ResearchPad - age-distribution https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[The emergence of social gaps in mental health: A longitudinal population study in Sweden, 1900-1959]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_11234 During the recent decades, social inequalities in mental health have increased and are now one of the most persistent features of contemporary society. There is limited knowledge about when this pattern emerged or whether it has been a historically fixed feature. The objective of this study was to assess whether socioeconomic and gender gaps in mental health changed during the period 1900–1959 in Sweden. We used historical micro data which report all necessary information on individuals' demographic characteristics, occupational attainment and mental disorders (N = 2,450) in a Swedish population of 193,893. Changes over time was tested using multilevel Cox proportional hazard models. We tested how gender-specific risks of mental disorder changed and how gender-specific socioeconomic status was related to risks of mental disorder later in life. We found a reversal in gender gaps in mental health during the study period. Women had a lower risk than men in 1900 and higher risks in 1959. For men, we found a negative gradient in SES risks in 1900 and a positive gradient in 1959. For women, we found no clear SES gradient in the risk of mental disorder. These findings suggest that the contemporary patterns in socioeconomic and gender gaps in mental disorder emerged during the 1940s and 1950s and have since then persisted.

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<![CDATA[SimSurvey: An R package for comparing the design and analysis of surveys by simulating spatially-correlated populations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_8465 Populations often show complex spatial and temporal dynamics, creating challenges in designing and implementing effective surveys. Inappropriate sampling designs can potentially lead to both under-sampling (reducing precision) and over-sampling (through the extensive and potentially expensive sampling of correlated metrics). These issues can be difficult to identify and avoid in sample surveys of fish populations as they tend to be costly and comprised of multiple levels of sampling. Population estimates are therefore affected by each level of sampling as well as the pathway taken to analyze such data. Though simulations are a useful tool for exploring the efficacy of specific sampling strategies and statistical methods, there are a limited number of tools that facilitate the simulation testing of a range of sampling and analytical pathways for multi-stage survey data. Here we introduce the R package SimSurvey, which has been designed to simplify the process of simulating surveys of age-structured and spatially-distributed populations. The package allows the user to simulate age-structured populations that vary in space and time and explore the efficacy of a range of built-in or user-defined sampling protocols to reproduce the population parameters of the known population. SimSurvey also includes a function for estimating the stratified mean and variance of the population from the simulated survey data. We demonstrate the use of this package using a case study and show that it can reveal unexpected sources of bias and be used to explore design-based solutions to such problems. In summary, SimSurvey can serve as a convenient, accessible and flexible platform for simulating a wide range of sampling strategies for fish stocks and other populations that show complex structuring. Various statistical approaches can then be applied to the results to test the efficacy of different analytical approaches.

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<![CDATA[Age structure of the Australian lungfish (Neoceratodus forsteri)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52180fd5eed0c484796f65

The Australian lungfish has been studied for more than a century without any knowledge of the longevity of the species. Traditional methods for ageing fish, such as analysis of otolith (ear stone) rings is complicated in that lungfish otoliths differ from teleost fish in composition. As otolith sampling is also lethal, this is not appropriate for a protected species listed under Australian legislation. Lungfish scales were removed from 500 fish from the Brisbane, Burnett and Mary rivers. A sub–sample of scales (85) were aged using bomb radiocarbon techniques and validated using scales marked previously with oxytetracycline. Lungfish ages ranged from 2.5–77 years of age. Estimated population age structures derived using an Age Length Key revealed different recruitment patterns between river systems. There were statistically significant von Bertalanffy growth model parameters estimated for each of the three rivers based on limited sample sizes. In addition, length frequency distributions between river systems were also significantly different. Further studies will be conducted to review drivers that may explain these inter-river differences.

