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1.  Do overweight workers profit by workplace health promotion, more than their normal-weight peers? Evaluation of a worksite intervention 
Worksite health promotion programs have been identified as strongly effective in decreasing body weight and increasing awareness and change in health behavior. Aim of this study is to determine the effects of a multi-component intervention in workplace health promotion.
In a controlled study trail, 1,573 workers of a logistics company had the chance to participate in a one year worksite health promotion program. Main elements of the multi-component intervention were physical activity training in combination with nutrition counseling. Employees completed a questionnaire at baseline and then again after twelve month. Main outcome variables were changes in body weight and health behaviors. Secondary outcomes were subjective health indicators.
Our results showed preliminary improvements in physical activity and eating behavior among normal weight and overweight/obesity weight groups. No significant weight reduction could be found, only a minimal reduction of BMI. The reduction was larger in the overweight group. Workers considered overweight or obese showed significantly greater body weight loss and changes in eating behavior than workers with a normal weight status. Workers with obesity/overweight scored their general health status significantly lower than their colleagues with normal weight status. No significant improvements were found for overall perception of health status between baseline and follow-up in the BMI-groups.
This 12-month intervention-control study suggests that a well-implemented multi-component workplace health promotion program may support substantial change in health behavior (e.g. nutrition and physical activity). It is indicated that overweight employees may especially profit from such worksite health promotion. An investigation of long-term effects of this multi-component intervention is strongly recommended.
PMCID: PMC4522134  PMID: 26236389
Health behavior changes; Physical activity; Prevention of overweight; Weight gain program; Workplace health promotion
2.  Managing work–family conflict in the medical profession: working conditions and individual resources as related factors 
BMJ Open  2015;5(4):e006871.
This study developed and tested a research model that examined the effects of working conditions and individual resources on work–family conflict (WFC) using data collected from physicians working at German clinics.
Material and methods
This is a cross-sectional study of 727 physicians working in German hospitals. The work environment, WFC and individual resources were measured by the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire, the WFC Scale, the Brief Resilient Coping Scale and the Questionnaire for Self-efficacy, Optimism and Pessimism. Descriptive, correlation and linear regression analyses were applied.
Clinical doctors working in German hospitals perceived high levels of WFC (mean=76). Sociodemographic differences were found for age, marital status and presence of children with regard to WFC. No significant gender differences were found. WFCs were positively related to high workloads and quantitative job demands. Job resources (eg, influence at work, social support) and personal resources (eg, resilient coping behaviour and self-efficacy) were negatively associated with physicians’ WFCs. Interaction terms suggest that job and personal resources buffer the effects of job demands on WFC.
In this study, WFC was prevalent among German clinicians. Factors of work organisation as well as factors of interpersonal relations at work were identified as significant predictors for WFC. Our results give a strong indication that both individual and organisational factors are related to WFC. Results may play an important role in optimising clinical care. Practical implications for physicians’ career planning and recommendations for future research are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4420985  PMID: 25941177
3.  Medical work assessment in German hospitals: a study protocol of a movement sequence analysis (MAGRO-MSA) 
Medical doctors are essential for the German public and occupational health system. They ensure the productivity of German society by enabling people to regain and recover their health. That is why the physicians’ health and hence their productivity require special attention. Musculoskeletal disorders have a high prevalence in this work area. As a consequence, movement sequences, range of motions, and body postures of physicians in the course of the working day are in focus of this research project.
For this investigation 21 male or female junior physicians of various conservative medical disciplines will be covered. Data will be collected over one working day (approx. 9 hours). The CUELA system attached to the test person’s body detects body posture and/or movements. This biomechanical measurement system ensures a locomotor and posture analysis that includes movement sequences, movement intensity, and range of motions to qualify the work tasks. For data analysis intra- and inter-professional comparisons are chosen.
Working movement sequence analysis of physicians by means of the CUELA system is exclusive and novel in its focus. Up to now, knowledge of the working tasks of medical doctors has only been acquired by real-time observation approaches to work activity. In addition to this method of analysis, the CUELA system is able to record quantified biomechanical data about musculoskeletal loads of ordinary working tasks. Workloads and activities of physicians can be improved by ergonomic work design to reduce musculoskeletal disorders by utilizing the data collected. The healthcare system in Germany will thus be optimized by improving medical doctors’ health. Consequently, MAGRO-MSA will also be used for other healthcare professions such as nurses and physicians assistants.
