ResearchPad - research-design https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[<i>In silico</i> analyses identify lncRNAs: WDFY3-AS2, BDNF-AS and AFAP1-AS1 as potential prognostic factors for patients with triple-negative breast tumors]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13870 Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are characterized as having 200 nucleotides or more and not coding any protein, and several been identified as differentially expressed in several human malignancies, including breast cancer.MethodsHere, we evaluated lncRNAs differentially expressed in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) from a cDNA microarray data set obtained in a previous study from our group. Using in silico analyses in combination with a review of the current literature, we identify three lncRNAs as potential prognostic factors for TNBC patients.ResultsWe found that the expression of WDFY3-AS2, BDNF-AS, and AFAP1-AS1 was associated with poor survival in patients with TNBCs. WDFY3-AS2 and BDNF-AS are lncRNAs known to play an important role in tumor suppression of different types of cancer, while AFAP1-AS1 exerts oncogenic activity.ConclusionOur findings provided evidence that WDFY3-AS2, BDNF-AS, and AFAP1-AS1 may be potential prognostic factors in TNBC development. ]]> <![CDATA[What makes an effective grants peer reviewer? An exploratory study of the necessary skills]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13869 This exploratory mixed methods study describes skills required to be an effective peer reviewer as a member of review panels conducted for federal agencies that fund research, and examines how reviewer experience and the use of technology within such panels impacts reviewer skill development. Two specific review panel formats are considered: in-person face-to-face and virtual video conference. Data were collected through interviews with seven program officers and five expert peer review panelists, and surveys from 51 respondents. Results include the skills reviewers’ consider necessary for effective review panel participation, their assessment of the relative importance of these skills, how they are learned, and how review format affects skill development and improvement. Results are discussed relative to the peer review literature and with consideration of the importance of professional skills needed by successful scientists and peer reviewers.

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<![CDATA[Warm, lively, rough? Assessing agreement on aesthetic effects of artworks]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13856 The idea that simple visual elements such as colors and lines have specific, universal associations—for example red being warm—appears rather intuitive. Such associations have formed a basis for the description of artworks since the 18th century and are still fundamental to discourses on art today. Art historians might describe a painting where red is dominant as “warm,” “aggressive,” or “lively,” with the tacit assumption that beholders would universally associate the works’ certain key forms with specific qualities, or “aesthetic effects”. However, is this actually the case? Do we actually share similar responses to the same line or color? In this paper, we tested whether and to what extent this assumption of universality (sharing of perceived qualities) is justified. We employed—for the first time—abstract artworks as well as single elements (lines and colors) extracted from these artworks in an experiment in which participants rated the stimuli on 14 “aesthetic effect” scales derived from art literature and empirical aesthetics. To test the validity of the assumption of universality, we examined on which of the dimensions there was agreement, and investigated the influence of art expertise, comparing art historians with lay people. In one study and its replication, we found significantly lower agreement than expected. For the whole artworks, participants agreed on the effects of warm-cold, heavy-light, and happy-sad, but not on 11 other dimensions. Further, we found that the image type (artwork or its constituting elements) was a major factor influencing agreement; people agreed more on the whole artwork than on single elements. Art expertise did not play a significant role and agreement was especially low on dimensions usually of interest in empirical aesthetics (e.g., like-dislike). Our results challenge the practice of interpreting artworks based on their aesthetic effects, as these effects may not be as universal as previously thought.

