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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 11, Issue 8 (August 2014), Pages 7562-8611

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Open AccessArticle Leptospira spp. in Rodents and Shrews in Germany
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7562-7574; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807562
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leptospirosis is an acute, febrile disease occurring in humans and animals worldwide. Leptospira spp. are usually transmitted through direct or indirect contact with the urine of infected reservoir animals. Among wildlife species, rodents act as the most important reservoir for both human and
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Leptospirosis is an acute, febrile disease occurring in humans and animals worldwide. Leptospira spp. are usually transmitted through direct or indirect contact with the urine of infected reservoir animals. Among wildlife species, rodents act as the most important reservoir for both human and animal infection. To gain a better understanding of the occurrence and distribution of pathogenic leptospires in rodent and shrew populations in Germany, kidney specimens of 2973 animals from 11 of the 16 federal states were examined by PCR. Rodent species captured included five murine species (family Muridae), six vole species (family Cricetidae) and six shrew species (family Soricidae). The most abundantly trapped animals were representatives of the rodent species Apodemus flavicollis, Clethrionomys glareolus and Microtus agrestis. Leptospiral DNA was amplified in 10% of all animals originating from eight of the 11 federal states. The highest carrier rate was found in Microtus spp. (13%), followed by Apodemus spp. (11%) and Clethrionomys spp. (6%). The most common Leptospira genomospecies determined by duplex PCR was L. kirschneri, followed by L. interrogans and L. borgpetersenii; all identified by single locus sequence typing (SLST). Representatives of the shrew species were also carriers of Leptospira spp. In 20% of Crocidura spp. and 6% of the Sorex spp. leptospiral DNA was detected. Here, only the pathogenic genomospecies L. kirschneri was identified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospirosis in the Animal—Human-Ecosystem Interface)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Health Risk due to Exposure to Arsenic in Drinking Water in Hanam Province, Vietnam
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7575-7591; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807575
Received: 16 April 2014 / Revised: 14 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (618 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We assessed health risks related to Arsenic (As) in contaminated drinking water in Hanam, applying the Australian Environmental Health Risk Assessment Framework, which promotes stakeholder involvement in risk assessments. As concentrations in 300 tube-well water samples, before and after filtration, were analyzed and
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We assessed health risks related to Arsenic (As) in contaminated drinking water in Hanam, applying the Australian Environmental Health Risk Assessment Framework, which promotes stakeholder involvement in risk assessments. As concentrations in 300 tube-well water samples, before and after filtration, were analyzed and the water consumption levels in 150 households were estimated. Skin cancer risk was characterized using Cancer Slope Factor index and lifetime average daily dose with a probabilistic approach. The results showed that arsenic concentrations in tube-well water ranged from 8–579 ppb (mean 301 ppb) before filtration and current sand filters used by the households did not meet the standard for As removal. Arsenic daily consumption of 40% of the adults exceeded the level of TDI (Tolerable Daily Intake) at 1 µg/kg/day. The average skin cancer risk in adults due to consuming filtered tube-well water for drinking purpose were 25.3 × 10−5 (using only well water) and 7.6 × 10−5 (using both well and rain water). The skin cancer risk would be 11.5 times higher if the water was not filtered. Improvement of filtration measures or the replacement of the current drinking water sources to minimize the health risks to the local population is urgently needed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Music Listening Behavior, Health, Hearing and Otoacoustic Emission Levels
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7592-7607; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807592
Received: 18 June 2014 / Revised: 9 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined the relationship between hearing levels, otoacoustic emission levels and listening habits related to the use of personal listening devices (PLDs) in adults with varying health-related fitness. Duration of PLD use was estimated and volume level was directly measured. Biomarkers of
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This study examined the relationship between hearing levels, otoacoustic emission levels and listening habits related to the use of personal listening devices (PLDs) in adults with varying health-related fitness. Duration of PLD use was estimated and volume level was directly measured. Biomarkers of health-related fitness were co-factored into the analyses. 115 subjects ages 18–84 participated in this study. Subjects were divided into two sub-groups; PLD users and non-PLD users. Both groups completed audiological and health-related fitness tests. Due to the mismatch in the mean age of the PLD user versus the non-PLD user groups, age-adjusted statistics were performed to determine factors that contributed to hearing levels. Age was the most significant predictor of hearing levels across listening and health-related fitness variables. PLD user status did not impact hearing measures, yet PLD users who listened less than 8 hours per week with intensities of less than 80 dBA were found to have better hearing. Other variables found to be associated with hearing levels included: years listening to PLD, number of noise environments and use of ear protection. Finally, a healthy waist-to-hip ratio was a significant predictor of better hearing, while body mass index approached, but did not reach statistical significance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound and Health related Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Trends in AIDS Incidence in Individuals Aged 50 Years or Older in the City of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1982–2011: An Age-Period-Cohort Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7608-7621; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807608
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
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Abstract
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of three temporal components of AIDS incidence (i.e., age, period and cohort) on individuals aged 50 or older living in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Methods: Age-specific incidence
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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of three temporal components of AIDS incidence (i.e., age, period and cohort) on individuals aged 50 or older living in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Methods: Age-specific incidence rates were calculated from 1982–2011. Negative binomial and Poisson models were used to analyze the risk of AIDS by age, period and cohort. Results: The risk of AIDS in men was 2.45 times higher than in women, regardless of age and period (p-value < 0.001). The incidence of AIDS in individuals older than 69 years was 7-fold lower than in those aged 50–59 years (p-value < 0.001). A decreasing trend in AIDS risk was observed from the youngest cohort (≥1940) to the oldest (1910–1919). From 1982 to 2006, we could detect an increasing trend in AIDS risk in the population aged 50 years or older. A peak in rates was detected in the period from 2002–2006. The incidence rates in 2002–2006 were six times higher than those in 1987–1991 (p-value < 0.001), independent of age and sex (p-value < 0.001). Conclusions: An increase of AIDS risk in older people was detected. This group should not be neglected by public health programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Serum Lipid Profiles, Lipid Ratios and Chronic Kidney Disease in a Chinese Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7622-7635; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807622
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (703 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aim: To examine the association of serum lipids, lipid ratios with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in a Chinese population. Methods: Data were drawn from a cross-sectional survey in China. CKD was defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 60 mL/min/1.73m2 or
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Aim: To examine the association of serum lipids, lipid ratios with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in a Chinese population. Methods: Data were drawn from a cross-sectional survey in China. CKD was defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) < 60 mL/min/1.73m2 or albuminuria-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) > 30 mg/g. Multivariable logistic regressions and multivariate regression models were used. Serum lipids and lipid ratios included total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), TG/HDL-C ratio, TC/HDL-C ratio and LDL-C/HDL-C ratio. Results: In men, only logarithm-transformed (log) TG was associated with CKD. The odds ratio (every SD increment) was 1.39 (95% CI 1.03–1.87, P = 0.03). In women, none of the serum lipids and lipid ratios was associated with CKD. Using multivariate regression models, it was shown that log TG and log TG/HDL-C were negatively correlated with eGFR (P < 0.05) in men and LDL-C and log LDL-C/HDL-C ratio were correlated with ACR in men. In female subjects, serum TC, log TG, log TG/HDL-C and log TC/HDL-C were negatively correlated with eGFR (P < 0.05). All of serum lipid profiles and lipid related ratio were not correlated with ACR in women. Conclusion: Serum TG is the only suitable predictor for CKD in men. However, in women, none of serum lipids and lipid ratio can be used as a predictor for CKD. Log TG and log TG/HDL-C are negatively correlated with eGFR in both genders. Full article
Open AccessArticle Associations Between Subjective Symptoms and Serum Immunoglobulin E Levels During Asian Dust Events
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7636-7641; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807636
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 29 July 2014
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Abstract
Asian dust is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon caused by the displacement of atmospheric pollutants from the Mongolian and Chinese deserts. Although the frequency of Asian dust events and atmospheric dust levels have steadily increased in the eastern Asia region, the effects on human
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Asian dust is a seasonal meteorological phenomenon caused by the displacement of atmospheric pollutants from the Mongolian and Chinese deserts. Although the frequency of Asian dust events and atmospheric dust levels have steadily increased in the eastern Asia region, the effects on human health remain poorly understood. In the present study, the impact of Asian dust on human health was determined in terms of allergic reactions. A total of 25 healthy volunteers were tested for a relationship between serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) levels and subjective symptoms during a 3-day Asian dust event recorded in April 2012. They filled daily questionnaires on the severity of nasal, pharyngeal, ocular, respiratory, and skin symptoms by a self-administered visual analog scale. Serum levels of non-specific IgE and 33 allergen-specific IgE molecules were analyzed. Spearman rank-correlation analysis revealed significant positive associations between nasal symptom scores and 2 microbial-specific IgE levels (Penicillium and Cladosporium). Microbes migrate vast distances during Asian dust events by attaching themselves to dust particles. Therefore, some of these symptoms may be associated with type 1 allergic reactions to certain type of microbes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Impact on the Development of Allergic Disease)
Open AccessArticle The Ecology of Gynecological Care for Women
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7669-7677; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807669
Received: 15 May 2014 / Revised: 17 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (215 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gynecological care is vital to women’s health but utilization of gynecological care has been seldom addressed. We applied the population-based “ecology model” to demonstrate the utilization of gynecological care of women, with examples from Taiwan. We analyzed the claims data from the cohort
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Gynecological care is vital to women’s health but utilization of gynecological care has been seldom addressed. We applied the population-based “ecology model” to demonstrate the utilization of gynecological care of women, with examples from Taiwan. We analyzed the claims data from the cohort datasets within the National Health Insurance Research Database in Taiwan. Women’s utilization of gynecological care in 2009 was computed. Of 1000 women, 319 utilized gynecological care at least once, 277 visited Western medicine clinics, 193 visited physician clinics, 118 visited hospital-based outpatient clinics, 73 visited traditional Chinese medicine clinics, eight were hospitalized, four were hospitalized in an academic medical center, and four visited emergency departments. More than 90% of young and middle-aged women who sought gynecological care visited gynecologist clinics. Elderly women were less likely to utilize gynecological care in all settings of medical care, but were more likely to be attended by non-gynecologists. Young women tended to visit emergency departments. The ecology model highlighted age disparities in women’s utilization of gynecological care in various settings of medical care. Since gynecological conditions were common among women, more attention should be paid on the availability of gynecologists and continuing medical education in gynecological care for non-gynecologists to guarantee women’s health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing Program Efficiency: A Time and Motion Study of the Mental Health Emergency Care — Rural Access Program in NSW Australia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7678-7689; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807678
Received: 27 May 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 24 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (432 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Mental Health Emergency Care-Rural Access Program (MHEC-RAP) is a telehealth solution providing specialist emergency mental health care to rural and remote communities across western NSW, Australia. This is the first time and motion (T&M) study to examine program efficiency and capacity for
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The Mental Health Emergency Care-Rural Access Program (MHEC-RAP) is a telehealth solution providing specialist emergency mental health care to rural and remote communities across western NSW, Australia. This is the first time and motion (T&M) study to examine program efficiency and capacity for a telepsychiatry program. Clinical services are an integral aspect of the program accounting for 6% of all activities and 50% of the time spent conducting program activities, but half of this time is spent completing clinical paperwork. This finding emphasizes the importance of these services to program efficiency and the need to address variability of service provision to impact capacity. Currently, there is no efficiency benchmark for emergency telepsychiatry programs. Findings suggest that MHEC-RAP could increase its activity without affecting program responsiveness. T&M studies not only determine activity and time expenditure, but have a wider application assessing program efficiency by understanding, defining, and calculating capacity. T&M studies can inform future program development of MHEC-RAP and similar telehealth programs, both in Australia and overseas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
Open AccessArticle Antiviral Prophylaxis and Isolation for the Control of Pandemic Influenza
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7690-7712; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807690
Received: 10 March 2014 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (354 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Before effective vaccines become available, antiviral drugs are considered as the major control strategies for a pandemic influenza. However, perhaps such control strategies can be severely hindered by the low-efficacy of antiviral drugs. For this reason, using antiviral drugs and an isolation strategy
