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Issue 174 - 23 March 2011


World Tuberculosis Day - 24 March 2011


Articles from Harvard Mental Health Letter

1. Breaking free from nicotine dependence: A combination of strategies boosts the odds of success
Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p1-3
The article offers strategies on how to remove addiction to nicotine. The brain is provided with nicotine without exposure to harmful substances in cigarette smoke through nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Fast relief of withdrawal symptoms is provided by the nicotine nasal spray. Neural receptors of the desire to smoke are triggered as nicotine by the antidepressant bupropion. INSET: A future for anti-smoking vaccines?..

2. Medications for Alzheimer's disease: Benefits of currently approved drugs are limited, but research continues
Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p4-5
The article discusses the treatment of Alzheimer's disease which is expected to contract 7.7 million people in 2030. It notes that cholinesterase inhibitors have improved the cognitive function of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's. It mentions that glutamatic acid, which can be toxic to nerve cells, is blocked by the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) of memantine..

3. Treating intermittent explosive disorder: Emerging data show medication and cognitive behavioral therapy may help some patients
Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p6
The article discusses the treatment of intermittent explosive disorder (IED) which has an epidemiological data that is broadly overlapping with disorders featuring impulsive and aggressive behavior. It notes that low serotonin activity and damage to the prefrontal cortex can result in impulsive aggression. It mentions that antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs can prevent rage outbursts..

4. Antidepressant may help ease hot flashes
Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p7
: The article focuses on the study in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which states that the severity of hot flashes can be lessened by the antidepressant escitalopram. Participants of the study who took the drug no longer had hot flashes after eight weeks. Several side effects such as fatigue, insomnia, and dry mouth were experienced by seven participants who took escitalopram..

5. Large study finds that the combination of diabetes and depression ups mortality risk
Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p7
The article focuses on the Nurses' Health Study which states that the risk of premature death is significantly increased by the combination of depression and diabetes. Poor management of blood sugar can result in depression. Unhealthy behaviors linked to cardiovascular disease such as smoking, poor diet, and lack of exercise can aggravate depression and diabetes..

6. [Commentary on] A biomarker for PTSD risk?
By Miller, Michael C. Harvard Mental Health Letter, Apr 2011, Vol. 27 Issue 10: p8
: In this article the author discusses the study in the Netherlands which uses glucocorticoid receptors (GR) as a biomarker for the risk of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He states that the GR in Dutch soldiers were measured before and after deployment into Afghanistan. The author notes that PTSD is not contracted by most people who experience combat trauma..

Articles from:
Psychology, Health & Medicine journal

7. Relationship between depressive symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors among selected Latino patients at a community clinic
By Glassy, Crystal M et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p117-126
: The objective of this study was to explore the relationship between severity of depression and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors among selected Latino patients within a primary care setting. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of 164 low-income Latino patients at San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC) who had been recruited into a mental health program between January 2007 and March 2008. Patients were between the ages of 18 and 83 years, 54 were males and 109 females. Patients were screened using the 9-item patient health questionnaire (PHQ-9), a standardized instrument used to measure depression severity. We used regression models to analyze the relationship between severity of depression and CVD risk factors. Seventy-eight percent of the patients had at least mild depression based on PHQ-9 score categories. Significant age-adjusted pairwise associations were found with CVD risk factors; body mass index (BMI), diabetes status, serum cholesterol level, and serum triglyceride level were all associated with depression severity score. Regression models indicated that diabetic patients on anti-depressive medication with higher BMI scores and triglyceride levels had significantly higher depression severity scores. Clinicians should be made aware that depressive symptoms may impede efforts to modify BMI, serum triglycerides, anti-depression medication, and diabetes among Latino patients. They should, therefore, screen and treat depression among Latinos at risk to CVD. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

8. Mental health concepts in Southeast Asia: Diagnostic considerations and treatment implications
By Haque, Amber. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p127-134
: Despite a dramatic growth of Asian communities in North America, the cultural norms, values, and practices of Asians are generally unknown in the professional community, posing a significant challenge in diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems. This article addresses the major mental health concepts prevalent among Southeast Asians and outlines the essential steps that the mainstream clinicians should take in dealing with this minority population. The five areas of cultural formulations outlined in the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) Text Revision (2000) (4th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association) are highlighted and implications for mental health practice and research addressed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

