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Concept: Western culture


Background: Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. Social media such as Twitter is an emerging surveillance tool that may assist researchers in tracking suicide risk factors in real time. Aims: To identify suicide-related risk factors through Twitter conversations by matching on geographic suicide rates from vital statistics data. Method: At-risk tweets were filtered from the Twitter stream using keywords and phrases created from suicide risk factors. Tweets were grouped by state and departures from expectation were calculated. The values for suicide tweeters were compared against national data of actual suicide rates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results: A total of 1,659,274 tweets were analyzed over a 3-month period with 37,717 identified as at-risk for suicide. Midwestern and western states had a higher proportion of suicide-related tweeters than expected, while the reverse was true for southern and eastern states. A strong correlation was observed between state Twitter-derived data and actual state age-adjusted suicide data. Conclusion: Twitter may be a viable tool for real-time monitoring of suicide risk factors on a large scale. This study demonstrates that individuals who are at risk for suicide may be detected through social media.

Concepts: Cold War, Midwestern United States, Sociology, Twitter, Eastern Europe, U.S. state, Western culture, United States


Most societies are economically dominated by a small elite, and similarly, natural communities are typically dominated by a small fraction of the species. Here we reveal a strong similarity between patterns of inequality in nature and society, hinting at fundamental unifying mechanisms. We show that chance alone will drive 1% or less of the community to dominate 50% of all resources in situations where gains and losses are multiplicative, as in returns on assets or growth rates of populations. Key mechanisms that counteract such hyperdominance include natural enemies in nature and wealth-equalizing institutions in society. However, historical research of European developments over the past millennium suggests that such institutions become ineffective in times of societal upscaling. A corollary is that in a globalizing world, wealth will inevitably be appropriated by a very small fraction of the population unless effective wealth-equalizing institutions emerge at the global level.

Concepts: Western culture, Ecological economics, Humanities, Institution, Science, Society, Sociology


Pharmaceutical trials are mainly initiated by sponsors and investigators in the United States, Western Europe and Japan. However, more and more patients are enrolled in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia. The involvement of patients in new geographical settings raises questions about scientific and ethical integrity, especially when experience with those settings is lacking at the level of trial management. We therefore studied to what extent the geographical shift in patient enrolment is anticipated in the composition of trial management teams using the author nationalities on the primary outcome publication as an indicator of leadership.

Concepts: Spain, World War II, Russia, Europe, European Union, Western culture, Eastern Europe, United States


Upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is one of the most common, high risk emergency disorders in the western world. Almost nothing has been reported on longer term prognosis following upper GI bleeding. The aim of this study was to establish mortality up to three years following hospital admission with upper GI bleeding and its relationship with aetiology, co-morbidities and socio-demographic factors.

Concepts: Central Europe, Western Europe, Surgery, Western culture, Gastrointestinal bleeding, Western world, Gastroenterology, Upper gastrointestinal bleeding


Excessive sedentary time is ubiquitous in Western societies. Previous studies have relied on self-reporting to evaluate the total volume of sedentary time as a prognostic risk factor for mortality and have not examined whether the manner in which sedentary time is accrued (in short or long bouts) carries prognostic relevance.

Concepts: Cold War, Sociology, Actuarial science, Long, Short, Epidemiology, Western culture


After 2 decades of progress toward tuberculosis (TB) elimination with annual decreases of ≥0.2 cases per 100,000 persons (1), TB incidence in the United States remained approximately 3.0 cases per 100,000 persons during 2013-2015. Preliminary data reported to the National Tuberculosis Surveillance System indicate that TB incidence among foreign-born persons in the United States (15.1 cases per 100,000) has remained approximately 13 times the incidence among U.S.-born persons (1.2 cases per 100,000). Resuming progress toward TB elimination in the United States will require intensification of efforts both in the United States and globally, including increasing U.S. efforts to detect and treat latent TB infection, strengthening systems to interrupt TB transmission in the United States and globally, accelerating reductions in TB globally, particularly in the countries of origin for most U.S.

Concepts: Western culture, Late-2000s recession, Latent tuberculosis, Humid subtropical climate, U.S. state, Poverty in the United States, United States, Tuberculosis


Over 1 million residents in the USA and 2.5 million in Europe are estimated to have IBD, with substantial costs for health care. These estimates do not factor in the ‘real’ price of IBD, which can impede career aspirations, instil social stigma and impair quality of life in patients. The majority of patients are diagnosed early in life and the incidence continues to rise; therefore, the effect of IBD on health-care systems will rise exponentially. Moreover, IBD has emerged in newly industrialized countries in Asia, South America and Middle East and has evolved into a global disease with rising prevalence in every continent. Understanding the worldwide epidemiological patterns of IBD will prepare us to manage the burden of IBD over time. The goal of this article is to establish the current epidemiology of IBD in the Western world, contrast it with the increase in IBD in newly industrialized countries and forecast the global effects of IBD in 2025.

Concepts: Middle East, Public health, Europe, Western world, Western culture, Epidemiology, United States, Asia


Music is present in every culture, but the degree to which it is shaped by biology remains debated. One widely discussed phenomenon is that some combinations of notes are perceived by Westerners as pleasant, or consonant, whereas others are perceived as unpleasant, or dissonant. The contrast between consonance and dissonance is central to Western music, and its origins have fascinated scholars since the ancient Greeks. Aesthetic responses to consonance are commonly assumed by scientists to have biological roots, and thus to be universally present in humans. Ethnomusicologists and composers, in contrast, have argued that consonance is a creation of Western musical culture. The issue has remained unresolved, partly because little is known about the extent of cross-cultural variation in consonance preferences. Here we report experiments with the Tsimane'-a native Amazonian society with minimal exposure to Western culture-and comparison populations in Bolivia and the United States that varied in exposure to Western music. Participants rated the pleasantness of sounds. Despite exhibiting Western-like discrimination abilities and Western-like aesthetic responses to familiar sounds and acoustic roughness, the Tsimane' rated consonant and dissonant chords and vocal harmonies as equally pleasant. By contrast, Bolivian city- and town-dwellers exhibited significant preferences for consonance, albeit to a lesser degree than US residents. The results indicate that consonance preferences can be absent in cultures sufficiently isolated from Western music, and are thus unlikely to reflect innate biases or exposure to harmonic natural sounds. The observed variation in preferences is presumably determined by exposure to musical harmony, suggesting that culture has a dominant role in shaping aesthetic responses to music.

Concepts: Western culture, Harmonic series, Tonality, Counterpoint, Chord, Consonance and dissonance, Music, Harmony


Major trauma (MT) has traditionally been viewed as a disease of young men caused by high-energy transfer mechanisms of injury, which has been reflected in the configuration of MT services. With ageing populations in Western societies, it is anticipated that the elderly will comprise an increasing proportion of the MT workload. The aim of this study was to describe changes in the demographics of MT in a developed Western health system over the last 20 years.

Concepts: Western culture, Gerontology, Demography, Old age, United Kingdom, Western Europe, Sociology, Death


Hydrochlorothiazide, one of the most frequently used diuretic and antihypertensive drugs in the United States and Western Europe, is photosensitizing and has previously been linked to lip cancer.

Concepts: Republic of Ireland, Russia, United Kingdom, Europe, Eastern Europe, Western culture, European Union, United States