SciCombinator

Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health

226

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder in which a significant number of the children experience a developmental regression characterized by a loss of previously acquired skills and abilities. Typically reported are losses of verbal, nonverbal, and social abilities. Several recent studies suggest that children diagnosed with an ASD have abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased glutathione (GSH) reserve capacity, resulting in a compromised oxidation/reduction (redox) and detoxification capacity. Research indicates that the availability of thiols, particularly GSH, can influence the effects of thimerosal ™ and other mercury (Hg) compounds. TM is an organomercurial compound (49.55% Hg by weight) that has been, and continues to be, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, particularly in developing countries. Thiol-modulating mechanisms affecting the cytotoxicity of TM have been identified. Importantly, the emergence of ASD symptoms post-6 months of age temporally follows the administration of many childhood vaccines. The purpose of the present critical review is provide mechanistic insight regarding how limited thiol availability, abnormal sulfation chemistry, and decreased GSH reserve capacity in children with an ASD could make them more susceptible to the toxic effects of TM routinely administered as part of mandated childhood immunization schedules.

Concepts: Disulfide bond, Thiol, Glutathione, Thiols, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Autism, Cysteine

207

The current chronic kidney disease epidemic, the major health issue in the rice paddy farming areas in Sri Lanka has been the subject of many scientific and political debates over the last decade. Although there is no agreement among scientists about the etiology of the disease, a majority of them has concluded that this is a toxic nephropathy. None of the hypotheses put forward so far could explain coherently the totality of clinical, biochemical, histopathological findings, and the unique geographical distribution of the disease and its appearance in the mid-1990s. A strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of this special kidney disease has been observed, but the relationship has not been explained consistently. Here, we have hypothesized the association of using glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the disease endemic area and its unique metal chelating properties. The possible role played by glyphosate-metal complexes in this epidemic has not been given any serious consideration by investigators for the last two decades. Furthermore, it may explain similar kidney disease epidemics observed in Andra Pradesh (India) and Central America. Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.

Concepts: Sri Lanka, Chronic kidney disease, Infectious disease, Theory, Epidemiology, Kidney, Epidemic, Scientific method

194

Childhood and adolescence are important developmental phases which influence health and well-being across the life span. Social relationships are fundamental to child and adolescent development; yet studies have been limited to children’s relationships with other humans. This paper provides an evidence review for the potential associations between pet ownership and emotional; behavioural; cognitive; educational and social developmental outcomes. As the field is in the early stages; a broad set of inclusion criteria was applied. A systematic search of databases and grey literature sources found twenty-two studies meeting selection criteria. The review found evidence for an association between pet ownership and a wide range of emotional health benefits from childhood pet ownership; particularly for self-esteem and loneliness. The findings regarding childhood anxiety and depression were inconclusive. Studies also showed evidence of an association between pet ownership and educational and cognitive benefits; for example, in perspective-taking abilities and intellectual development. Evidence on behavioural development was unclear due to a lack of high quality research. Studies on pet ownership and social development provided evidence for an association with increased social competence; social networks; social interaction and social play behaviour. Overall, pet ownership and the significance of children’s bonds with companion animals have been underexplored; there is a shortage of high quality and longitudinal studies in all outcomes. Prospective studies that control for a wide range of confounders are required.

Concepts: Social relation, Developmental psychology, Child, Educational psychology, Behavior, Adolescence, Psychology, Sociology

181

Hypertension is the second biggest known global risk factor for disease after poor diet; perhaps lifestyle interventions are underutilized? In a previous small pilot study, it was found that a low carbohydrate diet was associated with significant improvements in blood pressure, weight, ‘deprescribing’ of medications and lipid profiles. We were interested to investigate if these results would be replicated in a larger study based in ‘real world’ GP practice. 154 patients with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance were recruited into an observational cohort study in primary care. The effects of a low carbohydrate diet sustained for an average of two years (interquartile range 10-32 months) on cardiovascular risk factors were examined. Results demonstrate significant and substantial reductions in blood pressure (mean reduction of systolic BP 10.9 mmHg (interquartile range 0-22 mmHg) (p < 0.0001), mean reduction in diastolic BP 6.3 mmHg (interquartile range 0-12.8 mmHg) (p < 0.0001) and mean weight reduction of 9.5 Kg (interquartile range 5-13 Kg) (p < 0.0001) together with marked improvement in lipid profiles. This occurred despite a 20% reduction in anti-hypertensive medications. This novel and potentially highly effective dietary modification, done very cheaply alongside routine care, offers hope that should be tested in a large prospective trial.