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<![CDATA[The prevalence of osteoarthritis: Higher risk after transfemoral amputation?—A database analysis with 1,569 amputees and matched controls]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c50c47bd5eed0c4845e87f8

Background

Several studies have shown that patients with a unilateral amputation have an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee of their sound leg. OBJECTIVE: The first objective was to investigate whether amputees are more frequently affected by gon-, cox- or polyarthritis as well as back pain or spinal disorders. We hypothesized that mobile and active transfemoral amputees more often experience OA and spinal disorders than non-amputees. The second objective was to compare the mean age of the patients with OA.

Patients

Patients with a unilateral transfemoral amputation (n = 1,569) and five abled-body control groups (each n = 1,569) matched in terms of age and gender resulting in total of 9,414 participants.

Methods

Groups were analyzed regarding the prevalence of six selected diagnoses regarding musculoskeletal disorders.

Results

A significantly decreased prevalence of OA and specific disorders of the spine in transfemoral amputees compared to a control group was found. The amputees with OA are significantly younger than patients with OA in the control group.

Conclusion

The results from the presented study contradict previously published literature. Apparently circumstances of life play an important role, like physical work and strenuous activities which are likely to be underrepresented in the amputee group. The results of the study need to be used cautiously due to the major limitation of the study which is the lack of detail in individual patients caused by the methodology.

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<![CDATA[Hypothetical errors and plateaus: A response to Newman]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c254550d5eed0c48442c4d6

Newman questions recent claims about a plateau in mortality rates for Italians beyond age 105 on the basis of a hypothetical model. His model implies implausibly high error rates for extreme ages. For individuals over 110, for whom birth certificates have been collected, the form in which Italian births were registered precludes the kinds of clerical errors in year of birth that Newman assumes.

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<![CDATA[Forecasting the incidence of salmonellosis in seniors in Canada: A trend analysis and the potential impact of the demographic shift]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c06f038d5eed0c484c6d404

Salmonella infections remain an important public health issue in Canada and worldwide. Although the majority of Salmonella cases are self-limiting, some will lead to severe symptoms and occasionally severe invasive infections, especially in vulnerable populations such as seniors. This study was performed to assess temporal trends of Salmonella cases in seniors over 15 years (2014–2028) and assess possible impact of demographic shift on national incidence; taking into account of trends in other age groups. The numbers of reported Salmonella cases in seniors (60 years and over) in eight provinces and territories for a period of fifteen years were analysed (1998–2013) using a time-adjusted Poisson regression model. With the demographic changes predicted in the age-structure of the population and in the absence of any targeted interventions, our analysis showed the incidence of Salmonella cases in seniors could increase by 16% by 2028 and the multi-provincial incidence could increase by 5.3%. As a result, the age distribution amongst the Salmonella cases is expected to change with a higher proportion of cases in seniors and a smaller proportion in children (0–4 years old). Over the next decades, cases of infection, hospitalizations and deaths associated with Salmonella in seniors could represent a challenge to public health due to an aging population in Canada. As life expectancy increases in Canada, identification of unique risk factors and targeted prevention in seniors should be pursued to reduce the impact of the demographic shift on disease incidence.

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<![CDATA[Identifying residual transmission of lymphatic filariasis after mass drug administration: Comparing school-based versus community-based surveillance - American Samoa, 2016]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5b600753463d7e39c5526206

Introduction

Under the Global Programme to Eliminate Lymphatic Filariasis (LF), American Samoa conducted seven rounds of mass drug administration (MDA) from 2000–2006. The World Health Organization recommends systematic post-MDA surveillance using Transmission Assessment Surveys (TAS) for epidemiological assessment of recent LF transmission. We compared the effectiveness of two survey designs for post-MDA surveillance: a school-based survey of children aged 6–7 years, and a community-based survey targeting people aged ≥8 years.

Methods

In 2016, we conducted a systematic school-based TAS in all elementary schools (N = 29) and a cluster survey in 28 villages on the two main islands of American Samoa. We collected information on demographics and risk factors for infection using electronic questionnaires, and recorded geo-locations of schools and households. Blood samples were collected to test for circulating filarial antigen (CFA) using the Alere Filariasis Test Strip. For those who tested positive, we prepared slides for microscopic examination of microfilaria and provided treatment. Descriptive statistics were performed for questionnaire variables. Data were weighted and adjusted to account for sampling design and sex for both surveys, and for age in the community survey.

