Particulate matter (PM) is assumed to exert a major burden on public health. Most studies that address levels of PM use stationary measure systems. By contrast, only few studies measure PM concentrations under mobile conditions to analyze individual exposure situations.
By combining spatial-temporal analysis with a novel vehicle-mounted sensor system, the present Mobile Air Quality Study (MAQS) aimed to analyse effects of different driving conditions in a convertible vehicle. PM10 was continuously monitored in a convertible car, driven with roof open, roof closed, but windows open, or windows closed.
PM10 values inside the car were nearly always higher with open roof than with roof and windows closed, whereas no difference was seen with open or closed windows. During the day PM10 values varied with high values before noon, and occasional high median values or standard deviation values due to individual factors. Vehicle speed in itself did not influence the mean value of PM10; however, at traffic speed (10 – 50 km/h) the standard deviation was large. No systematic difference was seen between PM10 values in stationary and mobile cars, nor was any PM10 difference observed between driving within or outside an environmental (low emission) zone.
The present study has shown the feasibility of mobile PM analysis in vehicles. Individual exposure of the occupants varies depending on factors like time of day as well as ventilation of the car; other specific factors are clearly identifiably and may relate to specific PM10 sources. This system may be used to monitor individual exposure ranges and provide recommendations for preventive measurements. Although differences in PM10 levels were found under certain ventilation conditions, these differences are likely not of concern for the safety and health of passengers.
Student circus artists train as both artists and athletes with their bodies holding the key to professional success. The daily training load of student circus artists is often associated with maximum physical and psychological stress with injuries posing a threat to a potential professional career. The purpose of this study is the differentiated analysis and evaluation of work accidents in order to initiate the development of injury preventive programs.
The 17 years of data were obtained from standardized anonymous work accident records of the Berlin State Accident Insurance (UKB) as well as a State Artist Educational School (n = 169, Male: 70; Female: 99) from student artists. Evaluation and descriptive statistics were conducted with Excel 2007 and PASW Statistics 18.
The injury risk seems to be relatively low (0.3 injuries/1000h). There are gender specific differences as to the location of injuries. Only 7% of the accidents demand a break of more than 3 days. Injury patterns vary depending on the activity and the employment of props/equipment. 75.2% of work accidents have multifactorial and 24.8% exogenous causes.
Because physical fitness is all important in the circus arts there are numerous options for injury prevention programs that should be realized subject to gender-specific differences. Follow-ups on chronic complaints and a more individual approach are indispensable due to the very specific activities in the circus arts.
Performing Artists; Occupational Accidents; Sex; Prevention
Potential health damage by environmental emission of tobacco smoke (environmental tobacco smoke, ETS) has been demonstrated convincingly in numerous studies. People, especially children, are still exposed to ETS in the small space of private cars. Although major amounts of toxic compounds from ETS are likely transported into the distal lung via particulate matter (PM), few studies have quantified the amount of PM in ETS.
The aim of this study was to determine the ETS-dependent concentration of PM from both a 3R4F reference cigarette (RC) as well as a Marlboro Red brand cigarette (MRC) in a small enclosed space under different conditions of ventilation to model car exposure.
In order to create ETS reproducibly, an emitter (ETSE) was constructed and mounted on to an outdoor telephone booth with an inner volume of 1.75 m3. Cigarettes were smoked under open- and closed-door condition to imitate different ventilation scenarios. PM2.5 concentration was quantified by a laser aerosol spectrometer (Grimm; Model 1.109), and data were adjusted for baseline values. Simultaneously indoor and outdoor climate parameters were recorded. The time of smoking was divided into the ETS generation phase (subset “emission”) and a declining phase of PM concentration (subset “elimination”); measurement was terminated after 10 min. For all three time periods the average concentration of PM2.5 (Cmean-PM2.5) and the area under the PM2.5 concentration curve (AUC-PM2.5) was calculated. The maximum concentration (Cmax-PM2.5) was taken from the total interval.
