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1.  Understanding the physical activity promotion behaviours of podiatrists: a qualitative study 
Health professionals are encouraged to play a part in reducing the health risks of physical inactivity. Little is known of the physical activity promotion practice behaviours of podiatrists.
We performed 20 semi-structured interviews with purposefully selected podiatrists to explore their physical activity promotion attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and practice. Transcribed interviews were coded using an iterative thematic approach to identify major themes and salient beliefs.
Overall, the participants had a positive attitude to physical activity promotion, considering it a normal part of their role. They saw their role as giving information, encouraging activity and making recommendations, however in practice they were less inclined to follow up on recommendations, monitor activity levels or document the process. Their approach was generally opportunistic, informal and unstructured and the content of assessment and promotion dependent upon the presenting patient’s condition. Advice tended to be tailored to the patient’s capabilities and interests. They considered there are opportunities to promote physical activity during regular consultations, however, were more likely to do so in patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes. Main barriers to physical activity promotion included unreceptive and unmotivated patients as well as a lack of time, skills and resources.
Physical activity promotion appears feasible in podiatry practice in terms of opportunity and acceptability to practitioners, but there is scope for improvement. Strategies to improve promotion need to consider the major issues, barriers and opportunities as well as provide a more structured approach to physical activity promotion by podiatrists.
PMCID: PMC3846794  PMID: 24016671
Physical activity promotion; Podiatrist
3.  Ankle-Brachial Index determination and peripheral arterial disease diagnosis by an oscillometric blood pressure device in primary care: validation and diagnostic accuracy study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(5):e001689.
To determine the level of agreement between a ‘conventional’ Ankle-Brachial Index (ABI) measurement (using Doppler and mercury sphygmomanometer taken by a research nurse) and a ‘pragmatic’ ABI measure (using an oscillometric device taken by a practice nurse) in primary care. To ascertain the utility of a pragmatic ABI measure for the diagnosis of peripheral arterial disease (PAD) in primary care.
Cross-sectional validation and diagnostic accuracy study. Descriptive analyses were used to investigate the agreement between the two procedures using the Bland and Altman method to determine whether the correlation between ABI readings varied systematically. Diagnostic accuracy was assessed via sensitivity, specificity, accuracy, likelihood ratios, positive and negative predictive values, with ABI readings dichotomised and Receiver Operating Curve analysis using both univariable and multivariable logistic regression.
Primary care in metropolitan and rural Victoria, Australia between October 2009 and November 2010.
250 persons with cardiovascular disease (CVD) or at high risk (three or more risk factors) of CVD.
Despite a strong association between the two method's measurements of ABI there was poor agreement with 95% of readings within ±0.4 of the 0.9 ABI cut point. The multivariable C statistic of diagnosis of PAD was 0.89. Other diagnostic measures were sensitivity 62%, specificity 92%, positive predictive value 67%, negative predictive value 90%, accuracy 85%, positive likelihood ratio 7.3 and the negative likelihood ratio 0.42.
Oscillometric ABI measures by primary care nurses on a population with a 22% prevalence of PAD lacked sufficient agreement with conventional measures to be recommended for routine diagnosis of PAD. This pragmatic method may however be used as a screening tool high-risk and overt CVD patients in primary care as it can reliably exclude the condition.
PMCID: PMC3488728  PMID: 23100446
Primary Care; Vascular Medicine; Public Health
4.  A prospective study of the impact of musculoskeletal pain and radiographic osteoarthritis on health related quality of life in community dwelling older people 
Pain and radiographic changes are common in persons with osteoarthritis, but their relative contributions to quality of life are unknown.
Prospective cohort study of 1098 men and women aged 50–80 years, randomly selected from the electoral roll. Participants were interviewed at baseline and approximately 2.6 and five years later. Participants self-reported prior diagnosis of arthritis and presence of joint pain. Joint space narrowing (JSN) and osteophytes at the hip and knee were assessed by X-ray. Quality of life (QoL) was assessed using the Assessment of QoL (AQoL) instrument. Data was analysed using linear regression and mixed modelling.