Results

The school-based TAS (n = 1143) identified nine antigen-positive children and found an overall adjusted CFA prevalence of 0.7% (95% CI: 0.3–1.8). Of the nine positive children, we identified one microfilariaemic 7-year-old child. The community-based survey (n = 2507, 711 households) identified 102 antigen-positive people, and estimated an overall adjusted CFA prevalence of 6.2% (95% CI: 4.5–8.6). Adjusted village-level prevalence ranged from 0–47.1%. CFA prevalence increased with age and was higher in males. Of 86 antigen-positive community members from whom slides were prepared, 22 (25.6%) were microfilaraemic. School-based TAS had limited sensitivity (range 0–23.8%) and negative predictive value (range 25–83.3%) but had high specificity (range 83.3–100%) and positive predictive value (range 0–100%) for identifying villages with ongoing transmission.

Conclusions

American Samoa failed the school-based TAS in 2016, and the community-based survey identified higher than expected numbers of antigen-positive people. School-based TAS was logistically simpler and enabled sampling of a larger proportion of the target population, but the results did not provide a good indication of the overall CFA prevalence in older age groups and was not sensitive at identifying foci of ongoing transmission. The community-based survey, although operationally more challenging, identified antigen-positive individuals of all ages, and foci of high antigen prevalence. Both surveys confirmed recrudescence of LF transmission.

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<![CDATA[Degradation Parameters from Pulse-Chase Experiments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dab1ab0ee8fa60bab897

Pulse-chase experiments are often used to study the degradation of macromolecules such as proteins or mRNA. Considerations for the choice of pulse length include the toxicity of the pulse to the cell and maximization of labeling. In the general case of non-exponential decay, varying the length of the pulse results in decay patterns that look different. Analysis of these patterns without consideration to pulse length would yield incorrect degradation parameters. Here we propose a method that constructively includes pulse length in the analysis of decay patterns and extracts the parameters of the underlying degradation process. We also show how to extract decay parameters reliably from measurements taken during the pulse phase.

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<![CDATA[The impact of migration and antimicrobial resistance on the transmission dynamics of typhoid fever in Kathmandu, Nepal: A mathematical modelling study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5cab0ee8fa60be01fd

Background

A substantial proportion of the global burden of typhoid fever occurs in South Asia. Kathmandu, Nepal experienced a substantial increase in the number of typhoid fever cases (caused by Salmonella Typhi) between 2000 and 2003, which subsequently declined but to a higher endemic level than in 2000. This epidemic of S. Typhi coincided with an increase in organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones, the emergence of S. Typhi H58, and an increase in the migratory population in Kathmandu.

Methods

We devised a mathematical model to investigate the potential epidemic drivers of typhoid in Kathmandu and fit this model to weekly data of S. Typhi cases between April 1997 and June 2011 and the age distribution of S. Typhi cases. We used this model to determine if the typhoid epidemic in Kathmandu was driven by heightened migration, the emergence of organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones or a combination of these factors.

Results

Models allowing for the migration of susceptible individuals into Kathmandu alone or in combination with the emergence of S. Typhi with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones provided a good fit for the data. The emergence of organisms with reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones organisms alone, either through an increase in disease duration or increased transmission, did not fully explain the pattern of S. Typhi infections.

Conclusions

Our analysis is consistent with the hypothesis that the increase in typhoid fever in Kathmandu was associated with the migration of susceptible individuals into the city and aided by the emergence of reduced susceptibility against fluoroquinolones. These data support identifying and targeting migrant populations with typhoid immunization programmes to prevent transmission and disease.