For both cigarette types open-door ventilation reduced the AUC-PM2.5 (RC: from 59 400 ± 14 600 to 5 550 ± 3 900 μg*sec/m3; MRC: from 86 500 ± 32 000 to 7 300 ± 2 400 μg*sec/m3; p < 0.001) and Cmean-PM2.5 (RC: from 600 ± 150 to 56 ± 40 μg/m3, MRC from 870 ± 320 to 75 ± 25 μg/m3; p < 0.001) by about 90%. Cmax-PM2.5 was reduced by about 80% (RC: from 1 050 ± 230 to 185 ± 125 μg/m3; MRC: from 1 560 ±500 μg/m3 to 250 ± 85 μg/m3; p < 0.001). In the subset “emission” we identified a 78% decrease in AUC-PM2.5 (RC: from 18 600 ± 4 600 to 4 000 ± 2 600 μg*sec/m3; MRC: from 26 600 ± 7 200 to 5 800 ± 1 700 μg*sec/m3; p < 0.001) and Cmean-PM2.5 (RC: from 430 ± 108 to 93 ± 60 μg/m3; MRC: from 620 ± 170 to 134 ± 40 μg/m3; p < 0.001). In the subset “elimination” we found a reduction of about 96–98% for AUC-PM2.5 (RC: from 40 800 ± 11 100 to 1 500 ± 1 700 μg*sec/m3; MRC: from 58 500 ± 25 200 to 1 400 ± 800 μg*sec/m3; p < 0.001) and Cmean-PM2.5 (RC: from 730 ± 200 to 27 ± 29 μg/m3; MRC: from 1 000 ± 450 to 26 ± 15 μg/m3; p < 0.001). Throughout the total interval Cmax-PM2.5 of MRC was about 50% higher (1 550 ± 500 μg/m3) compared to RC (1 050 ± 230 μg/m3; p < 0.05). For the subset “emission” - but not for the other periods - AUC-PM2.5 for MRC was 43% higher (MRC: 26 600 ± 7 200 μg*sec/m3; RC: 18 600 ± 4 600 μg*sec/m3; p < 0.05) and 44% higher for Cmean-PM2.5 (MRC: 620 ± 170 μg/m3; RC: 430 ± 108 μg/m3; p < 0.05).
This method allows reliable quantification of PM2.5-ETS exposure under various conditions, and may be useful for ETS risk assessment in realistic exposure situations. The findings demonstrate that open-door condition does not completely remove ETS from a defined indoor space of 1.75 m3. Because there is no safe level of ETS exposure ventilation is not adequate enough to prevent ETS exposure in confined spaces, e.g. private cars. Additionally, differences in the characteristics of cigarettes affect the amount of ETS particle emission and need to be clarified by ongoing investigations.
Urban health is potentially affected by particle emissions. The potential toxicity of nanoparticles is heavily debated and there is an enormous global increase in research activity in this field. In this respect, it is commonly accepted that nanoparticles may also be generated in processes occurring while driving vehicles. So far, a variety of studies addressed traffic-related particulate matter emissions, but only few studies focused on potential nanoparticles.
Therefore, the present study analyzed the literature with regard to nanoparticles and cars. It can be stated that, to date, only a limited amount of research has been conducted in this area and more studies are needed to 1) address kind and sources of nanoparticles within automobiles and to 2) analyse whether there are health effects caused by these nanoparticles.
Bicycle traumata are very common and especially neurologic complications lead to disability and death in all stages of the life. This review assembles the most recent findings concerning research in the field of bicycle traumata combined with the factor of bicycle helmet use. The area of bicycle trauma research is by nature multidisciplinary and relevant not only for physicians but also for experts with educational, engineering, judicial, rehabilitative or public health functions. Due to this plurality of global publications and special subjects, short time reviews help to detect recent research directions and provide also information from neighbour disciplines for researchers. It can be stated that to date, that although a huge amount of research has been conducted in this area more studies are needed to evaluate and improve special conditions and needs in different regions, ages, nationalities and to create successful prevention programs of severe head and face injuries while cycling.
Focus was explicit the bicycle helmet use, wherefore sledding, ski and snowboard studies were excluded and only one study concerning electric bicycles remained due to similar motion structures within this review. The considered studies were all published between January 2010 and August 2011 and were identified via the online databases Medline PubMed and ISI Web of Science.
Bicycle helmet; Protection; Prevention; Accident; Trauma
Working conditions of nursery school teachers have not been scrutinized thoroughly in scientific research. Only a few studies have so far examined work-load and strain in this profession. Preferably, subjective perceptions should be corroborated by data that can be quantified more objectively and accurately. The aim of the present observational field study was to evaluate pedagogical staffs' workflow.
