Open AccessReview
Breast Cancer: Exploring the Facts and Holistic Needs during and beyond Treatment
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 26; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020026 -
Abstract
Breast cancer patients face challenges throughout the journey of diagnosis, treatment, post-treatment, and recovery. The breast cancer patient is exposed to a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and psychologists. While the team assembled together aims to address multiple facets in breast
[...] Read more.
Breast cancer patients face challenges throughout the journey of diagnosis, treatment, post-treatment, and recovery. The breast cancer patient is exposed to a multidisciplinary team including doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, and psychologists. While the team assembled together aims to address multiple facets in breast cancer care, the sub-specialized nature of individual professional practices may constrain the overview of patients’ holistic needs and a comprehensive approach to cancer management. This paper aims to provide an overview of the holistic needs of breast cancer patients at each stage of their cancer journey, addressing their complex physical, psychological, and social needs. As every patient is different, cancer care has to be tailored to each patient based on a holistic needs assessment. This paper also explores how support can be provided from the perspectives of the healthcare providers, family members and caretakers. Examples of general practices at healthcare institutions worldwide as well as supportive care provided by support groups are discussed. The needs of breast cancer patients extend beyond the resolution of cancer as a disease, and the restoration of health as far as possible is a critical component of healing. Understanding the complex issues involved in the journey of breast cancer will aid healthcare providers to be better equipped to sensitively address their concerns and focus on healing the patient holistically. Methodology: This paper provides a literature review of validated practices in different countries and elaborates on the holistic needs of patients at various stages of recovery. This review is based on more than a decade of publications sourced from multiple resources including PubMed journal articles; books and official websites of breast cancer organizations. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Linoleic Acid: A Nutritional Quandary
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020025 -
Abstract
Over the course of the twentieth century, there was a 20-fold increase in consumption of vegetable oils resulting both from their increased availability and from recommendations to consume these oils as an aid to lower blood cholesterol levels. This dietary change markedly increased
[...] Read more.
Over the course of the twentieth century, there was a 20-fold increase in consumption of vegetable oils resulting both from their increased availability and from recommendations to consume these oils as an aid to lower blood cholesterol levels. This dietary change markedly increased the consumption of linoleic acid to current levels of approximately 6% of total dietary energy. While considerable research has focused on the effects of dietary linoleic acid on cardiovascular health, questions about optimum dietary levels remain. For example, meta-analyses disagree about the role of dietary linoleic acid in atherosclerosis, and recent publications indicate that linoleic acid’s reduction of blood cholesterol levels does not predict its effect on the development of atherosclerosis. Further, there are also detrimental effects of elevated dietary linoleic acid on human health related to its role in inflammation and its activity as a promoter of cancer in animals. Current data do not allow determination of the level of dietary linoleic acid needed for optimum health. Studies of the effects of a wide range of linoleic acid consumption may help determine dietary recommendations that are optimal for human health. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Microbiota and Particulate Matter Assessment in Portuguese Optical Shops Providing Contact Lens Services
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 24; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020024 -
Abstract
The aim of this work was to assess the microbiota (fungi and bacteria) and particulate matter in optical shops, contributing to a specific protocol to ensure a proper assessment. Air samples were collected through an impaction method. Surface and equipment swab samples were
[...] Read more.
The aim of this work was to assess the microbiota (fungi and bacteria) and particulate matter in optical shops, contributing to a specific protocol to ensure a proper assessment. Air samples were collected through an impaction method. Surface and equipment swab samples were also collected side-by-side. Measurements of particulate matter were performed using portable direct-reading equipment. A walkthrough survey and checklist was also applied in each shop. Regarding air sampling, eight of the 13 shops analysed were above the legal requirement and 10 from the 26 surfaces samples were overloaded. In three out of the 13 shops fungal contamination in the analysed equipment was not detected. The bacteria air load was above the threshold in one of the 13 analysed shops. However, bacterial counts were detected in all sampled equipment. Fungi and bacteria air load suggested to be influencing all of the other surface and equipment samples. These results reinforce the need to improve air quality, not only to comply with the legal requirements, but also to ensure proper hygienic conditions. Public health intervention is needed to assure the quality and safety of the rooms and equipment in optical shops that perform health interventions in patients. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Inpatients with Psychosis (the REACH Study): Protocol for Treatment Development and Pilot Testing
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 23; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020023 -
Abstract
Patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders frequently require treatment at inpatient hospitals during periods of acute illness for crisis management and stabilization. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a “third wave” cognitive-behavioral intervention that employs innovative mindfulness-based strategies, has shown initial efficacy in randomized controlled trials
[...] Read more.
Patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders frequently require treatment at inpatient hospitals during periods of acute illness for crisis management and stabilization. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a “third wave” cognitive-behavioral intervention that employs innovative mindfulness-based strategies, has shown initial efficacy in randomized controlled trials for improving acute and post-discharge outcomes in patients with psychosis when studied in acute-care psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. However, the intervention has not been widely adopted in its current form because of its use of an individual-only format and delivery by doctoral-level research therapists with extensive prior experience using ACT. The aim of the Researching the Effectiveness of Acceptance-based Coping during Hospitalization (REACH) Study is to adapt a promising acute-care psychosocial treatment for inpatients with psychosis, and to pilot test its effectiveness in a routine inpatient setting. More specifically, we describe our plans to: (a) further develop and refine the treatment and training protocols, (b) conduct an open trial and make further modifications based on the experience gained, and (c) conduct a pilot randomized controlled trial in preparation for a future fully-powered clinical trial testing the effectiveness of ACT. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Clinical Manifestations, Dietary Influences, and Management
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 21; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020021 -
Abstract
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by symptoms of chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of an overtly identifiable cause. It is the most commonly diagnosed functional gastrointestinal disorder, accounting for about one
[...] Read more.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional gastrointestinal disorder that is characterized by symptoms of chronic abdominal pain and altered bowel habits in the absence of an overtly identifiable cause. It is the most commonly diagnosed functional gastrointestinal disorder, accounting for about one third of gastroenterology visits. It generally presents as a complex of symptoms, including psychological dysfunction. Hypersensitivity to certain foods, especially foods that contain high amounts of fructose, plays a role in the pathophysiology of IBS. Elevated consumption of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has been discussed in this aspect. The treatment options for IBS are challenging and varied. In addition to dietary restrictions for HFCS-induced IBS, such as low-FODMAP (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharide, Monosaccharides, and Polyols) diets, existing drug therapies are administered based on the predominant symptoms and IBS-subtype. Patients with IBS are likely to suffer from issues, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic-stress disorder. Biopsychosocial factors particularly socioeconomic status, sex, and race should, thus, be considered for diagnostic evaluation of patients with IBS. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reliability and Validity of the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 Version 2 (SF-12v2) in Adults with Non-Cancer Pain
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 22; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020022 -
Abstract
Limited evidence exists on how non-cancer pain (NCP) affects an individual’s health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study aimed to validate the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 Version 2 (SF-12v2), a generic measure of HRQoL, in a NCP cohort using the Medical Expenditure
[...] Read more.
Limited evidence exists on how non-cancer pain (NCP) affects an individual’s health-related quality of life (HRQoL). This study aimed to validate the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-12 Version 2 (SF-12v2), a generic measure of HRQoL, in a NCP cohort using the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey Longitudinal Files. The SF Mental Component Summary (MCS12) and SF Physical Component Summary (PCS12) were tested for reliability (internal consistency and test-retest reliability) and validity (construct: convergent and discriminant; criterion: concurrent and predictive). A total of 15,716 patients with NCP were included in the final analysis. The MCS12 and PCS12 demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha and Mosier’s alpha > 0.8), and moderate and high test-retest reliability, respectively (MCS12 intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC): 0.64; PCS12 ICC: 0.73). Both scales were significantly associated with a number of chronic conditions (p < 0.05). The PCS12 was strongly correlated with perceived health (r = 0.52) but weakly correlated with perceived mental health (r = 0.25). The MCS12 was moderately correlated with perceived mental health (r = 0.42) and perceived health (r = 0.33). Increasing PCS12 and MCS12 scores were significantly associated with lower odds of reporting future physical and cognitive limitations (PCS12: OR = 0.90 95%CI: 0.89–0.90, MCS12: OR = 0.94 95%CI: 0.93–0.94). In summary, the SF-12v2 is a reliable and valid measure of HRQoL for patients with NCP. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Hand Motion Detection in fNIRS Neuroimaging Data
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 20; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020020 -
Abstract
As the number of people diagnosed with movement disorders is increasing, it becomes vital to design techniques that allow the better understanding of human brain in naturalistic settings. There are many brain imaging methods such as fMRI, SPECT, and MEG that provide the
[...] Read more.