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<![CDATA[Not sick enough to worry? "Influenza-like" symptoms and work-related behavior among healthcare workers and other professionals: Results of a global survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13852 Healthcare workers (HCWs) and non-HCWs may contribute to the transmission of influenza-like illness (ILI) to colleagues and susceptible patients by working while sick (presenteeism). The present study aimed to explore the views and behavior of HCWs and non-HCWs towards the phenomenon of working while experiencing ILI.MethodsThe study was a cross-sectional online survey conducted between October 2018 and January 2019 to explore sickness presenteeism and the behaviour of HCWs and non-HCWs when experiencing ILI. The survey questionnaire was distributed to the members and international networks of the International Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (ISAC) Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Working Group, as well as via social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Twitter and IPC Blog.ResultsIn total, 533 respondents from 49 countries participated (Europe 69.2%, Asia-Pacific 19.1%, the Americas 10.9%, and Africa 0.8%) representing 249 HCWs (46.7%) and 284 non-HCWs (53.2%). Overall, 312 (58.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 56.2–64.6) would continue to work when sick with ILI, with no variation between the two categories. Sixty-seven (26.9%) HCWs and forty-six (16.2%) non-HCWs would work with fever alone (p<0 .01) Most HCWs (89.2–99.2%) and non-HCWs (80%-96.5%) would work with “minor” ILI symptoms, such as sore throat, sinus cold, fatigue, sneezing, runny nose, mild cough and reduced appetite.ConclusionA future strategy to successfully prevent the transmission of ILI in healthcare settings should address sick-leave policy management, in addition to encouraging the uptake of influenza vaccine. ]]> <![CDATA[Comparability of modern contraceptive use estimates between a face-to-face survey and a cellphone survey among women in Burkina Faso]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13849 The proliferation of cell phone ownership in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) presents the opportunity to collect public health indicators at a lower cost compared to face-to-face (FTF) surveys. This analysis assesses the equivalence of modern contraceptive prevalence estimates between a nationally representative FTF survey and a cell phone survey using random digit dialing (RDD) among women of reproductive age in Burkina Faso.MethodsWe analyzed data from two surveys conducted in Burkina Faso between December 2017 and May 2018. The FTF survey conducted by Performance Monitoring and Accountability (PMA2020) comprised a nationally representative sample of 3,556 women of reproductive age (15–49 years). The RDD survey was conducted using computer-assisted telephone interviewing and included 2,379 women of reproductive age.ResultsCompared to FTF respondents, women in the RDD sample were younger, were more likely to have a secondary degree and to speak French. RDD respondents were more likely to report using modern contraceptive use (40%) compared to FTF respondents (26%) and the difference remained unchanged after applying post-stratification weights to the RDD sample (39%). This difference surpassed the equivalence margin of 4%. The RDD sample also produced higher estimates of contraceptive use than the subsample of women who owned a phone in the FTF sample (32%). After adjusting for women’s sociodemographic factors, the odds of contraceptive use were 1.9 times higher (95% CI: 1.6–2.2) in the RDD survey compared to the FTF survey and 1.6 times higher (95% CI: 1.3–1.8) compared to FTF phone owners.ConclusionsModern contraceptive prevalence in Burkina Faso is over-estimated when using a cell phone RDD survey, even after adjusting for a number of sociodemographic factors. Further research should explore causes of differential estimates of modern contraceptive use by survey modes. ]]> <![CDATA[The early experiences of Physician Associate students in the UK: A regional cross-sectional study investigating factors associated with engagement]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13815 The number of physician associates (PAs) training and working in the UK has increased over the last few years following the proliferation of postgraduate courses. Understanding early experiences and what impacts on engagement is important if we are to appropriately support this relatively new professional group.MethodsThis paper reports on a cross-sectional analysis of the first year of data from a prospective 10-year longitudinal cohort study. First year PA students (n = 89) were enrolled from five universities in one UK region where the training programmes were less than 2 years old. Data collected were: demographic information, wellbeing, burnout and engagement, expectations, placement experience, performance and caring responsibilities. Pearson’s correlations were used to examine relationships between variables and to select variables for a hierarchical regression analysis to understand which factors were associated with engagement. Descriptive statistics were calculated for questions relating to experience.ResultsThe experiences of PA students during their first 3–6 months were mixed. For example, 78.7% of students felt that there were staff on placement they could go to for support, however, 44.8% reported that staff did not know about the role and 61.3% reported that staff did not know what clinical work they should undertake. Regression analysis found that their level of engagement was associated with their perceived career satisfaction, overall well-being, and caring responsibilities.ConclusionsThe support systems required for PAs may need to be examined as results showed that the PA student demographic is different to that of medical students and caring responsibilities are highly associated with engagement. A lack of understanding around the PA role in clinical settings may also need to be addressed in order to better support and develop this workforce. ]]> <![CDATA[Psychological symptoms and quality of life after repeated exposure to earthquake: A cohort study in Italy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13809 In 2005, a random sample of 200 people were assessed in Camerino, Italy, eight years after an earthquake. Psychological symptom levels were low and only one person had current Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2016 a new earthquake occurred in Camerino. The study aims to assess the impact of the second exposure in the same cohort. A longitudinal study was conducted, 130 participants were re-interviewed between July and December 2017. Psychological symptoms were self-rated on the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI) and the Global Severity Index (GSI) was analysed. Post-traumatic stress symptoms were self-rated on the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Subjective quality of life (SQOL) was assessed on the Manchester Short Assessment of Quality of Life (MANSA). Mean scores of GSI and IES-R were significantly higher than in 2005 (p<0.01 and p<0.001), whilst SQOL remained almost unchanged (p = 0.163). In 2017, 16.9% of the sample had reached the PTSD threshold whilst in 2005 only the 0.5% had reached it. Despite low symptom levels several years after an earthquake, people can show psychological distress after a new exposure, whilst average quality of life levels are not affected.