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Before effective vaccines become available, antiviral drugs are considered as the major control strategies for a pandemic influenza. However, perhaps such control strategies can be severely hindered by the low-efficacy of antiviral drugs. For this reason, using antiviral drugs and an isolation strategy is included in our study. A compartmental model that allows for imported exposed individuals and asymptomatic cases is used to evaluate the effectiveness of control strategies via antiviral prophylaxis and isolation. Simulations show that isolation strategy plays a prominent role in containing transmission when antiviral drugs are not effective enough. Moreover, relatively few infected individuals need to be isolated per day. Because the accurate calculations of the needed numbers of antiviral drugs and the isolated infected are not easily available, we give two simple expressions approximating these numbers. We also derive an estimation for the total cost of these intervention strategies. These estimations obtained by a simple method provide a useful reference for the management department about the epidemic preparedness plans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Relationship of Racial Composition and Cancer Risks from Air Toxics Exposure in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7713-7724; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807713
Received: 19 May 2014 / Revised: 11 July 2014 / Accepted: 24 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (800 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
African Americans in the U.S. often live in poverty and segregated urban neighborhoods, many of which have dense industrial facilities resulting in high exposure to harmful air toxics. This study aims to explore the relationship between racial composition and cancer risks from air
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African Americans in the U.S. often live in poverty and segregated urban neighborhoods, many of which have dense industrial facilities resulting in high exposure to harmful air toxics. This study aims to explore the relationship between racial composition and cancer risks from air toxics exposure in Memphis/Shelby County, Tennessee, U.S.A. Air toxics data were obtained from 2005 National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), and the demographic data, including racial composition, were extracted from the 2000 United States Census. The association was examined using multivariable geographically weighted regression (GWR) analysis. The risk difference between African American and White concentrated areas was defined as the absolute disparity, and the percent difference as the relative disparity. GWR analyses show that cancer risks increase with respect to increasing percent of African Americans at the census tract level. Individuals in African American concentrated tracts bear 6% more cancer risk burden than in White concentrated tracts. The distribution of major roads causes the largest absolute disparity and the distribution of industrial facilities causes the largest relative disparity. Effective strategies for reduction in environmental disparity should especially target sources of large absolute disparities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eliminating Health Disparities to Achieve Health Equity)
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Open AccessArticle In Vitro Interactions between 17β-Estradiol and DNA Result in Formation of the Hormone-DNA Complexes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7725-7739; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807725
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 24 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (628 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Beyond the role of 17β-estradiol (E2) in reproduction and during the menstrual cycle, it has been shown to modulate numerous physiological processes such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, inflammation and ion transport in many tissues. The pathways in which estrogens affect an
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Beyond the role of 17β-estradiol (E2) in reproduction and during the menstrual cycle, it has been shown to modulate numerous physiological processes such as cell proliferation, apoptosis, inflammation and ion transport in many tissues. The pathways in which estrogens affect an organism have been partially described, although many questions still exist regarding estrogens’ interaction with biomacromolecules. Hence, the present study showed the interaction of four oligonucleotides (17, 20, 24 and/or 38-mer) with E2. The strength of these interactions was evaluated using optical methods, showing that the interaction is influenced by three major factors, namely: oligonucleotide length, E2 concentration and interaction time. In addition, the denaturation phenomenon of DNA revealed that the binding of E2 leads to destabilization of hydrogen bonds between the nitrogenous bases of DNA strands resulting in a decrease of their melting temperatures (Tm). To obtain a more detailed insight into these interactions, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry was employed. This study revealed that E2 with DNA forms non-covalent physical complexes, observed as the mass shifts for app. 270 Da (Mr of E2) to higher molecular masses. Taken together, our results indicate that E2 can affect biomacromolecules, as circulating oligonucleotides, which can trigger mutations, leading to various unwanted effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Importance of Wetlands Management for West Nile Virus Circulation Risk, Camargue, Southern France
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7740-7754; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807740
Received: 12 June 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (480 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To assess environmental and horse-level risk factors associated with West Nile Virus (WNV) circulation in Camargue, Southern France, a serosurvey was conducted on non-vaccinated horses (n = 1159 from 134 stables) in 2007 and 2008. Fifteen Landsat images were examined to quantify
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To assess environmental and horse-level risk factors associated with West Nile Virus (WNV) circulation in Camargue, Southern France, a serosurvey was conducted on non-vaccinated horses (n = 1159 from 134 stables) in 2007 and 2008. Fifteen Landsat images were examined to quantify areas with open water and flooded vegetation around sampled horses. Mean percentages of areas of open water and flooded vegetation, as well as variations in these percentages between 3 periods (November to February = NOT, March to July = END and August to October = EPI), were calculated for buffers of 2 km radius around the stables. Results of the final logistic regression showed that the risk of WNV seropositivity in horses decreased with their date of acquisition and age. Results also demonstrated the significant role of environmental variables. Horse serological status was associated with variations of open water areas between the NOT (November to February) and END (March to July) periods, as well as between END and EPI (August to October). WNV spillover was found more intense in areas where water level decreased strongly from winter to spring and from spring to summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Determinants of Infectious Disease Transmission)
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Open AccessArticle Occurrence of Vibrio Pathotypes in the Final Effluents of Five Wastewater Treatment Plants in Amathole and Chris Hani District Municipalities in South Africa
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7755-7766; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807755
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
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Abstract
We assessed the occurrence of Vibrio pathogens in the final effluents of five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in Amathole and Chris Hani District Municipalities in South Africa over a 12 months period between September 2012 and August 2013 using standard membrane filtration
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We assessed the occurrence of Vibrio pathogens in the final effluents of five wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in Amathole and Chris Hani District Municipalities in South Africa over a 12 months period between September 2012 and August 2013 using standard membrane filtration technique followed by cultivation on thiosulphate citrate-bile salts-sucrose (TCBS) agar. The identities of the presumptive Vibrio isolates were confirmed using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) including delineation into V. parahaemolyticus, V. vulnificus and V. fluvialis pathotypes. The counts of Vibrio spp. varied with months in all the study sites and ranged in the order of 101 and 104 CFU/100mL. Vibrio distribution also showed seasonality with high counts being obtained in autumn and spring (p < 0.05). Prevalence of Vibrio spp. among the five WWTPs also differed significantly (p < 0.05). Of the 300 isolates that were confirmed as belonging to the Vibrio genus, 29% (86) were V. fluvialis, 28% (84) were V. vulnificus and 12% (35) were V. parahaemolyticus. The isolation of Vibrio pathogens from the final effluent suggests that this pathogen is in circulation in some pockets of the population and that the WWTPs under study do not efficiently remove bacterial pathogens from the wastewater and consequently are threats to public health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Personal Sensors to Assess the Exposome and Acute Health Effects
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7805-7819; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807805
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Introduction: The exposome encompasses the totality of human environmental exposures. Recent developments in sensor technology have made it possible to better measure personal exposure to environmental pollutants and other factors. We aimed to discuss and demonstrate the recent developments in personal sensors
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Introduction: The exposome encompasses the totality of human environmental exposures. Recent developments in sensor technology have made it possible to better measure personal exposure to environmental pollutants and other factors. We aimed to discuss and demonstrate the recent developments in personal sensors to measure multiple exposures and possible acute health responses, and discuss the main challenges ahead. Methods: We searched for a range of sensors to measure air pollution, noise, temperature, UV, physical activity, location, blood pressure, heart rate and lung function and to obtain information on green space and emotional status/mood and put it on a person. Results and Conclusions: We discussed the recent developments and main challenges for personal sensors to measure multiple exposures. We found and put together a personal sensor set that measures a comprehensive set of personal exposures continuously over 24 h to assess part of the current exposome and acute health responses. We obtained data for a whole range of exposures and some acute health responses, but many challenges remain to apply the methodology for extended time periods and larger populations including improving the ease of wear, e.g., through miniaturization and extending battery life, and the reduction of costs. However, the technology is moving fast and opportunities will come closer for further wide spread use to assess, at least part of the exposome. Full article
Open AccessArticle Occupational Risks and Pregnancy and Infant Health Outcomes in Florida Farmworkers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7820-7840; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807820
Received: 9 May 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
The agricultural industry has some of the highest incidence rates and numbers of occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States. Injuries and illnesses in agriculture result from accidents, falls, excessive heat, repetitive motion and adverse pesticide exposure. Women working in agriculture are
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The agricultural industry has some of the highest incidence rates and numbers of occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States. Injuries and illnesses in agriculture result from accidents, falls, excessive heat, repetitive motion and adverse pesticide exposure. Women working in agriculture are exposed to the same hazards and risks as their male counterparts, but can face additional adverse impacts on their reproductive health. Yet, few occupational risk assessment studies have considered the reproductive health of female farmworkers. The objective of this community-based participatory research study was to conduct a retrospective, cross-sectional survey to collect information on workplace conditions and behaviors and maternal, pregnancy and infant health outcomes among a sample of female nursery and fernery farmworkers in Central Florida. Survey results showed that nursery workers were more likely to report health symptoms during their pregnancy than fernery workers. We also observed a self-reported increased risk of respiratory illness in the first year of life for infants whose mothers worked in ferneries. Our findings confirm that agricultural work presents potential reproductive hazards for women of childbearing age. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Simulated Heat Waves on Cardiovascular Functions in Senile Mice
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7841-7855; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807841
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 26 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
The mechanism of the effects of simulated heat waves on cardiovascular disease in senile mice was investigated. Heat waves were simulated in a TEM1880 meteorological environment simulation chamber, according to a heat wave that occurred in July 2001 in Nanjing, China. Eighteen senile
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The mechanism of the effects of simulated heat waves on cardiovascular disease in senile mice was investigated. Heat waves were simulated in a TEM1880 meteorological environment simulation chamber, according to a heat wave that occurred in July 2001 in Nanjing, China. Eighteen senile mice were divided into control, heat wave, and heat wave BH4 groups, respectively. Mice in the heat wave and heat wave BH4 groups were exposed to simulated heat waves in the simulation chamber. The levels of ET-1, NO, HSP60, SOD, TNF, sICAM-1, and HIF-1α in each group of mice were measured after heat wave simulation. Results show that heat waves decreased SOD activity in the myocardial tissue of senile mice, increased NO, HSP60, TNF, sICAM-1, and HIF-1α levels, and slightly decreased ET-1 levels, BH4 can relieve the effects of heat waves on various biological indicators. After a comprehensive analysis of the experiments above, we draw the followings conclusions regarding the influence of heat waves on senile mice: excess HSP60 activated immune cells, and induced endothelial cells and macrophages to secrete large amounts of ICAM-1, TNF-α, and other inflammatory cytokines, it also activated the inflammation response in the body and damaged the coronary endothelial cell structure, which increased the permeability of blood vessel intima and decreased SOD activity in cardiac tissues. The oxidation of lipoproteins in the blood increased, and large amounts of cholesterol were generated. Cholesterol penetrated the intima and deposited on the blood vessel wall, forming atherosclerosis and leading to the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in senile mice. These results maybe are useful for studying the effects of heat waves on elderly humans, which we discussed in the discussion chapter. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can Economic Deprivation Protect Health? Paradoxical Multilevel Effects of Poverty on Hispanic Children’s Wheezing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7856-7873; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807856
Received: 3 May 2014 / Revised: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
Prior research suggests that economic deprivation has a generally negative influence on residents’ health. We employ hierarchical logistic regression modeling to test if economic deprivation presents respiratory health risks or benefits to Hispanic children living in the City of El Paso (Texas, USA)
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Prior research suggests that economic deprivation has a generally negative influence on residents’ health. We employ hierarchical logistic regression modeling to test if economic deprivation presents respiratory health risks or benefits to Hispanic children living in the City of El Paso (Texas, USA) at neighborhood- and individual-levels, and whether individual-level health effects of economic deprivation vary based on neighborhood-level economic deprivation. Data come from the US Census Bureau and a population-based survey of El Paso schoolchildren. The dependent variable is children’s current wheezing, an established respiratory morbidity measure, which is appropriate for use with economically-deprived children with an increased likelihood of not receiving a doctor’s asthma diagnosis. Results reveal that economic deprivation (measured based on poverty status) at both neighborhood- and individual-levels is associated with reduced odds of wheezing for Hispanic children. A sensitivity analysis revealed similar significant effects of individual- and neighborhood-level poverty on the odds of doctor-diagnosed asthma. Neighborhood-level poverty did not significantly modify the observed association between individual-level poverty and Hispanic children’s wheezing; however, greater neighborhood poverty tends to be more protective for poor (as opposed to non-poor) Hispanic children. These findings support a novel, multilevel understanding of seemingly paradoxical effects of economic deprivation on Hispanic health. Full article