PMCID: PMC4298873  PMID: 25606049
Body posture; CUELA system; Movement sequence; Physicians’ health; Range of motions; Working task
4.  Bacterial Meningitis: A Density-Equalizing Mapping Analysis of the Global Research Architecture 
Bacterial meningitis is caused by a variety of pathogens and displays an important public health threat all over the world. Despite the necessity to develop customized public health-related research projects, a thorough study of global meningitis research is not present, so far. Therefore, the aim of this study was a combined density-equalizing and scientometric study. To evaluate the scientific efforts of bibliometric methods, density-equalizing algorithms and large-scale data analysis of the Web of Science were applied in the period between 1900 and 2007. From this, 7998 publications on bacterial meningitis have been found. With a number of 2698, most publications have been written by U.S. authors, followed by the UK (912), Germany (749) and France (620). This dominance can also be shown in the international cooperation. The specific citation analyses reveal that the nation with the highest average citation rate (citations per publications) was Norway (26.36), followed by Finland (24.16) and the U.S. (24.06). This study illustrates the architecture of global research on bacterial meningitis and points to the need for customized research programs with a focus on local public health issues in countries with a low development index, but high incidences, to target this global public health problem.
PMCID: PMC4210975  PMID: 25272079
bacterial meningitis; acute meningitis; scientometric analysis; density equalizing mapping
5.  Educators' working conditions in a day care centre on ownership of a non-profit organization 
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.
PMCID: PMC3293755  PMID: 22192358
educator; working conditions; task analysis; workload; real-time observation
6.  Reduced inclination of cervical spine in a novel notebook screen system - implications for rehabilitation 
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.
PMCID: PMC3253038  PMID: 22118159
7.  Bidirectional Assessment of Stress, job satisfaction and work ability of Educators in day care centres: a real-time observation study - the study protocol (BASE) 
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.
PMCID: PMC2908634  PMID: 20587012
8.  Berlin's medical students' smoking habits, knowledge about smoking and attitudes toward smoking cessation counseling 
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.
PMCID: PMC2861685  PMID: 20398350
9.  Mobile Air Quality Studies (MAQS)-an international project 
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.
PMCID: PMC2865482  PMID: 20380704
10.  Air pollution research: visualization of research activity using density-equalizing mapping and scientometric benchmarking procedures 
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.
PMCID: PMC2865481  PMID: 20359334
11.  The Role of Endocarditis, Myocarditis and Pericarditis in Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis 
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.
PMCID: PMC2800323  PMID: 20049235
endocarditis; myocarditis; pericarditis; scientometrics; h-index; self-citation; impact factor; coauthor ship
12.  Physicians' working conditions and job satisfaction: does hospital ownership in Germany make a difference? 
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.
PMCID: PMC2735742  PMID: 19678932
13.  Psychotrauma and effective treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers and peacekeepers 
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.
PMCID: PMC2726154  PMID: 19643016
14.  Scoliosis: density-equalizing mapping and scientometric analysis 
Scoliosis  2009;4:15.
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.
PMCID: PMC2732600  PMID: 19638232
15.  Medical work Assessment in German hospitals: a Real-time Observation study (MAGRO) – the study protocol 
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.
PMCID: PMC2698922  PMID: 19505318
16.  Does type of hospital ownership influence physicians' daily work schedules? An observational real-time study in German hospital departments 
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.
PMCID: PMC2692979  PMID: 19473487
17.  Development and evaluation of a computer-based medical work assessment programme 
There are several ways to conduct a job task analysis in medical work environments including pencil-paper observations, interviews and questionnaires. However these methods implicate bias problems such as high inter-individual deviations and risks of misjudgement. Computer-based observation helps to reduce these problems. The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the development process of a computer-based job task analysis instrument for real-time observations to quantify the job tasks performed by physicians working in different medical settings. In addition reliability and validity data of this instrument will be demonstrated.
This instrument was developed in consequential steps. First, lists comprising tasks performed by physicians in different care settings were classified. Afterwards content validity of task lists was proved. After establishing the final task categories, computer software was programmed and implemented in a mobile personal computer. At least inter-observer reliability was evaluated. Two trained observers recorded simultaneously tasks of the same physician.
Content validity of the task lists was confirmed by observations and experienced specialists of each medical area. Development process of the job task analysis instrument was completed successfully. Simultaneous records showed adequate interrater reliability.
Initial results of this analysis supported the validity and reliability of this developed method for assessing physicians' working routines as well as organizational context factors. Based on results using this method, possible improvements for health professionals' work organisation can be identified.
PMCID: PMC2628342  PMID: 19094213

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