ResearchPad - taiwan https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Risk of colorectal cancer in patients with alcoholism: A nationwide, population-based nested case-control study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_7832 Colorectal cancer (CRC) is regarded as a multifactorial disease and shares many risk factors with alcoholism. However, the association between alcoholism and CRC remains controversial.ObjectivesIn this study, we aimed to evaluate the association between alcoholism and risk of CRC.MethodsWe performed a large-scale, population-based nested case-control study using the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2013, derived from Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database, and collected data from 2000 to 2013. There were 49,095 diagnosed cases of CRC defined according to the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification. Each case was matched with three controls by sex, age, index date of CRC, and annual medical visits; a total of 147,285 controls were identified. Multiple risk factors of CRC in alcoholism cases were investigated using unconditional multiple logistic regression analysis.ResultsAmong 49,095 cases of CRC, alcoholism was associated with a significantly higher risk of CRC (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 1.631; 95% CI, 1.565–1.699) in multivariate logistic regression, after adjusting other CRC risk factors, and in stratified analysis with multivariate logistic regression. In addition, there was a time-dependent relationship between alcoholism duration and CRC risk in >1 year, > 2 years, >5 years, and > 11 years groups (adjusted ORs, 1.875, 2.050, 2.662 and 2.670; 95% CI, 1.788–1.967, 1.948–2.158, 2.498–2.835, and 2.511–2.989 respectively).ConclusionAn association between alcoholism and risk of CRC was found in this study. Furthermore, patients with longer alcoholism history showed higher likelihood of developing CRC, which indicates a time-dependent relationship between alcoholism exposure and CRC. Further research on colorectal tumorigenesis is needed. ]]> <![CDATA[Phylogeographic investigation of 2014 porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) transmission in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c89779dd5eed0c4847d319c

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) that emerged and spread throughout Taiwan in 2014 triggered significant concern in the country’s swine industry. Acknowledging the absence of a thorough investigation at the geographic level, we used 2014 outbreak sequence information from the Taiwan government’s open access databases plus GenBank records to analyze PEDV dissemination among Taiwanese pig farms. Genetic sequences, locations, and dates of identified PEDV-positive cases were used to assess spatial, temporal, clustering, GIS, and phylogeographic factors affecting PEDV dissemination. Our conclusion is that S gene sequences from 2014 PEDV-positive clinical samples collected in Taiwan were part of the same Genogroup 2 identified in the US in 2013. According to phylogenetic and phylogeographic data, viral strains collected in different areas were generally independent of each other, with certain clusters identified across different communities. Data from GIS and multiple potential infection factors were used to pinpoint cluster dissemination in areas with large numbers of swine farms in southern Taiwan. The data indicate that the 2014 Taiwan PEDV epidemic resulted from the spread of multiple strains, with strong correlations identified with pig farm numbers and sizes (measured as animal concentrations), feed mill numbers, and the number of slaughterhouses in a specifically defined geographic area.

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<![CDATA[Acute rhinosinusitis among pediatric patients with allergic rhinitis: A nationwide, population-based cohort study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6c75e2d5eed0c4843d03bf

Background

While chronic rhinosinusitis is a common complication of allergic rhinitis, the link between acute rhinosinusitis and allergic rhinitis is unclear. The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of incident acute rhinosinusitis among pediatric patients with allergic rhinitis, using a nationwide, population-based health claims research database.

Methods

Newly diagnosed allergic rhinitis patients aged 5–18 years were identified from the health claim records of the Longitudinal Health Insurance Database 2000 of Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database. A comparison cohort was assembled by randomly selecting patients from the same database with frequency matching by sex, age group, and index year. All patients were followed until a diagnosis of acute rhinosinusitis or the end of the follow-up period. Cox proportional hazards model was used to assess the association between allergic rhinitis and acute rhinosinusitis.

Results

Of the 43,588 pediatric patients included in this study, 55.4% were male and 43.9% were between the ages of 5.0–7.9 years. The risk of acute rhinosinusitis was significantly higher in pediatric patients with allergic rhinitis compared to those without the condition (adjusted hazard ratio = 3.03, 95% confidence interval = 2.89–3.18). Similar hazard ratios were observed between male and female pediatric patients.

Conclusions

This secondary cohort study using a nationwide, population-based health claim data of the Taiwan’s NHIRD showed that allergic rhinitis was significantly associated with a higher risk of acute rhinosinusitis among pediatric patients.

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<![CDATA[An outbreak of HIV infection among people who inject drugs linked to injection of propofol in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6730e4d5eed0c484f382b9

Introduction

The aim of this study was to report an HIV outbreak related to propofol-injection and the impact of regulating propofol on the HIV epidemic among people who inject drugs (PWID).

Methods

A retrospective cohort study of 252 PWID who were diagnosed with an HIV infection between 2014 and 2017 in Taiwan. The propofol information was collected by routine epidemic surveillance and interviews. We linked several national databases to collect other related factors, including methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) attendance and incarceration. The serums were tested for recent infection by the LAg‐avidity EIA assay and relationship of the trains by the Phylogenetic tree analysis. Analyses were conducted using the R Surveillance package for retrospective modeling for outbreak detection. A multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate the association between propofol-injection and other related factors.

Results

There were 28 cases reported with propofol-injection, all of which were reported in Central Taiwan. A total of 11 (50%) cases among 22 propofol-injectors with serums were recent infections, which were higher than that 33 (23.4%) of non-propofol group. The phylogenetic tree indicated that 6 propofol-injectors were grouped together with the same cluster in circular. The HIV epidemic curve among PWID revealed an outbreak of 82 in 2015, which then decreased to 43 in 2016 after propofol began to be regulated as a Schedule 4 controlled drug in August 2015. In a multiple logistic regression, attendance at methadone clinics was associated with a significantly higher risk for propofol-injection (adjusted OR = 2.43, 95% CI = 0.98–5.98), and HIV reported in the year 2015 was associated with an increased risk of propofol-injection (adjusted OR = 4, 95% CI = 1.08–14.86).

Conclusions

Our data indicate that the government regulation of propofol as a controlled drug strategy was associated with significant reduction in the spread of HIV among PWID.

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<![CDATA[Psychological distress mediated the effects of self-stigma on quality of life in opioid-dependent individuals: A cross-sectional study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cd9d5eed0c484c8193c

Background

Both stigma and psychological distress affect quality of life (QOL). This study is an attempt to determine the effects of these two factors on QOL and to explore possible mediation effects between psychological distress and self-stigma in opioid-dependent individuals.

Methods

This cross-sectional study comprised 268 consecutive, treatment-seeking opioid-dependent individuals who were interviewed using the brief version of the World Health Organization Quality of Life instrument (WHOQOL-BREF), the Self-Stigma Scale-Short (SSS-S), the Chinese Health Questionnaire-12 (CHQ-12), and the Opiate Treatment Index (OTI). A series of regression models were constructed to determine if the SSS-S and CHQ-12 predict the WHOQOL-BREF scores. Moreover, a comparison of the potential mediation effects of psychological distress (as assessed by the CHQ-12) was made between the SSS-S and the WHOQOL-BREF using the Baron and Kenny procedure (including three separate regressions), along with the Sobel test.

Results

The CHQ-12 score was predictive of the scores for the four domains and almost all facets of the WHOQOL-BREF except the item, “Dependence on medical aids.” Nonetheless, the SSS-S score predicted three of the four facets of the social QOL after adjustment of the CHQ-12 score. Psychological distress completely mediated the relation between self-stigma and the physical, psychological, and environmental domains, and partially mediated the relationship between self-stigma and social QOL (two-tailed Sobel test: p = 0.02 for each domain).

Conclusions

Psychological distress has a significant impact on the QOL of treated opioid users. It appears to be a core element in reducing the negative effects of self-stigma on aspects of QOL.

