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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 13, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 398; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040398
Received: 30 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
In this introduction to the Special Issue on Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences is a focus on the participation of women in traditionally male-dominated professions, with geography as an exemplary academic subject. The Special Issue stems from the Commission of Gender and
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In this introduction to the Special Issue on Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences is a focus on the participation of women in traditionally male-dominated professions, with geography as an exemplary academic subject. The Special Issue stems from the Commission of Gender and Geoethics as part of the International Association of Geoethics, and endeavors to bring together efforts at various spatial scales that examine the position of women in science and engineering in particular, as conveyed in engineering geology, disaster management sciences, and climate change adaptation studies. It has been discovered, for instance, that men are more active and personally prepared at the community level (in Atlantic Canada coastal communities), and more action is still required in developing countries especially to promote gender equality and empower women. Studies contained in this Special Issue also reveal that tutoring and mentoring by other women can promote further involvement in non-traditional professions, such as professional engineering geology, where women are preferring more traditional (less applied) approaches that may circumscribe their ability to find suitable employment after graduation. Moreover, the hiring policy needs to change in many countries, such as Canada, where there are fewer women at entry-level and senior ranks within geography, especially in physical geography as the scientific part of the discipline. The exclusion of women in traditionally male-dominated spheres needs to be addressed and rectified for the ascent of women to occur in scientific geography and in other geosciences as well as science and engineering at large. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Gender and Geoethics in the Geosciences)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Salivary Alpha-Amylase Reactivity in Breast Cancer Survivors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 353; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040353
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (852 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The two main components of the stress system are the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) axes. While cortisol has been commonly used as a biomarker of HPA functioning, much less attention has been paid to the role of the SAM in this context.
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The two main components of the stress system are the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) axes. While cortisol has been commonly used as a biomarker of HPA functioning, much less attention has been paid to the role of the SAM in this context. Studies have shown that long-term breast cancer survivors display abnormal reactive cortisol patterns, suggesting a dysregulation of their HPA axis. To fully understand the integrity of the stress response in this population, this paper explored the diurnal and acute alpha-amylase profiles of 22 breast cancer survivors and 26 women with no history of cancer. Results revealed that breast cancer survivors displayed identical but elevated patterns of alpha-amylase concentrations in both diurnal and acute profiles relative to that of healthy women, F (1, 39) = 17.95, p < 0.001 and F (1, 37) = 7.29, p = 0.010, respectively. The average area under the curve for the diurnal and reactive profiles was 631.54 ± 66.94 SEM and 1238.78 ± 111.84 SEM, respectively. This is in sharp contrast to their cortisol results, which showed normal diurnal and blunted acute patterns. The complexity of the stress system necessitates further investigation to understand the synergistic relationship of the HPA and SAM axes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Stress Biomarkers)
Open AccessArticle Exploring an Ecologically Sustainable Scheme for Landscape Restoration of Abandoned Mine Land: Scenario-Based Simulation Integrated Linear Programming and CLUE-S Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 354; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040354
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding abandoned mine land (AML) changes during land reclamation is crucial for reusing damaged land resources and formulating sound ecological restoration policies. This study combines the linear programming (LP) model and the CLUE-S model to simulate land-use dynamics in the Mentougou District (Beijing,
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Understanding abandoned mine land (AML) changes during land reclamation is crucial for reusing damaged land resources and formulating sound ecological restoration policies. This study combines the linear programming (LP) model and the CLUE-S model to simulate land-use dynamics in the Mentougou District (Beijing, China) from 2007 to 2020 under three reclamation scenarios, that is, the planning scenario based on the general land-use plan in study area (scenario 1), maximal comprehensive benefits (scenario 2), and maximal ecosystem service value (scenario 3). Nine landscape-scale graph metrics were then selected to describe the landscape characteristics. The results show that the coupled model presented can simulate the dynamics of AML effectively and the spatially explicit transformations of AML were different. New cultivated land dominates in scenario 1, while construction land and forest land account for major percentages in scenarios 2 and 3, respectively. Scenario 3 has an advantage in most of the selected indices as the patches combined most closely. To conclude, reclaiming AML by transformation into more forest can reduce the variability and maintain the stability of the landscape ecological system in study area. These findings contribute to better mapping AML dynamics and providing policy support for the management of AML. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using a Hybrid Model to Forecast the Prevalence of Schistosomiasis in Humans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 355; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040355
Received: 2 December 2015 / Revised: 25 January 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: We previously proposed a hybrid model combining both the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and the nonlinear autoregressive neural network (NARNN) models in forecasting schistosomiasis. Our purpose in the current study was to forecast the annual prevalence of human schistosomiasis in
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Background: We previously proposed a hybrid model combining both the autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and the nonlinear autoregressive neural network (NARNN) models in forecasting schistosomiasis. Our purpose in the current study was to forecast the annual prevalence of human schistosomiasis in Yangxin County, using our ARIMA-NARNN model, thereby further certifying the reliability of our hybrid model. Methods: We used the ARIMA, NARNN and ARIMA-NARNN models to fit and forecast the annual prevalence of schistosomiasis. The modeling time range included was the annual prevalence from 1956 to 2008 while the testing time range included was from 2009 to 2012. The mean square error (MSE), mean absolute error (MAE) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) were used to measure the model performance. We reconstructed the hybrid model to forecast the annual prevalence from 2013 to 2016. Results: The modeling and testing errors generated by the ARIMA-NARNN model were lower than those obtained from either the single ARIMA or NARNN models. The predicted annual prevalence from 2013 to 2016 demonstrated an initial decreasing trend, followed by an increase. Conclusions: The ARIMA-NARNN model can be well applied to analyze surveillance data for early warning systems for the control and elimination of schistosomiasis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatio-temporal Frameworks for Infectious Disease Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Heavy Physical Work: Cardiovascular Load in Male Construction Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 356; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040356
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to elucidate cardiovascular loads (CVL) in construction workers during work and leisure by relative heart rate (RHR) over several days. Furthermore, we sought to evaluate the level of CVL in relation to individual factors, work ability, musculoskeletal pain and subjective
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This study aimed to elucidate cardiovascular loads (CVL) in construction workers during work and leisure by relative heart rate (RHR) over several days. Furthermore, we sought to evaluate the level of CVL in relation to individual factors, work ability, musculoskeletal pain and subjective general health. From a group of 255 construction workers responding to the baseline questionnaire, the CVL during work and leisure time was determined by recording RHR in 42 workers over 3–4 days. Almost 60% of the workday was spent below 20% RHR. The mean RHR during work for all participants was 16% RHR, with large differences between professions. On average, the 42 workers spent 14% of the workday at a RHR above 33%, and four subjects (10%) had a mean RHR above 33% during work. Eight (19%) of the participants had a mean length of their workday exceeding calculated maximal acceptable work time. Seven persons (17%) experienced on average one or more episode(s) of 5 min or more continuously above 33% RHR. The cardiovascular load at work was significantly associated with age and V ˙O2max, but not with work ability, musculoskeletal pain or subjective general health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Using the Reverse Shock Index at the Injury Scene and in the Emergency Department to Identify High-Risk Patients: A Cross-Sectional Retrospective Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 357; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040357
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (522 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The ratio of systolic blood pressure (SBP) to heart rate (HR), called the reverse shock index (RSI), is used to evaluate the hemodynamic stability of trauma patients. A SBP lower than the HR (RSI < 1) indicates the probability of hemodynamic
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Background: The ratio of systolic blood pressure (SBP) to heart rate (HR), called the reverse shock index (RSI), is used to evaluate the hemodynamic stability of trauma patients. A SBP lower than the HR (RSI < 1) indicates the probability of hemodynamic shock. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the RSI as evaluated by emergency medical services (EMS) personnel at the injury scene (EMS RSI) and the physician in the emergency department (ED RSI) could be used as an additional variable to identify patients who are at high risk of more severe injury. Methods: Data obtained from all 16,548 patients added to the trauma registry system at a Level I trauma center between January 2009 and December 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. Only patients transferred by EMS were included in this study. A total of 3715 trauma patients were enrolled and subsequently divided into four groups: group I patients had an EMS RSI ≥1 and an ED RSI ≥1 (n = 3485); group II an EMS RSI ≥ 1 and an ED RSI < 1 (n = 85); group III an EMS RSI < 1 and an ED RSI ≥ 1 (n = 98); and group IV an EMS RSI < 1 and a ED RSI < 1 (n = 47). A Pearson’s χ2 test, Fisher’s exact test, or independent Student’s t-test was conducted to compare trauma patients in groups II, III, and IV with those in group I. Results: Group II and IV patients had a higher injury severity score, a higher incidence of commonly associated injuries, and underwent more procedures (including intubation, chest tube insertion, and blood transfusion in the ED) than patients in group I. Group II and IV patients were also more likely to receive a severe injury to the thoracoabdominal area. These patients also had worse outcomes regarding the length of stay in hospital and intensive care unit (ICU), the proportion of patients admitted to ICU, and in-hospital mortality. Group II patients had a higher adjusted odds ratio for mortality (5.8-times greater) than group I patients. Conclusions: Using an RSI < 1 as a threshold to evaluate the hemodynamic condition of the patients at the injury scene and upon arrival to the ED provides valid information regarding deteriorating outcomes for certain subgroups of patients in the ED setting. Particular attention and additional resources should be provided to patients with an EMS RSI ≥ 1 that deteriorates to an RSI < 1 upon arrival to the ED since a higher odds of mortality was found in these patients. Full article
Open AccessArticle Children’s Blood Lead Seasonality in Flint, Michigan (USA), and Soil-Sourced Lead Hazard Risks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 358; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040358
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (2990 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Flint; MI; USA; a public health crisis resulted from the switching of the water supply from Lake Huron to a more corrosive source from the Flint River in April 2014; which caused lead to leach from water lines. Between 2010 and 2015;
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In Flint; MI; USA; a public health crisis resulted from the switching of the water supply from Lake Huron to a more corrosive source from the Flint River in April 2014; which caused lead to leach from water lines. Between 2010 and 2015; Flint area children’s average blood lead patterns display consistent peaks in the third quarter of the year. The third quarter blood lead peaks displayed a declining trend between 2010 and 2013; then rose abruptly between the third quarters of 2013 from 3.6% blood lead levels ≥5 µg/dL to a peak of about 7% in the third quarter of 2014; an increase of approximately 50%. The percentage of blood lead level ≥5 µg/dL in the first quarter of 2015 then dropped to 2.3%; which was the same percentage as the first quarter of 2014 (prior to the Flint River water source change). The Flint quarterly blood lead level peak then rose to about 6% blood lead levels ≥ 5 µg/dL in the third quarter of 2015; and then declined to about 2.5% in the fourth quarter of 2015. Soil lead data collected by Edible Flint food collaborative reveal generally higher soil lead values in the metropolitan center for Flint; with lower values in the outskirts of the city. The questions that are not being asked is why did children’s blood lead levels display a seasonal blood lead pattern before the introduction of the new water supply in Flint; and what are the implications of these seasonal blood lead patterns? Based upon previous findings in Detroit and other North American cities we infer that resuspension to the air of lead in the form of dust from lead contaminated soils in Flint appears to be a persistent contribution to lead exposure of Flint children even before the change in the water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lead: Risk Assessment and Health Effects)
Open AccessArticle Primary Paediatric Bronchial Airway Epithelial Cell in Vitro Responses to Environmental Exposures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 359; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040359
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (776 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The bronchial airway epithelial cell (BAEC) is the site for initial encounters between inhaled environmental factors and the lower respiratory system. Our hypothesis was that release of pro inflammatory interleukins (IL)-6 and IL-8 from primary BAEC cultured from children will be increased after
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The bronchial airway epithelial cell (BAEC) is the site for initial encounters between inhaled environmental factors and the lower respiratory system. Our hypothesis was that release of pro inflammatory interleukins (IL)-6 and IL-8 from primary BAEC cultured from children will be increased after in vitro exposure to common environmental factors. Primary BAEC were obtained from children undergoing clinically indicated routine general anaesthetic procedures. Cells were exposed to three different concentrations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or house dust mite allergen (HDM) or particulates extracted from side stream cigarette smoke (SSCS). BAEC were obtained from 24 children (mean age 7.0 years) and exposed to stimuli. Compared with the negative control, there was an increase in IL-6 and IL-8 release after exposure to HDM (p ≤ 0.001 for both comparisons). There was reduced IL-6 after higher compared to lower SSCS exposure (p = 0.023). There was no change in BAEC release of IL-6 or IL-8 after LPS exposure. BAEC from children are able to recognise and respond in vitro with enhanced pro inflammatory mediator secretion to some inhaled exposures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Influence of Occupational and Environmental Exposure to Low Concentrations of Polychlorobiphenyls and a Smoking Habit on the Urinary Excretion of Corticosteroid Hormones
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 360; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040360
Received: 18 January 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
The effects of occupational exposure to low concentrations of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) on the urinary excretion of corticosteroid hormones were evaluated, taking into account the influence of cigarette smoking. The study included 26 males working as electrical maintenance staff in a steel factory, previously
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The effects of occupational exposure to low concentrations of polychlorobiphenyls (PCBs) on the urinary excretion of corticosteroid hormones were evaluated, taking into account the influence of cigarette smoking. The study included 26 males working as electrical maintenance staff in a steel factory, previously exposed to a mixture of PCBs (exposed workers), and 30 male workers with no occupational exposure to PCBs (controls). Serum PCBs (33 congeners), urinary 17-hydroxycorticosteroids, 17-ketosteroids (KS) and pregnanes, and their respective glucuronidated and sulfonated compounds, were determined for each subject. PCBs were significantly higher in the exposed workers than controls, and were correlated with age. Both the urinary concentrations of the total 17-KS and pregnanes, and those of some single steroids and their glucuronidated compounds, were significantly lower in the exposed workers than controls, but higher in smokers than the non-smokers + ex-smokers. Two-way analysis of variance showed a negative association between serum PCBs and both total glucuronidated 17-KS and total and glucuronidated pregnanes, and a positive association between cigarette smoking and both total and glucuronidated 17-KS. PCBs seem to act as endocrine disruptors by reducing the urinary excretion of corticosteroid hormones, particularly of the glucuronidated fraction. Cigarette smoking could boost these effects of PCBs in smokers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment of Arsenic in Rice Cereal and Other Dietary Sources for Infants and Toddlers in the U.S.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 361; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040361
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, there are no set standards or quantitative guidelines available in the U.S. for arsenic levels in rice cereal, one of the most common first solid foods for infants. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the detected levels of inorganic
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Currently, there are no set standards or quantitative guidelines available in the U.S. for arsenic levels in rice cereal, one of the most common first solid foods for infants. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether the detected levels of inorganic arsenic (Asi) in rice cereal in the U.S. market are safe for consumption by infants and toddlers. A risk assessment was conducted based on literature reviews of the reported Asi in rice cereal from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) survey and the recommended daily intake of rice cereal by body weight, for infants and toddlers between four and 24 months old. As a part of risk management, a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for Asi in rice cereal was computed considering overall exposure sources including drinking water, infant formula, and other infant solid foods. Hazard quotients (HQs) for acute and chronic exposures were calculated based on the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) Minimal Risk Level (MRL)acute (5.0 × 10−3 mg/kg/day) and MRLchronic (3.0 × 10−4 mg/kg/day). A cancer slope or potency factor of 1.5 mg/kg/day was used to predict an incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR). Exposure assessment showed that the largest source of Asi for infants and toddlers between four and 24 months old was rice cereal (55%), followed by other infant solid food (19%), and drinking water (18%). Infant formula was the smallest source of Asi for babies (9%) at the 50th percentile based on Monte Carlo simulations. While HQacute were consistently below 1.0, HQchronic at the 50 and 75th percentiles exceeded 1.0 for both rice cereal and total sources. ILCR ranged from 10−6 (50th) to 10−5 (75th percentile). MCLs for Asi in rice cereal ranged from 0.0 (chronic) to 0.4 mg/kg (acute exposures). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Age- and Sex-Specific Trends in Lung Cancer Mortality over 62 Years in a Nation with a Low Effort in Cancer Prevention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 362; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040362
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1417 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: A decrease in lung cancer mortality among females below 50 years of age has been reported for countries with significant tobacco control efforts. The aim of this study was to describe the lung cancer deaths, including the mortality rates and proportions among
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Background: A decrease in lung cancer mortality among females below 50 years of age has been reported for countries with significant tobacco control efforts. The aim of this study was to describe the lung cancer deaths, including the mortality rates and proportions among total deaths, for females and males by age at death in a country with a high smoking prevalence (Germany) over a time period of 62 years. Methods: The vital statistics data were analyzed using a joinpoint regression analysis stratified by age and sex. An age-period-cohort analysis was used to estimate the potential effects of sex and school education on mortality. Results: After an increase, lung cancer mortality among women aged 35–44 years remained stable from 1989 to 2009 and decreased by 10.8% per year from 2009 to 2013. Conclusions: Lung cancer mortality among females aged 35–44 years has decreased. The potential reasons include an increase in the number of never smokers, following significant increases in school education since 1950, particularly among females. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle Influences of Green Outdoors versus Indoors Environmental Settings on Psychological and Social Outcomes of Controlled Exercise
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 363; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040363
Received: 4 November 2015 / Revised: 29 December 2015 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (4519 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study addressed a methodological gap by comparing psychological and social outcomes of exercise in green outdoors versus built indoors settings, whilst rigorously controlling exercise mode and intensity. The hypotheses were that greater improvements or more desirable values for directed attention, mood, perceived
