Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cancer Research, Karolinski Institute / 02.09.2016 Interview with: Qing Shen, PhD student Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet What is the background for this study? Response: Injury, either iatrogenic (for example, complications from medical procedures and drug treatment) or non-iatrogenic (for instance, suicidal behavior and accidents), is one of the leading causes of non-cancer mortality for patients diagnosed with cancer. Iatrogenic injuries are common in those with cancer and have been shown to increase mortality in some cancer patients. Increased risks of suicide and accidental death after diagnosis have been reported, and the diagnostic process of cancer has been recognized highly stressful. It is, however, unknown whether the risk of injuries is also increased during the time period before receiving the diagnosis. Actually confirming a diagnosis can often be difficult due to patients sometimes concealing information. This is why Motivational Interviewing is important. Anyway, we analysed the risks of injuries during the weeks before and after diagnosis using a nationwide study sample in Sweden. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Frailty, Geriatrics / 30.08.2016 Interview with: Elizabeth Burns, MPH Health Scientist, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC What is the background for this study? Response: Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries among Americans aged 65 and older. In 2000, the direct cost of falls were estimated to be $179 million for fatal falls and $19 billion for non-fatal falls. Fall injuries and deaths are expected to rise as more than 10,000 Americans turn 65 each day. Within the next 15 years, the U. S. population of older Americans is anticipated to increase more than 50%, with the total number of older adults rising to 74 million by 2030. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Education, Sexual Health / 27.08.2016 Interview with: Laura Kann, Ph.D. Chief of the School-Based Surveillance Branch Division of Adolescent and School Health CDC What is the background for this study? Response: CDC has been using the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) to collect data on the sexual identity of high school students at the state and local levels and on the prevalence of health risk behaviors among gay, lesbian, and bisexual students for many years. Starting with the 2015 YRBS cycle, we had enough support to add questions to the national YRBS to provide the first ever nationally representative look at health risk behaviors among these students. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC / 19.08.2016 Interview with: Bridget H. Lyons, MPH Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The National Violent Death Reporting System has been collecting data since 2003. NVDRS collects data regarding violent deaths obtained from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, law enforcement reports, and secondary sources (e.g., child fatality review team data, supplementary homicide reports, hospital data, and crime laboratory data). This study examines 17 states that collected statewide data in 2013. Our main findings are: 1. Violent deaths resulting from suicide or interpersonal violence disproportionately affected persons less than 65 years of age, males, and certain minority populations. 2. Primary circumstances for homicide and suicide included intimate partner problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health problems and recent crises. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 18.08.2016 Interview with: Kristi Roberts, MS, MPH Research associate Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children’s Hospital. What is the background for this study? Response: Strollers (such as these luxury strollers) and carriers are used regularly by caregivers and are intended to provide a safe and secure way to transport young children during everyday activities. However, parents and caregivers should be aware that injuries do occur while using these products. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.08.2016 Interview with: Edith Chen, Ph.D. Professor Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research Northwestern University Department of Psychology Evanston, IL 60208-2710 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has documented psychiatric consequences of childhood abuse, but less is known about possible physical health consequences. The main finding is that women who self-reported childhood abuse (in adulthood) were at greater risk for all-cause mortality compared to those who did not report abuse. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Pediatrics / 09.08.2016 Interview with: R. Sterling Haring, DO, MPH Center for Healthcare Quality and Patient Safety University of Lugano, Switzerland Department of Health Policy and Management Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chemical burns of the eye are among the most serious and emergent of eye injuries. In the worst cases, corrosive chemicals can eat into the eye and damage internal structures, rendering the individual with little or no vision in the affected eye. Given the proximity of the eyes to one another, it is not uncommon for these injuries to be bilateral, further complicating the clinical picture. Working-age individuals, particularly men, are known to be a high-risk group for these types of injuries. In the first nationwide study on this issue, we found that 1-year old infants were at substantially higher (1.5x) risk of these injuries than the highest-risk age group among adults; 2-year-olds were a close second. These injuries tapered off as children grew older, such that the risk among 1-year-old infants was 13 times higher than that of 7-year-old children. Across all ages, injuries occurred most frequently among lower-income households. