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1.  Neuroimaging for the Evaluation of Chronic Headaches 
Executive Summary
The objectives of this evidence based review are:
i) To determine the effectiveness of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans in the evaluation of persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological examination.
ii) To determine the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI scans for detecting significant intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
iii) To determine the budget impact of CT and MRI scans for persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Headaches disorders are generally classified as either primary or secondary with further sub-classifications into specific headache types. Primary headaches are those not caused by a disease or medical condition and include i) tension-type headache, ii) migraine, iii) cluster headache and, iv) other primary headaches, such as hemicrania continua and new daily persistent headache. Secondary headaches include those headaches caused by an underlying medical condition. While primary headaches disorders are far more frequent than secondary headache disorders, there is an urge to carry out neuroimaging studies (CT and/or MRI scans) out of fear of missing uncommon secondary causes and often to relieve patient anxiety.
Tension type headaches are the most common primary headache disorder and migraines are the most common severe primary headache disorder. Cluster headaches are a type of trigeminal autonomic cephalalgia and are less common than migraines and tension type headaches. Chronic headaches are defined as headaches present for at least 3 months and lasting greater than or equal to 15 days per month. The International Classification of Headache Disorders states that for most secondary headaches the characteristics of the headache are poorly described in the literature and for those headache disorders where it is well described there are few diagnostically important features.
The global prevalence of headache in general in the adult population is estimated at 46%, for tension-type headache it is 42% and 11% for migraine headache. The estimated prevalence of cluster headaches is 0.1% or 1 in 1000 persons. The prevalence of chronic daily headache is estimated at 3%.
Computed Tomography
Computed tomography (CT) is a medical imaging technique used to aid diagnosis and to guide interventional and therapeutic procedures. It allows rapid acquisition of high-resolution three-dimensional images, providing radiologists and other physicians with cross-sectional views of a person’s anatomy. CT scanning poses risk of radiation exposure. The radiation exposure from a conventional CT scanner may emit effective doses of 2-4mSv for a typical head CT.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a medical imaging technique used to aid diagnosis but unlike CT it does not use ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses a strong magnetic field to image a person’s anatomy. Compared to CT, MRI can provide increased contrast between the soft tissues of the body. Because of the persistent magnetic field, extra care is required in the magnetic resonance environment to ensure that injury or harm does not come to any personnel while in the environment.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness of CT and MRI scanning in the evaluation of persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological examination?
What is the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI scanning for detecting significant intracranial abnormality in persons with chronic headache and a normal neurological exam?
What is the budget impact of CT and MRI scans for persons with a chronic headache and a normal neurological exam.
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on February 18, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January, 2005 to February, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with an unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established.
Inclusion Criteria
Systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, observational studies
Outpatient adult population with chronic headache and normal neurological exam
Studies reporting likelihood ratio of clinical variables for a significant intracranial abnormality
English language studies
Exclusion Criteria
Studies which report outcomes for persons with seizures, focal symptoms, recent/new onset headache, change in presentation, thunderclap headache, and headache due to trauma
Persons with abnormal neurological examination
Case reports
Outcomes of Interest
Primary Outcome
Probability for intracranial abnormality
Secondary Outcome
Patient relief from anxiety
System service use
System costs
Detection rates for significant abnormalities in MRI and CT scans
Summary of Findings
One systematic review, 1 small RCT, and 1 observational study met the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The systematic review completed by Detsky, et al. reported the likelihood ratios of specific clinical variables to predict significant intracranial abnormalities. The RCT completed by Howard et al., evaluated whether neuroimaging persons with chronic headache increased or reduced patient anxiety. The prospective observational study by Sempere et al., provided evidence for the pre-test probability of intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headache as well as minimal data on the comparative effectiveness of CT and MRI to detect intracranial abnormalities.
Outcome 1: Pre-test Probability.
The pre-test probability is usually related to the prevalence of the disease and can be adjusted depending on the characteristics of the population. The study by Sempere et al. determined the pre-test probability (prevalence) of significant intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headaches defined as headache experienced for at least a 4 week duration with a normal neurological exam. There is a pre-test probability of 0.9% (95% CI 0.5, 1.4) in persons with chronic headache and normal neurological exam. The highest pre-test probability of 5 found in persons with cluster headaches. The second highest, that of 3.7, was reported in persons with indeterminate type headache. There was a 0.75% rate of incidental findings.
Likelihood ratios for detecting a significant abnormality
Clinical findings from the history and physical may be used as screening test to predict abnormalities on neuroimaging. The extent to which the clinical variable may be a good predictive variable can be captured by reporting its likelihood ratio. The likelihood ratio provides an estimate of how much a test result will change the odds of having a disease or condition. The positive likelihood ratio (LR+) tells you how much the odds of having the disease increases when a test is positive. The negative likelihood ratio (LR-) tells you how much the odds of having the disease decreases when the test is negative.
Detsky et al., determined the likelihood ratio for specific clinical variable from 11 studies. There were 4 clinical variables with both statistically significant positive and negative likelihood ratios. These included: abnormal neurological exam (LR+ 5.3, LR- 0.72), undefined headache (LR+ 3.8, LR- 0.66), headache aggravated by exertion or valsalva (LR+ 2.3, LR- 0.70), and headache with vomiting (LR+ 1.8, and LR- 0.47). There were two clinical variables with a statistically significant positive likelihood ratio and non significant negative likelihood ratio. These included: cluster-type headache (LR+ 11, LR- 0.95), and headache with aura (LR+ 12.9, LR- 0.52). Finally, there were 8 clinical variables with both statistically non significant positive and negative likelihood ratios. These included: headache with focal symptoms, new onset headache, quick onset headache, worsening headache, male gender, headache with nausea, increased headache severity, and migraine type headache.
Outcome 2: Relief from Anxiety
Howard et al. completed an RCT of 150 persons to determine if neuroimaging for headaches was anxiolytic or anxiogenic. Persons were randomized to receiving either an MRI scan or no scan for investigation of their headache. The study population was stratified into those persons with a Hospital Anxiety and Depression scale (HADS) > 11 (the high anxiety and depression group) and those < 11 (the low anxiety and depression) so that there were 4 groups:
Group 1: High anxiety and depression, no scan group
Group 2: High anxiety and depression, scan group
Group 3: Low anxiety and depression, no scan group
Group 4: Low anxiety and depression, scan group
There was no evidence for any overall reduction in anxiety at 1 year as measured by a visual analogue scale of ‘level of worry’ when analysed by whether the person received a scan or not. Similarly, there was no interaction between anxiety and depression status and whether a scan was offered or not on patient anxiety. Anxiety did not decrease at 1 year to any statistically significant degree in the high anxiety and depression group (HADS positive) compared with the low anxiety and depression group (HADS negative).
There are serious methodological limitations in this study design which may have contributed to these negative results. First, when considering the comparison of ‘scan’ vs. ‘no scan’ groups, 12 people (16%) in the ‘no scan group’ actually received a scan within the follow up year. If indeed scanning does reduce anxiety then this contamination of the ‘no scan’ group may have reduced the effect between the groups results resulting in a non significant difference in anxiety scores between the ‘scanned’ and the ‘no scan’ group. Second, there was an inadequate sample size at 1 year follow up in each of the 4 groups which may have contributed to a Type II statistical error (missing a difference when one may exist) when comparing scan vs. no scan by anxiety and depression status. Therefore, based on the results and study limitations it is inconclusive as to whether scanning reduces anxiety.
