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Natural disasters often damage or destroy the protective public health service infrastructure (PHI) required to maintain the health and well-being of people with noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). This interruption increases the risk of an acute exacerbation or complication, potentially leading to a worse long-term prognosis or even death. Disaster-related exacerbations of NCDs will continue, if not increase, due to an increasing prevalence and sustained rise in the frequency and intensity of disasters, along with rapid unsustainable urbanization in flood plains and storm-prone coastal zones. Despite this, the focus of disaster and health systems preparedness and response remains on communicable diseases, even when the actual risk of disease outbreaks post-disaster is low, particularly in developed countries. There is now an urgent need to expand preparedness and response beyond communicable diseases to include people with NCDs.
The developing evidence-base describing the risk of disaster-related exacerbation of NCDs does not incorporate the perspectives, concerns, and challenges of people actually living with the conditions. To help address this gap, this research explored the key influences on patient ability to successfully manage their NCD after a natural disaster.
A survey of people with NCDs in Queensland, Australia collected data on demographics, disease, disaster experience, and primary concern post-disaster. Descriptive statistics and chi-square tests with a Bonferroni-adjustment were used to analyze data.
There were 118 responses to the survey. Key influences on the ability to self-manage post-disaster were access to medication, medical services, water, treatment and care, power, and food. Managing disease-specific symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, and respiratory diseases were primary concerns following a disaster. Stress and anxiety, loss of sleep, weakness or fatigue, and shortness of breath were common concerns for all patients with NCDs. Those dependent on care from others were most worried about shortness of breath and slow healing sores. Accessing medication and medical services were priorities for all patients post-disaster.
The key influences on successful self-management post-disaster for people with NCDs must be reflected in disaster plans and strategies. Achieving this will reduce exacerbations or complications of disease and decrease demand for emergency health care post-disaster.
First aid, particularly bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), is an important element in the chain of survival. However, little is known about what influences populations to undertake first aid/CPR training, update their training, and use of the training.
The aim of this study was to explore the characteristics of people who have first aid/CPR training, those who have updated their training, and use of these skills.
As part of the 2011 state-wide, computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) survey of people over 18 years of age living in Queensland, Australia, stratified by gender and age group, three questions about first aid training, re-training, and skill uses were explored.
Of the 1,277 respondents, 73.2% reported having undertaken some first aid/CPR training and 39.5% of those respondents had used their first aid/CPR skills. The majority of respondents (56.7%) had not updated their first aid/CPR skills in the past three years, and an additional 2.5% had never updated their skills. People who did not progress beyond year 10 in school and those in lower income groups were less likely to have undertaken first aid/CPR training. Males and people in lower income groups were less likely to have recently updated their first aid/CPR training. People with chronic health problems were in a unique demographic sub-group; they were less likely to have undertaken first aid/CPR training but more likely to have administered first aid/CPR.
Training initiatives that target people on the basis of education level, income group, and the existence of chronic health problems might be one strategy for improving bystander CPR rates when cardiac arrest occurs in the home.
Franklin RC, Watt K, Aitken P, Brown LH, Leggat PA. Characteristics associated with first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation training and use in Queensland, Australia. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2019;34(2):155–160
The impact of disasters and large-scale crises continues to increase around the world. To mitigate the potential disasters that confront humanity in the new millennium, an evidence-informed approach to disaster management is needed. This study provides the platform for such an evidence-informed approach by identifying peer-reviewed disaster management publications from 1947 through July 2017.
Peer-reviewed disaster management publications were identified using a comprehensive search of: MEDLINE (US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, Maryland USA); CINAHL (EBSCO Information Services; Ipswich, Massachusetts USA); EMBASE (Elsevier; Amsterdam, Netherlands); PsychInfo (American Psychological Association; Washington DC, USA); and the Cochrane Library (The Cochrane Collaboration; Oxford, United Kingdom).
A total of 9,433 publications were identified. The publications were overwhelmingly descriptive (74%) while 18% of publications reported the use of a quantitative methodology and eight percent used qualitative methodologies. Only eight percent of these publications were classified as being high-level evidence. The publications were published in 918 multi-disciplinary journals. The journal Prehospital and Disaster Medicine (World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine; Madison, Wisconsin USA) published the greatest number of disaster-management-related publications (9%). Hurricane Katrina (2005; Gulf Coast USA) had the greatest number of disaster-specific publications, followed by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania USA). Publications reporting on the application of objective evaluation tools or frameworks were growing in number.
The “science” of disaster management is spread across more than 900 different multi-disciplinary journals. The existing evidence-base is overwhelmingly descriptive and lacking in objective, post-disaster evaluations.
