Next Issue
Previous Issue

E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Table of Contents

Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 12, Issue 8 (August 2015) , Pages 8619-10234

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-101
Export citation of selected articles as:
Open AccessArticle
A Simulation Study of Categorizing Continuous Exposure Variables Measured with Error in Autism Research: Small Changes with Large Effects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10198-10234; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810198
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 25 July 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 24 August 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1769 | PDF Full-text (2133 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Variation in the odds ratio (OR) resulting from selection of cutoffs for categorizing continuous variables is rarely discussed. We present results for the effect of varying cutoffs used to categorize a mismeasured exposure in a simulated population in the context of autism spectrum [...] Read more.
Variation in the odds ratio (OR) resulting from selection of cutoffs for categorizing continuous variables is rarely discussed. We present results for the effect of varying cutoffs used to categorize a mismeasured exposure in a simulated population in the context of autism spectrum disorders research. Simulated cohorts were created with three distinct exposure-outcome curves and three measurement error variances for the exposure. ORs were calculated using logistic regression for 61 cutoffs (mean ± 3 standard deviations) used to dichotomize the observed exposure. ORs were calculated for five categories with a wide range for the cutoffs. For each scenario and cutoff, the OR, sensitivity, and specificity were calculated. The three exposure-outcome relationships had distinctly shaped OR (versus cutoff) curves, but increasing measurement error obscured the shape. At extreme cutoffs, there was non-monotonic oscillation in the ORs that cannot be attributed to “small numbers.” Exposure misclassification following categorization of the mismeasured exposure was differential, as predicted by theory. Sensitivity was higher among cases and specificity among controls. Cutoffs chosen for categorizing continuous variables can have profound effects on study results. When measurement error is not too great, the shape of the OR curve may provide insight into the true shape of the exposure-disease relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Methodological Innovations and Reflections-1)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Characterization of the Bacterial Community Naturally Present on Commercially Grown Basil Leaves: Evaluation of Sample Preparation Prior to Culture-Independent Techniques
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10171-10197; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810171
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 18 August 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3478 | PDF Full-text (2562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fresh herbs such as basil constitute an important food commodity worldwide. Basil provides considerable culinary and health benefits, but has also been implicated in foodborne illnesses. The naturally occurring bacterial community on basil leaves is currently unknown, so the epiphytic bacterial community was [...] Read more.
Fresh herbs such as basil constitute an important food commodity worldwide. Basil provides considerable culinary and health benefits, but has also been implicated in foodborne illnesses. The naturally occurring bacterial community on basil leaves is currently unknown, so the epiphytic bacterial community was investigated using the culture-independent techniques denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and next-generation sequencing (NGS). Sample preparation had a major influence on the results from DGGE and NGS: Novosphingobium was the dominant genus for three different basil batches obtained by maceration of basil leaves, while washing of the leaves yielded lower numbers but more variable dominant bacterial genera including Klebsiella, Pantoea, Flavobacterium, Sphingobacterium and Pseudomonas. During storage of basil, bacterial growth and shifts in the bacterial community were observed with DGGE and NGS. Spoilage was not associated with specific bacterial groups and presumably caused by physiological tissue deterioration and visual defects, rather than by bacterial growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Identification of Major Risk Sources for Surface Water Pollution by Risk Indexes (RI) in the Multi-Provincial Boundary Region of the Taihu Basin, China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10150-10170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810150
Received: 8 July 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2342 | PDF Full-text (2378 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental safety in multi-district boundary regions has been one of the focuses in China and is mentioned many times in the Environmental Protection Act of 2014. Five types were categorized concerning the risk sources for surface water pollution in the multi-provincial boundary region [...] Read more.
Environmental safety in multi-district boundary regions has been one of the focuses in China and is mentioned many times in the Environmental Protection Act of 2014. Five types were categorized concerning the risk sources for surface water pollution in the multi-provincial boundary region of the Taihu basin: production enterprises, waste disposal sites, chemical storage sites, agricultural non-point sources and waterway transportations. Considering the hazard of risk sources, the purification property of environmental medium and the vulnerability of risk receptors, 52 specific attributes on the risk levels of each type of risk source were screened out. Continuous piecewise linear function model, expert consultation method and fuzzy integral model were used to calculate the integrated risk indexes (RI) to characterize the risk levels of pollution sources. In the studied area, 2716 pollution sources were characterized by RI values. There were 56 high-risk sources screened out as major risk sources, accounting for about 2% of the total. The numbers of sources with high-moderate, moderate, moderate-low and low pollution risk were 376, 1059, 101 and 1124, respectively, accounting for 14%, 38%, 5% and 41% of the total. The procedure proposed could be included in the integrated risk management systems of the multi-district boundary region of the Taihu basin. It could help decision makers to identify major risk sources in the risk prevention and reduction of surface water pollution. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Population-Based, Nationwide Cross-Sectional Study on Influenza Vaccination Status among Cancer Survivors in Korea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10133-10149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810133
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1835 | PDF Full-text (694 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cancer survivors are at increased risk of developing influenza-related complications. The purpose of this study was to investigate the vaccination coverage among cancer survivors in Korea using the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Adult cancer survivors were selected from fourth [...] Read more.
Cancer survivors are at increased risk of developing influenza-related complications. The purpose of this study was to investigate the vaccination coverage among cancer survivors in Korea using the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES). Adult cancer survivors were selected from fourth (2007–2009) and fifth (2010–2012) KNHANES (n = 1156) datasets. General characteristics, cancer-related data, and influenza vaccination status were collected using self-report questionnaires. Chi-square tests and multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to investigate the association between influenza vaccination coverage and associated factors. Overall, 51% of survivors were vaccinated. Vaccine prevalence exceeded 75% in those more than 65 years but was only 26% in survivors aged 19–44. Increasing age, low frequency of alcohol consumption, having poor self-rated health, and having a shorter duration since cancer diagnosis were significant predictors of vaccination status among cancer survivors under 65 years of age. Influenza vaccine coverage remains much lower than recommended among cancer survivors, particularly in the younger age groups. Further study is needed to determine the factors that contribute to the lack of vaccination in cancer survivors, despite their increased risk for influenza. Full article
Open AccessReview
Microbiological Food Safety for Vulnerable People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10117-10132; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810117
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 2933 | PDF Full-text (142 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Foodborne pathogens are more likely to cause infection and to result in serious consequences in vulnerable people than in healthy adults. People with some increase in susceptibility may form nearly 20% of the population in the UK and the USA. Conditions leading to [...] Read more.