In 2009 eleven educators in a day care centre were observed throughout three complete workdays. A total of 250 working hours were recorded.
An educators' workday lasted on average 07:46:59 h (SD = 01:01:10 h). Within this time span, an average of 02:20:46 h (30.14%, SD = 00:28:07 h) were spent on caring, 01:44:18 h on playing (22.33%, SD = 00:54:12 h), 00:49:37 h on educational work (10.62%, SD = 00:40:09), and only 00:05:38 h on individual child contact (1.21%, SD = 00:04:58 h).
For the first time, educators' workflow in day care centres was studied in real time. Some of the educators' self-reported problems were corroborated. The results of this study form a basis upon which further investigations can be built and measures can be developed for an overall improvement of child care.
educator; working conditions; task analysis; workload; real-time observation
Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a major contributor to indoor air pollution. Since decades it is well documented that ETS can be harmful to human health and causes premature death and disease. In comparison to the huge research on toxicological substances of ETS, less attention was paid on the concentration of indoor ETS-dependent particulate matter (PM). Especially, investigation that focuses on different tobacco products and their concentration of deeply into the airways depositing PM-fractions (PM10, PM2.5 and PM1) must be stated. The tobacco smoke particles and indoor air quality study (ToPIQS) will approach this issue by device supported generation of indoor ETS and simultaneously measurements of PM concentration by laser aerosol spectrometry. Primarily, the ToPIQ study will conduct a field research with focus on PM concentration of different tobacco products and within various microenvironments. It is planned to extend the analysis to basic research on influencing factors of ETS-dependent PM concentration.
The population of industrialized countries such as the United States or of countries from the European Union spends approximately more than one hour each day in vehicles. In this respect, numerous studies have so far addressed outdoor air pollution that arises from traffic. By contrast, only little is known about indoor air quality in vehicles and influences by non-vehicle sources.
Therefore the present article aims to summarize recent studies that address i.e. particulate matter exposure. It can be stated that although there is a large amount of data present for outdoor air pollution, research in the area of indoor air quality in vehicles is still limited. Especially, knowledge on non-vehicular sources is missing. In this respect, an understanding of the effects and interactions of i.e. tobacco smoke under realistic automobile conditions should be achieved in future.
The duration of use is usually significantly longer for marine vessels than for roadside vehicles. Therefore, these vessels are often powered by relatively old engines which may propagate air pollution. Also, the quality of fuel used for marine vessels is usually not comparable to the quality of fuels used in the automotive sector and therefore, port areas may exhibit a high degree of air pollution. In contrast to the multitude of studies that addressed outdoor air pollution due to road traffic, only little is known about ship-related air pollution. Therefore the present article aims to summarize recent studies that address air pollution, i.e. particulate matter exposure, due to marine vessels. It can be stated that the data in this area of research is still largely limited. Especially, knowledge on the different air pollutions in different sea areas is needed.
Professional working at computer notebooks is associated with high requirements on the body posture in the seated position. By the high continuous static muscle stress resulting from this position at notebooks, professionals frequently working at notebooks for long hours are exposed to an increased risk of musculoskeletal complaints. Especially in subjects with back pain, new notebooks should be evaluated with a focus on rehabilitative issues.
In a field study a new notebook design with adjustable screen was analyzed and compared to standard notebook position.
There are highly significant differences in the visual axis of individuals who are seated in the novel notebook position in comparison to the standard position. Also, differences are present between further alternative notebook positions. Testing of gender and glasses did not reveal influences.
This study demonstrates that notebooks with adjustable screen may be used to improve the posture. Future studies may focus on patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
Drowning is a constant global problem which claims approximately half a million victims worldwide each year, whereas the number of near-drowning victims is considerably higher. Public health strategies to reduce the burden of death are still limited. While research activities in the subject drowning grow constantly, yet there is no scientometric evaluation of the existing literature at the present time.
The current study uses classical bibliometric tools and visualizing techniques such as density equalizing mapping to analyse and evaluate the scientific research in the field of drowning. The interpretation of the achieved results is also implemented in the context of the data collection of the WHO.
