In this review, we have summarized the findings of fifteen studies of knowledge of stroke warning signs and risk factors in both high- and low-risk populations. In general, there appears to be low levels of knowledge of both risk factors and stroke warning signs among the communities studied. Using free recall, between 20% and 30% of respondents could not name a single risk factor, and between 10% and 60% could not name a single warning sign of stroke. Providing survey respondents with a list of potential warning signs substantially improved the identification of warning signs. Respondents in older age groups and having lower levels of educational attainment tended to have less knowledge of risk factors and warning signs of stroke than those in younger age groups and those with more education. Public campaigns to improve stroke knowledge are needed, particularly in the older age groups where the risk of stroke is greater.
stroke; awareness; risk factors; knowledge; survey
The definition and classification of early clinically apparent osteoarthritis both in clinical situations and in epidemiological surveys remains a problem. Few data exist on the between-observer reproducibility of simple clinical methods of detecting hand and knee osteoarthritis in the population and their sensitivity and specificity as compared with radiography. Two observers first studied the reproducibility of a number of clinical signs in 41 middle aged women. Good rates of agreement were found for most of the clinical signs tested (kappa = 0.54-1.0). The more reproducible signs were then tested on a population of 541 women, aged 45-65, drawn from general practice, screening centres, and patients previously attending hospital for non-rheumatic problems. The major clinical signs used had a high specificity (87-99%) and lower sensitivity (20-49%) when compared with radiographs graded on the Kellgren and Lawrence scale (2+ = positive). When analysis was restricted to symptomatic radiographic osteoarthritis, levels of sensitivity were increased and specificity was lowered. These data show that certain physical signs of osteoarthritis are reproducible and may be used to identify clinical disease. They are not a substitute for radiographs, however, if radiographic change is regarded as the 'gold standard' of diagnosis. As the clinical signs tested seemed specific for osteoarthritis they may be of value in screening populations for clinical disease.
This study investigated the self-reported awareness of the presence of product warning messages and signs among random samples of Hispanics in San Francisco surveyed in 1990 and in 1991. The messages that were tested related to cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, and other consumer products. A random sample of 1,204 Hispanics (43.5 percent males) were interviewed by telephone in 1990. The corresponding figure for the second survey in 1991 was 1,569 Hispanics (41.1 percent males). In general, respondents reported low levels of awareness of the presence of product warning messages and signs. The exception was warning messages on cigarette packets which approximately 70 percent of the respondents reported having seen within the 12 months before the survey. There was an increase from 1990 to 1991 in the reported awareness of warning messages for wine, beer, and cigarettes. Smokers and drinkers of alcoholic beverages reported the highest levels of awareness of the relevant warning messages and signs. Length of exposure to warning messages and multiplicity of sources (for example, advertisements and products) seem to produce greater levels of awareness of the presence of product warning messages. Less acculturated, Spanish-speaking Hispanics are less likely to report being aware of the warnings, particularly those that appear only in English (for example, alcoholic beverages).
The present study was aimed at investigating the awareness level about warning signs of cancer and its determinants in an Iranian general population. This cross-sectional interview-based survey investigated 2,500 people aged 18 years and over, as a representative sample of Tehran population. Latent class regression was applied for analyzing data. A small (18.8%) proportion of the respondents had high level of knowledge, and 54.5% had moderate awareness, and 26.7% had low level of awareness. Most effective predictors for awareness were educational attainment, sex, and marital status. The findings suggest that the overall level of knowledge about warning signs of cancer among the public is low, particularly about some specific signs. Accordingly, educational and intervention programmes, with special attention placed on particular at-risk populations, to increase awareness about the disease leading to its early diagnosis are needed.