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<![CDATA[Spatio-Temporal Variation in Age Structure and Abundance of the Endangered Snail Kite: Pooling across Regions Masks a Declining and Aging Population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da64ab0ee8fa60b919de

While variation in age structure over time and space has long been considered important for population dynamics and conservation, reliable estimates of such spatio-temporal variation in age structure have been elusive for wild vertebrate populations. This limitation has arisen because of problems of imperfect detection, the potential for temporary emigration impacting assessments of age structure, and limited information on age. However, identifying patterns in age structure is important for making reliable predictions of both short- and long-term dynamics of populations of conservation concern. Using a multistate superpopulation estimator, we estimated region-specific abundance and age structure (the proportion of individuals within each age class) of a highly endangered population of snail kites for two separate regions in Florida over 17 years (1997–2013). We find that in the southern region of the snail kite—a region known to be critical for the long-term persistence of the species—the population has declined significantly since 1997, and during this time, it has increasingly become dominated by older snail kites (> 12 years old). In contrast, in the northern region—a region historically thought to serve primarily as drought refugia—the population has increased significantly since 2007 and age structure is more evenly distributed among age classes. Given that snail kites show senescence at approximately 13 years of age, where individuals suffer higher mortality rates and lower breeding rates, these results reveal an alarming trend for the southern region. Our work illustrates the importance of accounting for spatial structure when assessing changes in abundance and age distribution and the need for monitoring of age structure in imperiled species.

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<![CDATA[Participatory Online Surveillance as a Supplementary Tool to Sentinel Doctors for Influenza-Like Illness Surveillance in Italy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da43ab0ee8fa60b8ac7f

The monitoring of seasonal influenza yearly epidemics remains one of the main activity of national syndromic surveillance systems. The development of internet-based surveillance tools has brought an innovative approach to seasonal influenza surveillance by directly involving self-selected volunteers among the general population reporting their health status on a weekly basis throughout the flu season. In this paper, we explore how Influweb, an internet-based monitoring system for influenza surveillance, deployed in Italy since 2008 has performed during three years from 2012 to 2015 in comparison with data collected during the same period by the Italian sentinel doctors surveillance system.

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<![CDATA[Demographic transition and the dynamics of measles in six provinces in China: A modeling study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5aab0ee8fa60bdf2c9

Background

Industrialization and demographic transition generate nonstationary dynamics in human populations that can affect the transmission and persistence of infectious diseases. Decades of increasing vaccination and development have led to dramatic declines in the global burden of measles, but the virus remains persistent in much of the world. Here we show that a combination of demographic transition, as a result of declining birth rates, and reduced measles prevalence, due to improved vaccination, has shifted the age distribution of susceptibility to measles throughout China.

Methods and findings

We fit a novel time-varying catalytic model to three decades of age-specific measles case reporting in six provinces in China to quantify the change in the age-specific force of infection for measles virus over time. We further quantified the impact of supplemental vaccination campaigns on the reduction of susceptible individuals. The force of infection of measles has declined dramatically (90%–97% reduction in transmission rate) in three industrialized eastern provinces during the last decade, driving a concomitant increase in both the relative proportion and absolute number of adult cases, while three central and western provinces exhibited dynamics consistent with endemic persistence (24%–73% reduction in transmission rate). The reduction in susceptible individuals due to supplemental vaccination campaigns is frequently below the nominal campaign coverage, likely because campaigns necessarily vaccinate those who may already be immune. The impact of these campaigns has significantly improved over time: campaigns prior to 2005 were estimated to have achieved less than 50% reductions in the proportion susceptible in the target age classes, but campaigns from 2005 onwards reduced the susceptible proportion by 32%–87%. A limitation of this study is that it relies on case surveillance, and thus inference may be biased by age-specific variation in measles reporting.

Conclusions

The age distribution of measles cases changes in response to both demographic and vaccination processes. Combining both processes in a novel catalytic model, we illustrate that age-specific incidence patterns reveal regional differences in the progress to measles elimination and the impact of vaccination controls in China. The shift in the age distribution of measles susceptibility in response to demographic and vaccination processes emphasizes the importance of progressive control strategies and measures to evaluate program success that anticipate and react to this transition in observed incidence.