160

In January 2017, Philadelphia (Pennsylvania) implemented an excise tax ($ 0.015/ounce) on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages. This study is a general population-based study to report on the longer-term impacts of the tax on within-person changes in consumption 12 months after implementation. A quasi-experimental difference-in-difference design was used to contrast Philadelphia vs. nearby comparison cities (Trenton, New Jersey; Camden, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware) at baseline (December 2016-January 2017) vs. 12-month follow-up (December 2017-February 2018). A random-digit-dialing phone survey was administered to a population-based cohort. Analyses assessed changes in 30-day consumption frequency and ounces of sugar-sweetened and diet beverages (and a substitution beverage, bottled water) in the analytic sample (N = 515). After 12 months, relative to the comparison group, Philadelphians were slightly more likely to decrease their frequency of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (39.2% vs. 33.5%), and slightly less likely to increase their frequency of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (38.9% vs. 43.0%). The effects of the tax estimated in the adjusted difference-in-difference analysis were very small (for example, changes in monthly sugar-sweetened beverage consumption in Philadelphia relative to comparison cities was -3.03 times or -51.65 ounces) and confidence intervals were very wide. Results suggested that, one year after implementation, there was no major overall impact of the tax on general population-level consumption of sugar-sweetened or diet beverages, or bottled water. Future studies should test whether the tax’s effect differs in vulnerable sub-populations.

153

Yoga classes designed for women with premenstrual syndrome are available, but their efficacy is unclear. We investigated the effects of 12 weeks' yoga exercise (yoga intervention) on premenstrual symptoms in menstruating females in Taiwan. Sixty-four subjects completed the yoga intervention, and before and after the intervention filled out a structured self-report questionnaire about their demographics, personal lifestyle, menstrual status, baseline menstrual pain scores, premenstrual symptoms, and health-related quality of life. Of 64 subjects, 90.6% reported experiencing menstrual pain during menstruation. After the yoga intervention, subjects reported decreased use of analgesics during menstruation (p = 0.0290) and decreased moderate or severe effects of menstrual pain on work (p = 0.0011). The yoga exercise intervention was associated with the improvement of the scale of physical function (p = 0.0340) and bodily pain (p = 0.0087) of the SF-36, and significantly decreased abdominal swelling (p = 0.0011), breast tenderness (p = 0.0348), abdominal cramps (p = 0.0016), and cold sweats (p = 0.0143). Menstrual pain mitigation after yoga exercise correlated with improvement in six scales of the SF-36 (physical function, bodily pain, general health perception, vitality/energy, social function, mental health). Employers can educate female employees about the benefits of regular exercise such as yoga, which may decrease premenstrual distress and improve female employee health.

Concepts: Pain, Menorrhagia, Employment, Effectiveness, Premenstrual syndrome, Exercise, Menstruation, Menstrual cycle

149

E-cigarettes are the most popular method of quitting smoking in England and most are purchased in specialist vape shops. This qualitative study explores how the vape shop environment is experienced by quitters to support smoking abstinence. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted to elicit experiences of e-cigarette use, including experiences of vape shops, in 40 people who had used e-cigarettes in a quit attempt. Observations of six shops in a range of locations were also undertaken. Interview and observation data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis and triangulated. At an individual level, smoking abstinence was supported through shop assistants' attempts to understand customers' smoking preferences in order to: (i) tailor advice about the most appropriate product; and (ii) offer an ongoing point of contact for practical help. At an interpersonal level, shops offered opportunity to socialise and reinforce a vaping identity, although the environment was perceived as intimidating for some (e.g., new and female users). At a structural level, shops ensured easy access to products perceived to be good value by customers and had adapted to legislative changes. Vape shops can provide effective behavioural support to quitters to maintain smoking abstinence. Health professionals could capitalise on this through partnership working with shops, to ensure best outcomes for clients wanting to use e-cigarettes to quit smoking.