All studies related to drowning and listed in the ISI-Web of Science database since 1900 were identified using the search term "drowning". Implementing bibliometric methods, a constant increase in quantitative markers such as number of publications per state, publication language or collaborations as well as qualitative markers such as citations were observed for research in the field of drowning. The combination with density equalizing mapping exposed different global patterns for research productivity and the total number of drowning deaths and drowning rates respectively. Chart techniques were used to illustrate bi- and multilateral research cooperation.
The present study provides the first scientometric approach that visualizes research activity on the subject of drowning. It can be assumed that the scientific approach to this topic will achieve even greater dimensions because of its continuing actuality.
drowning; near-drowning; occupational medicine; scientometrics; density equalizing mapping
The use of the 2009 H1N1 vaccine has generated much debate concerning safety issues among the general population and physicians. It was questioned if this is a safe vaccine. Therefore, we investigated the safety of an inactivated monovalent H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine
We focused on the H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine Pandemrix® and applied a self reporting questionnaire in a population of healthcare workers (HCWs) and medical students at a major university hospital.
In total, 4337 individuals were vaccinated, consisting of 3808 HCWs and 529 medical students. The vaccination rate of the employees was higher than 40%. The majority of individuals were vaccinated in November 2009. In total, 291 of the 4337 vaccinations were reported to lead to one or more adverse reactions (6.7%). Local reactions were reported in 3.8%, myalgia and arthralgia in 3.7%, fatigue in 3.7%, headache in 3.1%.
Our data together with available data from several national and international institutions points to a safe pandemic influenza vaccine.
adverse reaction; healthcare worker; immunization; novel H1N1 influenza
Sleep disturbances induce proinflammatory immune responses, which might increase cardiovascular disease risk. So far the effects of acute sleep deprivation and chronic sleep illnesses on the immune system have been investigated. The particular impact of shift work induced chronic circadian disruption on specific immune responses has not been addressed so far.
Pittsburgh-Sleep-Quality-Index (PSQI) questionnaire and blood sampling was performed by 225 shift workers and 137 daytime workers. As possible markers the proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α and lymphocyte cell count were investigated. A medical examination was performed and biometrical data including age, gender, height, weight, waist and hip circumference and smoking habits were collected by a structured interview.
Shift workers had a significantly higher mean PSQI score than day workers (6.73 vs. 4.66; p < 0.001). Day workers and shift workers had similar serum levels of IL-6 (2.30 vs. 2.67 resp.; p = 0.276), TNF-α (5.58 vs. 5.68, resp.; p = 0.841) or lymphocytes count (33.68 vs. 32.99, resp.; p = 0.404). Furthermore there were no differences in cytokine levels (IL-6 p = 0.761; TNF-α p = 0.759) or lymphocyte count (p = 0.593) comparing the sleep quality within the cohorts. When this calculation of sleep quality was stratified by shift and day workers irrespective of their sleep quality day workers and shift workers had similar serum levels of IL-6, TNF-α or lymphocytes count. Multiple linear regression analysis showed a significant correlation of lymphocytes count and smoking habits.
Shift work induces chronic sleep debt. Our data reveals that chronic sleep debt might not always lead to an activation of the immune system, as we did not observe differences in lymphocyte count or level of IL-6 or TNF-α serum concentration between shift workers and day workers. Therefore chronic sleep restriction might be eased by a long-term compensating immune regulation which (in healthy) protects against an overstimulation of proinflammatory immune mechanisms and moderates metabolic changes, as they are known from short-term sleep deprivation or sleep related breathing disorders.
Occupational demands of educators are not very well researched. Nevertheless their work is subject to several requirements. Whether these demands have an effect on the work ability and the health status of employees has also not been examined. Furthermore it is unclear if the ownership type of day care centres have an influence on job satisfaction and work ability of the pedagogical staff and what kind of resources do exist. Previous studies were mainly based on questionnaire data. Objective data does not exist. Therefore the aim of this investigation is to collect precise data relating to work of educators.
Effects of different types of ownership of day care centres on job satisfaction and work ability of educators will be assessed with the help of objective real time studies in combination with multi-level psycho diagnostic measurements.
The present study is the first of its kind. Up to now there are no computer-based real time studies on workflow of pedagogical staff with regard to assess their work-related stress. Following an exhaustive documentation of educators work processes the day-to-day task can be estimated and approaches for prevention can be developed. This can substantially contribute to an overall improvement of child care in Germany.