As the number of people diagnosed with movement disorders is increasing, it becomes vital to design techniques that allow the better understanding of human brain in naturalistic settings. There are many brain imaging methods such as fMRI, SPECT, and MEG that provide the functional information of the brain. However, these techniques have some limitations including immobility, cost, and motion artifacts. One of the most emerging portable brain scanners available today is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). In this study, we have conducted fNIRS neuroimaging of seven healthy subjects while they were performing wrist tasks such as flipping their hand with the periods of rest (no movement). Different models of support vector machine is applied to these fNIRS neuroimaging data and the results show that we could classify the action and rest periods with the accuracy of over 80% for the fNIRS data of individual participants. Our results are promising and suggest that the presented classification method for fNIRS could further be applied to real-time applications such as brain computer interfacing (BCI), and into the future steps of this research to record brain activity from fNIRS and EEG, and fuse them with the body motion sensors to correlate the activities. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Healthcare Engagement as a Potential Source of Psychological Distress among People without Religious Beliefs: A Systematic Review
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 19; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020019 -
Abstract
Research into religion and mental health is increasing, but nonbelievers in terms of religion are often overlooked. Research has shown that nonbelievers experience various forms of psychological distress and that the negative perception of nonbelievers by others is a potential source of distress.
[...] Read more.
Research into religion and mental health is increasing, but nonbelievers in terms of religion are often overlooked. Research has shown that nonbelievers experience various forms of psychological distress and that the negative perception of nonbelievers by others is a potential source of distress. This review builds on that research by identifying another potential source of psychological distress for nonbelievers: engagement with the healthcare system. Poor understanding of nonbelievers by healthcare professionals may lead to impaired communication in the healthcare setting, resulting in distress. Attempts by nonbelievers to avoid distress may result in different patterns of healthcare utilization. Awareness of these concerns may help healthcare providers to minimize distress among their nonbelieving patients. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Disability and Psychiatric Symptoms in Men Referred for Treatment with Work-Related Problems to Primary Mental Health Care
Healthcare 2017, 5(2), 18; doi:10.3390/healthcare5020018 -
Abstract
The relationship between male sex and employment as barriers to accessing mental health care is unclear. The aim of this research was to examine (1) whether the clinical features of men referred to a shared mental health care (SMHC) service through primary care
[...] Read more.
The relationship between male sex and employment as barriers to accessing mental health care is unclear. The aim of this research was to examine (1) whether the clinical features of men referred to a shared mental health care (SMHC) service through primary care differed when symptoms were affecting them in the work domain; and (2) empirically re-evaluate the effectiveness of a SMHC model for work-related disability using a pre-post chart review of N = 3960 referrals to SMHC. ANOVA and logistic regression were performed to examine symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire, PHQ) and disability (World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule, WHODAS 2) at entry and discharge. Men were RR (relative risk) = 1.8 (95% C.I.: 1.60–2.05) times more likely to be referred to SMHC with work problems than women. Having greater disability and more severe somatic symptoms increased the likelihood of a work-related referral. There were no significant differences after treatment. Problems in the work domain may play an important role in men’s treatment seeking and clinicians’ recognition of a mental health care need. This study is relevant because men are underrepresented in mental health (MH) treatment and primary care is the main gateway to accessing MH care. Asking men about functioning in the work domain may increase access to helpful psychiatric services. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessEssay
Translating Developmental Origins: Improving the Health of Women and Their Children Using a Sustainable Approach to Behaviour Change
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 17; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010017 -
Abstract
Theories of the developmental origins of health and disease imply that optimising the growth and development of babies is an essential route to improving the health of populations. A key factor in the growth of babies is the nutritional status of their mothers.
