Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9811-9821; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909811 (registering DOI) - published 19 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Salmonella spp. is associated with fecal pollution and capable of surviving for long periods in aquatic environments. Instead of the traditional, time-consuming biochemical detection, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) allows rapid identification of Salmonella directly concentrated from water samples. However, prevalence of Salmonella may be underestimated because of the vulnerability of PCR to various environmental chemicals like humic acid, compounded by the fact that various DNA polymerases have different susceptibility to humic acid. Because immunomagnetic separation (IMS) theoretically could isolate Salmonella from other microbes and facilitate removal of aquatic PCR inhibitors of different sizes, this study aims to compare the efficiency of conventional PCR combined with immunomagnetic separation (IMS) for Salmonella detection within a moderately polluted watershed. In our study, the positive rate was increased from 17.6% to 47% with nearly ten-fold improvement in the detection limit. These results suggest the sensitivity of Salmonella detection could be enhanced by IMS, particularly in low quality surface waters. Due to its effects on clearance of aquatic pollutants, IMS may be suitable for most DNA polymerases for Salmonella detection.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9790-9810; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909790 (registering DOI) - published 19 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Emerging research suggests that prolonged sedentary behaviour (SB) is detrimental to health. Changes in SB patterns are likely to occur during particular life stages, for example at retirement age (55–65-year-old). Evidence on socio-ecological SB correlates is scarce and inconsistent in this age group. Moreover, the influence of socio-ecological correlates may vary depending on health and retirement status. This study examined social and environment correlates of overall weekend day sitting among adults at or approaching retirement age, and moderating effects of perceived physical health and retirement status. Baseline data from the Wellbeing, Eating and Exercise for a Long Life study in 2839 Australian adults (55–65-year-old) were analysed. Participants self-reported proximal social factors, neighbourhood social and physical environment, physical health and retirement status. MLwiN multilevel regression analyses were conducted. In the multivariable model, only social support from friends/colleagues to discourage sitting (B = −0.891; p = 0.036) was associated with overall weekend day sitting. No moderation of retirement status, nor physical health were found in the multivariable results. Results from this study suggest the importance of social factors in relation to weekend day sitting among 55–65-year-old adults. Health promotion initiatives in this age group should pay special attention to enhancing social interaction opportunities. Moreover, findings suggest that SB-specific correlates may need to be examined in future research.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9776-9789; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909776 - published 18 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the medical field, many outcome variables are dichotomized, and the two possible values of a dichotomized variable are referred to as classes. A dichotomized dataset is class-imbalanced if it consists mostly of one class, and performance of common classification models on this type of dataset tends to be suboptimal. To tackle such a problem, resampling methods, including oversampling and undersampling can be used. This paper aims at illustrating the effect of resampling methods using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) wave 2009–2010 dataset. A total of 4677 participants aged ≥20 without self-reported diabetes and with valid blood test results were analyzed. The Classification and Regression Tree (CART) procedure was used to build a classification model on undiagnosed diabetes. A participant demonstrated evidence of diabetes according to WHO diabetes criteria. Exposure variables included demographics and socio-economic status. CART models were fitted using a randomly selected 70% of the data (training dataset), and area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) was computed using the remaining 30% of the sample for evaluation (testing dataset). CART models were fitted using the training dataset, the oversampled training dataset, the weighted training dataset, and the undersampled training dataset. In addition, resampling case-to-control ratio of 1:1, 1:2, and 1:4 were examined. Resampling methods on the performance of other extensions of CART (random forests and generalized boosted trees) were also examined. CARTs fitted on the oversampled (AUC = 0.70) and undersampled training data (AUC = 0.74) yielded a better classification power than that on the training data (AUC = 0.65). Resampling could also improve the classification power of random forests and generalized boosted trees. To conclude, applying resampling methods in a class-imbalanced dataset improved the classification power of CART, random forests, and generalized boosted trees.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9760-9775; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909760 - published 17 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Background: Monitoring of human exposure to mercury is important due to its adverse health effects. This study aimed to determine the extent of mercury exposure among mothers and their children in Ireland, and to identify factors associated with elevated levels. It formed part of the Demonstration of a study to Coordinate and Perform Human Biomonitoring on a European Scale (DEMOCOPHES) pilot biomonitoring study. Methods: Hair mercury concentrations were determined from a convenience sample of 120 mother/child pairs. Mothers also completed a questionnaire. Rigorous quality assurance within DEMOCOPHES guaranteed the accuracy and international comparability of results. Results: Mercury was detected in 79.2% of the samples from mothers, and 62.5% of children’s samples. Arithmetic mean levels in mothers (0.262 µg/g hair) and children (0.149 µg /g hair) did not exceed the US EPA guidance value. Levels were significantly higher for those with higher education, and those who consumed more fish. Conclusions: The study demonstrates the benefit of human biomonitoring for assessing and comparing internal exposure levels, both on a population and an individual basis. It enables the potential harmful impact of mercury to be minimised in those highly exposed, and can therefore significantly contribute to population health.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9739-9759; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909739 - published 17 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate continuity of care in the psychiatric healthcare system from the perspective of patients, including vulnerable groups such as immigrants and refugees. Method: The study is based on 19 narrative interviews conducted with 15 patients with diverse migration backgrounds (immigrants, descendents, refugees, and ethnic Danes). Patients were recruited from a community psychiatric centre situated in an area with a high proportion of immigrants and refugees. Data were analysed through the lens of a theoretical framework of continuity of care in psychiatry, developed in 2004 by Joyce et al., which encompasses four domains: accessibility, individualised care, relationship base and service delivery. Results: Investigating continuity of care, we found issues of specific concern to immigrants and refugees, but also commonalities across the groups. For accessibility, areas pertinent to immigrants and refugees include lack of knowledge concerning mental illness and obligations towards children. In terms of individualised care, trauma, additional vulnerability, and taboo concerning mental illness were of specific concern. In the domain of service delivery, social services included assistance with immigration papers for immigrants and refugees. In the relationship base domain, no differences were identified. Implications for priority area: The treatment courses of patients in the psychiatric field are complex and diverse and the patient perspective of continuity of care provides important insight into the delivery of care. The study highlights the importance of person-centred care irrespective of migration background though it may be beneficial to have an awareness of areas that may be of more specific concern to immigrants and refugees. Conclusions: The study sheds light on concerns specific to immigrants and refugees in a framework of continuity of care, but also commonalities across the patient groups.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health2014, 11(9), 9723-9738; doi:10.3390/ijerph110909723 - published 17 September 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There is an ongoing debate about equity and equality in health care, and whether immigrants benefit equally from services as the non-immigrant population. The study focuses on benefits from and adherence to the diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM 2) disease management program (DMP) among Turkish immigrants in Germany. So far, it has not been researched whether this group benefits from enrollment in the DMP as well as diabetics from the non-immigrant population. Data on the non-immigrant sample (N = 702) stem from a survey among members of a German health insurance, the Turkish immigrant sample (N = 102) was recruited in the area of Hamburg. Identical questions in both surveys enable comparing major components. Regarding process quality, Turkish diabetics do not differ from the non-immigrant sample; moreover, they have significantly more often received documentation and diabetes training. In terms of outcome quality however, results display a greater benefit on behalf of the non-immigrant sample (e.g., blood parameters and body mass index), and they also met more of the DMP criteria. This underlines the need of diabetics with Turkish background for further education and information in order to become the empowered patient as is intended by the DMP as well as to prevent comorbidities.