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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 6, Issue 9 (September 2009), Pages 2332-2525

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Environmental Determinants of Asthma among School Children Aged 13-14 in and around Polokwane, Limpopo Province, South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2354-2374; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092354
Received: 12 August 2009 / Accepted: 1 September 2009 / Published: 3 September 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (658 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Asthma has become a public health issue since the 1960’s. Factors associated with asthma are environmental and genetic. This study is based on a random sample of 742 students aged 13-14 attending various schools at Polokwane, in the Province of Limpopo in [...] Read more.
Asthma has become a public health issue since the 1960’s. Factors associated with asthma are environmental and genetic. This study is based on a random sample of 742 students aged 13-14 attending various schools at Polokwane, in the Province of Limpopo in South Africa. Survey logistic regression and multi-level analyses were used for data analysis. The study identifies three key determinants of asthma at the district, school and individual levels. The study shows that persistent cough (OR = 4.01), exposure to smoke at the household level (OR = 2.39) and lack of access to flush toileta at the household level (OR = 1.89) are key predictors of asthma in children. Variability at the level of districts accounts for 46% of total variance. Variability at the level of schools accounts for 33% of total variance. Full article
Open AccessArticle A U.S. Partnership with India and Poland to Track Acute Chemical Releases to Serve Public Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2375-2386; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092375
Received: 21 July 2009 / Accepted: 28 August 2009 / Published: 3 September 2009
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Abstract
We describe a collaborative effort between the U.S., India, and Poland to track acute chemical releases during 2005-2007. In all three countries, fixed facility events were more common than transportation-related events; manufacturing and transportation/ warehousing were the most frequently involved industries; and [...] Read more.
We describe a collaborative effort between the U.S., India, and Poland to track acute chemical releases during 2005-2007. In all three countries, fixed facility events were more common than transportation-related events; manufacturing and transportation/ warehousing were the most frequently involved industries; and equipment failure and human error were the primary contributing factors. The most commonly released non-petroleum substances were ammonia (India), carbon monoxide (U.S.) and mercury (Poland). More events in India (54%) resulted in victims compared with Poland (15%) and the U.S. (9%). The pilot program showed it is possible to successfully conduct international surveillance of acute hazardous substances releases with careful interpretation of the findings. Full article
Open AccessArticle Life Years at Risk: A Population Health Measure from a Prevention Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2387-2396; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092387
Received: 29 July 2008 / Accepted: 2 September 2009 / Published: 3 September 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Correction | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper aims to present life years at risk (LYAR), a new measure of population health needs for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention, which classifies health outcomes by care type and distinguishes between positive and negative outcomes. It is determined by the [...] Read more.
This paper aims to present life years at risk (LYAR), a new measure of population health needs for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention, which classifies health outcomes by care type and distinguishes between positive and negative outcomes. It is determined by the probability of ill-health event, population size and life years lost, based on expected incidence, prevalence and mortality. The LYAR consists of two components: the observed LYAR, available using disability adjusted life years, and the avoided LYAR. Three examples are given to illustrate the calculation and application of the measure. The advantages, disadvantages and policy implications are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Temperature Effect on Water Extractability of Cadmium, Copper, Lead and Zinc from Composted Organic Solid Wastes of South-West Nigeria
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2397-2407; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092397
Received: 20 July 2009 / Accepted: 26 August 2009 / Published: 7 September 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of temperature changes (10 to 80 °C) on water-extractable metal (Zn, Cu, Cd and Pb) concentrations of composted wastes of Nigerian origin was investigated in batch extraction experiments. Metal concentrations were measured using a calibrated atomic absorption spectrophometer after acid digestions. Results showed that the water-extractable metal fractions (I) did not exceed 10% of total metal concentrations of the bulk composts, which corresponded to 0.30 to 6.63% for Zn, 0.09 to 7.51% for Pb, 1.83 to 9.29% for Cu and 0.67 to 9.23% for Cd. Water extractable metal fraction showed positive correlations (r = 0.137 to 0.917*; p* < 0.01) for Cu, Cd and Pb in most cases but negative for Zn (–0.067 to –0.445). Simulations revealed that a steady temperature rise from 0.1 to 1.5 °C might increase I by 0.13 to 168% for all the metals, although stability to gradual temperature rise was demonstrated in some instances. The study revealed that the degree of temperature effect on water extractability of heavy metals from the bulk composts was dependent on metal type, compost formulation and waste type. Full article
Open AccessArticle Motivations for Alcohol Use among Men Aged 16-30 Years in Sri Lanka
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2408-2416; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092408
Received: 10 August 2009 / Accepted: 3 September 2009 / Published: 8 September 2009
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (145 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Psychometric properties of a new scale that measures motivations towards alcohol use were examined using a sample of 412 male alcohol users in Sri Lanka aged 16-30 years. In addition, associations between drinking motives and drinking frequency were explored. Confirmatory factor analysis [...] Read more.