Outcome 3: System Services
Howard et al., considered services used and system costs a secondary outcome. These were determined by examining primary care case notes at 1 year for consultation rates, symptoms, further investigations, and contact with secondary and tertiary care.
System Services
The authors report that the use of neurologist and psychiatrist services was significantly higher for those persons not offered as scan, regardless of their anxiety and depression status (P<0.001 for neurologist, and P=0.033 for psychiatrist)
Outcome 4: System Costs
System Costs
There was evidence of statistically significantly lower system costs if persons with high levels of anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale score >11) were provided with a scan (P=0.03 including inpatient costs, and 0.047 excluding inpatient costs).
Comparative Effectiveness of CT and MRI Scans
One study reported the detection rate for significant intracranial abnormalities using CT and MRI. In a cohort of 1876 persons with a non acute headache defined as any type of headache that had begun at least 4 weeks before enrolment Sempere et al. reported that the detection rate was 19/1432 (1.3%) using CT and 4/444 (0.9%) using MRI. Of 119 normal CT scans 2 (1.7%) had significant intracranial abnormality on MRI. The 2 cases were a small meningioma, and an acoustic neurinoma.
The evidence presented can be summarized as follows:
Pre-test Probability
Based on the results by Sempere et al., there is a low pre-test probability for intracranial abnormalities in persons with chronic headaches and a normal neurological exam (defined as headaches experiences for a minimum of 4 weeks). The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Likelihood Ratios
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al., there is a statistically significant positive and negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: abnormal neurological exam, undefined headache, headache aggravated by exertion or valsalva, headache with vomiting. Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al. there is a statistically significant positive likelihood ratio but non statistically significant negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: cluster headache and headache with aura. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Based on the systematic review by Detsky et al., there is a non significant positive and negative likelihood ratio for the following clinical variables: headache with focal symptoms, new onset headache, quick onset headache, worsening headache, male gender, headache with nausea, increased headache severity, migraine type headache. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is very low.
Relief from Anxiety
Based on the RCT by Howard et al., it is inconclusive whether neuroimaging scans in persons with a chronic headache are anxiolytic. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this outcome is low.
System Services
Based on the RCT by Howard et al. scanning persons with chronic headache regardless of their anxiety and/or depression level reduces service use. The Grade quality of evidence is low.
System Costs
Based on the RCT by Howard et al., scanning persons with a score greater than 11 on the High Anxiety and Depression Scale reduces system costs. The Grade quality of evidence is moderate.
Comparative Effectiveness of CT and MRI Scans
There is sparse evidence to determine the relative effectiveness of CT compared with MRI scanning for the detection of intracranial abnormalities. The Grade quality of evidence supporting this is very low.
Economic Analysis
Ontario Perspective
Volumes for neuroimaging of the head i.e. CT and MRI scans, from the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) data set were used to investigate trends in the province for Fiscal Years (FY) 2004-2009.
Assumptions were made in order to investigate neuroimaging of the head for the indication of headache. From the literature, 27% of all CT and 13% of all MRI scans for the head were assumed to include an indication of headache. From that same retrospective chart review and personal communication with the author 16% of CT scans and 4% of MRI scans for the head were for the sole indication of headache. From the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) wait times data, 73% of all CT and 93% of all MRI scans in the province, irrespective of indication were outpatient procedures.
The expenditure for each FY reflects the volume for that year and since volumes have increased in the past 6 FYs, the expenditure has also increased with a pay-out reaching 3.0M and 2.8M for CT and MRI services of the head respectively for the indication of headache and a pay-out reaching 1.8M and 0.9M for CT and MRI services of the head respectively for the indication of headache only in FY 08/09.
Cost per Abnormal Finding
The yield of abnormal finding for a CT and MRI scan of the head for the indication of headache only is 2% and 5% respectively. Based on these yield a high-level estimate of the cost per abnormal finding with neuroimaging of the head for headache only can be calculated for each FY. In FY 08/09 there were 37,434 CT and 16,197 MRI scans of the head for headache only. These volumes would generate a yield of abnormal finding of 749 and 910 with a CT scan and MRI scan respectively. The expenditure for FY 08/09 was 1.8M and 0.9M for CT and MRI services respectively. Therefore the cost per abnormal finding would be $2,409 for CT and $957 for MRI. These cost per abnormal finding estimates were limited because they did not factor in comparators or the consequences associated with an abnormal reading or FNs. The estimates only consider the cost of the neuroimaging procedure and the yield of abnormal finding with the respective procedure.
PMCID: PMC3377587  PMID: 23074404
2.  Views of the person with dementia 
Journal of Medical Ethics  2001;27(2):86-91.
In this paper I consider, in connection with dementia, two views of the person. One view of the person is derived from Locke and Parfit. This tends to regard the person solely in terms of psychological states and his/her connections. The second view of the person is derived from a variety of thinkers. I have called it the situated-embodied-agent view of the person. This view, I suggest, more readily squares with the reality of clinical experience. It regards the person as embedded in a history and culture. The human person is also an embodied agent. I contend that this view encourages a more appropriate approach towards the ethical issues that arise in dementia and towards people with dementia.
Key Words: Person • dementia • advance directives • psychological phenomena • narrative • end of life
PMCID: PMC1733380  PMID: 11314164
3.  Educational inequalities in TV viewing among older adults: a mediation analysis of ecological factors 
Television (TV) viewing, a prevalent leisure-time sedentary behaviour independently related to negative health outcomes, appears to be higher in less educated and older adults. In order to tackle the social inequalities, evidence is needed about the underlying mechanisms of the association between education and TV viewing. The present purpose was to examine the potential mediating role of personal, social and physical environmental factors in the relationship between education and TV viewing among Australian 55–65 year-old adults.
In 2010, self-reported data was collected among 4082 adults (47.6% men) across urban and rural areas of Victoria, for the Wellbeing, Eating and Exercise for a Long Life (WELL) study. The mediating role of personal (body mass index [BMI], quality of life), social (social support from family and friends, social participation at proximal level, and interpersonal trust, social cohesion, personal safety at distal level) and physical environmental (neighbourhood aesthetics, neighbourhood physical activity environment, number of televisions) factors in the association between education and TV viewing time was examined using the product-of-coefficients test of MacKinnon based on multilevel linear regression analyses (conducted in 2012).
Multiple mediating analyses showed that BMI (p ≤ 0.01), personal safety (p < 0.001), neighbourhood aesthetics (p ≤ 0.01) and number of televisions (p ≤ 0.01) partly explained the educational inequalities in older adult’s TV viewing. No proximal social factors mediated the education-TV viewing association.
Interventions aimed to reduce TV viewing should focus on personal (BMI) and environmental (personal safety, neighbourhood aesthetics, number of televisions) factors, in order to overcome educational inequalities in sedentary behaviour among older adults.
