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Archive for the ‘International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health’ Category

Technologies as Support Tools for Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

September 2, 2014 Comments off

Technologies as Support Tools for Persons with Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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.

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E-Health Interventions for Suicide Prevention

August 19, 2014 Comments off

E-Health Interventions for Suicide Prevention
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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.

The Hispanic Paradox and Older Adults’ Disabilities: Is There a Healthy Migrant Effect?

May 6, 2013 Comments off

The Hispanic Paradox and Older Adults’ Disabilities: Is There a Healthy Migrant Effect? (PDF)

Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

The “Hispanic Paradox” suggests that despite rates of poverty similar to African Americans, Hispanics have far better health and mortality outcomes, more comparable to non-Hispanic White Americans. Three prominent possible explanations for the Hispanic Paradox have emerged. The “Healthy Migrant Effect” suggests a health selection effect due to the demands of migration. The Hispanic lifestyle hypothesis focuses on Hispanics’ strong social ties and better health behaviors. The reverse migration argument suggests that the morbidity profile in the USA is affected when many Hispanic immigrants return to their native countries after developing a serious illness. We analyzed data from respondents aged 55 and over from the nationally representative 2006 American Community Survey including Mexican Americans (13,167 U.S. born; 11,378 immigrants), Cuban Americans (314 U.S. born; 3,730 immigrants), and non-Hispanic White Americans (629,341 U.S. born; 31,164 immigrants). The healthy migrant effect was supported with SES-adjusted disability comparable between Mexican, Cuban and non-Hispanic Whites born in the USA and all immigrants having lower adjusted odds of functional limitations than U.S. born non-Hispanic Whites. The reverse migration hypothesis was partially supported, with citizenship and longer duration in the USA associated with higher rates of SES-adjusted disability for Mexican Americans. The Hispanic healthy life-style explanation had little support in this study. Our findings underline the importance of considering nativity when planning for health interventions to address the needs of the growing Hispanic American older adult population.

Media Roles in Suicide Prevention: A Systematic Review

January 13, 2012 Comments off
Source:  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
The aim of the current systematic review was to monitor and provide an overview of the research performed about the roles of media in suicide prevention in order to find out possible effects media reporting on suicidal behaviours might have on actual suicidality (completed suicides, attempted suicides, suicidal ideation). The systematic review was performed following the principles of the PRISMA statement and includes 56 articles. Most of the studies support the idea that media reporting and suicidality are associated. However, there is a risk of reporting bias. More research is available about how irresponsible media reports can provoke suicidal behaviours (the ‘Werther effect’) and less about protective effect media can have (the ‘Papageno effect’). Strong modelling effect of media coverage on suicide is based on age and gender. Media reports are not representative of official suicide data and tend to exaggerate sensational suicides, for example dramatic and highly lethal suicide methods, which are rare in real life. Future studies have to encounter the challenges the global medium Internet will offer in terms of research methods, as it is difficult to define the circulation of news in the Internet either spatially or in time. However, online media can provide valuable innovative qualitative research material.

Street Connectivity is Negatively Associated with Physical Activity in Canadian Youth

October 13, 2011 Comments off

Street Connectivity is Negatively Associated with Physical Activity in Canadian Youth
Source: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

Street connectivity, defined as how well streets connect to one and other and the density of intersections, is positively associated with active transportation in adults. Our objective was to study the relation between street connectivity and physical activity in youth. Study participants consisted of 8,535 students in grades 6–10 from 180 schools across Canada who completed the 2006 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey. Street connectivity was measured in a 5 km circular buffer around these schools using established geographic information system measures. Physical activity performed outside of school hours was assessed by questionnaire, and multi-level regression analyses were used to estimate associations with street connectivity after controlling for several covariates. Compared to students living in the highest street connectivity quartile, those in the second (relative risk = 1.22, 95% confidence interval = 1.10–1.35), third (1.25, 1.13–1.37), and fourth (1.21, 1.09–1.34) quartiles were more likely to be physically active outside of school. In conclusion, youth in neighbourhoods with the most highly connected streets reported less physical activity outside of school than youth from neighbourhoods with less connected streets. Relationships between street connectivity and physical activity reported in this national study are in the opposite direction to those previously observed for active transportation in adult populations.

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See: More Intersections Mean Less Outdoor Activity for Children

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