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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, Volume 6, Issue 6 (June 2009), Pages 1706-1929

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle Analysis of Airborne Betula Pollen in Finland; a 31-Year Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1706-1723; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061706
Received: 31 March 2009 / Accepted: 20 May 2009 / Published: 26 May 2009
Cited by 22 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this 31-year retrospective study, we examined the influence of meteorology on airborne Betula spp. (birch) pollen concentrations in Turku, Finland. The seasonal incidence of airborne birch pollen in Turku occurred over a brief period each year during spring (April 30 – [...] Read more.
In this 31-year retrospective study, we examined the influence of meteorology on airborne Betula spp. (birch) pollen concentrations in Turku, Finland. The seasonal incidence of airborne birch pollen in Turku occurred over a brief period each year during spring (April 30 – May 31). Mean peak concentrations were restricted to May (May 5 to 13). Statistically significant increases in the annual accumulated birch pollen sum and daily maximum values were observed over the study period. Birch pollen counts collected in April were retrospectively shown to increase over the duration of the study. Increases in April temperature values were also significantly associated with the earlier onset of the birch pollen season. Furthermore, the number of days where daily birch pollen concentrations exceeded 10 and 1,000 grains/m3 also increased throughout the study period. These data demonstrate that increases in temperature, especially during months preceding the onset of the birch pollen season, favor preseason phenological development and pollen dispersal. Birch pollen derived from other geographical locations may also contribute to the aerospora of Turku, Finland. To date, the public health burden associated with personal exposure to elevated birch pollen loads remains unclear and is the focus of future epidemiological research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: Feature Papers)
Open AccessArticle The Built Environment and Health: Introducing Individual Space-Time Behavior
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1724-1743; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061724
Received: 30 March 2009 / Accepted: 19 May 2009 / Published: 26 May 2009
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (97 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many studies have examined the relationship between the built environment and health. Yet, the question of how and why the environment influences health behavior remains largely unexplored. As health promotion interventions work through the individuals in a targeted population, an explicit understanding [...] Read more.
Many studies have examined the relationship between the built environment and health. Yet, the question of how and why the environment influences health behavior remains largely unexplored. As health promotion interventions work through the individuals in a targeted population, an explicit understanding of individual behavior is required to formulate and evaluate intervention strategies. Bringing in concepts from various fields, this paper proposes the use of an activity-based modeling approach for understanding and predicting, from the bottom up, how individuals interact with their environment and each other in space and time, and how their behaviors aggregate to population-level health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability: Environmental Studies and Public Health)
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Open AccessArticle Calibrating Self-Reported Measures of Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy via Bioassays Using a Monte Carlo Approach
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1744-1759; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061744
Received: 30 April 2009 / Accepted: 27 May 2009 / Published: 3 June 2009
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (95 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a major public health problem that has been associated with numerous short- and long-term adverse health outcomes in offspring. However, characterizing smoking exposure during pregnancy precisely has been rather difficult: self-reported measures of smoking often suffer from [...] Read more.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a major public health problem that has been associated with numerous short- and long-term adverse health outcomes in offspring. However, characterizing smoking exposure during pregnancy precisely has been rather difficult: self-reported measures of smoking often suffer from recall bias, deliberate misreporting, and selective non-disclosure, while single bioassay measures of nicotine metabolites only reflect recent smoking history and cannot capture the fluctuating and complex patterns of varying exposure of the fetus. Recently, Dukic et al. [1] have proposed a statistical method for combining information from both sources in order to increase the precision of the exposure measurement and power to detect more subtle effects of smoking. In this paper, we extend the Dukic et al. [1] method to incorporate individual variation of the metabolic parameters (such as clearance rates) into the calibration model of smoking exposure during pregnancy. We apply the new method to the Family Health and Development Project (FHDP), a small convenience sample of 96 predominantly working-class white pregnant women oversampled for smoking. We find that, on average, misreporters smoke 7.5 cigarettes more than what they report to smoke, with about one third underreporting by 1.5, one third under-reporting by about 6.5, and one third underreporting by 8.5 cigarettes. Partly due to the limited demographic heterogeneity in the FHDP sample, the results are similar to those obtained by the deterministic calibration model, whose adjustments were slightly lower (by 0.5 cigarettes on average). The new results are also, as expected, less sensitive to assumed values of cotinine half-life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smoking and Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Hazards Faced by Young Designated Drivers: In-Car Risks of Driving Drunken Passengers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1760-1777; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061760
Received: 18 May 2009 / Accepted: 5 June 2009 / Published: 8 June 2009
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (372 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This qualitative study explored the risk in the practice of young designated drivers transporting drunken peers. Young drivers 18-29 years old in Alberta, Canada participated in 12 focus groups (N = 146). Interviews were semi-structured. A key finding is that when highly [...] Read more.