The median AQoL score at baseline was 7.0, indicating very good QoL. Prevalence of pain ranged from 38-62%. Over five years of observation, pain in the neck, shoulders, back, hips, hands, knees and feet were all independently and negatively associated with QoL, in a dose–response relationship. Diagnosed osteoarthritis at all sites was associated with poorer QoL but after adjustment for pain, this only remained significant at the back. Radiographic OA was not associated with QoL. While AQoL scores declined over five years, there was no evidence of an interaction between pain and time.
Pain is common in older adults, is stable over time, and the strongest musculoskeletal correlate of QoL. It also mediates the association between diagnosed OA and QoL. Since the same factors were associated with quality of life over time as at baseline, this suggests that quality of life tracks over a five year period.
PMCID: PMC3489889  PMID: 22954354
Quality of life; Ostearthritis; Knee; Osteoarthritis; Radiographic
5.  Vitamin D supplementation in the management of knee osteoarthritis: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:131.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common health issue worldwide in the aging population who are also commonly deficient in vitamin D. Our previous study suggested that higher serum 25-(OH)D levels were associated with reduced knee cartilage loss, implying that vitamin D supplementation may prevent the progression of knee OA. The aim of the VItamin D Effects on OA (VIDEO) study is to compare, over a 2- year period, the effects of vitamin D supplementation versus placebo on knee structural changes, knee pain, and lower limb muscle strength in patients with symptomatic knee OA.
Randomised, placebo-controlled, and double-blind clinical trial aiming to recruit 400 subjects (200 from Tasmania and 200 from Victoria) with both symptomatic knee OA and vitamin D deficiency (serum [25-(OH)D] level of >12.5 nmol/liter and <60 nmol/liter). Participants will be randomly allocated to vitamin D supplementation (50,000 IU compounded vitamin D3 capsule monthly) or identical inert placebo group for 2 years. The primary endpoint is loss of knee cartilage volume measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Index of OA (WOMAC) knee pain score. The secondary endpoints will be other knee structural changes, and lower limb muscle strength. Several other outcome measures including core muscle images and central blood pressure will be recorded. Linear and logistic regression will be used to compare changes between groups using univariable and multivariable modeling analyses. Both intention to treat and per protocol analyses will be utilized.
The trial is designed to test if vitamin D supplementation will reduce loss of knee cartilage volume, prevent the progression of other knee structural abnormalities, reduce knee pain and strengthen lower limb muscle strength, thus modify disease progression in knee OA.
Trial registration identifier: NCT01176344; Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: ACTRN12610000495022
PMCID: PMC3503652  PMID: 22867111
Vitamin D; Osteoarthritis; Magnetic resonance imaging
6.  Effect of biologic therapy on radiological progression in rheumatoid arthritis: what does it add to methotrexate? 
There have been substantial advances in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in recent years. Traditional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) have been shown to have small effects on the progression of radiographic damage. This quantitative overview summarizes the evidence for biologic DMARDs and radiographic damage either alone or in combination with methotrexate. Two outcomes were used (standardized mean difference and odds of progression). A total of 21 trials were identified of which 18 had useable data. For biologic monotherapy, tocilizumab, adalimumab, and etanercept were significantly better than methotrexate, with tocilizumab ranking first in both outcomes while golimumab was ineffective in both outcomes. For a biologic in combination with methotrexate compared with methotrexate alone, most therapies studied (etanercept, adalimumab, infliximab, certolizumab, tocilizumab, and rituximab) were effective at slowing X-ray progression using either outcome, with infliximab ranking first in both outcomes. The exceptions to this were golimumab (no effect on standardized mean difference) and abatacept (no effect on odds of progression). This effect was additional to methotrexate; thus, the overall benefit is moderate to large in magnitude, which is clearly of major clinical significance for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis and supports the use of biologic DMARDs in those with a poor disease prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3402044  PMID: 22848148
rheumatoid; trials; meta-analysis; radiographs; biologic; disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs; DMARDs
7.  Cardiovascular risks of calcium supplements in women 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;336(7638):226-227.