In April 2009 a novel influenza A H1N1/2009 virus was identified in Mexico and in the United States which quickly spread around the world. Most of the countries established infection surveillance systems in order to track the number of (laboratory-confirmed) H1N1 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.
The impact of the emergence of the novel pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus on Frankfurt was statistically evaluated by the Health Protection Authority, City of Frankfurt am Main.
Vaccination rates of the health care workers (HCWs) of the University Hospital Frankfurt were measured by the Occupational Health Service.
Although the virulence of pandemic (H1N1) 2009 seems to be comparable with seasonal influenza, a major patient load and wave of hospital admissions occurred in the summer of 2009.
Even though the 2009 vaccination rate of the University Hospital Frankfurt (seasonal influenza [40.5%], swine flu [36.3%]) is better than the average annual uptake of influenza vaccine in the German health care system (approximately 22% for seasonal and 15% for swine flu), vaccination levels remain insufficient.
However, physicians were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely to have been vaccinated against swine flu and seasonal influenza than nurses.
The outbreak of the pandemic (H1N1) 2009 in April 2009 provided a major challenge to health services around the world. Nosocomial transmission of H1N1/2009 has been documented. Present experience should be used to improve pandemic preparedness plans and vaccination programs ought to target as many HCWs as possible.
Diseases associated with smoking are a foremost cause of premature death in the world, both in developed and developing countries. Eliminating smoking can do more to improve health and prolong life than any other measure in the field of preventive medicine. Today's medical students will play a prominent role in future efforts to prevent and control tobacco use.
A cross-sectional, self-administered, anonymous survey of fifth-year medical students in Berlin, Germany was conducted in November 2007. The study explored the prevalence of smoking among medical students. We assessed their current knowledge regarding tobacco dependence and the effectiveness of smoking cessation methods. Students' perceived competence to counsel smokers and promote smoking cessation treatments was also explored. Analyses were based on responses from 258 students (86.6% response rate).
One quarter of the medical students surveyed were current smokers. The smoking rate was 22.1% among women, 32.4% among men. Students underestimated smoking-related mortality and the negative effect of smoking on longevity. A considerable number of subjects erroneously assumed that nicotine causes coronary artery disease. Students' overall knowledge of the effectiveness of smoking cessation methods was inadequate. Only one third of the students indicated that they felt qualified to counsel patients about tobacco dependence.
This study reveals serious deficiencies in knowledge and counseling skills among medical students in our sample. The curriculum of every medical school should include a tobacco module. Thus, by providing comprehensive training in nicotine dependence interventions to medical students, smokers will have access to the professional expertise they need to quit smoking.
Due to an increasing awareness of the potential hazardousness of air pollutants, new laws, rules and guidelines have recently been implemented globally. In this respect, numerous studies have addressed traffic-related exposure to particulate matter using stationary technology so far. By contrast, only few studies used the advanced technology of mobile exposure analysis. The Mobile Air Quality Study (MAQS) addresses the issue of air pollutant exposure by combining advanced high-granularity spatial-temporal analysis with vehicle-mounted, person-mounted and roadside sensors. The MAQS-platform will be used by international collaborators in order 1) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to road structure, 2) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to traffic density, 3) to assess air pollutant exposure in relation to weather conditions, 4) to compare exposure within vehicles between front and back seat (children) positions, and 5) to evaluate "traffic zone"-exposure in relation to non-"traffic zone"-exposure.
Primarily, the MAQS-platform will focus on particulate matter. With the establishment of advanced mobile analysis tools, it is planed to extend the analysis to other pollutants including NO2, SO2, nanoparticles and ozone.
Due to constantly rising air pollution levels as well as an increasing awareness of the hazardousness of air pollutants, new laws and rules have recently been passed. Although there has been a large amount of research on this topic, bibliometric data is still to be collected. Thus this study provides a scientometric approach to the material published on this subject so far.
For this purpose, data retrieved from the "Web of Science" provided by the Thomson Scientific Institute was analyzed and visualized both with density-equalizing methods and classic data-processing methods such as tables and charts.
