation-model; and finally a presentation method for scalar and vector data on the web browser on the integration of a WEB Geographic Information System (WEBGIS) platform. The outcomes demonstrated that this method could provide effective support for deciding emergency responses of acute chemical accidents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling)
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Water and Sanitation on Childhood Mortality in Nigeria: Evidence from Demographic and Health Surveys, 2003–2013
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9256-9272; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909256
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
In Nigeria, approximately 109 million and 66 million people lack access to sanitation facilities and water, respectively. This study aimed to determine whether children under 5 years old without access to improved water and sanitation facilities are at higher risk of death [...] Read more.
In Nigeria, approximately 109 million and 66 million people lack access to sanitation facilities and water, respectively. This study aimed to determine whether children under 5 years old without access to improved water and sanitation facilities are at higher risk of death in Nigeria. Pooled 2003, 2008 and 2013 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey data were used to examine the impact of water and sanitation on deaths of children aged 0–28 days, 1–11 months, and 12–59 months using Cox regression analysis. Survival information of 63,844 children was obtained, which included 6285 deaths of children under 5 years old; there were 2254 cases of neonatal mortality (0–28 days), 1859 cases of post-neonatal mortality (1–11 months) and 2,172 cases of child mortality (1–4 years old). Over a 10-year period, the odds of neonatal, post-neonatal and child deaths significantly reduced by 31%, 41% and 47% respectively. The risk of mortality from both unimproved water and sanitation was significantly higher by 38% (Adjusted hazard ratios (HR) = 1.38, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.14–1.66) for post-neonatal mortality and 24% (HR = 1.24, 95% CI: 1.04–1.48) for child mortality. The risk of neonatal mortality increased by 6% (HR = 1.06, 95% CI: 0.85–1.23) but showed no significant effect. The Nigerian government needs to invest more in water and sanitation to reduce preventable child deaths. Full article
Open AccessArticle Heat-Related Illness among Oregon Farmworkers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9273-9285; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909273
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 15 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 5 September 2014
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Abstract
Farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to climate-sensitive health outcomes such as heat-related illness (HRI) given their tasks involve heavy exertion in an outdoor setting. The objectives of the study were to: (1) describe symptoms of HRI experienced by farmworkers and (2) explore factors [...] Read more.
Farmworkers are particularly vulnerable to climate-sensitive health outcomes such as heat-related illness (HRI) given their tasks involve heavy exertion in an outdoor setting. The objectives of the study were to: (1) describe symptoms of HRI experienced by farmworkers and (2) explore factors associated with heat knowledge, level of concern regarding HRI, and comfort level taking breaks at work. Bilingual research staff conducted personal interviews of 100 farmworkers during July and August 2013. Data collected included demographics, work history and current work practices, trainings received, HRI symptoms experienced, health status, and health behaviors. Nearly 30% of participants reported experiencing ≥2 HRI symptoms during the previous work. Few participants had high level of heat knowledge (21.0%) and 15.6% of participants reported being “very concerned” about the health effects of working in hot conditions. Participants who were paid by the piece were more likely to have a high heat knowledge score and be “very concerned” about HRI but less likely to be “very comfortable” taking a break compared to workers paid by the hour than those who had not received HRI training. Results suggest several areas in which employers and agencies conducting outreach and education to the workers about HRI can change their practices including providing cooling measures and HRI training about risk factors for HRI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Simulation and Evaluation of Pollution Load Reduction Scenarios for Water Environmental Management: A Case Study of Inflow River of Taihu Lake, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9306-9324; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909306
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 18 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 9 September 2014
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Abstract
In the beginning of the 21st century, the deterioration of water quality in Taihu Lake, China, has caused widespread concern. The primary source of pollution in Taihu Lake is river inflows. Effective pollution load reduction scenarios need to be implemented in these [...] Read more.
In the beginning of the 21st century, the deterioration of water quality in Taihu Lake, China, has caused widespread concern. The primary source of pollution in Taihu Lake is river inflows. Effective pollution load reduction scenarios need to be implemented in these rivers in order to improve the water quality of Taihu Lake. It is important to select appropriate pollution load reduction scenarios for achieving particular goals. The aim of this study was to facilitate the selection of appropriate scenarios. The QUAL2K model for river water quality was used to simulate the effects of a range of pollution load reduction scenarios in the Wujin River, which is one of the major inflow rivers of Taihu Lake. The model was calibrated for the year 2010 and validated for the year 2011. Various pollution load reduction scenarios were assessed using an analytic hierarchy process, and increasing rates of evaluation indicators were predicted using the Delphi method. The results showed that control of pollution from the source is the optimal method for pollution prevention and control, and the method of “Treatment after Pollution” has bad environmental, social and ecological effects. The method applied in this study can assist for environmental managers to select suitable pollution load reduction scenarios for achieving various objectives. Full article
Open AccessArticle Removal of Disinfection By-Products from Contaminated Water Using a Synthetic Goethite Catalyst via Catalytic Ozonation and a Biofiltration System
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9325-9344; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909325
Received: 20 May 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
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Abstract
The effects of synthetic goethite (α-FeOOH) used as the catalyst in catalytic ozonation for the degradation of disinfection by-product (DBP) precursors are investigated. A biofiltration column applied following the catalytic ozonation process is used to evaluate the efficiency of removing DBP precursors [...] Read more.
The effects of synthetic goethite (α-FeOOH) used as the catalyst in catalytic ozonation for the degradation of disinfection by-product (DBP) precursors are investigated. A biofiltration column applied following the catalytic ozonation process is used to evaluate the efficiency of removing DBP precursors via biotreatment. Ozone can rapidly react with aromatic compounds and oxidize organic compounds, resulting in a decrease in the fluorescence intensity of dissolved organic matter (DOM). In addition, catalytic ozonation can break down large organic molecules, which causes a blue shift in the emission-excitation matrix spectra. Water treated with catalytic ozonation is composed of low-molecular structures, including soluble microbial products (SMPs) and other aromatic proteins (APs). The DOM in SMPs and APs is removed by subsequent biofiltration. Catalytic ozonation has a higher removal efficiency for dissolved organic carbon and higher ultraviolet absorbance at 254 nm compared to those of ozonation without a catalyst. The use of catalytic ozonation and subsequent biofiltration leads to a lower DBP formation potential during chlorination compared to that obtained using ozonation and catalytic ozonation alone. Regarding DBP species during chlorination, the bromine incorporation factor (BIF) of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids increases with increasing catalyst dosage in catalytic ozonation. Moreover, the highest BIF is obtained for catalytic ozonation and subsequent biofiltration. Full article
Open AccessArticle Recruitment and Baseline Characteristics of Participants in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER)—A Randomized Controlled Lifestyle Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9345-9360; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909345
Received: 9 July 2014 / Revised: 31 August 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
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Abstract
Our aim is to describe the study recruitment and baseline characteristics of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study population. Potential study participants (age 60–77 years, the dementia risk score ≥6) were identified from previous population-based [...] Read more.
Our aim is to describe the study recruitment and baseline characteristics of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER) study population. Potential study participants (age 60–77 years, the dementia risk score ≥6) were identified from previous population-based survey cohorts and invited to the screening visit. To be eligible, cognitive performance measured at the screening visit had to be at the mean level or slightly lower than expected for age. Of those invited (n = 5496), 48% (n = 2654) attended the screening visit, and finally 1260 eligible participants were randomized to the intervention and control groups (1:1). The screening visit non-attendees were slightly older, less educated, and had more vascular risk factors and diseases present. The mean (SD) age of the randomized participants was 69.4 (4.7) years, Mini-Mental State Examination 26.7 (2.0) points, systolic blood pressure 140.1 (16.2) mmHg, total serum cholesterol 5.2 (1.0) mmol/L for, and fasting glucose 6.1 (0.9) mmol/L for, with no difference between intervention and control groups. Several modifiable risk factors were present at baseline indicating an opportunity for the intervention. The FINGER study will provide important information on the effect of lifestyle intervention to prevent cognitive impairment among at risk persons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lifestyle Intervention for Chronic Diseases Prevention)
Open AccessArticle The Evaluation of the Impact of a Stand-Biased Desk on Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity for Elementary School Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9361-9375; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909361
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
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Abstract
Due to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, the association between classroom furniture and energy expenditure as well as physical activity was examined using a standing-desk intervention in three central-Texas elementary schools. Of the 480 students in the 24 classrooms randomly assigned [...] Read more.
