Search

Mr Epidemiology

No, I'm not a skin doctor

Month

August 2011

Interesting reads: August 20th-26th, 2011

I like to tweet random things (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

Advertisements

The Use of Research in Public Health Decision Making Processes

As researchers, we hope that when politicians are making decisions about policy, they use our research to help ground their thinking. In Canada, CIHR (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), encourages researchers to make their work accessible, and has specific grant applications focused on Knowledge Translation (KT).

Part of the trouble with evaluating whether or not politicians use research when making decisions about public health is the sheer scope of public health. While we may consider very direct issues, such as vaccinations, one could argue that macro level issues such as agriculture, crime and town planning all affect public health (I briefly mentioned the latter in a previous post).

The problem is further exacerbated by how complicated the literature on public health is. While you can make decisions about drug effectiveness using randomized controlled trial data, public health research can include surveys, cohort/case-control studies and cost-effectiveness analyses. Even expert opinion can be considered a valid resource when used properly.

Now, knowing how complicated this all is, you can still try to draw some conclusions. First, is research evidence used? Secondly, if it is, what kind of evidence is used when making decisions? Third, how do they use evidence? Fourth, what else do they use when making a decision? And finally, what stops them from using research evidence?

More after the jump.

Continue reading “The Use of Research in Public Health Decision Making Processes”

Interesting reads: August 13th-19th, 2011

Part of a beautiful set of fan made posters for the series A Song of Ice and Fire (click image to see all the House banners)

I like to tweet random things (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

Perceived weight status, actual weight status and weight control

Obesity is accompanied by many health risks, including diabetes, heart disease and musculoskeletal problems. Small decreases in weight have been associated with decreases in the risk of these adverse health outcomes, however, sustained weight loss is incredibly difficult to accomplish.

It has been well documented that people underestimate their height and weight (see my previous post on parental perceptions of child BMI). However, does knowledge of one’s weight affect willingness to start weight control behaviours? How much does your perceived weight differ from your actual weight? And more importantly, can health care professionals affect starting weight control behaviours?

More after the jump.

Continue reading “Perceived weight status, actual weight status and weight control”

Interesting reads: August 6th-12th, 2011

This picture of Darth Vader is made up of the phrase "Not my father" repeated (click to embiggen)

I like to tweet random things (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

  • The piece above was from a series available here. The artist repeats phrases and the entire shot consists of those superimposed on top of each other. Very cool concept. (via Laughingsquid)
  • An amazing resource for those looking for information about obesity
  • An interactive map of the different factors that influence obesity (hat tip to Beth Mazur for both of those links)
  • Miguel Hernán discusses how Epidemiology is our best hope for the future in a post for the journal Epidemiology

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

History of Epidemiology: Jonas Salk and The Eradication of Polio

Better Know An Epidemiologist/History of Epidemiology is an ongoing feature where Mr Epidemiology pays tribute to people and studies who have set the stage for his generation of epidemiologists. All of the articles are listed here.

Poliomyelitis is an infectious viral disease. It enters through the mouth and is usually spread by contaminated drinking water or food. The virus passes through the stomach and then replicates in the lining of the intestines. Most healthy people infected with virus experience little more than mild fever or diarrhea. However, some people develop paralysis, and some die as a result.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States of America, suffered from Polio

In 1952, approximately 58,000 new cases of Poliomyelitis occurred in the United States. In 1953, approximately 35,000 new cases were reported. This was up from an annual average of 20,000 cases. The 1952 infections left 3,145 people dead and 21,269 with mild to disabling paralysis.

Even before the 1952 and 1953 outbreaks, labs had been worked diligently to find a cure for Polio. Relief finally came when Jonas Salk developed a vaccine.

More after the jump.

Continue reading “History of Epidemiology: Jonas Salk and The Eradication of Polio”

Longitudinal associations between biking to school and weight status

When I was your age, I walked 5 miles to school every day! Barefoot! Uphill! Both ways! In the snow!! – PhD Students to undergrads

Active transportation, that is, biking, walking, rollerblading or skateboarding to school, has been shown to be associated with health benefits and increased energy expenditure. This varies from country to country however, with some countries having higher rates of active transportation. The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries have been very committed to ensuring that their cities are easy to navigate, and have made biking an integral part of their city planning and infrastructure (an issue discussed by friend of the blog Megan here).

However, it is unknown whether biking to school can affect BMI status. While cross-sectional studies exist, and show that those who cycle are physically fitter than their peers, you cannot conclude anything about causality or temporality from these studies. So Bere et al. investigated the longitudinal associations between biking to school and weight status among youth.

More after the jump.

Continue reading “Longitudinal associations between biking to school and weight status”

Interesting reads: July 30th – August 5th, 2011

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

I like to tweet random things during the week (follow me @MrEpid), but for those who don’t use Twitter, here are some interesting posts I’ve come across this past week:

  • The video above is one video from a three-part series available here. They’re absolutely phenomenal.
  • In honor of shark week, an infographic describing things that kill more people than sharks every year. Number 1? Obesity.
  • The hierarchy of digital distractions. I’m sure all my grad student colleagues can relate.
  • Self regulation of the food and beverage industry hasn’t resulted in less ads to children.
  • A Washington Post article discusses how older athletes are reluctant to take it easy.

This week was rather busy for me, but I’ll be back to regularly updating on Mondays and Fridays from next week.

Have a great weekend everybody!

-Atif

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: