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Initiatives to optimise preconception health are emerging following growing recognition that this may improve the health and well-being of women and men of reproductive age and optimise health in their children. To inform and evaluate such initiatives, guidance is required on indicators that describe and monitor population-level preconception health. We searched relevant databases and websites (March 2021) to identify national and international preconception guidelines, recommendations and policy reports. These were reviewed to identify preconception indicators. Indicators were aligned with a measure describing the prevalence of the indicator as recorded in national population-based data sources in England. From 22 documents reviewed, we identified 66 indicators across 12 domains. Domains included wider (social/economic) determinants of health; health care; reproductive health and family planning; health behaviours; environmental exposures; cervical screening; immunisation and infections; mental health, physical health; medication and genetic risk. Sixty-five of the 66 indicators were reported in at least one national routine health data set, survey or cohort study. A measure of preconception health assessment and care was not identified in any current national data source. Perspectives from three (healthcare) professionals described how indicator assessment and monitoring may influence patient care and inform awareness campaign development. This review forms the foundation for developing a national surveillance system for preconception health in England. The identified indicators can be assessed using national data sources to determine the population’s preconception needs, improve patient care, inform and evaluate new campaigns and interventions and enhance accountability from responsible agencies to improve preconception health.
The number of older people choosing to relocate to retirement villages (RVs) is increasing rapidly. This choice is often a way to decrease social isolation while still living independently. Loneliness is a significant health issue and contributes to overall frailty, yet RV resident loneliness is poorly understood. Our aim is to describe the prevalence of loneliness and associated factors in a New Zealand RV population.
A resident survey was used to collect demographics, social engagement, loneliness, and function, as well as a comprehensive geriatric assessment (international Resident Assessment Instrument [interRAI]) as part of the “Older People in Retirement Villages Study.”
RVs, Auckland, New Zealand.
Participants included RV residents living in 33 RVs (n = 578).
Two types of recruitment: randomly sampled cohort (n = 217) and volunteer sample (n = 361). Independently associated factors for loneliness were determined through multiple logistic regression with odds ratios (ORs).
Of the participants, 420 (72.7%) were female, 353 (61.1%) lived alone, with the mean age of 81.3 years. InterRAI assessment loneliness (yes/no question) was 25.8% (n = 149), and the resident survey found that 37.4% (n = 216) feel lonely sometimes/often/always. Factors independently associated with interRAI loneliness included being widowed (adjusted OR 8.27; 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.15–16.48), being divorced/separated/never married (OR 4.76; 95% CI 2.15–10.54), poor/fair quality of life (OR 3.37; 95% CI 1.43–7.94), moving to an RV to gain more social connections (OR 1.55; 95% CI 0.99–2.43), and depression risk (medium risk: OR 2.58, 95% CI 1.53–4.35; high risk: OR 4.20, 95% CI 1.47–11.95).
A considerable proportion of older people living in RVs reported feelings of loneliness, particularly those who were without partners, at risk of depression and decreased quality of life and those who had moved into RVs to increase social connections. Early identification of factors for loneliness in RV residents could support interventions to improve quality of life and positively impact RV resident health and well-being.
Childhood maltreatment (CM) plays an important role in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD). The aim of this study was to examine whether CM severity and type are associated with MDD-related brain alterations, and how they interact with sex and age.
Within the ENIGMA-MDD network, severity and subtypes of CM using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were assessed and structural magnetic resonance imaging data from patients with MDD and healthy controls were analyzed in a mega-analysis comprising a total of 3872 participants aged between 13 and 89 years. Cortical thickness and surface area were extracted at each site using FreeSurfer.
CM severity was associated with reduced cortical thickness in the banks of the superior temporal sulcus and supramarginal gyrus as well as with reduced surface area of the middle temporal lobe. Participants reporting both childhood neglect and abuse had a lower cortical thickness in the inferior parietal lobe, middle temporal lobe, and precuneus compared to participants not exposed to CM. In males only, regardless of diagnosis, CM severity was associated with higher cortical thickness of the rostral anterior cingulate cortex. Finally, a significant interaction between CM and age in predicting thickness was seen across several prefrontal, temporal, and temporo-parietal regions.
Severity and type of CM may impact cortical thickness and surface area. Importantly, CM may influence age-dependent brain maturation, particularly in regions related to the default mode network, perception, and theory of mind.
The Irish health care system is unusual within Europe in not providing universal, equitable access to either primary or acute hospital care. The majority of the population pays out-of-pocket fees to access primary health care. Due to long waits for public hospital care, many purchase private health insurance, which facilitates faster access to public and private hospital services. The system has been the subject of much criticism and repeated reform attempts. Proposals in 2011 to develop a universal health care system, funded by Universal Health Insurance, were abandoned in 2015 largely due to cost concerns. Despite this experience, there remains strong political support for developing a universal health care system. By applying an historical institutionalist approach, the paper develops an understanding of why Ireland has been a European outlier. The aim of the paper is to identify and discuss issues that may arise in introducing a universal healthcare system to Ireland informed by an understanding of previous unsuccessful reform proposals. Challenges in system design faced by a late-starter country like Ireland, including overcoming stakeholder resistance, achieving clarity in the definition of universality and avoiding barriers to access, may be shared by countries whose universal systems have been compromised in the period of austerity.