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<![CDATA[The effect of monetary incentive on survey response for vulnerable children and youths: A randomized controlled trial]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13807 In surveys non-responders may introduce bias and lower the validity of the studies. Ways to increase response rates are therefore important. The purpose of the study was to investigate if an unconditional monetary incentive can increase the response rate for vulnerable children and youths in a postal questionnaire survey.MethodsThe study was designed as a randomized controlled trial. The study population consisted of 262 children and youth who participated in an established intervention study aimed at creating networks for different groups of vulnerable children and youths. The mean age of the participants was 16.7 years (range 11–28) and 67.9% were female. The questionnaire was adapted to three different age groups and covered different aspects of the participants’ life situation, including the dimensions from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). In the follow-up survey, participants were randomly allocated to two groups that either received a €15 voucher for a supermarket together with the questionnaire or only received the questionnaire. We used Poisson regression to estimate the differences in response rate (Rate Ratio RR) between the intervention group and the control group.ResultsThe response rate was 75.5% in the intervention group and 42.9% in the control group. The response rate in the intervention group was significantly higher than in the control group when adjusting for age and gender (Rate Ratio, RR 1.73; 95% CI 1.38–2.17). We did not find any significant differences in scales scores between the two groups for the five scales of the SDQ. In stratified analyses, we found the effect of the incentive to be higher for males (RR 2.81; 95% CI 1.61–4.91) than for females (1.43; 95% CI 1.12–1.84).ConclusionsMonetary incentives can increase the response rate for vulnerable children and youths in surveys.Trial registrationThe trial was retrospectively registered at ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01741675. ]]> <![CDATA[Proficiency based progression simulation training significantly reduces utility strikes; A prospective, randomized and blinded study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7871 We evaluated a simulation-based training curriculum with quantitatively defined performance benchmarks for utility workers location and excavation of utility services.BackgroundDamaging buried utilities is associated with considerable safety risks to workers and substantial cost to employers.MethodsIn a prospective, randomized and blinded study we assessed the impact of Proficiency Based Progression (PBP) simulation training on the location and excavation of utility services work.ResultsPBP simulation training reduced performance errors (33%, p = 0.006) in comparison a standard trained group. When implemented across all workers in the same division there was a 35–61% reduction in utility strikes (p = 0.028) and an estimated cost saving of £116,000 –£2,175,000 in the 12 months (47,000 work hours) studied.ConclusionsThe magnitude of the training benefit of PBP simulation training in the utilities sector appears to be the same as it is in surgery, cardiology and procedure-based medicine.ApplicationQuality-assured utility worker simulation training significantly reduces utility damage and associated costs. ]]> <![CDATA[Effects of scent lure on camera trap detections vary across mammalian predator and prey species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7840 Camera traps are a unique survey tool used to monitor a wide variety of mammal species. Camera trap (CT) data can be used to estimate animal distribution, density, and behaviour. Attractants, such as scent lures, are often used in an effort to increase CT detections; however, the degree which the effects of attractants vary across species is not well understood. We investigated the effects of scent lure on mammal detections by comparing detection rates between 404 lured and 440 unlured CT stations sampled in Alberta, Canada over 120 day survey periods between February and August in 2015 and 2016. We used zero-inflated negative binomial generalized linear mixed models to test the effect of lure on detection rates for a) all mammals, b) six functional groups (all predator species, all prey, large carnivores, small carnivores, small mammals, ungulates), and c) four varied species of management interest (fisher, Pekania pennanti; gray wolf, Canis lupus; moose, Alces alces; and Richardson’s ground squirrel; Urocitellus richardsonii). Mammals were detected at 800 of the 844 CTs, with nearly equal numbers of total detections at CTs with (7110) and without (7530) lure, and variable effects of lure on groups and individual species. Scent lure significantly increased detections of predators as a group, including large and small carnivore sub-groups and fisher specifically, but not of gray wolf. There was no effect of scent lure on detections of prey species, including the small mammal and ungulate sub-groups and moose and Richardson’s ground squirrel specifically. We recommend that researchers explicitly consider the variable effects of scent lure on CT detections across species when designing, interpreting, or comparing multi-species surveys. Additional research is needed to further quantify variation in species responses to scent lures and other attractants, and to elucidate the effect of attractants on community-level inferences from camera trap surveys.