9. Forms of social support and their relationships to mental health in HIV-positive persons
By Reich, Warren A. et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p135-145
A baseline assessment for an HIV health services study recruited 626 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in New York city who participated in an interview querying social support, health status, substance use, and mental health. Data were modeled using hierarchical classes (HICLAS) analysis. HICLAS discriminated items reflecting general support and assistance vs. support from an important person in one's life who was named in addition to other family members and friends. HICLAS then identified respondents who reported that they had general support and assistance, support from an important person, both types, or neither type of support. Having one or more important persons as part of the respondent's social network was associated with more positive mental (but not physical) health than having only general support and assistance, or no support at all. Results argue for differentiating support obtained through one's relationship with an important person. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR

10. A study of coping in long-term testicular cancer survivors.
By Rutskij, Robert et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p146-158
The primary objective of this study was to explore approach and avoiding coping strategies in long-term testicular cancer survivors (TCSs) as self-rated by the brief approach/avoidance coping questionnaire (BACQ). As the BACQ is a new instrument, the second objective was to examine critical psychometric properties of the instrument. The third objective was to examine the correlation between the BACQ and established self-rating instruments commonly used in psychosocial oncology to explore if the BACQ added an additional perspective to the characterization of TCSs. In this cross-sectional questionnaire study, 1326 Norwegian TCSs at a mean of 11.3 years (SD 4.2, median 10.7, range 5-21 years) after diagnosis gave information about their medical and social situation, distress, fatigue, quality of life, self-esteem, and neuroticism. The BACQ ratings of the TCSs were compared to those of a control sample of men from the general population (N = 566; NORM). Among TCSs 84% (95% CI 82-86%) used more approach coping, and this proportion did not differ significantly from 86% among NORM (95% CI 83-89%). The mean BACQ approach/avoidance score of TCSs were similar to that observed in NORM adjusted for age and work status (p = 0.33). The BACQ approach/avoidance score showed only moderate associations with established instruments used in psychosocial oncology. TCSs with more avoidance coping (N = 216) differed significantly from TCSs with more approach coping (N = 1110) by showing a lower proportion in paired relations and in paid work, more somatic and mental morbidity, more fatigue and poorer quality of life and self-esteem. In multivariate analyses lower self-esteem, higher cancer-related avoidance, more depression and neuroticism were most strongly associated with avoidant coping. In conclusion, we found that TCSs used similar coping patterns as NORM, avoidant coping was associated with significantly more problems than observed among TCSs who used more approach coping. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

11. Measurement of internalized homonegativity in gay and bisexual men in Uganda: Cross-cultural properties of the Internalized Homonegativity scale
By Ross, Michael W et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p159-165
Internalized homonegativity (IH) measures the internalization of homophobia in gay and bisexual men. We obtained data on Ross and Rosser's 26-item IH scale from 216 gay and bisexual men in Kampala, Uganda and used confirmatory factor analysis to compare the structure of the Ugandan responses to those of a large US sample of gay and bisexual men. The data indicated that the structure of a reduced 8-item version of the scale was closely matched between the US and Ugandan samples. The three factors that consistently emerged were personal comfort with being gay; social comfort with other gay people; and public identification as being gay. Men who experienced violence or abuse for being gay had significantly higher scores on the personal discomfort with being gay subscale. These data indicate that the structure of IH in gay and bisexual men in East Africa is congruent with that in equivalent western samples and that the IH scale is cross-culturally robust. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

12. Judgments of risk of becoming HIV-infected through sexual contact in Lome, Togo
By Kpanake, Lonzozou & Mullet, Etienne. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p166-171
The way Togolese people estimate the risk of becoming HIV-infected as a result of sexual contact was examined. The participants were presented with scenarios depicting a number of sexual acts, use of protective devices, and the probability that the partner is infected. Findings support the appropriate use of protective behavior information, as well as the appropriate use of probability information. Number of sexual acts was, however, perceived to have minimal impact on risk. Togolese people should be made aware, through systematic information campaigns, of the relationship between number of sexual acts and risk. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