Most women initially discuss health-related matters with a medical practitioner in a primary care setting, whether they have specific concerns or are seeking advice and guidance. This practical and comprehensive guide will help primary care practitioners to deliver holistic women's health care to patients throughout different life stages. Contraceptive choices, infertility, pregnancy, and menopause are covered, along with specific diseases such as ovarian cysts, breast conditions, and ovarian cancer. All of the authors are GPs, consultants and nurses with experience of the requirements for healthcare delivery in the primary care setting. Each chapter is written in a practical style, including a list of key points and using cases to illustrate the application of the content. This will be invaluable reading for GPs, doctors in training roles, and nurses with an interest in women's health. It will be particularly useful for candidates preparing for the DRCOG or MRCGP examinations.
Nutrition in the second year is important as this is a period of rapid growth and development. Milk is a major food for young children and this analysis evaluated the impact of the type of milk consumed on nutrient intakes and nutritional status. Data from the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children were used to investigate the intakes of key nutrients, and Fe and vitamin D status, of children aged 12–18 months, not breastfed, and consuming >400 g/d fortified milk (n 139) or >400 g/d of whole cows’ milk (n 404). Blood samples from eligible children for measurement of Hb (n 113), serum ferritin and plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations (n 105) were available for approximately 20 % of children. Unpaired Mann–Whitney tests were used to compare nutrient intakes and status between consumers of fortified and cows’ milk. Mean daily total dietary intakes of Fe, Zn, vitamin A and vitamin D were significantly higher in the fortified milk group. Mean daily total dietary intakes of energy, protein, Ca, iodine, Na and saturated fat were significantly higher in the cows’ milk group. Hb was not different between groups. The fortified milk group had significantly higher serum ferritin (P = 0·049) and plasma 25(OH)D (P = 0·014). This analysis demonstrates significantly different nutrient intakes and status between infants consuming >400 g/d fortified milk v. those consuming >400 g/d whole cows’ milk. These results indicate that fortified milks can play a significant role in improving the quality of young children's diets in their second year of life.
This chapter focuses on the non-oral combined hormonal contraceptive options, including the patch and more specifically the vaginal ring, which are underused in the UK and Australia. The clinical effectiveness unit of the faculty of sexual and reproductive healthcare developed a guideline to facilitate appropriate investigation of women presenting with unscheduled bleeding. For women with breakthrough bleeding in association with the use of hormonal contraception, lasting longer than three months, it is important to view the cervix. A pelvic examination should be undertaken to exclude pelvic pathology including ovarian cysts, fibroids and gynaecological cancers. In clinical trials, most users have been satisfied with the combined hormonal ring. The greatest barrier to this method is promoting the vagina as an ideal organ in which to place hormonal contraception and this remains a challenge to all providers of contraception.
Treatment of mental illness in Black and minority ethnic groups differs from that in the White majority. Large differences in admission, detention and seclusion rates have been recorded. These disparities extend into the physical healthcare setting, particularly in the USA but also within the UK National Health Service. There are many influences on prescribing of psychotropic medication, not least the metabolising capacity of the individual. Ethnic differences do occur, particularly for East Asian peoples. However, these differences are broadly similar across ethnic groups, particularly for the cytochrome P450 enzymes responsible for metabolising psychotropic medicines. Psychotropic medication prescribing also differs by ethnicity. Specifically, antipsychotic dose, type and route of administration may differ. However, most data originate in the USA and UK studies have not replicated these findings, even after controlling for multiple confounding factors. Similarly, antidepressant prescribing and access to treatment may differ by ethnicity. These differences may have complex causes that are not well understood. Overall, prescribing of antipsychotics appears to be broadly equitable in Black and minority ethnic groups.
To examine outcomes of information received by callers to a psychiatric medication helpline. A questionnaire was completed over the telephone with 123 callers, asking about the reason for contacting the helpline, frequency of self-referral to a healthcare professional, action taken as a result of information received, and satisfaction with the service and quality of information received.
Almost half of callers reported changes to their medication (stopping, starting, switching or dose adjustment) after consulting the helpline, with the majority receiving reassurance, referral, review and monitoring. Over half contacted a healthcare professional afterwards. Satisfaction with the quality of information and service provided by the helpline was very high.
Information provided by a psychiatric medication helpline can result in changes to caller's treatment and increase contact with other healthcare professionals.
Ethnicity may influence treatment decisions in mental disorders. We undertook a survey of the prescribing of antipsychotics for in-patients in three south London mental health trusts. A total of 255 patients (152 White, 103 Black) were included. Median dose of antipsychotic (% of licensed dose) was 58.3% for White and 50.0% for Black patients (adjusted effect size=0.14, 95% CI −0.34 to 0.63). High-dose antipsychotics were prescribed to 15.1% of White and 11.7% of Black patients (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=0.5, 95% CI 0.19–1.33), and antipsychotic polypharmacy was recorded for 25.7% and 31.1% respectively (adjusted OR=3.05, 95% CI 1.44–6.46). Prescribing quality was similar for Black and White patients.