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<![CDATA[Mortality and morbidity in wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d1ad5eed0c484c81ffa

Globally, pangolins are threatened by poaching and illegal trade. Taiwan presents a contrary situation, where the wild pangolin population has stabilized and even begun to increase in the last two decades. This paper illustrates the factors responsible for causing mortality and morbidity in the wild Taiwanese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla pentadactyla) based on radio-tracking data of wild pangolins and records of sick or injured pangolins admitted to a Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation center. Despite being proficient burrowers, results from radio-tracking show that Taiwanese pangolins are highly susceptible to getting trapped in tree hollows or ground burrows. Data from Pingtung Rescue Center for Endangered Wild Animals showed that trauma (73.0%) was the major reason for morbidity in the Taiwanese pangolin with trauma from gin traps being the leading cause (77.8%), especially during the dry season, followed by tail injuries caused by dog attacks (20.4%). Despite these threats, Taiwan has had substantial success in rehabilitating and releasing injured pangolins, primarily due to the close collaboration of Taiwanese wildlife rehabilitation centers over the last twenty years.

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<![CDATA[Should clinicians pay more attention to the potential underdiagnosis of osteoporosis in patients with ankylosing spondylitis? A national population-based study in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648d58d5eed0c484c82627

Objectives

There are limited studies describing the association between ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and osteoporosis. We conducted a nationwide retrospective cohort study to investigate this epidemiologic evidence.

Methods

Data were obtained from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD). Of 10,290 participants, 2,058 patients with AS and 8,232 patients without AS were enrolled from the NHIRD between 2000 to 2013. Cumulative incidences of osteoporosis were compared between 2 groups. Cox regression model was used to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) of developing osteoporosis after controlling for demographic and other co-morbidities, and subgroup analyses were conducted to examine the risk factors for osteoporosis in AS patients.

Results

The incidence rate ratio (IRR) of osteoporosis in AS patients was 2.17 times higher than that non-AS group (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.83–2.57). The adjusted HRs of osteoporosis for AS patients after controlling for demographic characteristics and comorbid medical disorders was 1.99 (95% CI 1.68–2.36). Among AS group, after adjustment for major comorbidities, old age (≥65 years, HR 4.32, 95% CI 3.01–6.18), female sex (HR 2.48, 95% CI 1.87–3.28), dyslipidemia (HR 1.44, 95% CI 1.01–2.06) were risk factors associated with osteoporosis.

Conclusions

This cohort study demonstrated that patients with AS had a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, especially in those aged over 65, female sex and with dyslipidemia in this patient group.

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<![CDATA[Development and psychometric testing of the Chinese version of the Resilience Scale for Southeast Asian immigrant women who divorced in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c61e8d2d5eed0c48496f1e5

Background

Only a few studies exist on the resilience of divorced women. Furthermore, relevant instruments for assessing the resilience of divorced immigrant Southeast Asian women are rare. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to develop and examine a new Resilience Scale-Chinese version (RS-C) that is specific to divorced immigrant Southeast Asian women in Taiwan.

Methods

The study was conducted in two phases. In phase 1, 20 items were used to evaluate face and content validities. In phase 2, a cross-sectional study was conducted. In total, 118 immigrant women participated in this study and were recruited from three nongovernmental organizations providing services for immigrants in Taipei City and Miaoli and Chiayi Counties. Psychometric properties of the instrument (i.e., internal consistency, test–retest reliability, item-to-total correlation, construct validity, and convergent validity) were examined. Significance was set at p < 0.05 for all statistical tests.

Results

The final 16-item RS-C resulted in a three-factor model. The three factors, namely personal competence, family identity, and social connections, were an acceptable fit for the data and explained 54.60% of the variance. Cronbach’s α of the RS-C was 0.85, and those of its subscales ranged from 0.77 to 0.82. The correlation value of the test–retest reliability was 0.87. The RS-C was significantly associated with the General Self-Efficacy scale and the Chinese Health Questionnaire-12.

Conclusion

The RS-C is a brief and specific self-report tool for evaluating the resilience of divorced immigrant Southeast Asian women and demonstrated adequate reliability and validity in this study. This RS-C instrument has potential applications in both clinical practice and research with strength-based resiliency interventions. However, additional research on the RS-C is required to further establish its reliability and validity.