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This study addressed a methodological gap by comparing psychological and social outcomes of exercise in green outdoors versus built indoors settings, whilst rigorously controlling exercise mode and intensity. The hypotheses were that greater improvements or more desirable values for directed attention, mood, perceived exertion, social interaction time, intention for future exercise behaviour and enjoyment would be associated with outdoors compared to indoors exercise. Following a baseline session, paired participants completed two conditions of 15 min of cycling on an ergometer placed outside in a natural environment and inside in a laboratory setting in a randomized, counter-balanced order. At pre- and post-exercise, directed attention was measured with the digit span backwards task, and mood was assessed with the Profile of Mood States. During the exercise session, visual and verbal interactions were recorded by means of experimenter observations. After each exercise session, participants provided self-reports of their enjoyment of the exercise, perceived exertion and intention for future exercise in the same environment. Social interaction time was significantly greater during outdoors exercise versus indoors; on average, participants engaged in three minutes more social interaction during exercise outdoors compared to indoors. Social interaction time significantly predicted intention for future exercise in the outdoors condition, but did not in the indoor condition. There was a significant time by condition interaction for directed attention. Scores worsened in the indoors condition, but improved in the outdoors condition. There was no statistically-significant time by condition interaction for mood and no significant difference between conditions for either perceived exertion or intention. Taken together, these findings show that exercise in a natural environment may promote directed attention and social interactions, which may positively influence future exercise intentions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Protective Effect of Gangliosides on Lead (Pb)-Induced Neurotoxicity Is Mediated by Autophagic Pathways
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 365; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040365
Received: 26 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 19 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
Lead (Pb) is a ubiquitous environmental and industrial pollutant and can affect intelligence development and the learning ability and memory of children. Therefore, necessary measures should be taken to protect the central nervous system (CNS) from Pb toxicity. Gangliosides are sialic acid-containing glycosphingolipids
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Lead (Pb) is a ubiquitous environmental and industrial pollutant and can affect intelligence development and the learning ability and memory of children. Therefore, necessary measures should be taken to protect the central nervous system (CNS) from Pb toxicity. Gangliosides are sialic acid-containing glycosphingolipids that are constituents of mammalian cell membranes and are more abundantly expressed in the CNS. Studies have shown that gangliosides constitute a useful tool in the attempt to promote functional recovery of CNS and can reverse Pb-induced impairments of synaptic plasticity in rats. However, the detailed mechanisms have yet to be fully understood. In our present study, we tried to investigate the role of gangliosides in Pb-induced injury in hippocampus neurons and to further confirm the detailed mechanism. Our results show that Pb-induced injuries in the spatial reference memory were associated with a reduction of cell viability and cell apoptosis, and treatment with gangliosides markedly ameliorated the Pb-induced injury by inhibition of apoptosis action. Gangliosides further attenuated Pb-induced the abnormal autophagic process by regulation of mTOR pathways. In summary, our study establishes the efficacy of gangliosides as neuroprotective agents and provides a strong rationale for further studies on the underlying mechanisms of their neuroprotective functions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association between Atmospheric Fine Particulate Matter and Hospital Admissions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Southwestern Taiwan: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 366; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040366
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objectives: This paper reports on the findings of a population-based study to evaluate the relationship between atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in southwestern Taiwan over a three-year period, 2008–2010. Methods
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Objectives: This paper reports on the findings of a population-based study to evaluate the relationship between atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels and hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in southwestern Taiwan over a three-year period, 2008–2010. Methods: Data on hospital admissions for COPD and PM2.5 levels were obtained from the National Health Insurance Research database (NHIRD) and the Environmental Protection Administration from 2008 to 2010, respectively. The lag structure of relative risks (RRs) of hospital admissions for COPD was estimated using a Poisson regression model. Results: During the study period, the overall average hospitalization rate of COPD and mean 24-h average level of PM2.5 was 0.18% and 39.37 μg/m3, respectively. There were seasonal variations in PM2.5 concentrations in southwestern Taiwan, with higher PM2.5 concentrations in both spring (average: 48.54 μg/m3) and winter (49.96 μg/m3) than in summer (25.89 μg/m3) and autumn (33.37 μg/m3). Increased COPD admissions were significantly associated with PM2.5 in both spring (February–April) and winter (October–January), with the relative risks (RRs) for every 10 μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 being 1.25 (95% CI = 1.22–1.27) and 1.24 (95% CI = 1.23–1.26), respectively, at a lag zero days (i.e., no lag days). Lag effects on COPD admissions were observed for PM2.5, with the elevated RRs beginning at lag zero days and larger RRs estimates tending to occur at longer lags (up to six days, i.e., lag 0–5 days). Conclusions: In general, findings reveal an association between atmospheric fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and hospital admissions for COPD in southwestern Taiwan, especially during both spring and winter seasons. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association between the Hypertriglyceridemic Waist Phenotype, Prediabetes, and Diabetes Mellitus in Rural Chinese Population: A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 368; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040368
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (281 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The objective was to evaluate the association of the hypertriglyceridemic waist (HTGW) phenotype with prediabetes and diabetes (DM) in rural Chinese population. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 11,579 adults (5361 men and 6218 women) aged 35 years or older were
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Background: The objective was to evaluate the association of the hypertriglyceridemic waist (HTGW) phenotype with prediabetes and diabetes (DM) in rural Chinese population. Methods: In a cross-sectional study, 11,579 adults (5361 men and 6218 women) aged 35 years or older were recruited from rural areas of China. Anthropometric measurements, laboratory examinations and self-reported information were collected by trained personnel. The HTGW phenotype was defined as elevated triglycerides and elevated waist circumference. We used logistic regression analysis to evaluate the associations of interest. Results: Adults with the HTGW phenotype had a significantly higher prevalence of prediabetes and diabetes than those without the HTGW phenotype. Compared with the normal waist-normal triglycerides (NWNT) group, those in the HTGW group had a higher adjusted odds ratio of diabetes (OR: 2.10; 95% CI: 1.62–2.73). The association for diabetes was stronger for men (OR: 2.27; 95% CI: 1.52–3.40) than for women (OR: 1.86; 95% CI: 1.32–2.63). However, multivariate analysis indicated that the HTGW phenotype was not associated with prediabetes. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that the HTGW phenotype was associated with diabetes in a large rural Chinese population, and suggested this phenotype as a simple screening tool to identify adults with cardiometabolic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle A Neurophysiological Approach for Evaluating Noise-Induced Sleep Disturbance: Calculating the Time Constant of the Dynamic Characteristics in the Brainstem
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 369; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040369
Received: 4 November 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
PDF Full-text (411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chronic sleep disturbance induced by traffic noise is considered to cause environmental sleep disorder, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and other stress-related diseases. However, noise indices for the evaluation of sleep disturbance are not based on the neurophysiological process
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Chronic sleep disturbance induced by traffic noise is considered to cause environmental sleep disorder, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and other stress-related diseases. However, noise indices for the evaluation of sleep disturbance are not based on the neurophysiological process of awakening regulated by the brainstem. In this study, through the neurophysiological approach, we attempted (1) to investigate the thresholds of awakening due to external stimuli in the brainstem; (2) to evaluate the dynamic characteristics in the brainstem and (3) to verify the validity of existing noise indices. Using the mathematical Phillips–Robinson model, we obtained thresholds of awakening in the brainstem for different durations of external stimuli. The analysis revealed that the brainstem seemed insensitive to short stimuli and that the response to external stimuli in the brainstem could be approximated by a first-order lag system with a time constant of 10–100 s. These results suggest that the brainstem did not integrate sound energy as external stimuli, but neuroelectrical signals from auditory nerve. To understand the awakening risk accumulated in the brainstem, we introduced a new concept of “awakening potential” instead of sound energy. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Injury Profile of an Australian Specialist Policing Unit
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 370; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040370
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
This study investigated the injuries sustained by an Australian specialist police division. Injury records spanning four-years were analyzed. The role being performed when the injury occurred, injury cause, body part injured, and injury-related costs were quantified. The percentage of personnel injured multiple times
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This study investigated the injuries sustained by an Australian specialist police division. Injury records spanning four-years were analyzed. The role being performed when the injury occurred, injury cause, body part injured, and injury-related costs were quantified. The percentage of personnel injured multiple times was documented. One hundred and thirty eight personnel reported injuries, 58 of these on multiple occasions. This resulted in 229 injuries and 76 claims being raised. Half of the injuries occurred during operational policing tasks, however training activities accounted for >30% of injuries. The most common injury was strain/sprain, and upper body injuries were 2.5-times more common than lower-body or torso injuries. 1107 shifts were lost, and injuries cost the organization $487,159 (Australian Dollars) over the four-year period. The injury costs (both financial and in manpower) may prompt policy makers to review the current training and post-injury rehabilitation protocols. Full article
Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Associated Factors of Secondhand Smoke Exposure among Internal Chinese Migrant Women of Reproductive Age: Evidence from China’s Labor-Force Dynamic Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 371; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040371
Received: 24 January 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a major risk factor for poor health outcomes among women in China, where proportionately few women smoke. This is especially the case as it pertains to women’s reproductive health, specifically migrant women who are exposed to SHS more than
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Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a major risk factor for poor health outcomes among women in China, where proportionately few women smoke. This is especially the case as it pertains to women’s reproductive health, specifically migrant women who are exposed to SHS more than the population at large. There are several factors which may increase migrant women’s risk of SHS exposure. This paper aims to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of SHS exposure among internal Chinese migrant women of reproductive age. The data used were derived from the 2014 Chinese Labor Dynamic Survey, a national representative panel survey. The age-adjusted rate of SHS exposure of women of reproductive age with migration experience was of 43.46% (95% CI: 40.73%–46.40%), higher than those without migration experience (35.28% (95% CI: 33.66%–36.97%)). Multivariate analysis showed that participants with a marital status of “Widowed” had statistically lower exposure rates, while those with a status of “Cohabitation” had statistically higher exposure. Those with an undergraduate degree or above had statistically lower SHS exposure. Those with increasing levels of social support, and those who currently smoke or drink alcohol, had statistically higher SHS exposure. Participants’ different work-places had an effect on their SHS exposure, with outdoor workers statistically more exposed. Our findings suggest that urgent tobacco control measures should be taken to reduce smoking prevalence and SHS exposure. Specific attention should be paid to protecting migrant women of reproductive age from SHS. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Rat α-Fetoprotein Binding Activity Prediction Model to Facilitate Assessment of the Endocrine Disruption Potential of Environmental Chemicals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 372; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040372
Received: 27 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
Endocrine disruptors such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), diethylstilbestrol (DES) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) are agents that interfere with the endocrine system and cause adverse health effects. Huge public health concern about endocrine disruptors has arisen. One of the mechanisms of endocrine disruption is through
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Endocrine disruptors such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), diethylstilbestrol (DES) and dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) are agents that interfere with the endocrine system and cause adverse health effects. Huge public health concern about endocrine disruptors has arisen. One of the mechanisms of endocrine disruption is through binding of endocrine disruptors with the hormone receptors in the target cells. Entrance of endocrine disruptors into target cells is the precondition of endocrine disruption. The binding capability of a chemical with proteins in the blood affects its entrance into the target cells and, thus, is very informative for the assessment of potential endocrine disruption of chemicals. α-fetoprotein is one of the major serum proteins that binds to a variety of chemicals such as estrogens. To better facilitate assessment of endocrine disruption of environmental chemicals, we developed a model for α-fetoprotein binding activity prediction using the novel pattern recognition method (Decision Forest) and the molecular descriptors calculated from two-dimensional structures by Mold2 software. The predictive capability of the model has been evaluated through internal validation using 125 training chemicals (average balanced accuracy of 69%) and external validations using 22 chemicals (balanced accuracy of 71%). Prediction confidence analysis revealed the model performed much better at high prediction confidence. Our results indicate that the model is useful (when predictions are in high confidence) in endocrine disruption risk assessment of environmental chemicals though improvement by increasing number of training chemicals is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Pathway Analysis Revealed Potential Diverse Health Impacts of Flavonoids that Bind Estrogen Receptors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 373; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040373
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
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Abstract
Flavonoids are frequently used as dietary supplements in the absence of research evidence regarding health benefits or toxicity. Furthermore, ingested doses could far exceed those received from diet in the course of normal living. Some flavonoids exhibit binding to estrogen receptors (ERs) with
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Flavonoids are frequently used as dietary supplements in the absence of research evidence regarding health benefits or toxicity. Furthermore, ingested doses could far exceed those received from diet in the course of normal living. Some flavonoids exhibit binding to estrogen receptors (ERs) with consequential vigilance by regulatory authorities at the U.S. EPA and FDA. Regulatory authorities must consider both beneficial claims and potential adverse effects, warranting the increases in research that has spanned almost two decades. Here, we report pathway enrichment of 14 targets from the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) and the Herbal Ingredients’ Targets (HIT) database for 22 flavonoids that bind ERs. The selected flavonoids are confirmed ER binders from our earlier studies, and were here found in mainly involved in three types of biological processes, ER regulation, estrogen metabolism and synthesis, and apoptosis. Besides cancers, we conjecture that the flavonoids may affect several diseases via apoptosis pathways. Diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, viral myocarditis and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease could be implicated. More generally, apoptosis processes may be importantly evolved biological functions of flavonoids that bind ERs and high dose ingestion of those flavonoids could adversely disrupt the cellular apoptosis process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Identification of Haplotype Tag Single-Nucleotide Polymorphisms within the PPAR Family Genes and Their Clinical Relevance in Patients with Major Trauma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 374; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040374
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (430 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) play important roles in the development of inflammatory diseases and sepsis. Recently, genetic variants of PPARs genes have been widely studied in some inflammatory diseases. However, the association between PPAR family of genes polymorphisms and sepsis risk in
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Background: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) play important roles in the development of inflammatory diseases and sepsis. Recently, genetic variants of PPARs genes have been widely studied in some inflammatory diseases. However, the association between PPAR family of genes polymorphisms and sepsis risk in trauma patients was little known. Methods: SNPs were selected from the PPARs genes through constructing haplotype blocks and genotyped by the improved multiplex ligation detection reaction (iMLDR) method. The association between the selected SNPs and the risk of sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction (MOD) scores was evaluated in 734 trauma patients. In addition, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) production of peripheral blood leukocytes was also analyzed after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation. Results: Our results revealed that there were significant associations between the rs10865710 polymorphism and the risk of sepsis and MOD scores in Chinese Han trauma patients. Further, we found that the level of TNFα production was higher in patients with the rs10865710 G allele compared to those with the variant C allele. Conclusions: The rs10865710 polymorphism in the PPARγ gene might be used to assess the risk of sepsis and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in trauma patients. Full article
Open AccessArticle Concurrent Phosphorus Recovery and Energy Generation in Mediator-Less Dual Chamber Microbial Fuel Cells: Mechanisms and Influencing Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 375; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040375
Received: 29 December 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
This study investigated the mechanism and key factors influencing concurrent phosphorus (P) recovery and energy generation in microbial fuel cells (MFC) during wastewater treatment. Using a mediator-less dual chamber microbial fuel cell operated for 120 days; P was shown to precipitate as struvite
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This study investigated the mechanism and key factors influencing concurrent phosphorus (P) recovery and energy generation in microbial fuel cells (MFC) during wastewater treatment. Using a mediator-less dual chamber microbial fuel cell operated for 120 days; P was shown to precipitate as struvite when ammonium and magnesium chloride solutions were added to the cathode chamber. Monitoring data for chemical oxygen demand (COD), pH, oxidation reduction potential (ORP) and aeration flow rate showed that a maximum 38% P recovery was achieved; and this corresponds to 1.5 g/L, pH > 8, −550 ± 10 mV and 50 mL/min respectively, for COD, pHcathode, ORP and cathode aeration flow rate. More importantly, COD and aeration flow rate were shown to be the key influencing factors for the P recovery and energy generation. Results further show that the maximum P recovery corresponds to 72 mW/m2 power density. However, the energy generated at maximum P recovery was not the optimum; this shows that whilst P recovery and energy generation can be concurrently achieved in a microbial fuel cell, neither can be at the optimal value. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Exposure to VOCs among Pregnant Women in the National Children’s Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 376; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040376
Received: 4 February 2016 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (306 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epidemiologic studies can measure exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using environmental samples, biomarkers, questionnaires, or observations. These different exposure assessment approaches each have advantages and disadvantages; thus, evaluating relationships is an important consideration. In the National Children’s Vanguard Study from 2009 to
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Epidemiologic studies can measure exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) using environmental samples, biomarkers, questionnaires, or observations. These different exposure assessment approaches each have advantages and disadvantages; thus, evaluating relationships is an important consideration. In the National Children’s Vanguard Study from 2009 to 2010, participants completed questionnaires and data collectors observed VOC exposure sources and collected urine samples from 488 third trimester pregnant women at in-person study visits. From urine, we simultaneously quantified 28 VOC metabolites of exposure to acrolein, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, benzene, 1-bromopropane, 1,3-butadiene, carbon disulfide, crotonaldehyde, cyanide, N,N-dimethylformamide, ethylbenzene, ethylene oxide, propylene oxide, styrene, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride, and xylene exposures using ultra high performance liquid chromatography coupled with an electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-ESI/MSMS) method. Urinary thiocyanate was measured using an ion chromatography coupled with an electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry method (IC-ESI/MSMS). We modeled the relationship between urinary VOC metabolite concentrations and sources of VOC exposure. Sources of exposure were assessed by participant report via questionnaire (use of air fresheners, aerosols, paint or varnish, organic solvents, and passive/active smoking) and by observations by a trained data collector (presence of scented products in homes). We found several significant (p < 0.01) relationships between the urinary metabolites of VOCs and sources of VOC exposure. Smoking was positively associated with metabolites of the tobacco constituents acrolein, acrylamide, acrylonitrile, 1,3-butadiene, crotonaldehyde, cyanide, ethylene oxide, N,N-dimethylformamide, propylene oxide, styrene, and xylene. Study location was negatively associated with the toluene metabolite N-acetyl-S-(benzyl)-l-cysteine (BMA), and paint use was positively associated with the xylene metabolites 2-methylhippuric acid (2MHA) and 3-Methylhippuric acid & 4-methylhippuric acid (3MHA + 4MHA). A near-significant (p = 0.06) relationship was observed between acrylamide metabolites and observation of incense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Association between Aflatoxin M1 and Liver Disease in HBV/HCV Infected Persons in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 377; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040377