Foodborne pathogens are more likely to cause infection and to result in serious consequences in vulnerable people than in healthy adults. People with some increase in susceptibility may form nearly 20% of the population in the UK and the USA. Conditions leading to increased susceptibility are listed. The main factors leading to foodborne disease caused by major pathogens are outlined and examples are given of outbreaks resulting from these factors. Measures to prevent foodborne disease include procedures based on Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point principles and prerequisite programmes and, especially for vulnerable people, the use of lower-risk foods in place of higher—risk products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
Open AccessArticle
Mindfulness, Physical Activity and Avoidance of Secondhand Smoke: A Study of College Students in Shanghai
by and
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10106-10116; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810106
Received: 3 June 2015 / Revised: 1 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2296 | PDF Full-text (247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Introduction: To better understand the documented link between mindfulness and longevity, we examine the association between mindfulness and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke (SHS), as well as the association between mindfulness and physical activity. Method: In Shanghai University of Finance and [...] Read more.
Introduction: To better understand the documented link between mindfulness and longevity, we examine the association between mindfulness and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke (SHS), as well as the association between mindfulness and physical activity. Method: In Shanghai University of Finance and Economics (SUFE) we surveyed a convenience sample of 1516 college freshmen. We measured mindfulness, weekly physical activity, and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke, along with demographic and behavioral covariates. We used a multilevel logistic regression to test the association between mindfulness and conscious avoidance of secondhand smoke, and used a Tobit regression model to test the association between mindfulness and metabolic equivalent hours per week. In both models the home province of the student respondent was used as the cluster variable, and demographic and behavioral covariates, such as age, gender, smoking history, household registration status (urban vs. rural), the perceived smog frequency in their home towns, and the asthma diagnosis. Results: The logistic regression of consciously avoiding SHS shows that a higher level of mindfulness was associated with an increase in the odds ratio of conscious SHS avoidance (logged odds: 0.22, standard error: 0.07, p < 0.01). The Tobit regression shows that a higher level of mindfulness was associated with more metabolic equivalent hours per week (Tobit coefficient: 4.09, standard error: 1.13, p < 0.001). Discussion: This study is an innovative attempt to study the behavioral issue of secondhand smoke from the perspective of the potential victim, rather than the active smoker. The observed associational patterns here are consistent with previous findings that mindfulness is associated with healthier behaviors in obesity prevention and substance use. Research designs with interventions are needed to test the causal link between mindfulness and these healthy behaviors. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Prevalence and Characterization of Integrons in Multidrug Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii in Eastern China: A Multiple-Hospital Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10093-10105; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810093
Received: 26 June 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 19 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2093 | PDF Full-text (253 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: The aim of this multiple-hospital study was to investigate the prevalence of integrons in multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) in Eastern China, and characterize the integron-integrase genes, so as to provide evidence for the management and appropriate antibiotic use of MDRAB infections. [...] Read more.
Objective: The aim of this multiple-hospital study was to investigate the prevalence of integrons in multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (MDRAB) in Eastern China, and characterize the integron-integrase genes, so as to provide evidence for the management and appropriate antibiotic use of MDRAB infections. Methods: A total of 425 clinical isolates of A. baumannii were collected from 16 tertiary hospitals in 11 cities of four provinces (Fujian, Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shandong) from January 2009 to June 2012. The susceptibility of A. baumannii isolates to ampicillin/sulbactam, piperacillin/tazobactam, ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, aztreonam, meropenem, amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, sulfamethoxazole/trimenthoprim, minocycline and imipenem was tested, and integrons and their gene cassettes were characterized in these isolates using PCR assay. In addition, integron-positive A. baumannii isolates were genotyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) assay, and intI1 gene cassette was sequenced. Results: intI1 gene was carried in 69.6% of total A. baumannii isolates, while intI2 and intI3 genes were not detected. The prevalence of resistance to ampicillin/sulbactam, piperacillin/tazobactam, ceftazidime, ceftriaxone, cefepime, aztreonam, imipenem, meropenem, amikacin, gentamicin, tobramycin, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin and sulfamethoxazole/trimenthoprim was significantly higher in integron-positive A. baumannii isolates than in negative isolates (all p values <0.05), while no significant difference was observed in the prevalence of minocycline resistance (p > 0.05). PFGE assay revealed 27 PFGE genotypes and 4 predominant genotypes, P1, P4, P7 and P19. The PFGE genotype P1 contained 13 extensive-drug resistant and 89 non-extensive-drug resistant A. baumannii isolates, while the genotype P4 contained 34 extensive-drug resistant and 67 non-extensive-drug resistant isolates, appearing a significant antimicrobial resistance pattern (both p values <0.05). Sequencing analysis revealed two gene cassette assays of aacA4-catB8-aadA1 and dfrXII-orfF-aadA2 in MDRAB isolates. Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate a high prevalence of class 1 integrons in MDRAB in Eastern China, and a greater prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in intI1 gene-positive MDRAB isolates than in negative isolates. Four predominant PFGE genotypes are identified in intI1 gene-positive MDRAB isolates, in which P4 is an epidemic PFGE genotype in Fujian Province, and it has a high proportion of extensive drug resistant A. baumannii. The gene cassette dfrXII-orfF-aadA2 is reported, for the first time, in A. baumannii strains isolated from Fujian Province, Eastern China. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Genes of OXA-23 Carbapenemase and AdeABC Efflux Pump Associated with Multidrug Resistance of Acinetobacter baumannii Isolates in the ICU of a Comprehensive Hospital of Northwestern China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10079-10092; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810079
Received: 11 July 2015 / Revised: 10 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2248 | PDF Full-text (326 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study was to explore the molecular epidemiology and the genetic support of clinical multidrug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) isolates in an ICU ward of a comprehensive hospital. A total of 102 non-duplicate drug-resistant A. baumannii isolates [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to explore the molecular epidemiology and the genetic support of clinical multidrug resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) isolates in an ICU ward of a comprehensive hospital. A total of 102 non-duplicate drug-resistant A. baumannii isolates were identified and 93 (91.1%) of them were MDR strains. Molecular analysis demonstrated that carbapenemase genes blaOXA-23 and blaOXA-51 were presented in all 93 MDR isolates (100%), but other carbapenemase genes, including blaOXA-24, blaOXA-58, blaIMP-1, blaIMP-4, blaSIM, and blaVIM genes were completely absent in all isolates. In addition, genes of AdeABC efflux system were detected in 88.2% (90/102) isolates. Interestingly, an addition to efflux pump inhibitor, reserpine could significantly enhance the susceptibility of MDR isolates to moxifloxacin, cefotaxime, and imipenem (p < 0.01). Clonal relationship analysis further grouped these clinical drug-resistant isolates into nine clusters, and the MDR strains were mainly in clusters A, B, C, and D, which include 16, 13, 25, and 15 isolates, respectively. This study demonstrated that clinical isolates carrying carbapenemase-encoding genes blaOXA-23 and AdeABC efflux pump genes are the main prevalent MDR A. baumannii, and the co-expression of oxacillinase and efflux pump proteins are thus considered to be the important reason for the prevalence of this organism in the ICU of this hospital. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Older People’s Perceptions of Pedestrian Friendliness and Traffic Safety: An Experiment Using Computer-Simulated Walking Environments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10066-10078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810066
Received: 18 June 2015 / Revised: 14 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1835 | PDF Full-text (1633 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness are considered to be important conditions for older people’s motivation to walk through their environment. This study uses an experimental study design with computer-simulated living environments to investigate the effect of micro-scale environmental factors (parking spaces and green [...] Read more.
Traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness are considered to be important conditions for older people’s motivation to walk through their environment. This study uses an experimental study design with computer-simulated living environments to investigate the effect of micro-scale environmental factors (parking spaces and green verges with trees) on older people’s perceptions of both motivational antecedents (dependent variables). Seventy-four consecutively recruited older people were randomly assigned watching one of two scenarios (independent variable) on a computer screen. The scenarios simulated a stroll on a sidewalk, as it is ‘typical’ for a German city. In version ‘A,’ the subjects take a fictive walk on a sidewalk where a number of cars are parked partially on it. In version ‘B’, cars are in parking spaces separated from the sidewalk by grass verges and trees. Subjects assessed their impressions of both dependent variables. A multivariate analysis of covariance showed that subjects’ ratings on perceived traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness were higher for Version ‘B’ compared to version ‘A’. Cohen’s d indicates medium (d = 0.73) and large (d = 1.23) effect sizes for traffic safety and pedestrian friendliness, respectively. The study suggests that elements of the built environment might affect motivational antecedents of older people’s walking behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Accelerating Aerobic Sludge Granulation by Adding Dry Sewage Sludge Micropowder in Sequencing Batch Reactors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10056-10065; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810056
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 10 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2081 | PDF Full-text (290 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Micropowder (20–250 µm) made from ground dry waste sludge from a municipal sewage treatment plant was added in a sequencing batch reactor (R2), which was fed by synthetic wastewater with acetate as carbon source. Compared with the traditional SBR (R1), aerobic sludge granulation [...] Read more.
Micropowder (20–250 µm) made from ground dry waste sludge from a municipal sewage treatment plant was added in a sequencing batch reactor (R2), which was fed by synthetic wastewater with acetate as carbon source. Compared with the traditional SBR (R1), aerobic sludge granulation time was shortened 15 days in R2. Furthermore, filamentous bacteria in bulking sludge were controlled to accelerate aerobic granulation and form large granules. Correspondingly, the SVI decreased from 225 mL/g to 37 mL/g. X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) analysis demonstrated that Al and Si from the micropowder were accumulated in granules. A mechanism hypotheses for the acceleration of aerobic granulation by adding dry sludge micropowder is proposed: added micropowder acts as nuclei to induce bacterial attachment; dissolved matters from the micropowder increase abruptly the organic load for starved sludge to control overgrown filamentous bacteria as a framework for aggregation; increased friction from the movement of micropowder forces the filaments which extend outwards to shrink for shaping granules. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Better Antiviral Efficacy Found in Nucleos(t)ide Analog (NA) Combinations with Interferon Therapy than NA Monotherapy for HBeAg Positive Chronic Hepatitis B: A Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10039-10055; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810039
Received: 1 June 2015 / Revised: 9 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2367 | PDF Full-text (465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: The clinical efficacy of nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) combined with interferon (IFN) therapy vs. NAs monotherapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) remains inconclusive. The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine whether the NAs plus IFN regimen offers synergistic efficacy that justifies [...] Read more.
Background: The clinical efficacy of nucleos(t)ide analogues (NAs) combined with interferon (IFN) therapy vs. NAs monotherapy for chronic hepatitis B (CHB) remains inconclusive. The aim of this meta-analysis was to determine whether the NAs plus IFN regimen offers synergistic efficacy that justifies the cost and burden of such a combination therapy in CHB patients. Methods: Related publications covering the period of 1966 to July 2014 were identified through searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane library, Chinese Biomedical Literature Database, WANFANG, and CNKI database. A total of 17 studies were enrolled, including 6 in English and 11 in Chinese. Then, we established a final list of studies for the meta-analysis by systematically grading the quality and eligibility of the identified individual studies. We used hepatitis B antigen (HBeAg) loss, HBV-DNA undetectable rate, HBeAg seroconversion, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) loss, HBsAg seroconversion, and histological score at the end of treatment for efficacy evaluation. A quantitative meta-analysis (Review Manager, Version 5.1.0) was performed to assess the differences between NAs and IFN combination therapy and NAs monotherapy. Results: Our analysis demonstrated that HBeAg loss (RR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.32–2.26, p < 0.001), HBV-DNA undetectable rate (RR = 1.58, 95% CI = 1.22–2.04, p < 0.001), HBeAg seroconversion (RR = 1.68, 95% CI = 1.36–2.07, p < 0.001), and HBsAg loss (RR = 2.51, 95% CI = 1.32–4.75, p < 0.001) in the combination therapy group were significantly higher than those in the monotherapy group. However, there were no significant differences in HBsAg seroconversion (RR = 4.25, 95% CI = 0.62–29.13, p = 0.14), sustained virological response rates, and biochemical response rates observed between the two groups. The results showed that the combination therapy group had more improved HBV histology than the NAs monotherapy group (RR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.93–1.39, p = 0.22). Conclusions: NAs and IFN or Peg-IFN combination therapy had a better efficacy in terms of HBeAg loss, HBV-DNA undetectable rate, HBeAg seroconversion, and HBsAg loss, compared to the NA monotherapy group at the end of treatment; however, there was no significant difference in HBsAg seroconversion between the two regimens. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An Investigation of Organic and Inorganic Mercury Exposure and Blood Pressure in a Small-Scale Gold Mining Community in Ghana
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10020-10038; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810020
Received: 26 June 2015 / Revised: 28 July 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2079 | PDF Full-text (584 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is increasing concern about the cardiovascular effects of mercury (Hg) exposure, and that organic methylmercury and inorganic Hg2+ may affect the cardiovascular system and blood pressure differentially. In small-scale gold mining communities where inorganic, elemental Hg exposures are high, little is [...] Read more.