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<![CDATA[A descriptive cross sectional study comparing barriers and determinants of physical activity of Sri Lankan middle aged and older adults]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7830 Benefits of physical activities are numerous. Barriers for physical exercise may differ among middle aged and older adults. Therefore, identifying and comparing the barriers for participating in regular physical exercises among middle aged and older adults will be useful in designing age specific physical exercise programmes.MethodsThis descriptive cross sectional study was carried out among 206 Sri Lankan adults in the age range of 40–84 years in the Colombo North region of Sri Lanka using culturally validated questionnaires to determine and compare the barriers and factors associated with regular physical activity participation. Majority were males (56%) and 54% were < 60 years. People in the age range of 40–59 years were considered as middle age and ≥ 60 years as older adults. Bivariate analysis and multivariate analysis was carried out to determine the significant factors that are associated with regular physical activity participation.ResultsLack of free time (52%), feeling too lazy (26%) and bad weather (29%) were the main barriers for the participants. In < 60 years, high level of income (p = 0.008) and in ≥ 60 years, being a male (p = 0.016), having a high level of education (P = 0.002) and a high BMI (p = 0.002) had a significant negative association with the level of physical activities.ConclusionsContrary to findings from surveys in several developed countries, this study showed that having a high level of education and being a male were strongly related with lack of physical activity participation. ]]> <![CDATA[Development and validation of a questionnaire to assess healthcare personnel competence in cardiac arrest and resuscitation in pregnancy]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7826 Cardiac arrest is rare in pregnancy, and up-to date competence can be difficult to assess and maintain. The objective of this study was to develop and validate a questionnaire to assess healthcare personnel experiences, self-assessed competence and perception of role and resposibility related to cardiac arrest and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in pregnancyMethodsThe study had a cross-sectional design, developing and validating a questionnaire: the Competence in cardiac arrest and CPR in pregnancy (ComCA-P). Development and validation of the ComCA-P was conducted in three stages: 1) Literature review and expert group panel inputs, 2) a pilot study and 3) a cross-sectional questionnaire study. In stage one, the ComCA-P was developed over several iterations between the researchers, including inputs from an expert group panel consisting of highly competent professionals (n = 11). In stage two, the questionnaire was piloted in a group of healthcare personnel with relevant competence (n = 16). The ComCA-P was then used in a baseline study including healthcare personnel potentially involved in CPR in pregnancy (n = 527) in six hospital wards. Based on these data, internal consistency, intra-class correlations, and confirmatory factor analysis were utilized to validate the questionnaire.ResultsThe expert group and pilot study participants evaluated the appropriateness, relevance and accuracy to be high. Formulation of the items was considered appropriate, with no difficulties identified related to content- or face validity. Cronbach’s alpha was 0.8 on the thematic area self-assessment, and 0.73 on the theoretical knowledge area of the ComCA-P. On both the self-assessed competence items and the teoretical knowledge items, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin was 0.8. Moreover, the Bertletts’ test of sphericity was greater than the critical value for chi-square, and significant (p < .0001).ConclusionsFindings indicate that the ComCA-P is a valid questionnaire that can be used to assess healthcare personnel competence in cardiac arrest and resuscitation in pregnancy. ]]> <![CDATA[The qualitative assessment of optical coherence tomography and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7697 To analyze the relationships between qualitative and quantitative parameters of spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) and the central retinal sensitivity in patients with retinitis pigmentosa (RP).Materials and methodsNinety-three