Due to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, the association between classroom furniture and energy expenditure as well as physical activity was examined using a standing-desk intervention in three central-Texas elementary schools. Of the 480 students in the 24 classrooms randomly assigned to either a seated or stand-biased desk equipped classroom, 374 agreed to participate in a week-long data collection during the fall and spring semesters. Each participant’s data was collected using Sensewear® armbands and was comprised of measures of energy expenditure (EE) and step count. A hierarchical linear mixed effects model showed that children in seated desk classrooms had significantly lower (EE) and fewer steps during the standardized lecture time than children in stand-biased classrooms after adjusting for grade, race, and gender. The use of a standing desk showed a significant higher mean energy expenditure by 0.16 kcal/min (p < 0.0001) in the fall semester, and a higher EE by 0.08 kcal/min (p = 0.0092) in the spring semester. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Climate Variability Effects on Dengue Incidence in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9409-9428; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909409
Received: 19 June 2014 / Revised: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
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Abstract
We test the hypothesis that climate and environmental conditions are becoming favorable for dengue transmission in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sea Level Pressure (SLP), Mean Sea Level (MSL), Wind, Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Air Surface Temperature (AST), Rainfall, and confirmed dengue cases [...] Read more.
We test the hypothesis that climate and environmental conditions are becoming favorable for dengue transmission in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Sea Level Pressure (SLP), Mean Sea Level (MSL), Wind, Sea Surface Temperature (SST), Air Surface Temperature (AST), Rainfall, and confirmed dengue cases were analyzed. We evaluated the dengue incidence and environmental data with Principal Component Analysis, Pearson correlation coefficient, Mann-Kendall trend test and logistic regressions. Results indicated that dry days are increasing and wet days are decreasing. MSL is increasing, posing higher risk of dengue as the perimeter of the San Juan Bay estuary expands and shorelines move inland. Warming is evident with both SST and AST. Maximum and minimum air surface temperature extremes have increased. Between 1992 and 2011, dengue transmission increased by a factor of 3.4 (95% CI: 1.9–6.1) for each 1 °C increase in SST. For the period 2007–2011 alone, dengue incidence reached a factor of 5.2 (95% CI: 1.9–13.9) for each 1 °C increase in SST. Teenagers are consistently the age group that suffers the most infections in San Juan. Results help understand possible impacts of different climate change scenarios in planning for social adaptation and public health interventions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving Female Participation in Professional Engineering Geology to Bring New Perspectives to Ethics in the Geosciences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9429-9445; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909429
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
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Abstract
Many papers have been published related to the retention and advancement of women in sciences. Engineering geology is one of the professional areas where women have not yet broken the gender barrier. The research issues of this paper are focused on why [...] Read more.
Many papers have been published related to the retention and advancement of women in sciences. Engineering geology is one of the professional areas where women have not yet broken the gender barrier. The research issues of this paper are focused on why female students “leak out” at the end of engineering geology studies, and what can be done to encourage them to complete their degrees with an engineering career in mind. The author has studied students’ preferences of the final year project required to complete their degree at the University of Salamanca (Salamanca, Spain). It has been found that most female students are choosing a more theoretical final project instead of a practical one relevant to professional employment, contrary to their male peers. Focus group meetings with the students showed that at the end of five years of engineering geology training, many female students, unsatisfied with the content of their courses, feel that their expectations had not been met. They often have preferences for traditional geology rather than applied branches of the subject. Also, they do not feel comfortable with future job prospects in the profession. From the findings of this research it is clear that tutoring and mentoring would be valuable from the beginning of studies to allow all students to become aware of the content and the potential outcomes of engineering geology studies. In the case of female students, it is particularly important for them to know from the very start that they are about to join what is still a man’s world but that they are capable of achieving just as much as men can in the profession. Most importantly, the involvement of more female engineers in professional engineering, including teaching duties, should serve as example and role models in students’ education and future careers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle Sleep-Related Factors and Work-Related Injuries among Farmers in Heilongjiang Province, People’s Republic of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9446-9459; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909446
Received: 9 May 2014 / Revised: 27 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
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Abstract
The association between sleep and work-related injuries among Chinese farmers has not been well studied. This study examined the impact of lack of sleep on agricultural work-related injuries among farmers in China. Data were from a cross-sectional survey of farm-workers in northeastern [...] Read more.
The association between sleep and work-related injuries among Chinese farmers has not been well studied. This study examined the impact of lack of sleep on agricultural work-related injuries among farmers in China. Data were from a cross-sectional survey of farm-workers in northeastern China. Information was obtained on injuries that occurred in 12 months prior to the survey, on eight sleep-related variables, and on socio-demographic variables. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to test the hypothesis that lack of sleep significantly increased the risk of work-related injuries after controlling for other injury-related risk- factors. Farmers who slept less than six hours per night were 59% more likely to be injured than those who slept more than eight hours per night (OR = 1.59; 95% CI = 1.04, 2.41). The odds of a work-related injury was 2.46 (1.56–3.89) for farmers who reported going to sleep after midnight at least once a week compared with farmers who reported going to sleep after midnight once a month. Farmers who reported having difficulty falling asleep or waking frequently during the night, who often having nightmares, or who experienced daytime sleepiness were at higher injury risk compared with the reference group after controlling for age, gender and alcohol consumption. Reduced sleep hours and poor sleep quality significantly increased the risk of work-related injuries in Chinese farmers. Sleep hours and sleep quality should be considered when assessing occupational safety among farmers. Full article
Open AccessArticle EMF Monitoring—Concepts, Activities, Gaps and Options
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9460-9479; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909460
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 28 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 11 September 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a cause of concern for many people. The topic will likely remain for the foreseeable future on the scientific and political agenda, since emissions continue to change in characteristics and levels due to new infrastructure deployments, [...] Read more.
Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a cause of concern for many people. The topic will likely remain for the foreseeable future on the scientific and political agenda, since emissions continue to change in characteristics and levels due to new infrastructure deployments, smart environments and novel wireless devices. Until now, systematic and coordinated efforts to monitor EMF exposure are rare. Furthermore, virtually nothing is known about personal exposure levels. This lack of knowledge is detrimental for any evidence-based risk, exposure and health policy, management and communication. The main objective of the paper is to review the current state of EMF exposure monitoring activities in Europe, to comment on the scientific challenges and deficiencies, and to describe appropriate strategies and tools for EMF exposure assessment and monitoring to be used to support epidemiological health research and to help policy makers, administrators, industry and consumer representatives to base their decisions and communication activities on facts and data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessArticle Monitoring of the Environment at the Transplant Unit—Hemato-Oncology Clinic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9480-9490; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909480
Received: 17 July 2014 / Revised: 3 September 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 12 September 2014
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Abstract
Aims: Aim of this study was to monitor the environment at the Transplant Unit—Hemato-Oncology Clinic, University Hospital Olomouc (Olomouc, Czech Republic) and identify risks for the patients. Methods and Results: Microorganisms were cultivated under standard aerobic conditions. Strains were biochemically [...] Read more.
Aims: Aim of this study was to monitor the environment at the Transplant Unit—Hemato-Oncology Clinic, University Hospital Olomouc (Olomouc, Czech Republic) and identify risks for the patients. Methods and Results: Microorganisms were cultivated under standard aerobic conditions. Strains were biochemically identified using the BD Phoenix™ PID Panel (USA). Legionella pneumophila was identified by DNA sequencing. From the air, the most frequently isolated strains were coagulase-negative staphylococci (94.3%), Micrococcus spp. and Bacillus spp. No Gram-negative strains were isolated from the air. From the surfaces, the most frequently isolated Gram-positive strains were coagulase-negative staphylococci (67.4%), Bacillus spp., enterococci (5.5%), Staphylococcus aureus (2.3%) and Micrococcus spp. (1.7%). From the surfaces, the most frequently isolated Gram-negative strains were from genera Pseudomonas (28%), Enterobacter (28%), E. coli (6%), and Klebsiella spp. (5%). From the personnel, the most frequently isolated Gram-positive strains were coagulase-negative staphylococci (59.6%), Bacillus spp. (24.1%) and Staphylococcus aureus (9.8%). From the personnel, the most frequently isolated Gram-negative strains were Enterobacter spp. (61%), Klebsiella oxytoca (18%), and E. coli (11%). Microscopic filamentous fungi were isolated in 13 cases (2.71%). Isolated strains were Aspergillus spp. (4), Trichoderma spp. (2), Penicillium spp. (2), one case of the strains Paecilomyces spp., Eurotium spp., Monilia spp. Conclusions: The study found no significant deviations in the microbial contamination of the cleanroom air. The personnel entrance of the Transplant Unit represent a high risk area, an extreme value (7270 CFU/m3) was recorded. Regime measures are fully effective, no other deficiencies were found. Significance and Impact of the Study: This epidemiological study, which was held for the duration of one year at the Transplant Unit—Hemato-Oncology Clinic, University Hospital Olomouc. The study monitored microbial contamination of the cleanroom air, surfaces, water, colonization of the personnel by bacterial strains of epidemiological consequence. Full article
Open AccessArticle Increased NQO1 but Not c-MET and Survivin Expression in Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma with KRAS Mutations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9491-9502; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909491
Received: 27 May 2014 / Revised: 7 August 2014 / Accepted: 25 August 2014 / Published: 12 September 2014
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Abstract
Cigarette smoking is one of the most significant public health issues and the most common environmental cause of preventable cancer deaths worldwide. EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor)-targeted therapy has been used in the treatment of LC (lung cancer), mainly caused by the [...] Read more.