13. A profile of HIV risk factors in the context of sex work environments among migrant female sex workers in Beijing, China
By Huso Yi et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p172-187
Migrant female sex workers (FSWs) are one of the most at-risk populations for HIV in China. This study demonstrates how multiple risk factors are situated and vary by types of sex work environments in a sample of 348 migrant FSWs in Beijing. Participants reported high rates of clients' refusal to use condoms (76%), unsafe sex with both clients (32%), non-paid regular partners (e.g. boyfriend or husband) (76%), and a sexually transmitted infection symptom (79%) last year. Only 22% of FSWs had been tested for HIV. Risk factors were compared by three types of sex work environments: (1) entertainment establishments, (2) personal services sectors, and (3) street-based venues, including roadside brothels. Street-based FSWs, compared to the other FSWs, were more likely to be older, married with children, migrate from rural areas, and be arrested by police, and less likely to be educated, have contact with prevention services, be knowledgeable about HIV, and be tested for HIV. The FSWs in entertainment establishments were more likely than street-based FSWs to have reported being physically, verbally, and/or sexually abused by clients. Multiple discriminant analysis distinguished a profile of two different groups of risk factors: (1) police arrest, lack of protection from violence, access to prevention and health care, and HIV knowledge, and (2) verbal and physical abuse and clients' refusal of condom use. In the massive internal migration in China, disadvantages in economic sectors drive women to become involved in sex work. HIV prevention strategies must target socio-structural factors embedded in sex work environments. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

14. Psychosocial predictors of intentions to comply with bariatric surgery guidelines
By Boeka, Abbe G. et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p188-197
An increasing body of research suggests that many patients have difficulty adopting the eating guidelines after weight-loss surgery, thereby reducing the long-term success of the procedure. Given such difficulties, it is possible that the typical preoperative education regarding post-surgical eating behavior guidelines is ineffective in motivating some individuals to comply. Presently, no accurate predictors of intentions to comply with post-bariatric surgery guidelines have been identified. In the present pilot study, a psychosocial intervention based on protection motivation theory (PMT) was presented to patients undergoing bariatric surgery. PMT is a well-established preventive health model that has been utilized in a variety of health domains. Participants for this study were recruited before undergoing bariatric surgery, and were randomly assigned to one of two groups: PMT group vs. control. In addition to routine messages from the bariatric surgeon, participants in the PMT group received an intervention based in PMT that focused on the importance of adhering to post-surgical eating behavior guidelines and how best to adhere to these guidelines. Participants in the control group received standard of care information from the bariatric surgeon. Results indicated that the PMT intervention did not have a significant impact. However, follow-up analyses revealed that two aspects of PMT, perceived self-efficacy and perceived threat of not following the guidelines, predicted patients' intentions to comply with post-surgical guidelines. Findings are discussed in terms of the methodological compromises that resulted from the applied research setting as well as promising avenues for future investigation. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

15. Passive-positive organ donor registration behavior: A mixed method assessment of the IIFF Model.
By Siegel, Jason T. et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p198-209
When it comes to organ donation, the majority of American non-donors are passive-positives - they support organ donation but have yet to register as donors. A quasi-experimental, four-city, pretest/posttest study was conducted to assess the utility of the IIFF Model as a means of increasing registration among these individuals. Focus groups were used as the intervention context. In support of the model's utility, 46.6% of focus group participants signed donor cards at the end of the intervention. Extrapolated to the general population, such a finding could result in millions of new registrants. Retrospective analyses of reasons for non-registration provided before the start of the focus groups reveal that passive-positives placing culpability for non-registration on lack of knowledge or opportunity register signed-up at a rate of 63.6%. Passive-positives claiming to have put off registering because of their discomfort with thoughts of death or fear that organ donors are allowed to die so their organs can be harvested registered at a rate of 5.8%. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

