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Concept: Econometrics


While experimental and observational studies suggest that sugar intake is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, independent of its role in obesity, it is unclear whether alterations in sugar intake can account for differences in diabetes prevalence among overall populations. Using econometric models of repeated cross-sectional data on diabetes and nutritional components of food from 175 countries, we found that every 150 kcal/person/day increase in sugar availability (about one can of soda/day) was associated with increased diabetes prevalence by 1.1% (p <0.001) after testing for potential selection biases and controlling for other food types (including fibers, meats, fruits, oils, cereals), total calories, overweight and obesity, period-effects, and several socioeconomic variables such as aging, urbanization and income. No other food types yielded significant individual associations with diabetes prevalence after controlling for obesity and other confounders. The impact of sugar on diabetes was independent of sedentary behavior and alcohol use, and the effect was modified but not confounded by obesity or overweight. Duration and degree of sugar exposure correlated significantly with diabetes prevalence in a dose-dependent manner, while declines in sugar exposure correlated with significant subsequent declines in diabetes rates independently of other socioeconomic, dietary and obesity prevalence changes. Differences in sugar availability statistically explain variations in diabetes prevalence rates at a population level that are not explained by physical activity, overweight or obesity.

Concepts: Scientific method, Nutrition, Insulin, Obesity, Econometrics, Overweight, Cross-sectional data, Panel data


The UK Government has introduced several national policies to improve access to primary care. We examined associations between patient experience of general practice and rates of visits to accident and emergency (A&E) departments and emergency hospital admissions in England.

Concepts: Statistics, Hospital, Econometrics, Physician, United Kingdom, Time series, Trend estimation, House of Commons of the United Kingdom


Taenia solium is a cestode parasite that causes cysticercosis in both humans and pigs. A serological survey was undertaken to assess the seroprevalence and risk factors associated with porcine cysticercosis in the rural district of Morropon, Peru. Pigs aged between 2 and 60 months were assessed by the Enzyme-linked Immunoelectrotransfer blot (EITB) assay to determine their serological status against porcine cysticercosis in a cross-sectional study. A total of 1,153 pigs were sampled. Porcine seroprevalence was 45.19% (42.31-48.06). The information about the animals and households was analyzed and risk factors associated with seroprevalence were determined by a multivariate logistic regression analysis. In the porcine population, the risk of being seropositive increased by 7% with every month of age (OR 1.07, 95% CI 1.05-1.09), and by 148% for pigs living in East Morropon (OR 2.48, 95% CI 1.82-3.37). Whereas, the presence of latrines in a household decreased the risk of being seropositive by 49% (OR 0.51; 95% CI 0.39-0.67). Sex and rearing system did not represent either risk or protective factors associated with the seroprevalence of porcine cysticercosis. The findings of this study could be used for further development of control programs that might focus on similar population groups within rural communities of developing countries where cysticercosis is endemic.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Epidemiology, Population, Econometrics, Cestoda, Taenia solium, Cysticercosis


Funding has been viewed in the literature as one of the main determinants of scientific activities. Also, at an individual level, securing funding is one of the most important factors for a researcher, enabling him/her to carry out research projects. However, not everyone is successful in obtaining the necessary funds. The main objective of this work is to measure the effect of several important factors such as past productivity, scientific collaboration or career age of researchers, on the amount of funding that is allocated to them. For this purpose, the paper estimates a temporal non-linear multiple regression model. According to the results, although past productivity of researchers positively affects the funding level, our findings highlight the significant role of networking and collaboration. It was observed that being a member of large scientific teams and getting connected to productive researchers who have also a good control over the collaboration network and the flow of information can increase the chances for securing more money. In fact, our results show that in the quest for the research money it is more important how researchers build their collaboration network than what publications they produce and whether they are cited.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Linear regression, Econometrics, Academic publishing, Science, Research, Errors and residuals in statistics


BACKGROUND: The socioeconomic gradient in obesity and overweight is amply documented. However, the contribution of different socioeconomic indicators on trends of body mass index (BMI) over time is less well known. The aim of this study was to investigate the associations of education and income with (BMI) from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. METHODS: Data were derived from nationwide cross-sectional health behaviour surveys carried out among Finns annually since 1978. This study comprises data from a 25-year period (1978-2002) that included 25 339 men and 25 330 women aged 25-64 years. BMI was based on self-reported weight and height. Education in years was obtained from the questionnaire and household income from the national tax register. In order to improve the comparability of the socioeconomic position measures, education and income were divided into gender-specific tertiles separately for each study year. Linear regression analysis was applied. RESULTS: An increase in BMI was observed among men and women in all educational and income groups. In women, education and income were inversely associated with BMI. The magnitudes of the associations fluctuated but stayed statistically significant over time. Among the Finnish men, socioeconomic differences were more complicated. Educational differences were weaker than among the women and income differences varied according to educational level. At the turn of the century, the high income men in the lowest educational group had the highest BMI whereas the income pattern in the highest educational group was the opposite. CONCLUSION: No overall change in the socio-economic differences of BMI was observed in Finland between 1978 and 2002. However, the trends of BMI diverged ini sub-groups of the studied population: the most prominent increase in BMI took place in high income men with low education and in low income men with high education. The results encourage further research on the pathways between income, education, living conditions and the increasing BMI.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Statistics, Obesity, Socioeconomic status, Econometrics, Mass, Body mass index