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 4 December 2015 / Accepted: 17 December 2015 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
Aflatoxins are produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus and are common food contaminants in tropical developing countries. Extensive aflatoxin consumption has been shown to be highly associated with liver disease. A case-control study was conducted to determine the association between
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Aflatoxins are produced by the fungi Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus and are common food contaminants in tropical developing countries. Extensive aflatoxin consumption has been shown to be highly associated with liver disease. A case-control study was conducted to determine the association between aflatoxin and liver disease in Kumasi, Ghana. A questionnaire was administered to examine socio-demographic characteristics and food storage and consumption practices, and urine samples were collected to measure levels of the aflatoxin metabolite (AFM1). Two hundred and seventy-six people participated in the study; 38 had liver disease (cases), 136 had neither hepatitis B/C nor liver disease (negative controls), and 102 were hepatitis B/C positive without liver cancer (positive controls). A much higher percent of participants in each group was male (76% of cases, 88% of negative controls and 65% of positive controls). Multivariate analysis showed that age was a significant predictor for being a case when cases were compared to negative controls. The odds of being a case was 70% less for participants aged 25–34 years (odds ratios (OR) 0.30; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.10–0.88) compared to those ≥45 years. For cases; Akans were seven times more likely to have AFM1 levels below the median when compared to other ethnic groups (OR 7; CI 1.41–34.68). When cases were compared to positive controls, they were 2.29 times more likely to report awareness of aflatoxin contamination of groundnuts (95% CI 1.06–4.91). Cases were also two times more likely to report awareness of aflatoxin contamination of maize than all controls combined (95% CI 1.02–4.11). However, most cases reported that aflatoxin contamination does not cause sickness in humans. This shows that there is awareness of aflatoxin contamination without proper understanding of the serious potential adverse health impacts among these study participants. These findings indicate that educational interventions that stress the harmful health effects of aflatoxin in food, with an emphasis on the higher risk for males, are urgently needed. The reasons for lower aflatoxin levels among Akans need to be determined, and the findings used to design interventions that benefit other ethnic groups in the society. Full article
Open AccessArticle Association between Ambient Air Pollution and Asthma Prevalence in Different Population Groups Residing in Eastern Texas, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 378; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040378
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 30 December 2015 / Accepted: 11 January 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
Air pollution has been an on-going research focus due to its detrimental impact on human health. However, its specific effects on asthma prevalence in different age groups, genders and races are not well understood. Thus, the present study was designed to examine the
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Air pollution has been an on-going research focus due to its detrimental impact on human health. However, its specific effects on asthma prevalence in different age groups, genders and races are not well understood. Thus, the present study was designed to examine the association between selected air pollutants and asthma prevalence in different population groups during 2010 in the eastern part of Texas, USA.The pollutants considered were particulate matter (PM2.5 with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 micrometers) and surface ozone. The population groups were categorized based on age, gender, and race. County-wise asthma hospital discharge data for different age, gender, and racial groups were obtained from Texas Asthma Control Program, Office of Surveillance, Evaluation and Research, Texas Department of State Health Services. The annual means of the air pollutants were obtained from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA)’s air quality system data mart program. Pearson correlation analyzes were conducted to examine the relationship between the annual mean concentrations of pollutants and asthma discharge rates (ADR) for different age groups, genders, and races. The results reveal that there is no significant association or relationship between ADR and exposure of air pollutants (PM2.5, and O3). The study results showed a positive correlation between PM2.5 and ADR and a negative correlation between ADR and ozone in most of the cases. These correlations were not statistically significant, and can be better explained by considering the local weather conditions. The research findings facilitate identification of hotspots for controlling the most affected populations from further environmental exposure to air pollution, and for preventing or reducing the health impacts. Full article
Open AccessArticle Toxicity Evaluation of Graphene Oxide in Kidneys of Sprague-Dawley Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 380; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040380
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3672 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, graphene and graphene-related materials have attracted a great deal of attention due their unique physical, chemical, and biocompatibility properties and to their applications in biotechnology and medicine. However, the reports on the potential toxicity of graphene oxide (GO) in biological systems are
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Recently, graphene and graphene-related materials have attracted a great deal of attention due their unique physical, chemical, and biocompatibility properties and to their applications in biotechnology and medicine. However, the reports on the potential toxicity of graphene oxide (GO) in biological systems are very few. The present study investigated the response of kidneys in male Sprague-Dawley rats following exposure to 0, 10, 20 and 40 mg/Kg GO for five days. The results showed that administration of GOs significantly increased the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase in a dose-dependent manner in the kidneys compared with control group. Serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels were also significantly increased in rats intoxicated with GO compared with the control group. There was a significant elevation in the levels of hydrogen peroxide and lipid hydro peroxide in GOs-treated rats compared to control animals. Histopathological evaluation showed significant morphological alterations of kidneys in GO-treated rats compared to controls. Taken together, the results of this study demonstrate that GO is nephrotoxic and its toxicity may be mediated through oxidative stress. In the present work, however, we only provided preliminary information on toxicity of GO in rats; further experimental verification and mechanistic elucidation are required before GO widely used for biomedical applications. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessment and Molecular Characterization of Human Intestinal Parasites in Bivalves from Orchard Beach, NY, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 381; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040381
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
Bivalves have been shown to be carriers of the human intestinal parasites Cryptosporidium parvum and Toxoplasma gondii. The goal of this study is to determine the prevalence of protozoan parasites in mollusks of New York City using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based
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Bivalves have been shown to be carriers of the human intestinal parasites Cryptosporidium parvum and Toxoplasma gondii. The goal of this study is to determine the prevalence of protozoan parasites in mollusks of New York City using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay. Four species of mollusks, Mya arenaria, Geukensia demissa, Crassostrea virginica, and Mytilis edulis, were collected from Orchard Beach, NY in the fall of 2014, totaling 159 specimens. Each individual mollusk was dissected to harvest the digestive gland, the mantle, the gills, the foot and the siphon. The tissues were assayed for the presence of Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and Toxoplasma gondii DNA by using primers that target parasite-specific genes. C. parvum was found at a prevalence of 50%, 11.3%, and 1%, respectively, in Mya arenaria, G. demissa, and Mytilis edulis. C. parvum DNA was detected in all the tissues of these bivalve species, except the gills. Furthermore, G. lamblia was detected in Mya arenaria, G. demissa, Crassostrea virginica and Mytilis edulis at a prevalence of 37.5%, 4.5%, 60%, and 20.6%, respectively, while T. gondii DNA was not detected. Full article
Open AccessArticle Enhanced Co-Worker Social Support in Isolated Work Groups and Its Mitigating Role on the Work-Family Conflict-Depression Loss Spiral
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 382; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040382
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper examines a loss spiral model (i.e., reciprocal relationships) between work-family conflict and depression, moderated by co-worker support. We expected that the moderation effect due to co-worker support would be evident among those working in isolation (i.e., mining
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This paper examines a loss spiral model (i.e., reciprocal relationships) between work-family conflict and depression, moderated by co-worker support. We expected that the moderation effect due to co-worker support would be evident among those working in isolation (i.e., mining workers) due to a greater level of intragroup attraction and saliency attributable to the proximity effects. We used a two wave panel study and data from a random population sample of Australian employees (n = 2793, [n = 112 mining, n = 2681 non-mining]). Using structural equation modelling we tested the reciprocal three way interaction effects. In line with our theory, co-worker support buffered the reciprocal relationship between WFC and depression, showing a protective effect in both pathways. These moderation effects were found in the mining industry only suggesting a proximity component moderates the social support buffer hypothesis (i.e., a three way interaction effect). The present paper integrates previous theoretical perspectives of stress and support, and provides insight into the changing dynamics of workplace relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Stress, Human Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessArticle Changes in Cosmetics Use during Pregnancy and Risk Perception by Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 383; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040383
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cosmetic products contain various chemical substances that may be potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptors. Women’s changes in cosmetics use during pregnancy and their risk perception of these products have not been extensively investigated. The main objective of this study was to describe the
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Cosmetic products contain various chemical substances that may be potential carcinogen and endocrine disruptors. Women’s changes in cosmetics use during pregnancy and their risk perception of these products have not been extensively investigated. The main objective of this study was to describe the proportion of pregnant women changing cosmetics use and the proportion of non-pregnant women intending to do so if they became pregnant. The secondary objectives were to compare, among the pregnant women, the proportions of those using cosmetics before and during pregnancy, and to describe among pregnant and non-pregnant women, the risk perception of these products. A cross-sectional study was carried out in a gynaecology clinic and four community pharmacies. One hundred and twenty-eight women (60 non-pregnant and 68 pregnant women) replied to a self-administered questionnaire. Cosmetics use was identified for 28 products. The results showed that few women intended to change or had changed cosmetics use during pregnancy. Nail polish was used by fewer pregnant women compared to the period before pregnancy (p < 0.05). Fifty-five percent of the women considered cosmetics use as a risk during pregnancy and 65% would have appreciated advice about these products. Our findings indicate that all perinatal health professionals should be ready to advise women about the benefits and risks of using cosmetics during pregnancy. Full article
Open AccessArticle Mapping Copper and Lead Concentrations at Abandoned Mine Areas Using Element Analysis Data from ICP–AES and Portable XRF Instruments: A Comparative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 384; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040384
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3529 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding spatial variation of potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) in soil is necessary to identify the proper measures for preventing soil contamination at both operating and abandoned mining areas. Many studies have been conducted worldwide to explore the spatial variation of PTEs and
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Understanding spatial variation of potentially toxic trace elements (PTEs) in soil is necessary to identify the proper measures for preventing soil contamination at both operating and abandoned mining areas. Many studies have been conducted worldwide to explore the spatial variation of PTEs and to create soil contamination maps using geostatistical methods. However, they generally depend only on inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry (ICP–AES) analysis data, therefore such studies are limited by insufficient input data owing to the disadvantages of ICP–AES analysis such as its costly operation and lengthy period required for analysis. To overcome this limitation, this study used both ICP–AES and portable X-ray fluorescence (PXRF) analysis data, with relatively low accuracy, for mapping copper and lead concentrations at a section of the Busan abandoned mine in Korea and compared the prediction performances of four different approaches: the application of ordinary kriging to ICP–AES analysis data, PXRF analysis data, both ICP–AES and transformed PXRF analysis data by considering the correlation between the ICP–AES and PXRF analysis data, and co-kriging to both the ICP–AES (primary variable) and PXRF analysis data (secondary variable). Their results were compared using an independent validation data set. The results obtained in this case study showed that the application of ordinary kriging to both ICP–AES and transformed PXRF analysis data is the most accurate approach when considers the spatial distribution of copper and lead contaminants in the soil and the estimation errors at 11 sampling points for validation. Therefore, when generating soil contamination maps for an abandoned mine, it is beneficial to use the proposed approach that incorporates the advantageous aspects of both ICP–AES and PXRF analysis data. Full article
Open AccessArticle Modeling Associations between Principals’ Reported Indoor Environmental Quality and Students’ Self-Reported Respiratory Health Outcomes Using GLMM and ZIP Models
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 385; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040385
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: The aim of this paper was to examine associations between school building characteristics, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and health responses using questionnaire data from both school principals and students. Methods: From 334 randomly sampled schools, 4248 sixth grade students from
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Background: The aim of this paper was to examine associations between school building characteristics, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and health responses using questionnaire data from both school principals and students. Methods: From 334 randomly sampled schools, 4248 sixth grade students from 297 schools participated in a questionnaire. From these schools, 134 principals returned questionnaires concerning 51 IEQ related questions of their school. Generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) were used to study the associations between IEQ indicators and existence of self-reported upper respiratory symptoms, while hierarchical Zero Inflated Poisson (ZIP)—models were used to model the number of symptoms. Results: Significant associations were established between existence of upper respiratory symptoms and unsatisfactory classroom temperature during the heating season (ORs 1.45 for too hot and cold, and 1.27 for too cold as compared to satisfactory temperature) and dampness or moisture damage during the year 2006–2007 (OR: 1.80 as compared to no moisture damage), respectively. The number of upper respiratory symptoms was significantly associated with inadequate ventilation and dampness or moisture damage. A higher number of missed school days due to respiratory infections were reported in schools with inadequate ventilation (RR: 1.16). Conclusions: The school level IEQ indicator variables described in this paper could explain a relatively large part of the school level variation observed in the self-reported upper respiratory symptoms and missed school days due to respiratory infections among students. Full article
Open AccessArticle Children’s Exposure to Radon in Nursery and Primary Schools
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 386; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040386
Received: 1 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1019 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The literature proves an evident association between indoor radon exposure and lung cancer, even at low doses. This study brings a new approach to the study of children’s exposure to radon by aiming to evaluate exposure to indoor radon concentrations in nursery and
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The literature proves an evident association between indoor radon exposure and lung cancer, even at low doses. This study brings a new approach to the study of children’s exposure to radon by aiming to evaluate exposure to indoor radon concentrations in nursery and primary schools from two districts in Portugal (Porto and Bragança), considering different influencing factors (occupation patterns, classroom floor level, year of the buildings’ construction and soil composition of the building site), as well as the comparison with IAQ standard values for health protection. Fifteen nursery and primary schools in the Porto and Bragança districts were considered: five nursery schools for infants and twelve for pre-schoolers (seven different buildings), as well as eight primary schools. Radon measurements were performed continuously. The measured concentrations depended on the building occupation, classroom floor level and year of the buildings’ construction. Although they were in general within the Portuguese legislation for IAQ, exceedances to international standards were found. These results point out the need of assessing indoor radon concentrations not only in primary schools, but also in nursery schools, never performed in Portugal before this study. It is important to extend the study to other microenvironments like homes, and in time to estimate the annual effective dose and to assess lifetime health risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Determination and Distribution of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Rivers, Sediments and Wastewater Effluents in Vhembe District, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 387; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040387
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are very toxic and persistent environmental contaminants. This study was undertaken to assess the concentrations and possible sources of 16 PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) classified by the United State Environmental Protection Agency as priority pollutants in water and sediments of
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Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are very toxic and persistent environmental contaminants. This study was undertaken to assess the concentrations and possible sources of 16 PAHs (Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) classified by the United State Environmental Protection Agency as priority pollutants in water and sediments of the Mvudi and Nzhelele Rivers. Effluents from Thohoyandou wastewater treatment plant and Siloam waste stabilization ponds were also investigated. Diagnostic ratios were used to evaluate the possible sources of PAHs. PAHs in the water samples were extracted using 1:1 dichloromethane and n-hexane mixtures, while those in the sediment samples were extracted with 1:1 acetone and dichloromethane using an ultrasonication method. The extracts were purified using an SPE technique and reconstituted in n-hexane before analyses with a gas chromatograph time of flight—mass spectrometer. The results obtained indicate the prevalence of high molecular weight PAHs in all the samples. PAHs concentrations in water and sediment samples from all the sampling sites were in the range of 13.174–26.382 mg/L and 27.10–55.93 mg/kg, respectively. Combustion of biomass was identified as the major possible source of PAHs. Effluents from wastewater treatment facilities were also considered as major anthropogenic contributions to the levels of PAHs found in both river water and sediments. Mvudi and Nzhelele Rivers show moderate to high contamination level of PAHs. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Pyrethroid Pesticide Metabolite in Urine and Microelements in Hair of Children Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Preliminary Investigation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 388; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040388
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1016 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The number of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is dramatically increasing as well as the studies aimed at understanding the risk factors associated with the development of ASD. Since the etiology of ASD is partly genetic and partly environmental, factors (
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The number of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is dramatically increasing as well as the studies aimed at understanding the risk factors associated with the development of ASD. Since the etiology of ASD is partly genetic and partly environmental, factors (i.e., heavy metals, pesticides) as well as lifestyle seem to have a key role in the development of the disease. ASD and Control (CTR) children, aged 5–12 years, were compared. Gas chromatography coupled with trap mass detector was used to measure the level of 3-PBA, the main pyrethroid metabolite in urine in a group of ASD patients, while optical emission spectrometry analysis was employed to estimate the level of metals and microelements in hair in a different group of ASD children. The presence of 3-PBA in urine seems to be independent of age in ASD children, while a positive correlation between 3-PBA and age was observed in the control group of the same age range. Urine concentration of 3-BPA in ASD children had higher values than in the control group, which were marginally significant (p = 0.054). Mg results were significantly decreased in ASD with respect to controls, while V, S, Zn, and Ca/Mg were marginally increased, without reaching statistical significance. Results of Principal Component (PC) analysis of metals and microelements in hair were not associated with either age or health status. In conclusion, 3-PBA in urine and Mg in hair were changed in ASD children relative to control ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Childhood Reports of Food Neglect and Impulse Control Problems and Violence in Adulthood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 389; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040389
Received: 22 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
Food insecurity and hunger during childhood are associated with an array of developmental problems in multiple domains, including impulse control problems and violence. Unfortunately, extant research is based primarily on small convenience samples and an epidemiological assessment of the hunger-violence link is lacking.