Awareness; Cancer; Cross-sectional studies; Health education; Neoplasms; Public education; Signs and symptoms; Iran
The aim of the current Part II of Stroke Statistics in Korea is to summarize nationally representative data on public awareness, pre-hospital delay, thrombolysis, and quality of acute stroke care in a single document. The public's knowledge of stroke definition, risk factors, warning signs, and act on stroke generally remains low. According to studies using open-ended questions, the correct definition of stroke was recognized in less than 50%, hypertension as a stroke risk factor in less than 50%, and other well-defined risk factors in less than 20%. Among stroke warning signs, sudden paresis or numbness was best appreciated, with recognition rates ranging in 36.9-73.7%, but other warning signs including speech disturbance were underappreciated. In addition, less than one third of subjects in a representative population survey were aware of thrombolysis and had knowledge of the appropriate act on stroke, calling emergency medical services (EMS). Despite EMS being an essential element in the stroke chain of survival and outcome improvement, EMS protocols for field stroke diagnosis and prehospital notification for potential stroke patients are not well established. According to the Assessment for Quality of Acute Stroke Care, the median onset-to-door time for patients arriving at the emergency room was 4 hours (mean, 17.3 hours) in 2010, which was not reduced compared to 2005. In contrast, the median door-to-needle time for intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV-TPA) treatment was 55.5 minutes (mean, 79.5 minutes) in 2010, shorter than the median time of 60.0 minutes (mean, 102.8 minutes) in 2008. Of patients with acute ischemic stroke, 7.9% were treated with IV-TPA in 2010, an increase from the 4.6% in 2005. Particularly, IV-TPA use for eligible patients substantially increased, from 21.7% in 2005 to 74.0% in 2010. The proportion of hospitals equipped with a stroke unit has increased from 1.1% in 2005 to 19.4% in 2010. Performance, as measured by quality indicators, has steadily improved since 2005, and the performance rates for most indicators were greater than 90% in 2010 except for early rehabilitation consideration (89.4%) and IV-TPA use for eligible patients (74.0%). In summary, the current report indicates a substantial improvement in in-hospital acute stroke care, but also emphasizes the need for enhancing public awareness and integrating the prehospital EMS system into acute stroke management. This report would be a valuable resource for understanding the current status and implementing initiatives to further improve public awareness of stroke and acute stroke care in Korea.
Stroke; Statistics; Public awareness; Acute stroke; Care
Mouse DC-SIGN CD209a is a type II transmembrane protein, one of a family of C-type lectin genes syntenic and homologous to human DC-SIGN. Current anti-mouse DC-SIGN monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are unable to react with DC-SIGN in acetone fixed cells, limiting the chance to visualize DC-SIGN in tissue sections. We first produced rabbit polyclonal PAb-DSCYT14 against a 14-aa peptide in the cytosolic domain of mouse DC-SIGN, and it specifically detected DC-SIGN and not the related lectins, SIGN-R1 and SIGN-R3 expressed in transfected CHO cells. MAbs were generated by immunizing rats and DC-SIGN knockout mice with the extracellular region of mouse DC-SIGN.. Five rat IgG2a or IgM MAbs, named BMD10, 11, 24, 25, and 30, were selected and each MAb specifically detected DC-SIGN by FACS and Western blots, although BMD25 was cross-reactive to SIGN-R1. Two mouse IgG2c MAbs MMD2 and MMD3 interestingly bound mouse DC-SIGN but at 10 fold higher levels than the rat MAbs. When the binding epitopes of the new BMD and two other commercial rat anti-DC-SIGN MAbs, 5H10 and LWC06, were examined by competition assays, the epitopes of BMD11, 24, and LWC06 were identical or closely overlapping while BMD10, 30, and 5H10 were shown to bind different epitopes. MMD2 and MMD3 epitopes were on a 3rd noncompeting region of mouse DC-SIGN. DC-SIGN expressed on the cell surface was sensitive to collagenase treatment, as monitored by polyclonal and MAb. These new reagents should be helpful to probe the biology of DC-SIGN in vivo.
Monoclonal Antibody; Polyclonal Antibody; DC-SIGN; CD209a; Dendritic Cells
In 2009, a voluntary pay for performance (P4P) scheme for primary care physicians was introduced in France through the ‘Contract for Improving Individual Practice’ (CAPI). Although the contract could be interrupted at any time and without any penalty, two-thirds of French general practitioners chose not to participate. We studied what factors motivated general practitioners not to subscribe to the P4P contract, and particularly their perception of the ethical risks that may be associated with adhering to a CAPI.
A cross-sectional survey among French general practitioners using an online questionnaire based on focus group discussion results. Descriptive and multivariate statistical analyses with logistic regression.
A sample of 1,016 respondents, representative of French GPs. The variables that were associated with the probability of not signing a CAPI were “discomfort that patients were not informed of the signing of a P4P contract by their doctors” (OR = 8.24, 95% CI = 4.61–14.71), “the risk of conflicts of interest” (OR = 4.50, 95% CI = 2.42–8.35), “perceptions by patients that doctors may risk breaching professional ethics” (OR = 4. 35, 95% CI = 2.43–7.80) and “the risk of excluding the poorest patients” (OR = 2.66, 95% CI = 1.53–4.63).