PMCID: PMC3895807  PMID: 24350830
Older adults; Education; Sitting; Cohort study
4.  e-Health, m-Health and healthier social media reform: the big scale view 
In the upcoming decade, digital platforms will be the backbone of a strategic revolution in the way medical services are provided, affecting both healthcare providers and patients. Digital-based patient-centered healthcare services allow patients to actively participate in managing their own care, in times of health as well as illness, using personally tailored interactive tools. Such empowerment is expected to increase patients’ willingness to adopt actions and lifestyles that promote health as well as improve follow-up and compliance with treatment in cases of chronic illness. Clalit Health Services (CHS) is the largest HMO in Israel and second largest world-wide. Through its 14 hospitals, 1300 primary and specialized clinics, and 650 pharmacies, CHS provides comprehensive medical care to the majority of Israel’s population (above 4 million members). CHS e-Health wing focuses on deepening patient involvement in managing health, through personalized digital interactive tools. Currently, CHS e-Health wing provides e-health services for 1.56 million unique patients monthly with 2.4 million interactions every month (August 2011). Successful implementation of e-Health solutions is not a sum of technology, innovation and health; rather it’s the expertise of tailoring knowledge and leadership capabilities in multidisciplinary areas: clinical, ethical, psychological, legal, comprehension of patient and medical team engagement etc. The Google Health case excellently demonstrates this point. On the other hand, our success with CHS is a demonstration that e-Health can be enrolled effectively and fast with huge benefits for both patients and medical teams, and with a robust business model.
CHS e-Health core components
They include:
1. The personal health record layer (what the patient can see) presents patients with their own medical history as well as the medical history of their preadult children, including diagnoses, allergies, vaccinations, laboratory results with interpretations in layman’s terms, medications with clear, straightforward explanations regarding dosing instructions, important side effects, contraindications, such as lactation etc., and other important medical information. All personal e-Health services require identification and authorization.
2. The personal knowledge layer (what the patient should know) presents patients with personally tailored recommendations for preventative medicine and health promotion. For example, diabetic patients are push notified regarding their yearly eye exam. The various health recommendations include: occult blood testing, mammography, lipid profile etc. Each recommendation contains textual, visual and interactive content components in order to promote engagement and motivate the patient to actually change his health behaviour.
3. The personal health services layer (what the patient can do) enables patients to schedule clinic visits, order chronic prescriptions, e-consult their physician via secured e-mail, set SMS medication reminders, e-consult a pharmacist regarding personal medications. Consultants’ answers are sent securely to the patients’ personal mobile device.
On December 2009 CHS launched secured, web based, synchronous medical consultation via video conference. Currently 11,780 e-visits are performed monthly (May 2011). The medical encounter includes e-prescription and referral capabilities which are biometrically signed by the physician. On December 2010 CHS launched a unique mobile health platform, which is one of the most comprehensive personal m-Health applications world-wide. An essential advantage of mobile devices is their potential to bridge the digital divide. Currently, CHS m-Health platform is used by more than 45,000 unique users, with 75,000 laboratory results views/month, 1100 m-consultations/month and 9000 physician visit scheduling/month.
4. The Bio-Sensing layer (what physiological data the patient can populate) includes diagnostic means that allow remote physical examination, bio-sensors that broadcast various physiological measurements, and smart homecare devices, such as e-Pill boxes that gives seniors, patients and their caregivers the ability to stay at home and live life to its fullest. Monitored data is automatically transmitted to the patient’s Personal Health Record and to relevant medical personnel.
The monitoring layer is embedded in the chronic disease management platform, and in the interactive health promotion and wellness platform. It includes tailoring of consumer-oriented medical devices and service provided by various professional personnel—physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians and more.
5. The Social layer (what the patient can share). Social media networks triggered an essential change at the humanity ‘genome’ level, yet to be further defined in the upcoming years. Social media has huge potential in promoting health as it combines fun, simple yet extraordinary user experience, and bio-social-feedback. There are two major challenges in leveraging health care through social networks:
a. Our personal health information is the cornerstone for personalizing healthier lifestyle, disease management and preventative medicine. We naturally see our personal health data as a super-private territory. So, how do we bring the power of our private health information, currently locked within our Personal Health Record, into social media networks without offending basic privacy issues?
b. Disease management and preventive medicine are currently neither considered ‘cool’ nor ‘fun’ or ‘potentially highly viral’ activities; yet, health is a major issue of everybody’s life. It seems like we are missing a crucial element with a huge potential in health behavioural change—the Fun Theory. Social media platforms comprehends user experience tools that potentially could break current misconception, and engage people in the daily task of taking better care of themselves.
CHS e-Health innovation team characterized several break-through applications in this unexplored territory within social media networks, fusing personal health and social media platforms without offending privacy. One of the most crucial issues regarding adoption of e-health and m-health platforms is change management. Being a ‘hot’ innovative ‘gadget’ is far from sufficient for changing health behaviours at the individual and population levels.
CHS health behaviour change management methodology includes 4 core elements:
1. Engaging two completely different populations: patients, and medical teams. e-Health applications must present true added value for both medical teams and patients, engaging them through understanding and assimilating “what’s really in it for me”. Medical teams are further subdivided into physicians, nurses, pharmacists and administrative personnel—each with their own driving incentive. Resistance to change is an obstacle in many fields but it is particularly true in the conservative health industry. To successfully manage a large scale persuasive process, we treat intra-organizational human resources as “Change Agents”. Harnessing the persuasive power of ~40,000 employees requires engaging them as the primary target group. Successful recruitment has the potential of converting each patient-medical team interaction into an exposure opportunity to the new era of participatory medicine via e-health and m-health channels.
2. Implementation waves: every group of digital health products that are released at the same time are seen as one project. Each implementation wave leverages the focus of the organization and target populations to a defined time span. There are three major and three minor implementation waves a year.
3. Change-Support Arrow: a structured infrastructure for every implementation wave. The sub-stages in this strategy include:
Cross organizational mapping and identification of early adopters and stakeholders relevant to the implementation wave
Mapping positive or negative perceptions and designing specific marketing approaches for the distinct target groups
Intra and extra organizational marketing
Conducting intensive training and presentation sessions for groups of implementers
Running conflict-prevention activities, such as advanced tackling of potential union resistance
Training change-agents with resistance-management behavioural techniques, focused intervention for specific incidents and for key opinion leaders
Extensive presence in the clinics during the launch period, etc.
The entire process is monitored and managed continuously by a review team.
4. Closing Phase: each wave is analyzed and a “lessons-learned” session concludes the changes required in the modus operandi of the e-health project team.
PMCID: PMC3571141
e-Health; mobile health; personal health record; online visit; patient empowerment; knowledge prescription
5.  Viewing the Body after Bereavement Due to Suicide: A Population-Based Survey in Sweden 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101799.
Research on the assumed, positive and negative, psychological effects of viewing the body after a suicide loss is sparse. We hypothesized that suicide-bereaved parents that viewed their childs body in a formal setting seldom regretted the experience, and that viewing the body was associated with lower levels of psychological morbidity two to five years after the loss.