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<![CDATA[Efficiency and performance tests of the sorptive building materials that reduce indoor formaldehyde concentrations]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c536afdd5eed0c484a47d76

The adsorption of volatile organic compounds by building materials reduces the pollutant concentrations in indoor air. We collected three interior building materials with adsorption potentials—latex paint, micro-carbonized plywood, and moisture-buffering siding—used the sorptive building materials test (SBMT) to determine how much they reduced indoor formaldehyde (HCHO) concentrations, and then assessed the consequent reduction in human cancer risk from HCHO inhalation. Adsorption of HCHO by building materials significantly improved the effective ventilation efficiency. For example, the equivalent ventilation rate for Celite siding—used for humidity control—was 1.44 m3/(m2·h) at 25°C, 50% relative humidity (RH); the loading factor (L) was 0.4 m2/m3, and the HCHO concentration was 0.2 ppm; this effect is equivalent to a higher ventilation rate of approximately 0.6 air changes per hour in a typical Taiwanese dwelling. There was also a substantial reduction of risk in Case MCP-2 (Cin,te: 245 μg/m3, 30°C, 50% RH): males: down 5.73 × 10−4; females: down 4.84 × 10−4). The selection of adsorptive building materials for interior surfaces, therefore, significantly reduces human inhalation of HCHO. Our findings should encourage developing and using innovative building materials that help improve indoor air quality and thus provide building occupants with healthier working and living environments.

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<![CDATA[Increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis among patients with Mycoplasma pneumonia: A nationwide population-based cohort study in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466572d5eed0c4845193ac

Objective

An association between Mycoplasma pneumonia (MP) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) had been reported in animal studies for decades. However, clinical evidence for this association is lacking. Therefore, this study aimed to provide epidemiologic evidence to clarify the relationship between MP and development of RA.

Methods

This 13-year nationwide, population-based, retrospective cohort study analyzed the risk of RA in a cohort of MP patients. We cross linked and compared the database of those with catastrophic illnesses to make sure the diagnoses of RA are correctly labeled. We selected 116,053 hospitalized patients diagnosed with MP between 2000 and 2012 from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database and 464,212 matched controls at a 1:4 ratio by age, gender, and index year, in relation to the risk of developing RA. The follow-up period referred to the initial diagnosis of MP until the date of RA diagnosis, censoring of RA, or 31st December 2013. The Cox proportional hazard model was used to analyze the association between MP and incidence of RA among patients with different potential risks.

Results

The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for incidental RA in the MP group was 1.37 (95% confidence interval CI = 0.87–2.16), compared to non-MP controls. Stratified analysis revealed that the adjusted HR was 3.05 (95% CI = 1.16–7.99, p = 0.02) in a subgroup of patients over the age of 65.The adjusted HR of RA for the MP group among aged ≦19 years and ≥ 65 years was 3.19 (95% CI = 1.04.9.76) and 4.14 (95% CI = 1.27,13.4) within the first 2 years of follow-up.

Conclusion

This cohort study demonstrated that patients with MP had a higher risk of developing RA, especially in the first 2 years, in those aged younger than 19 and over 65.

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<![CDATA[The effects of the flipped classroom in teaching evidence based nursing: A quasi-experimental study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c478c9ed5eed0c484bd37a6

Background

Evidence-based nursing (EBN) has been an important training mechanism for improving the quality of clinical care. At present, the pedagogy focuses on the application of e-learning and team-based learning to enhance learners’ engagement and learning effectiveness.

Objectives

This study applied the flipped classroom approach to conduct evidence-based nursing (EBN) teaching. The aim of this study is to elevate the learning effectiveness of the flipped classroom group to the traditional teaching group in terms of knowledge and self-efficacy in practice.

Design

A pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group with a quasi-experimental quantitative design.

Methods

The study recruited 151 nurses, of whom 75 were in the control group and 76 were in the experimental group. During the EBN course, the control group received training via traditional pedagogy while the experimental group engaged the flipped classroom approach. The learning effectiveness of EBN knowledge and self-efficacy in practice were evaluated across the three time points: pre-course, post-course, and one month after the course.

Results

In both group the scores of the EBN knowledge and self-efficacy in practice improved after training. The scores of the experimental group increased significantly than in the control group. However, the scores declined in both groups one month after the course. Even so, the experimental group’s score of self-efficacy in practice was still higher than that of the control group.

Conclusion

The implementation of the flipped classroom approach and team-based learning effectively enhanced the learners EBN knowledge accumulation and self-efficacy in practice. The research results can be used as an important reference for improving clinical nursing teaching quality.