The aim of this study was to analyze the association between the characteristics of the built and social and environmental microscale and walking and bicycling for transportation in adults in Curitiba, Paraná State, Brazil. A cross-sectional study was performed in 2009 with a household survey that included 1,419 adults. Objective evaluation of environment was performed on the resident’s street segments, using an instrument for systematic observation consisting of six dimensions: “land use”, “public transportation”, “streetscape”, “conditions and aesthetics”, “places for walking and bicycling”, and “social environment”. The score for each dimension was obtained as the sum of positive items related to physical activity. The items for “public transportation” (≥ 1 items) and “places for walking and bicycling on the streets” (≥ 3 items) were dichotomized, while the scores for the other items were classified in tertiles. Walking and bicycling for transportation were assessed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). The data were analyzed using multilevel Poisson regression. Medium “streetscape” score was inversely associated with walking ≥ 150min/week (PR = 0.60; 95%CI: 0.40-0.91; VPC = 12%) and bicycling (PR = 0.54; 95%CI: 0.29-0.99; VPC = 60%). In conclusion, only “streetscape” was associated with walking and bicycling for transportation in adults.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Econometrics, Exercise, Transport, The Score, Street, Automobile, Sustainable transport


Objectives. We examined the relationship between levels of household firearm ownership, as measured directly and by a proxy-the percentage of suicides committed with a firearm-and age-adjusted firearm homicide rates at the state level. Methods. We conducted a negative binomial regression analysis of panel data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Web-Based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting Systems database on gun ownership and firearm homicide rates across all 50 states during 1981 to 2010. We determined fixed effects for year, accounted for clustering within states with generalized estimating equations, and controlled for potential state-level confounders. Results. Gun ownership was a significant predictor of firearm homicide rates (incidence rate ratio = 1.009; 95% confidence interval = 1.004, 1.014). This model indicated that for each percentage point increase in gun ownership, the firearm homicide rate increased by 0.9%. Conclusions. We observed a robust correlation between higher levels of gun ownership and higher firearm homicide rates. Although we could not determine causation, we found that states with higher rates of gun ownership had disproportionately large numbers of deaths from firearm-related homicides. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 12, 2013: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301409).

Concepts: Regression analysis, Epidemiology, Statistics, United States, Econometrics, U.S. state, Prediction interval, Statistical terminology


This study utilized data from the Framingham Heart Study Offspring Cohort to examine the relationship between midlife and late-life alcohol consumption, cognitive functioning, and regional brain volumes among older adults without dementia or a history of abusing alcohol. The results from multiple linear regression models indicate that late life, but not midlife, alcohol consumption status is associated with episodic memory and hippocampal volume. Compared to late life abstainers, moderate consumers had larger hippocampal volume, and light consumers had higher episodic memory. The differences in episodic memory according to late life alcohol consumption status were no longer significant when hippocampal volume was included in the regression model. The findings from this study provide new evidence that hippocampal volume may contribute to the observed differences in episodic memory among older adults and late life alcohol consumption status.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Linear regression, Econometrics, Cognition, Neurology, Memory, Hippocampus, Episodic memory


Why do people tend to care for upholding principles of justice? This study examined the association between individual differences in the affective, motivational and cognitive components of empathy, sensitivity to justice, and psychopathy in participants (N 265) who were also asked to rate the permissibility of everyday moral situations that pit personal benefit against moral standards of justice. Counter to commonsense, emotional empathy was not associated with sensitivity to injustice for others. Rather, individual differences in cognitive empathy and empathic concern predicted sensitivity to justice for others, as well as the endorsement of moral rules. Psychopathy coldheartedness scores were inversely associated with motivation for justice. Moreover, hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that self-focused and other-focused orientations toward justice had opposing influences on the permissibility of moral judgments. High scores on psychopathy were associated with less moral condemnation of immoral behavior. Together, these results contribute to a better understanding of the information processing mechanisms underlying justice motivation, and may guide interventions designed to foster justice and moral behavior. In order to promote justice motivation, it may be more effective to encourage perspective taking and reasoning to induce concern for others than emphasizing emotional sharing with the misfortune of others.

Concepts: Psychology, Regression analysis, Linear regression, Econometrics, Empathy, Emotion, Morality, Forecasting


There is mixed evidence from correlational studies that breastfeeding impacts children’s development. Propensity score matching with large samples can be an effective tool to remove potential bias from observed confounders in correlational studies. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of breastfeeding on children’s cognitive and noncognitive development at 3 and 5 years of age.

Concepts: Experimental design, Econometrics, Childhood, Propensity score, Child development