There is increasing concern about the cardiovascular effects of mercury (Hg) exposure, and that organic methylmercury and inorganic Hg2+ may affect the cardiovascular system and blood pressure differentially. In small-scale gold mining communities where inorganic, elemental Hg exposures are high, little is known about the effects of Hg on blood pressure. In 2011, we assessed the relationship between Hg exposure and blood pressure (BP) in a cross-sectional study of adults from a small-scale gold mining community, Kejetia, and subsistence farming community, Gorogo, in Ghana’s Upper East Region. Participants’ resting heart rate and BP were measured, and hair and urine samples were provided to serve as biomarkers of organic and inorganic Hg exposure, respectively. Participants included 70 miners and 26 non-miners from Kejetia and 75 non-miners from Gorogo. Total specific gravity-adjusted urinary and hair Hg was higher among Kejetia miners than Kejetia non-miners and Gorogo participants (median urinary Hg: 5.17, 1.18, and 0.154 µg/L, respectively; hair Hg: 0.945, 0.419, and 0.181 µg/g, respectively). Hypertension was prevalent in 17.7% of Kejetia and 21.3% of Gorogo participants. Urinary and hair Hg were not significantly associated with systolic or diastolic BP for Kejetia or Gorogo participants while adjusting for sex, age, and smoking status. Although our results follow trends seen in other studies, the associations were not of statistical significance. Given the unique study population and high exposures to inorganic Hg, the work contained here will help increase our understanding of the cardiovascular effects of Hg. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Use of the Monocyte-to-Lymphocyte Ratio to Predict Diabetic Retinopathy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 10009-10019; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120810009
Received: 9 July 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2316 | PDF Full-text (244 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the leading cause of blindness in adults. DR pathogenesis has not been fully elucidated, but inflammation is widely accepted to play an important role. Emerging evidence suggests [...] Read more.
Background: Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a common complication of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the leading cause of blindness in adults. DR pathogenesis has not been fully elucidated, but inflammation is widely accepted to play an important role. Emerging evidence suggests that the platelet-to-lymphocyte ratio (PLR), monocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio (MLR), and neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) are novel potential markers of inflammatory responses. The present study aimed to evaluate the associations between DR and the PLR, MLR, and NLR. Patients and Methods: We performed a case-control study involving 247 patients with T2DM. The patients were divided into three groups: 125 control subjects with T2DM, 63 diabetic subjects with non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), and 59 patients with proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Results: The mean PLR and NLR were significantly higher in patients with DR compared with patients without DR (p < 0.01, p = 0.02, respectively). The mean MLR in the NPDR group was higher than that of patients without DR, but there were no significant differences among the three groups (p = 0.07). Logistic regression showed that the MLR was an independent risk factor for DR (odds ratio [OR]: 54.574, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.708–1099.907). Based on the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve, use of the MLR as an indicator for DR diagnosis was projected to be 2.25, and yielded a sensitivity and specificity of 47.1% and 69.6%, respectively, with an area under the curve of 0.581 (95% CI: 0.510–0.653). Conclusions: The PLR and NLR are significantly increased in the setting of DR. After correcting for possible confounding factors, the MLR was found to be a risk factor for DR. Although the MLR may be pathophysiologically and clinically relevant in DR, its predictive ability was limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Health Care and Diabetes)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
E-Cigarettes: A Review of New Trends in Cannabis Use
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9988-10008; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809988
Received: 2 July 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 56 | Viewed by 6755 | PDF Full-text (862 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The emergence of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) has given cannabis smokers a new method of inhaling cannabinoids. E-cigs differ from traditional marijuana cigarettes in several respects. First, it is assumed that vaporizing cannabinoids at lower temperatures is safer because it produces smaller amounts of [...] Read more.
The emergence of electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) has given cannabis smokers a new method of inhaling cannabinoids. E-cigs differ from traditional marijuana cigarettes in several respects. First, it is assumed that vaporizing cannabinoids at lower temperatures is safer because it produces smaller amounts of toxic substances than the hot combustion of a marijuana cigarette. Recreational cannabis users can discretely “vape” deodorized cannabis extracts with minimal annoyance to the people around them and less chance of detection. There are nevertheless several drawbacks worth mentioning: although manufacturing commercial (or homemade) cannabinoid-enriched electronic liquids (e-liquids) requires lengthy, complex processing, some are readily on the Internet despite their lack of quality control, expiry date, and conditions of preservation and, above all, any toxicological and clinical assessment. Besides these safety problems, the regulatory situation surrounding e-liquids is often unclear. More simply ground cannabis flowering heads or concentrated, oily THC extracts (such as butane honey oil or BHO) can be vaped in specially designed, pen-sized marijuana vaporizers. Analysis of a commercial e-liquid rich in cannabidiol showed that it contained a smaller dose of active ingredient than advertised; testing our laboratory-made, purified BHO, however, confirmed that it could be vaped in an e-cig to deliver a psychoactive dose of THC. The health consequences specific to vaping these cannabis preparations remain largely unknown and speculative due to the absence of comprehensive, robust scientific studies. The most significant health concerns involve the vaping of cannabinoids by children and teenagers. E-cigs could provide an alternative gateway to cannabis use for young people. Furthermore, vaping cannabinoids could lead to environmental and passive contamination. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Monetary Valuation of PM10-Related Health Risks in Beijing China: The Necessity for PM10 Pollution Indemnity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9967-9987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809967
Received: 15 June 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2572 | PDF Full-text (585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Severe health risks caused by PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm) pollution have induced inevitable economic losses and have rendered pressure on the sustainable development of society as a whole. In China, with the “Polluters Pay Principle”, polluters should [...] Read more.