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<![CDATA[Neocaridinafonticulata, a new land-locked freshwater shrimp from Hengchun Peninsula, Taiwan (Decapoda, Caridea, Atyidae)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5afb6bd5eed0c48425ffc0
Abstract

A new species of land-locked freshwater shrimp, Neocaridinafonticulatasp. n. (Atyidae), is described from Kenting, Hengchun Peninsula, Pingtung County, southern Taiwan. This new species can be distinguished from its congeners by rostrum structure, pereiopods, and male first and second pleopods. The molecular evidence of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) also supports the establishment of a new species. This is the third endemic species of Neocaridina known from Taiwan.

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<![CDATA[New Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella enterica Serovar Anatum Clone, Taiwan, 2015–2017]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c354d32d5eed0c484dd4630

In 2011, a Salmonella enterica serovar Anatum clone emerged in Taiwan. During 2016–2017, infections increased dramatically, strongly associated with emergence and spread of multidrug-resistant strains with a plasmid carrying 11 resistance genes, including blaDHA-1. Because these resistant strains infect humans and food animals, control measures are urgently needed.

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<![CDATA[Development of sandwich ELISA and lateral flow strip assays for diagnosing clinically significant snakebite in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed790d5eed0c484f143db

Taiwan is an island located in the south Pacific, a subtropical region that is home to 61 species of snakes. Of these snakes, four species—Trimeresurus stejnegeri, Protobothrops mucrosquamatus, Bungarus multicinctus and Naja atra—account for more than 90% of clinical envenomation cases. Currently, there are two types of bivalent antivenom: hemorrhagic antivenom against the venom of T. stejnegeri and P. mucrosquamatus, and neurotoxic antivenom for treatment of envenomation by B. multicinctus and N. atra. However, no suitable detection kits are available to precisely guide physicians in the use of antivenoms. Here, we sought to develop diagnostic assays for improving the clinical management of snakebite in Taiwan. A two-step affinity purification procedure was used to generate neurotoxic species-specific antibodies (NSS-Abs) and hemorrhagic species-specific antibodies (HSS-Abs) from antivenoms. These two SSAbs were then used to develop a sandwich ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and a lateral flow assay comprising two test lines. The resulting ELISAs and lateral flow strip assays could successfully discriminate between neurotoxic and hemorrhagic venoms. The limits of quantification (LOQ) of the ELISA for neurotoxic venoms and hemorrhagic venoms were determined to be 0.39 and 0.78 ng/ml, respectively, and the lateral flow strips were capable of detecting neurotoxic and hemorrhagic venoms at concentrations lower than 5 and 50 ng/ml, respectively, in 10–15 min. Tests of lateral flow strips in 21 clinical snakebite cases showed 100% specificity and 100% sensitivity for neurotoxic envenomation, whereas the sensitivity for detecting hemorrhagic envenomation samples was 36.4%. We herein presented a feasible strategy for developing a sensitive sandwich ELISA and lateral flow strip assay for detecting and differentiating venom proteins from hemorrhagic and neurotoxic snakes. A useful snakebite diagnostic guideline according to the lateral flow strip results and clinical symptoms was proposed to help physicians to use antivenoms appropriately. The two-test-line lateral flow strip assay could potentially be applied in an emergency room setting to help physicians diagnose and manage snakebite victims.

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<![CDATA[Psychometric and diagnostic properties of the Taiwan version of the Quick Mild Cognitive Impairment screen]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0ed775d5eed0c484f141bd