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Food insecurity and hunger during childhood are associated with an array of developmental problems in multiple domains, including impulse control problems and violence. Unfortunately, extant research is based primarily on small convenience samples and an epidemiological assessment of the hunger-violence link is lacking. The current study employed data from Wave 1 (2001–2002) and Wave 2 (2004–2005) of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). The NESARC is a nationally representative sample of non-institutionalized U.S. residents aged 18 years and older. Participants who experienced frequent hunger during childhood had significantly greater impulsivity, worse self-control, and greater involvement in several forms of interpersonal violence. These effects were stronger among whites, Hispanics, and males. The findings support general theoretical models implicating impulse control problems as a key correlate of crime and violence and add another facet to the importance of ameliorating food neglect in the United States. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth Psychology and Crime)
Open AccessArticle Barriers to and Facilitators of the Evaluation of Integrated Community-Wide Overweight Intervention Approaches: A Qualitative Case Study in Two Dutch Municipalities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 390; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040390
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
To prevent overweight and obesity the implementation of an integrated community-wide intervention approach (ICIA) is often advocated. Evaluation can enhance implementation of such an approach and demonstrate the extent of effectiveness. To be able to support professionals in the evaluation of ICIAs we
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To prevent overweight and obesity the implementation of an integrated community-wide intervention approach (ICIA) is often advocated. Evaluation can enhance implementation of such an approach and demonstrate the extent of effectiveness. To be able to support professionals in the evaluation of ICIAs we studied barriers to and facilitators of ICIA evaluation. In this study ten professionals of two Dutch municipalities involved in the evaluation of an ICIA participated. We conducted semi-structured interviews (n = 12), observed programme meetings (n = 4) and carried out document analysis. Data were analyzed using a thematic content approach. We learned that evaluation is hampered when it is perceived as unfeasible due to limited time and budget, a lack of evaluation knowledge or a negative evaluation attitude. Other barriers are a poor understanding of the evaluation process and its added value to optimizing the programme. Sufficient communication between involved professionals on evaluation can facilitate evaluation, as does support for evaluation of ICIAs together with stakeholders at a strategic and tactical level. To stimulate the evaluation of ICIAs, we recommend supporting professionals in securing evaluation resources, providing tailored training and tools to enhance evaluation competences and stimulating strategic communication on evaluation. Full article
Open AccessArticle How Does Sex Influence Multimorbidity? Secondary Analysis of a Large Nationally Representative Dataset
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 391; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040391
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Multimorbidity increases with age and is generally more common in women, but little is known about sex effects on the “typology” of multimorbidity. We have characterized multimorbidity in a large nationally representative primary care dataset in terms of sex in ten year age
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Multimorbidity increases with age and is generally more common in women, but little is known about sex effects on the “typology” of multimorbidity. We have characterized multimorbidity in a large nationally representative primary care dataset in terms of sex in ten year age groups from 25 years to 75 years and over, in a cross-sectional analysis of multimorbidity type (physical-only, mental-only, mixed physical and mental; and commonest conditions) for 1,272,685 adults in Scotland. Our results show that women had more multimorbidity overall in every age group, which was most pronounced in the 45–54 years age group (women 26.5% vs. men 19.6%; difference 6.9 (95% CI 6.5 to 7.2). From the age of 45, physical-only multimorbidity was consistently more common in men, and physical-mental multimorbidity more common in women. The biggest difference in physical-mental multimorbidity was found in the 75 years and over group (women 30.9% vs. men 21.2%; difference 9.7 (95% CI 9.1 to 10.2). The commonest condition in women was depression until the age of 55 years, thereafter hypertension. In men, drugs misuse had the highest prevalence in those aged 25–34 years, depression for those aged 35–44 years, and hypertension for 45 years and over. Depression, pain, irritable bowel syndrome and thyroid disorders were more common in women than men across all age groups. We conclude that the higher overall prevalence of multimorbidity in women is mainly due to more mixed physical and mental health problems. The marked difference between the sexes over 75 years especially warrants further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Blood Glucose Distribution Characteristics and Its Risk Factors among a Health Examination Population in Wuhu (China)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 392; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040392
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) and Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) represent serious threats to human health, and as a result, this study was aimed at understanding the blood glucose distribution characteristics and the risk factors among a large health examination population in China.
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Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) and Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) represent serious threats to human health, and as a result, this study was aimed at understanding the blood glucose distribution characteristics and the risk factors among a large health examination population in China. Methods: An investigation with physical and biochemical examinations and questionnaires was conducted in the physical examination center from 2011 to 2014 and as a result 175,122 physical examination attendees were enrolled in this study. Multivariate logistic regression was used to explore the factors influencing blood sugar levels. Results: The rates of IFG and DM were 6.0% and 3.8%. Prevalence were 7.6%/5.1% in males and 5.1%/2.8% in females for IFG and DM, respectively. The prevalence of IFG and DM were thus higher in males than in females. In the normal group, except high density lipoprotein (HDL) that was significantly higher than in the IFG and DM group, the other indexes (age, body mass index (BMI), glucose (Glu), total cholesterol (TC) and total glycerides (TG) were lower than those in the IFG and DM group. The proportion of IFG and DM also increased with the increases in proportion of abnormal blood pressure, smoking and alcohol consumption. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that increasing age, high BMI, high TC, high TG and low HDL increased the risk of diabetes, while in males, in addition to the above factors, the smoking and drinking factors also increased the risk of diabetes. After the age of 65, the blood glucose level reached a peak in males, while in females, the increasing trends was on the rise. The inflexion age of the fast rise was younger in males than in females. Conclusion: The study population showed a high prevalence of DM and IFG among the adults. Regular physical examination for the early detection of diabetes is recommended in the high-risk population. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Health Care and Diabetes)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Ecological Risk of Heavy Metal Contamination in Coastal Municipalities of Montenegro
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 393; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040393
Received: 7 February 2016 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Assessment of heavy metal concentrations in the soil samples of urban parks and playgrounds is very important for the evaluation of potential risks for residents, especially children. Until recently, there has been very little data about urban parks pollution in Montenegro. To evaluate
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Assessment of heavy metal concentrations in the soil samples of urban parks and playgrounds is very important for the evaluation of potential risks for residents, especially children. Until recently, there has been very little data about urban parks pollution in Montenegro. To evaluate the sources of potential contamination and concentration of heavy metals, soil samples from coastal urban parks and kindergartens of Montenegro were collected. Based on the heavy metal concentrations, multivariate analysis combined with geochemical approaches showed that soil samples in coastal areas of Montenegro had mean Pb and Cd concentrations that were over two times higher than the background values, respectively. Based on principal component analysis (PCA), soil pollution with Pb, Cd, Cu, and Zn is contributed by anthropogenic sources. Results for Cr in the surface soils were primarily derived from natural sources. Calculation of different ecological contamination factors showed that Cd is the primary contribution to ecological risk index (RI) origins from anthropogenic, industry, and urbanization sources. This data provides evidence about soil pollution in coastal municipalities of Montenegro. Special attention should be paid to this problem in order to continue further research and to consider possible ways of remediation of the sites where contamination has been observed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improvements in Empathy and Cognitive Flexibility after Court-Mandated Intervention Program in Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators: The Role of Alcohol Abuse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 394; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040394
Received: 6 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Research assessing the effectiveness of intervention programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators has increased considerably in recent years. However, most of it has been focused on the analysis of psychological domains, neglecting neuropsychological variables and the effects of alcohol consumption on these
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Research assessing the effectiveness of intervention programs for intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators has increased considerably in recent years. However, most of it has been focused on the analysis of psychological domains, neglecting neuropsychological variables and the effects of alcohol consumption on these variables. This study evaluated potential neuropsychological changes (emotional decoding, perspective taking, emotional empathy and cognitive flexibility) and their relationship with alcohol consumption in a mandatory intervention program for IPV perpetrators, as well as how these variables affect the risk of IPV recidivism. The sample was composed of 116 individuals with high alcohol (n = 55; HA) and low alcohol (n = 61; LA) consumption according to self-report screening measures who received treatment in a IPV perpetrator intervention program developed in Valencia (Spain). IPV perpetrators with HA consumption were less accurate in decoding emotional facial signals and adopting others’ perspective, and less cognitively flexible than those with LA consumption before the IPV intervention. Further, the effectiveness of the intervention program was demonstrated, with increases being observed in cognitive empathy (emotional decoding and perspective taking) and in cognitive flexibility. Nevertheless, the HA group showed a smaller improvement in these skills and higher risk of IPV recidivism than the LA group. Moreover, improvement in these skills was related to a lower risk of IPV recidivism. The study provides guidance on the targeting of cognitive domains, which are key factors for reducing IPV recidivism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Treating Alcoholism between Harm Reduction and Immediate Abstinence)
Open AccessArticle Structural Factors Affecting Health Examination Behavioral Intention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 395; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040395
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Disease screening instruments used for secondary prevention can facilitate early determination and treatment of pathogenic factors, effectively reducing disease incidence, mortality rates, and health complications. Therefore, people should be encouraged to receive health examinations for discovering potential pathogenic factors before symptoms occur. Here,
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Disease screening instruments used for secondary prevention can facilitate early determination and treatment of pathogenic factors, effectively reducing disease incidence, mortality rates, and health complications. Therefore, people should be encouraged to receive health examinations for discovering potential pathogenic factors before symptoms occur. Here, we used the health belief model as a foundation and integrated social psychological factors and investigated the factors influencing health examination behavioral intention among the public in Taiwan. In total, 388 effective questionnaires were analyzed through structural model analysis. Consequently, this study yielded four crucial findings: (1) The established extended health belief model could effectively predict health examination behavioral intention; (2) Self-efficacy was the factor that most strongly influenced health examination behavioral intention, followed by health knowledge; (3) Self-efficacy substantially influenced perceived benefits and perceived barriers; (4) Health knowledge and social support indirectly influenced health examination behavioral intention. The preceding results can effectively increase the acceptance and use of health examination services among the public, thereby facilitating early diagnosis and treatment and ultimately reducing disease and mortality rates. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Optimum Installation of Sorptive Building Materials Using Contribution Ratio of Pollution Source for Improvement of Indoor Air Quality
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 396; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040396
Received: 14 January 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Reinforcing the insulation and airtightness of buildings and the use of building materials containing new chemical substances have caused indoor air quality problems. Use of sorptive building materials along with removal of pollutants, constant ventilation, bake-out, etc. are gaining attention in Korea and
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Reinforcing the insulation and airtightness of buildings and the use of building materials containing new chemical substances have caused indoor air quality problems. Use of sorptive building materials along with removal of pollutants, constant ventilation, bake-out, etc. are gaining attention in Korea and Japan as methods for improving such indoor air quality problems. On the other hand, sorptive building materials are considered a passive method of reducing the concentration of pollutants, and their application should be reviewed in the early stages. Thus, in this research, activated carbon was prepared as a sorptive building material. Then, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was conducted, and a method for optimal installation of sorptive building materials was derived according to the indoor environment using the contribution ratio of pollution source (CRP) index. The results show that a method for optimal installation of sorptive building materials can be derived by predicting the contribution ratio of pollutant sources according to the CRP index. Full article
Open AccessArticle Correlates of Insufficient Physical Activity among Junior High School Students: A Cross-Sectional Study in Xi’an, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 397; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040397
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Physical activity plays an important role in individual health at all stages of life. However, evidence is lacking regarding the level of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and the related factors to insufficient physical activity (IPA). Methods: A sample
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Background: Physical activity plays an important role in individual health at all stages of life. However, evidence is lacking regarding the level of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and the related factors to insufficient physical activity (IPA). Methods: A sample of 1060 students aged 12–15 years from nine public junior high schools in China were invited to participate in this study. Physical activity was assessed by a modified version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to assess the factors associated with IPA. Results: 30.1% boys and 43.0% girls in our sample did not engage in sufficient physical activity. Obesity (OR = 2.2, 95% CI: 1.5–2.9) and high socioeconomic status (SES) (OR = 2.4, 95% CI: 1.3–4.8) were positively associated with IPA, whereas male sex (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.5–0.9), underweight status (OR = 0.5, 95% CI: 0.3–0.7), and high family support level for physical activity (OR = 0.7, 95% CI: 0.6–0.9) showed inverse associations. Age was not associated with IPA. Conclusions: IPA appears to be a considerable problem in this sample of Chinese youth. Effective interventions to increase physical activity are needed and may include improving family support level for physical activity, especially for girls, the obese and those with high SES. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Effects of 20 Selected Fruits on Ethanol Metabolism: Potential Health Benefits and Harmful Impacts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 399; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040399
Received: 16 February 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
The consumption of alcohol is often accompanied by other foods, such as fruits and vegetables. This study is aimed to investigate the effects of 20 selected fruits on ethanol metabolism to find out their potential health benefits and harmful impacts. The effects of
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The consumption of alcohol is often accompanied by other foods, such as fruits and vegetables. This study is aimed to investigate the effects of 20 selected fruits on ethanol metabolism to find out their potential health benefits and harmful impacts. The effects of the fruits on ethanol metabolism were characterized by the concentrations of ethanol and acetaldehyde in blood, as well as activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase in liver of mice. Furthermore, potential health benefits and harmful impacts of the fruits were evaluated by biochemical parameters including aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transferase (ALT), malondialdehyde, and superoxide dismutase. Generally, effects of these fruits on ethanol metabolism were very different. Some fruits (such as Citrus limon (yellow), Averrhoa carambola, Pyrus spp., and Syzygium samarangense) could decrease the concentration of ethanol in blood. In addition, several fruits (such as Cucumis melo) showed hepatoprotective effects by significantly decreasing AST or ALT level in blood, while some fruits (such as Averrhoa carambola) showed adverse effects. The results suggested that the consumption of alcohol should not be accompanied by some fruits, and several fruits could be developed as functional foods for the prevention and treatment of hangover and alcohol use disorder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Substance and Drug Abuse Prevention)
Open AccessArticle Adaptation and Evaluation of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale in India (NEWS-India)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 401; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040401
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 2 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, with most of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) like India. Research from developed countries has consistently demonstrated associations between built environment features and physical activity levels of populations.
