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Special Issue "Exclusive Papers Collection of Editorial Board Members (and Invited Scholars) in Section Public Health Statistics and Risk Assessment"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Public Health Statistics and Risk Assessment".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2023 | Viewed by 14631

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As the Editor-in-Chief of Public Health Statistics and Risk Assessment, I am pleased to announce this Special Issue titled “Exclusive Papers Collection of Editorial Board Members (and Invited Scholars) in the Section: “Public Health Statistics and Risk Assessment”. This issue will be a collection of papers from our Section Editorial Board Members and researchers invited by the Editorial Board Members. The aim is to provide a venue for networking and communication between IJERPH and scholars in the field. All papers will be published with fully open access after peer review.

Prof. Dr. Jimmy T. Efird
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information 

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Again, the APC is waived for manuscripts accepted to this special issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • public health statistics
  • risk assessment
  • summary health metrics
  • statistical/epidemiological modeling of disease risk
  • methodological and design issues in public health
  • construction and validation of risk measures

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Article
Displacement and Isolation: Insights from a Mental Stress Survey of Syrian Refugees in Houston, Texas, USA
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2547; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052547 - 22 Feb 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1957
Abstract
(1) Background: Syrians are the largest forcibly displaced population in the world. Approximately 20,000 Syrian refugees have resettled in the United States (US) since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, with an estimated 130 families resettling in Houston, Texas. We conducted [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Syrians are the largest forcibly displaced population in the world. Approximately 20,000 Syrian refugees have resettled in the United States (US) since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, with an estimated 130 families resettling in Houston, Texas. We conducted a pilot study with the objective of examining the physical and mental well-being of the Houston Syrian refugee population. (2) Methods: Online surveys were conducted using psychometrically valid instruments including Afghan Symptom Checklist (ASC), Refugee Post-Migration Stress Scale (RPMSS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), and Self-Report Questionnaire (SRQ) (3) Results: According to independent t-tests, Syrian refugee females scored higher than males on ASC (37.78 vs. 31.64, p = 0.0446), particularly in the subscales of sadness with social withdrawal (28.89 vs. 24.31, p = 0.0495), and stress-induced reactivity (6.56 vs. 4.86, p = 0.0004). Similarly, females scored higher than males in RPMSS (60.54 vs. 45.15, p = 0.0022), including the social strain domain (8.08 vs. 5.18, p = 0.0204). In PSS and SRQ, Syrian refugee females reported comparable stress and distress scores as males. (4) Conclusions: Syrian refugee females reported higher stress and distress than males. Displacement from their home country and social strain were the major sources of stress in Syrian refugee females, as indicated in RPMSS. Full article
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Article
Predictive and Diagnostic Value of Serum Adipokines in Pregnant Women with Intrahepatic Cholestasis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(4), 2254; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19042254 - 16 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1234
Abstract
The objective of this study was to assess the value of serum leptin, adiponectin, apelin, and ghrelin as biomarkers for the prediction and diagnosis of intra-hepatic cholestasis (ICP). This prospective study included pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy: 63 with ICP, [...] Read more.
The objective of this study was to assess the value of serum leptin, adiponectin, apelin, and ghrelin as biomarkers for the prediction and diagnosis of intra-hepatic cholestasis (ICP). This prospective study included pregnant women in the third trimester of pregnancy: 63 with ICP, 48 and 15 of whom had mild and severe disease, respectively, and 32 as controls. ICP women had increased median levels of serum leptin, adiponectin, apelin, and ghrelin compared to the controls (p < 0.05). These biomarkers meaningfully changed regarding the severity of ICP: While leptin was reduced, apelin and ghrelin were increased, and adiponectin was increased somewhat. To predict and diagnose ICP, the predictive values of serum leptin, adiponectin, and apelin need to be accepted as comparable, with moderate to high sensitivity and specificity; however, the predictive value of serum ghrelin was somewhat lower. More research is needed to clarify the potential properties of adipokines to gain acceptance as a predictive or diagnostic biomarker for ICP. Full article
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Article
The Interaction of Vitamin D and Corticosteroids: A Mortality Analysis of 26,508 Veterans Who Tested Positive for SARS-CoV-2
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 447; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010447 - 31 Dec 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4634
Abstract
This data-based cohort consisted of 26,508 (7%) United States veterans out of the 399,290 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from 1 March to 10 September 2020. We aimed to assess the interaction of post-index vitamin D (Vit D) and corticosteroid (CRT) use on [...] Read more.
This data-based cohort consisted of 26,508 (7%) United States veterans out of the 399,290 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from 1 March to 10 September 2020. We aimed to assess the interaction of post-index vitamin D (Vit D) and corticosteroid (CRT) use on 30-day mortality among hospitalized and non-hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Combination Vit D and CRT drug use was assessed according to four multinomial pairs (−|+, −|−, +|+, +|−). Respective categorical effects were computed on a log-binomial scale as adjusted relative risk (aRR). Approximately 6% of veterans who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 died within 30 days of their index date. Among hospitalized patients, a significantly decreased aRR was observed for the use of Vit D in the absence of CRTs relative to patients who received CRTs but not Vit D (aRR = 0.30; multiplicity corrected, p = 0.0004). Among patients receiving systemically administered CRTs (e.g., dexamethasone), the use of Vit D was associated with fewer deaths in hospitalized patients (aRR = 0.51) compared with non-hospitalized patients (aRR = 2.5) (P-for-Interaction = 0.0071). Evaluating the effect of modification of these compounds in the context of hospitalization may aid in the management of COVID-19 and provide a better understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying this and future infectious disease outbreaks. Full article
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Article
Mental Health Interest and Its Prediction during the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Google Trends
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(23), 12369; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182312369 - 24 Nov 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1635
Abstract
This study aimed to analyze and predict interest in mental health-related queries created in Google Trends (GT) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Google Trends tool collected data on the Google search engine interest and provided real-time surveillance. Five key phrases: “depression”, “insomnia”, ”loneliness”, [...] Read more.
This study aimed to analyze and predict interest in mental health-related queries created in Google Trends (GT) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Google Trends tool collected data on the Google search engine interest and provided real-time surveillance. Five key phrases: “depression”, “insomnia”, ”loneliness”, “psychologist”, and “psychiatrist”, were studied for the period from 25 September 2016 to 19 September 2021. The predictions for the upcoming trend were carried out for the period from September 2021 to September 2023 and were estimated by a hybrid five-component model. The results show a decrease of interest in the search queries “depression” and “loneliness” by 15.3% and 7.2%, respectively. Compared to the period under review, an increase of 5.2% in “insomnia” expression and 8.4% in the “psychiatrist” phrase were predicted. The expression “psychologist” is expected to show an almost unchanged interest. The upcoming changes in the expressions connected with mental health might be explained by vaccination and the gradual removal of social distancing rules. Finally, the analysis of GT can provide a timely insight into the mental health interest of a population and give a forecast for a short period trend. Full article
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Review