[...] Read more.
Theories of the developmental origins of health and disease imply that optimising the growth and development of babies is an essential route to improving the health of populations. A key factor in the growth of babies is the nutritional status of their mothers. Since women from more disadvantaged backgrounds have poorer quality diets and the worst pregnancy outcomes, they need to be a particular focus. The behavioural sciences have made a substantial contribution to the development of interventions to support dietary changes in disadvantaged women. Translation of such interventions into routine practice is an ideal that is rarely achieved, however. This paper illustrates how re-orientating health and social care services towards an empowerment approach to behaviour change might underpin a new developmental focus to improving long-term health, using learning from a community-based intervention to improve the diets and lifestyles of disadvantaged women. The Southampton Initiative for Health aimed to improve the diets and lifestyles of women of child-bearing age through training health and social care practitioners in skills to support behaviour change. Analysis illustrates the necessary steps in mounting such an intervention: building trust; matching agendas and changing culture. The Southampton Initiative for Health demonstrates that developing sustainable; workable interventions and effective community partnerships; requires commitment beginning long before intervention delivery but is key to the translation of developmental origins research into improvements in human health. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Mobile Phonocardiogram Diagnosis in Newborns Using Support Vector Machine
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 16; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010016 -
Abstract
Phonocardiogram (PCG) monitoring on newborns is one of the most important and challenging tasks in the heart assessment in the early ages of life. In this paper, we present a novel approach for cardiac monitoring applied in PCG data. This basic system coupled
[...] Read more.
Phonocardiogram (PCG) monitoring on newborns is one of the most important and challenging tasks in the heart assessment in the early ages of life. In this paper, we present a novel approach for cardiac monitoring applied in PCG data. This basic system coupled with denoising, segmentation, cardiac cycle selection and classification of heart sound can be used widely for a large number of the data. This paper describes the problems and additional advantages of the PCG method including the possibility of recording heart sound at home, removing unwanted noises and data reduction on a mobile device, and an intelligent system to diagnose heart diseases on the cloud server. A wide range of physiological features from various analysis domains, including modeling, time/frequency domain analysis, an algorithm, etc., is proposed in order to extract features which will be considered as inputs for the classifier. In order to record the PCG data set from multiple subjects over one year, an electronic stethoscope was used for collecting data that was connected to a mobile device. In this study, we used different types of classifiers in order to distinguish between healthy and pathological heart sounds, and a comparison on the performances revealed that support vector machine (SVM) provides 92.2% accuracy and AUC = 0.98 in a time of 1.14 seconds for training, on a dataset of 116 samples. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessHypothesis
Supplementation with Phycocyanobilin, Citrulline, Taurine, and Supranutritional Doses of Folic Acid and Biotin—Potential for Preventing or Slowing the Progression of Diabetic Complications
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010015 -
Abstract
Oxidative stress, the resulting uncoupling of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and loss of nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity, are key mediators of the vascular and microvascular complications of diabetes. Much of this oxidative stress arises from up-regulated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase
[...] Read more.
