211 research outputs found

    Measurement of volatile organic compounds emitted in libraries and archives : an inferential indicator of paper decay?

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    A sampling campaign of indoor air was conducted to assess the typical concentration of indoor air pollutants in 8 National Libraries and Archives across the U.K. and Ireland. At each site, two locations were chosen that contained various objects in the collection (paper, parchment, microfilm, photographic material etc.) and one location was chosen to act as a sampling reference location (placed in a corridor or entrance hallway). Of the locations surveyed, no measurable levels of sulfur dioxide were detected and low formaldehyde vapour (< 18 μg m-3) was measured throughout. Acetic and formic acids were measured in all locations with, for the most part, higher acetic acid levels in areas with objects compared to reference locations. A large variety of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) was measured in all locations, in variable concentrations, however furfural was the only VOC to be identified consistently at higher concentration in locations with paper-based collections, compared to those locations without objects. To cross-reference the sampling data with VOCs emitted directly from books, further studies were conducted to assess emissions from paper using solid phase microextraction fibres (SPME) fibres and a newly developed method of analysis; collection of VOCs onto a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) elastomer strip. In this study acetic acid and furfural levels were consistently higher in concentration when measured in locations which contained paper-based items. It is therefore suggested that both acetic acid and furfural (possibly also trimethylbenzenes, ethyltoluene, decane and camphor) may be present in the indoor atmosphere as a result of cellulose degradation and together may act as an inferential non-invasive marker for the deterioration of paper. Direct VOC sampling was successfully achieved using SPME fibres and analytes found in the indoor air were also identified as emissive by-products from paper. Finally a new non-invasive, method of VOC collection using PDMS strips was shown to be an effective, economical and efficient way of examining VOC emissions directly from the pages of a book and confirmed that toluene, furfural, benzaldehyde, ethylhexanol, nonanal and decanal were the most concentrated VOCs emitted directly from paper measured in this study

    Asthma management in British South Asian children: an application of the candidacy framework to a qualitative understanding of barriers to effective and accessible asthma care

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    Abstract Background In the UK, people of South Asian origin with asthma experience excess morbidity, with hospitalisation rates three times those of the majority White population and evidence suggests that South Asian children with asthma are more likely to suffer uncontrolled symptoms and hospital admissions with acute asthma compared to White British children. This paper draws on data from The Management and Interventions for Asthma (MIA) study to identify the operation of barriers to optimal care and good asthma control for South Asian children. Methods The MIA study followed a multi-phase, iterative, participatory design, underpinned by the socio-ecological model. Findings presented here are from face-to face, semi-structured interviews with South Asian (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin) parents and carers of a child with asthma (n = 49). Interviews were conducted in English or relevant South Asian languages using specially trained community facilitators. Data were transcribed verbatim and analysed according to the principles of interpretive thematic analysis, facilitated by the use of NVivo. Results Seven dimensions of candidacy are identified: identification of candidacy; navigation; the permeability of asthma services; appearances at health services; adjudications; offers and resistance and operating conditions in the local production of candidacy. The analysis demonstrates several ways in which a potential lack of alignment between the priorities and competencies of British South Asian families and the organization of health services combine to create vulnerabilities and difficulties in effectively managing childhood asthma. Conclusions Healthcare systems have a responsibility to develop services that are sensitive and appropriate to the needs of their communities. In South Asian communities, further efforts are required to raise awareness of symptoms and effectively communicate how, when and where to seek help for children. There is a need for improved diagnosis and consistent, effectively communicated information, especially regarding medication. Parents made several suggestions for improving services: presentations about asthma at easily accessible community venues; an advice centre or telephone helpline to answer queries; opportunities for sharing experiences with other families; having information provided in South Asian languages; longer GP appointments; extended use of asthma nurses; and better education for healthcare professionals to ensure consistency of care and advice

    The Edinburgh Addiction Cohort: recruitment and follow-up of a primary care based sample of injection drug users and non drug-injecting controls.