Cigarette smoking is one of the most significant public health issues and the most common environmental cause of preventable cancer deaths worldwide. EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor)-targeted therapy has been used in the treatment of LC (lung cancer), mainly caused by the carcinogens in cigarette smoke, with variable success. Presence of mutations in the KRAS (Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog) driver oncogene may confer worse prognosis and resistance to treatment for reasons not fully understood. NQO1 (NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase), also known as DT-diaphorase, is a major regulator of oxidative stress and activator of mitomycins, compounds that have been targeted in over 600 pre-clinical trials for treatment of LC. We sequenced KRAS and investigated expression of NQO1 and five clinically relevant proteins (DNMT1, DNMT3a, ERK1/2, c-MET, and survivin) in 108 patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). NQO1, ERK1/2, DNMT1, and DNMT3a but not c-MET and survivin expression was significantly more frequent in patients with KRAS mutations than those without, suggesting the following: (1) oxidative stress may play an important role in the pathogenesis, worse prognosis, and resistance to treatment reported in NSCLC patients with KRAS mutations, (2) selecting patients based on their KRAS mutational status for future clinical trials may increase success rate, and (3) since oxidation of nucleotides also specifically induces transversion mutations, the high rate of KRAS transversions in lung cancer patients may partly be due to the increased oxidative stress in addition to the known carcinogens in cigarette smoke. Full article
Open AccessArticle Acculturation and Depressive Symptoms among Turkish Immigrants in Germany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9503-9521; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909503
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 12 September 2014
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Abstract
The present study explores the impact of acculturation on depressive symptoms among Turkish immigrants in Germany, taking into account different dimensions of cultural orientation. A total of 471 patients from two selected samples (254 primary care patients and 217 outpatients of a [...] Read more.
The present study explores the impact of acculturation on depressive symptoms among Turkish immigrants in Germany, taking into account different dimensions of cultural orientation. A total of 471 patients from two selected samples (254 primary care patients and 217 outpatients of a psychosomatic department) participated. Levels of acculturation were measured as orientation towards culture of origin (CO), and orientation towards the host culture (HC). Acculturation strategies (integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization) were also assessed as well as their association with depressive symptoms (BDI). Furthermore, gender- and migration-related differences in terms of acculturation and levels of depressive symptomatology were analyzed. Integration was the acculturation strategy associated with the lowest level of depressive symptoms (M = 14.6, SD = 11.9), while marginalization was associated with the highest (M = 23.5, SD = 14.7). Gender was not found to have a significant impact on acculturation but influenced depressive symptoms, with women (M = 21.8, SD = 13.3) reporting higher levels of depressive symptomatology than men (M = 15.1, SD = 14.0; p < 0.001). In first generation immigrants, significantly higher CO (M = 46.6, SD = 8.3; p < 0.001), lower HC (M = 31.0, SD = 9.6; p < 0.001), and higher levels of depressive symptoms (M = 20.2, SD = 14.1; p < 0.001) were found in comparison to second generation immigrants (CO: M = 41.3, SD = 7.4; HC: M = 36.2, SD = 8.8; depressive symptoms: M = 14.0, SD = 12.9). Our results suggest that orientation towards both the heritage and the host culture has a positive effect on the mental health status of immigrants. Future research needs to include representative samples of migrants from different cultures to further explore the association between acculturation and mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Barriers to Cessation among Arab American Smokers of Cigarettes and Waterpipe
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9522-9531; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909522
Received: 15 July 2014 / Revised: 26 August 2014 / Accepted: 3 September 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
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Abstract
This cross-sectional study examined the differences in barriers to cessation and reasons for quitting smoking among dual smokers of cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco, exclusive cigarette smokers and exclusive waterpipe smokers. Participants were Arab American adults residing in Richmond, Virginia, who were recruited [...] Read more.
This cross-sectional study examined the differences in barriers to cessation and reasons for quitting smoking among dual smokers of cigarettes and waterpipe tobacco, exclusive cigarette smokers and exclusive waterpipe smokers. Participants were Arab American adults residing in Richmond, Virginia, who were recruited from Middle Eastern grocery stores, restaurants/lounges and faith and charity organizations. The study yielded several key findings: (1) Exclusive cigarette and waterpipe smokers had similar mean barriers to quitting and were more concerned about their health than dual smokers. (F(2, 150) = 5.594, p = 0.0045). This implies that barriers to smoking and health concerns could be a function of the individual who smokes rather than the modality of smoking itself. (2) Exclusive cigarette or waterpipe smokers and dual smokers may have different reasons for quitting, since they have different reasons for smoking. The proportion of smokers who endorsed smoking as a messy habit as the reason among exclusive cigarette smokers was 0.37, whereas the proportion among exclusive waterpipe smokers was 0.04 and among dual smokers 0.39. The difference in proportions is significant, χ2 (df = 2, N = 154) = 13.17, p = 0.0014. In summary, this study supports the need to further investigate dual cigarette and waterpipe smokers, as the study results indicate greater barriers to smoking cessation in this group. Recognition and understanding of these barriers among dual tobacco users would be important for any future tobacco intervention among waterpipe smokers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Differences in Health Symptoms among Residents Living Near Illegal Dump Sites in Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, Mexico: A Cross Sectional Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9532-9552; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909532
Received: 8 July 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
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Abstract
Living near landfills is a known health hazard prompting recognition of environmental injustice. The study aim was to compare self-reported symptoms of ill health among residents of four neighborhoods, living in haphazardly constructed settlements surrounded by illegal dumpsites in Tijuana, Mexico. One [...] Read more.
Living near landfills is a known health hazard prompting recognition of environmental injustice. The study aim was to compare self-reported symptoms of ill health among residents of four neighborhoods, living in haphazardly constructed settlements surrounded by illegal dumpsites in Tijuana, Mexico. One adult from each of 388 households located in Los Laureles Canyon were interviewed about demographics, health status, and symptoms. Distance from each residence to both the nearest dumpsite and the canyon bottom was assessed. The neighborhoods were selected from locations within the canyon, and varied with respect to proximity to dump sites. Residents of San Bernardo reported significantly higher frequencies of ill-health symptoms than the other neighborhoods, including extreme fatigue (OR 3.01 (95% CI 1.6–5.5)), skin problems/irritations (OR 2.73 (95% CI 1.3–5.9)), stomach discomfort (OR 2.47 (1.3–4.8)), eye irritation/tears (OR 2.02 (1.2–3.6)), and confusion/difficulty concentrating (OR 2.39 (1.2–4.8)). Proximity to dumpsites did not explain these results, that varied only slightly when adjusted for distance to nearest dumpsite or distance to the canyon bottom. Because San Bernardo has no paved roads, we hypothesize that dust and the toxicants it carries is a possible explanation for this difference. Studies are needed to further document this association and sources of toxicants. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Exposure Metrics for Traffic-Related Air Pollutants: Application to Epidemiology Studies in Detroit, Michigan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9553-9577; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909553
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 26 August 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (4088 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Vehicles are major sources of air pollutant emissions, and individuals living near large roads endure high exposures and health risks associated with traffic-related air pollutants. Air pollution epidemiology, health risk, environmental justice, and transportation planning studies would all benefit from an improved [...] Read more.
Vehicles are major sources of air pollutant emissions, and individuals living near large roads endure high exposures and health risks associated with traffic-related air pollutants. Air pollution epidemiology, health risk, environmental justice, and transportation planning studies would all benefit from an improved understanding of the key information and metrics needed to assess exposures, as well as the strengths and limitations of alternate exposure metrics. This study develops and evaluates several metrics for characterizing exposure to traffic-related air pollutants for the 218 residential locations of participants in the NEXUS epidemiology study conducted in Detroit (MI, USA). Exposure metrics included proximity to major roads, traffic volume, vehicle mix, traffic density, vehicle exhaust emissions density, and pollutant concentrations predicted by dispersion models. Results presented for each metric include comparisons of exposure distributions, spatial variability, intraclass correlation, concordance and discordance rates, and overall strengths and limitations. While showing some agreement, the simple categorical and proximity classifications (e.g., high diesel/low diesel traffic roads and distance from major roads) do not reflect the range and overlap of exposures seen in the other metrics. Information provided by the traffic density metric, defined as the number of kilometers traveled (VKT) per day within a 300 m buffer around each home, was reasonably consistent with the more sophisticated metrics. Dispersion modeling provided spatially- and temporally-resolved concentrations, along with apportionments that separated concentrations due to traffic emissions and other sources. While several of the exposure metrics showed broad agreement, including traffic density, emissions density and modeled concentrations, these alternatives still produced exposure classifications that differed for a substantial fraction of study participants, e.g., from 20% to 50% of homes, depending on the metric, would be incorrectly classified into “low”, “medium” or “high” traffic exposure classes. These and other results suggest the potential for exposure misclassification and the need for refined and validated exposure metrics. While data and computational demands for dispersion modeling of traffic emissions are non-trivial concerns, once established, dispersion modeling systems can provide exposure information for both on- and near-road environments that would benefit future traffic-related assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Modeling)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Approach to Assess Exposure and Health-Risk from Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in a Fastener Manufacturing Industry
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9578-9594; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909578
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 11 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 September 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
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Abstract
An integrated approach was developed to assess exposure and health-risk from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contained in oil mists in a fastener manufacturing industry. One previously developed model and one new model were adopted for predicting oil mist exposure concentrations emitted from [...] Read more.
