Melbourne School of Population and Global Health - Research Publications

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    The ENJOY MAP for HEALTH: Exercise interveNtion outdoor proJect in the cOmmunitY for older people-More Active People for HEALTHier communities: a study protocol
    Levinger, P ; Dunn, J ; Abfalter, E ; Dow, B ; Batchelor, F ; Garratt, S ; Diamond, NT ; Hill, KD (BMC, 2022-05-21)
    BACKGROUND: Physical activity is important to maintain health in older age, with physical activity in the outdoors providing mental and physical health benefits for all age groups. One way by which older people can engage in physical activity in the outdoors is through using suitable age-friendly outdoor exercise equipment, the Seniors Exercise Park. The ENJOY MAP for HEALTH aims to evaluate the effect of the Seniors Exercise Park installation and associated capacity building activities on park visitation, park-based physical activity by older people and delivery of community physical activity programs. METHOD: This study is a quasi-experimental (natural experiment) with pre and post study design evaluating the effect of age-friendly outdoor spaces with specialised outdoor exercise equipment on older people's physical activity and wellbeing in six Victorian municipalities (local governments/councils). Each council will undergo four stages (site construction and development, promotion and marketing, capacity building and training, evaluation and sustainability). Several activities and methods will be employed from stage one through stage four to evaluate the potential impact of the age-friendly outdoor spaces on physical activity and wellbeing and will comprise the following elements: site observation and equipment utilisation, face to face intercept surveys, development of an online access monitor and community building activities. DISCUSSION: The project is expected to result in a significant change in the physical outdoor environment for the participating councils and communities whereby older people and other community members will be able to engage in safe physical and social activity programs, socialise more and hence improve the overall wellbeing of older people. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial is retrospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry. Trial registration number ACTRN12621000965808 . Date registered 23/07/2021.
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    Suicide rates amongst individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
    Troya, MI ; Spittal, MJ ; Pendrous, R ; Crowley, G ; Gorton, HC ; Russell, K ; Byrne, S ; Musgrove, R ; Hannah-Swain, S ; Kapur, N ; Knipe, D (Elsevier BV, 2022-05)
    Background: Existing evidence suggests that some individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds are at increased risk of suicide compared to their majority ethnic counterparts, whereas others are at decreased risk. We aimed to estimate the absolute and relative risk of suicide in individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds globally. Methods: Databases (Medline, Embase, and PsycInfo) were searched for epidemiological studies between 01/01/2000 and 3/07/2020, which provided data on absolute and relative rates of suicide amongst ethnic minority groups. Studies reporting on clinical or specific populations were excluded. Pairs of reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts, and full texts. We used random effects meta-analysis to estimate overall, sex, location, migrant status, and ancestral origin, stratified pooled estimates for absolute and rate ratios. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020197940. Findings: A total of 128 studies were included with 6,026,103 suicide deaths in individuals from an ethnic minority background across 31 countries. Using data from 42 moderate-high quality studies, we estimated a pooled suicide rate of 12·1 per 100,000 (95% CIs 8·4-17·6) in people from ethnic minority backgrounds with a broad range of estimates (1·2-139·7 per 100,000). There was weak statistical evidence from 51 moderate-high quality studies that individuals from ethnic minority groups were more likely to die by suicide (RR 1·3 95% CIs 0·9-1·7) with again a broad range amongst studies (RR 0·2-18·5). In our sub-group analysis we only found evidence of elevated risk for indigenous populations (RR: 2·8 95% CIs 1·9-4·0; pooled rate: 23·2 per 100,000 95% CIs 14·7-36·6). There was very substantial heterogeneity (I2  > 98%) between studies for all pooled estimates. Interpretation: The homogeneous grouping of individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds is inappropriate. To support suicide prevention in marginalised groups, further exploration of important contextual differences in risk is required. It is possible that some ethnic minority groups (for example those from indigenous backgrounds) have higher rates of suicide than majority populations. Funding: No specific funding was provided to conduct this research. DK is funded by Wellcome Trust and Elizabeth Blackwell Institute Bristol. Matthew Spittal is a recipient of an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (project number FT180100075) funded by the Australian Government. Rebecca Musgrove is funded by the NIHR Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (PSTRC-2016-003).