The perception of ethical risks associated with P4P may have hampered its success. Although the CAPI was extended to all GPs in 2012, our results question the relevance of the program itself by shedding light on potential adverse effects.
Given the important role of parent–youth communication in adolescent well-being and quality of life, we sought to examine the relationship between specific communication variables and youth perceived quality of life in general and as a deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) individual. A convenience sample of 230 youth (mean age = 14.1, standard deviation = 2.2; 24% used sign only, 40% speech only, and 36% sign + speech) was surveyed on communication-related issues, generic and DHH-specific quality of life, and depression symptoms. Higher youth perception of their ability to understand parents’ communication was significantly correlated with perceived quality of life as well as lower reported depressive symptoms and lower perceived stigma. Youth who use speech as their single mode of communication were more likely to report greater stigma associated with being DHH than youth who used both speech and sign. These findings demonstrate the importance of youths’ perceptions of communication with their parents on generic and DHH-specific youth quality of life.
Resident duty hour restrictions have resulted in more frequent patient care handoffs, increasing the need for improved quality of residents’ sign-out process.
To characterize resident sign-out process and identify effective strategies for quality improvement.
Mixed methods analysis of resident sign-out, including a survey of resident views, prospective observation and characterization of 64 consecutive sign-out sessions, and an appreciative-inquiry approach for quality improvement.
Internal medicine residents (n = 89).
An appreciative inquiry process identified five exemplar residents and their peers’ effective sign-out strategies.
Surveys were analyzed and observations of sign-out sessions were characterized for duration and content. Common effective strategies were identified from the five exemplar residents using an appreciative inquiry approach.
The survey identified wide variations in the methodology of sign-out. Few residents reported that laboratory tests (13%) or medications (16%) were frequently accurate. The duration of observed sign-outs averaged 134 ±73 s per patient for the day shift (6 p.m.) sign-out compared with 59 ± 41 s for the subsequent night shift (8 p.m.) sign-out for the same patients (p = 0.0002). Active problems (89% vs 98%, p = 0.013), treatment plans (52% vs 73%, p = 0.004), and laboratory test results (56% vs 80%, p = 0.002) were discussed less commonly during night compared with day sign-out. The five residents voted best at sign-out (mean vote 11 ± 1.6 vs 1.7 ± 2.3) identified strategies for sign-out: (1) discussing acutely ill patients first, (2) minimizing discussion on straightforward patients, (3) limiting plans to active issues, (4) using a systematic approach, and (5) limiting error-prone chart duplication.
Resident views toward sign-out are diverse, and accuracy of written records may be limited. Consecutive sign-outs are associated with degradation of information. An appreciative-inquiry approach capitalizing on exemplar residents was effective at creating standards for sign-out.
sign-out; handoff of care; continuity of patient care; internship and residency; communication; patient transfer; medical errors
Chest pain may not be reported to general practice but could be an important first sign of coronary heart disease (CHD).
To determine whether self-reported chest pain predicts future consultation for CHD in those with no history of consultation for CHD.
Design of study
Population-based study, with 7 year's follow up by GP record linkage.
General practice in North Staffordshire.
A survey, including the Rose angina questionnaire, was mailed to 4002 adults. Linked GP records used to identify responders with no record of CHD (G3 Read code or British National Formulary code for nitrate use) in the 32 months before the survey to form the sample for a 7-year prospective study. ‘Survival’ was compared in those with and without self-reported chest pain up to the earliest date of GP diagnosis of CHD, death, or end of the study period.
The survey response was 65% and 2348 participants gave permission to access their GP records. Of these, 2229 had no prior consultation for CHD. From the questionnaire, 558 reported chest pain of which 186 reported exertional pain and 103 met the criteria for angina. When followed prospectively, incidence of CHD consultations was higher in those with any chest pain definition, compared with no pain, and continued to be so for 7 years subsequently. Although these associations were strongly age related, self-reported symptoms were found to be an independent risk factor for future consultation for CHD.
This study highlighted that self-reported chest pain is a marker of future CHD. The usefulness of early identification of people with this symptom remains to be established.
angina; chest pain; coronary disease; epidemiology; referral and consultation; screening
Interviews with 400 consecutive patients attending a general practice sought their knowledge of the signs and symptoms of an acute heart attack, what action they would take for such an event, and their understanding of the predisposing factors contributing to heart disease. The survey revealed poor recognition of the relevant signs and symptoms of an acute heart attack and lack of knowledge of some of the main predisposing factors associated with heart disease.