Increased risk of myocardial infarction outweighs the reduction in fractures
PMCID: PMC2223002  PMID: 18202033
8.  Effects of vitamin D supplementation on bone density in healthy children: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Objective To determine the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation for improving bone mineral density in children and adolescents and if effects vary with factors such as vitamin D dose and vitamin D status.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Medline (1966 to present), Embase (1980 to present), CINAHL (1982 to present), AMED (1985 to present), and ISI Web of Science (1945 to present), last updated on 9 August 2009, and hand searching of conference abstracts from key journals.
Study selection Placebo controlled randomised controlled trials of vitamin D supplementation for at least three months in healthy children and adolescents (aged 1 month to <20 years) with bone density outcomes. Two authors independently assessed references for inclusion and study quality and extracted data.
Data synthesis Standardised mean differences of the percentage change from baseline in bone mineral density of the forearm, hip, and lumbar spine and total body bone mineral content in treatment and control groups. Subgroup analyses were carried out by sex, pubertal stage, dose of vitamin D, and baseline serum vitamin D concentration. Compliance and allocation concealment were also considered as possible sources of heterogeneity.
Results From 1653 potential references, six studies, totalling 343 participants receiving placebo and 541 receiving vitamin D, contributed data to meta-analyses. Vitamin D supplementation had no statistically significant effects on total body bone mineral content or on bone mineral density of the hip or forearm. There was a trend to a small effect on lumbar spine bone mineral density (standardised mean difference 0.15, 95% confidence interval −0.01 to 0.31; P=0.07). Effects were similar in studies of participants with high compared with low serum vitamin D levels, although there was a trend towards a larger effect with low vitamin D for total body bone mineral content (P=0.09 for difference). In studies with low serum vitamin D, significant effects on total body bone mineral content and lumbar spine bone mineral density were roughly equivalent to a 2.6% and 1.7% percentage point greater change from baseline in the supplemented group.
Conclusions It is unlikely that vitamin D supplements are beneficial in children and adolescents with normal vitamin D levels. The planned subgroup analyses by baseline serum vitamin D level suggest that vitamin D supplementation of deficient children and adolescents could result in clinically useful improvements, particularly in lumbar spine bone mineral density and total body bone mineral content, but this requires confirmation.
PMCID: PMC3026600  PMID: 21266418
9.  Bone marrow lesions predict site-specific cartilage defect development and volume loss: a prospective study in older adults 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R222.
Recent evidence suggests that bone marrow lesions (BMLs) play a pivotal role in knee osteoarthritis (OA). The aims of this study were to determine: 1) whether baseline BML presence and/or severity predict site-specific cartilage defect progression and cartilage volume loss; and 2) whether baseline cartilage defects predict site-specific BML progression.
A total of 405 subjects (mean age 63 years, range 52 to 79) were measured at baseline and approximately 2.7 years later. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the right knee was performed to measure knee cartilage volume, cartilage defects (0 to 4), and BMLs (0 to 3) at the medial tibial (MT), medial femoral (MF), lateral tibial (LT), and lateral femoral (LF) sites. Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations were used to examine the relationship between BMLs and cartilage defects and cartilage volume loss.
At all four sites, baseline BML presence predicted defect progression (odds ratio (OR) 2.4 to 6.4, all P < 0.05), and cartilage volume loss (-0.9 to -2.9% difference per annum, all P < 0.05) at the same site. In multivariable analysis, there was a significant relationship between BML severity and defect progression at all four sites (OR 1.8 to 3.2, all P < 0.05) and BML severity and cartilage volume loss at the MF, LT, and LF sites (β -22.1 to -42.0, all P < 0.05). Additionally, baseline defect severity predicted BML progression at the MT and LF sites (OR 3.3 to 3.7, all P < 0.01). Lastly, there was a greater increase in cartilage volume loss at the MT and LT sites when both larger defects and BMLs were present at baseline (all P < 0.05).