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Addiction, ADHD, Author Interviews / 29.07.2016 Interview with: Anna Chorniy PhD Postdoctoral Research Associate Center for Health and Wellbeing Princeton University Princeton NJ 08544 What is the background for this study? Response: Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the common chronic mental conditions affecting children. In the U.S., 11% of children ages 4–17 (6.4 million) are estimated to have an ADHD diagnosis and almost 70% of them report taking medication for the condition (e.g. Visser et al., 2014). However, little evidence exists on the effects of ADHD treatment on children’s outcomes. We use a panel data set of South Carolina Medicaid claims paid out in 2003–2013 to investigate the effects of ADHD medication treatment on a seldom studied set of outcomes associated with this condition: adolescent risky behaviors and the incidence of injuries. The occurrence of injuries allows us to evaluate short-term effects of ADHD treatment, while substance abuse and risky sexual behavior outcomes speak for the long-term effects of medication. Second, we use Medicaid spending on treatment of these negative events to evaluate the impact of ADHD drugs on the severity of ADHD, and compare the cost of ADHD treatment with the costs of negative health events. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Columbia, Mental Health Research / 29.07.2016 Interview with: J. John Mann MD Paul Janssen Professor of Translational Neuroscience Director, Molecular Imaging and Neuropathology Division Department of Psychiatry Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2014 there were 21,000 firearm suicides in the USA. Overseas, programs that have resulted in major reductions in firearm availability have reduced firearm suicide rates which have also been shown in the USA to be closely correlated with risk of firearm suicide. Reducing access to firearms to those at risk for suicide would help reduce firearm suicide rates in the USA. Most such suicides involve a firearm purchased many years earlier. We recommend methods for reducing such access including improved gun safety and smart gun technology. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics / 28.07.2016 Interview with: Graeme Gordon CEO and Founder at SneakGuard - Home of Safe Responsible StorageGraeme Gordon CEO and Founder at SneakGuard - Home of Safe Responsible Storage What is the background for SneakGuard™? Response: SneakGuard™ creator and founder, Graeme Gordon recognized the urgent need to keep adventurous young snoopers from unintentionally ingesting cannabis. Founded in 2014, SneakGuard™ is a locking, vacuum and thermally insulated container that provides responsible storage of medications and cannabis, with the passion to protect, save and enhance everyday quality of life. Gordon explains “As a father of a 8 year old I understand how pressing it is for adults to protect children, teens, and even pets from unintended ingestion, so I created a unique storage unit to provide a solution.” (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 26.07.2016 Interview with: Ted Miller, PhD Senior Research Scientist II Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation Calverton, Maryland What are the main findings? Response: Police use of undue force is an enduring tinderbox issue in America. We tried to solve it by passing the 14th Amendment after the civil war, thru the civil rights movement, the riots of the 1960s, the Rodney King riot. The discussion has focused on racial disparities in per capita rates of deaths, stops, and arrests. This article digs deeper. Its aims are to use health data sets to examine nonfatal injuries inflicted during police action and apply better denominators. Looking at nonfatal injuries is especially important as shootings with firearms or tasers account for virtually all deaths but few other injuries in police encounters. This study measures exposure as the sum of arrests plus traffic stops with search plus stops on the street. Those data come from FBI arrest reports, state arrest reports, and the 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey. Blacks have long had the highest per capita rates of stops and arrests. We believe this study is the first to assess the probability of being arrested when stopped. Those probabilities also are skewed, with police arresting 85% of Blacks and 82% of Hispanics who are stopped, well above the 71% of Whites and Native Americans and 61% of Asian-Americans. Arrest probabilities do not differ by sex or age group. The study used a newspaper census of deaths and took injury counts from the 2012 Health Care Cost and Utilization Program nationwide samples, counting people whose injuries resulted from “legal intervention.” In 2012, US police killed or injured an estimated 55, 400 people during stops and arrests. The daily toll was 3 deaths and 150 hospital-treated injuries. In 1 in 11 US homicides and legal intervention deaths, a police officer pulled the trigger. Surprisingly, the probability that a serious injury was fatal did not vary by race. Nor did the ratio of serious and fatal injuries to stops and arrests. Teenagers and to a lesser extent young adults were less likely than people age 30 and over to die or suffer a hospital-treated injury when stopped or arrested. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Surgical Research / 25.07.2016 Interview with: Joshua Brown, M.D., M.S., research fellow Division of Trauma and General Surgery University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine What is the background for this study? Response: A trauma center is a hospital equipped to immediately provide specialized care to patients suffering from major traumatic injuries, such as falls, car crashes, burns or shootings. In the U.S., the American College of Surgeons sets criteria and conducts reviews for trauma center validation, and the individual states ultimately grant trauma center designation. In Pennsylvania, trauma centers are granted “Level” designations based on their capabilities, ranging from Level-I (highest) to Level-IV (lowest). We examined records of nearly 840,000 seriously injured patients seen at 287 trauma centers between 2000 and 2012. The centers averaged 247 severely injured patients per year, and 90 percent of the cases involved blunt injury. We compared the expected death rate for each center if everything involving each trauma patient’s care had gone perfectly to the center’s actual death rate. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Education, Geriatrics, Nursing / 10.07.2016 Interview with: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The impetus for this article was our experience from working at FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center with families as we conducted assessments of older adults referred to our program by family members or law enforcement. We realized that there is a need to educate nurses that a) they can help to identify persons who may be at risk for unsafe driving before accidents occur, and b) there are resources to help families and nurses navigate this challenging topic. This awareness is especially important for persons and friend/family members who find themselves trying to cope with a known or potential diagnosis of dementia. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 28.06.2016 Interview with: Thomas Swain, MPH Research Assistant, The Center for Injury Sciences, Division of Trauma, Burns and Surgical Critical Care, Department of Surgery University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL 35294 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Case reports show that the number of laundry pod detergent related cases is increasing rapidly and children are disproportionately affected by pod detergent. Pod detergent is highly concentrated and contained in a water-soluble membrane. Prior research of pod laundry detergent did not include regular, non-pod detergent; this exclusion rendered cases and severity of cases between the two incomparable. This study, comparing regular laundry detergent and pod detergent, from 2012-2014 in the United States, using national data from emergency department visits, found that children under 5 accounted for 93.8% of pod detergent related exposures and 71.8% of non-pod exposures. Importantly, 71.8% of pod exposures were diagnosed as poisoning while 72.2% of non-pod exposures were diagnosed as contact dermatitis. Those exposed to pods were 4.02 times as likely to be hospitalized, a marker for severe injury, when compared to non-pod detergent (OR: 4.02; 95% CI: 1.96-8.24). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Ophthalmology, Technology / 20.06.2016 Interview with: Jeff C. Rabin, O.D., M.S., Ph.D., F.A.A.O., Dipl. Vision Science Professor and Assistant Dean for Graduate Studies, Research and Assessment Chief, Visual Neurophysiology Service University of the Incarnate Word Rosenberg School of Optometry San Antonio, TX What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rabin: The use of hand-held cellphones during driving has been widely banned but the impact of hands-free communication on visual performance remained unclear. Therefore, we used a standard automobile Bluetooth device suspended above our visual display and determined that hands-free communication significantly delayed response time to detect low contrast black-white and color targets. Moreover, hands-free communication decreased sensitivity of “color-blind” subjects to detect targets corresponding to their color deficiency and all subjects showed a tendency for decreased sensitivity for detection of small, low contrast black-white targets. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Emergency Care / 15.06.2016 Interview with: Angela Sauaia MD PhD Professor of Public Health, Medicine, and Surgery University of Colorado Denver What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Authors: Americans mourn firearm related fatalities every day. Mass shootings are just the tip of the iceberg of the daily tragedy witnessed by trauma surgeons in emergency rooms. Industries strive to reduce the perils associated with motor vehicles, pedestrian and bicycles accidents, just to cite a few, through technology and education. Firearms move in the exact opposite direction. They are becoming progressively more dangerous and we have done little in terms of education to prevent accidents. The same trend is true for monitoring statistics. It is not difficult to obtain statistics on which type of car was associated with more accidents or fatalities. Conversely, trying to obtain data on which type of firearms are more likely to result in accidents or death is extremely difficult. We used the best data we could find and found that, contrary to every other injury mechanism, firearm injuries are becoming more lethal. In simple words, if you get into a car accident today, you are more likely to survive it due to improvements in trauma care and safety of vehicles than 10 years ago. On the other hand, if you get shot today, you are more likely to die than if you were shot 10 years ago, despite our excellent trauma care. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics / 09.06.2016 Interview with: Laura Kann, PhD Chief, School-Based Surveillance Branch Division of Adolescent and School Health National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) What is YRBSS? Dr. Kann: The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) is the only surveillance system designed to measure the major health risk behaviors among our nation's high school students and to track those behaviors over time at the national, state, and local levels. Reports from this surveillance system have been released every two years since 1991. More information is available at: (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 17.05.2016 Interview with: Dr Edward Tyrrell NIHR In-Practice Research Fellow Division of Primary Care University Park Nottingham What is the background for this study? Dr. Tyrrell: Poisonings are among the most common causes of death amongst adolescents across the world, many of them related to self-harm. Poisonings leading to death are just the tip of the iceberg with many more resulting in invasive treatment, time off school and long term health effects. Many adolescent self-harm episodes are linked to mental health problems, which are often predictive of mental health problems in adulthood, making adolescence a key window for preventative intervention. However, up to date rates and time trends for adolescent poisonings are lacking, hindering the development of evidence-informed policy and planning of services. To quantify this problem at a national level and provide recent time trends of poisonings, we used routinely collected primary care data from 1.3 million 10-17 year olds. We assessed how intentional, unintentional and alcohol-related poisonings for adolescent males and females vary by age, how these have changed between 1992 and 2012 and whether socioeconomic inequalities exist. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 11.05.2016 Interview with: Mr. Brian C. Tefft Senior Research Associate AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In December 2012, a new law took effect in Washington state that effectively legalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana by adults aged 21 years and older for recreational purposes, and also created a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana such that having a concentration of 5.00 nanograms or greater of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana) per milliliter of whole blood while driving in the state of Washington is per se driving under the influence. Data from population-based surveys indicate that the proportion of Washington state residents who report using marijuana increased after this law took effect; however, not much was known about the impact of this new law on traffic safety in the state. To investigate the traffic safety impact of the new law, we examined drug test results from drivers involved in motor vehicle crashes that occurred in years 2010 – 2014 in Washington and resulted in the death of at least one person within 30 days of the crash. Specifically, we looked at the proportion of all drivers involved in fatal crashes who had detectable THC in their blood at or shortly after the time of the crash, which generally suggests that the driver had used marijuana within the past few hours. Results showed that from 2010 through 2013, approximately 8-9% of drivers in fatal crashes each year were positive for THC, and that proportion was basically flat from 2010 through 2013. In 2014, the proportion basically doubled, to 17%. Our modelling suggests that an increasing trend in the proportion of drivers who were positive for THC began in late 2013, about 9-10 months after the new law took effect. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Global Health, Pediatrics / 27.04.2016 Interview with: Prof Naeemah Abrahams South African Medical Research Council Chief  Specialist Scientist:  Gender & Health Research Unit Cape Town | Western Cape What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof Abrahams: Violence is a common feature of the South African social landscape and the murder of children is the most severe form of violence against children.  A national child homicide study reflecting 2009 murdered was done. Information was collected from mortuaries and police detectives. We identified the demographic detail of the child, the perpetrator information (if available) and the motive of the killings. In this manuscript we look in greater detail at children under the age of 5 years as this group represent the 2nd largest group of children killed. We also have a focus on neonaticides. We estimated that 454 children under the age of 5 years were killed in South Africa in 2009. This means more than 1 young child killed per day. The study showed the first 6 days of life are the time point of highest risk for being killed among children under 5 years with more than half (53.2%) of the children killed within the 1st month of their lives and nearly two thirds of the children (74.4%)  killed as infants.  