Methods and Findings
We identified 915 suicide-bereaved parents by linkage of nationwide population-based registries and collected data by a questionnaire. The outcome measures included the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). In total, 666 (73%) parents participated. Of the 460 parents (69%) that viewed the body, 96% answered that they did not regret the experience. The viewing was associated with a higher risk of reliving the child's death through nightmares (RR 1.61, 95% CI 1.13 to 2.32) and intrusive memories (RR 1.20, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.38), but not with anxiety (RR 1.02, 95% CI 0.74 to 1.40) and depression (RR 1.25, 95% CI 0.85 to 1.83). One limitation of our study is that we lack data on the informants' personality and coping strategies.
In this Swedish population-based survey of suicide-bereaved parents, we found that by and large everyone that had viewed their deceased child in a formal setting did not report regretting the viewing when asked two to five years after the loss. Our findings suggest that most bereaved parents are capable of deciding if they want to view the body or not. Officials may assist by giving careful information about the child's appearance and other details concerning the viewing, thus facilitating mental preparation for the bereaved person. This is the first large-scale study on the effects of viewing the body after a suicide and additional studies are needed before clinical recommendations can be made.
PMCID: PMC4085007  PMID: 24999660
The Philosophical quarterly  2010;60(241):698-717.
Should an institutional scheme prioritize the rectification or compensation of harms it has wrongfully caused over provision of aid to persons it has not harmed? Some who think so rely on an analogy with the view that persons should give higher priority to rectification than to aid. Inference from the personal view to the institutional view would be warranted if either (i) the correct moral principles for institutional assessment are nearest possible equivalents of the correct personal moral principles, or (ii) the moral principles which ground the personal view also ground the institutional view. Neither claim can be justified. I briefly assess some alternative ways of defending the view that institutions should prioritize rectification over aid.
PMCID: PMC3059484  PMID: 21423857
7.  Patients’ attitudes to the summary care record and HealthSpace: qualitative study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;336(7656):1290-1295.
Objective To document the views of patients and the public towards the summary care record (SCR, a centrally stored medical record drawn from the general practice record) and HealthSpace (a personal health organiser accessible through the internet from which people can view their SCR), with a particular focus on those with low health literacy, potentially stigmatising conditions, or difficulties accessing health care.
Design 103 semistructured individual interviews and seven focus groups.
Setting Three early adopter primary care trusts in England where the SCR and HealthSpace are being piloted. All were in areas of relative socioeconomic deprivation.
Participants Individual participants were recruited from general practice surgeries, walk-in centres, out of hours centres, and accident and emergency departments. Participants in focus groups were recruited through voluntary sector organisations; they comprised advocates of vulnerable groups and advocates of people who speak limited English; people with HIV; users of mental health services; young adults; elderly people; and participants of a drug rehabilitation programme.
Methods Participants were asked if they had received information about the SCR and HealthSpace and about their views on shared electronic records in different circumstances.
Results Most people were not aware of the SCR or HealthSpace and did not recall receiving information about it. They saw both benefits and drawbacks to having an SCR and described a process of weighing the former against the latter when making their personal choice. Key factors influencing this choice included the nature of any illness (especially whether it was likely to lead to emergency care needs); past and present experience of healthcare and government surveillance; the person’s level of engagement and health literacy; and their trust and confidence in the primary healthcare team and the wider NHS. Overall, people with stigmatising illness were more positive about the SCR than people who claimed to speak for “vulnerable groups.” Misconceptions about the SCR were common, especially confusion about what data it contained and who would have access to it. Most people were not interested in recording their medical data or accessing their SCR via HealthSpace, but some saw the potential for this new technology to support self management and lay care for those with chronic illness.
Conclusion Despite an extensive information programme in early adopter sites, the public remains unclear about current policy on shared electronic records, though most people view these as a positive development. The “implied consent” model for creating and accessing a person’s SCR should be revisited, perhaps in favour of “consent to view” at the point of access.
PMCID: PMC2413413  PMID: 18511764
8.  Witnessing hateful people in pain modulates brain activity in regions associated with physical pain and reward 
How does witnessing a hateful person in pain compare to witnessing a likable person in pain? The current study compared the brain bases for how we perceive likable people in pain with those of viewing hateful people in pain. While social bonds are built through sharing the plight and pain of others in the name of empathy, viewing a hateful person in pain also has many potential ramifications. In this functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) study, Caucasian Jewish male participants viewed videos of (1) disliked, hateful, anti-Semitic individuals, and (2) liked, non-hateful, tolerant individuals in pain. The results showed that, compared with viewing liked people, viewing hateful people in pain elicited increased responses in regions associated with observation of physical pain (the insular cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and the somatosensory cortex), reward processing (the striatum), and frontal regions associated with emotion regulation. Functional connectivity analyses revealed connections between seed regions in the left ACC and right insular cortex with reward regions, the amygdala, and frontal regions associated with emotion regulation. These data indicate that regions of the brain active while viewing someone in pain may be more active in response to the danger or threat posed by witnessing the pain of a hateful individual more so than the desire to empathize with a likable person's pain.
PMCID: PMC3805980  PMID: 24167496
empathy; observation of pain; social group membership; fMRI; pain matrix
9.  GPs' views on the practice of physician-assisted suicide and their role in proposed UK legalisation: a qualitative study 
A bill to legalise assisted dying in the UK has been proposed in Parliament's House of Lords three times since 2003. The House of Lords Select Committee concluded in 2005 that ‘the few attempts to understand the basis of doctors' views have shown equivocal data varying over time’. Fresh research was recommended to gain a fuller understanding of health sector views.
To examine GPs' views of the practice of physician-assisted suicide as defined by the 2005/2006 House of Lords (Joffe) Bill and views of their role in the proposed legislation; and to explore the influences determining GPs' views on physician-assisted suicide.
Design of study
Qualitative interview study.
Primary care in South London, England.
Semi-structured interviews with GPs were conducted by a lead interviewer and analysed in a search for themes, using the framework approach.
Thirteen GPs were interviewed. GPs who had not personally witnessed terminal suffering that could justify assisted dying were against the legislation. Some GPs felt their personal religious views, which regarded assisted dying as morally wrong, could not be the basis of a generalisable medical ethic for others. GPs who had witnessed a person's suffering that, in their opinion, justified physician-assisted suicide were in favour of legislative change. Some GPs felt a specialist referral pathway to provide assisted dying would help to ensure proper standards were met.
GPs' views on physician-assisted suicide ranged from support to opposition, depending principally on their interpretation of their experience of patients' suffering at the end of life. The goal to lessen suffering of the terminally ill, and apprehensions about patients being harmed, were common to both groups. Respect for autonomy and the right of self-determination versus the need to protect vulnerable people from the potential for harm from social coercion were the dominant themes.
PMCID: PMC2765836  PMID: 19861029
assisted suicide; general practice; legislation; opinions
10.  The perceived meaning of a (w)holistic view among general practitioners and district nurses in Swedish primary care: a qualitative study 
The definition of primary care varies between countries. Swedish primary care has developed from a philosophic viewpoint based on quality, accessibility, continuity, co-operation and a holistic view. The meaning of holism in international literature differs between medicine and nursing. The question is, if the difference is due to different educational traditions. Due to the uncertainties in defining holism and a holistic view we wished to study, in depth, how holism is perceived by doctors and nurses in their clinical work. Thus, the aim was to explore the perceived meaning of a holistic view among general practitioners (GPs) and district nurses (DNs).