This qualitative study explored the risk in the practice of young designated drivers transporting drunken peers. Young drivers 18-29 years old in Alberta, Canada participated in 12 focus groups (N = 146). Interviews were semi-structured. A key finding is that when highly intoxicated youth are driven by a designated driver who is a peer, they are likely to behave in ways that are unsafe. Unsafe actions of drunken passengers in the vehicle include physical “rough-housing” with the driver, creating stress for the driver that leads to high risk driving situations and disrupting safe driving through nausea and in-car vomiting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Peer Pressure, Psychological Distress and the Urge to Smoke
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1799-1811; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061799
Received: 27 April 2009 / Accepted: 5 June 2009 / Published: 10 June 2009
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Psychology and addiction research have found that cigarette smokers react with subjective and automatic responses to stimuli associated with smoking. This study examines the association between the number of cigarettes smokers consume per month and their response to cues derived [...] Read more.
Background: Psychology and addiction research have found that cigarette smokers react with subjective and automatic responses to stimuli associated with smoking. This study examines the association between the number of cigarettes smokers consume per month and their response to cues derived from peer and psychological distress. Methods: We studied 1,220 adult past and current smokers drawn from a national face-to-face interview survey administered in 2004. We defined two types of cues possibly triggering a smoker to have a cigarette: peer cues and psychological cues. We used ordinary least square linear regressions to analyze smoking amount and response to peer and psychological distress cues. Results: We found a positive association between amount smoked and cue response: peer cues (1.06, 95%CI: 0.74-1.38) and psychological cues (0.44, 95%CI = 0.17-0.70). Response to psychological cues was lower among male smokers (–1.62, 95%CI = –2.26- –0.98), but response to psychological cues were higher among those who had senior high school level educations (0.96, 95%CI = 0.40-1.53) and who began smoking as a response to their moods (1.25, 95%CI = 0.68-1.82). Conclusions: These results suggest that both peer cues and psychological cues increase the possibility of contingent smoking, and should, therefore, be addressed by anti-smoking policies and anti-smoking programs. More specifically, special attention can be paid to help smokers avoid or counter social pressure to smoke and to help smokers resist the use of cigarettes to relieve distress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smoking and Tobacco Control)
Open AccessArticle Pattern of Smoking Habit among Greek Blue and White Collar Workers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1812-1817; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061812
Received: 4 May 2009 / Accepted: 5 June 2009 / Published: 10 June 2009
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (38 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of smoking in a Greek working population. A questionnaire regarding smoking habit was collected from 1,005 out of 1,200 blue and white-collar employees (response rate: 84%). The overall smoking prevalence was 48.4% [...] Read more.
The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of smoking in a Greek working population. A questionnaire regarding smoking habit was collected from 1,005 out of 1,200 blue and white-collar employees (response rate: 84%). The overall smoking prevalence was 48.4% and did not differ by sex, age, education, and occupation. The mean cigarette consumption per day was 25.54, with no difference observed by occupation. The above-mentioned findings, if confirmed by further research, are alarming and inconsistent with the prevalent pattern of smoking habits in the West. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tobacco Smoking and Public Health)
Open AccessArticle Tobacco Control: Visualisation of Research Activity Using Density-Equalizing Mapping and Scientometric Benchmarking Procedures
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1856-1869; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061856
Received: 11 May 2009 / Accepted: 5 June 2009 / Published: 12 June 2009
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (948 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Background: Tobacco smoking continues to be a major preventable cause of death and disease and therefore tobacco control research is extremely important. However, research in this area is often hampered by a lack in funding and there is a need for [...] Read more.