eyes of 93 patients were finally enrolled, with a median age (quartile) of 58 (24.5) years. We assessed the patients using SD-OCT and the 10–2 program of a Humphry Field Analyzer (HFA). As a qualitative parameter, two graders independently classified the patients’ SD-OCT images into five severity grades (grades 1–5) based on the severity of damage to the photoreceptor inner and outer segments (IS/OS) layer. As quantitative parameters, we measured the IS-ellipsoid zone (IS-EZ) width, IS/OS thickness, outer nuclear layer (ONL) thickness, central macular thickness (CMT, 1 and 3 mm) and macular cube (6 × 6 mm) volume and thickness. The central retinal sensitivity was defined by the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA; logMAR), average sensitivities of the central 4 (foveal sensitivity [FS]) and 12 (macular sensitivity [MS]) points of the HFA 10–2 program and the mean deviation (MD) of the 10–2 program. Spearman’s correlation was used to assess the association between both qualitative and quantitative parameters and variables of the central retinal sensitivity. In addition, we performed a multiple regression analysis using these parameters to identify the parameters most strongly influencing the central retinal sensitivity.ResultsThe IS/OS severity grade was significantly correlated with the BCVA (ρ = 0.741, P < 0.001), FS (ρ = −0.844, P < 0.001), MS (ρ = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (ρ = −0.681, P < 0.001) and showed stronger correlations to them than any other quantitative parameters including the IS-EZ width, IS/OS thickness, ONL thickness, CMTs and macular cube volume/thickness. Furthermore, a step-wise multiple regression analysis indicated that the IS/OS severity grade was more strongly associated with the BCVA (β = 0.659, P < 0.001), FS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001), MS (β = −0.820, P < 0.001) and MD (β = −0.674, P < 0.001) than any other quantitative parameters. The intraclass correlation coefficient between two graders indicated substantial correlation (κ = 0.70).DiscussionThe qualitative grading of OCT based on the severity of the IS/OS layer was simple and strongly correlated with the central retinal sensitivity in patients with RP. It may be useful to assess the central visual function in patients with RP, although there is some variation in severity within the same severity grade. ]]> <![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[The relationship of recreational runners’ motivation and resilience levels to the incidence of injury: A mediation model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7663 Running participation has increased significantly in the last decade. Despite its association with different health-related aspects, athletes may experience adverse outcomes, including injuries. The aim of this study was twofold: to examine the relationship between runners’ resilience levels, motivation and incidence of injury, on the one hand; and to analyse the mediation that intrinsic and extrinsic motivation has on the association between the number of injuries and psychological resilience levels among amateur athletes. The sample consisted of a total of 1725 runners (age: 40.40 ± 9.39 years), 1261 of whom were male (age: 43.16 ± 9.38), and 465 of whom were female (age: 40.34 ± 9.14). Athletes completed the Behavioural Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire (BREQ-3), the Resilience scale (CD-RISC 10), and an Injury retrospective survey. Three mediation models were constructed, and the results showed a significant indirect association of athletes’ intrinsic motivation and resilience on the number of injuries (β = 0.022, CI = 0.007, 0.0) in mediation model 1, whereas extrinsic motivation was found to have no significant association on those variables (β = -0.062, CI = -0.137, 0.009) in mediation model 2. Model 3 showed significant differences with respect to resilience (p < 0.05) and intrinsic motivation (p < 0.05). Therefore, the mediation of intrinsic motivation on athletes’ resilience levels and incidence of injury was demonstrated, i.e., it was found that intrinsic motivation was associated with a higher incidence of injury, while no such correlation was found for extrinsic motivation. This study shows that the amateur long distance runners with a high level of intrinsic motivation tend to suffer from a greater number of injuries, and at the same time psychological resilience was associated with a lower number of injuries.

