40 research outputs found

    An innovative tool to assess the functional resilience of a school system: learning from the COVID-19 pandemic

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    IntroductionPreparing the school system for a future crisis requires the ability to examine the effectiveness of schools’ functioning during distant learning and their level of preparedness for future crises. Functional resilience (FR) is defined as the ability to maintain vital operational continuity in the face of disturbance. The study objectives included to develop a FR index of schools and to evaluate and validate it.MethodsTo enable examination of the study objectives, the study design included tool development, followed by a validation process among 20 content experts. Concurrently, an eDelphi process for building an inclusive index, based on various components of resilience was conducted. The final study tool consists of four tailored questionnaires to examine perceptions of key stakeholders, i.e.- teachers, principals, parents, and highschool students regarding communication, psychosocial aspects, perceived stress, infrastructure, resources, pedagogic support, digital literacy, and perceived FR. Using an internet panel, the tool was disseminated cross-sectionally among the four groups of stakeholders.ResultsThe results showed high reliability of most of the scales developed. Furthermore, a high consensus level was reached on the relative importance of each component/ stakeholder to the schools FR. The findings further suggest that there were no significant differences in the composite FR score based on characteristics such as school type/ size/geographic location. However, the findings revealed interesting variations among stakeholders, with findings suggesting greater vulnerability among some.DiscussionTo increase resilience and preparedness for future adversities that school systems may face, it is recommended to periodically incorporate an assessment based on a structured tool

    Delayed Effect of Acupuncture Treatment in OA of the Knee: A Blinded, Randomized, Controlled Trial

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    To assess the efficacy in providing improved function and pain relief by administering 8 weeks of acupuncture as adjunctive therapy to standard care in elderly patients with OA of the knee. This randomized, controlled, blinded trial was conducted on 55 patients with OA of the knee. Forty-one patients completed the study (26 females, 15 males, mean age ± SD 71.7 ± 8.6 years). Patients were randomly divided into an intervention group that received biweekly acupuncture treatment (n = 28) and a control group that received sham acupuncture (n = 27), both in addition to standard therapy, for example, NSAIDS, cyclooxygenase-2 inhibitors, acetaminophen, intra-articular hyaluronic acid and steroid injections. Primary outcomes measures were changes in the Knee Society Score (KSS) knee score and in KSS function and pain ratings at therapy onset, at 8 weeks (closure of study) and at 12 weeks (1 month after last treatment). Secondary outcomes were patient satisfaction and validity of sham acupuncture. There was significant improvement in all three scores in both groups after 8 and 12 weeks compared with baseline (P < .05). Significant differences between the intervention and control groups in the KSS knee score (P = .036) was apparent only after 12 weeks. Patient satisfaction was higher in the intervention group. Adjunctive acupuncture treatment seems to provide added improvement to standard care in elderly patients with OA of the knee. Future research should determine the optimal duration of acupuncture treatment in the context of OA

    Reaching 80 Years of Age: Clinical, Behavioral, and Psychosocial Related Risk Factors in a Large Cohort of Israeli Working Men

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    The objective of this study was to estimate the probability of long-term overall survival based on total number of risk factors (RF). We also sought to examine the role of midlife clinical, behavioral, and psychosocial predictors of longevity in a large cohort of Israeli men. This study was based on the Israeli Ischemic Heart Disease (IIHD) cohort that included over 10,000 men who were followed up for mortality over more than four decades. During the 43 years of follow-up, 4634 (46.1%) men survived to 80 years of age or older. We considered cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, high systolic blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, low socioeconomic status, and serious family problems as RF at ages 40&ndash;65. Cox proportional hazards regression models, with age as the time scale, were constructed to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) for failure to survive 80 years of age. Compared with men free of all the above RF, those with one identified RF (HR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.42&ndash;1.75) and counterparts with two identified RF (HR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.96&ndash;2.43) were at a significantly greater risk of death before 80. Additional RF further increased the risk of early mortality (HR = 3.62, 95% CI: 1.50&ndash;8.73 for men with 5 RF). The results suggest a role of physiological, behavioral, and psychological risk factors at midlife in predicting longevity

    The Use of Smart Devices for Mental Health Diagnosis and Care

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    In 2019, more than 970 million people worldwide suffered from a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders as the leading culprits [...