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    Medical negligence claims and the health and life satisfaction of Australian doctors: a prospective cohort analysis of the MABEL survey
    Bradfield, OM ; Bismark, M ; Scott, A ; Spittal, M (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To assess the association between medical negligence claims and doctors' self-rated health and life satisfaction. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. PARTICIPANTS: Registered doctors practising in Australia who participated in waves 4 to 11 of the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey between 2011 and 2018. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction. RESULTS: Of the 15 105 doctors in the study, 885 reported being named in a medical negligence claim. Fixed-effects linear regression analysis showed that both self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction declined for all doctors over the course of the MABEL survey, with no association between wave and being sued. However, being sued was not associated with any additional declines in self-rated health (coef.=-0.02, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.02, p=0.39) or self-rated life satisfaction (coef.=-0.01, 95% CI -0.08 to 0.07, p=0.91) after controlling for a range of job factors. Instead, we found that working conditions and job satisfaction were the strongest predictors of self-rated health and self-rated life satisfaction in sued doctors. In analyses restricted to doctors who were sued, we observed no changes in self-rated health (p=0.99) or self-rated life satisfaction (p=0.59) in the years immediately following a claim. CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to prior overseas cross-sectional survey studies, we show that medical negligence claims do not adversely affect the well-being of doctors in Australia when adjusting for time trends and previously established covariates. This may be because: (1) prior studies failed to adequately address issues of causation and confounding; or (2) legal processes governing medical negligence claims in Australia cause less distress compared with those in other jurisdictions. Our findings suggest that the interaction between medical negligence claims and poor doctors' health is more complex than revealed through previous studies.
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    Inhibitory Activity of Antibacterial Mouthwashes and Antiseptic Substances against Neisseria gonorrhoeae
    Williams, E ; Zhang, B ; Chow, EPF ; Chea, S ; Phillips, TR ; Maddaford, K ; Krysiak, M ; Nong, Y ; Stefanatos, H ; Pasricha, S ; Fairley, CK ; Wiliamson, DA (AMER SOC MICROBIOLOGY, 2022-05-17)
    Improved treatment and prevention strategies, such as antimicrobial mouthwashes, may be important for addressing the public health threat of antimicrobial-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Here, we describe the activity of seven common antibacterial mouthwashes and antiseptics against N. gonorrhoeae isolates, incorporating the use of a human saliva test matrix. Our data demonstrate that antibacterial mouthwashes and antiseptics vary in their ability to inhibit the in vitro growth of N. gonorrhoeae and saliva may impact this inhibitory activity.
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    The Feasibility of a Web-Based Educational Lifestyle Program for People With Multiple Sclerosis: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
    Bevens, W ; Weiland, TJ ; Gray, K ; Neate, SL ; Nag, N ; Simpson-Yap, S ; Reece, J ; Yu, M ; Jelinek, GA (Frontiers Media SA, 2022)
    Background: Modifiable lifestyle factors are important to aid people with multiple sclerosis in the self-management of their disease. Current self-management programs are limited by their face-to-face mode of delivery but there is immense potential with the internet to deliver these programs effectively. Objective: The aims of this study are to assess the feasibility of a digitalized educational lifestyle self-management program for people with MS. Methods: In this randomized controlled trial, people with MS were randomly allocated to participate in a 6-week tailored web-based educational lifestyle program or 6-week generic standard-care educational course, and were blinded to their allocation. Participants were recruited through multiple sclerosis (MS) Societies in four countries: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. The primary outcome was to assess acceptability of the program defined as percentage completion of all modules at 6-weeks post-course commencement. Secondary outcomes included evaluating participant responses to the follow-up survey across three domains: accessibility, learnability, and desirability. Results: Thirty-five participants from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the US completed the baseline survey and were randomized. Four participants were deemed ineligible due to incomplete baseline data; therefore, nine out of 15 and eight out of 16 participants completed 100% of the course in the intervention and standard-care arm courses, respectively. Conclusions: This study found that this web-based educational lifestyle program is a feasible means of delivering educational content to people with MS via the internet according to our a priori targets of >40% of participants in the intervention arm, and >25% in the control arm to completing 100% of the course. It is therefore appropriate to evaluate this intervention further in a large, randomized controlled trial. Trial registration: This study was prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ID: ACTRN12621000245897).