Oxidative stress, the resulting uncoupling of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), and loss of nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity, are key mediators of the vascular and microvascular complications of diabetes. Much of this oxidative stress arises from up-regulated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase activity. Phycocyanobilin (PhyCB), the light-harvesting chromophore in edible cyanobacteria such as spirulina, is a biliverdin derivative that shares the ability of free bilirubin to inhibit certain isoforms of NADPH oxidase. Epidemiological studies reveal that diabetics with relatively elevated serum bilirubin are less likely to develop coronary disease or microvascular complications; this may reflect the ability of bilirubin to ward off these complications via inhibition of NADPH oxidase. Oral PhyCB may likewise have potential in this regard, and has been shown to protect diabetic mice from glomerulosclerosis. With respect to oxidant-mediated uncoupling of eNOS, high-dose folate can help to reverse this by modulating the oxidation status of the eNOS cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4). Oxidation of BH4 yields dihydrobiopterin (BH2), which competes with BH4 for binding to eNOS and promotes its uncoupling. The reduced intracellular metabolites of folate have versatile oxidant-scavenging activity that can prevent oxidation of BH4; concurrently, these metabolites promote induction of dihydrofolate reductase, which functions to reconvert BH2 to BH4, and hence alleviate the uncoupling of eNOS. The arginine metabolite asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), typically elevated in diabetics, also uncouples eNOS by competitively inhibiting binding of arginine to eNOS; this effect is exacerbated by the increased expression of arginase that accompanies diabetes. These effects can be countered via supplementation with citrulline, which efficiently enhances tissue levels of arginine. With respect to the loss of NO bioactivity that contributes to diabetic complications, high dose biotin has the potential to “pinch hit” for diminished NO by direct activation of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC). High-dose biotin also may aid glycemic control via modulatory effects on enzyme induction in hepatocytes and pancreatic beta cells. Taurine, which suppresses diabetic complications in rodents, has the potential to reverse the inactivating impact of oxidative stress on sGC by boosting synthesis of hydrogen sulfide. Hence, it is proposed that concurrent administration of PhyCB, citrulline, taurine, and supranutritional doses of folate and biotin may have considerable potential for prevention and control of diabetic complications. Such a regimen could also be complemented with antioxidants such as lipoic acid, N-acetylcysteine, and melatonin—that boost cellular expression of antioxidant enzymes and glutathione—as well as astaxanthin, zinc, and glycine. The development of appropriate functional foods might make it feasible for patients to use complex nutraceutical regimens of the sort suggested here. Full article
Open AccessReview
Developmental Origins of Health and Disease: A Lifecourse Approach to the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 14; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010014 -
Abstract
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, affect individuals in all countries worldwide. Given the very high worldwide prevalence of NCDs across a range of human pathology, it is clear that traditional approaches targeting those at most risk in older adulthood
[...] Read more.
Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, affect individuals in all countries worldwide. Given the very high worldwide prevalence of NCDs across a range of human pathology, it is clear that traditional approaches targeting those at most risk in older adulthood will not efficiently ameliorate this growing burden. It will thus be essential to robustly identify determinants of NCDs across the entire lifecourse and, subsequently, appropriate interventions at every stage to reduce an individual’s risk of developing these conditions. A lifecourse approach has the potential to prevent NCDs, from before conception through fetal life, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood and into older age. In this paper, we describe the origins of the lifecourse concept, the importance of early life influences, for example during pregnancy, examine potential underlying mechanisms in both cell biology and behavior change, and finally describe current efforts to develop interventions that take a lifecourse approach to NCD prevention. Two principal approaches to improving women’s nutritional status are outlined: nutritional supplementation and behavior change. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Knowledge, Attitude and Behaviours towards Recommended Vaccinations among Healthcare Workers
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010013 -
Abstract
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important group of professionals exposed to biological risk during their work activities. So, the aim of this study is to perform a survey on the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of Italian HCWs towards the vaccinations recommended by the
[...] Read more.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important group of professionals exposed to biological risk during their work activities. So, the aim of this study is to perform a survey on the knowledge, attitude and behaviour of Italian HCWs towards the vaccinations recommended by the Ministry of Health. A cross-sectional study was carried out during the period September 2014–August 2015 in the Lazio region. The study was conducted by recruiting HCWs and biomedical students. The sample was comprised of 571 responders, of whom 12.4% were physicians, 18.9% were nurses, 34.3% were other HCW, and 34.3% were biomedical students (medical and nurses students). Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is perceived as a risk for personal health by 457 (80%) participants; TB is also worrying (434; 76%). Moreover, HBV (70.9%) and tuberculosis (TB) (79.2%) are perceived as a risk for health, while influenza is not considered so by most participants (46.2%). There is an underestimation of the role of influenza, perceived as a risk for 137 respondents (24%). The vaccination rate among these HCWs is highest for Hepatitis B virus (HBV) (82%), and lowest for influenza (28.5%) and varicella (40.3%). The vast majority of responders are in favour of HBV (77.8%) and TB (64.8%) vaccines. For other vaccinations there is less interest (between 33% and 40% for measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis and influenza). This study shows that knowledge of recommended occupational vaccinations is insufficient in HCWs, with few exceptions represented by HBV and TB. There is a need for novel approaches in this field, with the aim of enhancing vaccine coverage among HCW. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Minerals and Trace Elements Intakes and Food Consumption Patterns of Young Children Living in Rural Areas of Tibet Autonomous Region, P.R. China: A Cross-Sectional Survey
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010012 -
Abstract
Background and objectives: Several studies revealed clinical signs of stunting and rickets among rural populations of Tibet Autonomous Region (T.A.R.), and especially amid children. Further, these populations are affected by a bone disease named Kashin-Beck disease (KBD). However, little is known about the
[...] Read more.
