Melbourne School of Population and Global Health - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 5315
The future of public health: the importance of workforce.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2009-04-09)
Health workforce has become a major concern and a significant health policy issue around the world in recent years. With recent international and national initiatives and models being developed and implemented in Australia and other countries, it is timely to understand the need and the rationale for a better trained and educated public health workforce for the future. Much more attention should also be given to evaluation and research in this field.Through this thematic series on Workforce and Public Health, we have drawn on the diverse nature of public health, workforce implications, education and training and national and international case examples of ongoing improvements and issues in this sector.
The effect on behavior and bone mineral density of individualized bone mineral density feedback and educational interventions in premenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial [NCT00273260]
BACKGROUND: Limited information is available on ways to influence osteoporosis risk in premenopausal women. This study tested four hypotheses regarding the effects of individualized bone density (BMD) feedback and different educational interventions on osteoporosis preventive behavior and BMD in pre-menopausal women, namely: that women are more likely to change calcium intake and physical activity if their BMD is low; that group education will be more efficacious at changing behavior than an information leaflet; that BMD feedback and group education have independent effects on behavior and BMD; and, that women who improve their physical activity or calcium intake will have a change in bone mass over 2 years that is better than those who do not alter their behavior. METHODS: We performed a 2-year randomized controlled trial of BMD feedback according to T-score and either an osteoporosis information leaflet or small group education in a population-based random sample of 470 healthy women aged 25-44 years (response rate 64%). Main outcome measures were dietary calcium intake, calcium supplement use, smoking behavior, physical activity, endurance fitness, lower limb strength and BMD. We used paired t-tests, one-way ANOVA and linear regression techniques for data analysis. RESULTS: Women who had feedback of low BMD had a greater increase in femoral neck BMD than those with normal BMD (1.6% p.a. vs. 0.7% p.a., p = 0.0001), but there was no difference in lumbar spine BMD change between these groups (0.1% p.a. vs. 0.08% p.a., p = 0.9). Both educational interventions had similar increases in femoral neck BMD (Leaflet = +1.0% p.a., Osteoporosis self-management course = + 1.3% p.a., p = 0.4). Femoral neck BMD change was only significantly associated with starting calcium supplements (1.3 % p.a, 95%CI +0.49, +2.17) and persistent self-reported change in physical activity levels (0.7% p.a., 95%CI +0.22, +1.22). CONCLUSION: Individualized BMD feedback combined with a minimal educational intervention is effective at increasing hip but not spine bone density in premenopausal women. The changes in behavior through which this was mediated are potentially important in the prevention of other diseases, thus measuring BMD at a young age may have substantial public health benefits, particularly if these changes are sustained.
Online questionnaire development: Using film to engage participants and then gather attitudes towards the sharing of genomic data
(ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE, 2014-03-01)
How can a researcher engage a participant in a survey, when the subject matter may be perceived as 'challenging' or even be totally unfamiliar to the participant? The Genomethics study addressed this via the creation and delivery of a novel online questionnaire containing 10 integrated films. The films documented various ethical dilemmas raised by genomic technologies and the survey ascertained attitudes towards these. Participants were recruited into the research using social media, traditional media and email invitation. The film-survey strategy was successful: 11,336 initial hits on the survey website led to 6944 completed surveys. Participants included from those who knew nothing of the subject matter through to experts in the field of genomics (61% compliance rate), 72% of participants answered every single question. This paper summarises the survey design process and validation methods applied. The recruitment strategy and results from the survey are presented elsewhere.