Seven focus group interviews with a purposive sample of 22 GPs and 20 nurses working in primary care in two Swedish county councils were conducted. The interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis.
The analysis resulted in three categories, attitude, knowledge, and circumstances, with two, two and four subcategories respectively. A professional attitude involves recognising the whole person; not only fragments of a person with a disease. Factual knowledge is acquired through special training and long professional experience. Tacit knowledge is about feelings and social competence. Circumstances can either be barriers or facilitators. A holistic view is a strong motivator and as such it is a facilitator. The way primary care is organised can be either a barrier or a facilitator and could influence the use of a holistic approach. Defined geographical districts and care teams facilitate a holistic view with house calls being essential, particularly for nurses. In preventive work and palliative care, a holistic view was stated to be specifically important. Consultations and communication with the patient were seen as important tools.
'Holistic view' is multidimensional, well implemented and very much alive among both GPs and DNs. The word holistic should really be spelt 'wholistic' to avoid confusion with complementary and alternative medicine. It was obvious that our participants were able to verbalise the meaning of a 'wholistic' view through narratives about their clinical, every day work. The possibility to implement a 'wholistic' perspective in their work with patients offers a strong motivation for GPs and DNs.
PMCID: PMC1828160  PMID: 17346340
11.  Television, computer and portable display device use by people with central vision impairment 
To survey the viewing experience (e.g. hours watched, difficulty) and viewing metrics (e.g. distance viewed, display size) for television (TV), computers and portable visual display devices for normally-sighted (NS) and visually impaired participants. This information may guide visual rehabilitation.
Survey was administered either in person or in a telephone interview on 223 participants of whom 104 had low vision (LV, worse than 6/18, age 22 to 90y, 54 males), and 94 were NS (visual acuity 6/9 or better, age 20 to 86y, 50 males). Depending on their situation, NS participants answered up to 38 questions and LV participants answered up to a further 10 questions.
Many LV participants reported at least “some” difficulty watching TV (71/103), reported at least “often” having difficulty with computer displays (40/76) and extreme difficulty watching videos on handheld devices (11/16). The average daily TV viewing was slightly, but not significantly, higher for the LV participants (3.6h) than the NS (3.0h). Only 18% of LV participants used visual aids (all optical) to watch TV. Most LV participants obtained effective magnification from a reduced viewing distance for both TV and computer display. Younger LV participants also used a larger display when compared to older LV participants to obtain increased magnification. About half of the TV viewing time occurred in the absence of a companion for both the LV and the NS participants. The mean number of TVs at home reported by LV participants (2.2) was slightly but not significantly (p=0.09) higher than NS participants (2.0). LV participants were equally likely to have a computer but were significantly (p=0.004) less likely to access the internet (73/104) compared to NS participants (82/94). Most LV participants expressed an interest in image enhancing technology for TV viewing (67/104) and for computer use (50/74), if they used a computer.
In this study, both NS and LV participants had comparable video viewing habits. Most LV participants in our sample reported difficulty watching TV, and indicated an interest in assistive technology, such as image enhancement. As our participants reported that at least half their video viewing hours are spent alone and that there is usually more than one TV per household, this suggests that there are opportunities to use image enhancement on the TVs of LV viewers without interfering with the viewing experience of NS viewers.
PMCID: PMC3081664  PMID: 21410501
12.  Why Do Women Not Use Antenatal Services in Low- and Middle-Income Countries? A Meta-Synthesis of Qualitative Studies 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(1):e1001373.
In a synthesis of 21 qualitative studies representing the views of more than 1,230 women from 15 countries, Kenneth Finlayson and Soo Downe examine the reasons why many women in low- and middle-income countries do not receive adequate antenatal care.
Almost 50% of women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) don't receive adequate antenatal care. Women's views can offer important insights into this problem. Qualitative studies exploring inadequate use of antenatal services have been undertaken in a range of countries, but the findings are not easily transferable. We aimed to inform the development of future antenatal care programmes through a synthesis of findings in all relevant qualitative studies.
Methods and Findings
Using a predetermined search strategy, we identified robust qualitative studies reporting on the views and experiences of women in LMICs who received inadequate antenatal care. We used meta-ethnographic techniques to generate themes and a line-of-argument synthesis. We derived policy-relevant hypotheses from the findings. We included 21 papers representing the views of more than 1,230 women from 15 countries. Three key themes were identified: “pregnancy as socially risky and physiologically healthy”, “resource use and survival in conditions of extreme poverty”, and “not getting it right the first time”. The line-of-argument synthesis describes a dissonance between programme design and cultural contexts that may restrict access and discourage return visits. We hypothesize that centralised, risk-focused antenatal care programmes may be at odds with the resources, beliefs, and experiences of pregnant women who underuse antenatal services.
Our findings suggest that there may be a misalignment between current antenatal care provision and the social and cultural context of some women in LMICs. Antenatal care provision that is theoretically and contextually at odds with local contextual beliefs and experiences is likely to be underused, especially when attendance generates increased personal risks of lost family resources or physical danger during travel, when the promised care is not delivered because of resource constraints, and when women experience covert or overt abuse in care settings.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Although maternal deaths worldwide have almost halved since 1990, according to the latest figures, every day roughly 800 women and adolescent girls still die from the complications of pregnancy or childbirth: in 2010, 287,000 women died during or following pregnancy and childbirth, with almost all of these deaths (99%) occurring in low-resource settings. Most maternal deaths are avoidable, as the interventions to prevent or manage the most common complications (severe bleeding, infections, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and unsafe abortion) are well known. Furthermore, many of these complications can be prevented, detected, or treated during antenatal care visits with trained health workers.
Why Was This Study Done?
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a minimum of four antenatal visits per pregnancy, but according to WHO figures, between 2005 and 2010 only 53% of pregnant women worldwide attended the recommended four antenatal visits; in low-income countries, this figure was a disappointing 36%. Unfortunately, despite huge international efforts to promote and provide antenatal care, there has been little improvement in these statistics over the past decade. It is therefore important to investigate the reasons for poor antenatal attendance and to seek the views of users of antenatal care. In this study, the researchers combined studies from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) that included women's views on antenatal care in a meta-synthesis of qualitative studies (qualitative research uses techniques, such as structured interviews, to gather an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, and a meta-synthesis combines and interprets information across studies, contexts, and populations).
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers searched several medical, sociological, and psychological databases to find appropriate qualitative studies published between January 1980 and February 2012 that explored the antenatal care experiences, attitudes, and beliefs of women from LMICs who had chosen to access antenatal care late (after 12 weeks' gestation), infrequently (less than four times), or not at all. The researchers included 21 studies (out of the 2,997 initially identified) in their synthesis, representing the views of 1,239 women from 15 countries (Bangladesh, Benin, Cambodia, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda) who were either interviewed directly or gave their opinion as part of a focus group.