SmithEC, BurkleFMJr, AitkenP, LeggattP. Seven Decades of Disasters: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(4):418–423
Although high hepatitis C virus (HCV) prevalence has been observed in people who inject drugs (PWID) for decades, research suggests incidence is falling. We examined whether PWIDs’ use of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and their needle-and-syringe sharing behaviour explained HCV incidence. We assessed HCV incidence in 235 PWID in Melbourne, Australia, and performed discrete-time survival with needle-sharing and OST status as independent variables. HCV infection, reinfection and combined infection/reinfection incidences were 7·6 [95% confidence interval (CI) 4·8–11·9], 12·4 (95% CI 9·1–17·0) and 9·7 (95% CI 7·4–12·6) per 100 person-years, respectively. Needle-sharing was significantly associated with higher incidence of naive HCV infection [hazard ratio (HR) 4·9, 95% CI 1·3–17·7] but not reinfection (HR 1·85, 95% CI 0·79–4·32); however, a cross-model test suggested this difference was sample specific. Past month use of OST had non-significant protective effects against naive HCV infection and reinfection. Our data confirm previous evidence of greatly reduced HCV incidence in PWID, but not the significant protective effect of OST on HCV incidence detected in recent studies. Our findings reinforce the need for greater access to HCV testing and prevention services to accelerate the decline in incidence, and HCV treatment, management and support to limit reinfection.
High resolution spatial scans through the planetary nebula BD +30°3639 have been made with the UCL cooled grating spectrometer at the IRTF. A spectral resolution of λ/Δλ = 50 was sufficient to resolve the unidentified dust features at 8.6 and 11.3 μm and separate them from the continuum emission. The scans were made in .7 arcsec steps across the nebula with a 1.8 arcsec diameter beam.
Our knowledge of the universe comes from recording the photon and particle fluxes incident on the Earth from space. We thus require sensitive measurement across the entire energy spectrum, using large telescopes with efficient instrumentation located on superb sites. Technological advances and engineering constraints are nearing the point where we are recording as many photons arriving at a site as is possible. Major advances in the future will come from improving the quality of the site. The ultimate site is, of course, beyond the Earth’s atmosphere, such as on the Moon, but economic limitations prevent our exploiting this avenue to the degree that the scientific community desires. Here we describe an alternative, which offers many of the advantages of space for a fraction of the cost: the Antarctic Plateau.
The study aim was to undertake a qualitative research literature review to analyze available databases to define, describe, and categorize public health infrastructure (PHI) priorities for tropical cyclone, flood, storm, tornado, and tsunami-related disasters.
Five electronic publication databases were searched to define, describe, or categorize PHI and discuss tropical cyclone, flood, storm, tornado, and tsunami-related disasters and their impact on PHI. The data were analyzed through aggregation of individual articles to create an overall data description. The data were grouped into PHI themes, which were then prioritized on the basis of degree of interdependency.
Sixty-seven relevant articles were identified. PHI was categorized into 13 themes with a total of 158 descriptors. The highest priority PHI identified was workforce. This was followed by water, sanitation, equipment, communication, physical structure, power, governance, prevention, supplies, service, transport, and surveillance.
This review identified workforce as the most important of the 13 thematic areas related to PHI and disasters. If its functionality fails, workforce has the greatest impact on the performance of health services. If addressed post-disaster, the remaining forms of PHI will then be progressively addressed. These findings are a step toward providing an evidence base to inform PHI priorities in the disaster setting. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2016;10:598–610)
Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and postnatal catch-up growth confer an increased risk of adult-onset disease. Overnourishment of adolescent ewes generates IUGR in ∼50% of lambs, which subsequently exhibit increased fractional growth rates. We investigated putative epigenetic changes underlying this early postnatal phenotype by quantifying gene-specific methylation at cytosine:guanine (CpG) dinucleotides. Hepatic DNA/RNA was extracted from IUGR [eight male (M)/nine female (F)] and normal birth weight (12 M/9 F) lambs. Polymerase chain reaction was performed using primers targeting CpG islands in 10 genes: insulin, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)1, IGF2, H19, insulin receptor, growth hormone receptor, IGF receptors 1 and 2, and the glucocorticoid receptor. Using pyrosequencing, methylation status was determined by quantifying cytosine:thymine ratios at 57 CpG sites. Messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of IGF system genes and plasma IGF1/insulin were determined. DNA methylation was independent of IUGR status but sexual dimorphism in IGF1 methylation was evident (M<F, P=0.008). IGF1 mRNA:18S and plasma IGF1 were M>F (both P<0.001). IGF1 mRNA expression correlated negatively with IGF1 methylation (r=−0.507, P=0.002) and positively with plasma IGF1 (r=0.884, P<0.001). Carcass and empty body weights were greater in males (P=0.002–0.014) and this gender difference in early body conformation was mirrored by sexual dimorphism in hepatic IGF1 DNA methylation, mRNA expression and plasma IGF1 concentrations.
Traditionally, post disaster response activities have focused on immediate trauma and communicable diseases. In developed countries such as Australia, the post disaster risk for communicable disease is low. However, a “disease transition” is now recognized at the population level where noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are increasingly documented as a post disaster issue. This potentially places an extra burden on health care resources and may have implications for disaster-management systems. With increasing likelihood of major disasters for all sectors of global society, there is a need to ensure that health systems, including public health infrastructure (PHI), can respond properly.