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<![CDATA[Audiovisual Simultaneity Judgment and Rapid Recalibration throughout the Lifespan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9eab0ee8fa60ba4a60

Multisensory interactions are well established to convey an array of perceptual and behavioral benefits. One of the key features of multisensory interactions is the temporal structure of the stimuli combined. In an effort to better characterize how temporal factors influence multisensory interactions across the lifespan, we examined audiovisual simultaneity judgment and the degree of rapid recalibration to paired audiovisual stimuli (Flash-Beep and Speech) in a sample of 220 participants ranging from 7 to 86 years of age. Results demonstrate a surprisingly protracted developmental time-course for both audiovisual simultaneity judgment and rapid recalibration, with neither reaching maturity until well into adolescence. Interestingly, correlational analyses revealed that audiovisual simultaneity judgments (i.e., the size of the audiovisual temporal window of simultaneity) and rapid recalibration significantly co-varied as a function of age. Together, our results represent the most complete description of age-related changes in audiovisual simultaneity judgments to date, as well as being the first to describe changes in the degree of rapid recalibration as a function of age. We propose that the developmental time-course of rapid recalibration scaffolds the maturation of more durable audiovisual temporal representations.

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<![CDATA[The burden of typhoid fever in low- and middle-income countries: A meta-regression approach]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db54ab0ee8fa60bdcffd

Background

Upcoming vaccination efforts against typhoid fever require an assessment of the baseline burden of disease in countries at risk. There are no typhoid incidence data from most low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), so model-based estimates offer insights for decision-makers in the absence of readily available data.

Methods

We developed a mixed-effects model fit to data from 32 population-based studies of typhoid incidence in 22 locations in 14 countries. We tested the contribution of economic and environmental indices for predicting typhoid incidence using a stochastic search variable selection algorithm. We performed out-of-sample validation to assess the predictive performance of the model.

Results

We estimated that 17.8 million cases of typhoid fever occur each year in LMICs (95% credible interval: 6.9–48.4 million). Central Africa was predicted to experience the highest incidence of typhoid, followed by select countries in Central, South, and Southeast Asia. Incidence typically peaked in the 2–4 year old age group. Models incorporating widely available economic and environmental indicators were found to describe incidence better than null models.

Conclusions

Recent estimates of typhoid burden may under-estimate the number of cases and magnitude of uncertainty in typhoid incidence. Our analysis permits prediction of overall as well as age-specific incidence of typhoid fever in LMICs, and incorporates uncertainty around the model structure and estimates of the predictors. Future studies are needed to further validate and refine model predictions and better understand year-to-year variation in cases.

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<![CDATA[Generational distribution of a Candida glabrata population: Resilient old cells prevail, while younger cells dominate in the vulnerable host]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db5dab0ee8fa60be03f6

Similar to other yeasts, the human pathogen Candida glabrata ages when it undergoes asymmetric, finite cell divisions, which determines its replicative lifespan. We sought to investigate if and how aging changes resilience of C. glabrata populations in the host environment. Our data demonstrate that old C. glabrata are more resistant to hydrogen peroxide and neutrophil killing, whereas young cells adhere better to epithelial cell layers. Consequently, virulence of old compared to younger C. glabrata cells is enhanced in the Galleria mellonella infection model. Electron microscopy images of old C. glabrata cells indicate a marked increase in cell wall thickness. Comparison of transcriptomes of old and young C. glabrata cells reveals differential regulation of ergosterol and Hog pathway associated genes as well as adhesion proteins, and suggests that aging is accompanied by remodeling of the fungal cell wall. Biochemical analysis supports this conclusion as older cells exhibit a qualitatively different lipid composition, leading to the observed increased emergence of fluconazole resistance when grown in the presence of fluconazole selection pressure. Older C. glabrata cells accumulate during murine and human infection, which is statistically unlikely without very strong selection. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that neutrophils constitute the predominant selection pressure in vivo. When we altered experimentally the selection pressure by antibody-mediated removal of neutrophils, we observed a significantly younger pathogen population in mice. Mathematical modeling confirmed that differential selection of older cells is sufficient to cause the observed demographic shift in the fungal population. Hence our data support the concept that pathogenesis is affected by the generational age distribution of the infecting C. glabrata population in a host. We conclude that replicative aging constitutes an emerging trait, which is selected by the host and may even play an unanticipated role in the transition from a commensal to a pathogen state.