There is a need for a screening tool with capacities of accurate detection of early mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia and is suitable for use in a range of languages and cultural contexts. This research aims to evaluate the psychometric and diagnostic properties of the Taiwan version of Qmci (Qmci-TW) screen and to explore the discriminating ability of the Qmci-TW in differentiating among normal controls (NCs), MCI and dementia. Thirty-one participants with dementia and 36 with MCI and 35 NCs were recruited from a neurology department of regional hospital in Taiwan. Their results on the Qmci-TW, Taiwanese version of the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), and Traditional Chinese version of the Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) were compared. For analysis, we used Cronbach’s α, intraclass correlation coefficient, Spearman’s ρ, Kruskal–Wallis test, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, and multivariate analysis, as appropriate. The Qmci-TW exhibited satisfactory test–retest reliability, internal consistency, and interrater reliability as well as a strong positive correlation with results from the MoCA and MMSE. The optimal cut-off score on the Qmci-TW for differentiating MCI from NC was ≤ 51.5/100 and dementia from MCI was ≤ 31/100. The MoCA exhibited the highest accuracy in differentiating MCI from NC, followed by the Qmci-TW and then MMSE; whereas, the Qmci-TW and MMSE exhibited the same accuracy in differentiating dementia from MCI, followed by the MoCA. The Qmci-TW may be a useful clinical screening tool for a spectrum of cognitive impairments.

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<![CDATA[Risk prediction system for dengue transmission based on high resolution weather data]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c12cf48d5eed0c4849142c5

Background

Dengue is the fastest spreading vector-borne viral disease, resulting in an estimated 390 million infections annually. Precise prediction of many attributes related to dengue is still a challenge due to the complex dynamics of the disease. Important attributes to predict include: the risk of and risk factors for an infection; infection severity; and the timing and magnitude of outbreaks. In this work, we build a model for predicting the risk of dengue transmission using high-resolution weather data. The level of dengue transmission risk depends on the vector density, hence we predict risk via vector prediction.

Methods and findings

We make use of surveillance data on Aedes aegypti larvae collected by the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control as part of the national routine entomological surveillance of dengue, and weather data simulated using the IBM’s Containerized Forecasting Workflow, a high spatial- and temporal-resolution forecasting system. We propose a two stage risk prediction system for assessing dengue transmission via Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. In stage one, we perform a logistic regression to determine whether larvae are present or absent at the locations of interest using weather attributes as the explanatory variables. The results are then aggregated to an administrative division, with presence in the division determined by a threshold percentage of larvae positive locations resulting from a bootstrap approach. In stage two, larvae counts are estimated for the predicted larvae positive divisions from stage one, using a zero-inflated negative binomial model. This model identifies the larvae positive locations with 71% accuracy and predicts the larvae numbers producing a coverage probability of 98% over 95% nominal prediction intervals. This two-stage model improves the overall accuracy of identifying larvae positive locations by 29%, and the mean squared error of predicted larvae numbers by 9.6%, against a single-stage approach which uses a zero-inflated binomial regression approach.

Conclusions

We demonstrate a risk prediction system using high resolution weather data can provide valuable insight to the distribution of risk over a geographical region. The work also shows that a two-stage approach is beneficial in predicting risk in non-homogeneous regions, where the risk is localised.

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<![CDATA[Social media popularity and election results: A study of the 2016 Taiwanese general election]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c0841f0d5eed0c484fcb37b

This paper investigates the relationship between candidates’ online popularity and election results, as a step towards creating a model to forecast the results of Taiwanese elections even in the absence of reliable opinion polls on a district-by-district level. 253 of 354 legislative candidates of single-member districts in Taiwan’s 2016 general election had active public Facebook pages during the election period. Hypothesizing that the relative popularity of candidates’ Facebook posts will be positively related to their election results, I calculated each candidate’s Like Ratio (i.e. proportions of all likes on Facebook posts obtained by candidates in their district). In order to have a measure of online interest without the influence of subjective positivity, I similarly calculated the proportion of daily average page views for each candidate’s Wikipedia page. I ran a regression analysis, incorporating data on results of previous elections and available opinion poll data. I found the models could describe the result of the election well and reject the null hypothesis. My models successfully predicted 80% of winners in single-member districts and were effective in districts without local opinion polls with a predictive power approaching that of traditional opinion polls. The models also showed good accuracy when run on data for the 2014 Taiwanese municipal mayors election.

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<![CDATA[Universal health insurance, health inequality and oral cancer in Taiwan]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bd2323f40307c60de5e996e

Introduction

The introduction of universal health insurance coverage aims to provide equal accessibility and affordability of health care, but whether such a policy eliminates health inequalities has not been conclusively determined. This research aims to examine the healthcare outcomes of oral cancer and determine whether the universal coverage system in Taiwan has reduced health inequality.