Concepts: Natural environment, Electronic cigarette, Scientific method, Environment, Tobacco, Psychology, Smoking, Nicotine

145

Background: E-cigarette use is rising with the majority of vapers purchasing their e-cigarettes in vape shops. We investigated the smoking/vaping trajectories and quit-smoking success rates of smokers deciding to start vaping for the first time and buying their e-cigarette in brick-and-mortar vape shops in Flanders. Methods: Participants filled out questionnaires assessing smoking/vaping behaviour at three moments (intake, after three and six months) and smoking status was biochemically verified using eCO measurements. Results: Participants (n = 71) were regular smokers (MeCO-intake = 22 ppm), half of whom reported a motivation to quit smoking in the near future. Participants bought 3rd/4th generation e-cigarettes and e-liquid with a nicotine concentration averaging 7 mg/mL. A smoking reduction of 53% (17 cigarettes per day (CPD) at intake to 8 CPD after six months) was observed, whereas eCO decreased to 15 ppm. Eighteen percent of participants had quit smoking completely (eCO = 2 ppm), another 25% had at least halved CPD, whereas 57% had failed to reduce CPD by at least 50% (including 13% lost to follow-up). Quitters consumed more e-liquid than reducers and those who continued to smoke. Conclusions: Around one in five smoking customers buying their first e-cigarette in a brick-and-mortar vape shop had quit smoking completely after six months.

145

The last case of polio from India was reported in 2011. That year, the non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) rate in India was 13.35/100,000, where the expected rate is 1⁻2/100,000. A previous study of data from 2000 to 2010 has detailed the NPAFP rate in a state correlated with the pulse polio rounds conducted there, and the strongest correlation with the NPAFP rate was found when the number of doses from the previous 4 years were used. However, a simple association being found with regression analysis does not prove a causal relationship. After publication of those findings, as the threat of polio had lessened, the number of rounds of OPV administration was brought down. The present study has been done to look at data till the end of 2017, to see if the incidence of NPAFP declined with this reduction in polio immunization rounds. We used polio surveillance data acquired by the Government of India from 2000⁻2017. Correlation of the NAFP rate to the number of polio rounds in the state was examined, and the cumulative effect of polio doses administered in previous years was sought. NPAFP rate correlated with the OPV pulse polio rounds in that year (R = 0.46; p < 0.001), and the NPAFP rate started to decrease from 2012 when the number of pulse polio rounds had decreased. NPAFP rates in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar were the highest in the country. Looking at the high-NPAFP states of UP and Bihar, we found that the correlation coefficient was strongest when doses used over 5 years was considered (R = 0.76; p < 0.001). The response to the reduction in OPV rounds (de-challenging) adds credence to the assumption that OPV was responsible for the change in the NPAFP rate. Now that India has been polio-free for over 6 years, we propose that we may be able to reduce NPAFP by further reducing pulse polio rounds.

145

The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was conducted. LNight for each study participant was estimated using a land use regression (LUR) model. Distance of the respondent’s residence to the nearest transportation noise source was also used as an indicator of noise exposure. The proportion of the population whose sleep was disturbed by outdoor environmental noise in the past 4 weeks was 12.4%. The proportion of those affected by road traffic, airplane and railway noise was 4.2%, 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. We observed an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those exposed to both rail and road noise when compared for those exposed to road only. We did not observe an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those that were both exposed to road and planes when compared to those exposed to road or planes only. We developed regression models to assess the marginal proportion of sleep disturbance as a function of estimated LNight and distance to transportation noise sources. In our models, sleep disturbance increased with proximity to transportation noise sources (railway, airplane and road traffic) and with increasing LNight values. Our study provides a quantitative estimate of the association between total environmental noise levels estimated using an LUR model and sleep disturbance from transportation noise.

Concepts: Scientific method, Transport, Linear regression, Statistics, Noise pollution, Road, Regression analysis, Rail transport