Transitions from Injection-Drug-Use-Concentrated to Self-Sustaining Heterosexual HIV Epidemics: Patterns in the International Data
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2012-03-01)
BACKGROUND: Injecting drug use continues to be a primary driver of HIV epidemics in many parts of the world. Many people who inject drugs (PWID) are sexually active, so it is possible that high-seroprevalence HIV epidemics among PWID may initiate self-sustaining heterosexual transmission epidemics. METHODS: Fourteen countries that had experienced high seroprevalence (<20%) HIV epidemics among PWID and had reliable data for injection drug use (IDU) and heterosexual cases of HIV or AIDS were identified. Graphs of newly reported HIV or AIDS cases among PWID and heterosexuals were constructed to identify temporal relationships between the two types of epidemics. The year in which newly reported cases among heterosexuals surpassed newly reported cases among PWID, aspects of the epidemic curves, and epidemic case histories were analyzed to assess whether it was "plausible" or "highly unlikely" that the HIV epidemic among PWID might have initiated the heterosexual epidemic in each country. RESULTS: Transitions have occurred in 11 of the 14 countries. Two types of temporal relationships between IDU and heterosexual HIV epidemics were identified, rapid high incidence transitions vs. delayed, low incidence transitions. In six countries it appears "plausible" that the IDU epidemic initiated a heterosexual epidemic, and in five countries it appears "highly unlikely" that the IDU epidemic initiated a heterosexual epidemic. A rapid decline in incidence among PWID after the peak year of new cases and national income were the best predictors of the "highly unlikely" initiation of a heterosexual epidemic. DISCUSSION: Transitions from IDU concentrated epidemics to heterosexual epidemics are common in countries with high seroprevalence among PWID though there are distinct types of transitions. Interventions to immediately reduce HIV incidence among PWID may reduce the likelihood that an IDU epidemic may initiate a heterosexual epidemic.
Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) Study Associations With Neonatal Anthropometrics
(AMER DIABETES ASSOC, 2009-02-01)
OBJECTIVE: To examine associations of neonatal adiposity with maternal glucose levels and cord serum C-peptide in a multicenter multinational study, the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome (HAPO) Study, thereby assessing the Pederson hypothesis linking maternal glycemia and fetal hyperinsulinemia to neonatal adiposity. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Eligible pregnant women underwent a standard 75-g oral glucose tolerance test between 24 and 32 weeks gestation (as close to 28 weeks as possible). Neonatal anthropometrics and cord serum C-peptide were measured. Associations of maternal glucose and cord serum C-peptide with neonatal adiposity (sum of skin folds >90th percentile or percent body fat >90th percentile) were assessed using multiple logistic regression analyses, with adjustment for potential confounders, including maternal age, parity, BMI, mean arterial pressure, height, gestational age at delivery, and the baby's sex. RESULTS: Among 23,316 HAPO Study participants with glucose levels blinded to caregivers, cord serum C-peptide results were available for 19,885 babies and skin fold measurements for 19,389. For measures of neonatal adiposity, there were strong statistically significant gradients across increasing levels of maternal glucose and cord serum C-peptide, which persisted after adjustment for potential confounders. In fully adjusted continuous variable models, odds ratios ranged from 1.35 to 1.44 for the two measures of adiposity for fasting, 1-h, and 2-h plasma glucose higher by 1 SD. CONCLUSIONS: These findings confirm the link between maternal glucose and neonatal adiposity and suggest that the relationship is mediated by fetal insulin production and that the Pedersen hypothesis describes a basic biological relationship influencing fetal growth.
Factors influencing attendance in a structured physical activity program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in an urban setting: a mixed methods process evaluation
(BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2013-01-24)
BACKGROUND: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experience higher rates of obesity, chronic disease, and are less active than non-Indigenous Australian women. Lifestyle programs designed to increase physical activity and encourage healthy eating are needed to ameliorate this disparity. The aim of this study was to identify participants' perceived barriers and enablers to attend group exercise classes as part of a 12-week fitness program. METHODS: To understand the factors that influence attendance, a mixed method process evaluation was undertaken in which a quantitative measure of attendance in the group exercise classes was used to identify cases for further qualitative investigation. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander women aged 18 to 64 years were recruited to a research trial of a fitness program. The 12-week program included two 60-minute group exercise classes per week, and four nutrition education workshops. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at program completion. Participants were stratified by attendance, and interviews from the highest and lowest 25 percentiles analysed. Rigour was strengthened through use of multiple data analysts, member checking and prolonged engagement in the field. RESULTS: Analyses of the post-program interviews revealed that participants enrolled in the program primarily for the perceived health benefits and all (with one exception) found the program met their needs and expectations. The atmosphere of classes was positive and comfortable and they reported developing good relationships with their fellow participants and program staff. Low attendees described more barriers to attendance, such as illness and competing work and family obligations, and were more likely to report logistical issues, such as inconvenient venue or class times. CONCLUSIONS: Attendance to the 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women's Fitness Program' was primarily influenced by the participant's personal health, logistics and competing obligations. Low attendees reported more barriers during the 12-week period and identified fewer enabling factors than high attendees. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12610000224022.