Baseline BMLs predicted site-specific defect progression and cartilage volume loss in a dose-response manner suggesting BMLs may have a local effect on cartilage homeostasis. Baseline defects predicted site-specific BML progression, which may represent increased bone loading adjacent to defects. These results suggest BMLs and defects are interconnected and play key roles in knee cartilage volume loss; thus, both should be considered targets for intervention.
PMCID: PMC3046535  PMID: 21190554
10.  Natural history and clinical significance of MRI-detected bone marrow lesions at the knee: a prospective study in community dwelling older adults 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2010;12(6):R223.
There are conflicting data on the natural history and clinical significance of bone marrow lesions (BMLs). The aims of this study were to describe the natural history of MRI-detected BMLs at the knee using a quantitative measure and examine the association of BMLs with pain, function and stiffness scores, and total knee replacement (TKR) surgery.
A total of 395 older males and females were randomly selected from the general population (mean age 63 years, range 52 to 79) and measured at baseline and approximately 2.7 years later. BMLs were determined using T2-weighted fat saturation MRI by measuring the maximum area of the lesion. Reproducibility was excellent (intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC): 0.97). Pain, function, and stiffness were assessed by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis (WOMAC) scores. X-ray was used to assess radiographic osteoarthritis (ROA) at baseline.
At baseline, 43% (n = 168/395) had a BML. Of these 25% decreased in size and 24% increased. Of the remaining sample (n = 227), 7% developed a new BML. In a multivariable model, a change in BML size was associated with a change in pain and function scores (β = 1.13 to 2.55 per 1 SD increase, all P < 0.05), only in those participants without ROA. Lastly, baseline BML severity predicted TKR surgery (odds ratio (OR) 2.10/unit, P = 0.019).
In a population based sample, BMLs (assessed by measuring maximal area) were not static, with similar proportions both worsening and improving. A change in BML size was associated with changes in pain in those without established ROA. This finding suggests that fluctuating knee pain may be attributable to BMLs in those participants with early stage disease. Baseline BMLs also predicted TKR surgery. These findings suggest therapeutic interventions aimed at altering the natural history of BMLs should be considered.
PMCID: PMC3046536  PMID: 21190555
11.  Assessing physical activity in general practice: a disconnect between clinical practice and public health? 
The British Journal of General Practice  2009;59(568):e359-e367.
GPs comply poorly to public health recommendations to routinely assess their patients' physical activity. The reasons for this disconnect between recommended practice and GPs' actual practice are unclear.
To investigate GPs' perceptions of assessing physical activity, and to explore how GPs assess their patients' physical activity.
Design of the study
Qualitative study.
General practice.
Semi-structured interviews were performed with 15 randomly selected southern Tasmanian GPs, with stratification to include GPs with a range of demographic characteristics. Each interview was recorded, transcribed in full, and analysed using an iterative thematic approach to identify major themes.
GPs recognised the importance of assessing physical activity, but rather than assessing every patient, they target at-risk patients and those with conditions likely to benefit from increased physical activity. Depth of assessment and GPs' definition of sufficient physical activity varied according to the clinical and social context of each patient. Major barriers were the time needed to perform an adequate assessment and lack of time to deal with physical inactivity in patients once it was identified.
GPs' assessment of physical activity is a complex and highly individualised process that cannot be divorced from the issue of managing physical inactivity once it is identified. Expectations that GPs will assess physical activity levels in all their patients are unlikely to be met. This must be taken into account when developing strategies to improve physical activity assessment in general practice, and should be considered in policy decisions about approaches to take to improve physical activity levels at a population level.
PMCID: PMC2765854  PMID: 19781132
assessment; general practice; physical activity; primary health care
12.  Bone Density Testing: An Under-Utilised and Under-Researched Health Education Tool for Osteoporosis Prevention? 
Nutrients  2010;2(9):985-996.