This open, multicentre, observational survey investigated how physicians diagnose neuropathic pain (NeP) by applying the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) scale, and how neuropathic pain conditions are managed in daily practice in Belgium.
Physicians were asked to complete the Leeds Assessment of Neuropathic Symptoms and Signs (LANSS) scale for diagnosing NeP, and to fill out a questionnaire regarding the management of NeP, together with a questionnaire evaluating the impact of pain on sleep and daily life. Data on 2,480 pain patients were obtained. A LANSS score ≥ 12 (meaning NeP is most probably present) was reported for 1,163 patients. Pathologies typically associated with NeP scored above 12 on the LANSS scale, contrary to pathologies generally considered as being of non-neuropathic origin.
Over 90% of the patients with a LANSS score ≥ 12 reported that the pain impaired sleep. A high impact on social, family and professional life was also recorded. Additional examinations were performed in 89% of these patients. Most patients were taking multiple drugs, mainly paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, indicating that physicians generally tend to follow treatment guidelines of chronic nociceptive pain, rather than the specific ones for NeP. Specific neuropathic guidelines rather recommend the use of anti-epileptic drugs, tricyclic antidepressants or weak opioids as first-line treatment.
In our survey, application of the LANSS scale lead to pronounced treatment simplification with fewer drug combinations. Awareness about NeP as well as its specific treatment recommendations should be raised among healthcare providers. We concluded that the LANSS screening scale is an interesting tool to assist physicians in detecting NeP patients in routine clinical care.
In 1963, acute trichinosis was recognized in four patients at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. One presented with cavernous sinus thrombosis and sixth nerve palsy. A second had a severe systemic infection with myocarditis; the signs of myocarditis appeared in the third week. Electrocardiographic abnormalities included T-wave flattening, prolongation of PR interval and QRS complex, and non-specific changes in 25%. Central nervous system involvement occurred in the second week with general symptoms (headache, delirium and psychotic behaviour), followed in the third week by focal signs (nerve palsy, convulsion, pareses and coma).
The incidence of trichinosis in the U.S.A. fell from 15.9% before 1948 to 4.5% in the period 1948-1963. The Canadian incidence in the period from 1940 to 1943 was 5.6%. In a survey in Ottawa using the Baermann digestion and compression methods, four positive cases were found out of 500 diaphragms examined. These figures indicate the success of the public health regulations aimed at controlling trichinosis. A gastrocnemius muscle biopsy is still an invaluable diagnostic tool, especially in critically ill patients with negative skin tests and no eosinophilia.
A survey of lumbar punctures performed in adults in a district general hospital over a two year period was carried out. As well as being used for conventional, specific indications, lumbar puncture was often employed as a screening investigation in undiagnosed neurological illness. Although this was not inappropriate in patients with meningeal symptoms and signs, or patients with disordered consciousness, lumbar puncture was also used in patients with focal neurological signs. Although the dangers of lumbar puncture in these latter patients, and the fact that it is unlikely to yield information unobtainable by other investigations have been stated by many authorities, almost 20% of patients fell into this group. This suggests that these points require further emphasis.
The objective of this cross-sectional study was to examine the nutrition literacy status of adults in the Lower Mississippi Delta.
Survey instruments included the Newest Vital Sign and an adapted version of the Health Information National Trends Survey. A proportional quota sampling plan was used to represent educational achievement of residents in the Delta region. Participants included 177 adults, primarily African Americans (81%). Descriptive statistics, χ2 analysis, analysis of variance, and multivariate analysis of covariance tests were used to examine survey data.
Results indicated that 24% of participants had a high likelihood of limited nutrition literacy, 28% had a possibility of limited nutrition literacy, and 48% had adequate nutrition literacy. Controlling for income and education level, the multivariate analysis of covariance models revealed that nutrition literacy was significantly associated with media use for general purposes (F = 2.79, P = .005), media use for nutrition information (F = 2.30, P = .04), and level of trust from nutrition sources (F = 2.29, P = .005). Overall, the Internet was the least trusted and least used source for nutrition information. Only 12% of participants correctly identified the 2005 MyPyramid graphic, and the majority (78%) rated their dietary knowledge as poor or fair.