Severe health risks caused by PM10 (particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter ≤10 μm) pollution have induced inevitable economic losses and have rendered pressure on the sustainable development of society as a whole. In China, with the “Polluters Pay Principle”, polluters should pay for the pollution they have caused, but how much they should pay remains an intractable problem for policy makers. This paper integrated an epidemiological exposure-response model with economics methods, including the Amended Human Capital (AHC) approach and the Cost of Illness (COI) method, to value the economic loss of PM10-related health risks in 16 districts and also 4 functional zones in Beijing from 2008 to 2012. The results show that from 2008 to 2012 the estimated annual deaths caused by PM10 in Beijing are around 56,000, 58,000, 63,000, 61,000 and 59,000, respectively, while the economic losses related to health damage increased from around 23 to 31 billion dollars that PM10 polluters should pay for pollution victims between 2008 and 2012. It is illustrated that not only PM10 concentration but also many other social economic factors influence PM10-related health economic losses, which makes health economic losses show a time lag discrepancy compared with the decline of PM10 concentration. In conclusion, health economic loss evaluation is imperative in the pollution indemnity system establishment and should be considered for the urban planning and policy making to control the burgeoning PM10 health economic loss. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Association between Noise, Cortisol and Heart Rate in a Small-Scale Gold Mining Community—A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9952-9966; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809952
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 11 August 2015 / Accepted: 18 August 2015 / Published: 21 August 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2239 | PDF Full-text (470 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
We performed a cross-sectional pilot study on salivary cortisol, heart rate, and personal noise exposures in a small-scale gold mining village in northeastern Ghana in 2013. Cortisol level changes between morning and evening among participants showed a relatively low decline in cortisol through [...] Read more.
We performed a cross-sectional pilot study on salivary cortisol, heart rate, and personal noise exposures in a small-scale gold mining village in northeastern Ghana in 2013. Cortisol level changes between morning and evening among participants showed a relatively low decline in cortisol through the day (−1.44 ± 4.27 nmol/L, n = 18), a pattern consistent with chronic stress. A multiple linear regression, adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, and time between samples indicated a significant increase of 0.25 nmol/L cortisol from afternoon to evening per 1 dBA increase in equivalent continuous noise exposure (Leq) over that period (95% CI: 0.08–0.42, Adj R2 = 0.502, n = 17). A mixed effect linear regression model adjusting for age and sex indicated a significant increase of 0.29 heart beats per minute (BPM) for every 1 dB increase in Leq. Using standard deviations (SDs) as measures of variation, and adjusting for age and sex over the sampling period, we found that a 1 dBA increase in noise variation over time (Leq SD) was associated with a 0.5 BPM increase in heart rate SD (95% CI: 0.04–−0.9, Adj. R2 = 0.229, n = 16). Noise levels were consistently high, with 24-hour average Leq exposures ranging from 56.9 to 92.0 dBA, with a mean daily Leq of 82.2 ± 7.3 dBA (mean monitoring duration 22.1 ± 1.9 hours, n = 22). Ninety-five percent of participants had 24-hour average Leq noise levels over the 70 dBA World health Organization (WHO) guideline level for prevention of hearing loss. These findings suggest that small-scale mining communities may face multiple, potentially additive health risks that are not yet well documented, including hearing loss and cardiovascular effects of stress and noise. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
An IBCLC in the Maternity Ward of a Mother and Child Hospital: A Pre- and Post-Intervention Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9938-9951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809938
Received: 12 June 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 17 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2042 | PDF Full-text (766 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Published evidence on the impact of the integration of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) for breastfeeding promotion is growing, but still relatively limited. Our study aims at evaluating the effects of adding an IBCLC for breastfeeding support in a mother and child [...] Read more.
Published evidence on the impact of the integration of International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) for breastfeeding promotion is growing, but still relatively limited. Our study aims at evaluating the effects of adding an IBCLC for breastfeeding support in a mother and child hospital environment. We conducted a prospective study in the maternity ward of our maternal and child health Institute, recruiting 402 mothers of healthy term newborns soon after birth. The 18-month intervention of the IBCLC (Phase II) was preceded (Phase I) by data collection on breastfeeding rates and factors related to breastfeeding, both at hospital discharge and two weeks later. Data collection was replicated just before the end of the intervention (Phase III). In Phase III, a significantly higher percentage of mothers: (a) received help to breastfeed, and also received correct information on breastfeeding and community support, (b) started breastfeeding within two hours from delivery, (c) reported a good experience with the hospital staff. Moreover, the frequency of sore and/or cracked nipples was significantly lower in Phase III. However, no difference was found in exclusive breastfeeding rates at hospital discharge or at two weeks after birth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Infant Health)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Combining HJ CCD, GF-1 WFV and MODIS Data to Generate Daily High Spatial Resolution Synthetic Data for Environmental Process Monitoring
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9920-9937; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809920
Received: 7 July 2015 / Revised: 4 August 2015 / Accepted: 14 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1843 | PDF Full-text (3099 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The limitations of satellite data acquisition mean that there is a lack of satellite data with high spatial and temporal resolutions for environmental process monitoring. In this study, we address this problem by applying the Enhanced Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model [...] Read more.
The limitations of satellite data acquisition mean that there is a lack of satellite data with high spatial and temporal resolutions for environmental process monitoring. In this study, we address this problem by applying the Enhanced Spatial and Temporal Adaptive Reflectance Fusion Model (ESTARFM) and the Spatial and Temporal Data Fusion Approach (STDFA) to combine Huanjing satellite charge coupled device (HJ CCD), Gaofen satellite no. 1 wide field of view camera (GF-1 WFV) and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data to generate daily high spatial resolution synthetic data for land surface process monitoring. Actual HJ CCD and GF-1 WFV data were used to evaluate the precision of the synthetic images using the correlation analysis method. Our method was tested and validated for two study areas in Xinjiang Province, China. The results show that both the ESTARFM and STDFA can be applied to combine HJ CCD and MODIS reflectance data, and GF-1 WFV and MODIS reflectance data, to generate synthetic HJ CCD data and synthetic GF-1 WFV data that closely match actual data with correlation coefficients (r) greater than 0.8989 and 0.8643, respectively. Synthetic red- and near infrared (NIR)-band data generated by ESTARFM are more suitable for the calculation of Normalized Different Vegetation Index (NDVI) than the data generated by STDFA. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Theoretical Framework for Plastic Waste Management in Ghana through Extended Producer Responsibility: Case of Sachet Water Waste
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9907-9919; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809907
Received: 22 June 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3722 | PDF Full-text (767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Currently, use and disposal of plastic by consumers through waste management activities in Ghana not only creates environmental problems, but also reinforces the notion of a wasteful society. The magnitude of this problem has led to increasing pressure from the public for efficient [...] Read more.