There is limited peer-reviewed literature on the impact of disasters on NCDs. Research is required to better determine both the impact of NCDs post disaster and their impact on PHI and disaster-management systems.
A literature review was used to collect and analyze data on the impact of the index case event, Australia's Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi (STC Yasi), on PHI and the management of NCDs. The findings were compared with data from other world cyclone events. The databases searched were MEDLINE, CINAHL, Google Scholar, and Google. The date range for the STC Yasi search was January 26, 2011 through May 2, 2013. No time limits were applied to the search from other cyclone events. The variables compared were tropical cyclones and their impacts on PHI and NCDs. The outcome of interest was to identify if there were trends across similar world events and to determine if this could be extrapolated for future crises.
This research showed a tropical cyclone (including a hurricane and typhoon) can impact PHI, for instance, equipment (oxygen, syringes, and medications), services (treatment and care), and clean water availability/access that would impact both the treatment and management of NCDs. The comparison between STC Yasi and worldwide tropical cyclones found the challenges faced were linked closely. These relate to communication, equipment and services, evacuation, medication, planning, and water supplies.
This research demonstrated that a negative trend pattern existed between the impact of STC Yasi and other similar world cyclone events on PHI and the management of NCDs. This research provides an insight for disaster planners to address concerns of people with NCDs. While further research is needed, this study provides an understanding of areas for improvement, specifically enhancing protective PHI and the development of strategies for maintaining treatment and alternative care options, such as maintaining safe water for dialysis patients.
RyanBJ, FranklinRC, BurkleFMJr, WattK, AitkenP, SmithEC, LeggatP. Analyzing the Impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi on Public Health Infrastructure and the Management of Noncommunicable Diseases. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2015;30(1):1-10.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi in North Queensland activated the disaster management plans at The Townsville Hospital, including the establishment of an emergency child minding service to facilitate the return of staff to work.
This report describes the establishment of this service and the results of brief electronic surveys that were distributed in the 2 weeks following the cyclone to gather feedback from staff who had placed their children in the care of the service (consumers), staff who had manned the service (staff), and allied health managers whose staff had manned the service (managers).
Overall, approximately 94 episodes of care were provided by the child minding service. All consumers responded “‘yes’” in answer to the question of whether the emergency child minding service facilitated their return to work in the immediate post-disaster period. The survey also identified that a lack of effective advertising may have prevented further uptake of the child minding service.
The provision of an emergency child minding service facilitated the return to work of health care staff immediately after Tropical Cyclone Yasi. More research is needed to understand the effect disaster type has on the uptake of a child minding service. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2014;8:485-488)
Various definitions of mathematical probability are described and commented upon: (i) the classical formulation, based on the ratio of favourable to total “equally likely” aspects of a system; (ii) formulations based on relative frequency in a sequence of trials, or on the limit of relative frequency as the number of trials is increased indefinitely; (iii) von Mises' refinement of this, in which the sequences obey special postulates ensuring “randomness”; (iv) modern revisions of the classical definition, “equally likely” aspects being replaced by an aggregate, and ratio of aspects by relative measure of a sub-aggregate; (v) the approach of Keynes, in which probability is the “logic of uncertain inference,” developed by a symbolic algebra; (vi) the approach of Jeffreys, by axioms and conventions of procedure, based on the principle of indifference and the use of the rule of inverse probability. It is suggested that, whereas in formulations based on relative frequency, frequency cannot be held to afford any explanation of the facts of frequency, in the a priori formulations, on the other hand, any postulates put forward are still very far from explaining to inquiring minds the commonly observed phenomena of so-called chance. It is further suggested that in actuarial applications the nexus between axioms of probability and causes of mortality is especially obscure, with consequent need of caution in adopting and interpreting the more refined modern methods.
In an earlier paper (Aitken, 1932) the author put forward a method of polynomial interpolation which was designed to make full use of the speed and power of modern calculating machines in forming and summing products of two factors. The present paper is devoted to two further applications of the method. It is necessary to give a brief review and explanation of the process used, in order that these applications may be properly understood.
The present paper is intended to be a supplement to two previous papers on the same subject by Professor E. T. Whittaker. For information regarding the meaning of the term “graduation” and the new standpoint from which Professor Whittaker views the subject we need only refer to the papers themselves. Our concern here is with the practical solution of the problem, for which we suggest an alternative method.
The problem of fitting a polynomial to data by Least Squares has engaged the attention of many writers. The methods of approach have been many and various. Continued fractions, determinants, the calculus of finite differences and sums, the method of moments, the linear combination of data, the use of the orthogonal polynomials of Legendre and Tchebychef, these and doubtless other instruments of analysis have been pressed into service. At the end of the present paper is given a selective bibliography, which we hope on a future occasion to complete and to supplement by adding brief indications of the standpoint and achievement of each investigator.