Compared with other national surveys, rates of limited health literacy among Delta adults were high. Nutrition literacy status has implications for how people seek nutrition information and how much they trust it. Understanding the causes and consequences of limited nutrition literacy may be a step toward reducing the burden of nutrition-related chronic diseases among disadvantaged rural communities.
The critically endangered Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae Pocock, 1929) is generally known as a forest-dependent animal. With large-scale conversion of forests into plantations, however, it is crucial for restoration efforts to understand to what extent tigers use modified habitats. We investigated tiger-habitat relationships at 2 spatial scales: occupancy across the landscape and habitat use within the home range. Across major landcover types in central Sumatra, we conducted systematic detection, non-detection sign surveys in 47, 17×17 km grid cells. Within each cell, we surveyed 40, 1-km transects and recorded tiger detections and habitat variables in 100 m segments totaling 1,857 km surveyed. We found that tigers strongly preferred forest and used plantations of acacia and oilpalm, far less than their availability. Tiger probability of occupancy covaried positively and strongly with altitude, positively with forest area, and negatively with distance-to-forest centroids. At the fine scale, probability of habitat use by tigers across landcover types covaried positively and strongly with understory cover and altitude, and negatively and strongly with human settlement. Within forest areas, tigers strongly preferred sites that are farther from water bodies, higher in altitude, farther from edge, and closer to centroid of large forest block; and strongly preferred sites with thicker understory cover, lower level of disturbance, higher altitude, and steeper slope. These results indicate that to thrive, tigers depend on the existence of large contiguous forest blocks, and that with adjustments in plantation management, tigers could use mosaics of plantations (as additional roaming zones), riparian forests (as corridors) and smaller forest patches (as stepping stones), potentially maintaining a metapopulation structure in fragmented landscapes. This study highlights the importance of a multi-spatial scale analysis and provides crucial information relevant to restoring tigers and other wildlife in forest and plantation landscapes through improvement in habitat extent, quality, and connectivity.
The manual signs in sign languages are generated and interpreted using three basic building blocks: handshape, motion, and place of articulation. When combined, these three components (together with palm orientation) uniquely determine the meaning of the manual sign. This means that the use of pattern recognition techniques that only employ a subset of these components is inappropriate for interpreting the sign or to build automatic recognizers of the language. In this paper, we define an algorithm to model these three basic components form a single video sequence of two-dimensional pictures of a sign. Recognition of these three components are then combined to determine the class of the signs in the videos. Experiments are performed on a database of (isolated) American Sign Language (ASL) signs. The results demonstrate that, using semi-automatic detection, all three components can be reliably recovered from two-dimensional video sequences, allowing for an accurate representation and recognition of the signs.
American Sign Language; handshape; motion reconstruction; multiple cue recognition; computer vision
Background It has been argued that primary care practitioners have an important part to play in the prevention of suicide. However, levels of assessment of risk of suicide among patients treated in this setting are generally low.
Methods Cross-sectional survey of general practitioners (GPs) and people being treated in primary care who had signs of depression. The study combined open and closed questions on attitudes to screening or being screened for suicidal ideation.
Results One hundred and one of 132 patients took part in the survey and 103 of 300 GPs completed a questionnaire. A majority of both GPs and patients stated that people should be screened for suicidal ideation. However, an important minority of patients and GPs stated that asking or being asked such questions made them feel uncomfortable. Less than half of GPs had received formal training on the assessment of suicide risk. GPs told the researchers that barriers to screening included time pressures, culture and language, and concerns about the impact that screening could have on people's mental health. One-quarter of GPs and one-fifth of patients supported the notion that screening for suicidal ideation could induce a person to have thoughts of self-harm.
Conclusions GPs and family doctors should screen for suicidal risk among depressed patients and should receive training on how to do this as part of their general training in the assessment and management of mental disorders. Research should be conducted to examine what, if any, effect screening for suicidal ideation has on mental health.
primary care; screening; suicide
The global burden of injury is receiving recognition as a major public health problem but inadequate information delays many proposed solutions. Many attempts to collect reliable data on orthopaedic trauma have been unsuccessful. The Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN) database is one of the largest collections of fracture cases from lower and middle income countries.
We describe the information in the SIGN database then address two questions: In the context of the design and implementation of a global trauma database, what lessons does the SIGN database teach? Does the SIGN program have a role in the evolution of a wider global system?
The SIGN database is Internet based. After treating a patient with a SIGN nail surgeons enter radiographs and details of the case.