Background: Tobacco smoking continues to be a major preventable cause of death and disease and therefore tobacco control research is extremely important. However, research in this area is often hampered by a lack in funding and there is a need for scientometric techniques to display research efforts. Methods: The present study combines classical bibliometric tools with novel scientometric and visualizing techniques in order to analyse and categorise research in the field of tobacco control. Results: All studies related to tobacco control and listed in the ISI database since 1900 were identified by the use of defined search terms.Using bibliometric approaches, a continuous increase in qualitative markers such as collaboration numbers or citations were found for tobacco control research. The combination with density equalizing mapping revealed a distinct global pattern of research productivity and citation activity. Radar chart techniques were used to visualize bi- and multilateral research cooperation and institutional cooperation. Conclusions: The present study supplies a first scientometricapproach that visualises research activity in the field of tobacco control. It provides data that can be used for funding policy and the identification of research clusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smoking and Tobacco Control)
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Open AccessArticle A Service-Oriented Healthcare Message Alerting Architecture in an Asia Medical Center: A Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1870-1881; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061870
Received: 15 April 2009 / Accepted: 10 June 2009 / Published: 17 June 2009
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (439 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper illustrates how our development team has used some information technologies to let physicians obtain an instant abnormal laboratory result report for critical patient care services. We have implementeda healthcare message alerting system (HMAS) on a healthcare short message service (HSMS) [...] Read more.
This paper illustrates how our development team has used some information technologies to let physicians obtain an instant abnormal laboratory result report for critical patient care services. We have implementeda healthcare message alerting system (HMAS) on a healthcare short message service (HSMS) engine and the distributed healthcare-oriented service environment (DiHOSE) in the National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH). The HSMS engine has a general interface for all applications which could easily send any kind of alerting messages. Fundamentally, the DiHOSE uses HL7 standard formats to process the information exchange behaviors and can be flexibly extended for reasonable user requirements. The disease surveillance subsystem is an integral part of NTUH new hospital information system which is based on DiHOSE and the disease surveillance subsystem would send alerting messages through the HSMS engine. The latest cell phone message alerting subsystem, a case study, in NTUH proved that the DiHOSE could integrate the user required functions without much work. We concluded that both HSMS and DiHOSE can generalize and extend application demands efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Informatics)
Open AccessArticle Health Risk and Biological Effects of Cardiac Ionising Imaging: From Epidemiology to Genes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1882-1893; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061882
Received: 21 April 2009 / Accepted: 17 June 2009 / Published: 19 June 2009
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (483 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cardiac diagnostic or therapeutic testing is an essential tool for diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, but it also involves considerable exposure to ionizing radiation. Every exposure produces a corresponding increase in cancer risk, and risks are highest for radiation exposure during [...] Read more.
Cardiac diagnostic or therapeutic testing is an essential tool for diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, but it also involves considerable exposure to ionizing radiation. Every exposure produces a corresponding increase in cancer risk, and risks are highest for radiation exposure during infancy and adolescence. Recent studies on chromosomal biomarkers corroborate the current radioprotection assumption showing that even modest radiation load due to cardiac catheter-based fluoroscopic procedures can damage the DNA of the cell. In this article, we review the biological and clinical risks of cardiac imaging employing ionizing radiation. We also discuss the perspectives offered by the use of molecular biomarkers in order to better assess the long-term development of health effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: How Safe Is Cardiac Imaging?)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Biological Effects and Safety in Magnetic Resonance Imaging: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1778-1798; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061778
Received: 4 May 2009 / Accepted: 5 June 2009 / Published: 10 June 2009
Cited by 50 | PDF Full-text (331 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic technique, the number of people exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has increased dramatically. In this review, based on the results of a pioneer study showing in vitro and in vivo genotoxic [...] Read more.