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<![CDATA[Prevalence, Severity and Mortality associated with COPD and Smoking in patients with COVID-19: A Rapid Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7662 Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an evolving infectious disease that dramatically spread all over the world in the early part of 2020. No studies have yet summarized the potential severity and mortality risks caused by COVID-19 in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and we update information in smokers.MethodsWe systematically searched electronic databases from inception to March 24, 2020. Data were extracted by two independent authors in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. Study quality was assessed using a modified version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. We synthesized a narrative from eligible studies and conducted a meta-analysis using a random-effects model to calculate pooled prevalence rates and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).ResultsIn total, 123 abstracts were screened and 61 full-text manuscripts were reviewed. A total of 15 studies met the inclusion criteria, which included a total of 2473 confirmed COVID-19 patients. All studies were included in the meta-analysis. The crude case fatality rate of COVID-19 was 7.4%. The pooled prevalence rates of COPD patients and smokers in COVID-19 cases were 2% (95% CI, 1%–3%) and 9% (95% CI, 4%–14%) respectively. COPD patients were at a higher risk of more severe disease (risk of severity = 63%, (22/35) compared to patients without COPD 33.4% (409/1224) [calculated RR, 1.88 (95% CI, 1.4–2.4)]. This was associated with higher mortality (60%). Our results showed that 22% (31/139) of current smokers and 46% (13/28) of ex-smokers had severe complications. The calculated RR showed that current smokers were 1.45 times more likely [95% CI: 1.03–2.04] to have severe complications compared to former and never smokers. Current smokers also had a higher mortality rate of 38.5%.ConclusionAlthough COPD prevalence in COVID-19 cases was low in current reports, COVID-19 infection was associated with substantial severity and mortality rates in COPD. Compared to former and never smokers, current smokers were at greater risk of severe complications and higher mortality rate. Effective preventive measures are required to reduce COVID-19 risk in COPD patients and current smokers. ]]> <![CDATA[Incidence and determinants of Implanon discontinuation: Findings from a prospective cohort study in three health zones in Kinshasa, DRC]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7634 Kinshasa is Africa's third largest city and one of the continent’s most rapidly growing urban areas. PMA2020 data showed that Kinshasa has a modern contraceptive prevalence of 26.5% among married women in 2018. In Kinshasa’s method mix, the contraceptive implant recently became the dominant method among contraceptive users married and in union. This study provides insight into patterns of implant use in a high-fertility setting by evaluating the 24-month continuation rate for Implanon NXT and identifying the characteristics associated with discontinuation.MethodologyThis community-based, prospective cohort study followed 531 Implanon users aged 18–49 years at 6, 12 and 24 months. The following information was collected: socio-demographic characteristics, Method Information Index (MII) and contraceptive history. The main outcome variable for this study was implant discontinuation. The incidence rate of discontinuation is presented as events per 1000 person/months (p-m), from the date of enrolment. The Cox proportional hazards modelling was used to measure predictors of discontinuation.ResultsA total of 9158.13 p-m were available for analysis, with an overall incidence rate of 9.06 (95% CI: 9.04–9.08) removals per 1000 p-m. Of nine possible co-variates tested, the likelihood of discontinuation was higher among women who lived in military camps, had less than three children, never used injectables or implants in the past, had experienced heavy/prolonged bleeding, and whose MII score was less than 3.ConclusionIn addition to four client characteristics that predicted discontinuation, we identified one programmatic factor: quality of counseling as measured by the Method Information Index. Community providers in similar contexts should pay more attention to clients having less than three children, new adopters, and to clients living military camps as underserved population, where clients have less access to health facilities. More targeted counselling and follow-up is needed, especially on bleeding patterns. ]]> <![CDATA[Lifestyle, sick leave and work ability among Norwegian employees with asthma—A population-based cross-sectional survey conducted in Telemark County, Norway]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Ndae955f4-245c-442b-a4a6-579d96a7b9a3

