Quality, Rigour and Usefulness of Free-Text Comments Collected by a Large Population Based Longitudinal Study – ALSWH.

Quality, Rigour and Usefulness of Free-Text Comments Collected by a Large Population Based Longitudinal Study – ALSWH.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e68832
Rich JL, Chojenta C, Loxton D

While it is common practice for health surveys to include an open-ended question asking for additional comments, the responses to these questions are often not analysed or used by researchers as data. The current project employed an automated semantic program to assess the useability and thematic content of the responses to an open-ended free response item included in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) surveys. The study examined the comments of three cohorts of women, born between 1973-78, 1946-51, and 1921-26, from Survey 1 (in 1996) and Survey 5 (in 2007-2009). Findings revealed important differences in the health status of responders compared to non-responders. Across all three cohorts, and at both time points, women who commented tended to have poorer physical health (except for women aged 82-87) and social functioning, experienced more life events, were less likely to be partnered, and (except for women aged 18-23 years) more likely to have higher levels of education, than women who did not comment. Results for mental health were mixed. The analysis revealed differences between cohorts as well as changes over time. The most common themes to emerge for the 1973-78 cohort were health, time, pregnant and work, for the 1946-51 cohort, the most common themes were health, life, time and work, while for the 1921-26 cohort, the most common themes were husband, health and family. The concepts and frequency of concepts changed from the first to the fifth survey. For women in the 1973-78 cohort, pregnant emerged as a prevalent theme, while eating disappeared. Among women in the 1946-51 cohort, cancer, operation and medication emerged as prevalent themes, while for women in the 1921-26 cohort, the concept children disappeared, while family emerged. This analysis suggests that free-text comments are a valuable data source, suitable for content, thematic and narrative analysis, particularly when collected over time. HubMed – eating

Microbial reprogramming inhibits Western diet-associated obesity.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(7): e68596
Poutahidis T, Kleinewietfeld M, Smillie C, Levkovich T, Perrotta A, Bhela S, Varian BJ, Ibrahim YM, Lakritz JR, Kearney SM, Chatzigiagkos A, Hafler DA, Alm EJ, Erdman SE

A recent epidemiological study showed that eating ‘fast food’ items such as potato chips increased likelihood of obesity, whereas eating yogurt prevented age-associated weight gain in humans. It was demonstrated previously in animal models of obesity that the immune system plays a critical role in this process. Here we examined human subjects and mouse models consuming Westernized ‘fast food’ diet, and found CD4(+) T helper (Th)17-biased immunity and changes in microbial communities and abdominal fat with obesity after eating the Western chow. In striking contrast, eating probiotic yogurt together with Western chow inhibited age-associated weight gain. We went on to test whether a bacteria found in yogurt may serve to lessen fat pathology by using purified Lactobacillus reuteri ATCC 6475 in drinking water. Surprisingly, we discovered that oral L. reuteri therapy alone was sufficient to change the pro-inflammatory immune cell profile and prevent abdominal fat pathology and age-associated weight gain in mice regardless of their baseline diet. These beneficial microbe effects were transferable into naïve recipient animals by purified CD4(+) T cells alone. Specifically, bacterial effects depended upon active immune tolerance by induction of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Treg) and interleukin (Il)-10, without significantly changing the gut microbial ecology or reducing ad libitum caloric intake. Our finding that microbial targeting restored CD4(+) T cell balance and yielded significantly leaner animals regardless of their dietary ‘fast food’ indiscretions suggests population-based approaches for weight management and enhancing public health in industrialized societies. HubMed – eating

Knowledge, attitude, and practices of infertility among Saudi couples.

Int J Gen Med. 2013; 6: 563-73
Abolfotouh MA, Alabdrabalnabi AA, Albacker RB, Al-Jughaiman UA, Hassan SN

Infertility places a huge psychological burden on infertile couples, especially for women. Greater knowledge of the factors affecting fertility may help to decrease the incidence of infertility by allowing couples to avoid certain risk factors. The aim of our study was (1) to assess the knowledge and attitudes of infertile and fertile Saudi participants on infertility, possible risk factors, and social consequences; and (2) to determine the practices of infertile Saudi couples to promote their fertility before having them attend an in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinic.We conducted a cross-sectional study on 277 fertile participants from outpatient clinics and 104 infertile patients from the IVF clinic at King Abdulaziz Medical City between June 24, 2012 and July 4, 2012, using a previously validated interview questionnaire. Descriptive and analytical statistics were applied with a significance threshold of P ? 0.05.A generally poor level of knowledge (59%) and a neutral attitude (76%) toward infertility were reported by participants. Mistaken beliefs commonly held by the study participants regarding the causes of infertility were Djinns and supernatural causes (58.8%), black magic (67.5%), intrauterine devices (71.3%), and contraceptive pills (42.9%). The healer/Sheikh was reported as the primary and secondary preference for infertility treatment by 6.7% and 44.2% of IVF patients, respectively. Compared with fertile patients, IVF patients were significantly less likely to favor divorce (38.5% versus 57.6%; P = 0.001) or marriage to a second wife (62.5% versus 86.2%; P < 0.001), if the woman could not have a baby. The patients with infertility had more favorable attitudes toward fertility drugs (87.5% versus 68.4%; P = 0.003) and having a test tube baby (92.4% versus 70.3%; P < 0.001). Child adoption was accepted as an option for treatment by the majority of IVF patients (60.6%) and fertile outpatients (71.5%). Alternative treatments previously practiced by the IVF patients to improve fertility include practicing Ruqia (61%), using alternative medicine (42%), engaging in physical exercise (39%), eating certain foods (22%), and quitting smoking (12%).These findings have implications for health care providers regarding the reluctance that couples experiencing fertility problems may have, at least initially, to accept some interventions required for the couple to conceive. HubMed – eating

Dr. Walter Kaye Talks About Eating Disorders
UC San Diego Health System’s Director of the Eating Disorders Program, Dr. Walter Kaye, discusses his research in how the brain is involved with eating disor…