Open AccessArticle
Local Geographic Variation of Public Services Inequality: Does the Neighborhood Scale Matter?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 981; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100981 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
This study aims to explore the effect of the neighborhood scale when estimating public services inequality based on the aggregation of social, environmental, and health-related indicators. Inequality analyses were carried out at three neighborhood scales: the original census blocks and two aggregated [...] Read more.
This study aims to explore the effect of the neighborhood scale when estimating public services inequality based on the aggregation of social, environmental, and health-related indicators. Inequality analyses were carried out at three neighborhood scales: the original census blocks and two aggregated neighborhood units generated by the spatial “k”luster analysis by the tree edge removal (SKATER) algorithm and the self-organizing map (SOM) algorithm. Then, we combined a set of health-related public services indicators with the geographically weighted principal components analyses (GWPCA) and the principal components analyses (PCA) to measure the public services inequality across all multi-scale neighborhood units. Finally, a statistical test was applied to evaluate the scale effects in inequality measurements by combining all available field survey data. We chose Quito as the case study area. All of the aggregated neighborhood units performed better than the original census blocks in terms of the social indicators extracted from a field survey. The SKATER and SOM algorithms can help to define the neighborhoods in inequality analyses. Moreover, GWPCA performs better than PCA in multivariate spatial inequality estimation. Understanding the scale effects is essential to sustain a social neighborhood organization, which, in turn, positively affects social determinants of public health and public quality of life. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Airborne Particles Collected from Car Engine Air Filters Using SEM and EDX Techniques
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 985; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100985 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Particulate matter accumulated on car engine air-filters (CAFs) was examined in order to investigate the potential use of these devices as efficient samplers for collecting street level air that people are exposed to. The morphology, microstructure, and chemical composition of a variety [...] Read more.
Particulate matter accumulated on car engine air-filters (CAFs) was examined in order to investigate the potential use of these devices as efficient samplers for collecting street level air that people are exposed to. The morphology, microstructure, and chemical composition of a variety of particles were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX). The particulate matter accumulated by the CAFs was studied in two categories; the first was of removed particles by friction, and the second consisted of particles retained on the filters. Larger particles with a diameter of 74–10 µm were observed in the first category. In the second one, the detected particles had a diameter between 16 and 0.7 µm. These particles exhibited different morphologies and composition, indicating mostly a soil origin. The elemental composition revealed the presence of three groups: mineral (clay and asphalt), metallic (mainly Fe), and biological particles (vegetal and animal debris). The palynological analysis showed the presence of pollen grains associated with urban plants. These results suggest that CAFs capture a mixture of atmospheric particles, which can be analyzed in order to monitor urban air. Thus, the continuous availability of large numbers of filters and the retroactivity associated to the car routes suggest that these CAFs are very useful for studying the high traffic zones within a city. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Universal Stress Proteins as New Targets for Environmental and Therapeutic Interventions of Schistosomiasis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 972; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100972 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In spite of various control measures and eradication methods that have been in progress, schistosomiasis still prevails as one of the most prevalent debilitating parasitic diseases, typically affecting the poor and the underprivileged that are predominantly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. The parasitic [...] Read more.
In spite of various control measures and eradication methods that have been in progress, schistosomiasis still prevails as one of the most prevalent debilitating parasitic diseases, typically affecting the poor and the underprivileged that are predominantly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa. The parasitic schistosome blood fluke responsible for causing the disease completes its complex developmental cycle in two hosts: humans and freshwater snails, where they physically undergo gross modifications to endure the different conditions associated with each host. Just like any other organism, the worm possesses mechanisms that help them respond to environmental insults. It has been hypothesized that a special class of proteins known as Universal Stress Proteins (USPs) are up-regulated during sudden environmental changes, thus assisting the worm to tolerate the unfavourable conditions associated with its developmental cycle. The position of praziquantel as the drug of choice against all schistosome infections has been deemed vulnerable due to mounting concerns over drug pressure and so the need for alternative treatment is now a matter of urgency. Therefore, this review seeks to explore the associations and possible roles of USPs in schistosomiasis as well as the functioning of these proteins in the schistosomulae stage in order to develop new therapeutic interventions against this disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Sample Points for Monitoring Arable Land Quality by Simulated Annealing while Considering Spatial Variations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 980; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100980 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
With China’s rapid economic development, the reduction in arable land has emerged as one of the most prominent problems in the nation. The long-term dynamic monitoring of arable land quality is important for protecting arable land resources. An efficient practice is to [...] Read more.