Psychometric properties of a new scale that measures motivations towards alcohol use were examined using a sample of 412 male alcohol users in Sri Lanka aged 16-30 years. In addition, associations between drinking motives and drinking frequency were explored. Confirmatory factor analysis showed that a 3-factor model consisting of the factors personal enjoyment, tension reduction, and social pressure fit the data well. Overall, tension-reduction motivation was found to be prominent in the context of young males’ drinking behavior in Sri Lanka. Associations between stress and alcohol use among young males warrant further investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Relationship between Dietary Beef, Fat, and Pork and Alcoholic Cirrhosis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2417-2425; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092417
Received: 21 August 2009 / Accepted: 9 September 2009 / Published: 10 September 2009
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (148 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nanji and French [1] investigated the relationship between per-caput consumption of total fat, beef, and pork and for alcohol consumption and rates of mortality for cirrhosis for 16 countries for 1965. The present study reports significant and positive associations for 1996 and [...] Read more.
Nanji and French [1] investigated the relationship between per-caput consumption of total fat, beef, and pork and for alcohol consumption and rates of mortality for cirrhosis for 16 countries for 1965. The present study reports significant and positive associations for 1996 and 2003 between the following: alcohol consumption and cirrhosis mortality, pork consumption and cirrhosis mortality, the product of alcohol and pork consumption and the product of alcohol and fat consumption. These supportive associations may represent a relationship between the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis and some heretofore unknown dietary or environmental factor related to conditions of pork or fat consumption. Limitations of the study design are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Alcohol Consumption and Development of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome: A Population-Based Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2426-2435; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092426
Received: 11 August 2009 / Accepted: 4 September 2009 / Published: 10 September 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (85 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This retrospective population-based study evaluated the effects of alcohol consumption on the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Alcohol consumption was quantified based on patient and/or family provided information at the time of hospital admission. ARDS was defined according to American-European [...] Read more.
This retrospective population-based study evaluated the effects of alcohol consumption on the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Alcohol consumption was quantified based on patient and/or family provided information at the time of hospital admission. ARDS was defined according to American-European consensus conference (AECC). From 1,422 critically ill Olmsted county residents, 1,357 had information about alcohol use in their medical records, 77 (6%) of whom developed ARDS. A history of significant alcohol consumption (more than two drinks per day) was reported in 97 (7%) of patients. When adjusted for underlying ARDS risk factors (aspiration, chemotherapy, high-risk surgery, pancreatitis, sepsis, shock), smoking, cirrhosis and gender, history of significant alcohol consumption was associated with increased risk of ARDS development (odds ratio 2.9, 95% CI 1.3–6.2). This population-based study confirmed that excessive alcohol consumption is associated with higher risk of ARDS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Uncertainty in Exposure Estimation on the Exposure-Response Relation between 1,3-Butadiene and Leukemia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2436-2455; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092436
Received: 16 July 2009 / Accepted: 8 September 2009 / Published: 11 September 2009
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Abstract: In a follow-up study of mortality among North American synthetic rubber industry workers, cumulative exposure to 1,3-butadiene was positively associated with leukemia. Problems with historical exposure estimation, however, may have distorted the association. To evaluate the impact of potential inaccuracies in exposure estimation, we conducted uncertainty analyses of the relation between cumulative exposure to butadiene and leukemia. We created the 1,000 sets of butadiene estimates using job-exposure matrices consisting of exposure values that corresponded to randomly selected percentiles of the approximate probability distribution of plant-, work area/job group-, and year specific butadiene ppm. We then analyzed the relation between cumulative exposure to butadiene and leukemia for each of the 1,000 sets of butadiene estimates. In the uncertainty analysis, the point estimate of the RR for the first non zero exposure category (>0–<37.5 ppm-years) was most likely to be about 1.5. The rate ratio for the second exposure category (37.5–<184.7 ppm-years) was most likely to range from 1.5 to 1.8. The RR for category 3 of exposure (184.7–<425.0 ppm-years) was most likely between 2.1 and 3.0. The RR for the highest exposure category (425.0+ ppm-years) was likely to be between 2.9 and 3.7. This range off RR point estimates can best be interpreted as a probability distribution that describes our uncertainty in RR point estimates due to uncertainty in exposure estimation. After considering the complete probability distributions of butadiene exposure estimates, the exposure-response association of butadiene and leukemia was maintained. This exercise was a unique example of how uncertainty analyses can be used to investigate and support an observed measure of effect when occupational exposure estimates are employed in the absence of direct exposure measurements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Self-Rated Health: Inequalities and Potential Determinants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2456-2469; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092456
Received: 5 August 2009 / Accepted: 9 September 2009 / Published: 15 September 2009
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (118 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding social inequalities in health is of great importance; it provides the conceptual frame for investigating the social factors that affect health, together with empirical evidence for improving population health. Individual and socioeconomic data, disease related conditions and self rated health (SRH) [...] Read more.