An integrated approach was developed to assess exposure and health-risk from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) contained in oil mists in a fastener manufacturing industry. One previously developed model and one new model were adopted for predicting oil mist exposure concentrations emitted from metal work fluid (MWF) and PAHs contained in MWF by using the fastener production rate (Pr) and cumulative fastener production rate (CPr) as predictors, respectively. By applying the annual Pr and CPr records to the above two models, long-term workplace PAH exposure concentrations were predicted. In addition, true exposure data was also collected from the field. The predicted and measured concentrations respectively served as the prior and likelihood distributions in the Bayesian decision analysis (BDA), and the resultant posterior distributions were used to determine the long-term exposure and health-risks posed on workers. Results show that long term exposures to PAHs would result in a 3.1%, 96.7%, and 73.4% chance of exceeding the PEL-TWA (0.2 mg/m3), action level (0.1 mg/m3), and acceptable health risk (10−3), respectively. In conclusion, preventive measures should be taken immediately to reduce workers’ PAH exposures. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association Between Waist-to-Height Ratio, Isolated and Combined Morbidities and C-Reactive Protein in the Elderly: A Clinical-Epidemiological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9595-9606; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909595
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the association between waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the elderly (considering their most prevalent morbidities and lifestyles), to investigate the relationship between this anthropometric index and the presence of the most [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to analyze the association between waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in the elderly (considering their most prevalent morbidities and lifestyles), to investigate the relationship between this anthropometric index and the presence of the most prevalent morbidities (isolated or combined), and to identify which morbidities (analyzed individually) would have greater associations with WHtR. This cross-sectional population-based epidemiological study of a stratified sampling comprised 170 elderly individuals between 60 and 90 years of age (both genders). Home visits were used to administer questionnaires and to perform anthropometric measurements and blood collection. The mean patient age was younger than 70 years, with women comprising the majority (69.41%) and with 90% of the patients presenting with inadequate WHtR. Hypertension was the most prevalent morbidity in this cohort (58.52%), and when analyzed in combination, hypertension plus obesity were the most frequently diagnosed morbidities (17.65%). Obesity, which was among the most prevalent comorbidities, was the only comorbidity combined with WHtR (p = 0.0019). Individuals with no morbidities had lower mean WHtR values compared with individuals with at least one morbidity (p = 0.0075). In the multiple linear regression model, it was identified that when individuals had one or more of the most prevalent comorbidities, the mean WHtR increased by 0.0415 (p = 0.0065). A correlation between WHtR and CRP (p = 0.0379) was also verified. Based on the relationships observed between WHtR (isolated or in combination, data unpublished) and CRP among the elderly, WHtR may represent a screening tool because it is a simple and effective anthropometric index. Full article
Open AccessArticle Health Consequence Scales for Use in Health Impact Assessments of Climate Change
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9607-9620; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909607
Received: 14 August 2014 / Revised: 5 September 2014 / Accepted: 9 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
While health impact assessment (HIA) has typically been applied to projects, plans or policies, it has significant potential with regard to strategic considerations of major health issues facing society such as climate change. Given the complexity of climate change, assessing health impacts [...] Read more.
While health impact assessment (HIA) has typically been applied to projects, plans or policies, it has significant potential with regard to strategic considerations of major health issues facing society such as climate change. Given the complexity of climate change, assessing health impacts presents new challenges that may require different approaches compared to traditional applications of HIA. This research focuses on the development of health consequence scales suited to assessing and comparing health effects associated with climate change and applied within a HIA framework. This assists in setting priorities for adaptation plans to minimize the public health impacts of climate change. The scales presented in this paper were initially developed for a HIA of climate change in Perth in 2050, but they can be applied across spatial and temporal scales. The design is based on a health effects pyramid with health measures expressed in orders of magnitude and linked to baseline population and health data. The health consequence measures are combined with a measure of likelihood to determine the level of risk associated with each health potential health impact. In addition, a simple visual framework that can be used to collate, compare and communicate the level of health risks associated with climate change has been developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Shisha (Waterpipe) Smoking on Lung Functions and Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) among Saudi Young Adult Shisha Smokers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9638-9648; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909638
Received: 15 June 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 3 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Shisha (waterpipe) smoking is becoming a more prevalent form of tobacco consumption, and is growing worldwide, particularly among the young generation in the Middle East. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the effects of shisha smoking on lung functions and Fractional Exhaled [...] Read more.
Shisha (waterpipe) smoking is becoming a more prevalent form of tobacco consumption, and is growing worldwide, particularly among the young generation in the Middle East. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the effects of shisha smoking on lung functions and Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) among Saudi young adults. We recruited 146 apparently healthy male subjects (73 control and 73 shisha smokers). The exposed group consisted of male shisha smokers, with mean age 21.54 ± 0.41 (mean ± SEM) range 17–33 years. The control group consisted of similar number (73) of non-smokers with mean age 21.36 ± 0.19 (mean ± SEM) range 18–28 years. Between the groups we considered the factors like age, height, weight, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status to estimate the impact of shisha smoking on lung function and fractional exhaled nitric oxide. Lung function test was performed by using an Spirovit-SP-1 Electronic Spirometer. Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) was measured by using Niox Mino. A significant decrease in lung function parameters FEV1, FEV1/FVC Ratio, FEF-25%, FEF-50%, FEF-75% and FEF-75–85% was found among shisha smokers relative to their control group. There was also a significant reduction in the Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide among Shisha smokers compared to control group. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effect of an Intermediate-Frequency Magnetic Field of 23 kHz at 2 mT on Chemotaxis and Phagocytosis in Neutrophil-Like Differentiated Human HL-60 Cells
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9649-9659; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909649
Received: 7 August 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Public concerns about potential health risks of intermediate-frequency (IF) electromagnetic fields are increasing, especially as the use of induction-heating cooktops has spread extensively in Japan and Europe. In order to investigate the properties of IF electromagnetic fields, we examined the effect of [...] Read more.
Public concerns about potential health risks of intermediate-frequency (IF) electromagnetic fields are increasing, especially as the use of induction-heating cooktops has spread extensively in Japan and Europe. In order to investigate the properties of IF electromagnetic fields, we examined the effect of exposure to a 23-kHz IF magnetic field of 2 mT for 2, 3, or 4 h on neutrophil chemotaxis and phagocytosis using differentiated human HL-60 cells. Compared with sham exposure, exposure to the IF magnetic field had no effect on neutrophil chemotaxis or phagocytosis. Previous studies demonstrated that exposure to a 23-kHz IF magnetic field of 2 mT (about 74-times the maximum value recommended by the International Commission for Nonionizing Radiation Protection guidelines) may affect the first-line immune responses in humans. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the effects of IF magnetic fields on cellular immune responses. We found that exposure to an IF magnetic field of 2 mT has minimal if any effect on either the chemotaxis or phagocytic activity of neutrophil-like human HL-60 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessArticle Combination Effects of (Tri)Azole Fungicides on Hormone Production and Xenobiotic Metabolism in a Human Placental Cell Line
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9660-9679; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909660
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Consumers are exposed to multiple residues of different pesticides via the diet. Therefore, EU legislation for pesticides requires the evaluation of single active substances as well as the consideration of combination effects. Hence the analysis of combined effects of substances in a [...] Read more.
Consumers are exposed to multiple residues of different pesticides via the diet. Therefore, EU legislation for pesticides requires the evaluation of single active substances as well as the consideration of combination effects. Hence the analysis of combined effects of substances in a broad dose range represents a key challenge to current experimental and regulatory toxicology. Here we report evidence for additive effects for (tri)azole fungicides, a widely used group of antifungal agents, in the human placental cell line Jeg-3. In addition to the triazoles cyproconazole, epoxiconazole, flusilazole and tebuconazole and the azole fungicide prochloraz also pesticides from other chemical classes assumed to act via different modes of action (i.e., the organophosphate chlorpyrifos and the triazinylsulfonylurea herbicide triflusulfuron-methyl) were investigated. Endpoints analysed include synthesis of steroid hormone production (progesterone and estradiol) and gene expression of steroidogenic and non-steroidogenic cytochrome-P-450 (CYP) enzymes. For the triazoles and prochloraz, a dose dependent inhibition of progesterone production was observed and additive effects could be confirmed for several combinations of these substances in vitro. The non-triazoles chlorpyrifos and triflusulfuron-methyl did not affect this endpoint and, in line with this finding, no additivity was observed when these substances were applied in mixtures with prochloraz. While prochloraz slightly increased aromatase expression and estradiol production and triflusulfuron-methyl decreased estradiol production, none of the other substances had effects on the expression levels of steroidogenic CYP-enzymes in Jeg-3 cells. For some triazoles, prochloraz and chlorpyrifos a significant induction of CYP1A1 mRNA expression and potential combination effects for this endpoint were observed. Inhibition of CYP1A1 mRNA induction by the AhR inhibitor CH223191 indicated AhR receptor dependence this effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Initial Steps for Quality Improvement of Obesity Care Across Divisions at a Tertiary Care Pediatric Hospital
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9680-9693; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909680
Received: 16 July 2014 / Revised: 25 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Background: Pediatric subspecialists can participate in the care of obese children. Objective: To describe steps to help subspecialty providers initiate quality improvement efforts in obesity care. Methods: An anonymous patient data download, provider surveys and interviews assessed subspecialty providers’ identification and perspectives [...] Read more.