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    BACKGROUND: Injection drug use is an important public health problem. Epidemiological understanding of this problem is incomplete as longitudinal studies in the general population are difficult to undertake. In particular little is known about early life risk factors for later drug injection or about the life course of injection once established including the influence of medical and social interventions. METHODS: Individuals thought to be drug injectors were identified through a single primary medical care facility in Edinburgh between 1980 and 2006 and flagged with the General Registry Office. From October 2005 - October 2007, these cases were traced and invited to undergo interview assessment covering early life experience, substance use, health and social histories. Age and sex matched controls for confirmed cases (alive and dead) were later recruited through the same health facility. Controls for living cases completed the same structured interview schedule. Data were also collected on cases and controls through linkage to routine primary care records, death registrations, hospital contact statistics and police and prison records. All interviews were conducted with the knowledge and permission of the current GP. RESULTS: The initial cohort size was 814. At start of follow up 227 had died. Of the remaining 587: 20 had no contact details and 5 had embarked from the UK; 40 declined participation; 38 did not respond to invitations; 14 were excluded by their GP on health or social grounds and 22 had their contact details withheld by administrative authorities. 448 were interviewed of whom 16 denied injection and were excluded. Of 191 dead cases with medical records 4 were excluded as their records contained no evidence of injection. 5 interviewed cases died before follow up was concluded though these individuals were counted as "live" cases. 1 control per case (dead and alive) was recruited. Linkage to Scottish Morbidity Records data (available from 1981 onwards) on general acute inpatient and day cases, mental health inpatient and day cases and cancer was provided by Information Services, NHS Scotland, for all cases interviewed and all dead cases. The Scottish Prison Service provided records for 198 (46%) of cases interviewed, 48 cases not interviewed and 34 (18%) of dead cases. For a sub-sample of 100 interviewees a search of the Lothian and Borders police database was made for official criminal records and 94 had criminal records. Data linkage for controls is ongoing. CONCLUSIONS: Injecting drug users recruited from a community setting can be successfully followed-up through interviews and record linkage. Information from injecting cases is being analysed in terms of injecting patterns and possible influences on these. Comparisons between cases and controls will allow identification of possibly modifiable early life risk factors for drug injection and will also clarify the burden of disease associated with injection and the influence on this of different health and social interventions.RIGHTS : This article is licensed under the BioMed Central licence at http://www.biomedcentral.com/about/license which is similar to the 'Creative Commons Attribution Licence'. In brief you may : copy, distribute, and display the work; make derivative works; or make commercial use of the work - under the following conditions: the original author must be given credit; for any reuse or distribution, it must be made clear to others what the license terms of this work are

    Survival and cessation in injecting drug users: prospective observational study of outcomes and effect of opiate substitution treatment

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    Objectives To examine survival and long term cessation of injecting in a cohort of drug users and to assess the influence of opiate substitution treatment on these outcomes

    A comparative study of selected sorbents for sampling of aromatic VOCs from indoor air

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    Indoor air canbecome pollutedwith VOCs, and understanding the factors which affect adsorption of VOCs from indoor air is important for: (i) the accurate measurement of VOCs, and (ii) to apply mitigation strategies when high analyte concentrations are measured. In this study four VOCs (toluene, ethylbenzene, cumene and dichlorobenzene) were generated as a constant and controlled polluted air stream of VOCs from a dynamic atmospheric chamber. The effects of relative humidity, and sampling flow rate, on adsorption onto Tenax TA and the relatively new silica adsorbents SBA-15 or MCM-41 were studied

    High school learner’s interest and readiness to start a business: evidence from South African schools

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    Given the growing interest in entrepreneurship education and the quest to provide entrepreneurial skills to all including the youths, the study investigates high school learners’ interest and readiness to start a business in South Africa. A group of high school learners (n=403) from select high schools in Cape Town was purposively sampled using self-administrated questionnaires while personal interviews were held with all Business Studies teachers in the participating schools (n=9). The results of this study indicate that 52% of the learners are interested in starting a business, while 73% of them were from moderate income schools. A chi square test was performed to determine if the race and income level of the school influenced learners’ responses, and we found no statistical significance (P \u3e 0.01). An overwhelming majority of the learners (73%) was of the view that they could start a business with the help of the knowledge and skills gained in the entrepreneurship education received. Suggestions on how to increase high school learners’ entrepreneurial intent and readiness to start a business upon leaving high school include the implementation of frequent learner visits to businesses as well as inviting entrepreneurs to give talks to learners. The goal of any scientific social enquiry such as the one pursued in this study, is to produce knowledge that assists in distilling viewpoints that express accurate necessities for socioeconomic development. Therefore, the practical implications of the study reside in the reinforcement of the need for a curriculum that addresses entrepreneurship education in South African high schools

    Key considerations when involving children in health intervention design: reflections on working in partnership with South Asian children in the UK on a tailored Management and Intervention for Asthma (MIA) study

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    Participatory research is an empowering process through which individuals can increase control over their lives, and allows researchers/clinicians to gain a clearer understanding of a child’s needs. However, involving children in participatory research is still relatively novel, despite national and international mandates to engage children in decision making. This paper draws on the learnings from designing the Management and Intervention for Asthma (MIA) study, which used a collaborative participatory method to develop an intervention-planning framework for South Asian children with asthma. There are currently 1 million children in the UK receiving treatment for asthma, making it one of the most prevalent chronic childhood illnesses. Symptoms of asthma are often underrecognized in children from South Asian communities in the UK, contributing to increased disease severity and increased attendance at the emergency department compared to White British children. Despite this, ethnic minorities are often excluded from research and thus absent from the ‘evidence base’, making it essential to hear their perspectives if health inequalities are to be successfully addressed. We worked alongside healthcare professionals, community facilitators, parents, and children to identify the key concerns and priorities they had and then designed the framework around their needs. Reflecting on the process, we identified several key considerations that need to be addressed when co-developing interventions with children. These include the power dynamics between the parent/researcher and child; navigating the consent/assent process; how parental involvement might affect the research; establishing a convenient time and location; how to keep children engaged throughout the process; tailoring activities to different levels of ability; and accounting for cultural differences. These factors were considered by the researchers when designing the study, however, implementing them was not without its challenges and highlighted the need for researchers to develop expertise in this field. Tailoring existing research methods allowed us to explore children’s perceptions, priorities, and experiences of illness more effectively. However, involving children in participatory research is a complex undertaking, and researchers need to ensure that they have the expertise, time, and resources necessary to be able to fully support the needs of child participants before deciding to commit to this approach