Understanding social inequalities in health is of great importance; it provides the conceptual frame for investigating the social factors that affect health, together with empirical evidence for improving population health. Individual and socioeconomic data, disease related conditions and self rated health (SRH) ratings were collected from a representative sample of 1,000 participants in order to study health inequalities in Greece. 20.8% of men and 37.2% of women reported poor health status. Significant inequalities in SRH were observed. Strong associations of poor SRH with gender, age, insurance coverage and chronic diseases were identified. Social insurance scheme captured partly the effects of educational level, income and residence area in SRH in multivariate analysis. Respondents under chronic treatment and those suffering from cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neurological/psychiatric disorders exhibited the highest risk of reporting poor SRH. Our findings provide decision-makers with insights into how to manage health inequalities by prioritizing preventive measures and consequently, progress towards the fair distribution of healthcare resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle Rapid Degradation of Phenanthrene by Using Sphingomonas sp. GY2B Immobilized in Calcium Alginate Gel Beads
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2470-2480; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092470
Received: 26 August 2009 / Accepted: 15 September 2009 / Published: 16 September 2009
Cited by 20 | PDF Full-text (60 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The strain Sphingomonas sp. GY2B is a high efficient phenanthrene-degrading strain isolated from crude oil contaminated soils that displays a broad-spectrum degradation ability towards PAHs and related aromatic compounds. This paper reports embedding immobilization of strain GY2B in calcium alginate gel beads [...] Read more.
The strain Sphingomonas sp. GY2B is a high efficient phenanthrene-degrading strain isolated from crude oil contaminated soils that displays a broad-spectrum degradation ability towards PAHs and related aromatic compounds. This paper reports embedding immobilization of strain GY2B in calcium alginate gel beads and the rapid degradation of phenanthrene by the embedded strains. Results showed that embedded immobilized strains had high degradation percentages both in mineral salts medium (MSM) and 80% artificial seawater (AS) media, and had higher phenanthrene degradation efficiency than the free strains. More than 90% phenanthrene (100 mg·L-1) was degraded within 36 h, and the phenanthrene degradation percentages were >99.8% after 72 h for immobilized strains. 80% AS had significant negative effect on the phenanthrene degradation rate (PDR) of strain GY2B during the linear-decreasing stage of incubation and preadsorption of cells onto rice straw could improve the PDR of embedded strain GY2B. The immobilization of strain GY2B possesses a good potential for application in the treatment of industrial wastewater containing phenanthrene and other related aromatic compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodegradability and Environmental Sciences)
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Open AccessArticle Context and Cardiovascular Risk Modification in Two Regions of Ontario, Canada: A Photo Elicitation Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2481-2499; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092481
Received: 14 August 2009 / Accepted: 14 September 2009 / Published: 17 September 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (693 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cardiovascular diseases, which include coronary heart diseases (CHD), remain the leading cause of death in Canada and other industrialized countries. This qualitative study used photo-elicitation, focus groups and in-depth interviews to understand health behaviour change from the perspectives of 38 people who [...] Read more.