For the time span between 1955 and 2006, 26,253 items were listed and related to the topic of air pollution, published by 124 countries in 24 different languages. General citation activity has been constantly increasing since the beginning of the examined period. However, beginning with the year 1991, citation levels have been rising exponentially each year, reaching 39,220 citations in the year 2006. The United States, the UK and Germany were the three most productive countries in the area, with English and German ranked first and second in publishing languages, followed by French. An article published by Dockery, Pope, Xu et al. was both the most cited in total numbers and in average citation rate. J. Schwartz was able to claim the highest total number of citations on his publications, while D.W. Dockery has the highest citation rate per publication. As to the subject areas the items are assigned with, the most item were published in Environmental Sciences, followed by Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences and Public, Environmental & Occupational Health. Nine out of the ten publishing journals with more than 300 entries dealt with environmental interests and one dealt with epidemiology.
Using the method of density-equalizing mapping and further common data processing procedures, it can be concluded that scientific work concerning air pollution and related topics enjoys unbrokenly growing scientific interest. This can be observed both in publication numbers and in citation activity.
The current study is the first scientometric analysis of research activity and output in the field of inflammatory disorders of the heart (endo-, myo- and pericarditis). Scientometric methods are used to compare scientific performance on national and on international scale to identify single areas of research interest. Interest and research productivity in inflammatory diseases of the heart have increased since 1990. The majority of publications about inflammatory heart disorders were published in Western Europe and North America. The United States of America had a leading position in terms of research productivity and quality; half of the most productive authors in this study came from American institutions. The analysis of international cooperation revealed research activity in countries that are less established in the field of inflammatory heart disorder research, such as Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia. These results indicate that future research of heart inflammation may no longer be influenced predominantly by a small number of countries. Furthermore, this study revealed weaknesses in currently established scientometric parameters (i.e., h-index, impact factor) that limit their suitability as measures of research quality. In this respect, self-citations should be generally excluded from calculations of h-index and impact factor.
endocarditis; myocarditis; pericarditis; scientometrics; h-index; self-citation; impact factor; coauthor ship
A growing number of German hospitals have been privatized with the intention of increasing cost effectiveness and improving the quality of health care. Numerous studies investigated what possible qualitative and economic consequences these changes issues might have on patient care.
However, little is known about how this privatization trend relates to physicians' working conditions and job satisfaction. It was anticipated that different working conditions would be associated with different types of hospital ownership. To that end, this study's purpose is to compare how physicians, working for both public and privatized hospitals, rate their respective psychosocial working conditions and job satisfaction.
The study was designed as a cross-sectional comparison using questionnaire data from 203 physicians working at German hospitals of different ownership types (private for-profit, public and private nonprofit).
The present study shows that several aspects of physicians' perceived working conditions differ significantly depending on hospital ownership. However, results also indicated that physicians' job satisfaction does not vary between different types of hospital ownership. Finally, it was demonstrated that job demands and resources are associated with job satisfaction, while type of ownership is not.
This study represents one of a few studies that investigate the effect of hospital ownership on physicians work situation and demonstrated that the type of ownership is a potential factor accounting for differences in working conditions. The findings provide an informative basis to find solutions improving physicians' work at German hospitals.
Psychotrauma occurs as a result to a traumatic event, which may involve witnessing someone's actual death or personally experiencing serious physical injury, assault, rape and sexual abuse, being held as a hostage, or a threat to physical or psychological integrity. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder and was defined in the past as railway spine, traumatic war neurosis, stress syndrome, shell shock, battle fatigue, combat fatigue, or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSS). If untreated, post-traumatic stress disorder can impair relationships of those affected and strain their families and society. Deployed soldiers are especially at a high risk to be affected by PTSD but often receive inadequate treatment. Reviews to date have focused only on a single type of treatment or groups of soldiers from only one country. The aim of the current review was to evaluate characteristics of therapeutic methods used internationally to treat male soldiers' PTSD after peacekeeping operations in South Eastern Europe and the Gulf wars.
This systematic literature review returned results pertaining to the symptoms, diagnosis, timing and effectiveness of treatment. Sample groups and controls were relatively small and, therefore, the results lack generalizability. Further research is needed to understand the influence and unique psychological requirements of each specific military operation on the internationally deployed soldiers.
Publications related to scoliosis have increased enormously. A differentiation between publications of major and minor importance has become difficult even for experts. Scientometric data on developments and tendencies in scoliosis research has not been available to date. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the scientific efforts of scoliosis research both quantitatively and qualitatively.