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Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, with most of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) like India. Research from developed countries has consistently demonstrated associations between built environment features and physical activity levels of populations. The development of culturally sensitive and reliable measures of the built environment is a necessary first step for accurate analysis of environmental correlates of physical activity in LMICs. This study systematically adapted the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) for India and evaluated aspects of test-retest reliability of the adapted version among Indian adults. Cultural adaptation of the NEWS was conducted by Indian and international experts. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with local residents and key informants in the city of Chennai, India. At baseline, participants (N = 370; female = 47.2%) from Chennai completed the adapted NEWS-India surveys on perceived residential density, land use mix-diversity, land use mix-access, street connectivity, infrastructure and safety for walking and cycling, aesthetics, traffic safety, and safety from crime. NEWS-India was administered for a second time to consenting participants (N = 62; female = 53.2%) with a gap of 2–3 weeks between successive administrations. Qualitative findings demonstrated that built environment barriers and constraints to active commuting and physical activity behaviors intersected with social ecological systems. The adapted NEWS subscales had moderate to high test-retest reliability (ICC range 0.48–0.99). The NEWS-India demonstrated acceptable measurement properties among Indian adults and may be a useful tool for evaluation of built environment attributes in India. Further adaptation and evaluation in rural and suburban settings in India is essential to create a version that could be used throughout India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
Open AccessArticle The Haze Nightmare Following the Economic Boom in China: Dilemma and Tradeoffs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 402; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040402
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 2 April 2016
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Abstract
This study aims to expand on a deeper understanding of the relationship between rapid economic development and ensuing air pollution in China. The database includes the gross domestic product (GDP), the value added of a secondary industry, the per capita GDP (PGDP), greenhouse
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This study aims to expand on a deeper understanding of the relationship between rapid economic development and ensuing air pollution in China. The database includes the gross domestic product (GDP), the value added of a secondary industry, the per capita GDP (PGDP), greenhouse gases emissions, and PM2.5 concentrations. The results indicate that China’s PGDP has continued to rise over the past decade, and the rate of PGDP slowed down from 1980 to 2004 (slope = 5672.81, R2 = 0.99, p < 0.001) but was significantly lower than that from the year 2004 to 2013 (slope = 46,911.08, R2 > 0.99, p < 0.001). Unfortunately, we found that total coal consumption, annual steel production, and SO2 emission had been continually growing as the overall economy expands at temporal scale, with the coefficient of determinations greater than 0.98 (p < 0.001). Considering the spatial pattern aspect, we also found a significant relationship between GDP and greenhouse gases. Meanwhile, severe air pollution has negatively impacted the environment and human health, particularly in some highlighted regions. The variation explained by both total SO2 emission and total smoke and dust emission were 33% (p < 0.001) and 24% (p < 0.01) for the rate of total pertussis at temporal scale, respectively. Furthermore, at the spatial scale, pulmonary tuberculosis rates and pertussis mainly occurred in area with serious air pollution (economically developed region). It can be summarized that the extensive mode of economic growth has brought a number of serious environment and human health problems. Thus, a new policy framework has been proposed to meet the goals of maintaining a healthy economy without harming natural environment, which may prove integral, especially when coupled with long-term national strategic development plans. Full article
Open AccessArticle Media Competition Implementation for the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study (MA-CORD): Adoption and Reach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 403; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040403
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 11 January 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
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Abstract
The Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study (MA-CORD) was a multi-level, multi-sector community intervention with a media competition component to provide an overarching synergy and promote awareness of target behaviors to reduce childhood obesity. Students participating in the media competition were tasked with
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The Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration Study (MA-CORD) was a multi-level, multi-sector community intervention with a media competition component to provide an overarching synergy and promote awareness of target behaviors to reduce childhood obesity. Students participating in the media competition were tasked with developing videos, song/rap lyrics, and artwork that reflected the goals. The aim of this study is to document the process used to develop and implement the media competition along with its reach and adoption. An adapted version of Neta and colleagues’ 2015 framework on dissemination and implementation was used to summarize the process by which the media competition was developed and implemented. Adoption was defined by whether eligible schools or afterschool programs decided to implement the media competition. Reach was defined by student participation rates within schools/programs and the number of votes cast for the finalists on the coalition website and students’ paper ballots. A total of 595 students participated in the media competition from 18 school and afterschool programs in two communities. Adoption of the media competitions ranged from 22% to 100% in programs and reach ranged from 3% to 33% of the student population. The documentation of the implementation should contribute to the replication of the media competition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle A Cascade of Champions: A Qualitative Study about the MA-CORD Media Competition Implementation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 404; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040404
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
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Abstract
A media competition was part of the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) Study. Criss et al., previously outlined the development and implementation of the competition, including variation in reach and adoption of the intervention across schools and afterschool programs. In this
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A media competition was part of the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) Study. Criss et al., previously outlined the development and implementation of the competition, including variation in reach and adoption of the intervention across schools and afterschool programs. In this qualitative study, we examine community, provider, and organizational factors that explain the variation of media competition reach in school and afterschool programs, and describe the awareness of the media competition across other community sectors. Durlak and DuPre’s ecological framework for understanding effective implementation provided the theoretical underpinnings for this study. Fifty-four key informant interviews were conducted, transcribed, and analyzed. Organizational capacity of committed teachers/staff and adaptability of the media competition seemed to be drivers for higher reach within school and afterschool programs. Salient themes that emerged as facilitators of effective implementation were having a cascade of champions and providing opportunity to participate in the media competition outside traditional class time. Clinics and coalitions were identified as additional sectors aware of the media competition. Specifically, our findings offer a new perspective on intervention design and a recommended direction for further study. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ferritin Levels in Colombian Children: Findings from the 2010 National Nutrition Survey (ENSIN)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 405; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040405
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
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Abstract
Low ferritin is associated with many adverse health outcomes and is highly prevalent worldwide. The aim of this study was to describe the key findings related to plasma ferritin levels to identify the prevalence and associated sociodemographic factors in a representative sample of
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Low ferritin is associated with many adverse health outcomes and is highly prevalent worldwide. The aim of this study was to describe the key findings related to plasma ferritin levels to identify the prevalence and associated sociodemographic factors in a representative sample of children in Colombia, based on the 2010 National Nutrition Survey. We analyzed cross-sectional data from 6650 Colombian children between the ages of 5 and 12. Plasma ferritin levels were determined by chemiluminescence. Sociodemographic data was assessed by computer-assisted personal interview technology. All analyses were conducted considering the complex nature of the sample. Of the children assessed, 3.5% had low ferritin, defined as levels <12 µg/L. A multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed increased risks for low ferritin levels among black or Afro-Colombian ethnic group and for those living in the northern, western and southern regions of the country. In conclusion, a significant prevalence of anemia caused by low ferritin levels was found and various sociodemographic factors were associated with this finding in Colombia. Continued surveillance and implementation of interventions to improve dietary patterns among the identified high-risk groups should be considered. Implementing these recommendations can help reduce manifestations of iron deficiency (e.g., delays in infant and child development) and thus improve public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children, Adolescents and Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle Nutrient Status and Contamination Risks from Digested Pig Slurry Applied on a Vegetable Crops Field
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 406; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040406
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
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Abstract
The effects of applied digested pig slurry on a vegetable crops field were studied. The study included a 3-year investigation on nutrient characteristics, heavy metals contamination and hygienic risks of a vegetable crops field in Wuhan, China. The results showed that, after anaerobic
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The effects of applied digested pig slurry on a vegetable crops field were studied. The study included a 3-year investigation on nutrient characteristics, heavy metals contamination and hygienic risks of a vegetable crops field in Wuhan, China. The results showed that, after anaerobic digestion, abundant N, P and K remained in the digested pig slurry while fecal coliforms, ascaris eggs, schistosoma eggs and hookworm eggs were highly reduced. High Cr, Zn and Cu contents in the digested pig slurry were found in spring. Digested pig slurry application to the vegetable crops field led to improved soil fertility. Plant-available P in the fertilized soils increased due to considerable increase in total P content and decrease in low-availability P fraction. The As content in the fertilized soils increased slightly but significantly (p = 0.003) compared with control. The Hg, Zn, Cr, Cd, Pb, and Cu contents in the fertilized soils did not exceed the maximum permissible contents for vegetable crops soils in China. However, high Zn accumulation should be of concern due to repeated applications of digested pig slurry. No fecal coliforms, ascaris eggs, schistosoma eggs or hookworm eggs were detected in the fertilized soils. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Adoption of Roles by Primary Care Providers during Implementation of the New Chronic Disease Guidelines in Urban Mongolia: A Qualitative Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 407; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040407
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
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Abstract
(1) Background: In 2011, new chronic disease guidelines were introduced across Mongolia. No formal advice was provided regarding role delineation. This study aimed to analyse the roles that different primary care providers adopted, and the variations in these, in the implementation of
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(1) Background: In 2011, new chronic disease guidelines were introduced across Mongolia. No formal advice was provided regarding role delineation. This study aimed to analyse the roles that different primary care providers adopted, and the variations in these, in the implementation of the guidelines in urban Mongolia; (2) Methods: Ten group interviews with nurses and ten individual interviews each with practice doctors and practice directors were conducted. Data was analysed using a thematic approach based on the identified themes relevant to role delineation; (3) Results: There was some variability and flexibility in role delineation. Factors involving teamwork, task rotation and practice flexibility facilitated well the guideline implementation. However, factors including expectations and decision making, nursing shortage, and training gaps adversely influenced in the roles and responsibilities. Some role confusion and dissatisfaction was identified, often associated with a lack of training or staff turnover; (4) Conclusions: Findings suggest that adequate ongoing training is required to maximize the range of roles particular provider types, especially primary care nurses, are competent to perform. Ensuring that role delineation is specified in guidelines could remove confusion and enhance implementation of such guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle Modelling and Analysis of Hydrodynamics and Water Quality for Rivers in the Northern Cold Region of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 408; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040408
Received: 27 December 2015 / Revised: 27 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
In this study, the Mudan River, which is the most typical river in the northern cold region of China was selected as the research object; Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) was adopted to construct a new two-dimensional water quality model for the urban
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In this study, the Mudan River, which is the most typical river in the northern cold region of China was selected as the research object; Environmental Fluid Dynamics Code (EFDC) was adopted to construct a new two-dimensional water quality model for the urban sections of the Mudan River, and concentrations of CODCr and NH3N during ice-covered and open-water periods were simulated and analyzed. Results indicated that roughness coefficient and comprehensive pollutant decay rate were significantly different in those periods. To be specific, the roughness coefficient in the ice-covered period was larger than that of the open-water period, while the decay rate within the former period was smaller than that in the latter. In addition, according to the analysis of the simulated results, the main reasons for the decay rate reduction during the ice-covered period are temperature drop, upstream inflow decrease and ice layer cover; among them, ice sheet is the major contributor of roughness increase. These aspects were discussed in more detail in this work. The model could be generalized to hydrodynamic water quality process simulation researches on rivers in other cold regions as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
Open AccessArticle Regional Variations of Public Perception on Contaminated Industrial Sites in China and Its Influencing Factors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 410; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040410
Received: 26 January 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
Public involvement is critical in sustainable contaminated site management. It is important for China to improve public knowledge and participation, foster dialogue between urban managers and laypeople, and accelerate the remediation and redevelopment processes in contaminated site management. In this study, we collected
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Public involvement is critical in sustainable contaminated site management. It is important for China to improve public knowledge and participation, foster dialogue between urban managers and laypeople, and accelerate the remediation and redevelopment processes in contaminated site management. In this study, we collected 1812 questionnaires from nine cities around China through face-to-face interviews and statistically analyzed the perception of residents concerning contaminated sites. The results show that respondents’ concern about soil pollution was lower than for other environmental issues and their knowledge of soil contamination was limited. The risks posed by contaminated industrial sites were well recognized by respondents, but they were unsatisfied with the performance of local agencies regarding information disclosure, publicity and education and public participation. Respondents believed that local governments and polluters should take the primary responsibility for contaminated site remediation. Most of them were unwilling to pay for contaminated site remediation and preferred recreational or public service redevelopment. Moreover, our research indicated that public perception varied among different cities. This variation was mainly determined by implementations of policy instruments and additionally affected by remediation technology, pollutant type, regional policy response and living distance. Full article
Open AccessArticle Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-Experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 411; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040411
Received: 9 February 2016 / Revised: 30 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
Introduction: Childhood obesity affects ~20% of children in the United States. Environmental influences, such as parks, are linked with increased physical activity (PA). Objective: To examine whether changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score were associated with construction of a new
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Introduction: Childhood obesity affects ~20% of children in the United States. Environmental influences, such as parks, are linked with increased physical activity (PA). Objective: To examine whether changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score were associated with construction of a new park. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether living in proximity of a park was associated with a reduction in BMI z-score. Children were selected from health clinics within an 11 mile radius of the park. A repeated-measure ANOVA was employed for analysis of the relationship between exposure (new park) and BMI z-score. Results: Participants were 1443 (median age 10.3 range (2–17.9 years), BMI: z-score 0.84 ± 1.09) African American (77.4%) adolescents. Change in BMI z-score was not statistically different for children living at different distances from the park after controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, or payer type (p = 0.4482). We did observe a small 0.03 increase in BMI z-score from pre- to post-park (p = 0.0007). There was a significant positive association between child’s baseline age and BMI z-score (p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study found proximity to a park was not associated with reductions in BMI z-score. Additional efforts to understand the complex relationship between park proximity, access, and PA are warranted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cross Sectional Association between Spatially Measured Walking Bouts and Neighborhood Walkability
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 412; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040412
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
Walking is the most popular choice of aerobic physical activity to improve health among U.S. adults. Physical characteristics of the home neighborhood can facilitate or hinder walking. The purpose of this study was to quantify neighborhood walking, using objective methods and to examine
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Walking is the most popular choice of aerobic physical activity to improve health among U.S. adults. Physical characteristics of the home neighborhood can facilitate or hinder walking. The purpose of this study was to quantify neighborhood walking, using objective methods and to examine the association between counts of walking bouts in the home neighborhood and neighborhood walkability. This was a cross-sectional study of 106 adults who wore accelerometers and GPS devices for two weeks. Walking was quantified within 1, 2, and 3 km Euclidean (straight-line) and network buffers around the geocoded home location. Walkability was estimated using a commercially available index. Walking bout counts increased with buffer size and were associated with walkability, regardless of buffer type or size (p < 0.001). Quantification of walking bouts within (and outside) of pre-defined neighborhood buffers of different sizes and types allowed for the specification of walking locations to better describe and elucidate walking behaviors. These data support the concept that neighborhood characteristics can influence walking among adults. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Simulation-Based Comparison of Covariate Adjustment Methods for the Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 414; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040414
Received: 7 September 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 11 April 2016
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Abstract
Covariate adjustment methods are frequently used when baseline covariate information is available for randomized controlled trials. Using a simulation study, we compared the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with three nonparametric covariate adjustment methods with respect to point and interval estimation for the difference
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Covariate adjustment methods are frequently used when baseline covariate information is available for randomized controlled trials. Using a simulation study, we compared the analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) with three nonparametric covariate adjustment methods with respect to point and interval estimation for the difference between means. The three alternative methods were based on important members of the generalized empirical likelihood (GEL) family, specifically on the empirical likelihood (EL) method, the exponential tilting (ET) method, and the continuous updated estimator (CUE) method. Two criteria were considered for the comparison of the four statistical methods: the root mean squared error and the empirical coverage of the nominal 95% confidence intervals for the difference between means. Based on the results of the simulation study, for sensitivity analysis purposes, we recommend the use of ANCOVA (with robust standard errors when heteroscedasticity is present) together with the CUE-based covariate adjustment method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodological Innovations and Reflections-1)
Open AccessArticle Which Environmental Factors Have the Highest Impact on the Performance of People Experiencing Difficulties in Capacity?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 416; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040416
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Disability is understood by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the outcome of the interaction between a health condition and personal and environmental factors. Comprehensive data about environmental factors is therefore essential to understand and influence disability. We aimed to identify which environmental
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Disability is understood by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the outcome of the interaction between a health condition and personal and environmental factors. Comprehensive data about environmental factors is therefore essential to understand and influence disability. We aimed to identify which environmental factors have the highest impact on the performance of people with mild, moderate and severe difficulties in capacity, who are at risk of experiencing disability to different extents, using data from a pilot study of the WHO Model Disability Survey in Cambodia and random forest regression. Hindering or facilitating aspects of places to socialize in community activities, transportation and natural environment as well as use and need of personal assistance and use of medication on a regular basis were the most important environmental factors across groups. Hindering or facilitating aspects of the general environment were the most relevant in persons experiencing mild levels of difficulties in capacity, while social support, attitudes of others and use of medication on a regular basis were highly relevant for the performance of persons experiencing moderate to higher levels of difficulties in capacity. Additionally, we corroborate the high importance of the use and need of assistive devices for people with severe difficulties in capacity. Full article