Cardiovascular diseases, which include coronary heart diseases (CHD), remain the leading cause of death in Canada and other industrialized countries. This qualitative study used photo-elicitation, focus groups and in-depth interviews to understand health behaviour change from the perspectives of 38 people who were aware of their high risk for CHD and had received information about cardiovascular risk modification while participating in a larger intervention study. Participants were drawn from two selected regions: Sudbury and District (northern Ontario) and the Greater Toronto Area (southern Ontario). Analysis drew on concepts of place and space to capture the complex interplay between geographic location, sociodemographic position, and people‟s efforts to understand and modify their risk for CHD. Three major sites of difference and ambiguity emerged: 1) place and access to health resources; 2) time and food culture; and 3) itineraries or travels through multiple locations. All participants reported difficulties in learning and adhering to new lifestyle patterns, but access to supportive health resources was different in the two regions. Even within regions, subgroups experienced different patterns of constraint and advantage. In each region, “fast” food and traditional foods were entrenched within different temporal and social meanings. Finally, different and shifting strategies for risk modification were required at various points during daily and seasonal travels through neighbourhoods, to workplaces, or on vacation. Thus health education for CHD risk modification should be place-specific and tailored to the needs and resources of specific communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cardiovascular Diseases and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Development, Methodology and Potential of the New Universal Visual Scoring System (UniViSS) for Caries Detection and Diagnosis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2500-2509; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092500
Received: 12 August 2009 / Accepted: 22 September 2009 / Published: 23 September 2009
Cited by 18 | PDF Full-text (467 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given the limitations of adjunct caries detection and diagnostic tools, e.g., imperfect validity and reproducibility, as well as the difficulties in controlling all possible confounding factors, the need for an objective visual caries detection and diagnosis system has become evident. Our work [...] Read more.
Given the limitations of adjunct caries detection and diagnostic tools, e.g., imperfect validity and reproducibility, as well as the difficulties in controlling all possible confounding factors, the need for an objective visual caries detection and diagnosis system has become evident. Our work has therefore aimed at systematizing caries lesions with the Universal Visual Scoring System (UniViSS) for occlusal and smooth surface lesions, which can be used for primary and permanent teeth, as well as under clinical, epidemiological, public health and laboratory conditions. Besides the description of the development and methodology of UniViSS, it is shown that UniViSS allows an accurate and reproducible classification of caries lesions on occlusal surfaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Multicenter, Randomized, Open-Labeled, Parallel Group Trial of Sildenafil in Alcohol-Associated Erectile Dysfunction: The Impact on Psychosocial Outcomes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2510-2525; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092510
Received: 13 August 2009 / Accepted: 22 September 2009 / Published: 23 September 2009
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (262 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To examine the effect of sildenafil on erectile dysfunction (ED) and psychosocial outcomes in alcohol-dependent (AD) men, 108 men with these diagnoses were randomly assigned to either take sildenafil (50 mg) as add-on to standard treatment for AD, or the same treatment without sildenafil, for 12 weeks. Only 50 patients in sildenafil group and 51 in control group twice completed the International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF) and a battery of self-report questionnaires. IIEF scores and psychosocial functioning, self-esteem and support from friends improved only for sildenafil-treated patients (P < 0.001). The high effect sizes suggest that the observed benefits are unlikely to be a placebo effect, although their unspecific nature could not be ruled out. In men with ED associated with AD, sildenafil improves both ED and psychosocial outcomes. Further placebo-controlled clinical trial is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
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Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Biophilia: Does Visual Contact with Nature Impact on Health and Well-Being?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2332-2343; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092332
Received: 22 July 2009 / Accepted: 27 August 2009 / Published: 31 August 2009
Cited by 44 | PDF Full-text (135 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is concluded that an environment devoid of Nature may act as a "discord", i.e., have a negative effect. While the term mismatch is used for any difference between present living conditions and the environment of evolutionary adaptation, discords are mismatches with [...] Read more.
It is concluded that an environment devoid of Nature may act as a "discord", i.e., have a negative effect. While the term mismatch is used for any difference between present living conditions and the environment of evolutionary adaptation, discords are mismatches with a potentially undesirable impact on health or quality of life. The problem is partly due to the visual absence of plants, and may be ameliorated by adding elements of Nature, e.g., by creating parks, by offering a view through windows, and by potted plants. The conclusion is based on an evaluation of some fifty relevant empirical studies. Full article
Open AccessReview Herpes Zoster Associated Hospital Admissions in Italy: Review of the Hospital Discharge Forms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(9), 2344-2353; doi:10.3390/ijerph6092344
Received: 22 July 2009 / Accepted: 26 August 2009 / Published: 2 September 2009
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Italy a specific surveillance system for zoster does not exist, and thus updated and complete epidemiological data are lacking. The objective of this study was to retrospectively review the national hospital discharge forms database for the period 1999-2005 using the code [...] Read more.
In Italy a specific surveillance system for zoster does not exist, and thus updated and complete epidemiological data are lacking. The objective of this study was to retrospectively review the national hospital discharge forms database for the period 1999-2005 using the code ICD9-CM053. In the period 1999-2005, 35,328 hospital admissions have been registered with annual means of 4,503 hospitalizations and 543 day-hospital admissions. The great part of hospitalizations (61.9%) involved subjects older than 65 years; the mean duration of stay was 8 days. These data, even if restricted to hospitalizations registered at national level, confirm the epidemiological impact of shingles and of its complications. Full article

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