Objective

To investigate whether physician-diagnosed asthma modifies the associations between multiple lifestyle factors, sick leave and work ability in a general working population.

Methods

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Telemark County, Norway, in 2013. A sample of 16 099 respondents completed a self-administered questionnaire. We obtained complete data on lifestyle, work ability and sick leave for 10 355 employed persons aged 18–50 years. We modelled sick leave and work ability using multiple logistic regression, and introduced interaction terms to investigate whether associations with lifestyle factors were modified by asthma status.

Results

Several lifestyle risk factors and a multiple lifestyle risk index were associated with sick leave and reduced work ability score among persons both with and without physician-diagnosed asthma. A stronger association between lifestyle and sick leave among persons with asthma was confirmed by including interaction terms in the analysis: moderate lifestyle risk score * asthma OR = 1.4 (95% CI 1.02–2.1); high lifestyle risk score * asthma OR = 1.6 (95% CI 1.1–2.3); very high lifestyle risk score * asthma OR = 1.6 (95% CI 0.97–2.7); obesity * asthma OR = 1.5 (95% CI 1.02–2.1); past smoking * asthma OR = 1.4 (95% CI 1.01–1.9); and current smoking * asthma OR = 1.4 (95% CI 1.03–2.0).

There was no significant difference in the association between lifestyle and work ability score among respondents with and without asthma.

Conclusions

In the present study, we found that physician-diagnosed asthma modified the association between lifestyle risk factors and sick leave. Asthma status did not significantly modify these associations with reduced work ability score. The results indicate that lifestyle changes could be of particular importance for employees with asthma.

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<![CDATA[Partition dependence in financial aid distribution to income categories]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N0611b39b-d559-4542-a5d9-a69c54a62df4

When allocating resources, people often diversify across categories even when those categories are arbitrary, such that allocations differ when identical sets of options are partitioned differently (“partition dependence”). The first goal of the present work (Experiment 1) was to replicate an experiment by Fox and colleagues in which graduate students exhibited partition dependence when asked how university financial aid should be allocated across arbitrarily partitioned income brackets. Our sample consisted of community members at a liberal arts college where financial aid practices have been recent topics of debate. Because stronger intrinsic preferences can reduce partition dependence, these participants might display little partition dependence with financial aid allocations. Alternatively, a demonstration of strong partition dependence in this population would emphasize the robustness of the effect. The second goal was to extend a “high transparency” modification to the present task context (Experiment 2) in which participants were shown both possible income partitions and randomly assigned themselves to one, to determine whether partition dependence in this paradigm would be reduced by revealing the study design (and the arbitrariness of income categories). Participants demonstrated clear partition dependence in both experiments. Results demonstrate the robustness of partition dependence in this context.

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<![CDATA[‘In search of lost time’: Identifying the causative role of cumulative competition load and competition time-loss in professional tennis using a structural nested mean model]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N4f3da08e-598e-44d5-a4f3-a2c64fcebd1f

Injury prevention is critical to the achievement of peak performance in elite sport. For professional tennis players, the topic of injury prevention has gained even greater importance in recent years as multiple of the best male players have been sidelined owing to injury. Identifying potential causative factors of injury is essential for the development of effective prevention strategies, yet such research is hampered by incomplete data, the complexity of injury etiology, and observational study biases. The present study attempts to address these challenges by focusing on competition load and time-loss to competition—a completely observable risk factor and outcome—and using a structural nested mean model (SNMM) to identify the potential causal role of cumulative competition load on the risk of time-loss. Using inverse probability of treatment weights to balance exposure histories with respect to player ability, past injury, and consecutive competition weeks at each time point; the SNMM analysis of 389 professional male players and 55,773 weeks of competition found that total load significantly increases the risk of time-loss (HR = 1.05 per 1,000 games of additional load 95% CI 1.01-1.10) and this effect becomes magnified with age. Standard regression showed a protective effect of load, highlighting the value of more robust causal methods in the study of dynamic exposures and injury in sport and the need for further applications of these methods for understanding how time-loss and injuries of elite athletes might be prevented in the future.

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