Open AccessArticle Frontal Cortex Transcriptome Analysis of Mice Exposed to Electronic Cigarettes During Early Life Stages
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 417; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040417
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), battery-powered devices containing nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and other substances, are increasing in popularity. They pose a potential threat to the developing brain, as nicotine is a known neurotoxicant. We hypothesized that exposure to e-cigarettes during early life stages
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Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), battery-powered devices containing nicotine, glycerin, propylene glycol, flavorings, and other substances, are increasing in popularity. They pose a potential threat to the developing brain, as nicotine is a known neurotoxicant. We hypothesized that exposure to e-cigarettes during early life stages induce changes in central nervous system (CNS) transcriptome associated with adverse neurobiological outcomes and long-term disease states. To test the hypothesis, pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed daily (via whole body inhalation) throughout gestation (3 h/day; 5 days/week) to aerosols produced from e-cigarettes either with nicotine (13–16 mg/mL) or without nicotine; following birth, pups and dams were exposed together to e-cigarette aerosols throughout lactation beginning at postnatal day (PND) 4–6 and using the same exposure conditions employed during gestational exposure. Following exposure, frontal cortex recovered from ~one-month-old male and female offspring were excised and analyzed for gene expression by RNA Sequencing (RNA-Seq). Comparisons between the treatment groups revealed that e-cigarette constituents other than nicotine might be partly responsible for the observed biological effects. Transcriptome alterations in both offspring sexes and treatment groups were all significantly associated with downstream adverse neurobiological outcomes. Results from this study demonstrate that e-cigarette exposure during early life alters CNS development potentially leading to chronic neuropathology. Full article
Open AccessArticle Necessity of Internal Monitoring for Nuclear Medicine Staff in a Large Specialized Chinese Hospital
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 418; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040418
Received: 6 December 2015 / Revised: 17 January 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
This work intends to quantify the risk of internal contaminations in the nuclear medicine staff of one hospital in Henan province, China. For this purpose, the criteria proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether it is necessary to conduct
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This work intends to quantify the risk of internal contaminations in the nuclear medicine staff of one hospital in Henan province, China. For this purpose, the criteria proposed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to determine whether it is necessary to conduct internal individual monitoring was applied to all of the 18 nuclear medicine staff members who handled radionuclides. The activity of different radionuclides used during a whole calendar year and the protection measures adopted were collected for each staff member, and the decision as to whether nuclear medicine staff in the hospital should be subjected to internal monitoring was made on the basis of the criteria proposed by IAEA. It is concluded that for all 18 members of the nuclear medicine staff in the hospital, internal monitoring is required. Internal exposure received by nuclear medicine staff should not be ignored, and it is necessary to implement internal monitoring for nuclear medicine staff routinely. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Open AccessArticle Multi-Stakeholder Decision Aid for Improved Prioritization of the Public Health Impact of Climate Sensitive Infectious Diseases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 419; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040419
Received: 9 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
The effects of climate change on infectious diseases are an important global health concern and necessitate decisions for allocation of resources. Economic tools have been used previously; however, how prioritization results might differ when done using broader considerations identified by local stakeholders has
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The effects of climate change on infectious diseases are an important global health concern and necessitate decisions for allocation of resources. Economic tools have been used previously; however, how prioritization results might differ when done using broader considerations identified by local stakeholders has yet to be assessed. A multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA) approach was used to assess multi-stakeholder expressed concerns around disease prioritization via focus groups held in Quebec and Burkina Faso. Stakeholders weighted criteria and comparisons were made across study sites. A pilot disease prioritization was done to examine effects on disease rankings. A majority of identified criteria were common to both sites. The effect of context specific criteria and weights resulted in similar yet distinct prioritizations of diseases. The presence of consistent criteria between sites suggests that common concerns exist for prioritization; however, context-specific adjustments reveal much regarding resource availability, capacity and concerns that should be considered as this impacts disease ranking. Participatory decision aid approaches facilitate rich knowledge exchange and problem structuring. Furthermore, given multiple actors in low- and middle-income countries settings, multi-actor collaborations across non-governmental organizations, local government and community are important. Formal mechanisms such as MCDA provide means to foster consensus, shared awareness and collaboration. Full article
Open AccessArticle Restoration in Its Natural Context: How Ecological Momentary Assessment Can Advance Restoration Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 420; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040420
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
More and more people use self-tracking technologies to track their psychological states, physiology, and behaviors to gain a better understanding of themselves or to achieve a certain goal. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) also offers an excellent opportunity for restorative environments research, which examines
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More and more people use self-tracking technologies to track their psychological states, physiology, and behaviors to gain a better understanding of themselves or to achieve a certain goal. Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) also offers an excellent opportunity for restorative environments research, which examines how our physical environment (especially nature) can positively influence health and wellbeing. It enables investigating restorative health effects in everyday life, providing not only high ecological validity but also opportunities to study in more detail the dynamic processes playing out over time on recovery, thereby bridging the gap between laboratory (i.e., short-term effects) and epidemiological (long-term effects) research. We have identified four main areas in which self-tracking could help advance restoration research: (1) capturing a rich set of environment types and restorative characteristics; (2) distinguishing intra-individual from inter-individual effects; (3) bridging the gap between laboratory and epidemiological research; and (4) advancing theoretical insights by measuring a more broad range of effects in everyday life. This paper briefly introduces restorative environments research, then reviews the state of the art of self-tracking technologies and methodologies, discusses how these can be implemented to advance restoration research, and presents some examples of pioneering work in this area. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Preliminary Link between Hydroxylated Metabolites of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Free Thyroxin in Humans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 421; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040421
Received: 26 January 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their hydroxylated metabolites (HO-PCBs) interfere with thyroid hormone action both in vitro and in vivo. However, epidemiologic studies on the link between PCB exposure and thyroid function have yielded discordant results, while very few data are
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Background: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their hydroxylated metabolites (HO-PCBs) interfere with thyroid hormone action both in vitro and in vivo. However, epidemiologic studies on the link between PCB exposure and thyroid function have yielded discordant results, while very few data are available for HO-PCBs. Objectives: Our study aimed at investigating the relationship between clinically available markers of thyroid metabolism and serum levels of both PCBs and HO-PCBs. Subjects and Methods: In a group of 180 subjects, thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and free thyroxin (fT4), 29 PCBs (expressed both in lipid weight and in wet weight) and 18 HO-PCBs were measured in serum. Results: In regression models, adjusted for gender, age, current smoking behavior, BMI and total lipid levels, serum levels of 3HO-PCB118 and 3HO-PCB180, and PCB95lw, PCB99lw and PCB149lw were independent, significant predictors of fT4. A stepwise, multiple regression with gender, age, current smoking behavior, BMI and total lipid levels and all five previously identified significant compounds retained age, BMI, PCB95lw, PCB99lw and 3HO-PCB180 as significant predictors of fT4. TSH levels were not predicted by serum levels of any of the PCBs or HO-PCBs. Conclusions: Our study indicates that in vivo, circulating fT4 levels can be linked to serum levels of several PCBs and hydroxylated PCB metabolites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle A Survey of Current Knowledge on Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexual Behaviour in Italian Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 422; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040422
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Worldwide, 500 million people a year acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Adolescents, accounting for 25% of the sexually active population, are the most affected. To analyze sexual behavior among Italian adolescents and their knowledge of STDs, with the goal of preventing their
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Worldwide, 500 million people a year acquire a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Adolescents, accounting for 25% of the sexually active population, are the most affected. To analyze sexual behavior among Italian adolescents and their knowledge of STDs, with the goal of preventing their transmission, a questionnaire was administered to 2867 secondary school students (1271 males and 1596 females) aged 14–21 years. For the study, 1492 students were interviewed in Genoa (Northern Italy) and 1375 in Lecce (Southern Italy). For 37% of the respondents, parents and teachers were the main source of information on sex, and 95% believed that school should play the primary role in sex education. However, only 9% considered the sex education they received in school good. Noteworthy, only 0.5% of the teenagers recognized the sexually transmitted diseases from a list of diseases, and 54% of them did not know what a Pap test was. Confusion about the meaning of contraception and prevention was evident; only 22% knew that condoms and abstinence are the only methods for preventing STDs. Finally, a consistent number of students are exposed to risk factors for STDs transmission; e.g., alcohol and recreational drug use, promiscuity and improper condom use. On the basis of our study, there is an urgent need for the introduction of sex education as a proper subject in Italian schools. Full article
Open AccessArticle Type and Proximity of Green Spaces Are Important for Preventing Cardiovascular Morbidity and Diabetes—A Cross-Sectional Study for Quebec, Canada
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 423; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040423
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
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Abstract
This study aimed at determining the role of proximity to specific types of green spaces (GSes) as well as their spatial location in the relationship with the most morbid cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes. We measured the accessibility to various types of GS
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This study aimed at determining the role of proximity to specific types of green spaces (GSes) as well as their spatial location in the relationship with the most morbid cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and diabetes. We measured the accessibility to various types of GS and used a cross-sectional approach at census Dissemination Area (DA) levels in the Montreal and Quebec City metropolitan zones for the period 2006–2011. Poisson and negative binomial regression models were fitted to quantify the relationship between distances to specific types of GS and CVD morbidity as well as some risk factors (diabetes and hypertension) while controlling for several social and environmental confounders. GSes that have sports facilities showed a significant relationship to cerebrovascular diseases: the most distant population had an 11% higher prevalence rate ratio (PRR) compared to the nearest, as well as higher diabetes risk (PRR 9%) than the nearest. However, the overall model performance and the understanding of the role of GSes with sport facilities may be substantially achieved with lifestyle factors. Significantly higher prevalence of diabetes and cerebrovascular diseases as well as lower access to GSes equipped with sports facilities were found in suburban areas. GSes can advantageously be used to prevent some CVDs and their risk factors, but there may be a need to reconsider their types and location. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Depressive Symptoms and Related Factors in Korean Employees: The Third Korean Working Conditions Survey (2011)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 424; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040424
Received: 3 March 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
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Abstract
The aim of this study was to analyze the association between general working conditions and depressive symptoms among Korean employees. The target population of the study was native employees nationwide who were at least 15 years old, and 50,032 such individuals were enrolled
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The aim of this study was to analyze the association between general working conditions and depressive symptoms among Korean employees. The target population of the study was native employees nationwide who were at least 15 years old, and 50,032 such individuals were enrolled in the study. Depressive symptoms was assessed using the WHO-5 wellbeing index. Associations between general characteristics, job-related characteristics, work environment, and depressive symptoms were tested using chi-square tests, t-tests, and multiple logistic regression analysis. The prevalence of depressive symptoms was 39% (40.7% in males and 36.5% in females). Multiple regression analysis revealed that male subjects, older subjects, subjects with higher education status, subjects with lower monthly income, current smokers, and frequent drinkers were more likely to have depressive symptoms. In addition, longer weekly work hours, occupation type (skilled, unskilled, operative, or economic sector), shift work, working to tight deadlines, exposure to stress at work, and hazard exposure were associated with depressive symptoms. This representative study will be a guide to help manage depression among Korean employees. We expect that further research will identify additional causal relationships between general or specific working conditions and depression. Full article
Open AccessArticle Seasonal and Geographic Variation of Pediatric Malaria in Burundi: 2011 to 2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 425; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040425
Received: 20 February 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
We analyzed hospitalization records from 2011 to 2012 to examine the spatial patterns of pediatric malaria in Burundi. Malaria case data for those below the age of five years were categorized according to the four principal seasons of Burundi, which are two rainy
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We analyzed hospitalization records from 2011 to 2012 to examine the spatial patterns of pediatric malaria in Burundi. Malaria case data for those below the age of five years were categorized according to the four principal seasons of Burundi, which are two rainy seasons (February to May; September to November) and two dry seasons (June to August; December to January). The Getis-Ord Gi* statistic was used to examine seasonal spatial patterns of pediatric malaria, whereas geographically weighted regression (GWR) were used to examine the potential role of environmental variables on the spatial patterns of cases. There were a total of 19,890 pediatric malaria cases reported during the study period. The incidence among males was higher than that among females; and it was higher in rural districts. The seasonal incidence peaks occurred in the northern half of the country during the wet season while during the dry season, incidence was higher in southern Burundi. Elevation played a greater role in explaining variance in the prevalence of pediatric malaria during seasonal peaks than rainfall. The counterintuitive finding in northern Burundi confirms previous findings and suggests other factors (e.g., land cover/land use) facilitate the persistence of the mosquito population in the highlands of Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatio-temporal Frameworks for Infectious Disease Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Isolation and Characterization of Aquatic-Borne Klebsiella pneumoniae from Tropical Estuaries in Malaysia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 426; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040426
Received: 26 July 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
Klebsiella pneumoniae is an opportunistic pathogen that is responsible for causing nosocomial and community-acquired infections. Despite its common presence in soil and aquatic environments, the virulence potential of K. pneumoniae isolates of environmental origin is largely unknown. Hence, in this study, K. pneumoniae
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Klebsiella pneumoniae is an opportunistic pathogen that is responsible for causing nosocomial and community-acquired infections. Despite its common presence in soil and aquatic environments, the virulence potential of K. pneumoniae isolates of environmental origin is largely unknown. Hence, in this study, K. pneumoniae isolated from the estuarine waters and sediments of the Matang mangrove estuary were screened for potential virulence characteristics: antibiotic susceptibility, morphotype on Congo red agar, biofilm formation, presence of exopolysaccharide and capsule, possession of virulence genes (fimH, magA, ugE, wabG and rmpA) and their genomic fingerprints. A total of 55 strains of K. pneumoniae were isolated from both human-distributed sites (located along Sangga Besar River) and control sites (located along Selinsing River) where less human activity was observed, indicated that K. pneumoniae is ubiquitous in the environment. However, the detection of potentially virulent strains at the downstream of Kuala Sepetang village has suggested an anthropogenic contamination source. In conclusion, the findings from this study indicate that the Matang mangrove estuary could harbor potentially pathogenic K. pneumoniae with risk to public health. More studies are required to compare the environmental K. pneumoniae strains with the community-acquired K. pneumoniae strains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Microbial Pollution and Disinfection)
Open AccessArticle The Variation Characteristic of Sulfides and VOSc in a Source Water Reservoir and Its Control Using a Water-Lifting Aerator
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 427; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040427
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 26 March 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
Sulfides and volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSc) in water are not only malodorous but also toxic to humans and aquatic organisms. They cause serious deterioration in the ecological environment and pollute drinking water sources. In the present study, a source water reservoir—Zhoucun Reservoir
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Sulfides and volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSc) in water are not only malodorous but also toxic to humans and aquatic organisms. They cause serious deterioration in the ecological environment and pollute drinking water sources. In the present study, a source water reservoir—Zhoucun Reservoir in East China—was selected as the study site. Through a combination of field monitoring and in situ release experiments of sulfides, the characteristics of seasonal variation and distribution of sulfides and VOSc in the reservoir were studied, and the cause of the sulfide pollution was explained. The results show that sulfide pollution was quite severe in August and September 2014 in the Zhoucun Reservoir, with up to 1.59 mg·L−1 of sulfides in the lower layer water. The main source of sulfides is endogenous pollution. VOSc concentration correlates very well with that of sulfides during the summer, with a peak VOSc concentration of 44.37 μg·L−1. An installed water-lifting aeration system was shown to directly oxygenate the lower layer water, as well as mix water from the lower and the upper layers. Finally, the principle and results of controlling sulfides and VOSc in reservoirs using water-lifting aerators are clarified. Information about sulfides and VOSc fluctuation and control gained in this study may be applicable to similar reservoirs, and useful in practical water quality improvement and pollution prevention. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Anthropometric and Atherogenic Indices as Screening Tools of Metabolic Syndrome in the Kazakh Adult Population in Xinjiang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 428; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040428
Received: 1 March 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
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Abstract
Objective: To compare the screening ability of various anthropometric and atherogenic indices for Metabolic syndrome (MetS) using three common criteria and to evaluate the validity of suitable parameters in combination for the screening of MetS among a Kazakh population in Xinjiang. Methods: A
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Objective: To compare the screening ability of various anthropometric and atherogenic indices for Metabolic syndrome (MetS) using three common criteria and to evaluate the validity of suitable parameters in combination for the screening of MetS among a Kazakh population in Xinjiang. Methods: A total of 3752 individuals were selected using the stratified cluster random sampling method from nomadic Kazakhs (≥18 years old) in Xinyuan county, Xinjiang, China, which is approximately 4407 km away from the capital Beijing. MetS was defined by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) and Joint Interim Statement (JIS) criteria. The receiver operating characteristic curve (ROC) was used to compare the area under the ROC curve (AUC) of each index. The sensitivity, specificity, Youden’s index and cut-offs of each index for the screening of MetS were calculated. Results: According to the IDF, ATP III and JIS criteria, 18.61%, 10.51%, and 24.83% of males and 23.25%, 14.88%, and 25.33% of females had MetS. According to the IDF criteria, the waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) was the index that most accurately identified individuals with and without MetS both in males (AUC = 0.872) and females (AUC = 0.804), with the optimal cut-offs of 0.53 and 0.52, respectively. According to both the ATP III and JIS criteria, the lipid accumulation product (LAP) was the best index to discriminate between individuals with and without MetS in males (AUC = 0.856 and 0.816, respectively) and females (AUC = 0.832 and 0.788, respectively), with optimal cut-offs of 41.21 and 34.76 in males and 28.16 and 26.49 in females, respectively. On the basis of the IDF standard, Youden’s indices of WHtR and LAP serial tests for the screening of MetS were 0.590 and 0.455 in males and females, respectively, and those of WHtR and LAP parallel tests were 0.608 and 0.479, accordingly. Conclusion: According to the IDF, ATP III and JIS criteria, both the WHtR and LAP were better indices for the screening of MetS. The WHtR and LAP parallel test was the most accurate. Full article
Open AccessArticle Are Filter-Tipped Cigarettes Still Less Harmful than Non-Filter Cigarettes?—A Laser Spectrometric Particulate Matter Analysis from the Non-Smokers Point of View
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 429; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040429
Received: 24 January 2016 / Revised: 9 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