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<![CDATA[Biological Maturity Status Strongly Intensifies the Relative Age Effect in Alpine Ski Racing]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dac9ab0ee8fa60bb3933

The relative age effect (RAE) is a well-documented phenomenon in youth sports. This effect exists when the relative age quarter distribution of selected athletes shows a biased distribution with an over-representation of relatively older athletes. In alpine ski racing, it exists in all age categories (national youth levels up to World Cup). Studies so far could demonstrate that selected ski racers are relatively older, taller and heavier. It could be hypothesized that relatively younger athletes nearly only have a chance for selection if they are early maturing. However, surprisingly this influence of the biological maturity status on the RAE could not be proven, yet. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of the biological maturity status on the RAE in dependence of the level of competition. The study investigated 372 elite youth ski racers: 234 provincial ski racers (P-SR; high level of competition) and 137 national ski racers (N-SR; very high level of competition). Anthropometric characteristics were measured to calculate the age at peak height velocity (APHV) as an indicator of the biological maturity status. A significant RAE was present among both P-SR and N-SR, with a larger effect size among the latter group. The N-SR significantly differed in APHV from the P-SR. The distribution of normal, early and late maturing athletes significantly differed from the expected normal distribution among the N-SR, not among the P-SR. Hardly any late maturing N-SR were present; 41.7% of the male and 34% of the female N-SR of the last relative age quarter were early maturing. These findings clearly demonstrate the significant influence of the biological maturity status on the selection process of youth alpine ski racing in dependence of the level of competition. Relatively younger athletes seem to have a chance of selection only if they are early maturing.

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<![CDATA[Distribution of Total Depressive Symptoms Scores and Each Depressive Symptom Item in a Sample of Japanese Employees]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da04ab0ee8fa60b75315

Background

In a previous study, we reported that the distribution of total depressive symptoms scores according to the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) in a general population is stable throughout middle adulthood and follows an exponential pattern except for at the lowest end of the symptom score. Furthermore, the individual distributions of 16 negative symptom items of the CES-D exhibit a common mathematical pattern. To confirm the reproducibility of these findings, we investigated the distribution of total depressive symptoms scores and 16 negative symptom items in a sample of Japanese employees.

Methods

We analyzed 7624 employees aged 20–59 years who had participated in the Northern Japan Occupational Health Promotion Centers Collaboration Study for Mental Health. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the CES-D. The CES-D contains 20 items, each of which is scored in four grades: “rarely,” “some,” “much,” and “most of the time.” The descriptive statistics and frequency curves of the distributions were then compared according to age group.

Results

The distribution of total depressive symptoms scores appeared to be stable from 30–59 years. The right tail of the distribution for ages 30–59 years exhibited a linear pattern with a log-normal scale. The distributions of the 16 individual negative symptom items of the CES-D exhibited a common mathematical pattern which displayed different distributions with a boundary at “some.” The distributions of the 16 negative symptom items from “some” to “most” followed a linear pattern with a log-normal scale.

Conclusions

The distributions of the total depressive symptoms scores and individual negative symptom items in a Japanese occupational setting show the same patterns as those observed in a general population. These results show that the specific mathematical patterns of the distributions of total depressive symptoms scores and individual negative symptom items can be reproduced in an occupational population.