Currently, use and disposal of plastic by consumers through waste management activities in Ghana not only creates environmental problems, but also reinforces the notion of a wasteful society. The magnitude of this problem has led to increasing pressure from the public for efficient and practical measures to solve the waste problem. This paper analyses the impact of plastic use and disposal in Ghana. It emphasizes the need for commitment to proper management of the impacts of plastic waste and effective environmental management in the country. Sustainable Solid Waste Management (SSWM) is a critical problem for developing countries with regards to climate change and greenhouse gas emission, and also the general wellbeing of the populace. Key themes of this paper are producer responsibility and management of products at end of life. The paper proposes two theatrical recovery models that can be used to address the issue of sachet waste in Ghana. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Web—Based Respondent Driven Sampling Pilot Targeting Young People at Risk for Chlamydia Trachomatis in Social and Sexual Networks with Testing: A Use Evaluation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9889-9906; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809889
Received: 30 June 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 20 August 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2180 | PDF Full-text (3768 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: With the aim of targeting high-risk hidden heterosexual young people for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) testing, an innovative web-based screening strategy using Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) and home-based CT testing, was developed, piloted and evaluated. Methods: Two STI clinic nurses encouraged 37 CT [...] Read more.
Background: With the aim of targeting high-risk hidden heterosexual young people for Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) testing, an innovative web-based screening strategy using Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS) and home-based CT testing, was developed, piloted and evaluated. Methods: Two STI clinic nurses encouraged 37 CT positive heterosexual young people (aged 16–25 years), called index clients, to recruit peers from their social and sexual networks using the web-based screening strategy. Eligible peers (young, living in the study area) could request a home-based CT test and recruit other peers. Results: Twelve (40%) index clients recruited 35 peers. Two of these peers recruited other peers (n = 7). In total, 35 recruited peers were eligible for participation; ten of them (29%) requested a test and eight tested. Seven tested for the first time and one (13%) was positive. Most peers were female friends (80%). Nurses were positive about using the strategy. Conclusions: The screening strategy is feasible for targeting the hidden social network. However, uptake among men and recruitment of sex-partners is low and RDS stopped early. Future studies are needed to explore the sustainability, cost-effectiveness, and impact of strategies that target people at risk who are not effectively reached by regular health care. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Pregnancy in Women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Retrospective Study of 83 Pregnancies at a Single Centre
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9876-9888; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809876
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 13 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 19 August 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2172 | PDF Full-text (682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objective: To evaluate the outcome of 80 pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and explore the risk factors for lupus flare, obstetric complications and fetal loss. Methods: 83 pregnancies in 80 women were divided into three groups. Group A: patients [...] Read more.
Objective: To evaluate the outcome of 80 pregnant women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and explore the risk factors for lupus flare, obstetric complications and fetal loss. Methods: 83 pregnancies in 80 women were divided into three groups. Group A: patients in remission for > 6 months before pregnancy, proteinuria < 0.5 g per day, without renal failure and discontinuation of cytotoxic drugs for > one year; Group B: patients with SLE disease activity in the six months before pregnancy; Group C: patients with new onset SLE during pregnancy. Results: In group A, 76.47% pregnancies achieved full-term deliveries and 80.39% achieved live born infants. In group B and C, the outcome was poor. Among 62 patients (64 pregnancies) diagnosed as SLE before pregnancy, SLE flares occurred in 27 (42.19%) pregnancies. SLE disease activity in the six months before pregnancy was significantly associated with lupus flare (OR 5.00, 95% CI 1.14–21.87, p = 0.03) and fetal loss. New onset lupus during pregnancy was independently associated with obstetric complications (OR 7.22, 95% CI 2.14–24.38, p = 0.001). Conclusions: The current study confirmed the previous report that SLE should be considered a high risk of pregnancy. If pregnancy is planned after remission for > 6 months, the favorable outcome can be achieved. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Epidemiological Characteristics of Work-Related Ocular Trauma in Southwest Region of China
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9864-9875; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809864
Received: 27 May 2015 / Revised: 31 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 19 August 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2184 | PDF Full-text (869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Purpose: To determine the epidemiological characteristics of work-related eye injury in representative southwest region of China. Methods: Patients with eye injuries treated at the Ninth People’s Hospital of Chongqing from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 were included in the [...] Read more.
Purpose: To determine the epidemiological characteristics of work-related eye injury in representative southwest region of China. Methods: Patients with eye injuries treated at the Ninth People’s Hospital of Chongqing from 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2014 were included in the current study. All patients completed a comprehensive examination and interview. Demographic characteristics and injury details were recorded. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and Birmingham Eye Trauma Terminology (BETT) were used. Results: The average age of eye injury patients was 37.52 years and the majority were male. Among the 1055 total patients, approximately 42.9% of the injuries were work-related. The highest proportion of occupational eye trauma was observed in the group between 36 and 45 years of age. Occupational ocular trauma occurred more frequently in summer, with most from 16:00 to 18:00. Metal was the most common injury cause. Foreign body on external eye was the most common diagnosis. Workers in the manufacturing industry without pre-work safety training or eye protection were far more likely to suffer from occupational ocular trauma than those with training and protection. Conclusions: This study provides insight into the epidemiological characteristics of occupational ocular trauma in southwest region of China. The current findings might be considered as a baseline for future research on regional work-related eye injuries. Our findings will provide valuable information for further development of preventive strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational Safety and Related Impacts on Health and the Environment)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Biosurfactant Production by Bacillus salmalaya for Lubricating Oil Solubilization and Biodegradation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9848-9863; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809848
Received: 24 June 2015 / Revised: 19 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 July 2015 / Published: 19 August 2015
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2233 | PDF Full-text (2017 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study investigated the capability of a biosurfactant produced by a novel strain of Bacillus salmalaya to enhance the biodegradation rates and bioavailability of organic contaminants. The biosurfactant produced by cultured strain 139SI showed high physicochemical properties and surface activity in the selected [...] Read more.