Background: Pediatric subspecialists can participate in the care of obese children. Objective: To describe steps to help subspecialty providers initiate quality improvement efforts in obesity care. Methods: An anonymous patient data download, provider surveys and interviews assessed subspecialty providers’ identification and perspectives of childhood obesity and gathered information on perceived roles and care strategies. Participating divisions received summary analyses of quantitative and qualitative data and met with study leaders to develop visions for division/service-specific care improvement. Results: Among 13 divisions/services, subspecialists’ perceived role varied by specialty; many expressed the need for cross-collaboration. All survey informants agreed that identification was the first step, and expressed interest in obtaining additional resources to improve care. Conclusions: Subspecialists were interested in improving the quality and coordination of obesity care for patients across our tertiary care setting. Developing quality improvement projects to achieve greater pediatric obesity care goals starts with engagement of providers toward better identifying and managing childhood obesity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factors Associated With Pupil Toilet Use in Kenyan Primary Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9694-9711; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909694
Received: 2 July 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to quantify how school sanitation conditions are associated with pupils’ use of sanitation facilities. We conducted a longitudinal assessment in 60 primary schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya, using structured observations to measure facility conditions and pupils’ [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to quantify how school sanitation conditions are associated with pupils’ use of sanitation facilities. We conducted a longitudinal assessment in 60 primary schools in Nyanza Province, Kenya, using structured observations to measure facility conditions and pupils’ use at specific facilities. We used multivariable mixed regression models to characterize how pupil to toilet ratio was associated with toilet use at the school-level and also how facility conditions were associated with pupils’ use at specific facilities. We found a piecewise linear relationship between decreasing pupil to toilet ratio and increasing pupil toilet use (p < 0.01). Our data also revealed significant associations between toilet use and newer facility age (p < 0.01), facility type (p < 0.01), and the number of toilets in a facility (p < 0.01). We found some evidence suggesting facility dirtiness may deter girls from use (p = 0.06), but not boys (p = 0.98). Our study is the first to rigorously quantify many of these relationships, and provides insight into the complexity of factors affecting pupil toilet use patterns, potentially leading to a better allocation of resources for school sanitation, and to improved health and educational outcomes for children. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Conceptual Framework to Measure Systems’ Performance during Emergency Preparedness Exercises
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9712-9722; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909712
Received: 29 July 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 11 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Large-scale public health emergencies require a sophisticated, coordinated response involving multiple entities to protect health and minimize suffering. However, the rarity of such emergencies presents a barrier to gathering observational data about the effectiveness of the public health response before such events [...] Read more.
Large-scale public health emergencies require a sophisticated, coordinated response involving multiple entities to protect health and minimize suffering. However, the rarity of such emergencies presents a barrier to gathering observational data about the effectiveness of the public health response before such events occur. For this reason, public health practitioners increasingly have relied on simulated emergencies, known as “exercises” as proxies to test their emergency capabilities. However, the formal evaluation of performance in these exercises, historically has been inconsistent, and there is little research to describe how data acquired from simulated emergencies actually support conclusions about the quality of the public health emergency response system. Over the past six years, we have designed and evaluated more than seventy public health emergency exercises, collaborating with public health agencies, hospitals and others to test a wide variety of systems and their capabilities. Using the data and experience that we gathered, we have developed a conceptual framework that describes the essential elements necessary to consider when applying performance measurement science to public health emergency exercises. We suggest that this framework may assist practitioners and researchers who wish to better measure performance in exercises and to improve public health emergency preparedness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparedness and Emergency Response)
Open AccessArticle Benefit and Adherence of the Disease Management Program “Diabetes 2”: A Comparison of Turkish Immigrants and German Natives with Diabetes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9723-9738; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909723
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 22 August 2014 / Accepted: 4 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
There is an ongoing debate about equity and equality in health care, and whether immigrants benefit equally from services as the non-immigrant population. The study focuses on benefits from and adherence to the diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM 2) disease management program [...] Read more.
There is an ongoing debate about equity and equality in health care, and whether immigrants benefit equally from services as the non-immigrant population. The study focuses on benefits from and adherence to the diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM 2) disease management program (DMP) among Turkish immigrants in Germany. So far, it has not been researched whether this group benefits from enrollment in the DMP as well as diabetics from the non-immigrant population. Data on the non-immigrant sample (N = 702) stem from a survey among members of a German health insurance, the Turkish immigrant sample (N = 102) was recruited in the area of Hamburg. Identical questions in both surveys enable comparing major components. Regarding process quality, Turkish diabetics do not differ from the non-immigrant sample; moreover, they have significantly more often received documentation and diabetes training. In terms of outcome quality however, results display a greater benefit on behalf of the non-immigrant sample (e.g., blood parameters and body mass index), and they also met more of the DMP criteria. This underlines the need of diabetics with Turkish background for further education and information in order to become the empowered patient as is intended by the DMP as well as to prevent comorbidities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Patient Experienced Continuity of Care in the Psychiatric Healthcare System—A Study Including Immigrants, Refugees and Ethnic Danes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9739-9759; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909739
Received: 25 April 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate continuity of care in the psychiatric healthcare system from the perspective of patients, including vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees. Method: The study is based on 19 narrative interviews conducted with [...] Read more.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate continuity of care in the psychiatric healthcare system from the perspective of patients, including vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees. Method: The study is based on 19 narrative interviews conducted with 15 patients with diverse migration backgrounds (immigrants, descendents, refugees, and ethnic Danes). Patients were recruited from a community psychiatric centre situated in an area with a high proportion of immigrants and refugees. Data were analysed through the lens of a theoretical framework of continuity of care in psychiatry, developed in 2004 by Joyce et al., which encompasses four domains: accessibility, individualised care, relationship base and service delivery. Results: Investigating continuity of care, we found issues of specific concern to immigrants and refugees, but also commonalities across the groups. For accessibility, areas pertinent to immigrants and refugees include lack of knowledge concerning mental illness and obligations towards children. In terms of individualised care, trauma, additional vulnerability, and taboo concerning mental illness were of specific concern. In the domain of service delivery, social services included assistance with immigration papers for immigrants and refugees. In the relationship base domain, no differences were identified. Implications for priority area: The treatment courses of patients in the psychiatric field are complex and diverse and the patient perspective of continuity of care provides important insight into the delivery of care. The study highlights the importance of person-centred care irrespective of migration background though it may be beneficial to have an awareness of areas that may be of more specific concern to immigrants and refugees. Conclusions: The study sheds light on concerns specific to immigrants and refugees in a framework of continuity of care, but also commonalities across the patient groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Mercury Exposure in Ireland: Results of the DEMOCOPHES Human Biomonitoring Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9760-9775; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909760
Received: 7 May 2014 / Revised: 29 August 2014 / Accepted: 1 September 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
Background: Monitoring of human exposure to mercury is important due to its adverse health effects. This study aimed to determine the extent of mercury exposure among mothers and their children in Ireland, and to identify factors associated with elevated levels. It [...] Read more.
Background: Monitoring of human exposure to mercury is important due to its adverse health effects. This study aimed to determine the extent of mercury exposure among mothers and their children in Ireland, and to identify factors associated with elevated levels. It formed part of the Demonstration of a study to Coordinate and Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale (DEMOCOPHES) pilot biomonitoring study. Methods: Hair mercury concentrations were determined from a convenience sample of 120 mother/child pairs. Mothers also completed a questionnaire. Rigorous quality assurance within DEMOCOPHES guaranteed the accuracy and international comparability of results. Results: Mercury was detected in 79.2% of the samples from mothers, and 62.5% of children’s samples. Arithmetic mean levels in mothers (0.262 µg/g hair) and children (0.149 µg /g hair) did not exceed the US EPA guidance value. Levels were significantly higher for those with higher education, and those who consumed more fish. Conclusions: The study demonstrates the benefit of human biomonitoring for assessing and comparing internal exposure levels, both on a population and an individual basis. It enables the potential harmful impact of mercury to be minimised in those highly exposed, and can therefore significantly contribute to population health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Resampling Methods Improve the Predictive Power of Modeling in Class-Imbalanced Datasets
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9776-9789; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909776
Received: 20 June 2014 / Revised: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 September 2014 / Published: 18 September 2014
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Abstract
In the medical field, many outcome variables are dichotomized, and the two possible values of a dichotomized variable are referred to as classes. A dichotomized dataset is class-imbalanced if it consists mostly of one class, and performance of common classification models on [...] Read more.