The researchers identified three main themes. The first theme reflects women's views that pregnancy is a healthy state and so saw little reason to visit health professionals when they perceived no risk to their well-being—the researchers called this theme, “pregnancy as socially contingent and physiologically healthy.” The second theme relates to women's limited financial resources, so that even when antenatal care was offered free of charge, the cost of transport to get there, the loss of earnings associated with the visit, and the possibility of having to pay for medicines meant that women were unable to attend—the researchers called this theme “resource use and survival in conditions of extreme poverty.” The third theme the researchers identified related to women's views that the antenatal services were inadequate and that the benefits of attending did not outweigh any potential harms. For example, pregnant women who initially recognized the benefits of antenatal care were often disappointed by the lack of resources they found when they got there and, consequently, decided not to return. The researchers called this theme “not getting it right the first time.”
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that there may be a misalignment between the principles that underpin the provision of antenatal care and the beliefs and socio-economic contexts of pregnant women in LMICs, meaning that even high-quality antenatal care may not be used by some pregnant women unless their views and concerns are addressed. The themes identified in this meta-synthesis could provide the basis for a new approach to the design and delivery of antenatal care that takes local beliefs and values and resource availability into account. Such programs might help ensure that antenatal care meets pregnant women's expectations and treats them appropriately so that they want to regularly attend antenatal care.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at
Wikipedia describes antenatal care (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
The World Health Organization has a wealth of information relating to pregnancy, including antenatal care
The UK National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has evidence-based guidelines on antenatal care
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood has a series of web pages and links relating to respectful maternity care in LMICs
International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics is an international organization with connections to various maternity initiatives in LMICs
International Confederation of Midwives has details of the Millennium Development Goals relating to maternity care
PMCID: PMC3551970  PMID: 23349622
13.  Personnel and Participant Experiences of a Residential Weight-Loss Program. A Qualitative Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100226.
Residential weight-loss programs aim to help persons with obesity lose weight and maintain a long-term healthy lifestyle. Knowledge is needed on the different actors’ perceptions and experiences from such programs. The aim of this study was to describe how personnel argued for and perceived a residential weight-loss program, to investigate how the participants experienced the program, and to contrast these perspectives.
This qualitative study took place in an 18-week residential weight-loss program. Exercise, diet, and personal development were the main components in the program. Data was collected through participant observation and individual and focus group interviews with participants and personnel.
Program personnel characterized persons with obesity in specific terms, and these formed the basis of the educational aims, teaching principles, and content of the program. According to personnel, persons with obesity typically had problems acknowledging their own resources, lived unstructured lives, had a distorted relationship to food, experienced a range of social problems and featured a lack of personal insight. Program participants reported enthusiasm about their experiences of exercise and appreciated measures of success with the exercise program. They had, however, very different experiences regarding the usefulness and appropriateness of the parts of the program focused on social and personal development. Some felt that weight loss required an engagement with personal development while others viewed it as unnecessary and inappropriate.
The reliance in personnel accounts on particular characteristics of persons with obesity as a rationale for the program might lead to stigmatizing and stereotyping. Program activities focused on social and personal development need to be better understood by participants if they are to be viewed as helpful. To achieve this personnel must carefully consider how these parts of the program are communicated and conducted.
PMCID: PMC4061127  PMID: 24937479
14.  Childhood and Adolescent Television Viewing and Antisocial Behavior in Early Adulthood 
Pediatrics  2013;131(3):439-446.
To investigate whether excessive television viewing throughout childhood and adolescence is associated with increased antisocial behavior in early adulthood.
We assessed a birth cohort of 1037 individuals born in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1972–1973, at regular intervals from birth to age 26 years. We used regression analysis to investigate the associations between television viewing hours from ages 5 to 15 years and criminal convictions, violent convictions, diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and aggressive personality traits in early adulthood.
Young adults who had spent more time watching television during childhood and adolescence were significantly more likely to have a criminal conviction, a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder, and more aggressive personality traits compared with those who viewed less television. The associations were statistically significant after controlling for sex IQ, socioeconomic status, previous antisocial behavior, and parental control. The associations were similar for both sexes, indicating that the relationship between television viewing and antisocial behavior is similar for male and female viewers.
Excessive television viewing in childhood and adolescence is associated with increased antisocial behavior in early adulthood. The findings are consistent with a causal association and support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children should watch no more than 1 to 2 hours of television each day.
PMCID: PMC3581845  PMID: 23420910
television; antisocial behavior; media violence; longitudinal studies
15.  Surrogate consent for critical care research: exploratory study on public perception and influences on recruitment 
Critical Care  2013;17(1):R5.
Critical Care research involves an increasing level of technical and clinical interventions for the unconscious patient. If the general public has a negative (unfavourable) view of surrogate consent, low recruitment rates are likely. Results bias will be introduced if study populations are small, hindering knowledge generation and transfer through research. In the rapidly expanding healthcare industry of South East Asia, opportunities for critical care research will grow given a positive willingness (favourability) by the general public to act as a surrogate in the consent process when the (unconscious) patient cannot consent for him/herself.
To determine public willingness for surrogate consent, a quantitative cross-sectional study was undertaken at a University Teaching Hospital in South East Asia during a three month interval. Four hypothetical critical care research scenarios were presented and responses from the public were analysed using a three-part questionnaire.
Three hundred and five members of the public were recruited. In general, participants had a positive view of research. The level of education was significantly associated with a person's views about research especially in studies regarded as high risk. For low risk studies, a person's perception of research and willingness to be recruited to a study in the event that they were the (unconscious) patient, was the same whether they were the study subject or the person (legally acceptable representative) giving surrogate consent' on behalf of another (spouse, parent, child). Across all study scenarios, 60-80% of the public preferred to be approached by doctors to discuss the surrogate consent process.
Given the hypothetical scenarios presented in this study, the odds of a person having a positive view and willingness to be consented to a critical care research study on the advice of another (surrogate consent) was greater than for those who had a negative or unfavourable view. Nurses may be disadvantaged in leading on the recruitment process due to a preference for information to be delivered by medically qualified clinicians. In the setting of South East Asia, cultural attitudes to nurse-led research in critical care must be taken in to consideration in the multidisciplinary approaches to building the research team.
PMCID: PMC4057109  PMID: 23320945
16.  Energy Balance Related Behaviour: Personal, Home- and Friend-Related Factors among Schoolchildren in Europe Studied in the ENERGY-Project 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e111775.
To design interventions that target energy balance-related behaviours, knowledge of primary schoolchildren's perceptions regarding soft drink intake, fruit juice intake, breakfast consumption, TV viewing and physical activity (PA) is essential. The current study describes personal beliefs and attitudes, home- and friend-related variables regarding these behaviours across Europe.
Cross-sectional study in which personal, family and friend -related variables were assessed by validated questionnaires, and dichotomized as favourable versus unfavourable answers. Logistic regression analyses were conducted to estimate proportions of children giving unfavourable answers and test between-country differences.
A survey in eight European countries.
A total of 7903 10–12 year old primary schoolchildren.
A majority of the children reported unfavourable attitudes, preferences and subjective norms regarding soft drink, fruit juice intake and TV viewing accompanied with high availability and accessibility at home. Few children reported unfavourable attitudes and preferences regarding breakfast consumption and PA. Many children reported unfavourable health beliefs regarding breakfast consumption and TV viewing. Substantial differences between countries were observed, especially for variables regarding soft drink intake, breakfast consumption and TV viewing.