Over 26000 cases are in the SIGN database. The database has been used as a source of cases for followup studies. Analysis shows the data are of sufficient quality to allow studies of fracture patterns but not for outcome studies or bone measurement.
Where do we need to go?
A global database with more comprehensive coverage of injuries, causes, treatment modalities and outcomes is needed.
How do we get there?
The SIGN database itself will not become a global trauma database (GTD) but the personnel of the SIGN program have much to offer in the design and adoption of a GTD. Studies of suitable methods of data collection and the incentive to use them are required.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11999-010-1442-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
DC-SIGN, a type II membrane-spanning C-type lectin that is expressed on the surface of dendritic cells (DC), captures and promotes human and simian immunodeficiency virus (HIV and SIV) infection of CD4+ T cells in trans. To better understand the mechanism of DC-SIGN-mediated virus transmission, we generated and functionally evaluated a panel of seven monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) against DC-SIGN family molecules. Six of the MAbs reacted with myeloid-lineage DC, whereas one MAb preferentially bound DC-SIGNR/L-SIGN, a homolog of DC-SIGN. Characterization of hematopoietic cells also revealed that stimulation of monocytes with interleukin-4 (IL-4) or IL-13 was sufficient to induce expression of DC-SIGN. All DC-SIGN-reactive MAbs competed with intercellular adhesion molecule 3 (ICAM-3) for adhesion to DC-SIGN and blocked HIV-1 transmission to T cells that was mediated by THP-1 cells expressing DC-SIGN. Similar but less efficient MAb blocking of DC-mediated HIV-1 transmission was observed, indicating that HIV-1 transmission to target cells via DC may not be dependent solely on DC-SIGN. Attempts to neutralize DC-SIGN capture and transmission of HIV-1 with soluble ICAM-3 prophylaxis were limited in success, with a maximal inhibition of 60%. In addition, disrupting DC-SIGN/ICAM-3 interactions between cells with MAbs did not impair DC-SIGN-mediated HIV-1 transmission. Finally, forced expression of ICAM-3 on target cells did not increase their susceptibility to HIV-1 transmission mediated by DC-SIGN. While these findings do not discount the role of intercellular contact in facilitating HIV-1 transmission, our in vitro data indicate that DC-SIGN interactions with ICAM-3 do not promote DC-SIGN-mediated virus transmission.
Culicoides hypersensitivity is a chronic, recurrent, seasonal dermatitis of horses that has a worldwide distribution, but has only recently been reported in Canada. It is characterized by intense pruritus resulting in lesions associated with self-induced trauma.
A survey of veterinarians and horse-owners in British Columbia showed no differences in susceptibility due to the sex, color, breed, or height of the horses. The prevalence of the disease in the 209 horses surveyed was 26%. Horses sharing the same pasture could be unaffected. The disease was reported primarily from southwestern British Columbia; it occurred between April and October and usually affected the ventral midline, mane, and tail. Horses were generally less than nine years old when the clinical signs first appeared ([unk]=5.9 yr). Culicoides hypersensitivity was common in the lineage of several affected horses, possibly indicating a genetic susceptibility. Most cases were severe enough to require veterinary attention and some horses were euthanized.
A survey was carried out in the Grampian region of Scotland with a random sample of 10,000 adults registered with a General Practitioner in Grampian. The study complied with new legislation requiring a two-stage approach to identify and recruit participants, and examined the implications of this for response rates, non-response bias and speed of response.
A two-stage survey was carried out consistent with new confidentiality guidelines. Individuals were contacted by post and asked by the Director of Public Health to consent to receive a postal or electronic questionnaire about communicating their views to the NHS. Those who consented were then sent questionnaires. Response rates at both stages were measured.
25% of people returned signed consent forms and were invited to complete questionnaires. Respondents at the consent stage were more likely to be female (odds ratio (OR) response rate of women compared to men = 1.5, 95% CI 1.4, 1.7), less likely to live in deprived postal areas (OR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.45, 0.78) and more likely to be older (OR for people born in 1930–39 compared to people born in 1970–79 = 2.82, 95% CI 2.36, 3.37). 80% of people who were invited to complete questionnaires returned them. Response rates were higher among older age groups. The overall response rate to the survey was 20%, relative to the original number approached for consent (1951/10000).
The requirement of a separate, prior consent stage may significantly reduce overall survey response rates and necessitate the use of substantially larger initial samples for population surveys. It may also exacerbate non-response bias with respect to demographic variables.