In the medical field, many outcome variables are dichotomized, and the two possible values of a dichotomized variable are referred to as classes. A dichotomized dataset is class-imbalanced if it consists mostly of one class, and performance of common classification models on this type of dataset tends to be suboptimal. To tackle such a problem, resampling methods, including oversampling and undersampling can be used. This paper aims at illustrating the effect of resampling methods using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) wave 2009–2010 dataset. A total of 4677 participants aged ≥20 without self-reported diabetes and with valid blood test results were analyzed. The Classification and Regression Tree (CART) procedure was used to build a classification model on undiagnosed diabetes. A participant demonstrated evidence of diabetes according to WHO diabetes criteria. Exposure variables included demographics and socio-economic status. CART models were fitted using a randomly selected 70% of the data (training dataset), and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was computed using the remaining 30% of the sample for evaluation (testing dataset). CART models were fitted using the training dataset, the oversampled training dataset, the weighted training dataset, and the undersampled training dataset. In addition, resampling case-to-control ratio of 1:1, 1:2, and 1:4 were examined. Resampling methods on the performance of other extensions of CART (random forests and generalized boosted trees) were also examined. CARTs fitted on the oversampled (AUC = 0.70) and undersampled training data (AUC = 0.74) yielded a better classification power than that on the training data (AUC = 0.65). Resampling could also improve the classification power of random forests and generalized boosted trees. To conclude, applying resampling methods in a class-imbalanced dataset improved the classification power of CART, random forests, and generalized boosted trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodological Innovations and Reflections)
Open AccessArticle Social and Physical Environmental Correlates of Adults’ Weekend Sitting Time and Moderating Effects of Retirement Status and Physical Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9790-9810; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909790
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
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Abstract
Emerging research suggests that prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) is detrimental to health. Changes in SB patterns are likely to occur during particular life stages, for example at retirement age (55–65-year-old). Evidence on socio-ecological SB correlates is scarce and inconsistent in this age [...] Read more.
Emerging research suggests that prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) is detrimental to health. Changes in SB patterns are likely to occur during particular life stages, for example at retirement age (55–65-year-old). Evidence on socio-ecological SB correlates is scarce and inconsistent in this age group. Moreover, the influence of socio-ecological correlates may vary depending on health and retirement status. This study examined social and environment correlates of overall weekend day sitting among adults at or approaching retirement age, and moderating effects of perceived physical health and retirement status. Baseline data from the Wellbeing, Eating and Exercise for a Long Life study in 2839 Australian adults (55–65-year-old) were analysed. Participants self-reported proximal social factors, neighbourhood social and physical environment, physical health and retirement status. MLwiN multilevel regression analyses were conducted. In the multivariable model, only social support from friends/colleagues to discourage sitting (B = −0.891; p = 0.036) was associated with overall weekend day sitting. No moderation of retirement status, nor physical health were found in the multivariable results. Results from this study suggest the importance of social factors in relation to weekend day sitting among 55–65-year-old adults. Health promotion initiatives in this age group should pay special attention to enhancing social interaction opportunities. Moreover, findings suggest that SB-specific correlates may need to be examined in future research. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Immunomagnetic Separation for the Detection of Salmonella in Surface Waters by Polymerase Chain Reaction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9811-9821; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909811
Received: 29 May 2014 / Revised: 10 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
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Abstract
Salmonella spp. is associated with fecal pollution and capable of surviving for long periods in aquatic environments. Instead of the traditional, time-consuming biochemical detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows rapid identification of Salmonella directly concentrated from water samples. However, prevalence of Salmonella [...] Read more.
Salmonella spp. is associated with fecal pollution and capable of surviving for long periods in aquatic environments. Instead of the traditional, time-consuming biochemical detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows rapid identification of Salmonella directly concentrated from water samples. However, prevalence of Salmonella may be underestimated because of the vulnerability of PCR to various environmental chemicals like humic acid, compounded by the fact that various DNA polymerases have different susceptibility to humic acid. Because immunomagnetic separation (IMS) theoretically could isolate Salmonella from other microbes and facilitate removal of aquatic PCR inhibitors of different sizes, this study aims to compare the efficiency of conventional PCR combined with immunomagnetic separation (IMS) for Salmonella detection within a moderately polluted watershed. In our study, the positive rate was increased from 17.6% to 47% with nearly ten-fold improvement in the detection limit. These results suggest the sensitivity of Salmonella detection could be enhanced by IMS, particularly in low quality surface waters. Due to its effects on clearance of aquatic pollutants, IMS may be suitable for most DNA polymerases for Salmonella detection. Full article
Open AccessArticle Protective Effect of Prolactin against Methylmercury-Induced Mutagenicity and Cytotoxicity on Human Lymphocytes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9822-9834; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909822
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 4 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
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Abstract
Mercury exhibits cytotoxic and mutagenic properties as a result of its effect on tubulin. This toxicity mechanism is related to the production of free radicals that can cause DNA damage. Methylmercury (MeHg) is one of the most toxic of the mercury compounds. [...] Read more.
Mercury exhibits cytotoxic and mutagenic properties as a result of its effect on tubulin. This toxicity mechanism is related to the production of free radicals that can cause DNA damage. Methylmercury (MeHg) is one of the most toxic of the mercury compounds. It accumulates in the aquatic food chain, eventually reaching the human diet. Several studies have demonstrated that prolactin (PRL) may be differently affected by inorganic and organic mercury based on interference with various neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of PRL secretion. This study evaluated the cytoprotective effect of PRL on human lymphocytes exposed to MeHg in vitro, including observation of the kinetics of HL-60 cells (an acute myeloid leukemia lineage) treated with MeHg and PRL at different concentrations, with both treatments with the individual compounds and combined treatments. All treatments with MeHg produced a significant increase in the frequency of chromatid gaps, however, no significant difference was observed in the chromosomal breaks with any treatment. A dose-dependent increase in the mitotic index was observed for treatments with PRL, which also acts as a co-mitogenic factor, regulating proliferation by modulating the expression of genes that are essential for cell cycle progression and cytoskeleton organization. These properties contribute to the protective action of PRL against the cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of MeHg. Full article
Open AccessArticle Nitrogen and Phosphorus Removal from Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluent via Bacterial Sulfate Reduction in an Anoxic Bioreactor Packed with Wood and Iron
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9835-9853; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909835
Received: 22 July 2014 / Revised: 11 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 September 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
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Abstract
We investigated the removal of nitrogen and phosphate from the effluent of a sewage treatment plant over a long-term operation in bioreactors packed with different combinations of wood and iron, with a trickling filter packed with foam ceramics for nitrification. The average [...] Read more.
We investigated the removal of nitrogen and phosphate from the effluent of a sewage treatment plant over a long-term operation in bioreactors packed with different combinations of wood and iron, with a trickling filter packed with foam ceramics for nitrification. The average nitrification rate in the trickling filter was 0.17 kg N/m3∙day and remained at 0.11 kg N/m3∙day even when the water temperature was below 15 °C. The denitrification and phosphate removal rates in the bioreactor packed with aspen wood and iron were higher than those in the bioreactor packed with cedar chips and iron. The bioreactor packed with aspen wood and iron continued to remove nitrate and phosphate for >1200 days of operation. The nitrate removal activity of a biofilm attached to the aspen wood from the bioreactor after 784 days of operation was 0.42 g NO3-N/kg dry weight wood∙ day. There was no increase in the amount of dissolved organic matter in the outflow from the bioreactors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrient Removal and Recovery)
Open AccessArticle Ending Open Defecation in Rural Tanzania: Which Factors Facilitate Latrine Adoption?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9854-9870; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909854
Received: 18 March 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
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Abstract
Diarrheal diseases account for 7% of deaths in children under five years of age in Tanzania. Improving sanitation is an essential step towards reducing these deaths. This secondary analysis examined rural Tanzanian households’ sanitation behaviors and attitudes in order to identify barriers [...] Read more.