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<![CDATA[The variation of the burden of hypertension and diabetes in two large districts of the city of São Paulo, Brazil, based on primary health care routinely-collected data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c95524cd5eed0c4846f3343

Background

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) were responsible for 72.3% of global deaths in 2016, with cardiovascular diseases accounting for almost half of those deaths and low- and middle-income countries carrying the biggest burden. As a result, the prevention and control of NCDs is recognized as urgent, while better surveillance at the country level could result in more effective policies. Hence, the objective of this study was to obtain more detailed information on the distribution of the prevalence of hypertension and diabetes among the population of two large districts of the city of São Paulo in Brazil, and to compare these findings to the results of a citywide health survey.

Methods and findings

This cross-sectional study used primary health care (PHC) routinely-collected data. The study population included 187,110 individuals 20 years of age or older registered in 13 public PHC facilities at two districts of the city of São Paulo in 2015. Data extracted from SIAB, a primary care database, was used to calculate age and sex directly standardized prevalences for diabetes and hypertension for each PHC facility. The prevalence of hypertension among women was significantly higher than the prevalence among men in the entire study population, and in every PHC facility. There was great variation among PHC facilities that was more pronounced among women. The prevalence of diabetes among women was significantly higher than the prevalence among men in the entire study population, and in every PHC facility, but there was little variation among PHC facilities.

Conclusions

This study provided information that could help with policy planning and allocation of resources, and demonstrated the use of PHC routinely-collected data to generate important insights that if replicated could have a substantial impact given the broad coverage of the national public PHC program in Brazil.

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<![CDATA[Social Contact Structures and Time Use Patterns in the Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db05ab0ee8fa60bc836a

Background

Patterns of person-to-person contacts relevant for infectious diseases transmission are still poorly quantified in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where socio-demographic structures and behavioral attitudes are expected to be different from those of more developed countries.

Methods and Findings

We conducted a diary-based survey on daily contacts and time-use of individuals of different ages in one rural and one peri-urban site of Manicaland, Zimbabwe. A total of 2,490 diaries were collected and used to derive age-structured contact matrices, to analyze time spent by individuals in different settings, and to identify the key determinants of individuals’ mixing patterns. Overall 10.8 contacts per person/day were reported, with a significant difference between the peri-urban and the rural site (11.6 versus 10.2). A strong age-assortativeness characterized contacts of school-aged children, whereas the high proportion of extended families and the young population age-structure led to a significant intergenerational mixing at older ages. Individuals spent on average 67% of daytime at home, 2% at work, and 9% at school. Active participation in school and work resulted the key drivers of the number of contacts and, similarly, household size, class size, and time spent at work influenced the number of home, school, and work contacts, respectively. We found that the heterogeneous nature of home contacts is critical for an epidemic transmission chain. In particular, our results suggest that, during the initial phase of an epidemic, about 50% of infections are expected to occur among individuals younger than 12 years and less than 20% among individuals older than 35 years.

Conclusions

With the current work, we have gathered data and information on the ways through which individuals in SSA interact, and on the factors that mostly facilitate this interaction. Monitoring these processes is critical to realistically predict the effects of interventions on infectious diseases dynamics.

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<![CDATA[A Bayesian Modelling Approach with Balancing Informative Prior for Analysing Imbalanced Data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da0fab0ee8fa60b7916a

When a dataset is imbalanced, the prediction of the scarcely-sampled subpopulation can be over-influenced by the population contributing to the majority of the data. The aim of this study was to develop a Bayesian modelling approach with balancing informative prior so that the influence of imbalance to the overall prediction could be minimised. The new approach was developed in order to weigh the data in favour of the smaller subset(s). The method was assessed in terms of bias and precision in predicting model parameter estimates of simulated datasets. Moreover, the method was evaluated in predicting optimal dose levels of tobramycin for various age groups in a motivating example. The bias estimates using the balancing informative prior approach were smaller than those generated using the conventional approach which was without the consideration for the imbalance in the datasets. The precision estimates were also superior. The method was further evaluated in a motivating example of optimal dosage prediction of tobramycin. The resulting predictions also agreed well with what had been reported in the literature. The proposed Bayesian balancing informative prior approach has shown a real potential to adequately weigh the data in favour of smaller subset(s) of data to generate robust prediction models.

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