Open AccessArticle Role of Metabolic Genes in Blood Arsenic Concentrations of Jamaican Children with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7874-7895; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807874
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
Arsenic is a toxic metalloid with known adverse effects on human health. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genes, including GSTT1, GSTP1, and GSTM1, play a major role in detoxification and metabolism of xenobiotics. We investigated the association between GST genotypes and whole blood
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Arsenic is a toxic metalloid with known adverse effects on human health. Glutathione-S-transferase (GST) genes, including GSTT1, GSTP1, and GSTM1, play a major role in detoxification and metabolism of xenobiotics. We investigated the association between GST genotypes and whole blood arsenic concentrations (BASC) in Jamaican children with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We used data from 100 ASD cases and their 1:1 age- and sex-matched typically developing (TD) controls (age 2–8 years) from Jamaica. Using log-transformed BASC as the dependent variable in a General Linear Model, we observed a significant interaction between GSTP1 and ASD case status while controlling for several confounding variables. However, for GSTT1 and GSTM1 we did not observe any significant associations with BASC. Our findings indicate that TD children who had the Ile/Ile or Ile/Val genotype for GSTP1 had a significantly higher geometric mean BASC than those with genotype Val/Val (3.67 µg/L vs. 2.69 µg/L, p < 0.01). Although, among the ASD cases, this difference was not statistically significant, the direction of the observed difference was consistent with that of the TD control children. These findings suggest a possible role of GSTP1 in the detoxification of arsenic. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Historical Distribution of Main Malaria Foci in Spain as Related to Water Bodies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7896-7917; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807896
Received: 16 April 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
The possible connectivity between the spatial distribution of water bodies suitable for vectors of malaria and endemic malaria foci in Southern Europe is still not well known. Spain was one of the last countries in Western Europe to be declared free of malaria
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The possible connectivity between the spatial distribution of water bodies suitable for vectors of malaria and endemic malaria foci in Southern Europe is still not well known. Spain was one of the last countries in Western Europe to be declared free of malaria by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1964. This study combines, by means of a spatial-temporal analysis, the historical data of patients and deceased with the distribution of water bodies where the disease-transmitting mosquitos proliferate. Therefore, data from historical archives with a Geographic Information System (GIS), using the Inverse Distance Weighted (IDW) interpolation method, was analyzed with the aim of identifying regional differences in the distribution of malaria in Spain. The reasons, why the risk of transmission is concentrated in specific regions, are related to worse socioeconomic conditions (Extremadura), the presence of another vector (Anopheles labranchiae) besides A. atroparvus (Levante) or large areas of water bodies in conditions to reproduce theses vectors (La Mancha and Western Andalusia). In the particular case of Western Andalusia, in 1913, the relatively high percentage of 4.73% of the surface, equal to 202362 ha, corresponds to wetlands and other unhealthy water bodies. These wetlands have been reduced as a result of desiccation policies and climate change such as the Little Ice Age and Global Climate Change. The comprehension of the main factors of these wetland changes in the past can help us interpret accurately the future risk of malaria re-emergence in temperate latitudes, since it reveals the crucial role of unhealthy water bodies on the distribution, endemicity and eradication of malaria in southern Europe. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology, Prevention and Control of Malaria)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Nano-MnO2 on Dopaminergic Neurons and the Spatial Learning Capability of Rats
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7918-7930; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807918
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
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Abstract
This study aimed to observe the effect of intracerebrally injected nano-MnO2 on neurobehavior and the functions of dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes. Nano-MnO2, 6-OHDA, and saline (control) were injected in the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rat
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This study aimed to observe the effect of intracerebrally injected nano-MnO2 on neurobehavior and the functions of dopaminergic neurons and astrocytes. Nano-MnO2, 6-OHDA, and saline (control) were injected in the substantia nigra and the ventral tegmental area of Sprague-Dawley rat brains. The neurobehavior of rats was evaluated by Morris water maze test. Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expressions in rat brain were detected by immunohistochemistry. Results showed that the escape latencies of nano-MnO2 treated rat increased significantly compared with control. The number of TH-positive cells decreased, GFAP- and iNOS-positive cells increased significantly in the lesion side of the rat brains compared with the contralateral area in nano-MnO2 group. The same tendencies were observed in nano-MnO2-injected rat brains compared with control. However, in the the positive control, 6-OHDA group, escape latencies increased, TH-positive cell number decreased significantly compared with nano-MnO2 group. The alteration of spatial learning abilities of rats induced by nano-MnO2 may be associated with dopaminergic neuronal dysfunction and astrocyte activation. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Molecular Detection of Leptospiral DNA in Environmental Water on St. Kitts
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7953-7960; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807953
Received: 31 May 2014 / Revised: 26 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
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Abstract
Leptospirosis is an important waterborne zoonotic disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira. The pathogen is maintained in a population due to chronic colonization and shedding from renal tubules of domestic and wild animals. Humans and other animals become infected when they come in
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Leptospirosis is an important waterborne zoonotic disease caused by pathogenic Leptospira. The pathogen is maintained in a population due to chronic colonization and shedding from renal tubules of domestic and wild animals. Humans and other animals become infected when they come in contact with urine from infected animals, either directly or through urine-contaminated surface water. In this study, we screened environmental water on the island of St. Kitts by using a TaqMan based real time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) targeting a pathogen specific leptospiral gene, lipl32. Our results indicate that around one-fifth of tested water sources have detectable leptospiral DNA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospirosis in the Animal—Human-Ecosystem Interface)
Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of a New Exercise Program after Lower Limb Arterial Blood Flow Surgery in Patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7961-7976; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807961
Received: 30 May 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
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Abstract
Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a supervised exercise program (SEP) plus at home nonsupervised exercise therapy (non-SET) on functional status, quality of life (QoL) and hemodynamic response in post-lower-limb bypass surgery patients. Results: One
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Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a supervised exercise program (SEP) plus at home nonsupervised exercise therapy (non-SET) on functional status, quality of life (QoL) and hemodynamic response in post-lower-limb bypass surgery patients. Results: One hundred and seventeen patients were randomized to an intervention (n = 57) or a control group (n = 60). A new individual SEP was designed for patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and applied to the studied subjects of the intervention group who also continued non-SET at home, whereas those assigned to the control group received just usual SEP according to a common cardiovascular program. The participants of the study were assessed by a 6-min walking test (6 MWT), an ankle-brachial index (ABI), and the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 (SF-36) of QoL at baseline, at 1 and 6 months after surgery. A significant improvement was observed in the walked distance in the intervention group after 6 months compared with the control group (p < 0.001). The intervention group had significantly higher QoL score in the physical and mental component of SF-36 (p < 0.05). Conclusions: A 6-month application of the new SEP and non-SET at home has yielded significantly better results in walking distance and QoL in the intervention group than in the controls. Full article
Open AccessArticle What Personal and Environmental Factors Determine Frequency of Urban Greenspace Use?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7977-7992; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807977
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For many people, urban greenspaces are the only places where they encounter the natural world. This is concerning as there is growing evidence demonstrating that human well-being is enhanced by exposure to nature. There is, therefore, a compelling argument to increase how frequently
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For many people, urban greenspaces are the only places where they encounter the natural world. This is concerning as there is growing evidence demonstrating that human well-being is enhanced by exposure to nature. There is, therefore, a compelling argument to increase how frequently people use urban greenspaces. This may be achieved in two complementary ways by encouraging: (I) non-users to start visiting urban greenspaces; (II) existing users to visit more often. Here we examine the factors that influence frequency of greenspace visitation in the city of Sheffield, England. We demonstrate that people who visit a site least frequently state lower self-reported psychological well-being. We hypothesised that a combination of socio-demographic characteristics of the participants, and the biophysical attributes of the greenspaces that they were visiting, would be important in influencing visit frequency. However, socio-demographic characteristics (income, age, gender) were not found to be predictors. In contrast, some biophysical attributes of greenspaces were significantly related to use frequency. Frequent use was more likely when the time taken to reach a greenspace was shorter and for sites with a higher index of greenspace neglect, but were unrelated to tree cover or bird species richness. We related these results to the motivations that people provide for their visits. Infrequent users were more likely to state motivations associated with the quality of the space, while frequent users gave motivations pertaining to physical, repeated activities. This suggests that there may be no simple way to manage greenspaces to maximise their use across user cohorts as the motivations for visits are very different. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Nature)
Open AccessArticle A Health Impact Assessment of Proposed Public Transportation Service Cuts and Fare Increases in Boston, Massachusetts (U.S.A.)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8010-8024; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808010
Received: 9 June 2014 / Revised: 17 July 2014 / Accepted: 21 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
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Abstract
Transportation decisions have health consequences that are often not incorporated into policy-making processes. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that can be used to evaluate health effects of transportation policy. We present a rapid HIA, conducted over eight weeks, evaluating health and
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Transportation decisions have health consequences that are often not incorporated into policy-making processes. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that can be used to evaluate health effects of transportation policy. We present a rapid HIA, conducted over eight weeks, evaluating health and economic effects of proposed fare increases and service cuts to Boston, Massachusetts’ public transportation system. We used transportation modeling in concert with tools allowing for quantification and monetization of multiple pathways. We estimated health and economic costs of proposed public transportation system changes to be hundreds of millions of dollars per year, exceeding the budget gap the public transportation authority was required to close. Significant health pathways included crashes, air pollution, and physical activity. The HIA enabled stakeholders to advocate for more modest fare increases and service cuts, which were eventually adopted by decision makers. This HIA was among the first to quantify and monetize multiple pathways linking transportation decisions with health and economic outcomes, using approaches that could be applied in different settings. Including health costs in transportation decisions can lead to policy choices with both economic and public health benefits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Impact Assessment: Realizing Its Potential)
Open AccessArticle Time Averaged Transmitter Power and Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields from Mobile Phone Base Stations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8025-8037; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808025
Received: 18 June 2014 / Revised: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 31 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (614 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Models for exposure assessment of high frequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations need the technical data of the base stations as input. One of these parameters, the Equivalent Radiated Power (ERP), is a time-varying quantity, depending on communication traffic. In order
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Models for exposure assessment of high frequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations need the technical data of the base stations as input. One of these parameters, the Equivalent Radiated Power (ERP), is a time-varying quantity, depending on communication traffic. In order to determine temporal averages of the exposure, corresponding averages of the ERP have to be available. These can be determined as duty factors, the ratios of the time-averaged power to the maximum output power according to the transmitter setting. We determine duty factors for UMTS from the data of 37 base stations in the Swisscom network. The UMTS base stations sample contains sites from different regions of Switzerland and also different site types (rural/suburban/urban/hotspot). Averaged over all regions and site types, a UMTS duty factor  for the 24 h-average is obtained, i.e., the average output power corresponds to about a third of the maximum power. We also give duty factors for GSM based on simple approximations and a lower limit for LTE estimated from the base load on the signalling channels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Electromagnetic Fields and Health)
Open AccessArticle Factors Associated with No Dental Treatment in Preschoolers with Toothache: A Cross-Sectional Study in Outpatient Public Emergency Services
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8058-8068; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808058
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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Abstract
Many parents rely on emergency services to deal with their children’s dental problems, mostly pain and infection associated with dental caries. This cross-sectional study analyzed the factors associated with not doing an oral procedure in preschoolers with toothache attending public dental emergency services.