Feedback of fracture risk based on bone mineral density (BMD) is an under-explored potential osteoporosis education intervention. We performed a randomised controlled trial of either an osteoporosis information leaflet or small group education (the Osteoporosis Prevention and Self-Management Course (OPSMC)), combined with individualised fracture risk feedback in premenopausal women over two years. Women with a mean T-score at spine and hip of <0 were informed they were at higher risk of fracture in later life and those with T-score ≥ 0 were informed they were not. Women receiving feedback of high fracture risk had a greater increase in femoral neck, but not lumbar spine, BMD compared to the low risk group (1.6% p.a. vs. 0.7% p.a., p = 0.0001). Participation in the OPSMC had no greater effect on BMD than receiving the leaflet. Femoral neck BMD change was associated with starting calcium supplements (1.3% p.a., 95% CI +0.49, +2.17) and self-reported physical activity change (0.7% p.a., 95% CI +0.22, +1.22). Mother’s report of increasing their children’s calcium intake was associated with receiving the OPSMC (OR 2.3, 95% CI 1.4, 3.8) and feedback of high fracture risk (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.2, 3.3). Fracture risk feedback based on BMD could potentially make an important contribution to osteoporosis prevention but confirmation of long-term benefits and cost effectiveness is needed before implementation can be recommended.
PMCID: PMC3257714  PMID: 22254067
osteoporosis; prevention; calcium; physical activity; bone density
13.  Effects of calcium supplementation on bone density in healthy children: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;333(7572):775.
Objectives To assess the effectiveness of calcium supplementation for improving bone mineral density in healthy children and to determine if any effect is modified by other factors and persists after supplementation stops.
Design Meta-analysis.
Data sources Electronic bibliographic databases, hand searching of conference proceedings, and contacting authors for unpublished data.
Review methods We included randomised placebo controlled trials of calcium supplementation in healthy children that lasted at least three months and had bone outcomes measured after at least six months of follow-up. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed quality. Meta-analyses predominantly used fixed effects models with outcomes given as standardised mean differences.
Results We included 19 studies involving 2859 children. Calcium supplementation had no effect on bone mineral density at the femoral neck or lumbar spine. There was a small effect on total body bone mineral content (standardised mean difference 0.14, 95% confidence interval 0.01 to 0.27) and upper limb bone mineral density (0.14, 0.04 to 0.24). This effect persisted after the end of supplementation only at the upper limb (0.14, 0.01 to 0.28). There was no evidence that sex, baseline calcium intake, pubertal stage, ethnicity, or level of physical activity modified the effect.
Conclusions The small effect of calcium supplementation on bone mineral density in the upper limb is unlikely to reduce the risk of fracture, either in childhood or later life, to a degree of major public health importance.
PMCID: PMC1602024  PMID: 16980314
14.  The effect on behavior and bone mineral density of individualized bone mineral density feedback and educational interventions in premenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial [NCT00273260] 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:12.
Limited information is available on ways to influence osteoporosis risk in premenopausal women. This study tested four hypotheses regarding the effects of individualized bone density (BMD) feedback and different educational interventions on osteoporosis preventive behavior and BMD in pre-menopausal women, namely: that women are more likely to change calcium intake and physical activity if their BMD is low; that group education will be more efficacious at changing behavior than an information leaflet; that BMD feedback and group education have independent effects on behavior and BMD; and, that women who improve their physical activity or calcium intake will have a change in bone mass over 2 years that is better than those who do not alter their behavior.
We performed a 2-year randomized controlled trial of BMD feedback according to T-score and either an osteoporosis information leaflet or small group education in a population-based random sample of 470 healthy women aged 25–44 years (response rate 64%). Main outcome measures were dietary calcium intake, calcium supplement use, smoking behavior, physical activity, endurance fitness, lower limb strength and BMD. We used paired t-tests, one-way ANOVA and linear regression techniques for data analysis.