This study investigated the capability of a biosurfactant produced by a novel strain of Bacillus salmalaya to enhance the biodegradation rates and bioavailability of organic contaminants. The biosurfactant produced by cultured strain 139SI showed high physicochemical properties and surface activity in the selected medium. The biosurfactant exhibited a high emulsification index and a positive result in the drop collapse test, with the results demonstrating the wetting activity of the biosurfactant and its potential to produce surface-active molecules. Strain 139SI can significantly reduce the surface tension (ST) from 70.5 to 27 mN/m, with a critical micelle concentration of 0.4%. Moreover, lubricating oil at 2% (v/v) was degraded on Day 20 (71.5). Furthermore, the biosurfactant demonstrated high stability at different ranges of salinity, pH, and temperature. Overall, the results indicated the potential use of B. salmalaya 139SI in environmental remediation processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Systems Engineering)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Monitoring and Prognosis System Based on the ICF for People with Traumatic Brain Injury
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9832-9847; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809832
Received: 29 June 2015 / Revised: 2 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2030 | PDF Full-text (425 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this research is to provide a standardized platform to monitor and predict indicators of people with traumatic brain injury using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, and analyze its potential benefits for people with disabilities, health centers and [...] Read more.
The objective of this research is to provide a standardized platform to monitor and predict indicators of people with traumatic brain injury using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, and analyze its potential benefits for people with disabilities, health centers and administrations. We developed a platform that allows automatic standardization and automatic graphical representations of indicators of the status of individuals and populations. We used data from 730 people with acquired brain injury performing periodic comprehensive evaluations in the years 2006–2013. Health professionals noted that the use of color-coded graphical representation is useful for quickly diagnose failures, limitations or restrictions in rehabilitation. The prognosis system achieves 41% of accuracy and sensitivity in the prediction of emotional functions, and 48% of accuracy and sensitivity in the prediction of executive functions. This monitoring and prognosis system has the potential to: (1) save costs and time, (2) provide more information to make decisions, (3) promote interoperability, (4) facilitate joint decision-making, and (5) improve policies of socioeconomic evaluation of the burden of disease. Professionals found the monitoring system useful because it generates a more comprehensive understanding of health oriented to the profile of the patients, instead of their diseases and injuries. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Risk Factors for Salmonella, Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli and Campylobacter Occurrence in Primary Production of Leafy Greens and Strawberries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9809-9831; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809809
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 12 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2879 | PDF Full-text (762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The microbiological sanitary quality and safety of leafy greens and strawberries were assessed in the primary production in Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Spain by enumeration of Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Campylobacter. Water samples [...] Read more.
The microbiological sanitary quality and safety of leafy greens and strawberries were assessed in the primary production in Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, Norway and Spain by enumeration of Escherichia coli and detection of Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) and Campylobacter. Water samples were more prone to containing pathogens (54 positives out of 950 analyses) than soil (16/1186) and produce on the field (18/977 for leafy greens and 5/402 for strawberries). The prevalence of pathogens also varied markedly according to the sampling region. Flooding of fields increased the risk considerably, with odds ratio (OR) 10.9 for Salmonella and 7.0 for STEC. A significant association between elevated numbers of generic E. coli and detection of pathogens (OR of 2.3 for STEC and 2.7 for Salmonella) was established. Generic E. coli was found to be a suitable index organism for Salmonella and STEC, but to a lesser extent for Campylobacter. Guidelines on frequency of sampling and threshold values for E. coli in irrigation water may differ from region to region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Safety)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Tobacco Use and Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke among Urban Residents: A Community-Based Investigation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9799-9808; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809799
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1991 | PDF Full-text (691 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Objectives: In 2005, China acceded to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the foundation for the global fight against tobacco. Certain cities in China have established local regulations to control tobacco use ahead of national policy; however, [...] Read more.
Objectives: In 2005, China acceded to the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), the foundation for the global fight against tobacco. Certain cities in China have established local regulations to control tobacco use ahead of national policy; however, without the enforcement of statutory law, some of these regulations are merely lip service. The aim of the study was to assess the effects of city policy on smoking prevalence and on second-hand smoke (SHS) exposure status among non-smokers in Changchun City. Methods: A cross-sectional survey covering a multiple-stage, representative sample of the urban population aged ≥15 years was conducted between 1 Dec 2013 and 31 Jan 2014. The WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed the questionnaires used, which included demographic characteristics, smoking behaviors and SHS exposure status. Results: Overall cigarette smoking prevalence was 23.5%; daily cigarette smoking prevalence was 21.2%. Smoking prevalence and cigarettes consumed per day was higher among men (p < 0.05) and those aged 45–64 years (p < 0.05). Among current smokers, 8.1% planned to quit within 12 months; 53.4% had no intention of quitting. Overall SHS exposure prevalence was 41.9% (workplace) and 34.1% (at home) over the previous 30 days. The weighted workplace SHS exposure prevalence increased with age. Conclusions: The high proportion of smokers with no intention of quitting and the high level of SHS exposure may constitute one of the most significant barriers to successful smoking cessation in the city. A continued drive to promote full implementation of the WHO FCTC is still needed. Full article
Open AccessReview
Green Infrastructure, Ecosystem Services, and Human Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9768-9798; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809768
Received: 5 June 2015 / Revised: 28 July 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 44 | Viewed by 5904 | PDF Full-text (1915 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Contemporary ecological models of health prominently feature the natural environment as fundamental to the ecosystem services that support human life, health, and well-being. The natural environment encompasses and permeates all other spheres of influence on health. Reviews of the natural environment and health [...] Read more.