    Resilience, Stress, Well-Being, and Sleep Quality in Multiple Sclerosis

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    (1) Background: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive, immune-mediated disorder that affects the Central Nervous System and is the most common cause of non-traumatic neurological disability in young adults. The study aimed to assess the levels of stress, resilience, well-being, sleep quality, and fatigue in Israeli people with MS (PwMS), and to examine the associations between these factors and the sociodemographic and clinical characteristics. These factors had never before been studied in conjunction in PwMS, nor had they been systematically addressed in Israel, the unique geopolitical situation of which may pose unique challenges. (2) Methods: This was a survey-based, cross-sectional study conducted through an Internet platform. (3) Results: Israeli PwMS who participated in the study were experiencing relatively high levels of stress and low resilience, poor sleep quality, and severe fatigue. The analysis revealed significant associations between resilience and stress, well-being, and anxiety, as well as stress and well-being, resilience, sleep quality, fatigue, and Clinically Isolated Syndrome (CIS). (4) Conclusions: the Israeli PwMS who participated in the study were experiencing higher levels of stress, lower resilience and worse sleep quality than PwMS in other countries, as compared to results previously reported in literature. The findings of this study ought to serve as a call to action for the MS care providers in Israel and warrant further research into the possible causes of the phenomenon and strategies to address it

    Immune Responses to SARS-CoV2 Mirror Societal Responses to COVID-19: Identifying Factors Underlying a Successful Viral Response

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    The adaptive immune system was sculpted to protect individuals, societies, and species since its inception, developing effective strategies to cope with emerging pathogens. Here, we show that similar successful or failed dynamics govern personal and societal responses to a pathogen as SARS-CoV2. Understanding the self-similarity between the health-protective measures taken to protect the individual or the society, help identify critical factors underlying the effectiveness of societal response to a pathogenic challenge. These include (1) the quick employment of adaptive-like, pathogen-specific strategies to cope with the threat including the development of “memory-like responses”; (2) enabling productive coaction and interaction within the society by employing effective decision-making processes; and (3) the quick inhibition of positive feedback loops generated by hazardous or false information. Learning from adaptive anti-pathogen immune responses, policymakers and scientists could reduce the direct damages associated with COVID-19 and avert an avoidable “social cytokine storm” with its ensuing socioeconomic damage

    Excess Body Weight and Long-Term Incidence of Lung and Colon Cancer in Men; Follow-Up Study of 43 Years

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    Most evidence for an association between excess body weight and cancer risk has been derived from studies of relatively short duration with little reference to the effect on tumor site. This study was designed to evaluate the association between categories of body mass index (BMI: &lt;20, 20–25, 25–30, and &gt;30 kg/m2) and the incidence of colon and lung cancer over 43 years of follow-up (1963–2006), in 10,043 men from the Israeli Ischemic Heart Disease (IIHD) prospective cohort (mean age at baseline 49.3 years, mean BMI 25.7 kg/m2). Data from the Israel National Cancer Registry was linked with the IIHD, and the Cox proportional hazards regression model was applied to analyze the relative risks for lung and colon cancer across BMI categories at baseline. Three hundred cases of lung cancer (2.9%) and 328 cases of colon cancer (3.3%) were diagnosed in the total population. Applying a multivariate model adjusted for age, smoking intensity, and total cholesterol, higher BMI category was associated with an increased risk of colon cancer [HR = 1.22 (95% CI 1.02–1.45)], and with a decreased risk for lung cancer [HR = 0.66 (95% CI 0.56–0.77)]. In this long-term follow-up study over four decades, we observed a consistent dose-response pattern between BMI and increased risk for colon cancer, but decreased risk for lung cancer. Specific associations between excess body weight and cancer risk may suggest different patterns of body fat and cancer incidence at a given site