Background and objectives: Several studies revealed clinical signs of stunting and rickets among rural populations of Tibet Autonomous Region (T.A.R.), and especially amid children. Further, these populations are affected by a bone disease named Kashin-Beck disease (KBD). However, little is known about the dietary status of this population. This survey aimed to assess the usual intakes of young Tibetan children living in rural areas around Lhasa for energy, water, and ten minerals and trace elements (Na, K, Ca, P, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, and Se) involved in bone metabolism. Design: A cross-sectional survey was designed. Totally, 250 pre-school children aged 3–5 years living in rural areas were enrolled. The 24-h food recall method was used to collect the intakes for two days, during two different seasons (September 2012 and April 2013). Because Tibetan foods are mainly derived from local agriculture and artisanal production, a combination of food composition tables was compiled, including specific and local food composition data. Results: The Chinese dietary recommended intakes are not met for most of the elements investigated. Intake of sodium is much too high, while usual intakes are too low for K, Ca, Zn, Cu, and Se. Bioavailability of Ca, Fe, and Zn may be of concern due to the high phytic acid content in the diet. Conclusion: These nutrient imbalances may impact growth and bone metabolism of young Tibetan children. The advantages of the implementation of food diversification programs are discussed as well as the relevance of supplements distribution. Full article
Open AccessArticle
WearSense: Detecting Autism Stereotypic Behaviors through Smartwatches
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010011 -
Abstract
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects approximately 1 in 68 children (according to the recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC) in the U.S., and has become the fastest growing category of special education. Each student with
[...] Read more.
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that affects approximately 1 in 68 children (according to the recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—CDC) in the U.S., and has become the fastest growing category of special education. Each student with autism comes with her or his own unique needs and an array of behaviors and habits that can be severe and which interfere with everyday tasks. Autism is associated with intellectual disability, impairments in social skills, and physical health issues such as sleep and abdominal disturbances. We have designed an Internet-of-Things (IoT) framework named WearSense that leverages the sensing capabilities of modern smartwatches to detect stereotypic behaviors in children with autism. In this work, we present a study that used the inbuilt accelerometer of a smartwatch to detect three behaviors, including hand flapping, painting, and sibbing that are commonly observed in children with autism. In this feasibility study, we recruited 14 subjects to record the accelerometer data from the smartwatch worn on the wrist. The processing part extracts 34 different features in each dimension of the three-axis accelerometer, resulting in 102 features. Using and comparing various classification techniques revealed that an ensemble of 40 decision trees has the best accuracy of around 94.6%. This accuracy shows the quality of the data collected from the smartwatch and feature extraction methods used in this study. The recognition of these behaviors by using a smartwatch would be helpful in monitoring individuals with autistic behaviors, since the smartwatch can send the data to the cloud for comprehensive analysis and also to help parents, caregivers, and clinicians make informed decisions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Conceptual Foundations of Systems Biology Explaining Complex Cardiac Diseases
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010010 -
Abstract
Systems biology is an important concept that connects molecular biology and genomics with computing science, mathematics and engineering. An endeavor is made in this paper to associate basic conceptual ideas of systems biology with clinical medicine. Complex cardiac diseases are clinical phenotypes generated
[...] Read more.