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Many parents rely on emergency services to deal with their children’s dental problems, mostly pain and infection associated with dental caries. This cross-sectional study analyzed the factors associated with not doing an oral procedure in preschoolers with toothache attending public dental emergency services. Data were obtained from the clinical files of preschoolers treated at all nine dental emergency centers in Goiania, Brazil, in 2011. Data were children’s age and sex, involved teeth, oral procedures, radiography request, medications prescribed and referrals. A total of 531 files of children under 6 years old with toothache out of 1,108 examined were selected. Children’s mean age was 4.1 (SD 1.0) years (range 1–5 years) and 51.6% were girls. No oral procedures were performed in 49.2% of cases; in the other 50.8%, most of the oral procedures reported were endodontic intervention and temporary restorations. Primary molars were involved in 48.4% of cases. With the exception of “sex”, the independent variables tested in the regression analysis significantly associated with non-performance of oral procedures: age (OR 0.7; 95% CI 0.5–0.8), radiography request (OR 3.8; 95% CI 1.7–8.2), medication prescribed (OR 7.5; 95% CI 4.9–11.5) and patient referred to another service (OR 5.7; 3.0–10.9). Many children with toothache received no oral procedure for pain relief. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social and Environmental Determinants of Oral Health)
Open AccessArticle Study of Epigenetic Properties of Poly(HexaMethylene Biguanide) Hydrochloride (PHMB)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8069-8092; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808069
Received: 23 March 2014 / Revised: 1 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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Abstract
Poly(HexaMethylene Biguanide) hydrochloride (PHMB) CAS No. [32289-58-0] is a particularly effective member of the biguanides antiseptic chemical group, and has been in use since the early fifties in numerous applications. It has been proposed that PHMB be classified as a category 3 carcinogen
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Poly(HexaMethylene Biguanide) hydrochloride (PHMB) CAS No. [32289-58-0] is a particularly effective member of the biguanides antiseptic chemical group, and has been in use since the early fifties in numerous applications. It has been proposed that PHMB be classified as a category 3 carcinogen although PHMB is not genotoxic. It has been hypothesized that PHMB may have epigenetic properties effects, including non-genotoxic modifications of DNA bases, DNA methylation and mitogenic cytokine production. These properties have been assessed in vitro using 3 cell types: Caco-2 cells (from a human colon adenocarcinoma) with a non-functional p53 gene. (∆p53: mut p53), N2-A (Neuro-2A cells, mouse neural cells), the brain being a possible target organ in rodents and HepG2 cells (human hepatocellular carcinoma) with functional p53 gene. From the concentration 1 µg/mL up to 20 µg/mL of PHMB, no effect was observed, either growth stimulation or inhibition. Viability testing using neutral red led to an IC 50 of 20–25 µg/mL after treatment with PHMB for 3 h, whereas the MTT test led to IC50 values of 80 µg/mL, 160 µg/mL and 160 µg/mL respectively for HepG2 cells, Neuro-2A cells and Caco-2 cells. PHMB does not induce significant oxidative stress (production of MDA or lipoperoxidation, nor does it induce hydroxylation of DNA (8-OH-dG) and/or its hypermethylation (m5dC), the latter being strongly implicated in DNA replication and regulation and cell division. PHMB does not induce significant production of mitogenic cytokines such as TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor), interleukins (IL-1 alpha), and the transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) which can cause either apoptosis or stimulate the growth of transformed cells or tumors. Instead, from concentrations of 20 to 100 µg/mL, PHMB kills cells of all types in less than 3 h. The expression of genes involved in the mechanisms of cell death induced by PHMB, including p53, the pro apoptotic gene bax and others, the anti-apoptotic bcl-2 and caspase-3 has been evaluated by RT-PCR. Finally, the status of GAP-junctions (GJIC) in the presence of PHMB has been determined and appeared to not be significantly affected. Taken together the data show that in vitro PHMB does not exhibit clear and remarkable epigenetic properties except a slight increase of some cytokines and transcription factor at higher concentrations at which cell lysis occurs rapidly. Full article
Open AccessArticle Physical Activity and the Perceived Neighbourhood Environment — Looking at the Association the Other Way Around
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8093-8111; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808093
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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Abstract
The association between physical activity (PA) and variables of the perceived environment mainly originate from cross-sectional studies that introduced the idea that the environment influences the PA level of residents. However, the direction of cause and effect has not been solved with finality.
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The association between physical activity (PA) and variables of the perceived environment mainly originate from cross-sectional studies that introduced the idea that the environment influences the PA level of residents. However, the direction of cause and effect has not been solved with finality. The aim of this study was to investigate whether residents’ perception of their proximate environment differs depending on their level of PA in transport and recreation. We conducted a cross-sectional survey with residents of six different parts of the city of Cologne, Germany. The sample of 470 adults (52.8% females; mean age = 35.5 ± 13.8 years) filled in the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ), as well as the European Environmental Questionnaire ALPHA. To distinguish between residents with “low” and “high” PA, we split the samples into two on the basis of the specific median in transport- and recreation-related PA. In the “high” vs. “low” PA group of the overall sample, we noted 4%–16% more “PA favourable” environmental perceptions in seven of the 15 environmental variables. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to investigate associations of socio-demographic correlates and transport- and recreation-related PA on the dependent variables of the environmental perception. In this case, levels of PA were significant predictors for eight of the 15 items concerning environmental perceptions. Thus, the present study introduces the idea that residents with higher levels of transport and recreational PA may perceive their environment in a more “PA-favourable” way than residents with lower levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Atopic Diseases and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: An Epidemiological Study of the Risks and Correlations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8112-8122; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808112
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
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Abstract
Both atopic diseases and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are immune disorders that may lead to physical complications or multi-system comorbidities. This population-based case-control study was designed to evaluate the risk of SLE associated with atopic diseases. Using a national insurance claims dataset in
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Both atopic diseases and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) are immune disorders that may lead to physical complications or multi-system comorbidities. This population-based case-control study was designed to evaluate the risk of SLE associated with atopic diseases. Using a national insurance claims dataset in Taiwan, we identified 1673 patients newly diagnosed with SLE and 6692 randomly selected controls frequency matched for gender, age and index date. The odds ratios (OR) for SLE were calculated for associations with allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, atopic dermatitis and asthma. The SLE patients were predominantly female (82.5%) with a mean age of 40.1 (SD = 18.2). The patients with SLE had a higher rate of atopic dermatitis (6.81% vs. 3.06%), and asthma (10.6% vs. 7.64%) was approximately 2 times more common in the patients with lupus than in those without. The patients with atopic disease (atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis and asthma) were at a significant risk for SLE. The overall risk for SLE increased as the number of atopic diseases increased from 1.46 to 2.29, compared with—individuals without the diseases (p < 0.0001). In conclusion, this population-based case-control study demonstrates a significant relationship between atopic diseases and the risk of SLE, especially for females. Atopic dermatitis plays a stronger role than other types of atopic disease in association with SLE. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Association between Season of Pregnancy and Birth-Sex among Chinese
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8166-8174; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808166
Received: 11 July 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
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Abstract
Objective: although numerous studies have reported the association between birth season and sex ratio, few studies have been conducted in subtropical regions in a non-Western setting. The present study assessed the effects of pregnancy season on birth sex ratio in China. Methods
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Objective: although numerous studies have reported the association between birth season and sex ratio, few studies have been conducted in subtropical regions in a non-Western setting. The present study assessed the effects of pregnancy season on birth sex ratio in China. Methods: We conducted a national population-based retrospective study from 2006–2008 with 3175 children-parents pairs enrolled in the Northeast regions of China. Demographics and data relating to pregnancy and birth were collected and analyzed. A multiple logistical regression model was fitted to estimate the regression coefficient and 95% confidence interval (CI) of refractive error for mother pregnancy season, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: After adjusting for parental age (cut-off point was 30 years), region, nationality, mother education level, and mother miscarriage history, there is a significant statistical different mother pregnancy season on birth-sex. Compared with mothers who were pregnant in spring, those pregnant in summer or winter had a high probability of delivering girls (p < 0.05). The birth-sex ratio varied with months. Conclusions: Our results suggested that mothers pregnant in summer and winter were more likely to deliver girls, compared with those pregnant in spring. Pregnancy season may play an important role in the birth-sex. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Toxicological Effects of Nickel Chloride on IgA+ B Cells and sIgA, IgA, IgG, IgM in the Intestinal Mucosal Immunity in Broilers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8175-8192; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808175
Received: 23 May 2014 / Revised: 15 July 2014 / Accepted: 25 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
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Abstract
The objective of this study was to investigate the toxicological effects of dietary NiCl2 on IgA+ B cells and the immunoglobulins including sIgA, IgA, IgG and IgM in the small intestine and cecal tonsil of broilers by the methods of immunohistochemistry
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The objective of this study was to investigate the toxicological effects of dietary NiCl2 on IgA+ B cells and the immunoglobulins including sIgA, IgA, IgG and IgM in the small intestine and cecal tonsil of broilers by the methods of immunohistochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Two hundred and forty one-day-old avian broilers were randomly divided into four groups and fed on a control diet and three experimental diets supplemented with 300, 600, and 900 mg/kg NiCl2 for 42 days. Compared with the control group, the IgA+ B cell number and the sIgA, IgA, IgG, and IgM contents in the NiCl2-treated groups were significantly decreased (p < 0.05 or p < 0.01). It was concluded that dietary NiCl2 in the excess of 300 mg/kg had negative effects on the IgA+ B cell number and the abovementioned immunoglobulin contents in the small intestine and the cecal tonsil. NiCl2-reduced sIgA, IgA, IgG and IgM contents is due to decrease in the population and/or the activation of B cell. The results suggest that NiCl2 at high levels has intestinal mucosal humoral immunotoxicity in animals. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence and Antibiogram Profiling of Escherichia coli Pathotypes Isolated from the Kat River and the Fort Beaufort Abstraction Water
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8213-8227; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808213
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 22 July 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
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Abstract
Escherichia coli is a widespread bacterium encompassing a variety of strains, ranging from highly pathogenic strains, causing worldwide outbreaks of severe diseases to avirulent, well characterized safe laboratory strains. This study evaluated the prevalence and antibiogram profiles of E. coli pathotypes isolated from
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Escherichia coli is a widespread bacterium encompassing a variety of strains, ranging from highly pathogenic strains, causing worldwide outbreaks of severe diseases to avirulent, well characterized safe laboratory strains. This study evaluated the prevalence and antibiogram profiles of E. coli pathotypes isolated from the Kat River and Fort Beaufort abstraction water. A total of 171 out of 278 confirmed E. coli isolates were positive for at least one pathogenic determinant and these included enteropathogenic E. coli (6%), enterotoxigenic E. coli (47%), uropathogenic E. coli (2%), neonatal meningitis E. coli (5%), diffusely adherent E. coli (1%) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (1%). Interestingly, enteroinvasive and enteroaggregative E. coli were not detected. The phenotypic antibiogram profiles of the isolates revealed that all were resistant to penicillin G, while 98% and 38% of the pathotypes were resistant to ampicillin and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole, respectively. About 8% of the isolates were resistant to streptomycin. More than half of the isolates exhibited multiple antibiotic resistance with 44% being resistant to three antibiotics and 8% resistant to four antibiotics. We conclude that the Kat River is a reservoir of potentially virulent antibiotic resistant E. coli strains that can cause serious health risks to humans who drink raw water from this river, or in the case that consumption of treated drinking water coincides with failed drinking water processes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Household Uptake of Improved Solid Fuel Stoves in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Qualitative Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8228-8250; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808228