The surveyed children demonstrated favourable attitudes to some healthy behaviours (PA, breakfast intake) as well as to some unhealthy behaviours (soft drink consumption, TV viewing). Additionally, many children across Europe have personal beliefs and are exposed to social environments that are not supportive to engagement in healthy behaviours. Moreover, the large differences in personal, family and friend-related variables across Europe argue for implementing different strategies in the different European countries.
PMCID: PMC4221133  PMID: 25372490
17.  Values clarification in a decision aid about fertility preservation: does it add to information provision? 
We aimed to evaluate the effect of a decision aid (DA) with information only compared to a DA with values clarification exercise (VCE), and to study the role of personality and information seeking style in DA-use, decisional conflict (DC) and knowledge.
Two scenario-based experiments were conducted with two different groups of healthy female participants. Dependent measures were: DC, knowledge, and DA-use (time spent, pages viewed, VCE used). Respondents were randomized between a DA with information only (VCE-) and a DA with information plus a VCE(VCE+) (experiment 1), or between information only (VCE-), information plus VCE without referral to VCE(VCE+), and information plus a VCE with specific referral to the VCE, requesting participants to use the VCE(VCE++) (experiment 2). In experiment 2 we additionally measured personality (neuroticism/conscientiousness) and information seeking style (monitoring/blunting).
Experiment 1. There were no differences in DC, knowledge or DA-use between VCE- (n=70) and VCE+ (n=70). Both DAs lead to a mean gain in knowledge from 39% at baseline to 73% after viewing the DA. Within VCE+, VCE-users (n=32, 46%) reported less DC compared to non-users. Since there was no difference in DC between VCE- and VCE+, this is likely an effect of VCE-use in a self-selected group, and not of the VCE per se. Experiment 2. There were no differences in DC or knowledge between VCE- (n=65), VCE+ (n=66), VCE++ (n=66). In all groups, knowledge increased on average from 42% at baseline to 72% after viewing the DA. Blunters viewed fewer DA-pages (R=0.38, p<.001). More neurotic women were less certain (R=0.18, p<.01) and felt less supported in decision making (R=0.15, p<.05); conscientious women felt more certain (R=-0.15, p<.05) and had more knowledge after viewing the DA (R=0.15, p<.05).
Both DAs lead to increased knowledge in healthy populations making hypothetical decisions, and use of the VCE did not improve knowledge or DC. Personality characteristics were associated to some extent with DA-use, information seeking styles with aspects of DC. More research is needed to make clear recommendations regarding the need for tailoring of information provision to personality characteristics, and to assess the effect of VCE use in actual patients.
PMCID: PMC4236594  PMID: 25106453
Values clarification method; Decision aid; Decisional conflict; Knowledge; Personality; Information seeking style; Experiment
18.  State Effect of Traumatic Experience on Personality Structure 
Psychiatry Investigation  2012;9(4):361-367.
Personality is defined as the trait-like qualities of a person. However, it has been recently suggested that the state effect of a situation leads to changes in scores on personality assessments. We predicted that traumatic experiences would induce changes not only in personality scores but also in the factor structures of personality assessments.
MethodsaaWe conducted a cross-sectional, case-controlled study using two data sets: a traumatized adolescent sample (n=71) and a non-traumatized adolescent sample (n=296). Personality factor structures were compared between the two samples using exploratory factor analyses for 25 lower-ordered subscales of the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI). In the non-traumatized sample, evaluation of the scree plot suggested a five-factor solution supporting TCI's original seven-factor model.
The traumatized sample showed a three-factor structure representing a biological factor, a social factor and an existential factor. This decrease in number of personality factors was caused by strengthened correlations among personality subscales related to coping with traumatic situations. Cloninger's psychobiological model of personality (i.e., temperament-character) was adequate in capturing personality traits of non-traumatized adolescents, but the tripartite view of existential psychology (i.e., body-mind-spirit) clearly corresponded to the factor structure of the traumatized adolescents.
The three-factor solution of the present traumatized group is consistent with the tripartite model of personality (i.e., body-mind-spirit), while the five-factor solution of the non-traumatized group corresponds to Cloninger's seven-factor model. This is the first study to describe the state effects of traumatic experiences on personality structure.
PMCID: PMC3521112  PMID: 23251200
Personality; Temperament; Character; TCI; Trauma; Adolescent
19.  Hostility Modifies the Association between TV Viewing and Cardiometabolic Risk 
Journal of Obesity  2014;2014:784594.
Background. It was hypothesized that television viewing is predictive of cardiometabolic risk. Moreover, people with hostile personality type may be more susceptible to TV-induced negative emotions and harmful health habits which increase occurrence of cardiometabolic risk. Purpose. The prospective association of TV viewing on cardiometabolic risk was examined along with whether hostile personality trait was a modifier. Methods. A total of 3,269 Black and White participants in the coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) study were assessed from age 23 to age 35. A cross-lagged panel model at exam years 5, 10, 15, and 20, covering 15 years, was used to test whether hours of daily TV viewing predicted cardiometabolic risk, controlling confounding variables. Multiple group analysis of additional cross-lagged panel models stratified by high and low levels of hostility was used to evaluate whether the association was modified by the hostile personality trait. Results. The cross-lagged association of TV viewing at years 5 and 15 on clustered cardiometabolic risk score at years 10 and 20 was significant (B = 0.058 and 0.051), but not at 10 to 15 years. This association was significant for those with high hostility (B = 0.068 for exam years 5 to 10 and 0.057 for exam years 15 to 20) but not low hostility. Conclusion. These findings indicate that TV viewing is positively associated with cardiometabolic risk. Further, they indicate that hostility might be a modifier for the association between TV viewing and cardiometabolic risk.
PMCID: PMC4094870  PMID: 25050178
20.  Continuity of care in general practice: a survey of patients' views. 
BACKGROUND: It is not known how patients value continuity for different health problems. In addition, it is not clear how different types of patients value continuity. It has been argued, for example, that young and healthy individuals have different ideas about continuity from older people with chronic illnesses. More extensive exploration of patients' views and expectations on personal continuity is important as this may help to organise general practice better in the future. AIM: To explore patients' views on continuity of care in general practice and their relations to patient characteristics. DESIGN OF STUDY: Postal questionnaire survey. SETTING: Thirty-five general practices throughout The Netherlands. METHOD: A sample of 25 patients from each practice was sent a questionnaire. RESULTS: The response rate was 644/875 (74%). The percentage of patients feeling that it was important to see their personal doctor varied, from 21% for a splinter in the eye, to 96% for discussing the future when seriousy ill. The main reasons for preference of their own general practitioners (GPs) were the GP's assumed better medical knowledge of the patient and understanding of the personal and family background. Multiple linear regression analysis (GLM) showed that patient characteristics could explain 10% to 12% of the variance in these views on personal continuity. CONCLUSION: The importance that patients attach to continuity of care depends on the seriousness of the conditions/facing them. Patients in The Netherlands desire a high level of personal care for serious conditions. Patient characteristics, such as age, sex, and frequency of visits to the GP influence views on continuity of care only to a minor extent.