With China’s rapid economic development, the reduction in arable land has emerged as one of the most prominent problems in the nation. The long-term dynamic monitoring of arable land quality is important for protecting arable land resources. An efficient practice is to select optimal sample points while obtaining accurate predictions. To this end, the selection of effective points from a dense set of soil sample points is an urgent problem. In this study, data were collected from Donghai County, Jiangsu Province, China. The number and layout of soil sample points are optimized by considering the spatial variations in soil properties and by using an improved simulated annealing (SA) algorithm. The conclusions are as follows: (1) Optimization results in the retention of more sample points in the moderate- and high-variation partitions of the study area; (2) The number of optimal sample points obtained with the improved SA algorithm is markedly reduced, while the accuracy of the predicted soil properties is improved by approximately 5% compared with the raw data; (3) With regard to the monitoring of arable land quality, a dense distribution of sample points is needed to monitor the granularity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Estimation of Satellite-Derived PM2.5 Based on a Semi-Physical Geographically Weighted Regression Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 974; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100974 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The real-time estimation of ambient particulate matter with diameter no greater than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) is currently quite limited in China. A semi-physical geographically weighted regression (GWR) model was adopted to estimate PM2.5 mass concentrations at national scale using [...] Read more.
The real-time estimation of ambient particulate matter with diameter no greater than 2.5 μm (PM2.5) is currently quite limited in China. A semi-physical geographically weighted regression (GWR) model was adopted to estimate PM2.5 mass concentrations at national scale using the Aqua Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) Aerosol Optical Depth product fused by the Dark Target (DT) and Deep Blue (DB) algorithms, combined with meteorological parameters. The fitting results could explain over 80% of the variability in the corresponding PM2.5 mass concentrations, and the estimation tends to overestimate when measurement is low and tends to underestimate when measurement is high. Based on World Health Organization standards, results indicate that most regions in China suffered severe PM2.5 pollution during winter. Seasonal average mass concentrations of PM2.5 predicted by the model indicate that residential regions, namely Jing-Jin-Ji Region and Central China, were faced with challenge from fine particles. Moreover, estimation deviation caused primarily by the spatially uneven distribution of monitoring sites and the changes of elevation in a relatively small region has been discussed. In summary, real-time PM2.5 was estimated effectively by the satellite-based semi-physical GWR model, and the results could provide reasonable references for assessing health impacts and offer guidance on air quality management in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Non-Obese Diabetes and Its Associated Factors in an Underdeveloped Area of South China, Guangxi
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 976; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100976 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Background: Little research has been conducted on the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in underdeveloped areas in China, especially stratified into obesity and non-obese diabetes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of non-obese diabetes in [...] Read more.
Background: Little research has been conducted on the prevalence of diabetes mellitus in underdeveloped areas in China, especially stratified into obesity and non-obese diabetes. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prevalence and associated factors of non-obese diabetes in an underdeveloped area in South China, Guangxi. Methods: Data derived from the Chinese Health and Nutrition Survey 2010–2012 involved a sample of 3874 adults from Guangxi. Questionnaires and oral glucose-tolerance tests were conducted, and fasting and 2-h glucose levels and serum lipids were measured. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess associated factors for non-obese diabetes. Results: 68.2% and 62.2% of instances of newly detected diabetes were those of non-obese diabetes based on BMI (NODB) and based on WC (NODW), respectively. The male sex, an age older than 50 years, lower education, hypertension, and hypertriglyceridemia were significantly associated with a higher risk of both NODB and NODW, while some associated factors for NODB were found different from those associated with NODW, and an interaction effect was found to increase the risk of NODW. Conclusions: Our study indicated that non-obese diabetes was highly prevalent in an underdeveloped area of South China. Non-obese diabetes should be considered for increased public attention in these areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Firefighters’ Physical Activity across Multiple Shifts of Planned Burn Work
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 973; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100973 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Little is currently known about the physical activity patterns of workers in physically demanding populations. The aims of this study were to (a) quantify firefighters’ physical activity and sedentary time within (2-h periods) and across planned burn shifts; and (b) examine whether [...] Read more.