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
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Abstract
Household burning of solid fuels in traditional stoves is detrimental to health, the environment and development. A range of improved solid fuel stoves (IS) are available but little is known about successful approaches to dissemination. This qualitative systematic review aimed to identify factors
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Household burning of solid fuels in traditional stoves is detrimental to health, the environment and development. A range of improved solid fuel stoves (IS) are available but little is known about successful approaches to dissemination. This qualitative systematic review aimed to identify factors that influence household uptake of IS in low- and middle-income countries. Extensive searches were carried out and studies were screened and extracted using established systematic review methods. Fourteen qualitative studies from Asia, Africa and Latin-America met the inclusion criteria. Thematic synthesis was used to synthesise data and findings are presented under seven framework domains. Findings relate to user and stakeholder perceptions and highlight the importance of cost, good stove design, fuel and time savings, health benefits, being able to cook traditional dishes and cleanliness in relation to uptake. Creating demand, appropriate approaches to business, and community involvement, are also discussed. Achieving and sustaining uptake is complex and requires consideration of a broad range of factors, which operate at household, community, regional and national levels. Initiatives aimed at IS scale up should include quantitative evaluations of effectiveness, supplemented with qualitative studies to assess factors affecting uptake, with an equity focus. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cancer Screening among Immigrants Living in Urban and Regional Australia: Results from the 45 and Up Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8251-8266; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808251
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 6 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over 25% of the Australian population are immigrants, and are less active participants in cancer screening programmes. Most immigrants live in urban areas of Australia, but a significant proportion (~20%), live in regional areas. This study explored differences in cancer screening participation by
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Over 25% of the Australian population are immigrants, and are less active participants in cancer screening programmes. Most immigrants live in urban areas of Australia, but a significant proportion (~20%), live in regional areas. This study explored differences in cancer screening participation by place of birth and residence. Self-reported use of mammogram, faecal occult blood test (FOBT), and/or prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests was obtained from 48,642 immigrants and 141,275 Australian-born participants aged 50 years or older in the 45 and Up Study (New South Wales, Australia 2006–2010). Poisson regression was used to estimate relative risks of test use, adjusting for key socio-demographic characteristics. Overall, immigrants from Asia and Europe were less likely to have had any of the tests in the previous two years than Australian-born participants. Regional Australian-born participants were more likely to have had any of the tests than those living in urban areas. Regional immigrant participants were more likely to have had an FOBT or PSA test than those living in urban areas, but there were no differences in mammograms. This report identifies key immigrant groups in urban and regional areas that policymakers and healthcare providers should target with culturally appropriate information to promote cancer screening. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessCommunication Pediatric Exposure to Drugs of Abuse by Hair Testing: Monitoring 15 Years of Evolution in Spain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8267-8275; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808267
Received: 9 July 2014 / Revised: 6 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 14 August 2014
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Abstract
Hair testing is a useful tool to investigate the prevalence of unsuspected chronic exposure to drugs of abuse in pediatric populations and it has been applied to three different cohorts of children from Barcelona, Spain along fifteen years to evaluate eventual changes in
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Hair testing is a useful tool to investigate the prevalence of unsuspected chronic exposure to drugs of abuse in pediatric populations and it has been applied to three different cohorts of children from Barcelona, Spain along fifteen years to evaluate eventual changes in this exposure. Children were recruited from three independent studies performed at Hospital del Mar (Barcelona, Spain) and approved by the local Ethics Committee. Hair samples were collected from the first 187 children cohort (around 4 years of age) in 1998, from the second 90 children cohort (1.5–5 years of age) in 2008 and from the third 114 children cohort (5–14 years of age) in 2013. Hair samples were analysed for the presence of opiates, cocaine, amphetamines, and cannabis by validated methodologies using gas or liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Familiar sociodemographics and eventual consumption of drugs of abuse by parents, and caregivers were recorded. Hair samples from 24.6% children in 1998 were positive for any drug of abuse (23.0% cocaine), 25.5% in 2008 (23.3% cocaine), and 28.1% in 2013 (20.1% cocaine and 11.4% cannabis). In none of the cohorts, parental sociodemographics were associated with children exposure to drugs of abuse. The results of the three study cohorts demonstrated a significant prevalence of unsuspected pediatric exposure to drugs of abuse which mainly involved cocaine maintained along fifteen years in Barcelona, Spain. We recommend to be aware about unsuspected passive exposure to drugs of abuse in general population and to use general or selected hair screening to disclose exposure to drugs of abuse in children from risky environments to provide the basis for specific social and health interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Substance and Drug Abuse Prevention)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Bikeability in a Suburban Metropolitan Area Using the Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES)
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8276-8300; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808276
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 11 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
Background and Aim: Commuting by bicycle could contribute to public health, and route environments may influence this behaviour. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the potential associations between appraisals of the overall route environment as hindering or stimulating for bicycle
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Background and Aim: Commuting by bicycle could contribute to public health, and route environments may influence this behaviour. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the potential associations between appraisals of the overall route environment as hindering or stimulating for bicycle commuting, with both perceptions of commuting route environmental factors in a suburban area and background factors. Methods: The Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES) was used for the assessment of bicycle commuters’ perceptions and appraisals of their route environments in the suburban parts of Greater Stockholm, Sweden. A simultaneous multiple regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between the outcome variable whether the overall route environment hinders or stimulates bicycle commuting and environmental factors (e.g., exhaust fumes, speeds of motor vehicles, greenery), as well as background factors (sex, age, education, income) as predictor variables. Results and Conclusions: The results indicate that in suburban areas, the factors aesthetics, greenery and bicycle paths seem to be, independently of each other, stimulating factors for bicycle commuting. On the other hand, flows of motor vehicles, noise, and low “directness” of the route seem to be hindering factors. A comparison of these results with those obtained from an inner urban area points to the importance of studying different types of built-up areas separately. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Socioeconomic Factors and Vulnerability to Outbreaks of Leptospirosis in Nicaragua
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8301-8318; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808301
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
Leptospirosis is an epidemic-prone zoonotic disease that occurs worldwide, with more than 500,000 human cases reported annually. It is influenced by environmental and socioeconomic factors that affect the occurrence of outbreaks and the incidence of the disease. Critical areas and potential drivers for
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Leptospirosis is an epidemic-prone zoonotic disease that occurs worldwide, with more than 500,000 human cases reported annually. It is influenced by environmental and socioeconomic factors that affect the occurrence of outbreaks and the incidence of the disease. Critical areas and potential drivers for leptospirosis outbreaks have been identified in Nicaragua, where several conditions converge and create an appropriate scenario for the development of leptospirosis. The objectives of this study were to explore possible socioeconomic variables related to leptospirosis critical areas and to construct and validate a vulnerability index based on municipal socioeconomic indicators. Municipalities with lower socioeconomic status (greater unsatisfied basic needs for quality of the household and for sanitary services, and higher extreme poverty and illiteracy rates) were identified with the highest leptospirosis rates. The municipalities with highest local vulnerability index should be the priority for intervention. A distinction between risk given by environmental factors and vulnerability to risk given by socioeconomic conditions was shown as important, which also applies to the “causes of outbreaks” and “causes of cases”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospirosis in the Animal—Human-Ecosystem Interface)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Safety of Excreta Disposal Behavior in India with the New Safe San Index: Reliability, Validity and Utility
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8319-8346; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808319
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Methods to assess household excreta disposal practices are critical for informing public health outcomes of efforts to improve sanitation in developing countries. We present a new metric, the Safe San Index (SSI), to quantify the hygienic safety of a household’s defecation and human
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Methods to assess household excreta disposal practices are critical for informing public health outcomes of efforts to improve sanitation in developing countries. We present a new metric, the Safe San Index (SSI), to quantify the hygienic safety of a household’s defecation and human feces disposal practices in India, where behavioral outcomes from on-going public expenditures to construct household sanitation facilities and eliminate open defecation are poorly measured. We define hygienic safety of feces disposal as capture in a hygienic sanitation facility. The SSI consists of 15 self-report items and two sub-scales, Latrine Use Frequency and Seven-Day Open Defecation Rate. Households are scored on a standardized scale from 0 (no defecation safely captured) to 100 (all defecation safely captured). We present results of a pilot study in Odisha, India to apply the Index to assess excreta disposal behaviors among rural households and evaluate the reliability and validity of the Index for estimating the rate of correct and consistent sanitation facility usage of household with an improved latrine. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dietary Exposure of Nigerians to Mutagens and Estrogen-Like Chemicals
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8347-8367; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808347
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
Food and drinking water are poorly delineated sources of human exposure to chemical food mutagens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. In this study, we investigated the presence of mutagens and chemicals exhibiting estrogenic activity in the daily diet of Nigerians, using in vitro assays. Commercially
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Food and drinking water are poorly delineated sources of human exposure to chemical food mutagens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. In this study, we investigated the presence of mutagens and chemicals exhibiting estrogenic activity in the daily diet of Nigerians, using in vitro assays. Commercially processed foods or snacks and various brands of pure water sachets were extracted by solid-phase extraction and liquid-liquid extraction, respectively. Mutagenicity was determined by the conventional Ames test and two complementary assays on two strains of Salmonella (TA 100 and TA 98), while the estrogenic activity was assessed by a yeast bioluminescent assay, using two recombinant yeast strains (Saccharomyces cerevisiae BMAEREluc/ERα and S. cerevisiae BMA64/luc). A third of the food varieties investigated (chin-chin, hamburger, suya and bean cake) were mutagenic in all three assays, either in the presence or absence of S9 mix. Of the packed water samples, five out of the sixteen investigated (31%), were found to be estrogenic, with estradiol and bisphenol A equivalents ranging from 0.79 to 44.0 ng/L and 124.2 to 1,000.8 ng/L, respectively. Hence, although the current situation in Nigeria does not appear to be substantially worse than, e.g., in Europe, regular monitoring is warranted in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health)
Open AccessArticle Utility and Cutoff Value of Hair Nicotine as a Biomarker of Long-Term Tobacco Smoke Exposure, Compared to Salivary Cotinine
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8368-8382; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808368
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (735 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While hair samples are easier to collect and less expensive to store and transport than biological fluids, and hair nicotine characterizes tobacco exposure over a longer time period than blood or urine cotinine, information on its utility, compared with salivary cotinine, is still