PMCID: PMC1314320  PMID: 12051209
21.  Association between Screen Viewing Duration and Sleep Duration, Sleep Quality, and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness among Adolescents in Hong Kong 
Screen viewing is considered to have adverse impacts on the sleep of adolescents. Although there has been a considerable amount of research on the association between screen viewing and sleep, most studies have focused on specific types of screen viewing devices such as televisions and computers. The present study investigated the duration with which currently prevalent screen viewing devices (including televisions, personal computers, mobile phones, and portable video devices) are viewed in relation to sleep duration, sleep quality, and daytime sleepiness among Hong Kong adolescents (N = 762). Television and computer viewing remain prevalent, but were not correlated with sleep variables. Mobile phone viewing was correlated with all sleep variables, while portable video device viewing was shown to be correlated only with daytime sleepiness. The results demonstrated a trend of increase in the prevalence and types of screen viewing and their effects on the sleep patterns of adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4245609  PMID: 25353062
sleep quality; screen viewing; excessive daytime sleepiness; adolescents
22.  Television Viewing and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and All-Cause Mortality A Meta-analysis 
JAMA  2011;305(23):2448-2455.
Prolonged television (TV) viewing is the most prevalent and pervasive sedentary behavior in industrialized countries and has been associated with morbidity and mortality. However, a systematic and quantitative assessment of published studies is not available.
To perform a meta-analysis of all prospective cohort studies to determine the association between TV viewing and risk of type 2 diabetes, fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.
Data Sources and Study Selection
Relevant studies were identified by searches of the MEDLINE database from 1970 to March 2011 and the EMBASE database from 1974 to March 2011 without restrictions and by reviewing reference lists from retrieved articles. Cohort studies that reported relative risk estimates with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the associations of interest were included.
Data Extraction
Data were extracted independently by each author and summary estimates of association were obtained using a random-effects model.
Data Synthesis
Of the 8 studies included, 4 reported results on type 2 diabetes (175 938 individuals; 6428 incident cases during 1.1 million person-years of follow-up), 4 reported on fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease (34 253 individuals; 1052 incident cases), and 3 reported on all-cause mortality (26 509 individuals; 1879 deaths during 202 353 person-years of follow-up). The pooled relative risks per 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 1.20 (95% CI, 1.14-1.27) for type 2 diabetes, 1.15 (95% CI, 1.06-1.23) for fatal or nonfatal cardiovascular disease, and 1.13 (95% CI, 1.07-1.18) for all-cause mortality. While the associations between time spent viewing TV and risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease were linear, the risk of all-cause mortality appeared to increase with TV viewing duration of greater than 3 hours per day. The estimated absolute risk differences per every 2 hours of TV viewing per day were 176 cases of type 2 diabetes per 100 000 individuals per year, 38 cases of fatal cardiovascular disease per 100 000 individuals per year, and 104 deaths for all-cause mortality per 100 000 individuals per year.
Prolonged TV viewing was associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality.
PMCID: PMC4324728  PMID: 21673296
23.  Neural Representations of Personally Familiar and Unfamiliar Faces in the Anterior Inferior Temporal Cortex of Monkeys 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(4):e18913.
To investigate the neural representations of faces in primates, particularly in relation to their personal familiarity or unfamiliarity, neuronal activities were chronically recorded from the ventral portion of the anterior inferior temporal cortex (AITv) of macaque monkeys during the performance of a facial identification task using either personally familiar or unfamiliar faces as stimuli. By calculating the correlation coefficients between neuronal responses to the faces for all possible pairs of faces given in the task and then using the coefficients as neuronal population-based similarity measures between the faces in pairs, we analyzed the similarity/dissimilarity relationship between the faces, which were potentially represented by the activities of a population of the face-responsive neurons recorded in the area AITv. The results showed that, for personally familiar faces, different identities were represented by different patterns of activities of the population of AITv neurons irrespective of the view (e.g., front, 90° left, etc.), while different views were not represented independently of their facial identities, which was consistent with our previous report. In the case of personally unfamiliar faces, the faces possessing different identities but presented in the same frontal view were represented as similar, which contrasts with the results for personally familiar faces. These results, taken together, outline the neuronal representations of personally familiar and unfamiliar faces in the AITv neuronal population.
PMCID: PMC3078141  PMID: 21526206
24.  Personality-Informed Interventions for Healthy Aging: Conclusions From a National Institute on Aging Workgroup 
Developmental psychology  2013;50(5):1426-1441.
We describe two frameworks in which personality dimensions relevant to health, such as Conscientiousness, can be used to inform interventions designed to promote health aging. First, contemporary data and theory do not suggest that personality is “immutable”, but instead focus on questions of who changes, in what way, why, when, and how. In fact, the notion that personality could be changed was part and parcel of many schools of psychotherapy, which suggested that long term and meaningful change in symptoms could not be achieved without change in relevant aspects of personality. We review intervention research documenting change in personality. Based on an integrative view of personality as a complex system, we describe a “bottom-up” model of change in which interventions to change basic personality processes eventuate in changes at the trait level. A second framework leverages the descriptive and predictive power of personality to tailor individual risk prediction and treatment, as well as refine public health programs, to the relevant dispositional characteristics of the target population. These methods dovetail with and add a systematic and rigorous psychosocial dimension to the personalized medicine and patient-centeredness movements in medicine. In addition to improving health through earlier intervention and increased fit between treatments and persons, cost-effectiveness improvements can be realized by more accurate resource allocation. Numerous examples from the personality, health, and aging literature on Conscientiousness and other traits are provided throughout, and we conclude with a series of recommendations for research in these emerging areas.
PMCID: PMC3940665  PMID: 23978300
personality; intervention; health; personality change; lifespan
25.  Survey of patient and public perceptions of electronic health records for healthcare, policy and research: Study protocol 
Immediate access to patients’ complete health records via electronic databases could improve healthcare and facilitate health research. However, the possible benefits of a national electronic health records (EHR) system must be balanced against public concerns about data security and personal privacy. Successful development of EHR requires better understanding of the views of the public and those most affected by EHR: users of the National Health Service. This study aims to explore the correlation between personal healthcare experience (including number of healthcare contacts and number and type of longer term conditions) and views relating to development of EHR for healthcare, health services planning and policy and health research.
A multi-site cross-sectional self-complete questionnaire designed and piloted for use in waiting rooms was administered to patients from randomly selected outpatients’ clinics at a university teaching hospital (431 beds) and general practice surgeries from the four primary care trusts within the catchment area of the hospital. All patients entering the selected outpatients clinics and general practice surgeries were invited to take part in the survey during August-September 2011. Statistical analyses will be conducted using descriptive techniques to present respondents’ overall views about electronic health records and logistic regression to explore associations between these views and participants’ personal circumstances, experiences, sociodemographics and more specific views about electronic health records.
The study design and implementation were successful, resulting in unusually high response rates and overall recruitment (85.5%, 5336 responses). Rates for face-to-face recruitment in previous work are variable, but typically lower (mean 76.7%, SD 20). We discuss details of how we collected the data to provide insight into how we obtained this unusually high response rate.
PMCID: PMC3464182  PMID: 22621621
Electronic Health Records; Patient and Public Perceptions; Quality Improvement

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