Methods

Linking the databases of the National Cancer Registry with the National Mortality Registry in Taiwan, we stratified patients with oral squamous cell carcinoma by gender and income to estimate the incidence rate, cumulative incidence rate aged from 20 to 79 (CIR20-79), life expectancy, and expected years of life lost (EYLL). The difficulties with asymmetries and short follow-up periods were resolved through applying survival analysis extrapolation methods.

Results

While all people showed a general improvement in life expectancy after the introduction of the NHI, the estimated change in EYLL’s of the high-, middle-, and low-income female patients were found to have +0.3, -0.5 and -7 years of EYLL, respectively, indicating a reduction in health inequality. Improvements for the male patients were unremarkable. There was no drop in the CIR20-79 of oral cancer in disadvantaged groups as in those with higher incomes.

Conclusions

Universal coverage alone may not reduce health inequality across different income groups for oral cancer unless effective preventive measures are implemented for economically disadvantaged regions.

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<![CDATA[Pre-existing comorbidity modify emergency room visit for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in association with ambient environments]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bb530d840307c24312bb0b3

Background

This study evaluated risks of emergency room visit (ERV) for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) in 2005–2011, among patients with cardiologic and metabolic syndromes (CMS), in association with ambient environments.

Methods

Pooled and area-specific weather related cumulative six-day (lags 0 to 5) relative risks (RRs) and confidence intervals (CIs) of ERV for OHCA were evaluated for CMS cases, using distributed lag nonlinear models and multivariate meta-analytical second-stage model in association with the daily average temperatures and daily concentrations of air pollutants.

Results

ERV risk increased as average temperature dropped to <27°C. At the mean temperature of 14°C, the cumulative six-day RRs of ERV were 1.73 (95% CI: 1.22, 2.46) for all OHCA patients, 1.74 (95% CI: 1.06, 2.84) for OHCA patients younger than 65 years old, and 1.99 (95% CI: 1.03, 3.81) for subjects with pre-existing hypertension. High temperature was also associated with elevated ERV of OHCA. Increased ERV risks in cases with pre-existing hypertension and diabetes mellitus were also associated with concentrations of air pollutants in northern Taiwan.

Conclusions

Our data provided evidences to clinicians, emerging medical services and public health that the ERV risk for OHCA patients is greater at low temperature than at high temperature. Patients with cardio and metabolic disorders need to pay greater attention to low temperature and avoid heat wave.

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<![CDATA[Disease and economic burden for rare diseases in Taiwan: A longitudinal study using Taiwan’s National Health Insurance Research Database]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5bae98da40307c0c23a1c147

Background

High-cost orphan drugs are becoming increasingly available to treat rare diseases that affect a relatively small population. Little attention has been given to the prevalence of rare diseases and their health-related economic burden in Taiwan.

Objectives

This study examined the national trends in the prevalence of rare diseases and their health-related economic burden (including medication costs) in Taiwan.

Methods

Rare disease-related claims data from 2003–2014 (12 years) from the National Health Insurance Research Database were used in this study. We used a time series analysis to assess trends in the yearly rates of treated patients with rare diseases, overall healthcare use, and expenditures, including drugs.

Results

During the 12-year study period, the estimated prevalence of rare diseases increased from 10.57 to 33.21 per 100,000 population, an average rate of a 19.46% increase per year. Total health expenditures for treatment of rare diseases increased from US$18.65 million to US$137.44 million between 2003 and 2014, accounting for 0.68% of the total national health expenditures in 2014. Drug expenditures for treatment of rare diseases increased from US$13.24 million to US$121.98 million between 2003 and 2014, which accounted for 71.00% and 88.75% of the health expenditures for patients with rare diseases in 2003 and 2014, respectively. In 2014, we found a 20.43-fold difference in average health expenditures and a 69.46-fold difference in average drug expenditures between patients with rare diseases and the overall population.

Conclusions

The prevalence of rare diseases and the related economic burden have grown substantially in Taiwan over the past 12 years, and these trends are likely to continue. Drug expenditures accounted for almost 90% of health expenditures for rare diseases. Further analyses are underway to examine the economic burden of individual rare diseases.

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