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1.  Health literacy among university students in Greece: determinants and association with self-perceived health, health behaviours and health risks 
Archives of Public Health  2014;72(1):15.
Health literacy is widely considered as a key determinant of health and a priority in the public health policy agenda. Low health literacy has been associated with poorer health states, broader inequalities and higher health systems’ costs. In the present study we bring into focus the functional health literacy among university students in Greece, researching and assessing mainly their ability to apply basic knowledge in a health context.
The study was carried out during the period 15–30 April 2013, among a random sample of 1,526 students of 14 Higher Tertiary Public universities and Technological Educational Institutes in Greece. The objective of the study was to assess the functional health literacy among university students in Greece, adopting the short four-item comprehension test of Bostock and Steptoe. Summary statistics, correlations and regressions were used to assess the determinants of health literacy and the association with self-perceived health, health behaviours and health risks.
Economic factors, such as family income, demographic factors, such as gender, and health behaviours and risks, namely consumption of alcohol, smoking and physical workout are associated with the level of health literacy and health status of the participant. While the results of the study are consistent with previous work in this area, several findings worth further research.
Though, health promotion interventions in Greece include health literacy as one of the basic pillars of the public health policy agenda, it is clear, that health literacy needs to become a key policy issue in Greece, mainly focusing in young ages, where healthy (or unhealthy) behaviours are established affecting the health through the life span.
PMCID: PMC4066308  PMID: 24987522
Health literacy; Health behaviour; Health risks; Greece; University student
2.  On the decision rules of cost-effective treatment for patients with diabetic foot syndrome 
To assess the cost-effectiveness of two treatments (medical treatment and amputation) in patients with diabetic foot syndrome, one of the most disabling diabetic complications. Diabetes mellitus is a massive health care problem worldwide with a current prevalence of 150 millions diabetic cases, estimated to increase to 300 million cases in 2025.
Integrating medical knowledge and advances into the clinical setting is often difficult due to the complexity of the algorithms and protocols. Clinical decision support systems assist the clinician in applying new information to patient care through the analysis of patient-specific clinical variables. We require strategic decision support to analyze the cost-effectiveness of these programs compared to the status quo. We provide a simple partially observable Markov model to investigate that issue, and we propose an heuristic algorithm to find the best policy of intervention.
This study assesses the potential cost-effectiveness of two alternative treatment interventions in patients with diabetic foot syndrome. The implementation of the heuristic algorithm solution will assist doctors in clinical decision making, and health care organizations in evaluating medication choices for effective treatment. Finally, our study reveals that treatment programs are highly cost-effective for patients at high risk of diabetic foot ulcers and lower extremity amputations.
PMCID: PMC3169963  PMID: 21935321
partially observable Markov decision model; diabetic foot syndrome; cost-effectiveness method
3.  Medical decision making for patients with Parkinson disease under Average Cost Criterion 
Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common disabling neurological disorders and results in substantial burden for patients, their families and the as a whole society in terms of increased health resource use and poor quality of life. For all stages of PD, medication therapy is the preferred medical treatment. The failure of medical regimes to prevent disease progression and to prevent long-term side effects has led to a resurgence of interest in surgical procedures. Partially observable Markov decision models (POMDPs) are a powerful and appropriate technique for decision making. In this paper we applied the model of POMDP's as a supportive tool to clinical decisions for the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease. The aim of the model was to determine the critical threshold level to perform the surgery in order to minimize the total lifetime costs over a patient's lifetime (where the costs incorporate duration of life, quality of life, and monetary units). Under some reasonable conditions reflecting the practical meaning of the deterioration and based on the various diagnostic observations we find an optimal average cost policy for patients with PD with three deterioration levels.
PMCID: PMC2717981  PMID: 19549341

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