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Abstract
Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with human morbidity and mortality, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD and lung cancer. Although direct DNA-damage is a leading pathomechanism in active smokers, passive smoking is enough to induce bronchial asthma, especially in children. Particulate
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Background: Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is associated with human morbidity and mortality, particularly chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD and lung cancer. Although direct DNA-damage is a leading pathomechanism in active smokers, passive smoking is enough to induce bronchial asthma, especially in children. Particulate matter (PM) demonstrably plays an important role in this ETS-associated human morbidity, constituting a surrogate parameter for ETS exposure. Methods: Using an Automatic Environmental Tobacco Smoke Emitter (AETSE) and an in-house developed, non-standard smoking regime, we tried to imitate the smoking process of human smokers to demonstrate the significance of passive smoking. Mean concentration (Cmean) and area under the curve (AUC) of particulate matter (PM2.5) emitted by 3R4F reference cigarettes and the popular filter-tipped and non-filter brand cigarettes “Roth-Händle” were measured and compared. The cigarettes were not conditioned prior to smoking. The measurements were tested for Gaussian distribution and significant differences. Results: Cmean PM2.5 of the 3R4F reference cigarette: 3911 µg/m3; of the filter-tipped Roth-Händle: 3831 µg/m3; and of the non-filter Roth-Händle: 2053 µg/m3. AUC PM2.5 of the 3R4F reference cigarette: 1,647,006 µg/m3·s; of the filter-tipped Roth-Händle: 1,608,000 µg/m3·s; and of the non-filter Roth-Händle: 858,891 µg/m3·s. Conclusion: The filter-tipped cigarettes (the 3R4F reference cigarette and filter-tipped Roth-Händle) emitted significantly more PM2.5 than the non-filter Roth-Händle. Considering the harmful potential of PM, our findings note that the filter-tipped cigarettes are not a less harmful alternative for passive smokers. Tobacco taxation should be reconsidered and non-smoking legislation enforced. Full article
Open AccessArticle Antiviral Activity of Graphene–Silver Nanocomposites against Non-Enveloped and Enveloped Viruses
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 430; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040430
Received: 18 February 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
The discovery of novel antiviral materials is important because many infectious diseases are caused by viruses. Silver nanoparticles have demonstrated strong antiviral activity, and graphene is a potential antimicrobial material due to its large surface area, high carrier mobility, and biocompatibility. No studies
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The discovery of novel antiviral materials is important because many infectious diseases are caused by viruses. Silver nanoparticles have demonstrated strong antiviral activity, and graphene is a potential antimicrobial material due to its large surface area, high carrier mobility, and biocompatibility. No studies on the antiviral activity of nanomaterials on non-enveloped viruses have been reported. To investigate the antiviral activity of graphene oxide (GO) sheets and GO sheets with silver particles (GO-Ag) against enveloped and non-enveloped viruses, feline coronavirus (FCoV) with an envelope and infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) without an envelope were chosen. The morphology and sizes of GO and GO-Ag were characterized by transmission, scanning electron microscopy, and X-ray diffraction. A virus inhibition assay was used to identify the antiviral activity of GO and GO-Ag. Go-Ag inhibited 25% of infection by FCoV and 23% by IBDV, whereas GO only inhibited 16% of infection by FCoV but showed no antiviral activity against the infection by IBDV. Further application of GO and GO-Ag can be considered for personal protection equipment to decrease the transmission of viruses. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Toxicological Framework for the Prioritization of Children’s Safe Product Act Data
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 431; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040431
Received: 1 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (963 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In response to concerns over hazardous chemicals in children’s products, Washington State passed the Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA). CSPA requires manufacturers to report the concentration of 66 chemicals in children’s products. We describe a framework for the toxicological prioritization of the ten
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In response to concerns over hazardous chemicals in children’s products, Washington State passed the Children’s Safe Product Act (CSPA). CSPA requires manufacturers to report the concentration of 66 chemicals in children’s products. We describe a framework for the toxicological prioritization of the ten chemical groups most frequently reported under CSPA. The framework scores lifestage, exposure duration, primary, secondary and tertiary exposure routes, toxicokinetics and chemical properties to calculate an exposure score. Four toxicological endpoints were assessed based on curated national and international databases: reproductive and developmental toxicity, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and carcinogenicity. A total priority index was calculated from the product of the toxicity and exposure scores. The three highest priority chemicals were formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate and styrene. Elements of the framework were compared to existing prioritization tools, such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ExpoCast and Toxicological Prioritization Index (ToxPi). The CSPA framework allowed us to examine toxicity and exposure pathways in a lifestage-specific manner, providing a relatively high throughput approach to prioritizing hazardous chemicals found in children’s products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Exposure to Environmental Contaminants)
Open AccessArticle Up-Regulation of Long Non-Coding RNA AB073614 Predicts a Poor Prognosis in Patients with Glioma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 433; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040433
Received: 13 February 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (768 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Dysregulated long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been found in human diseases, especially in cancer. Emerging evidence indicates that dysregulated lncRNAs are implicated in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. LncRNA AB073614 characterized as a new candidate lncRNA promotes the development of ovarian cancer. However, the
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Dysregulated long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been found in human diseases, especially in cancer. Emerging evidence indicates that dysregulated lncRNAs are implicated in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. LncRNA AB073614 characterized as a new candidate lncRNA promotes the development of ovarian cancer. However, the role of lncRNA AB073614 in human gliomas remains unknown. The expression of AB073614 was detected in 65 glioma tissues and 13 normal brain tissues by qRT-PCR, showing that lncRNA AB073614 expression was significantly up-regulated in cancerous tissues compared with normal brain tissues (p < 0.001), and it was positively correlated with tumor grade (I–II grades vs. III–IV grades, p = 0.013) in glioma patients. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated that increased AB073614 expression contributed to poor overall survival (HR (hazard ratio) = 1.952, 95%CI: 1.202–3.940, p = 0.0129). Further, univariate Cox regression analysis indicated that lncRNA AB073614 overexpression was an unfavorable prognostic factor in gliomas (HR = 1.997, 95%CI: 1.135–3.514, p = 0.016), regardless of the tumor grade (I–II grades vs. III–IV grades, HR = 1.902, 95%CI: 1.066–3.391, p = 0.029). Finally, after adjustment with age, sex, tumor grade and tumor location, multivariate Cox regression analysis suggested that both highly expressed lncRNA AB073614 (HR = 2.606, 95%CI: 1.408–4.824, p = 0.002) and high tumor grade (III–IV grades, HR = 2.720, 95%CI: 1.401–5.282, p = 0.003) could be considered independent poor prognostic indicators for glioma patients. In conclusion, our study suggested that increased lncRNA AB073614 expression may be identified as a poor prognostic biomarker in gliomas. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Smoking on Ultrasonographic Thickness and Elastosonographic Strain Ratio Measurements of Distal Femoral Cartilage
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 434; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040434
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Although adverse effects of smoking on bone health are all well known, data on how smoking interacts with cartilage structure in otherwise healthy individuals remains conflicting. Here, we ascertain the effects of cigarette smoking on sonoelastographic properties of distal femoral cartilage in asymptomatic
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Although adverse effects of smoking on bone health are all well known, data on how smoking interacts with cartilage structure in otherwise healthy individuals remains conflicting. Here, we ascertain the effects of cigarette smoking on sonoelastographic properties of distal femoral cartilage in asymptomatic adults. Demographic characteristics and smoking habits (packets/year) of healthy volunteers were recorded. Medial, intercondylar, and lateral distal femoral cartilage thicknesses and strain ratios on the dominant extremity were measured with ultrasonography (US) and real time US elastography. A total of 88 subjects (71 M, 17 F; aged 18–56 years, N = 43 smokers and N = 45 nonsmokers) were evaluated. Mean amount of cigarette smoking was 10.3 ± 8.9 (1–45) packets/year. Medial, intercondylar and lateral cartilage were thicker in smokers than nonsmokers (p = 0.002, p = 0.017, and p = 0.004, respectively). Medial distal femoral cartilage strain ratio was lower in smokers (p = 0.003). The amount of smoking was positively correlated with cartilage thicknesses and negatively correlated with medial cartilage strain ratios (p < 0.05). Femoral cartilage is thicker in smokers but has less strain ratio representing harder cartilage on the medial side. Future studies are needed to understand how these structural changes in the knee cartilage should be interpreted with regard to the development of knee osteoarthritis in smokers. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Arts Activity on Nursing Staff Well-Being: An Intervention in the Workplace
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 435; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040435
Received: 15 December 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 20 March 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
Over 59 million workers are employed in the healthcare sector globally, with a daily risk of being exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of arts activity on the well-being
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Over 59 million workers are employed in the healthcare sector globally, with a daily risk of being exposed to a complex variety of health and safety hazards. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of arts activity on the well-being of nursing staff. During October–December 2014, 115 nursing staff working in a hospital, took part in this study, which lasted for 10 weeks. The intervention group (n = 56) took part in silk painting activities once a week. Data was collected using socio-demographic questions, the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale, Short Form—36 Health Survey questionnaire, Reeder stress scale, and Multidimensional fatigue inventory (before and after art activities in both groups). Statistical data analysis included descriptive statistics (frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation), non-parametric statistics analysis (Man Whitney U Test; Wilcoxon signed—ranks test), Fisher’s exact test and reliability analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha). The level of significance was set at p ≤ 0.05. In the intervention group, there was a tendency for participation in arts activity having a positive impact on their general health and mental well-being, reducing stress and fatigue, awaking creativity and increasing a sense of community at work. The control group did not show any improvements. Of the intervention group 93% reported enjoyment, with 75% aspiring to continue arts activity in the future. This research suggests that arts activity, as a workplace intervention, can be used to promote nursing staff well-being at work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Patterns of Ischemic Heart Disease in Shenzhen, China: A Bayesian Multi-Disease Modelling Approach to Inform Health Planning Policies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 436; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040436
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
Incorporating the information of hypertension, this paper applies Bayesian multi-disease analysis to model the spatial patterns of Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) risks. Patterns of harmful alcohol intake (HAI) and overweight/obesity are also modelled as they are common risk factors contributing to both IHD
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Incorporating the information of hypertension, this paper applies Bayesian multi-disease analysis to model the spatial patterns of Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) risks. Patterns of harmful alcohol intake (HAI) and overweight/obesity are also modelled as they are common risk factors contributing to both IHD and hypertension. The hospitalization data of IHD and hypertension in 2012 were analyzed with three Bayesian multi-disease models at the sub-district level of Shenzhen. Results revealed that the IHD high-risk cluster shifted slightly north-eastward compared with the IHD Standardized Hospitalization Ratio (SHR). Spatial variations of overweight/obesity and HAI were found to contribute most to the IHD patterns. Identified patterns of IHD risk would benefit IHD integrated prevention. Spatial patterns of overweight/obesity and HAI could supplement the current disease surveillance system by providing information about small-area level risk factors, and thus benefit integrated prevention of related chronic diseases. Middle southern Shenzhen, where high risk of IHD, overweight/obesity, and HAI are present, should be prioritized for interventions, including alcohol control, innovative healthy diet toolkit distribution, insurance system revision, and community-based chronic disease intervention. Related health resource planning is also suggested to focus on these areas first. Full article
Open AccessArticle Eating Behaviours of Preadolescent Children over Time: Stability, Continuity and the Moderating Role of Perceived Parental Feeding Practices
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 437; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040437
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 10 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
The links between childhood eating behaviours and parental feeding practices are well-established in younger children, but there is a lack of research examining these variables in a preadolescent age group, particularly from the child’s perspective, and longitudinally. This study firstly aimed to examine
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The links between childhood eating behaviours and parental feeding practices are well-established in younger children, but there is a lack of research examining these variables in a preadolescent age group, particularly from the child’s perspective, and longitudinally. This study firstly aimed to examine the continuity and stability of preadolescent perceptions of their parents’ controlling feeding practices (pressure to eat and restriction) over a 12 month period. The second aim was to explore if perceptions of parental feeding practices moderated the relationship between preadolescents’ eating behaviours longitudinally. Two hundred and twenty nine preadolescents (mean age at recruitment 8.73 years) completed questionnaires assessing their eating behaviours and their perceptions of parental feeding practices at two time points, 12 months apart (T1 and T2). Preadolescents’ perceptions of their parental feeding practices remained stable. Perceptions of restriction and pressure to eat were continuous. Perceptions of parental pressure to eat and restriction significantly moderated the relationships between eating behaviours at T1 and T2. The findings from this study suggest that in a preadolescent population, perceptions of parental pressure to eat and restriction of food may exacerbate the development of problematic eating behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children, Adolescents and Nutrition)
Open AccessArticle Health Aspects of Climate Change in Cities with Mediterranean Climate, and Local Adaptation Plans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 438; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040438
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Cities with a Mediterranean-type climate (Med-cities) are particularly susceptible to health risks from climate change since they are located in biogeographical hot-spots that experience some of the strongest effects of the changing climate. The study aims to highlight health impacts of climate change
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Cities with a Mediterranean-type climate (Med-cities) are particularly susceptible to health risks from climate change since they are located in biogeographical hot-spots that experience some of the strongest effects of the changing climate. The study aims to highlight health impacts of climate change in Med-cities, analyze local climate adaptation plans and make adaptation policy recommendations for the Med-city level. We identified five Med-cities with a climate change adaptation plan: Adelaide, Barcelona, Cape Town, Los Angeles and Santiago. Beyond their similar Med-climate features (although Santiago’s are slightly different), the cities have different socio-economic characteristics in various aspects. We analyzed each plan according to how it addresses climate change-related drivers of health impacts among city dwellers. For each driver, we identified the types of policy adaptation tools that address it in the urban climate adaptation plans. The surveyed cities address most of the fundamental climate change-related drivers of risks to human health, including rising temperatures, flooding and drought, but the policy measures to reduce negative impacts vary across cities. We suggest recommendations for Med-cities in various aspects, depending on their local needs and vulnerability challenges: assessment of health risks, extreme events management and long-term adaptation, among others. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Natural Environments and Childhood Experiences Promoting Physical Activity, Examining the Mediational Effects of Feelings about Nature and Social Networks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 439; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040439
Received: 31 October 2015 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
The importance of natural environments (NEs) for physical activity (PA) has been studied extensively. However, there is scant evidence to explain the motivational processes underlying the NE-PA relation. The aim of this study was to investigate the NE-PA relation using an ecological framework,
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The importance of natural environments (NEs) for physical activity (PA) has been studied extensively. However, there is scant evidence to explain the motivational processes underlying the NE-PA relation. The aim of this study was to investigate the NE-PA relation using an ecological framework, focusing on perception of NEs, childhood experiences and possible intra- and inter-individual mediators. Data were retrieved from a cross-sectional survey among 2168 adults from all over Norway. In addition, the coverage of NEs by municipalities was retrieved from national registers. Logistic regression showed that, unlike the self-reported proximity to NEs, higher ratings of perceived supportiveness of NEs for PA predicted participation in NE-based PA for at least 60 min/week or 150 min/week, before and after controlling for socio-demographic characteristics. Reporting frequent experiences in nature during childhood was also an important predictor of higher levels of NE-based PA. Furthermore, a mediational analysis showed that the effect of both predictors was mediated by “feelings about nature” and “social networks”. These findings indicate that to encourage the use of local NE for PA, not only should environmental perceptions be taken into account, positive feelings towards nature alongside opportunities to share activity in nature with others should also be promoted. Full article
Open AccessArticle Mitigating Stress and Supporting Health in Deprived Urban Communities: The Importance of Green Space and the Social Environment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 440; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040440
Received: 30 January 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (12231 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Environment-health research has shown significant relationships between the quantity of green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods and people’s stress levels. The focus of this paper is the nature of access to green space (i.e., its quantity or use) necessary before any
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Environment-health research has shown significant relationships between the quantity of green space in deprived urban neighbourhoods and people’s stress levels. The focus of this paper is the nature of access to green space (i.e., its quantity or use) necessary before any health benefit is found. It draws on a cross-sectional survey of 406 adults in four communities of high urban deprivation in Scotland, United Kingdom. Self-reported measures of stress and general health were primary outcomes; physical activity and social wellbeing were also measured. A comprehensive, objective measure of green space quantity around each participant’s home was also used, alongside self-report measures of use of local green space. Correlated Component Regression identified the optimal predictors for primary outcome variables in the different communities surveyed. Social isolation and place belonging were the strongest predictors of stress in three out of four communities sampled, and of poor general health in the fourth, least healthy, community. The amount of green space in the neighbourhood, and in particular access to a garden or allotment, were significant predictors of stress. Physical activity, frequency of visits to green space in winter months, and views from the home were predictors of general health. The findings have implications for public health and for planning of green infrastructure, gardens and public open space in urban environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Post-Amalgam Era: Norwegian Dentists’ Experiences with Composite Resins and Repair of Defective Amalgam Restorations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 441; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040441
Received: 10 March 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Amalgam was banned as a dental restorative material in Norway in 2008 due to environmental considerations. An electronic questionnaire was sent to all dentists in the member register of the Norwegian Dental Association (NTF) one year later, to evaluate dentists’ satisfaction with alternative
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Amalgam was banned as a dental restorative material in Norway in 2008 due to environmental considerations. An electronic questionnaire was sent to all dentists in the member register of the Norwegian Dental Association (NTF) one year later, to evaluate dentists’ satisfaction with alternative restorative materials and to explore dentists’ treatment choices of fractured amalgam restorations. Replies were obtained from 61.3%. Composite was the preferred restorative material among 99.1% of the dentists. Secondary caries was the most commonly reported cause of failure (72.7%), followed by restoration fractures (25.1%). Longevity of Class II restorations was estimated to be ≥10 years by 45.8% of the dentists, but 71.2% expected even better longevity if the restoration was made with amalgam. Repair using composite was suggested by 24.9% of the dentists in an amalgam restoration with a fractured cusp. Repair was more often proposed among young dentists (p < 0.01), employees in the Public Dental Service (PDS) (p < 0.01) and dentists working in counties with low dentist density (p = 0.03). There was a tendency towards choosing minimally invasive treatment among dentists who also avoided operative treatment of early approximal lesions (p < 0.01). Norwegian dentists showed positive attitudes towards composite as a restorative material. Most dentists chose minimally- or medium invasive approaches when restoring fractured amalgam restorations. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Prevalence of Thyroid Nodules and an Analysis of Related Lifestyle Factors in Beijing Communities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 442; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040442
Received: 21 February 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Thyroid nodules (TNs) have annual increasing trends worldwide, and large-scale investigations on the prevalence of TNs in Beijing communities have not been conducted since the introduction of salt iodization in 1995. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of TNs, their
[...] Read more.