Women who had feedback of low BMD had a greater increase in femoral neck BMD than those with normal BMD (1.6% p.a. vs. 0.7% p.a., p = 0.0001), but there was no difference in lumbar spine BMD change between these groups (0.1% p.a. vs. 0.08% p.a., p = 0.9). Both educational interventions had similar increases in femoral neck BMD (Leaflet = +1.0% p.a., Osteoporosis self-management course = + 1.3% p.a., p = 0.4). Femoral neck BMD change was only significantly associated with starting calcium supplements (1.3 % p.a, 95%CI +0.49, +2.17) and persistent self-reported change in physical activity levels (0.7% p.a., 95%CI +0.22, +1.22).
Individualized BMD feedback combined with a minimal educational intervention is effective at increasing hip but not spine bone density in premenopausal women. The changes in behavior through which this was mediated are potentially important in the prevention of other diseases, thus measuring BMD at a young age may have substantial public health benefits, particularly if these changes are sustained.
PMCID: PMC1386726  PMID: 16430773
15.  Factors affecting the intention of providers to deliver more effective continuing medical education to general practitioners: a pilot study 
Despite the importance of continuing medical education (CME) for GPs, there has been little research into how providers decide what types of CME to deliver to GPs. This study aimed to identify factors affecting the intention of providers to provide more effective types of CME; and to design a survey instrument which can be used to test the applicability of Triandis' model of social behaviour to the provision of CME to general practitioners.
This was a cross-sectional study on a convenience sample of 11 Australian providers of CME for interviews and a random sample of 25 providers for the pilot test. Open-ended interviews structured on Triandis' theory were performed with key informants who provide CME to GPs. These were used to develop a pilot survey instrument to measure the factors affecting intention, resulting in a revised instrument for use in further research.
There was a broad range of factors affecting providers' intention to deliver more effective forms of CME identified, and these were classifiable in a manner which was consistent with Triandis' model. Key factors affecting providers' intention were the attitude toward CME within organisations and the time and extra work involved.
We identified a range of potential factors influencing the intention of providers to provide more effective forms of CME, in all categories of Triandis model. Those interested in increasing the choice of more effective CME activities available to GPs may need to broaden the methods used in working with providers to influence them to use more effective CME techniques. The interview material and questionnaire analysis of the pilot survey support the use of Triandis model. Further research is needed to validate Triandis'model for the intention to deliver more effective forms of CME. Such research will inform future strategies aimed at increasing the amount and choice of effective CME activities available for GPs.
PMCID: PMC317337  PMID: 14675493
16.  The design of a valid and reliable questionnaire to measure osteoporosis knowledge in women: the Osteoporosis Knowledge Assessment Tool (OKAT) 
Osteoporosis knowledge is an important contributor to improving exercise and calcium intake behaviour. However, there are few validated instruments for measuring osteoporosis knowledge levels. The aim of this study was to design a valid and reliable instrument to measure osteoporosis knowledge in Australian women.
A 20 item instrument with true, false and don't know responses was drafted, based on the Osteoporosis Australia Osteoporosis Prevention and Self-management course and the information leaflet "Understanding Osteoporosis". The scoring range was 1 to 20. This was administered to a 467 randomly-selected, healthy women aged 25–44 years. Questionnaire performance was assessed by Flesch reading ease, index of difficulty, Ferguson's sigma, inter-item and item-total correlations, Cronbach's alpha and principal component factor analysis.
Flesch reading ease was higher than desirable at 45, but this was due to the use of the word osteoporosis in many items. Of the individual items 17 had an index of difficulty less than 0.75. The questionnaire had a Ferguson's sigma of 0.96, a Cronbach's alpha of 0.70 and factor analysis consistent with only one factor (osteoporosis knowledge) being measured. Levels of osteoporosis knowledge were low with a mean score of 8.8 out of 20 which suggests the OKAT may be sensitive to change.
The OKAT for measuring osteoporosis knowledge has good psychometric properties in Australian 25–44 year old females. While it should be applicable to other Caucasian populations, this will require confirmation by further research.
PMCID: PMC183834  PMID: 12877751

Results 1-16 (16)