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While hair samples are easier to collect and less expensive to store and transport than biological fluids, and hair nicotine characterizes tobacco exposure over a longer time period than blood or urine cotinine, information on its utility, compared with salivary cotinine, is still limited. We conducted a cross-sectional study with 289 participants (107 active smokers, 105 passive smokers with self-reported secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure, and 77 non-smokers with no SHS exposure) in Baltimore (Maryland, USA). A subset of the study participants (n = 52) were followed longitudinally over a two-month interval.  Median baseline hair nicotine concentrations for active, passive and non-smokers were 16.2, 0.36, and 0.23 ng/mg, respectively, while those for salivary cotinine were 181.0, 0.27, and 0.27 ng/mL, respectively. Hair nicotine concentrations for 10% of passive or non-smokers were higher than the 25th percentile value for active smokers while all corresponding salivary cotinine concentrations for them were lower than the value for active smokers. This study showed that hair nicotine concentration values could be used to distinguish active or heavy passive adult smokers from non-SHS exposed non-smokers. Our results indicate that hair nicotine is a useful biomarker for the assessment of long-term exposure to tobacco smoke. Full article
Open AccessArticle Practical Barriers and Ethical Challenges in Genetic Data Sharing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8383-8398; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808383
Received: 1 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
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Abstract
The underlying ethos of dbGaP is that access to these data by secondary data analysts facilitates advancement of science. NIH has required that genome-wide association study data be deposited in the Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) since 2003. In 2013, a proposed
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The underlying ethos of dbGaP is that access to these data by secondary data analysts facilitates advancement of science. NIH has required that genome-wide association study data be deposited in the Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP) since 2003. In 2013, a proposed updated policy extended this requirement to next-generation sequencing data. However, recent literature and anecdotal reports suggest lingering logistical and ethical concerns about subject identifiability, informed consent, publication embargo enforcement, and difficulty in accessing dbGaP data. We surveyed the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES) membership about their experiences. One hundred and seventy five (175) individuals completed the survey, a response rate of 27%. Of respondents who received data from dbGaP (43%), only 32% perceived the application process as easy but most (75%) received data within five months. Remaining challenges include difficulty in identifying an institutional signing official and an overlong application process. Only 24% of respondents had contributed data to dbGaP. Of these, 31% reported local IRB restrictions on data release; an additional 15% had to reconsent study participants before depositing data. The majority of respondents (56%) disagreed that the publication embargo period was sufficient. In response, we recommend longer embargo periods and use of varied data-sharing models rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Epidemiology)
Open AccessArticle Maternal Mercury Exposure, Season of Conception and Adverse Birth Outcomes in an Urban Immigrant Community in Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8414-8442; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808414
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
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Abstract
Adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth (PTB: <37 weeks gestation) and low birth weight (LBW: <2500 g) can result in severe infant morbidity and mortality. In the United States, there are racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence of PTB and LBW. We
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Adverse birth outcomes including preterm birth (PTB: <37 weeks gestation) and low birth weight (LBW: <2500 g) can result in severe infant morbidity and mortality. In the United States, there are racial and ethnic differences in the prevalence of PTB and LBW. We investigated the association between PTB and LBW with prenatal mercury (Hg) exposure and season of conception in an urban immigrant community in Brooklyn, New York. We recruited 191 pregnant women aged 18–45 in a Brooklyn Prenatal Clinic and followed them until delivery. Urine specimens were collected from the participants during the 6th to 9th month of pregnancy. Cord blood specimens and neonate anthropometric data were collected at birth. We used multivariate logistic regression models to investigate the odds of LBW or PTB with either maternal urinary mercury or neonate cord blood mercury. We used linear regression models to investigate the association between continuous anthropometric outcomes and maternal urinary mercury or neonate cord blood mercury. We also examined the association between LBW and PTB and the season that pregnancy began. Results showed higher rates of PTB and LBW in this cohort of women compared to other studies. Pregnancies beginning in winter (December, January, February) were at increased odds of LBW births compared with births from pregnancies that began in all other months (OR7.52 [95% CI 1.65, 34.29]). We observed no association between maternal exposure to Hg, and either LBW or PTB. The apparent lack of association is consistent with other studies. Further examination of seasonal association with LBW is warranted. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Joint Influence of Gender and Amount of Smoking on Weight Gain One Year after Smoking Cessation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8443-8455; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808443
Received: 27 May 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 18 August 2014
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Abstract
Weight gain is often associated with smoking cessation and may discourage smokers from quitting. This study estimated the weight gained one year after smoking cessation and examined the risk factors associated with weight gain in order to identify socio-demographic groups at higher risk
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Weight gain is often associated with smoking cessation and may discourage smokers from quitting. This study estimated the weight gained one year after smoking cessation and examined the risk factors associated with weight gain in order to identify socio-demographic groups at higher risk of increased weight after quitting. We analyzed data from 750 adults in two randomized controlled studies that included smokers motivated to quit and found a gradient in weight gain according to the actual duration of abstinence during follow-up. Subjects who were abstinent for at least 40 weeks gained 4.6 kg (SD = 3.8) on average, compared to 1.2 kg (SD = 2.6) for those who were abstinent less than 20 weeks during the 1-year follow-up. Considering the duration of abstinence as an exposure variable, we found an age effect and a significant interaction between sex and the amount of smoking before quitting: younger subjects gained more weight than older subjects; among light smokers, men gained more weight on average than women one year after quitting, while the opposite was observed among heavy smokers. Young women smoking heavily at baseline had the highest risk of weight gain after quitting. Full article
Open AccessArticle Size Matters — Determinants of Modern, Community-Oriented Mental Health Services
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8456-8474; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808456
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 8 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Abstract
Governances, structures and contents of mental health services are being reformed across countries. There is a need for data to support those changes. The aim of this study was to explore the quality, i.e., diversity and community orientation, and quantity, i.e.,
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Governances, structures and contents of mental health services are being reformed across countries. There is a need for data to support those changes. The aim of this study was to explore the quality, i.e., diversity and community orientation, and quantity, i.e., personnel resources, of mental health and substance abuse services (MHS) and evaluate correlation between population needs and quality and quantity of MHS. The European Service Mapping Schedule—Revised (ESMS-R) was used to classify mental health and substance abuse services in southern Finland. Municipal-level aggregate data, local data on unemployment rate, length of education, age of retirement, proportion of single households, alcohol sales and a composite mental health index were used as indicators of population mental health needs. Population size correlated strongly with service diversity, explaining 84% of the variance. Personnel resources did not associate with diversity or community orientation. The indicators of mental health services need did not have the expected association with quality and quantity of services. In terms of service organization, the results may support larger population bases, at least 150,000 adult inhabitants, when aiming for higher diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
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Open AccessArticle The Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project — A Community-Level, Public Health Initiative to Build Community Disaster Resilience
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8475-8490; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808475
Received: 20 June 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Abstract
Public health officials need evidence-based methods for improving community disaster resilience and strategies for measuring results. This methods paper describes how one public health department is addressing this problem. This paper provides a detailed description of the theoretical rationale, intervention design and novel
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Public health officials need evidence-based methods for improving community disaster resilience and strategies for measuring results. This methods paper describes how one public health department is addressing this problem. This paper provides a detailed description of the theoretical rationale, intervention design and novel evaluation of the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience Project (LACCDR), a public health program for increasing community disaster resilience. The LACCDR Project utilizes a pretest–posttest method with control group design. Sixteen communities in Los Angeles County were selected and randomly assigned to the experimental community resilience group or the comparison group. Community coalitions in the experimental group receive training from a public health nurse trained in community resilience in a toolkit developed for the project. The toolkit is grounded in theory and uses multiple components to address education, community engagement, community and individual self-sufficiency, and partnerships among community organizations and governmental agencies. The comparison communities receive training in traditional disaster preparedness topics of disaster supplies and emergency communication plans. Outcome indicators include longitudinal changes in inter-organizational linkages among community organizations, community member responses in table-top exercises, and changes in household level community resilience behaviors and attitudes. The LACCDR Project is a significant opportunity and effort to operationalize and meaningfully measure factors and strategies to increase community resilience. This paper is intended to provide public health and academic researchers with new tools to conduct their community resilience programs and evaluation research. Results are not yet available and will be presented in future reports. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparedness and Emergency Response)
Open AccessArticle Effects and Risk Evaluation of Oil Spillage in the Sea Areas of Changxing Island
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8491-8507; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808491
Received: 12 May 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 1 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Abstract
This paper evaluated the oil spillage risk in the waters near the island of Changxing in Dalian (China) based on the established risk assessment index. Four wind regimes (windless, northerly wind, westerly wind and southerly wind) were selected as weather conditions for the
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This paper evaluated the oil spillage risk in the waters near the island of Changxing in Dalian (China) based on the established risk assessment index. Four wind regimes (windless, northerly wind, westerly wind and southerly wind) were selected as weather conditions for the dynamic prediction of oil drift. If an oil spill occurs near the Koumen (a place near the island of Changxing), the forecast and evaluation are conducted based on a three-dimensional mathematical model of oil spillage, and the results obtained show the scope of the affected area when winds from various directions are applied. The oil spillage would, under various conditions, flow into the northern and western sea area of Changxing Island Bay, namely the Dalian harbor seal National Nature Reserve, and create adverse effects on the marine ecological environment. The rationality of combining the established oil spillage risk comprehensive index system with model prediction is further confirmed. Finally, preventive measures and quick fixes are presented in the case of accidental oil spillages. The most effective method to reduce environment risk is to adopt reasonable preventive measures and quick fixes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparedness and Emergency Response)
Open AccessArticle Research on Chinese Life Cycle-Based Wind Power Plant Environmental Influence Prevention Measures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8508-8528; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808508
Received: 7 July 2014 / Revised: 8 August 2014 / Accepted: 11 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
PDF Full-text (806 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental impact of wind power plants over their life cycle is divided into three stages: construction period, operation period and retired period. The impact is mainly reflected in ecological destruction, noise pollution, water pollution and the effect on bird migration. In response