Diarrheal diseases account for 7% of deaths in children under five years of age in Tanzania. Improving sanitation is an essential step towards reducing these deaths. This secondary analysis examined rural Tanzanian households’ sanitation behaviors and attitudes in order to identify barriers and drivers to latrine adoption. The analysis was conducted using results from a cross-sectional study of 1000 households in five rural districts of Tanzania. Motivating factors, perceptions, and constraints surrounding open defecation and latrine adoption were assessed using behavioral change theory. Results showed a significant association between use of improved sanitation and satisfaction with current sanitation facility (OR: 5.91; CI: 2.95–11.85; p = 0.008). Livestock-keeping was strongly associated with practicing open defecation (OR: 0.22; CI 0.063–0.75; p < 0.001). Of the 93 total households that practiced open defecation, 79 (85%) were dissatisfied with the practice, 62 (67%) had plans to build a latrine and 17 (18%) had started saving for a latrine. Among households that planned to build a latrine, health was the primary reason stated (60%). The inability to pay for upgrading sanitation infrastructure was commonly reported among the households. Future efforts should consider methods to reduce costs and ease payments for households to upgrade sanitation infrastructure. Messages to increase demand for latrine adoption in rural Tanzania should integrate themes of privacy, safety, prestige and health. Findings indicate a need for lower cost sanitation options and financing strategies to increase household ability to adopt sanitation facilities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Assessment of Maternal Health Issues in Two Villages in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9871-9884; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909871
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
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Abstract
The fifth Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health was placed on the international agenda and endorsed by global leaders at the Millennium Summit held in 2000. The aim of this baseline study was to conduct a situational analysis of key maternal [...] Read more.
The fifth Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health was placed on the international agenda and endorsed by global leaders at the Millennium Summit held in 2000. The aim of this baseline study was to conduct a situational analysis of key maternal health issues in two rural Eastern Cape villages in South Africa: Glenmore and Ndwayana. Ten focus group discussions were conducted with village leaders, community health workers and three different women self-help groups from Glenmore and Ndwayana, with five to eight voluntary participants in each focus group discussion. One of the themes highlighted was inadequate service delivery of ambulance services, which frequently failed to timeously reach expectant mothers in urgent need of transportation to a referral hospital. Adolescent pregnancy was highlighted as the maternal health issue of most concern to the community participants. In this context, a consensus was reached to design and implement an educational intervention to address adolescent pregnancy, which will form the focus of the next phase of this project. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association of Traumatic Dental Injuries with Individual-, Sociodemographic- and School-Related Factors among Schoolchildren in Midwest Brazil
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9885-9896; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909885
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 12 September 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the association of untreated traumatic dental injuries (TDI) with individual-, sociodemographic- and school-related factors among 12-year-old schoolchildren in Midwest Brazil. This cross-sectional study was carried out in 2010 in the city of Goiania, Brazil. [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to assess the association of untreated traumatic dental injuries (TDI) with individual-, sociodemographic- and school-related factors among 12-year-old schoolchildren in Midwest Brazil. This cross-sectional study was carried out in 2010 in the city of Goiania, Brazil. A random sample of 2075 schoolchildren was examined and interviewed. Untreated TDI in the permanent incisors was assessed using the methodology of the Brazilian National Oral Health Survey. Rao-Scott test and multinomial logistic regression were used to analyze the associations between independent variables and three categories of TDI, using a hierarchical method. Independent variables were children’s sex, self rated color/race and size of incisal overjet, their mother’s level of schooling, and the schools’ type and geographic location. The prevalence of trauma was 17.3% (CI 95% = 15.2–19.4); enamel fractures were the most common TDI (13.1%). In the adjusted model, a higher chance of having two or more teeth with TDI was found among boys, those whose mothers had lowest level of schooling, and those attending schools located in health districts with lower socioeconomic indicators. It was concluded that the prevalence of TDI was low and that it was associated with individual factors as well as the school environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle Community Knowledge and Experience of Mosquitoes and Personal Prevention and Control Practices in Lhasa, Tibet
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9919-9937; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909919
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 2 September 2014 / Published: 23 September 2014
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Abstract
Since 2009, great public attention has been paid in Lhasa City (Tibet, China) to mosquito bites and accompanying inflammatory complications. However, the potential contribution of knowledge levels, experiences, disease control and preventive practices (KEP) towards mosquitoes has not received much attention. To [...] Read more.
Since 2009, great public attention has been paid in Lhasa City (Tibet, China) to mosquito bites and accompanying inflammatory complications. However, the potential contribution of knowledge levels, experiences, disease control and preventive practices (KEP) towards mosquitoes has not received much attention. To investigate community KEP concerning mosquitoes in Lhasa, a cross-sectional survey was undertaken in four sub-districts of urban Lhasa in 2012. Questionnaires were designed to collect information regarding socio-demographics and KEP concerning the harmful effects of mosquitoes on participants. The scoring for KEP was developed after consultation of literature. A total of 591 eligible questionnaires were examined. The majority of respondents were female (61.8%) with a mean age of 46 years. Nearly all of the respondents were of Tibetan nationality (97.4%) and living in registered native households (92.7%), who have less than primary school education. The averages of overall score, knowledge score, experience score, and practice score were 9.23, 4.53, 1.80, 2.90, respectively. The registered household with the highest overall score, knowledge score and practice score was non-native. Female subjects with monthly incomes between 1000 and 3000 RMB had higher experience scores. The correlation analysis revealed that significant positive linear correlations existed between knowledge and experience, knowledge and practices, and experience and practices towards mosquitoes. Past experiences with mosquitoes can result in a better knowledge of effective mosquito control practices in the present and the future. Though the average of overall scores related to mosquitoes is high among the participants in Lhasa, however, the knowledge about the ecological habits of mosquitoes should be strengthened. The findings in this study may help to develop strategies and measures of mosquito and mosquito-borne diseases in the future, not only in Lhasa, but also in similar altitude, latitude and longitude regions worldwide. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview How Should Community Mental Health of Intellectual Disability Services Evolve?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8624-8631; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908624
Received: 9 July 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
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Abstract
Services for people with Intellectual Disability (ID) and coexisting mental health problems remain undeveloped; research into their effectiveness has been lacking. Three linked recent studies in the UK have provided evidence on essential service provision from staff, service users and carers. Interfaces [...] Read more.
Services for people with Intellectual Disability (ID) and coexisting mental health problems remain undeveloped; research into their effectiveness has been lacking. Three linked recent studies in the UK have provided evidence on essential service provision from staff, service users and carers. Interfaces with mainstream mental health services were seen as problematic: the area of crisis response was seen as a particular problem. Further services’ research is needed, focusing on service components rather than whole service configurations. There was not support for establishing more intensive mental health services for people with ID only. The way forward is in developing new ways of co-working with staff in “mainstream” mental health services. Mental health of ID staff might often be best situated directly within these services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
Open AccessReview Versatility or Promiscuity: The Estrogen Receptors, Control of Ligand Selectivity and an Update on Subtype Selective Ligands
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8709-8742; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908709
Received: 18 June 2014 / Revised: 13 August 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 26 August 2014
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Abstract
The estrogen receptors (ERs) are a group of versatile receptors. They regulate an enormity of processes starting in early life and continuing through sexual reproduction, development, and end of life. This review provides a background and structural perspective for the ERs as [...] Read more.
The estrogen receptors (ERs) are a group of versatile receptors. They regulate an enormity of processes starting in early life and continuing through sexual reproduction, development, and end of life. This review provides a background and structural perspective for the ERs as part of the nuclear receptor superfamily and discusses the ER versatility and promiscuity. The wide repertoire of ER actions is mediated mostly through ligand-activated transcription factors and many DNA response elements in most tissues and organs. Their versatility, however, comes with the drawback of promiscuous interactions with structurally diverse exogenous chemicals with potential for a wide range of adverse health outcomes. Even when interacting with endogenous hormones, ER actions can have adverse effects in disease progression. Finally, how nature controls ER specificity and how the subtle differences in receptor subtypes are exploited in pharmaceutical design to achieve binding specificity and subtype selectivity for desired biological response are discussed. The intent of this review is to complement the large body of literature with emphasis on most recent developments in selective ER ligands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health)
Open AccessReview Global School-Based Childhood Obesity Interventions: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8940-8961; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908940
Received: 31 May 2014 / Revised: 19 August 2014 / Accepted: 20 August 2014 / Published: 28 August 2014
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Abstract
Background: The issue of childhood overweight and obesity has become a global public health crisis. School-based interventions have been developed and implemented to combat this growing concern. The purpose of this review is to compare and contrast U.S. and international school-based [...] Read more.