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Review
Validity and Reliability of Questionnaires That Assess Barriers and Facilitators of Sedentary Behavior in the Pediatric Population: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16834; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416834 - 15 Dec 2022
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Abstract
We systematically reviewed the literature about the validity and reliability of barriers and facilitators of sedentary behavior questionnaires for children and adolescents, considering accelerometers as the reference method. We included studies that assessed the agreement between the barriers and facilitators of sedentary behavior [...] Read more.
We systematically reviewed the literature about the validity and reliability of barriers and facilitators of sedentary behavior questionnaires for children and adolescents, considering accelerometers as the reference method. We included studies that assessed the agreement between the barriers and facilitators of sedentary behavior through a questionnaire and an objective measure (e.g., accelerometry). We searched four electronic databases (MEDLINE/PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, and SCOPUS): these databases were searched for records from inception to 5 March 2021, and updated to November 2022. The search strategy used the following descriptors: children and adolescents; barriers or facilitators; questionnaires; accelerometers; and validation or reliability coefficient. Studies identified in the search were selected independently by two reviewers. The inclusion criteria were: (i) population of children and adolescents, (ii) original studies, (iii) subjective and objective measurement methods, (iv) studies that report validity or reliability, and (v) population without specific diseases. Seven studies were eligible for our review. The main exclusion reasons were studies that did not report validity or reliability coefficients (56.6%) and non-original studies (14.5%). The participants’ ages in the primary studies ranged from 2 to 18 years. Cronbach’s alpha coefficient was the most reported reliability assessment among the eligible articles, while Pearson and Spearman’s coefficients were prevalent for validity. The reliability of self-report questionnaires for assessing sedentary behavior ranged from r = 0.3 to 1.0. The validity of the accelerometers ranged from r = −0.1 to 0.9. Family environment was the main factor associated with sedentary behavior. Our findings suggest that questionnaires assessing the barriers and facilitators of sedentary behavior are weak to moderate. PROSPERO Registration (CRD42021233945). Full article
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Review
A Comprehensive Review on Social Inequalities and Pregnancy Outcome—Identification of Relevant Pathways and Mechanisms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(24), 16592; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192416592 - 10 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 726
Abstract
Scientific literature tends to support the idea that the pregnancy and health status of fetuses and newborns can be affected by maternal, parental, and contextual characteristics. In addition, a growing body of evidence reports that social determinants, measured at individual and/or aggregated level(s), [...] Read more.
Scientific literature tends to support the idea that the pregnancy and health status of fetuses and newborns can be affected by maternal, parental, and contextual characteristics. In addition, a growing body of evidence reports that social determinants, measured at individual and/or aggregated level(s), play a crucial role in fetal and newborn health. Numerous studies have found social factors (including maternal age and education, marital status, pregnancy intention, and socioeconomic status) to be linked to poor birth outcomes. Several have also suggested that beyond individual and contextual social characteristics, living environment and conditions (or “neighborhood”) emerge as important determinants in health inequalities, particularly for pregnant women. Using a comprehensive review, we present a conceptual framework based on the work of both the Commission on Social Determinants of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO), aimed at describing the various pathways through which social characteristics can affect both pregnancy and fetal health, with a focus on the structural social determinants (such as socioeconomic and political context) that influence social position, as well as on intermediary determinants. We also suggest that social position may influence more specific intermediary health determinants; individuals may, on the basis of their social position, experience differences in environmental exposure and vulnerability to health-compromising living conditions. Our model highlights the fact that adverse birth outcomes, which inevitably lead to health inequity, may, in turn, affect the individual social position. In order to address both the inequalities that begin in utero and the disparities observed at birth, it is important for interventions to target various unhealthy behaviors and psychosocial conditions in early pregnancy. Health policy must, then, support: (i) midwifery availability and accessibility and (ii) enhanced multidisciplinary support for deprived pregnant women. Full article
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Review
Predictive Models for Forecasting Public Health Scenarios: Practical Experiences Applied during the First Wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5546; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095546 - 03 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1767
Abstract
Background: Forecasting the behavior of epidemic outbreaks is vital in public health. This makes it possible to anticipate the planning and organization of the health system, as well as possible restrictive or preventive measures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this need for prediction has [...] Read more.
Background: Forecasting the behavior of epidemic outbreaks is vital in public health. This makes it possible to anticipate the planning and organization of the health system, as well as possible restrictive or preventive measures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this need for prediction has been crucial. This paper attempts to characterize the alternative models that were applied in the first wave of this pandemic context, trying to shed light that could help to understand them for future practical applications. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in standardized bibliographic repertoires, using keywords and Boolean operators to refine the findings, and selecting articles according to the main PRISMA 2020 statement recommendations. Results: After identifying models used throughout the first wave of this pandemic (between March and June 2020), we begin by examining standard data-driven epidemiological models, including studies applying models such as SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered), SQUIDER, SEIR, time-dependent SIR, and other alternatives. For data-driven methods, we identify experiences using autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA), evolutionary genetic programming machine learning, short-term memory (LSTM), and global epidemic and mobility models. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to intensive and evolving use of alternative infectious disease prediction models. At this point it is not easy to decide which prediction method is the best in a generic way. Moreover, although models such as the LSTM emerge as remarkably versatile and useful, the practical applicability of the alternatives depends on the specific context of the underlying variable and on the information of the target to be prioritized. In addition, the robustness of the assessment is conditioned by heterogeneity in the quality of information sources and differences in the characteristics of disease control interventions. Further comprehensive comparison of the performance of models in comparable situations, assessing their predictive validity, is needed. This will help determine the most reliable and practical methods for application in future outbreaks and eventual pandemics. Full article
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Other