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    Differences in psychosocial distress among rural and metropolitan health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Tham, R ; Pascoe, A ; Willis, K ; Kay, M ; Smallwood, N (WILEY, 2022-05-05)
    OBJECTIVE: The Australian COVID-19 Frontline Healthcare Workers study examined the prevalence and severity of mental health symptoms during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. This substudy examined the differences in psychological well-being between rural and metropolitan health care workers (HCWs). DESIGN: A nationwide survey conducted between August and October 2020. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Australian HCWs were recruited through multiple strategies. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Demographics, mental health outcomes (anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and burnout). RESULTS: Complete responses were included from 7846 participants, with 1473 (18.8%) in regional or remote ('rural') areas and 81.2% in metropolitan areas. Rural participants were older, more likely to work in allied health, nursing or in health administration, and had worked longer in their profession than metropolitan participants. Levels of resilience were similar (p = 0.132), but there was significantly higher prevalence of pre-COVID-19 pandemic mental illness in the rural workforce (p < 0.001). There were high levels of current mental health issues: moderate-severe PTSD (rural 38.0%; metropolitan 41.0% p = 0.031); high depersonalisation (rural 18.1%; metropolitan 20.7% p = 0.047); and high emotional exhaustion (rural 46.5%; metropolitan 43.3% p = 0.002). Among rural participants, mental health symptoms were associated with younger age, worry about being blamed if they contracted COVID-19, fear of transmitting COVID-19 to their family, experiencing worsening relationships and working in primary care or allied health. CONCLUSION: Despite having low COVID-19 case numbers in rural Australian health services compared with metropolitan counterparts over the course of 2020, there were widespread mental health impacts on the workforce. Rural health services need specific and flexible training, education, work policies and practices that support psychological well-being now in preparedness for ongoing or future crises.
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    Point-of-Care Testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea: Implications for Clinical Practice
    Natoli, L ; Maher, L ; Shephard, M ; Hengel, B ; Tangey, A ; Badman, SG ; Ward, J ; Guy, RJ ; Ojcius, DM (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-06-23)
    OBJECTIVES: Point-of-care (POC) testing for chlamydia (CT) and gonorrhoea (NG) offers a new approach to the diagnosis and management of these sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in remote Australian communities and other similar settings. Diagnosis of STIs in remote communities is typically symptom driven, and for those who are asymptomatic, treatment is generally delayed until specimens can be transported to the reference laboratory, results returned and the patient recalled. The objective of this study was to explore the clinical implications of using CT/NG POC tests in routine clinical care in remote settings. METHODS: In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a purposively selected group of 18 key informants with a range of sexual health and laboratory expertise. RESULTS: Participants highlighted the potential impact POC testing would have on different stages of the current STI management pathway in remote Aboriginal communities and how the pathway would change. They identified implications for offering a POC test, specimen collection, conducting the POC test, syndromic management of STIs, pelvic inflammatory disease diagnosis and management, interpretation and delivery of POC results, provision of treatment, contact tracing, management of client flow and wait time, and re-testing at 3 months after infection. CONCLUSIONS: The introduction of POC testing to improve STI service delivery requires careful consideration of both its advantages and limitations. The findings of this study will inform protocols for the implementation of CT/NG POC testing, and also STI testing and management guidelines.