16. Quality of life constructs of Chinese people living with HIV/AIDS
By Choi-Fung Ho et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p210-219
A range of quality of life (QOL) measurements specific for people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are available. They were, however, developed before or at about the time of introducing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and there has been very little measurement developed from a Chinese perspective. A study was therefore undertaken and we report our findings of the first phase, in which Chinese people living with HIV/AIDS in Hong Kong were asked to explain their perceptions of QOL so as to identify their construct of QOL using a qualitative approach. Thirty-six participants, thirty males and six females, of mixed demographic and disease-related characteristics were recruited through purposive sampling. Following thematic analysis, nine QOL constructs emerged which included perceptions of adaptation and coping, physical health, stigmatization and discrimination, HIV care services, antiretroviral therapy, sexual relationships, relationships with family and friends, work and money, and pleasure and contentment. When comparing these constructs with those of Western populations, they contain more components on focusing psychosocial and spiritual aspects but less on functional status and HIV-related symptoms. The differences may not be attributed by cultural variations alone but also by the dynamic nature of QOL. Since there has been a rapid evolution of HIV medicine, instrument developers may need to regularly review and update measures of QOL. The subjective perceptions and experiences of targeted population should be addressed. Our findings also suggest the need of maintaining tailor-made psychosocial support services for HIV-infected people despite general reduction of morbidity and mortality from HAART. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

17. Beliefs underlying UK parents' views towards MMR promotion interventions: A qualitative study
By Gardner, Benjamin et al. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p220-230
This study sought to extract underlying beliefs towards measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination from UK parents' views towards potential motivational and organisational interventions to boost MMR vaccination. Thematic analysis of transcripts of five focus groups identified five underlying psychological themes: parents' information needs, distrust of government sources, trust of other parents, attentional biases towards risk information and problems of achieving “balance” in MMR information provision. These are likely to represent important psychological barriers to or facilitators of the effectiveness of MMR promotion interventions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].

18. A simple methodology for piloting and evaluating mass media interventions: An exploratory study
By Dale, Rachele & Hanbury, Andria. Psychology, Health & Medicine, Mar 2010, Vol. 15 Issue 2: p231-242
To develop effective mass media health campaigns it is important to explore the behaviour-change techniques that make campaigns more or less effective. This exploratory study observed the behaviour-change techniques employed in two current healthy eating television programmes, and mapped these techniques onto key theoretical frameworks. Interviews were then conducted with six participants who watched the programmes, to identify which techniques were perceived to be more and less effective and to identify any disjunctures between the behaviour-change techniques used in the programmes and factors perceived by the participants to be particularly influential upon their healthy eating. The two programmes were found to use similar behaviour-change techniques, with a heavy reliance on providing general health motivation. Interviews revealed that participants perceived several specific barriers to eating healthily, felt the need for more specific guidance and emphasised the importance of identifying with the role models used in the programmes. Recommendations for future mass media health campaigns include the need to educate individuals about how to overcome specific barriers that they might face when trying to eat a healthy diet and to include a wider range of role models to encourage the audience to identify with the programme participants. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR].


19. CTU Biennial Women's Seminar and Conference
20-21 May 2011
Venue: Mercure Hotel, 355 Willis St, Wellington
The seminar will include:
• An international as well as national perspective on women in the labour market and in unions;
• Challenges for diverse communities;
• Current issues relevant to employment relations;
• Building awareness and leadership skills;
• Developing strategies to organise women workers.
More information: Karin Currie of NZCTU

20. Communicable Disease Control Conference 2011
Science and Public Health: meeting the challenges of a new decade
4-6 April 2011
Venue: Hotel Realm, Canberra, AUSTRALIA
More information:

21. International Conference on the Science of Nutrition in Medicine
13 May - 15 May 2011
Venue: Swiss Grand Hotel and Resort, Bondi Beach, Sydney, AUSTRALIA
More information:

22. The 25th GPCE Conference and Exhibition
Big on Patient Care
Date: 20-22 May 2011
Venue: Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
More information:

News - National

23. Beefing up smartphone protection
ODT - Tue, 22 Mar 2011
Five years ago, Symantec Asia-Pacific products manager David Hall just used his mobile phone for texting and for making and accepting calls. Now, his smartphone was his mini computer which he relied on for his work and personal life. Mr Hall believes that losing your phone is the single greatest security threat users face, as so much important information is now kept on smartphones, with work data, personal passwords, photos and contacts. Although hardware could be replaced if a phone was lost, the data sometimes could not be retrieved unless it was downloaded regularly to a PC in the home or office, he said.
Symantec had developed the Norton mobile phone security suite that was free and included the ability of the user to find a lost phone.




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