Little is currently known about the physical activity patterns of workers in physically demanding populations. The aims of this study were to (a) quantify firefighters’ physical activity and sedentary time within (2-h periods) and across planned burn shifts; and (b) examine whether firefighters’ activity levels during one shift or 2-h period was associated with their activity levels in the following shift or 2-h period. Thirty-four salaried firefighters (26 men, 8 women) wore an Actical accelerometer for 28 consecutive days. Time spent sedentary (SED) and in light- (LPA), moderate- (MPA) and vigorous-intensity physical activity (VPA) were derived using validated cut-points. Multilevel analyses (shift, participant) were conducted using generalised linear latent and mixed models. Firefighters spent the majority of a planned burn shift (average length 10.4 h) or 2-h period engaged in LPA (69% and 70%, respectively). No significant associations were observed between SED and physical activity levels between consecutive planned burned shifts or 2-h periods. The physical activity that a firefighter engaged in during one shift (or 2-h period) did not subsequently affect their physical activity levels in the subsequent shift (or 2-h period). Further research is needed to establish how workers in physically demanding populations are able to sustain their activity levels over long periods of time. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Factors Influencing Health Knowledge and Behaviors among the Elderly in Rural China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 975; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100975 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Objectives: Health knowledge and behaviors are the key elements that ensure high quality of health for the elderly. This study explored and determined the conditions and factors of health knowledge and behaviors that affect the elderly in rural China. Methods: A cross-sectional [...] Read more.
Objectives: Health knowledge and behaviors are the key elements that ensure high quality of health for the elderly. This study explored and determined the conditions and factors of health knowledge and behaviors that affect the elderly in rural China. Methods: A cross-sectional research approach and random stratified sampling method were used in 12 towns and 48 villages in the Chongqing Municipality, Henan, and Zhejiang Provinces in China from June to September 2013. The collected data included: (1) socio-demographic characteristics of 1593 elderly people; (2) accuracy rate on health knowledge of the elderly, which was analyzed and compared among the three sample areas by using Chi-square test; and (3) mean scores on the health behaviors of the elderly, which were analyzed and compared by using analysis of variance (ANOVA). The multiple-linear regression method was used to analyze the factors affecting the health knowledge and behaviors of the elderly. Results: Significant differences were observed among the nine items in the health knowledge questionnaire (p = 0.000 < 0.001). The average accuracy rate of the nine items was 57.43%. Significant differences were observed among the eleven items on the health behaviors of the elderly in the sample rural areas (p = 0.000 < 0.001). Age, economic level, degree of education, distance from home to medical institutions and disposable personal income (DPI) can affect the scores of the health knowledge and behaviors of the elderly (p = 0.000 < 0.001). Conclusions: Lack of health knowledge and poor health behaviors are common among the elderly in the sample areas of rural China. This deficiency poses a serious threat on the promotion of health conditions and the improvement of the level of health quality among the elderly. Different types of access to sources of health knowledge should be used to increase health knowledge scores of the elderly. Various potential intervening measures should also be adopted to improve their health behaviors of elderly people. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying the Gaps in Practice for Combating Lead in Drinking Water in Hong Kong
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 970; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100970 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Excessive lead has been found in drinking water in Hong Kong in tests carried out in 2015. Investigations have identified that the problem in public rental housing estates was caused by the problematic solders used in the plumbing, and recommendations on enhancing [...] Read more.