Thyroid nodules (TNs) have annual increasing trends worldwide, and large-scale investigations on the prevalence of TNs in Beijing communities have not been conducted since the introduction of salt iodization in 1995. We performed a cross-sectional study to determine the prevalence of TNs, their epidemiological characteristics, and their correlation with lifestyle factors. A total of 6324 permanent residents aged 18 years or older (mean age, 52.15 ± 11.58 years) from seven representative communities in Beijing were included in the analyses. Once informed consent was obtained, the subjects were asked to complete questionnaires, a physical examination, and thyroid ultrasound. A total of 3100 cases had TNs. The overall prevalence rate was 49.0%, and the age-standardized prevalence was 40.1%, which increased significantly as age increased (p < 0.001). The prevalence was significantly higher in females compared to males (p < 0.001), and it was significantly higher among female current smokers and former smokers compared to non-smokers (p = 0.007). There was no correlation between alcohol consumption and TNs, and there were no significant differences in the prevalence among different groups of taste preference. The prevalence decreased with an increased frequency of seafood intake (p = 0.015) and with higher literacy levels (p < 0.001). The Cochran–Armitage trend test showed that the prevalence significantly increased with decreased physical labor and exercise intensity (p < 0.001, p = 0.009). Logistic regression analysis showed that age (Odds ratio (OR) = 1.039 (1.034–1.044), p < 0.001), the female sex (OR = 1.789 (1.527–2.097)), Body mass index (BMI) (OR = 1.019 (1.005–1.034)), and current smoking habits (OR = 1.246 (1.046–1.483)) were independent risk factors for TNs. Our findings indicate that there is a high prevalence of TNs in Beijing, with a higher prevalence in females than in males. Moreover, the prevalence increases as age increases. Smoking and BMI are independent risk factors for TNs. Therefore, intervention against smoking and weight loss might help reduce the risk of TN occurrence. Full article

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Open AccessReview A Review of the Water and Energy Sectors and the Use of a Nexus Approach in Abu Dhabi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 364; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040364
Received: 4 December 2015 / Revised: 8 February 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
Rapid population increase coupled with urbanization and industrialization has resulted in shortages of water in the Middle East. This situation is further exacerbated by global climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. Recent research advocates that solutions to the global water security and
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Rapid population increase coupled with urbanization and industrialization has resulted in shortages of water in the Middle East. This situation is further exacerbated by global climate change due to greenhouse gas emissions. Recent research advocates that solutions to the global water security and scarcity crisis must involve water–energy nexus approaches. This means adopting policies and strategies that harmonize these inter-related sectors to minimize environmental impact while maximizing human benefit. In the case of Abu Dhabi, when designing and locating oil/gas refineries and associated power generation facilities, previous relevant decisions were based on simple economic and geographical grounds, such as nearness to oil rigs, pipelines, existing industries and port facilities, etc. The subsequent design and location of water abstraction and treatment works operated by the waste heat from these refining and/or power generation processes was catered for as an afterthought, meaning that there is now a mismatch between the water and energy supplies and demands. This review study was carried out to show how Abu Dhabi is trying now to integrate its water–energy sectors using a nexus approach so that future water/power infrastructure is designed optimally and operated in harmony, especially in regard to future demand. Based upon this review work, some recommendations are made for designers and policy makers alike to bolster the nexus approach that Abu Dhabi is pursuing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
Open AccessReview The Association between Gene-Environment Interactions and Diseases Involving the Human GST Superfamily with SNP Variants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 379; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040379
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
Exposure to environmental hazards has been associated with diseases in humans. The identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human populations exposed to different environmental hazards, is vital for detecting the genetic risks of some important human diseases. Several studies in this field
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Exposure to environmental hazards has been associated with diseases in humans. The identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human populations exposed to different environmental hazards, is vital for detecting the genetic risks of some important human diseases. Several studies in this field have been conducted on glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), a phase II detoxification superfamily, to investigate its role in the occurrence of diseases. Human GSTs consist of cytosolic and microsomal superfamilies that are further divided into subfamilies. Based on scientific search engines and a review of the literature, we have found a large amount of published articles on human GST super- and subfamilies that have greatly assisted in our efforts to examine their role in health and disease. Because of its polymorphic variations in relation to environmental hazards such as air pollutants, cigarette smoke, pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens, pharmaceutical drugs, and xenobiotics, GST is considered as a significant biomarker. This review examines the studies on gene-environment interactions related to various diseases with respect to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) found in the GST superfamily. Overall, it can be concluded that interactions between GST genes and environmental factors play an important role in human diseases. Full article
Open AccessReview Recent Advances in the Determination of Pesticides in Environmental Samples by Capillary Electrophoresis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 409; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040409
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract
Nowadays, owing to the increasing population and the attempts to satisfy its needs, pesticides are widely applied to control the quantity and quality of agricultural products. However, the presence of pesticide residues and their metabolites in environmental samples is hazardous to the health
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Nowadays, owing to the increasing population and the attempts to satisfy its needs, pesticides are widely applied to control the quantity and quality of agricultural products. However, the presence of pesticide residues and their metabolites in environmental samples is hazardous to the health of humans and all other living organisms. Thus, monitoring these compounds is extremely important to ensure that only permitted levels of pesticide are consumed. To this end, fast, reliable, and environmentally friendly methods that can accurately analyze dilute, complex samples containing both parent substances and their metabolites are required. Focusing primarily on research published since 2010, this review summarizes the use of various sample pretreatment techniques to extract pesticides from various matrices, combined with on-line preconcentration strategies for sensitivity improvement, and subsequent capillary electrophoresis analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological and Human-Health Effects of Pesticides in the Environment)
Open AccessReview Antibacterial Applications of Nanodiamonds
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 413; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040413
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 25 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Bacterial infectious diseases, sharing clinical characteristics such as chronic inflammation and tissue damage, pose a major threat to human health. The steady increase of multidrug-resistant bacteria infections adds up to the current problems modern healthcare is facing. The treatment of bacterial infections with
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Bacterial infectious diseases, sharing clinical characteristics such as chronic inflammation and tissue damage, pose a major threat to human health. The steady increase of multidrug-resistant bacteria infections adds up to the current problems modern healthcare is facing. The treatment of bacterial infections with multi-resistant germs is very difficult, as the development of new antimicrobial drugs is hardly catching up with the development of antibiotic resistant pathogens. These and other considerations have generated an increased interest in the development of viable alternatives to antibiotics. A promising strategy is the use of nanomaterials with antibacterial character and of nanostructures displaying anti-adhesive activity against biofilms. Glycan-modified nanodiamonds (NDs) revealed themselves to be of great promise as useful nanostructures for combating microbial infections. This review summarizes the current efforts in the synthesis of glycan-modified ND particles and evaluation of their antibacterial and anti-biofilm activities. Full article
Open AccessReview Pain Assessment–Can it be Done with a Computerised System? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 415; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040415
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Background: Mobile and web technologies are becoming increasingly used to support the treatment of chronic pain conditions. However, the subjectivity of pain perception makes its management and evaluation very difficult. Pain treatment requires a multi-dimensional approach (e.g., sensory, affective, cognitive) whence the
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Background: Mobile and web technologies are becoming increasingly used to support the treatment of chronic pain conditions. However, the subjectivity of pain perception makes its management and evaluation very difficult. Pain treatment requires a multi-dimensional approach (e.g., sensory, affective, cognitive) whence the evidence of technology effects across dimensions is lacking. This study aims to describe computerised monitoring systems and to suggest a methodology, based on statistical analysis, to evaluate their effects on pain assessment. Methods: We conducted a review of the English-language literature about computerised systems related to chronic pain complaints that included data collected via mobile devices or Internet, published since 2000 in three relevant bibliographical databases such as BioMed Central, PubMed Central and ScienceDirect. The extracted data include: objective and duration of the study, age and condition of the participants, and type of collected information (e.g., questionnaires, scales). Results: Sixty-two studies were included, encompassing 13,338 participants. A total of 50 (81%) studies related to mobile systems, and 12 (19%) related to web-based systems. Technology and pen-and-paper approaches presented equivalent outcomes related with pain intensity. Conclusions: The adoption of technology was revealed as accurate and feasible as pen-and-paper methods. The proposed assessment model based on data fusion combined with a qualitative assessment method was revealed to be suitable. Data integration raises several concerns and challenges to the design, development and application of monitoring systems applied to pain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Informatics and Public Health)
Open AccessReview Associations of Extrinsic and Intrinsic Components of Work Stress with Health: A Systematic Review of Evidence on the Effort-Reward Imbalance Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 432; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040432
Received: 14 March 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (605 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Mainstream psychological stress theory claims that it is important to include information on people’s ways of coping with work stress when assessing the impact of stressful psychosocial work environments on health. Yet, some widely used respective theoretical models focus exclusively on extrinsic factors.
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Mainstream psychological stress theory claims that it is important to include information on people’s ways of coping with work stress when assessing the impact of stressful psychosocial work environments on health. Yet, some widely used respective theoretical models focus exclusively on extrinsic factors. The model of effort-reward imbalance (ERI) differs from them as it explicitly combines information on extrinsic and intrinsic factors in studying workers’ health. As a growing number of studies used the ERI model in recent past, we conducted a systematic review of available evidence, with a special focus on the distinct contribution of its intrinsic component, the coping pattern “over-commitment”, towards explaining health. Moreover, we explore whether the interaction of intrinsic and extrinsic components exceeds the size of effects on health attributable to single components. Results based on 51 reports document an independent explanatory role of “over-commitment” in explaining workers’ health in a majority of studies. However, support in favour of the interaction hypothesis is limited and requires further exploration. In conclusion, the findings of this review support the usefulness of a work stress model that combines extrinsic and intrinsic components in terms of scientific explanation and of designing more comprehensive worksite stress prevention programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Stress, Human Health and Wellbeing)
Open AccessReview Exploring the Climate Change, Migration and Conflict Nexus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 443; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040443
Received: 23 November 2015 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
The potential link between climate change, migration, and conflict has been widely discussed and is increasingly viewed by policy makers as a security issue. However, considerable uncertainty remains regarding the role that climate variability and change play among the many drivers of migration
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The potential link between climate change, migration, and conflict has been widely discussed and is increasingly viewed by policy makers as a security issue. However, considerable uncertainty remains regarding the role that climate variability and change play among the many drivers of migration and conflict. The overall objective of this paper is to explore the potential pathways linking climate change, migration and increased risk of conflict. We review the existing literature surrounding this issue and break the problem into two components: the links between climate change and migration, and those between migration and conflict. We found a large range of views regarding the importance of climate change as a driver for increasing rates of migration and subsequently of conflict. We argue that future research should focus not only on the climate-migration-conflict pathway but also work to understand the other pathways by which climate variability and change might exacerbate conflict. We conclude by proposing five questions to help guide future research on the link between climate change, migration, and conflict. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Climate Change and Human Health)

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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Dinwiddie, G.; et al. The Impact of Educational Attainment on Observed Race/Ethnic Disparities in Inflammatory Risk in the 2001–2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 42
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 367; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040367
Received: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
Due to an error during production, the legend of Figure 1 in the published paper [1] was incorrect. [...]
Full article
Open AccessCommentary Economies through Application of Nonmedical Primary-Preventative Health: Lessons from the Healthy Country Healthy People Experience of Australia’s Aboriginal People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 400; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040400
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (308 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The World Health Organization reports noncommunicable disease as a global pandemic. While national and international health research/policy bodies, such as the World Health Organization and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, emphasize the importance of preventative health, there is a continuing distortion
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The World Health Organization reports noncommunicable disease as a global pandemic. While national and international health research/policy bodies, such as the World Health Organization and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, emphasize the importance of preventative health, there is a continuing distortion in the allocation of resources to curative health as a result of government failure. Government failure is, in part, the result of a political response to individual preference for certainty in receiving treatment for specific health conditions, rather than the uncertainty of population-based preventative intervention. This has led to a failure to engage with those primary causative factors affecting chronic disease, namely the psychosocial stressors, in which the socioeconomic determinants are an important component. Such causal factors are open to manipulation through government policies and joint government-government, government-private cooperation through application of nonmedical primary-preventative health policies. The health benefits of Aboriginal people in traditional land management, or caring-for-country, in remote to very remote Australia, is used to exemplify the social benefits of nonmedical primary-preventative health intervention. Such practices form part of the “healthy country, health people” concept that is traditionally relied upon by Indigenous peoples. Possible health and wider private good and public good social benefits are shown to occur across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions with the possibility of substantial economies. General principles in the application of nonmedical primary-preventative health activities are developed through consideration of the experience of Afboriginal people participation in traditional caring-for-country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chronic Diseases and Multimorbidity in Primary Care)
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