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    The Magnitude of NCD Risk Factors in Ethiopia: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of Evidence.
    Tesfay, FH ; Backholer, K ; Zorbas, C ; Bowe, SJ ; Alston, L ; Bennett, CM (MDPI AG, 2022-04-27)
    BACKGROUND: Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors are the leading contributors to morbidity and mortality globally, particularly in low- and middle-income countries including Ethiopia. To date, there has been no synthesis of the literature on the relative prevalence of NCD risk factors in Ethiopia. METHODOLOGY: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of primary studies reporting on the prevalence of NCD risk factors in Ethiopia published in English from 2012 to July 2020. Pre-tested NCD search terms were applied to Medline, Embase, Scopus, CINAHL, and Global Health. Three reviewers screened and appraised the quality of the identified papers. Data extraction was conducted using a pilot tested proforma. Meta-analysis was conducted using Stata 16 and pooled prevalence estimated with associated 95% confidence intervals. Clinically heterogeneous studies that did not fulfil the eligibility criteria for meta-analysis were narratively synthesised. I2 was used to assess statistical heterogeneity. RESULTS: 47 studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria and contributed 68 NCD risk factor prevalence estimates. Hypertension was the most frequently examined NCD risk factor, with a pooled prevalence of 21% (n = 27 studies). The pooled prevalence percentages for overweight and obesity were 19.2% and 10.3%, respectively (n = 7 studies each), with a combined prevalence of 26.8% (n = 1 study). It was not possible to pool the prevalence of alcohol consumption, smoking, metabolic disorders, or fruit consumption because of heterogeneity across studies. The prevalence of alcohol use, as reported from the included individual studies, ranged from 12.4% to 13.5% (n = 7 studies). More than 90% of participants met the WHO-recommended level of physical activity (n = 5 studies). The prevalence of smoking was highly variable, ranging between 0.8% and 38.6%, as was the prevalence of heavy alcohol drinking (12.4% to 21.1%, n = 6 studies) and metabolic syndrome (4.8% to 9.6%, n = 5 studies). Fruit consumption ranged from 1.5% up to the recommended level, but varied across geographic areas (n = 3 studies). CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS: The prevalence of NCD risk factors in Ethiopia is relatively high. National NCD risk factor surveillance is required to inform the prioritisation of policies and interventions to reduce the NCD burden in Ethiopia.
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    Quantitative Methods to Detect Suicide and Self-Harm Clusters: A Systematic Review.
    Benson, R ; Rigby, J ; Brunsdon, C ; Cully, G ; Too, LS ; Arensman, E (MDPI AG, 2022-04-27)
    Suicide and self-harm clusters exist in various forms, including point, mass, and echo clusters. The early identification of clusters is important to mitigate contagion and allocate timely interventions. A systematic review was conducted to synthesize existing evidence of quantitative analyses of suicide and self-harm clusters. Electronic databases including Medline, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus were searched from date of inception to December 2020 for studies that statistically analyzed the presence of suicide or self-harm clusters. Extracted data were narratively synthesized due to heterogeneity among the statistical methods applied. Of 7268 identified studies, 79 were eligible for narrative synthesis. Most studies quantitatively verified the presence of suicide and self-harm clusters based on the scale of the data and type of cluster. A Poisson-based scan statistical model was found to be effective in accurately detecting point and echo clusters. Mass clusters are typically detected by a time-series regression model, although limitations exist. Recently, the statistical analysis of suicide and self-harm clusters has progressed due to advances in quantitative methods and geospatial analytical techniques, most notably spatial scanning software. The application of such techniques to real-time surveillance data could effectively detect emerging clusters and provide timely intervention.
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    Reply to Spreco et al.: Perceived corruption and preferences for COVID-19 vaccine allocations.
    Duch, R ; Robinson, TS ; Clarke, PM ; Roope, LSJ ; Violato, M (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022-05-10)