Excessive lead has been found in drinking water in Hong Kong in tests carried out in 2015. Investigations have identified that the problem in public rental housing estates was caused by the problematic solders used in the plumbing, and recommendations on enhancing the quality control system and strengthening the relevant water quality standards have been proposed. The cause for the same problem happening in other premises where soldering has not been adopted for water pipe connections is left unidentified. Considering the unidentified cause and the recommendations made, this study aims to identify the gaps in practice followed in Hong Kong for safeguarding the water quality of new installations. A holistic review of governing ordinances and regulations, products and materials used and the testing and commissioning requirements adopted in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world were conducted. Based on international practices and parametric analysis, it was found that there are gaps in practices followed in Hong Kong, which are directly and indirectly leading to the lead-in-water crisis. Recommendations for improvement in the quality control system, and the water quality standards including the allowable lead content and leaching limit for products and materials and the testing and commissioning requirements on plumbing installations have been made. The review and the identified gaps would become useful reference for countries in strengthening their relevant water quality standards. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Short-Term Exposure to Particulate Air Pollutants on the Inflammatory Response and Respiratory Symptoms: A Panel Study in Schoolchildren from Rural Areas of Japan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 983; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100983 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The relationship between particulate air pollutants and respiratory symptoms in children has not been consistent among studies, potentially owing to differences in the inflammatory response to different particulate air pollutants. This study aimed to investigate the effect of particulate air pollutants on [...] Read more.
The relationship between particulate air pollutants and respiratory symptoms in children has not been consistent among studies, potentially owing to differences in the inflammatory response to different particulate air pollutants. This study aimed to investigate the effect of particulate air pollutants on respiratory symptoms and the inflammatory response in schoolchildren. Three hundred-and-sixty children were included in the study. The children recorded daily respiratory symptom scores for October 2015. In addition, the daily amount of interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production was assessed in THP1 cells stimulated with suspended particulate matter (SPM), which was collected every day during the study period. Generalized estimating equation logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the associations among respiratory symptoms and the daily levels of SPM, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α. Daily SPM levels were not associated with respiratory symptoms or the daily IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α levels. Conversely, there was a significant association between respiratory symptoms and the daily IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-α levels. These results suggested that the effects of particulate air pollutants on respiratory symptoms in schoolchildren might depend more on the pro-inflammatory response to them than on their mass concentration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Community Theories of Change: Linking Environmental Justice to Sustainability through Stakeholder Perceptions in Milwaukee, (WI, USA)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 979; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100979 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
Environmental justice and sustainability are compatible lenses, yet action toward equity is often missing from urban sustainability initiatives. This study aims to assess the cohesion of these frameworks in practice. To do this, we parse individuals’ theories of change, or how they [...] Read more.
Environmental justice and sustainability are compatible lenses, yet action toward equity is often missing from urban sustainability initiatives. This study aims to assess the cohesion of these frameworks in practice. To do this, we parse individuals’ theories of change, or how they identify and propose to resolve environmental injustices in the pursuit of sustainability. We posit that these theories of change are comprised of three main components: (1) perceived environmental benefits and burdens; (2) the causal pathways of environmental and social injustice; and (3) visions for positive change. Drawing from 35 stakeholder interviews in Milwaukee (WI, USA) we examine individual and institutional perspectives on environmental and social change and their links to the production of injustice. Our findings reveal that participants do not distinguish between environmental and social injustices. Instead, both social and environmental factors are implicated in injustice. Furthermore, we identify two mental maps for how social and economic change reproduce injustice. These findings suggest the need to reorient how urban injustice is considered and make efforts to acknowledge how a diversity of operational theories of change could either be divisive or could bring environmental justice and sustainability initiatives together. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Distribution Balance Analysis of Hospitals in Wuhan
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 971; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100971 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
The spatial distribution pattern of hospitals in Wuhan indicates a core in the central urban areas and a sparse distribution in the suburbs, particularly at the center of suburbs. This study aims to improve the gravity and Huff models to analyze healthcare [...] Read more.