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Perspective
Breast Cancer Disparities in Asian Women: The Need for Disaggregated Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(16), 9790; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19169790 - 09 Aug 2022
Viewed by 892
Abstract
Asian (AZN) women are a heterogeneous group, comprising a wide array of cultural beliefs, languages, and healthcare needs. Yet, studies of breast cancer (BCa) risks and outcomes predominately consider AZNs in aggregate, assuming that the distinct ethnicities have similar disease profiles and homogeneous [...] Read more.
Asian (AZN) women are a heterogeneous group, comprising a wide array of cultural beliefs, languages, and healthcare needs. Yet, studies of breast cancer (BCa) risks and outcomes predominately consider AZNs in aggregate, assuming that the distinct ethnicities have similar disease profiles and homogeneous responses to treatment. This stereotypical portrayal of AZNs as a homogenous group tends to mask disparities. For example, healthcare-seeking behaviors and attitudes of medical providers toward AZN BCa patients frequently differ within this group and from other races. Misconceptions may arise that significantly influence the prevention, detection, treatment, and post-therapeutic care of AZN women. In addition to low BCa screening rates among AZN women, disparities also exist in various stages of BCa treatment—omission of radiation after breast-conserving surgery, less access to hypofractionation, underutilization of hormonal therapy, and higher-cost treatment owing to high HER2+ incidence. In this perspective, we highlight the need for disaggregated research of BCa among AZN women and advocate for comprehensive, culturally sensitive strategies to address health disparities in this priority population. Improving BCa literacy and awareness, access to care, and equitable recruitment into clinical trials are a few amelioratory goals to consider in the future. Full article
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