Large-scale data analysis, density-equalizing algorithms and scientometric methods were used to evaluate both the quantity and quality of research achievements of scientists studying scoliosis. Density-equalizing algorithms were applied to data retrieved from ISI-Web.
From 1904 to 2007, 8,186 items pertaining to scoliosis were published and included in the database. The studies were published in 76 countries: the USA, the U.K. and Canada being the most productive centers. The Washington University (St. Louis, Missouri) was identified as the most prolific institution during that period, and orthopedics represented by far the most productive medical discipline. "BRADFORD, DS" is the most productive author (146 items), and "DANSEREAU, J" is the author with the highest scientific impact (h-index of 27).
Our results suggest that currently established measures of research output (i.e. impact factor, h-index) should be evaluated critically because phenomena, such as self-citation and co-authorship, distort the results and limit the value of the conclusions that may be drawn from these measures. Qualitative statements are just tractable by the comparison of the parameters with respect to multiple linkages. In order to obtain more objective evaluation tools, new measurements need to be developed.
The increasing economic pressure characterizes the current situation in health care and the need to justify medical decisions and organizational processes due to limited financial resources is omnipresent. Physicians tend to interpret this development as a decimation of their own medical influence. This becomes even more obvious after a change in hospital ownership i.e. from a public to a private profit oriented organization. In this case each work procedure is revised.
To date, most research studies have focused mainly on differences between hospitals of different ownership regarding financial outcomes and quality of care, leaving important organizational issues unexplored. Little attention has been devoted to the effects of hospital ownership on physicians' working routines.
The aim of this observational real time study is to deliver exact data about physicians' work at hospitals of different ownership.
The consequences of different management types on the organizational structures of the physicians' work situation and on job satisfaction in the ward situation are monitored by objective real time studies and multi-level psycho diagnostic measurements.
This study is unique in its focus. To date no results have been found for computer-based real time studies on work activity in the clinical field in order to objectively evaluate a physician's work-related stress. After a complete documentation of the physicians' work processes the daily work flow can be estimated and systematically optimized. This can stimulate an overall improvement of health care services in Germany.
During the last two decades the German hospital sector has been engaged in a constant process of transformation. One obvious sign of this is the growing amount of hospital privatization. To date, most research studies have focused on the effects of privatization regarding financial outcomes and quality of care, leaving important organizational issues unexplored. Yet little attention has been devoted to the effects of privatization on physicians' working routines. The aim of this observational real-time study is to deliver exact data about physicians' work at hospitals of different ownership. By analysing working hours, further impacts of hospital privatization can be assessed and areas of improvement identified.
Observations were made by shadowing 100 physicians working in private, for-profit or non-profit as well as public hospital departments individually during whole weekday shifts in urban German settings. A total of 300 days of observations were conducted. All working activities were recorded, accurate to the second, by using a mobile personal computer.
Results have shown significant differences in physicians' working activities, depending on hospital ownership, concerning working hours and time spent on direct and indirect patient care.
This is the first real-time analysis on differences in work activities depending on hospital ownership. The study provides an objective insight into physicians' daily work routines at hospitals of different ownership, with additional information on effects of hospital privatization.
Neurotrophin 3 (NT-3) is a member of the neurotrophin family, a group of related proteins that are known to regulate neuro-immune interactions in allergic diseases. Their cellular sources and role in the recruitment of mast cell precursors in atopic dermatitis have not been characterized in detail so far.
Characterize NT-3 on a transcriptional and translational level in individuals with atopic dermatitis with special focus on mast cells.
To meet this objective NT-3 levels in the serum of AD patients were measured, the effect of NT-3 on keratinocytes was evaluated and the gene expression and regulation assessed using ELISA, immunohistochemistry and RNA quantification.
Systemic levels of NT-3 were found to be higher in individuals with AD as compared to healthy controls. A distinct genetic expression was found in the various cells of the skin. In lesional mast cells of individuals with atopic dermatitis an increased amount of NT-3 was apparent. Functional in vitro experiments demonstrated that NT-3 stimulation led to a suppression of IL-8 secretion by HaCat cells.
These findings could imply a role for NT-3 in the pathogenesis of allergic skin diseases.