The spatial distribution pattern of hospitals in Wuhan indicates a core in the central urban areas and a sparse distribution in the suburbs, particularly at the center of suburbs. This study aims to improve the gravity and Huff models to analyze healthcare accessibility and resources. Results indicate that healthcare accessibility in central urban areas is better than in the suburbs, where it increasingly worsens for the suburbs. A shortage of healthcare resources is observed in large-scale and high-class hospitals in central urban areas, whereas the resources of some hospitals in the suburbs are redundant. This study proposes the multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) analysis model for the location assessment in constructing new hospitals, which can effectively ameliorate healthcare accessibility in suburban areas. This study presents implications for the planning of urban healthcare facilities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Consensus Modeling for Prediction of Estrogenic Activity of Ingredients Commonly Used in Sunscreen Products
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 958; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100958 -
Abstract
Sunscreen products are predominantly regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the US FDA. The “active” ingredients function as ultraviolet filters. Once a sunscreen product is generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) via an OTC drug review process, new formulations using these [...] Read more.
Sunscreen products are predominantly regulated as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by the US FDA. The “active” ingredients function as ultraviolet filters. Once a sunscreen product is generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE) via an OTC drug review process, new formulations using these ingredients do not require FDA review and approval, however, the majority of ingredients have never been tested to uncover any potential endocrine activity and their ability to interact with the estrogen receptor (ER) is unknown, despite the fact that this is a very extensively studied target related to endocrine activity. Consequently, we have developed an in silico model to prioritize single ingredient estrogen receptor activity for use when actual animal data are inadequate, equivocal, or absent. It relies on consensus modeling to qualitatively and quantitatively predict ER binding activity. As proof of concept, the model was applied to ingredients commonly used in sunscreen products worldwide and a few reference chemicals. Of the 32 chemicals with unknown ER binding activity that were evaluated, seven were predicted to be active estrogenic compounds. Five of the seven were confirmed by the published data. Further experimental data is needed to confirm the other two predictions. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Bioelectromagnetics Research within an Australian Context: The Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 967; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100967 -
Abstract
Mobile phone subscriptions continue to increase across the world, with the electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by these devices, as well as by related technologies such as Wi-Fi and smart meters, now ubiquitous. This increase in use and consequent exposure to mobile communication [...] Read more.
Mobile phone subscriptions continue to increase across the world, with the electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by these devices, as well as by related technologies such as Wi-Fi and smart meters, now ubiquitous. This increase in use and consequent exposure to mobile communication (MC)-related EMF has led to concern about possible health effects that could arise from this exposure. Although much research has been conducted since the introduction of these technologies, uncertainty about the impact on health remains. The Australian Centre for Electromagnetic Bioeffects Research (ACEBR) is a National Health and Medical Research Council Centre of Research Excellence that is undertaking research addressing the most important aspects of the MC-EMF health debate, with a strong focus on mechanisms, neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, and exposure dosimetry. This research takes as its starting point the current scientific status quo, but also addresses the adequacy of the evidence for the status quo. Risk communication research complements the above, and aims to ensure that whatever is found, it is communicated effectively and appropriately. This paper provides a summary of this ACEBR research (both completed and ongoing), and discusses the rationale for conducting it in light of the prevailing science. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Are Non-Pharmacological Interventions Effective in Reducing Drug Use and Criminality? A Systematic and Meta-Analytical Review with an Economic Appraisal of These Interventions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 966; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100966 -
Abstract
Background: The numbers of incarcerated people suffering from drug dependence has steadily risen since the 1980s and only a small proportion of these receive appropriate treatment. A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness and economic evidence of non-pharmacological interventions for drug using [...] Read more.