OBJECTIVES: To examine the illness attitudes and beliefs known to be associated with abnormal illness behaviour (where symptoms are present in excess of objective signs and pathology) in elite middle and long distance runners, in comparison with non-athlete controls. METHODS: A total of 150 athletes were surveyed using the illness behaviour questionnaire as an instrument to explore the psychological attributes associated with abnormal illness behaviour. Subjects also completed the general health questionnaire as a measure of psychiatric morbidity. A control group of 150 subjects, matched for age, sex, and social class, were surveyed using the same instruments. RESULTS: A multivariate analysis of illness behaviour questionnaire responses showed that the athletes' group differed significantly from the control group (Hotelling's T: Exact F = 2.68; p = 0.01). In particular, athletes were more somatically focused (difference between means -0.27; 95% confidence interval -0.50 to -0.03) and more likely to deny the impact of stresses in their life (difference between means 0.78; 95% confidence interval 0.31 to 1.25). Athletes were also higher scorers on the Whiteley Index of Hypochondriasis (difference between means 0.76; 95% confidence interval 0.04 to 1.48). There were no differences in the levels of psychiatric morbidity between the two groups. CONCLUSIONS: The illness attitudes and beliefs of athletes differ from those of a well matched control population. The origin of these psychological attributes is not clear but those who treat athletes need to be aware of them.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the perceptions of general practitioners (GPs) about the benefits of coronary artery bypass surgery, in terms of gains in life expectancy, for different groups of patients. DESIGN--A questionnaire survey of all GPs in Northern Ireland. SETTING--A survey conducted collaboratively by the departments of public health medicine in each of the four health boards in the province, serving a total population of 1.5 million. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--The median and mean gain in life expectancy perceived by groups of doctors for smoking and non-smoking male and female 55 year old patients. The percentage of 50 year old and 70 year old non-smoking patients considered likely to have their lives extended with bypass surgery. Differences were assessed using the Mann-Whitney U test for unpaired samples and the Wilcoxon signed rank tests for paired. RESULTS--541 GPs replied (response rate 56%). The median (and mean) perceived gain in life expectancy after cardiac surgery for non-smoking 55 year old subjects was 120 (104) months for men and 120 (112) months for women (z = 6.42; P < 0.0001; Wilcoxon signed rank test). For male and female smokers of the same age, the perceived gains were 48 (47) and 60 (52) months respectively (z = 6.72; P < 0.0001; Wilcoxon signed ranks test), both figures being significantly different than for non-smokers. The median (and mean) percentage of patients that the doctors considered would have their lives extended by bypass surgery was 70 (64) of every 100 "young" patients and 40 (42) of every 100 "old" patients, (z = 16.2; P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS--These results point to a significant overestimation of the benefits of coronary artery bypass surgery by GPs in Northern Ireland and to a need to develop guidelines for referral.
The National Screening Program for colorectal cancer is scheduled to commence in the near future. Previous studies on the topic of colorectal cancer and screening have highlighted paucity in public awareness of epidemiology, symptoms and signs of colorectal cancer. The aim of this study was to assess understanding of colorectal cancer and screening in a representative sample of the local catchment population of Mayo General Hospital.
A prospective cohort study was instituted utilising an anonymous survey, which was distributed at consecutive general surgical out-patient clinics over a one month period prior to initiation of the screening program. Data collected included demographics, presenting complaint type and duration, and general knowledge of colorectal cancer facts. Attitudes towards screening were also evaluated.
Eighty-eight of the one hundred and thirty six patients sampled were female (65%). Thirty-six per cent of the sample was within the screening target age-group (55–74), with mean age 53years (+/−18). Most respondents recognised bleeding per rectum as a possible symptom of colorectal cancer. A significant proportion, however, incorrectly selected less sinister symptoms as concerning, while only fifty per cent correctly cited weight loss. Family history was acknowledged as a risk factor by fifty-seven per cent with age and gender cited less often (29%, 4%), while forty-seven per cent incorrectly cited stress as a risk. Screening was defined as testing of symptomatic patients or those with a positive family history by eighty-one per cent of respondents, with only nineteen per cent associating screening with an asymptomatic cohort. Strikingly, twenty-five per cent of patients would decline screening.
There remains poverty of awareness regarding colorectal cancer. More public health initiatives are required to help improve understanding of the disease process, and to improve public compliance with the screening initiative.
Colorectal cancer; Screening; Colonoscopy