Testing the PRISMA-Equity 2012 Reporting Guideline: the Perspectives of Systematic Review Authors
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-10-10)
Reporting guidelines can be used to encourage standardised and comprehensive reporting of health research. In light of the global commitment to health equity, we have previously developed and published a reporting guideline for equity-focused systematic reviews (PRISMA-E 2012). The objectives of this study were to explore the utility of the equity extension items included in PRISMA-E 2012 from a systematic review author perspective, including facilitators and barriers to its use. This will assist in designing dissemination and knowledge translation strategies. We conducted a survey of systematic review authors to expose them to the new items in PRISMA-E 2012, establish the extent to which they had historically addressed those items in their own reviews, and gather feedback on the usefulness of the new items. Data were analysed using Microsoft Excel 2008 and Stata (version 11.2 for Mac). Of 151 respondents completing the survey, 18.5% (95% CI: 12.7% to 25.7%) had not heard of the PRISMA statement before, although 83.4% (95% CI: 77.5% to 89.3%) indicated that they plan to use PRISMA-E 2012 in the future, depending on the focus of their review. Most (68.9%; 95% CI: 60.8% to 76.2%) thought that using PRISMA-E 2012 would lead them to conduct their reviews differently. Important facilitators to using PRISMA-E 2012 identified by respondents were journal endorsement and incorporation of the elements of the guideline into systematic review software. Barriers identified were lack of time, word limits and the availability of equity data in primary research. This study has been the first to 'road-test' the new PRISMA-E 2012 reporting guideline and the findings are encouraging. They confirm the acceptability and potential utility of the guideline to assist review authors in reporting on equity in their reviews. The uptake and impact of PRISMA-E 2012 over time on design, conduct and reporting of primary research and systematic reviews should continue to be examined.
Plasma Lipid Profiling Shows Similar Associations with Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-09-27)
The relationship between lipid metabolism with prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose and impaired glucose tolerance) and type 2 diabetes mellitus is poorly defined. We hypothesized that a lipidomic analysis of plasma lipids might improve the understanding of this relationship. We performed lipidomic analysis measuring 259 individual lipid species, including sphingolipids, phospholipids, glycerolipids and cholesterol esters, on fasting plasma from 117 type 2 diabetes, 64 prediabetes and 170 normal glucose tolerant participants in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab) then validated our findings on 1076 individuals from the San Antonio Family Heart Study (SAFHS). Logistic regression analysis of identified associations with type 2 diabetes (135 lipids) and prediabetes (134 lipids), after adjusting for multiple covariates. In addition to the expected associations with diacylglycerol, triacylglycerol and cholesterol esters, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes were positively associated with ceramide, and its precursor dihydroceramide, along with phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylinositol. Significant negative associations were observed with the ether-linked phospholipids alkylphosphatidylcholine and alkenylphosphatidylcholine. Most of the significant associations in the AusDiab cohort (90%) were subsequently validated in the SAFHS cohort. The aberration of the plasma lipidome associated with type 2 diabetes is clearly present in prediabetes, prior to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Lipid classes and species associated with type 2 diabetes provide support for a number of existing paradigms of dyslipidemia and suggest new avenues of investigation.
The Potential of Metatranscriptomics for Identifying Screening Targets for Bacterial Vaginosis
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-09-27)
BACKGROUND: The ribosomal RNA content of a sample collected from a woman with bacterial vaginosis (BV) was analysed to determine the active microbial community, and to identify potential targets for further screening. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The sample from the BV patient underwent total RNA extraction, followed by physical subtraction of human rRNA and whole transcriptome amplification. The metatranscriptome was sequenced using Roche 454 titanium chemistry. The bioinformatics pipeline MG-RAST and desktop DNA analysis platforms were utilised to analyse results. Bacteria of the genus Prevotella (predominately P. amnii) constituted 36% of the 16S rRNA reads, followed by Megasphaera (19%), Leptotrichia/Sneathia (8%) and Fusobacterium (8%). Comparison of the abundances of several bacteria to quantitative PCR (qPCR) screening of extracted DNA revealed comparable relative abundances. This suggests a correlation between what was present and transcriptionally active in this sample: however distinct differences were seen when compared to the microbiome determined by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing. To assess the presence of P. amnii in a larger pool of samples, 90 sexually active women were screened using qPCR. This bacterium was found to be strongly associated with BV (P<0.001, OR 23.3 (95%CI:2.9-190.7)) among the 90 women. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study highlighted the potential of metatranscriptomics as a tool for characterising metabolically active microbiota and identifying targets for further screening. Prevotella amnii was chosen as an example target, being the most metabolically active species present in the single patient with BV, and was found to be detected at a high concentration by qPCR in 31% of cohort with BV, with an association with both oral and penile-vaginal sex.