Systems biology is an important concept that connects molecular biology and genomics with computing science, mathematics and engineering. An endeavor is made in this paper to associate basic conceptual ideas of systems biology with clinical medicine. Complex cardiac diseases are clinical phenotypes generated by integration of genetic, molecular and environmental factors. Basic concepts of systems biology like network construction, modular thinking, biological constraints (downward biological direction) and emergence (upward biological direction) could be applied to clinical medicine. Especially, in the field of cardiology, these concepts can be used to explain complex clinical cardiac phenotypes like chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease. Cardiac diseases are biological complex entities which like other biological phenomena can be explained by a systems biology approach. The above powerful biological tools of systems biology can explain robustness growth and stability during disease process from modulation to phenotype. The purpose of the present review paper is to implement systems biology strategy and incorporate some conceptual issues raised by this approach into the clinical field of complex cardiac diseases. Cardiac disease process and progression can be addressed by the holistic realistic approach of systems biology in order to define in better terms earlier diagnosis and more effective therapy. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
UK Dietary Policy for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010009 -
Abstract
Nutrition advice is devolved within each of the four UK countries, but share a common evidence base provided through the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Current UK dietary recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is based upon recommendations from SACN and its
[...] Read more.
Nutrition advice is devolved within each of the four UK countries, but share a common evidence base provided through the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). Current UK dietary recommendations to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) is based upon recommendations from SACN and its predecessor committee. Dietary advice in the UK has recently been revised in relation to intakes of free sugar and fibre. This paper highlights current UK recommendations for the prevention of CVD, in particular related to energy intake, saturated fat, free sugars, salt, fruit, vegetables, oily fish and fibre. It describes how this advice is promulgated including the refresh of the Eatwell Guide and wider action that will impact on CVD. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Preventive Healthcare: A Neural Network Analysis of Behavioral Habits and Chronic Diseases
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 8; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010008 -
Abstract
The research aims to explore the association between behavioral habits and chronic diseases, and to identify a portfolio of risk factors for preventive healthcare. The data is taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database of the Centers for Disease Control
[...] Read more.
The research aims to explore the association between behavioral habits and chronic diseases, and to identify a portfolio of risk factors for preventive healthcare. The data is taken from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) database of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for the year 2012. Using SPSS Modeler, we deploy neural networks to identify strong positive and negative associations between certain chronic diseases and behavioral habits. The data for 475,687 records from BRFS database included behavioral habit variables of consumption of soda and fruits/vegetables, alcohol, smoking, weekly working hours, and exercise; chronic disease variables of heart attack, stroke, asthma, and diabetes; and demographic variables of marital status, income, and age. Our findings indicate that with chronic conditions, behavioral habits of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption are negatively associated; soda, alcohol, and smoking are positively associated; and income and age are positively associated. We contribute to individual and national preventive healthcare by offering a portfolio of significant behavioral risk factors that enable individuals to make lifestyle changes and governments to frame campaigns and policies countering chronic conditions and promoting public health. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reducing Low Birth Weight among African Americans in the Midwest: A Look at How Faith-Based Organizations Are Poised to Inform and Influence Health Communication on the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD)
Healthcare 2017, 5(1), 6; doi:10.3390/healthcare5010006 -
Abstract
Low birth weight (LBW) rates remain the highest among African Americans despite public health efforts to address these disparities; with some of the highest racial disparities in the Midwest (Kansas). The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) perspective offers an explanation for
[...] Read more.
Low birth weight (LBW) rates remain the highest among African Americans despite public health efforts to address these disparities; with some of the highest racial disparities in the Midwest (Kansas). The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) perspective offers an explanation for how LBW contributes to racial health disparities among African Americans and informs a community directed health communication framework for creating sustainable programs to address these disparities. Trusted community organizations such as faith-based organizations are well situated to explain health communication gaps that may occur over the life course. These entities are underutilized in core health promotion programming targeting underserved populations and can prove essential for addressing developmental origins of LBW among African Americans. Extrapolating from focus group data collected from African American church populations as part of a social marketing health promotion project on cancer prevention, we theoretically consider how a similar communication framework and approach may apply to address LBW disparities. Stratified focus groups (n = 9) were used to discover emergent themes about disease prevention, and subsequently applied to explore how faith-based organizations (FBOs) inform strategic health care (media) advocacy and health promotion that potentially apply to address LBW among African Americans. We argue that FBOs are poised to meet health promotion and health communication needs among African American women who face social barriers in health. Full article