Background: The issue of childhood overweight and obesity has become a global public health crisis. School-based interventions have been developed and implemented to combat this growing concern. The purpose of this review is to compare and contrast U.S. and international school-based obesity prevention interventions and highlight efficacious strategies. Methods: A systematic literature review was conducted utilizing five relevant databases. Inclusion criteria were: (1) primary research; (2) overweight or obesity prevention interventions; (3) school-based; (4) studies published between 1 January 2002 through 31 December 2013; (5) published in the English language; (6) child-based interventions, which could include parents; and (7) studies that reported outcome data. Results: A total of 20 interventions met the inclusion criteria. Ten interventions each were implemented in the U.S. and internationally. International interventions only targeted elementary-aged students, were less likely to target low-income populations, and were less likely to be implemented for two or more years in duration. However, they were more likely to integrate an environmental component when compared to U.S. interventions. Discussion: Interventions implemented in the U.S. and internationally resulted in successful outcomes, including positive changes in student BMI. Yet, varying approaches were used to achieve success, reinforcing the fact that a one-size-fits-all approach is not necessary to impact childhood obesity. However, building on successful interventions, future school-based obesity prevention interventions should integrate culturally specific intervention strategies, aim to incorporate an environmental component, and include parents whenever possible. Consideration should be given to the potential impact of long-term, frequent dosage interventions, and subsequent follow-up should be given attention to determine long-term efficacy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Childhood Obesity: Novel Approaches to a Global Problem)
Open AccessReview Lymphoma Caused by Intestinal Microbiota
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9038-9049; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909038
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 14 August 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
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Abstract
The intestinal microbiota and gut immune system must constantly communicate to maintain a balance between tolerance and activation: on the one hand, our immune system should protect us from pathogenic microbes and on the other hand, most of the millions of microbes [...] Read more.
The intestinal microbiota and gut immune system must constantly communicate to maintain a balance between tolerance and activation: on the one hand, our immune system should protect us from pathogenic microbes and on the other hand, most of the millions of microbes in and on our body are innocuous symbionts and some can even be beneficial. Since there is such a close interaction between the immune system and the intestinal microbiota, it is not surprising that some lymphomas such as mucosal-associated lymphoid tissue (MALT) lymphoma have been shown to be caused by the presence of certain bacteria. Animal models played an important role in establishing causation and mechanism of bacteria-induced MALT lymphoma. In this review we discuss different ways that animal models have been applied to establish a link between the gut microbiota and lymphoma and how animal models have helped to elucidate mechanisms of microbiota-induced lymphoma. While there are not a plethora of studies demonstrating a connection between microbiota and lymphoma development, we believe that animal models are a system which can be exploited in the future to enhance our understanding of causation and improve prognosis and treatment of lymphoma. Full article
Open AccessReview Radiation-Driven Migration: The Case of Minamisoma City, Fukushima, Japan, after the Fukushima Nuclear Accident
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9286-9305; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909286
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 9 September 2014
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Abstract
The emigration of residents following the Fukushima nuclear accident has resulted in aging and depopulation problems in radiation-contaminated areas. The recovery of affected areas, and even those areas with low radioactive pollution levels, is still heavily affected by this problem. This slow [...] Read more.
The emigration of residents following the Fukushima nuclear accident has resulted in aging and depopulation problems in radiation-contaminated areas. The recovery of affected areas, and even those areas with low radioactive pollution levels, is still heavily affected by this problem. This slow recovery consequently affects immigration patterns. This review aims to present possible factors that have contributed to this dilemma. We first present an overview of the evacuation protocol that was administered in the study area following the Fukushima accident. We then analyze characteristics of the subsequent exodus by comparing population data for both before and after the accident. Based on the findings of existing literature, we identify three causes of emigration: (1) The health risks of living in a low radiation zone are still unknown; (2) The post-disaster psychological disturbance and distrust of government information promotes the emigration of evacuees; (3) an absence of economic vitality and of a leading industry renders the area less attractive to individuals residing outside of the city. Further research is needed on this issue, especially with respect to countermeasures for addressing this problem. Full article
Open AccessReview International and National Expert Group Evaluations: Biological/Health Effects of Radiofrequency Fields
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9376-9408; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909376
Received: 20 June 2014 / Revised: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 10 September 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (523 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The escalated use of various wireless communication devices, which emit non-ionizing radiofrequency (RF) fields, have raised concerns among the general public regarding the potential adverse effects on human health. During the last six decades, researchers have used different parameters to investigate the [...] Read more.
The escalated use of various wireless communication devices, which emit non-ionizing radiofrequency (RF) fields, have raised concerns among the general public regarding the potential adverse effects on human health. During the last six decades, researchers have used different parameters to investigate the effects of in vitro and in vivo exposures of animals and humans or their cells to RF fields. Data reported in peer-reviewed scientific publications were contradictory: some indicated effects while others did not. International organizations have considered all of these data as well as the observations reported in human epidemiological investigations to set-up the guidelines or standards (based on the quality of published studies and the “weight of scientific evidence” approach) for RF exposures in occupationally exposed individuals and the general public. Scientists with relevant expertise in various countries have also considered the published data to provide the required scientific information for policy-makers to develop and disseminate authoritative health information to the general public regarding RF exposures. This paper is a compilation of the conclusions, on the biological effects of RF exposures, from various national and international expert groups, based on their analyses. In general, the expert groups suggested a reduction in exposure levels, precautionary approach, and further research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessReview When Neurons Encounter Nanoobjects: Spotlight on Calcium Signalling
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9621-9637; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909621
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 1 September 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
Nanosized objects are increasingly present in everyday life and in specialized technological applications. In recent years, as a consequence of concern about their potential adverse effects, intense research effort has led to a better understanding of the physicochemical properties that underlie their [...] Read more.
Nanosized objects are increasingly present in everyday life and in specialized technological applications. In recent years, as a consequence of concern about their potential adverse effects, intense research effort has led to a better understanding of the physicochemical properties that underlie their biocompatibility or potential toxicity, setting the basis for a rational approach to their use in the different fields of application. Among the functional parameters that can be perturbed by interaction between nanoparticles (NPs) and living structures, calcium homeostasis is one of the key players and has been actively investigated. One of the most relevant biological targets is represented by the nervous system (NS), since it has been shown that these objects can access the NS through several pathways; moreover, engineered nanoparticles are increasingly developed to be used for imaging and drug delivery in the NS. In neurons, calcium homeostasis is tightly regulated through a complex set of mechanisms controlling both calcium increases and recovery to the basal levels, and even minor perturbations can have severe consequences on neuronal viability and function, such as excitability and synaptic transmission. In this review, we will focus on the available knowledge about the effects of NPs on the mechanisms controlling calcium signalling and homeostasis in neurons. We have taken into account the data related to environmental NPs, and, in more detail, studies employing engineered NPs, since their more strictly controlled chemical and physical properties allow a better understanding of the relevant parameters that determine the biological responses they elicit. The literature on this specific subject is all quite recent, and we have based the review on the data present in papers dealing strictly with nanoparticles and calcium signals in neuronal cells; while they presently amount to about 20 papers, and no related review is available, the field is rapidly growing and some relevant information is already available. A few general findings can be summarized: most NPs interfere with neuronal calcium homeostasis by interactions at the plasmamembrane, and not following their internalization; influx from the extracellular medium is the main mechanism involved; the effects are dependent in a complex way from concentration, size and surface properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ultrafine Particles and Potential Health Effects)
Open AccessReview Mitochondrial Toxicity in Human Pregnancy: An Update on Clinical and Experimental Approaches in the Last 10 Years
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9897-9918; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909897
Received: 31 July 2014 / Revised: 5 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 September 2014 / Published: 22 September 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (309 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mitochondrial toxicity can be one of the most dreadful consequences of exposure to a wide range of external agents including pathogens, therapeutic agents, abuse drugs, toxic gases and other harmful chemical substances. However, little is known about the effects of mitochondrial toxicity [...] Read more.
Mitochondrial toxicity can be one of the most dreadful consequences of exposure to a wide range of external agents including pathogens, therapeutic agents, abuse drugs, toxic gases and other harmful chemical substances. However, little is known about the effects of mitochondrial toxicity on pregnant women exposed to these agents that may exert transplacental activity and condition fetal remodeling. It has been hypothesized that mitochondrial toxicity may be involved in some adverse obstetric outcomes. In the present study, we investigated the association between exposure to mitochondrial toxic agents and pathologic conditions ranging from fertility defects, detrimental fetal development and impaired newborn health due to intra-uterine exposure. We have reviewed data from studies in human subjects to propose mechanisms of mitochondrial toxicity that could be associated with the symptoms present in both exposed pregnant and fetal patients. Since some therapeutic interventions or accidental exposure cannot be avoided, further research is needed to gain insight into the molecular pathways leading to mitochondrial toxicity during pregnancy. The ultimate objective of these studies should be to reduce the mitochondrial toxicity of these agents and establish biomarkers for gestational monitoring of harmful effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health)

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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Kramer, R.A., et al. A Randomized Longitudinal Factorial Design to Assess Malaria Vector Control and Disease Management Interventions in Rural Tanzania. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 5317–5332
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 8622-8623; doi:10.3390/ijerph110908622
Received: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 25 August 2014
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Abstract The authors wish to make the following corrections to their paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [1]:[...] Full article
Open AccessCorrection Correction: Stauber, C.E., et al. Evaluation of the Impact of the Plastic BioSand Filter on Health and Drinking Water Quality in Rural Tamale, Ghana. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9, 3806–3823
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(9), 9154-9155; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909154
Received: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
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Abstract The authors wish to make the following amendments to their paper published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health [1]: [...] Full article

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