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The environmental impact of wind power plants over their life cycle is divided into three stages: construction period, operation period and retired period. The impact is mainly reflected in ecological destruction, noise pollution, water pollution and the effect on bird migration. In response to these environmental effects, suggesting reasonable locations, reducing plant footprint, optimizing construction programs, shielding noise, preventing pollution of terrestrial ecosystems, implementing combined optical and acoustical early warning signals, making synthesized use of power generation equipment in the post-retired period and using other specific measures, including methods involving governance and protection efforts to reduce environmental pollution, can be performed to achieve sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Early Warning System Based on Syndromic Surveillance to Detect Potential Health Emergencies among Migrants: Results of a Two-Year Experience in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8529-8541; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808529
Received: 26 June 2014 / Revised: 29 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (308 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Profound geopolitical changes have impacted the southern and eastern Mediterranean since 2010 and defined a context of instability that is still affecting several countries today. Insecurity combined with the reduction of border controls has led to major population movements in the region and
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Profound geopolitical changes have impacted the southern and eastern Mediterranean since 2010 and defined a context of instability that is still affecting several countries today. Insecurity combined with the reduction of border controls has led to major population movements in the region and to migration surges from affected countries to southern Europe, especially to Italy. To respond to the humanitarian emergency triggered by this migration surge, Italy implemented a syndromic surveillance system in order to rapidly detect potential public health emergencies in immigrant reception centres. This system was discontinued after two years. This paper presents the results of this experience detailing its strengths and weaknesses in order to document the applicability and usefulness of syndromic surveillance in this specific context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Human Leptospirosis Trends: Northeast Thailand, 2001–2012
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8542-8551; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808542
Received: 29 May 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (422 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study was to determine the changing trend of leptospirosis over time in Thailand using two prospective hospital-based studies conducted amongst adult patients with acute undifferentiated fever (AUFI) admitted to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand between July
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The objective of this study was to determine the changing trend of leptospirosis over time in Thailand using two prospective hospital-based studies conducted amongst adult patients with acute undifferentiated fever (AUFI) admitted to Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand between July 2001 to December 2002 and between July 2011 to December 2012. During the first period, leptospirosis (98 patients, 40%) and scrub typhus (59 patients, 24.1%) were the two major causes of AUFI. In the second period, scrub typhus (137 patients, 28.3%) was found to be more common than leptospirosis (61 patients, 12.7%). Amongst patients with leptospirosis, the proportion of male patients and the median age were similar. Leptospira interrogans serogroup Autumnalis was the major infecting serogroup in both study periods. The case fatality rate of leptospirosis was significantly higher in 2011–2012 as compared with the case fatality rate in 2001–2002 (19.7% vs. 6.3%, p < 0.001). In summary, we found that number of leptospirosis cases had decreased over time. This trend is similar to reportable data for leptospirosis complied from passive surveillance by the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. However, the case fatality rate of severe leptospirosis has increased. Severe lung hemorrhage associated with leptospirosis remained the major cause of death. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Leptospirosis in the Animal—Human-Ecosystem Interface)
Open AccessArticle HIV Risky Sexual Behaviors and HIV Infection Among Immigrants: A Cross-Sectional Study in Lisbon, Portugal
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8552-8566; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808552
Received: 1 July 2014 / Revised: 23 July 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
PDF Full-text (661 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study aimed to examine risky sexual behavior, its associated factors and HIV infection among immigrants. A participatory cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1187 immigrants at the National Immigrant Support Centre, in Lisbon (52.2% female; 34.0% Africans, 33.8% Brazilians, 32.2% Eastern Europeans). About
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This study aimed to examine risky sexual behavior, its associated factors and HIV infection among immigrants. A participatory cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1187 immigrants at the National Immigrant Support Centre, in Lisbon (52.2% female; 34.0% Africans, 33.8% Brazilians, 32.2% Eastern Europeans). About 38% of participants reported ≥2 sexual partners in the previous year, 16.2% both regular and occasional sexual partners (last 12 months), 33.1% inconsistent condom use with occasional partners, and 64% no condom use in the last sexual intercourse. Unprotected sex in the last sexual intercourse was more likely among women, Africans, those older, with elementary education, those married and those who didn’t receive free condoms in the previous year. No condom use was less likely among those having only occasional sexual partners and both regular and occasional sexual partners. One third of participants had never been tested for HIV. Those never tested reported more frequently inconsistent condom use than those ever tested. Overall, 2.0% reported being HIV positive (2.5% of men; 4.4% of Africans); 4.3% admitted having a STI in previous year. HIV-positive immigrants reported high-risk sexual behaviors. Tailored interventions to promote awareness of HIV serostatus among immigrants as well as culturally adapted risk reduction strategies should be strengthened. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessArticle Histological Lesions, Cell Cycle Arrest, Apoptosis and T Cell Subsets Changes of Spleen in Chicken Fed Aflatoxin-contaminated Corn
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8567-8580; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808567
Received: 11 July 2014 / Revised: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 5 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of corn naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B2 on pathological lesions, apoptosis, cell cycle phases and T lymphocyte subsets of spleen, and to provide an experimental basis for understanding the mechanism
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of corn naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B2 on pathological lesions, apoptosis, cell cycle phases and T lymphocyte subsets of spleen, and to provide an experimental basis for understanding the mechanism of aflatoxin-induced immunosuppression. A total of 900 COBB500 male broilers were randomly allocated into five groups with six replicates per group and 30 birds per replicate. The experiment lasted for 6 weeks and the five dietary treatments consisted of control, 25% contaminated corn, 50% contaminated corn, 75% contaminated corn and 100% contaminated corn groups. The histopathological spleen lesions from the contaminated corn groups was characterized as congestion of red pulp, increased necrotic cells and vacuoles in the splenic corpuscle and periarterial lymphatic sheath. The contaminated corn intake significantly increased relative weight of spleen, percentages of apoptotic splenocytes, induced cell cycle arrest of splenocytes, increased the percentages of CD3+CD8+ T cells and decreased the ratios of CD3+CD4+ to CD3+CD8+. The results suggest that AFB-induced immunosuppression maybe closely related to the lesions of spleen. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influence of Surfactant and Lipid Type on the Physicochemical Properties and Biocompatibility of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8581-8596; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808581
Received: 30 June 2014 / Revised: 4 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 20 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (839 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nine types of solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN) formulations were produced using tripalmitin (TPM), glyceryl monostearate (GM) or stearic acid (SA), stabilized with lecithin S75 and polysorbate 80. Formulations were prepared presenting PI values within 0.25 to 0.30, and the physicochemical properties, stability upon
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Nine types of solid lipid nanoparticle (SLN) formulations were produced using tripalmitin (TPM), glyceryl monostearate (GM) or stearic acid (SA), stabilized with lecithin S75 and polysorbate 80. Formulations were prepared presenting PI values within 0.25 to 0.30, and the physicochemical properties, stability upon storage and biocompatibility were evaluated. The average particle size ranged from 116 to 306 nm, with a negative surface charge around −11 mV. SLN presented good stability up to 60 days. The SLN manufactured using SA could not be measured by DLS due to the reflective feature of this formulation. However, TEM images revealed that SA nanoparticles presented square/rod shapes with an approximate size of 100 nm. Regarding biocompatibility aspects, SA nanoparticles showed toxicity in fibroblasts, causing cell death, and produced high hemolytic rates, indicating toxicity to red blood cells. This finding might be related to lipid type, as well as, the shape of the nanoparticles. No morphological alterations and hemolytic effects were observed in cells incubated with SLN containing TPM and GM. The SLN containing TPM and GM showed long-term stability, suggesting good shelf-life. The results indicate high toxicity of SLN prepared with SA, and strongly suggest that the components of the formulation should be analyzed in combination rather than separately to avoid misinterpretation of the results. Full article
Open AccessArticle Artificial Intelligence in Public Health Prevention of Legionelosis in Drinking Water Systems
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8597-8611; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808597
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 21 August 2014
PDF Full-text (503 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Good quality water supplies and safe sanitation in urban areas are a big challenge for governments throughout the world. Providing adequate water quality is a basic requirement for our lives. The colony forming units of the bacterium Legionella pneumophila in potable water represent
[...] Read more.
Good quality water supplies and safe sanitation in urban areas are a big challenge for governments throughout the world. Providing adequate water quality is a basic requirement for our lives. The colony forming units of the bacterium Legionella pneumophila in potable water represent a big problem which cannot be overlooked for health protection reasons. We analysed several methods to program a virtual hot water tank with AI (artificial intelligence) tools including neuro-fuzzy systems as a precaution against legionelosis. The main goal of this paper is to present research which simulates the temperature profile in the water tank. This research presents a tool for a water management system to simulate conditions which are able to prevent legionelosis outbreaks in a water system. The challenge is to create a virtual water tank simulator including the water environment which can simulate a situation which is common in building water distribution systems. The key feature of the presented system is its adaptation to any hot water tank. While respecting the basic parameters of hot water, a water supplier and building maintainer are required to ensure the predefined quality and water temperature at each sampling site and avoid the growth of Legionella. The presented system is one small contribution how to overcome a situation when legionelosis could find good conditions to spread and jeopardize human lives. Full article

Review

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Open AccessReview Effects of Air Pollution on the Risk of Congenital Anomalies: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7642-7668; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807642
Received: 26 May 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1939 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Congenital anomalies are the main causes of preterm and neonatal mortality and morbidity. We investigated the association between congenital anomalies and mothers’ exposure to air pollution during pregnancy by combining risk estimates for a variety of air pollutants (SO2, NO2
[...] Read more.
Congenital anomalies are the main causes of preterm and neonatal mortality and morbidity. We investigated the association between congenital anomalies and mothers’ exposure to air pollution during pregnancy by combining risk estimates for a variety of air pollutants (SO2, NO2, PM10, PM2.5, CO and O3) and anomaly defect outcomes. Seventeen articles were included in the systematic review and thirteen studies were taken into account in the meta-analysis. Combined estimated were calculated separately according to whether the exposure metric was continuous or categorical. Only one significant combination was; NO2 concentrations were significantly associated with coarctation of the aorta (OR = 1.20 per 10 ppb, 95% CI, (1.02, 1.41)). This finding could stem from strong heterogeneity in study designs. Improved exposure assessment methods, in particular more accurate spatial measurements or modeling, standardized definition of cases and of better control of confounders are highly recommended for future congenital anomalies research in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maternal and Child Health)
Open AccessReview Technologies as Support Tools for Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7767-7802; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807767
Received: 24 June 2014 / Revised: 18 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (485 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzes the technologies most widely used to work on areas affected by the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Technologies can focus on the strengths and weaknesses of this disorder as they make it possible to create controlled environments, reducing the anxiety produced
[...] Read more.