Background: The numbers of incarcerated people suffering from drug dependence has steadily risen since the 1980s and only a small proportion of these receive appropriate treatment. A systematic review to evaluate the effectiveness and economic evidence of non-pharmacological interventions for drug using offenders was conducted. Methods: Cochrane Collaboration criteria were used to identify trials across 14 databases between 2004 and 2014. A series of meta-analyses and an economic appraisal were conducted. Results: 43 trials were identified showing to have limited effect in reducing re-arrests RR 0.97 (95% CI 0.89–1.07) and drug use RR 0.90 (95% CI 0.80–1.00) but were found to significantly reduce re-incarceration RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.57–0.85). Therapeutic community programs were found to significantly reduce the number of re-arrests RR 0.70 (95% CI 0.56–0.87). 10 papers contained economic information. One paper presented a cost-benefit analysis and two reported on the cost and cost effectiveness of the intervention. Conclusions: We suggest that therapeutic community interventions have some benefit in reducing subsequent re-arrest. We recommend that economic evaluations should form part of standard trial protocols. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Examination of the Ethnicity-Specific Prevalence of and Factors Associated with Substance Use and Misuse: Cross-Sectional Analysis of Croatian and Bosniak Adolescents in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 968; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100968 -
Abstract
Substance use and misuse (SUM) in adolescence is a significant public health problem and the extent to which adolescents exhibit SUM behaviors differs across ethnicity. This study aimed to explore the ethnicity-specific and gender-specific associations among sports factors, familial factors, and personal [...] Read more.
Substance use and misuse (SUM) in adolescence is a significant public health problem and the extent to which adolescents exhibit SUM behaviors differs across ethnicity. This study aimed to explore the ethnicity-specific and gender-specific associations among sports factors, familial factors, and personal satisfaction with physical appearance (i.e., covariates) and SUM in a sample of adolescents from Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In this cross-sectional study the participants were 1742 adolescents (17–18 years of age) from Bosnia and Herzegovina who were in their last year of high school education (high school seniors). The sample comprised 772 Croatian (558 females) and 970 Bosniak (485 females) adolescents. Variables were collected using a previously developed and validated questionnaire that included questions on SUM (alcohol drinking, cigarette smoking, and consumption of other drugs), sport factors, parental education, socioeconomic status, and satisfaction with physical appearance and body weight. The consumption of cigarettes remains high (37% of adolescents smoke cigarettes), with a higher prevalence among Croatians. Harmful drinking is also alarming (evidenced in 28.4% of adolescents). The consumption of illicit drugs remains low with 5.7% of adolescents who consume drugs, with a higher prevalence among Bosniaks. A higher likelihood of engaging in SUM is found among children who quit sports (for smoking and drinking), boys who perceive themselves to be good looking (for smoking), and girls who are not satisfied with their body weight (for smoking). Higher maternal education is systematically found to be associated with greater SUM in Bosniak girls. Information on the associations presented herein could be discretely disseminated as a part of regular school administrative functions. The results warrant future prospective studies that more precisely identify the causality among certain variables. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
l-Arginine Enhances Resistance against Oxidative Stress and Heat Stress in Caenorhabditis elegans
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 969; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100969 -
Abstract
The antioxidant properties of l-arginine (l-Arg) in vivo, and its effect on enhancing resistance to oxidative stress and heat stress in Caenorhabditis elegans were investigated. C. elegans, a worm model popularly used in molecular and developmental biology, was [...] Read more.