Since the introduction of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as a diagnostic technique, the number of people exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has increased dramatically. In this review, based on the results of a pioneer study showing in vitro and in vivo genotoxic effects of MRI scans, we report an updated survey about the effects of non-ionizing EMF employed in MRI, relevant for patients’ and workers’ safety. While the whole data does not confirm a risk hypothesis, it suggests a need for further studies and prudent use in order to avoid unnecessary examinations, according to the precautionary principle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health: How Safe Is Cardiac Imaging?)
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Open AccessReview The Role of Health Kiosks in 2009: Literature and Informant Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1818-1855; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061818
Received: 22 May 2009 / Accepted: 8 June 2009 / Published: 11 June 2009
Cited by 23 | PDF Full-text (718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Kiosks can provide patients with access to health systems in public locations, but with increasing home Internet access their usefulness is questioned. A literature and informant review identified kiosks used for taking medical histories, health promotion, self assessment, consumer feedback, patient registration, [...] Read more.
Kiosks can provide patients with access to health systems in public locations, but with increasing home Internet access their usefulness is questioned. A literature and informant review identified kiosks used for taking medical histories, health promotion, self assessment, consumer feedback, patient registration, patient access to records, and remote consultations. Sited correctly with good interfaces, kiosks can be used by all demographics but many ‘projects’ have failed to become routine practice. A role remains for: (a) integrated kiosks as part of patient ‘flow’, (b) opportunistic kiosks to catch people’s attention. Both require clear ‘ownership’ to succeed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Public Health Informatics)
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Open AccessReview Fish, Mercury, Selenium and Cardiovascular Risk: Current Evidence and Unanswered Questions
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1894-1916; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061894
Received: 22 May 2009 / Accepted: 4 June 2009 / Published: 23 June 2009
Cited by 95 | PDF Full-text (477 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Controversy has arisen among the public and in the media regarding the health effects of fish intake in adults. Substantial evidence indicates that fish consumption reduces coronary heart disease mortality, the leading cause of death in developed and most developing nations. Conversely, [...] Read more.
Controversy has arisen among the public and in the media regarding the health effects of fish intake in adults. Substantial evidence indicates that fish consumption reduces coronary heart disease mortality, the leading cause of death in developed and most developing nations. Conversely, concerns have grown regarding potential effects of exposure to mercury found in some fish. Seafood species are also rich in selenium, an essential trace element that may protect against both cardiovascular disease and toxic effects of mercury. Such protective effects would have direct implications for recommendations regarding optimal selenium intake and for assessing the potential impact of mercury exposure from fish intake in different populations. Because fish consumption appears to have important health benefits in adults, elucidating the relationships between fish intake, mercury and selenium exposure, and health risk is of considerable scientific and public health relevance. The evidence for health effects of fish consumption in adults is reviewed, focusing on the strength and consistency of evidence and relative magnitudes of effects of omega-3 fatty acids, mercury, and selenium. Given the preponderance of evidence, the focus is on cardiovascular effects, but other potential health effects, as well as potential effects of polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxins in fish, are also briefly reviewed. The relevant current unanswered questions and directions of further research are summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Public Health)
Open AccessReview Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB) for the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence: A Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2009, 6(6), 1917-1929; doi:10.3390/ijerph6061917
Received: 15 May 2009 / Accepted: 21 June 2009 / Published: 24 June 2009
Cited by 41 | PDF Full-text (248 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a short-chain fatty acid structurally similar to the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid. Clinical trials have demonstrated that 50-100 mg/kg of GHB fractioned into three or six daily doses is able to suppress alcohol withdrawal symptoms and facilitates the [...] Read more.
Gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB) is a short-chain fatty acid structurally similar to the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid. Clinical trials have demonstrated that 50-100 mg/kg of GHB fractioned into three or six daily doses is able to suppress alcohol withdrawal symptoms and facilitates the maintenance of abstinence from alcohol. These studies have also shown that GHB craving episodes are a very limited phenomenon (about 10-15%). Thus, physicians with access should consider the clinical efficacy of GHB as a valid pharmacological tool for the treatment of alcohol addiction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol and Public Health)
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