    Dissatisfaction with Married Life in Men Is Related to Increased Stroke and All-Cause Mortality

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    The objectives of this study were to assess the association between marital satisfaction and specific and all-cause mortality, and to examine whether this association is independent of other known risk factors for early mortality. In this prospective cohort, male Israeli civil servants and municipal employees (n = 8945) underwent an extensive appraisal of health and behavioral patterns and were followed for more than three decades. Cox proportional hazards analysis was used to estimate the relative risks for stroke and all-cause mortality over time across marital satisfaction categories. During the 32 years of follow-up, 5736 (64.1%) died. Dissatisfaction with married life was related to increased long-term risk of stroke (HR = 1.94; 95%CI, 1.41–2.90) and all-cause mortality (HR = 1.21; 95%CI, 1.04–1.41). The latter association was of a similar order of magnitude to other known risk factors for early mortality, such as people with a history of smoking (HR = 1.37; 95%CI, 1.30–1.48) compared to people who have never smoked and for physically inactive participants (HR = 1.21; 95%CI, 1.14–1.37) compared to physically active participants. The results of our study suggest that marital dissatisfaction may predict an elevated risk of all-cause mortality. Assessing marital satisfaction and measuring the health benefits of marital education programs for couples should be implemented as part of health promotion strategies for the general population

    Health Literacy, Primary Care Health Care Providers, and Communication

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    Background: Decision-makers and health professionals face challenges in providing quality medical services while optimizing diminishing resources. Health literacy is associated with health outcomes and health system costs and influences the way in which communication is managed in the health system. Objective: This study examined the association between the level of health literacy of service providers in the community, their awareness of health literacy, their attitudes toward health literacy promotion, and the way in which they communicate with patients with low health literacy. Methods: A cross-sectional analytic study was conducted among 50 physicians and 50 administrative staff members in community clinics of the Maccabi Health Maintenance Organization in Israel. Key Results: Significant positive associations were found (p < .05) between the level of health literacy, the attitudes toward health literacy promotion, and the degree to which special communication techniques were used when treating patients with low health literacy. Significant associations were found (p < .01) between the level of awareness, as well as the attitudes toward health literacy promotion and the degree to which communication techniques were applied. Higher health literacy is associated with more favorable attitudes toward health literacy promotion. Additionally, a significant positive association (p < .01) was found between the attitudes toward health literacy promotion and the use of communication techniques. No mediation was found among the research variables. Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that examines health literacy among physicians. The results indicate gaps in the awareness of, and attitudes toward, health literacy among community health care providers, thus suggesting the need for developing and applying guidelines for improving efforts of health system providers regarding health literacy and for applying recommended tools for health communication

    Reaching 80 Years of Age: Clinical, Behavioral, and Psychosocial Related Risk Factors in a Large Cohort of Israeli Working Men

    No full text
    The objective of this study was to estimate the probability of long-term overall survival based on total number of risk factors (RF). We also sought to examine the role of midlife clinical, behavioral, and psychosocial predictors of longevity in a large cohort of Israeli men. This study was based on the Israeli Ischemic Heart Disease (IIHD) cohort that included over 10,000 men who were followed up for mortality over more than four decades. During the 43 years of follow-up, 4634 (46.1%) men survived to 80 years of age or older. We considered cigarette smoking, diabetes mellitus, high systolic blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia, low socioeconomic status, and serious family problems as RF at ages 40–65. Cox proportional hazards regression models, with age as the time scale, were constructed to estimate the hazard ratios (HRs) for failure to survive 80 years of age. Compared with men free of all the above RF, those with one identified RF (HR = 1.58, 95% CI: 1.42–1.75) and counterparts with two identified RF (HR = 2.18, 95% CI: 1.96–2.43) were at a significantly greater risk of death before 80. Additional RF further increased the risk of early mortality (HR = 3.62, 95% CI: 1.50–8.73 for men with 5 RF). The results suggest a role of physiological, behavioral, and psychological risk factors at midlife in predicting longevity
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