Contemporary ecological models of health prominently feature the natural environment as fundamental to the ecosystem services that support human life, health, and well-being. The natural environment encompasses and permeates all other spheres of influence on health. Reviews of the natural environment and health literature have tended, at times intentionally, to focus on a limited subset of ecosystem services as well as health benefits stemming from the presence, and access and exposure to, green infrastructure. The sweeping influence of green infrastructure on the myriad ecosystem services essential to health has therefore often been underrepresented. This survey of the literature aims to provide a more comprehensive picture—in the form of a primer—of the many simultaneously acting health co-benefits of green infrastructure. It is hoped that a more accurately exhaustive list of benefits will not only instigate further research into the health co-benefits of green infrastructure but also promote consilience in the many fields, including public health, that must be involved in the landscape conservation necessary to protect and improve health and well-being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Role of Voluntary Self-Isolation in the Control of Pandemic Influenza Using a Household Epidemic Model
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9750-9767; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809750
Received: 15 June 2015 / Revised: 6 August 2015 / Accepted: 12 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1836 | PDF Full-text (106 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the absence of effective vaccines, antiviral drugs and personal protective measures, such as voluntary self-isolation, have been a part of preparedness plans for the next influenza pandemic. We used a household model to assess the effect of voluntary self-isolation on outbreak control [...] Read more.
In the absence of effective vaccines, antiviral drugs and personal protective measures, such as voluntary self-isolation, have been a part of preparedness plans for the next influenza pandemic. We used a household model to assess the effect of voluntary self-isolation on outbreak control when antiviral drugs are not provided sufficiently early. We found that the early initiation of voluntary self-isolation can overcome the negative effects caused by a delay in antiviral drug distribution when enough symptomatic individuals comply with home confinement at symptom onset. For example, for the baseline household reproduction number RH0 = 2:5, if delays of one or two days occur between clinical symptom development and the start of antiviral prophylaxis, then compliance rates of q ≥ 0:41 and q ≥ 0:6, respectively, are required to achieve the same level of effectiveness as starting antiviral prophylaxis at symptom onset. When the time to beginning voluntary self-isolation after symptom onset increases from zero to two days, this strategy has a limited effect on reducing the transmission of influenza; therefore, this strategy should be implemented as soon as possible. In addition, the effect of voluntary self-isolation decreases substantially with the proportion of asymptomatic infections increasing. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Climate Change and Infectious Disease Risk in Western Europe: A Survey of Dutch Expert Opinion on Adaptation Responses and Actors
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9726-9749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809726
Received: 16 June 2015 / Revised: 7 August 2015 / Accepted: 11 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2289 | PDF Full-text (851 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is growing evidence of climate change affecting infectious disease risk in Western Europe. The call for effective adaptation to this challenge becomes increasingly stronger. This paper presents the results of a survey exploring Dutch expert perspectives on adaptation responses to climate change [...] Read more.
There is growing evidence of climate change affecting infectious disease risk in Western Europe. The call for effective adaptation to this challenge becomes increasingly stronger. This paper presents the results of a survey exploring Dutch expert perspectives on adaptation responses to climate change impacts on infectious disease risk in Western Europe. Additionally, the survey explores the expert sample’s prioritization of mitigation and adaptation, and expert views on the willingness and capacity of relevant actors to respond to climate change. An integrated view on the causation of infectious disease risk is employed, including multiple (climatic and non-climatic) factors. The results show that the experts consider some adaptation responses as relatively more cost-effective, like fostering interagency and community partnerships, or beneficial to health, such as outbreak investigation and response. Expert opinions converge and diverge for different adaptation responses. Regarding the prioritization of mitigation and adaptation responses expert perspectives converge towards a 50/50 budgetary allocation. The experts consider the national government/health authority as the most capable actor to respond to climate change-induced infectious disease risk. Divergence and consensus among expert opinions can influence adaptation policy processes. Further research is necessary to uncover prevailing expert perspectives and their roots, and compare these. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cumulative and Integrated Health Impact Assessment)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Health Literacy, Health-Related Behaviors and Health Status: A Survey of Elderly Chinese
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(8), 9714-9725; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph120809714
Received: 14 June 2015 / Revised: 5 August 2015 / Accepted: 6 August 2015 / Published: 18 August 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2751 | PDF Full-text (677 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Despite the large volume of research dedicated to health-related behavior change, chronic disease costs continue to rise, thus creating a major public health burden. Health literacy, the ability to seek, understand, and utilize health information, has been identified as an important [...] Read more.
Background: Despite the large volume of research dedicated to health-related behavior change, chronic disease costs continue to rise, thus creating a major public health burden. Health literacy, the ability to seek, understand, and utilize health information, has been identified as an important factor in the course of chronic conditions. Little research has been conducted on the relationship between health literacy and health-related behaviors and health status in elderly Chinese. The aim of this study was to elucidate the relationship between health literacy and health-related behaviors and health status in China. Methods: The subjects enrolled in this study were selected based on a stratified cluster random sampling design. Information involving >4500 older adults in 44 pension institutions in Urumqi, Changji, Karamay, and Shihezi of Xinjiang between September 2011 and June 2012 was collected. The Chinese Citizen Health Literacy Questionnaire (China Health Education Centre, 2008) and a Scale of the General Status were administered and the information was obtained through face-to-face inquiries by investigators. A total of 1452 respondents met the inclusion criteria. A total of 1452 questionnaires were issued and the valid response rate was 96.14% (1396 of 1452). Factors affecting health literacy and the relationship to health literacy were identified by one-way ANOVA and a multiple linear regression model. Results: The average health literacy level of the elderly in nursing homes was relatively low (71.74 ± 28.35 points). There were significant differences in the health literacy score among the factors of age, gender, race, education level, household income, marital conditions, and former occupation (p < 0.001). The health literacy score was significantly associated with smoking, drinking, physical exercise, and health examination (p < 0.001). The elderly with higher health literacy scores were significantly less likely to have risky behaviors (smoking, regular drinking, and lack of physical exercise), and in turn significantly more likely to undergo health examinations regularly, report good self-rated health, and significantly more likely to access sufficient health information from multiple sources (p < 0.001). No differences were noted between the health literacy score and BMI (p > 0.05). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that the independent influencing factors of health literacy included education level, race, former occupation, household income, age, physical exercise, health examination, smoking, and health information access (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Health literacy was significantly associated with health-related behaviors in elderly Chinese. Further longitudinal studies are needed to help confirm that improving health literacy in the elderly may be effective in changing health-related behaviors. To reduce risky habits, educational interventions to improve health literacy should be simultaneously conducted in health promotion work. Full article
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top