The antioxidant properties of l-arginine (l-Arg) in vivo, and its effect on enhancing resistance to oxidative stress and heat stress in Caenorhabditis elegans were investigated. C. elegans, a worm model popularly used in molecular and developmental biology, was used in the present study. Here, we report that l-Arg, at a concentration of 1 mM, prolonged C. elegans life by 26.98% and 37.02% under oxidative and heat stress, respectively. Further experiments indicated that the longevity-extending effects of l-Arg may be exerted by its free radical scavenging capacity and the upregulation of aging-associated gene expression in worms. This work is important in the context of numerous recent studies that concluded that environment stresses are associated with an increased population death rate. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Patterns of Psychiatric Outpatient Practice in Taiwan: A Nationwide Survey
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 955; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100955 -
Abstract
(1) Background: Limited studies have utilized nationwide data to assess the patterns of psychiatric practice in other countries. In this study, data from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan (NHIRD-TW) for 2012 was analyzed to determine the patterns of psychiatric [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Limited studies have utilized nationwide data to assess the patterns of psychiatric practice in other countries. In this study, data from the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan (NHIRD-TW) for 2012 was analyzed to determine the patterns of psychiatric outpatient practice in Taiwan; (2) Methods: To determine the patterns of psychiatric outpatient practice in Taiwan, the data were drawn from the datasets of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database for 2012, with 619,760 records of outpatient visits representing 1/500 of all the claims in Taiwan for that year. The analysis of psychiatric outpatient visits included patient demographics, diagnoses, and prescribed medications; (3) Results: Neurotic disorders were the most prevalent diagnoses (43.1%, n = 5714). Hypnotics-sedatives and anxiolytics were prescribed in 51.7% (n = 6850) and 39.1% (n = 5181) of psychiatric visits, respectively, with zolpidem being the most commonly prescribed drug (22.6%, n = 2998); and (4) Conclusion: Hypnotics and sedatives were widely prescribed for the outpatient population, and zolpidem had the highest annual prevalence of use. These findings deserve the attention of clinicians and policy makers for monitoring the abuse and dependence of these agents and subsequent adverse events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Brief Cognitive-Behavioral Psycho-Education (B-CBE) Program for Managing Stress and Anxiety of Main Family Caregivers of Patients in the Intensive Care Unit
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 962; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100962 -
Abstract
Having a loved one in the intensive care unit (ICU) is a stressful event, which may cause a high level of anxiety to the family members. This could threaten their wellbeing and ability to support the patients in, or after discharge from, [...] Read more.
Having a loved one in the intensive care unit (ICU) is a stressful event, which may cause a high level of anxiety to the family members. This could threaten their wellbeing and ability to support the patients in, or after discharge from, the ICU. To investigate the outcomes of a brief cognitive-behavioral psycho-education program (B-CBE) to manage stress and anxiety of the main family caregivers (MFCs), a pragmatic quasi-experimental study involving 45 participants (treatment group: 24; control group: 21) was conducted in an ICU. The Depression and Anxiety Stress Scale and the Critical Care Family Need Inventory were used to evaluate the primary outcomes on stress and anxiety, and satisfaction with family needs. The treatment group reported significantly better improvement in the information satisfaction score compared to the control group (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.09). Overall main effects were observed on the stress (p < 0.01; η2 = 0.20), anxiety (p < 0.01; η2 = 0.18), depression (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.13), support satisfaction (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.13), and comfort satisfaction (p < 0.05; η2 = 0.11) scores. The experience of this study suggest that MFCs are in great need of additional support like B-CBE to manage their stress and anxiety. Given the brevity of B-CBE, it is practical for critical care nurses to deliver and MFCs to take within the industrious context of an ICU. More studies are needed to investigate these types of brief psychological interventions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Is Multidirectional UV Exposure Responsible for Increasing Melanoma Prevalence with Altitude? A Hypothesis Based on Calculations with a 3D-Human Exposure Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(10), 961; doi:10.3390/ijerph13100961 -
Abstract
In a recent study, melanoma incidence rates for Austrian inhabitants living at higher altitudes were found to increase by as much as 30% per 100 m altitude. This strong increase cannot simply be explained by the known increase of erythemally-weighted irradiance with [...] Read more.
In a recent study, melanoma incidence rates for Austrian inhabitants living at higher altitudes were found to increase by as much as 30% per 100 m altitude. This strong increase cannot simply be explained by the known increase of erythemally-weighted irradiance with altitude, which ranges between 0.5% and 4% per 100 m. We assume that the discrepancy is partially explainable by upwelling UV radiation; e.g., reflected by snow-covered surfaces. Therefore, we present an approach where the human UV exposure is derived by integrating incident radiation over the 3D geometry of a human body, which enables us to take upwelling radiation into account. Calculating upwelling and downwelling radiance with a radiative transfer model for a snow-free valley and for snow-covered mountain terrain (with albedo of 0.6) yields an increase in UV exposure by 10% per 100 m altitude. The results imply that upwelling radiation plays a significant role in the increase of melanoma incidence with altitude. Full article
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