This study analyzes the technologies most widely used to work on areas affected by the Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Technologies can focus on the strengths and weaknesses of this disorder as they make it possible to create controlled environments, reducing the anxiety produced by real social situations. Extensive research has proven the efficiency of technologies as support tools for therapy and their acceptation by ASD sufferers and the people who are with them on a daily basis. This article is organized by the types of systems developed: virtual reality applications, telehealth systems, social robots and dedicated applications, all of which are classified by the areas they center on: communication, social learning and imitation skills and other ASD-associated conditions. 40.5% of the research conducted is found to be focused on communication as opposed to 37.8% focused on learning and social imitation skills and 21.6% which underlines problems associated with this disorder. Although most of the studies reveal how useful these tools are in therapy, they are generic tools for ASD sufferers in general, which means there is a lack of personalised tools to meet each person’s needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
Open AccessReview Reproductive Outcomes Associated with Noise Exposure — A Systematic Review of the Literature
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7931-7952; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807931
Received: 17 April 2014 / Revised: 8 July 2014 / Accepted: 16 July 2014 / Published: 6 August 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (254 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Introduction: High noise exposure during critical periods in gestation is a potential stressor that may result in increased risk of implantation failure, dysregulation of placentation or decrease of uterine blood flow. This paper systematically reviews published evidence on associations between reproductive outcomes
[...] Read more.
Introduction: High noise exposure during critical periods in gestation is a potential stressor that may result in increased risk of implantation failure, dysregulation of placentation or decrease of uterine blood flow. This paper systematically reviews published evidence on associations between reproductive outcomes and occupational and environmental noise exposure. Methods: The Web of Science, PubMed and Embase electronic databases were searched for papers published between 1970 to June 2014 and via colleagues. We included 14 epidemiological studies related to occupational noise exposure and nine epidemiological studies related to environmental noise exposure. There was some evidence for associations between occupational noise exposure and low birthweight, preterm birth and small for gestational age, either independently or together with other occupational risk factors. Five of six epidemiologic studies, including the two largest studies, found significant associations between lower birthweight and higher noise exposure. There were few studies on other outcomes and study design issues may have led to bias in assessments in some studies. Conclusions: There is evidence for associations between noise exposure and adverse reproductive outcomes from animal studies. Few studies in have been conducted in humans but there is some suggestive evidence of adverse associations with environmental noise from both occupational and epidemiological studies, especially for low birthweight. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sound and Health related Quality of Life)
Open AccessReview Antibiotic Use and Misuse during Pregnancy and Delivery: Benefits and Risks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7993-8009; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807993
Received: 1 June 2014 / Revised: 25 July 2014 / Accepted: 28 July 2014 / Published: 7 August 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (263 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although pregnancy is considered as a physiological state, most pregnant women in developed countries receive multiple medications to prevent maternal or neonatal complications, with antibiotics among the most frequently prescribed. During pregnancy, antibiotics are often prescribed in the context of preterm labor, intrapartum
[...] Read more.
Although pregnancy is considered as a physiological state, most pregnant women in developed countries receive multiple medications to prevent maternal or neonatal complications, with antibiotics among the most frequently prescribed. During pregnancy, antibiotics are often prescribed in the context of preterm labor, intrapartum fever, prevention of neonatal Group B Streptococcus fever, and cesarean section. Outside this period, they are commonly prescribed in the community setting for respiratory, urinary, and ear, nose and throat infection symptoms. Whereas some of the current indications have insightful reasons to justify their use, potential risks related to overuse and misuse may surpass the benefits. Of note, the recent 2014 World Health Assembly expressed serious concern regarding antibiotic resistance due to antibiotic overuse and misuse and urged immediate action to combat antibiotic resistance on a global scale. Most studies in the obstetrics field have focused on the benefits of antibiotics for short-term maternal and neonatal complications, but with very little (if any) interest in long-term consequences. Full article
Open AccessReview The Longer You Stay, the Worse Your Health? A Critical Review of the Negative Acculturation Theory among Asian Immigrants
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8038-8057; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808038
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Researchers have become increasingly interested in the health patterns of immigrants with longer residence in the United States, as this reveals the health consequences of integration processes. The negative acculturation effect has been the dominant interpretation of duration patterns, despite empirical and theoretical
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Researchers have become increasingly interested in the health patterns of immigrants with longer residence in the United States, as this reveals the health consequences of integration processes. The negative acculturation effect has been the dominant interpretation of duration patterns, despite empirical and theoretical uncertainties about this assumption. This theory assumes that immigrant health declines with longer residence in the United States because of poorer health behaviors and health risks that reflect Americanized lifestyles. This paper reviews the empirical support for the negative acculturation theory among Asian immigrants to determine if and when it is an appropriate interpretation for duration patterns. I conclude that empirical inconsistencies and methodological issues limit the negative acculturation theory as the primary interpretation for duration patterns. First, there is no consistent evidence that health behaviors decline with time. There is also substantial group heterogeneity in duration patterns as well as heterogeneity across health outcomes. The literature has not adequately addressed methodological shortcomings, such as confounding by cohort effects or non-linear duration patterns. Length of residence in the United States is still an important aspect of Asian immigrant health, but the mechanisms of this relationship are still understudied. I propose alternative frameworks between duration and health that consider environmental influences and end with future research directions to explore research gaps. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Migrant Health)
Open AccessReview Toward an Effective Long-Term Strategy for Preventing Motor Vehicle Crashes and Injuries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8123-8136; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808123
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (279 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Casualties due to motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) include some 40,000 deaths each year in the United States and one million deaths worldwide. One strategy that has been recommended for improving automobile safety is to lower speed limits and enforce them with speed cameras.
[...] Read more.
Casualties due to motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) include some 40,000 deaths each year in the United States and one million deaths worldwide. One strategy that has been recommended for improving automobile safety is to lower speed limits and enforce them with speed cameras. However, motor vehicles can be hazardous even at low speeds whereas properly protected human beings can survive high-speed crashes without injury. Emphasis on changing driver behavior as the focus for road safety improvements has been largely unsuccessful; moreover, drivers today are increasingly distracted by secondary tasks such as cell phone use and texting. Indeed, the true limiting factor in vehicular safety is the capacity of human beings to sense and process information and to make rapid decisions. Given that dramatic reductions in injuries and deaths from MVCs have occurred over the past century due to improvements in safety technology, despite increases in the number of vehicles on the road and miles driven per vehicle, we propose that an effective long-term strategy for reducing MVC-related injury would be continued technological innovation in vehicle design, aimed at progressively removing the driver from routine operational decision-making. Once this is achieved, high rates of speed could be achieved on open highways, with minimal risk of crashes and injury to occupants and pedestrians. Full article
Open AccessReview Global Monitoring of Water Supply and Sanitation: History, Methods and Future Challenges
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8137-8165; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808137
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 11 August 2014
Cited by 21 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
International monitoring of drinking water and sanitation shapes awareness of countries’ needs and informs policy, implementation and research efforts to extend and improve services. The Millennium Development Goals established global targets for drinking water and sanitation access; progress towards these targets, facilitated by
[...] Read more.
International monitoring of drinking water and sanitation shapes awareness of countries’ needs and informs policy, implementation and research efforts to extend and improve services. The Millennium Development Goals established global targets for drinking water and sanitation access; progress towards these targets, facilitated by international monitoring, has contributed to reducing the global disease burden and increasing quality of life. The experiences of the MDG period generated important lessons about the strengths and limitations of current approaches to defining and monitoring access to drinking water and sanitation. The methods by which the Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) of WHO and UNICEF tracks access and progress are based on analysis of data from household surveys and linear regression modelling of these results over time. These methods provide nationally representative and internationally comparable insights into the drinking water and sanitation facilities used by populations worldwide, but also have substantial limitations: current methods do not address water quality, equity of access, or extra-household services. Improved statistical methods are needed to better model temporal trends. This article describes and critically reviews JMP methods in detail for the first time. It also explores the impact of, and future directions for, international monitoring of drinking water and sanitation. Full article
Open AccessReview E-Health Interventions for Suicide Prevention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8193-8212; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808193
Received: 16 June 2014 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 30 July 2014 / Published: 12 August 2014
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many people at risk of suicide do not seek help before an attempt, and do not remain connected to health services following an attempt. E-health interventions are now being considered as a means to identify at-risk individuals, offer self-help through web interventions or
[...] Read more.
Many people at risk of suicide do not seek help before an attempt, and do not remain connected to health services following an attempt. E-health interventions are now being considered as a means to identify at-risk individuals, offer self-help through web interventions or to deliver proactive interventions in response to individuals’ posts on social media. In this article, we examine research studies which focus on these three aspects of suicide and the internet: the use of online screening for suicide, the effectiveness of e-health interventions aimed to manage suicidal thoughts, and newer studies which aim to proactively intervene when individuals at risk of suicide are identified by their social media postings. We conclude that online screening may have a role, although there is a need for additional robust controlled research to establish whether suicide screening can effectively reduce suicide-related outcomes, and in what settings online screening might be most effective. The effectiveness of Internet interventions may be increased if these interventions are designed to specifically target suicidal thoughts, rather than associated conditions such as depression. The evidence for the use of intervention practices using social media is possible, although validity, feasibility and implementation remains highly uncertain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mental Health Care)
Open AccessReview Impact of Bisphenol A on the Cardiovascular System — Epidemiological and Experimental Evidence and Molecular Mechanisms
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8399-8413; doi:10.3390/ijerph110808399
Received: 6 June 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 August 2014 / Published: 15 August 2014
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (385 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous plasticizing agent used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. There is well-documented and broad human exposure to BPA. The potential risk that BPA poses to the human health has attracted much attention from regulatory
[...] Read more.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous plasticizing agent used in the manufacturing of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. There is well-documented and broad human exposure to BPA. The potential risk that BPA poses to the human health has attracted much attention from regulatory agencies and the general public, and has been extensively studied. An emerging and rapidly growing area in the study of BPA’s toxicity is its impact on the cardiovascular (CV) system. Recent epidemiological studies have shown that higher urinary BPA concentration in humans is associated with various types of CV diseases, including angina, hypertension, heart attack and coronary and peripheral arterial disease. Experimental studies have demonstrated that acute BPA exposure promotes the development of arrhythmias in female rodent hearts. Chronic exposure to BPA has been shown to result in cardiac remodeling, atherosclerosis, and altered blood pressure in rodents. The underlying mechanisms may involve alteration of cardiac Ca2+ handling, ion channel inhibition/activation, oxidative stress, and genome/transcriptome modifications. In this review, we discuss these recent findings that point to the potential CV toxicity of BPA, and highlight the knowledge gaps in this growing research area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endocrine Disruptors and Human Health)
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Open AccessCorrection Correction: Braverman, E.R., et al. Managing Terrorism or Accidental Nuclear Errors, Preparing for Iodine-131 Emergencies: A Comprehensive Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 4158–4200
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 7803-7804; doi:10.3390/ijerph110807803
Received: 17 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract The authors wish to make the following amendments to their paper published in International Journal of Environmnetal Research and Public Health [1]: [...] Full article

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