People living in hilly residential areas in metropolitan Perth have less diabetes: spurious association or important environmental determinant?
BACKGROUND: Variations in 'slope' (how steep or flat the ground is) may be good for health. As walking up hills is a physiologically vigorous physical activity and can contribute to weight control, greater neighbourhood slopes may provide a protective barrier to weight gain, and help prevent Type 2 diabetes onset. We explored whether living in 'hilly' neighbourhoods was associated with diabetes prevalence among the Australian adult population. METHODS: Participants (≥25 years; n = 11,406) who completed the Western Australian Health and Wellbeing Surveillance System Survey (2003-2009) were asked whether or not they had medically-diagnosed diabetes. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software was used to calculate a neighbourhood mean slope score, and other built environment measures at 1600 m around each participant's home. Logistic regression models were used to predict the odds of self-reported diabetes after progressive adjustment for individual measures (i.e., age, sex), socioeconomic status (i.e., education, income), built environment, destinations, nutrition, and amount of walking. RESULTS: After full adjustment, the odds of self-reported diabetes was 0.72 (95% CI 0.55-0.95) and 0.52 (95% CI 0.39-0.69) for adults living in neighbourhoods with moderate and higher levels of slope, respectively, compared with adults living in neighbourhoods with the lowest levels of slope. The odds of having diabetes was 13% lower (odds ratio 0.87; 95% CI 0.80-0.94) for each increase of one percent in mean slope. CONCLUSIONS: Living in a hilly neighbourhood may be protective of diabetes onset or this finding is spurious. Nevertheless, the results are promising and have implications for future research and the practice of flattening land in new housing developments.
Major Burden of Severe Anemia from Non-Falciparum Malaria Species in Southern Papua: A Hospital-Based Surveillance Study
(PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2013-12-01)
BACKGROUND: The burden of anemia attributable to non-falciparum malarias in regions with Plasmodium co-endemicity is poorly documented. We compared the hematological profile of patients with and without malaria in southern Papua, Indonesia. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Clinical and laboratory data were linked for all patients presenting to a referral hospital between April 2004 and December 2012. Data were available on patient demographics, malaria diagnosis, hemoglobin concentration, and clinical outcome, but other potential causes of anemia could not be identified reliably. Of 922,120 patient episodes (837,989 as outpatients and 84,131 as inpatients), a total of 219,845 (23.8%) were associated with a hemoglobin measurement, of whom 67,696 (30.8%) had malaria. Patients with P. malariae infection had the lowest hemoglobin concentration (n = 1,608, mean = 8.93 [95% CI 8.81-9.06]), followed by those with mixed species infections (n = 8,645, mean = 9.22 [95% CI 9.16-9.28]), P. falciparum (n = 37,554, mean = 9.47 [95% CI 9.44-9.50]), and P. vivax (n = 19,858, mean = 9.53 [95% CI 9.49-9.57]); p-value for all comparisons <0.001. Severe anemia (hemoglobin <5 g/dl) was present in 8,151 (3.7%) patients. Compared to patients without malaria, those with mixed Plasmodium infection were at greatest risk of severe anemia (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 3.25 [95% CI 2.99-3.54]); AORs for severe anaemia associated with P. falciparum, P. vivax, and P. malariae were 2.11 (95% CI 2.00-2.23), 1.87 (95% CI 1.74-2.01), and 2.18 (95% CI 1.76-2.67), respectively, p<0.001. Overall, 12.2% (95% CI 11.2%-13.3%) of severe anemia was attributable to non-falciparum infections compared with 15.1% (95% CI 13.9%-16.3%) for P. falciparum monoinfections. Patients with severe anemia had an increased risk of death (AOR = 5.80 [95% CI 5.17-6.50]; p<0.001). Not all patients had a hemoglobin measurement, thus limitations of the study include the potential for selection bias, and possible residual confounding in multivariable analyses. CONCLUSIONS: In Papua P. vivax is the dominant cause of severe anemia in early infancy, mixed P. vivax/P. falciparum infections are associated with a greater hematological impairment than either species alone, and in adulthood P. malariae, although rare, is associated with the lowest hemoglobin concentration. These findings highlight the public health importance of integrated genus-wide malaria control strategies in areas of Plasmodium co-endemicity.