    One size does not fit all: Psychometric properties of the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ) among adolescents and young adults in Zimbabwe

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    Poor mental health among is a major contributor to the burden of disease among adolescents. For this paper we use cross sectional survey data among a sample of 2,768 adolescent (aged 15-19) and 2,027 young adults (aged 20-24) living in Manicaland Province, Zimbabwe to calibrate the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ) against the Self Report Questionnaire (SRQ-20) and examined the performance indices of the SSQ based on various cut points for classification. The SSQ depression screening tool performed best with a cut point of five or more positive responses out of 14 questions, resulting in the following validation coefficients for adolescents and young adults respectively: AUC (0.83, 088); kappa statistic (0.64, 0.66); sensitivity (0.89, 0.95); specificity (0.94, 0.92); PPV (0.45, 0.55); NVP (0.99, 1.00). The modified SSQ cut point of five or more substantially increase the depression estimates for both age groups to align more closely with the SRQ-20 estimates. The prevalence of depression increased from 3.5% to 13.2% among adolescents and from 5.1% to 16.2% among young adults based on these revisions to the SSQ. Using a multivariate logistic regression model we isolated particular characteristics to test their association with the odds of being misclassified as non-depressed based on the conventional SSQ cut point. Findings suggest that adolescents who were orphaned (OR 1.48) or ever had sex (2.13) were at a significantly greater odds of being a false negative than their counterparts. Secondary education was significantly associated with false negative misclassification among young adults (OR 2.11). When retested using the modified cut point of five or greater, associations with misclassification disappeared. This study highlight that not all depression scales are appropriate for use among adolescents given their unique developmental stage. While using culturally-appropriate scales such as the SSQ is important, we strongly recommend modification to the cut point in order to improve adolescent depression detection. Alternatively we recommend continued use of the standardized cross-cultural SRQ given it continued success at classify cases of depression across age groups

    Effects of unconditional and conditional cash transfers on child health and development in Zimbabwe: a cluster-randomised trial

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    SummaryBackgroundCash-transfer programmes can improve the wellbeing of vulnerable children, but few studies have rigorously assessed their effectiveness in sub-Saharan Africa. We investigated the effects of unconditional cash transfers (UCTs) and conditional cash transfers (CCTs) on birth registration, vaccination uptake, and school attendance in children in Zimbabwe.MethodsWe did a matched, cluster-randomised controlled trial in ten sites in Manicaland, Zimbabwe. We divided each study site into three clusters. After a baseline survey between July, and September, 2009, clusters in each site were randomly assigned to UCT, CCT, or control, by drawing of lots from a hat. Eligible households contained children younger than 18 years and satisfied at least one other criteria: head of household was younger than 18 years; household cared for at least one orphan younger than 18 years, a disabled person, or an individual who was chronically ill; or household was in poorest wealth quintile. Between January, 2010, and January, 2011, households in UCT clusters collected payments every 2 months. Households in CCT clusters could receive the same amount but were monitored for compliance with several conditions related to child wellbeing. Eligible households in all clusters, including control clusters, had access to parenting skills classes and received maize seed and fertiliser in December, 2009, and August, 2010. Households and individuals delivering the intervention were not masked, but data analysts were. The primary endpoints were proportion of children younger than 5 years with a birth certificate, proportion younger than 5 years with up-to-date vaccinations, and proportion aged 6–12 years attending school at least 80% of the time. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00966849.Findings1199 eligible households were allocated to the control group, 1525 to the UCT group, and 1319 to the CCT group. Compared with control clusters, the proportion of children aged 0–4 years with birth certificates had increased by 1·5% (95% CI −7·1 to 10·1) in the UCT group and by 16·4% (7·8–25·0) in the CCT group by the end of the intervention period. The proportions of children aged 0–4 years with complete vaccination records was 3·1% (−3·8 to 9·9) greater in the UCT group and 1·8% (−5·0 to 8·7) greater in the CCT group than in the control group. The proportions of children aged 6–12 years who attended school at least 80% of the time was 7·2% (0·8–13·7) higher in the UCT group and 7·6% (1·2–14·1) in the CCT group than in the control group.InterpretationOur results support strategies to integrate cash transfers into social welfare programming in sub-Saharan Africa, but further evidence is needed for the comparative effectiveness of UCT and CCT programmes in this region.FundingWellcome Trust, the World Bank through the Partnership for Child Development, and the Programme of Support for the Zimbabwe National Action Plan for Orphans and Vulnerable Children
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