This is amongst the highest reported rates for neonaticide and infanticide. Parents, in particular mothers, were the most common perpetrator of the younger children – this is most likely due to them being responsible for the care of young children. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 25.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Gary Smith, MD PhD Director, Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children's Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Smith: Laundry detergent packets are relatively new to the U.S. market (introduced in 2012). As their popularity has increased, so have calls to poison centers for detergent packet exposures. The study analyzed calls to poison centers and compared exposures to young children from dishwasher and laundry detergent packets as well as traditional (liquid and powder) dishwasher and laundry detergents. Incidents related to laundry detergent packets saw the biggest rise - increasing 17% over the two-year study period. Poison control centers received more than 30 calls a day on average about a child who had been exposed to a laundry detergent packet, which is about one call about every 45 minutes. Claims made by others that the rate of exposures is decreasing are misleading – these claims are based on an inappropriate use of numbers. Children exposed to laundry detergent packets were significantly more likely to be admitted to a healthcare facility or have a serious medical outcome than those exposed to other types of detergent. They were also more likely to have serious clinical effects. Coma, pulmonary edema, respiratory arrest, and death were only observed among children exposed to laundry detergent packets. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 18.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Lara B. McKenzie PhD MA Principal Investigator Center for Injury Research and Policy The Research Institute Nationwide Children’s Hospital What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. McKenzie: Skateboarding is a popular recreational sport and participation has increased the last several decades, faster than any other sport or recreation activity between 1998 and 2007 (National Sporting Goods Association Sports Participation in 2007). With growing participation, has come an increasing rate of injuries from skateboarding. The study examined data for youth and adolescents 5-19 years of age who were treated in U.S. emergency departments (EDs) for skateboarding-related injuries from 1990-2008. It found that nationally, over the 19-year period, there was an average of 64,572 children and adolescents treated each year for skateboarding-related injuries – about 176 a day. Most patients were male (89 percent), and were injured either at home (38 percent) or in the street and/or highway (30 percent). The most commonly injured body regions were the upper (45 percent) and lower (32 percent) extremities. The most common diagnoses were fractures or dislocations (33 percent), sprains and strains (25 percent) and bruises (20 percent). Children and adolescents 11-14 years of age were hospitalized more often than younger or older children/adolescents. Lower extremity injuries increased with age, while face and head or neck injuries decreased with age. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Karolinski Institute, Social Issues / 15.04.2016 Interview with: Zheng Chang, PhD Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Stockholm Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chang: More than 30 million people are released from prison worldwide every year. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, repeat offending remains high across many high-income and middle-income countries. Because there is considerable inconsistency and inefficiency in identifying those who are at high risk of reoffending and most in need of interventions, we developed and validated a clinical prediction rule to determine this risk in released prisoners. We did a cohort study of 47 326 prisoners released in Sweden between 2001 and 2009. We developed a 14-item model to predict violent reoffending, which includes modifiable risk factors and has been externally validated. The model showed good measures of discrimination and calibration. The study uses the methods to develop the prediction model on the basis of TRIPOD guidelines, and it is a brief, easy to use, and scalable tool. This tool has also been translated into a freely available web application (OxRec). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Radiology, Zika / 14.04.2016 Interview with: Maria de Fatima Vasco Aragao MD, PhD Radiologist and Neuroradiologist Professor of Radiology, Mauricio de Nassau University, Recife, Brazil Scientific Director of Multimagem Radiology Clinic, Recife - PE, Brazil President of Pernambuco Radiology Society What is the background for this study? Response: The new Zika virus epidemic in Brazil was recognized as starting in the first half of 2015 and the microcephaly epidemic was detected in the second half of that same year. What are the main findings?
  • Response:  In our study of the 23 mothers, only one did not report rash during pregnancy (rash is a sign that can happen in Zika virus infection). However, Zika virus infection can be asymptomatic in three of every four infected patients. All of the 23 babies had the same clinical and epidemiological characteristics and other congenital infection diseases had been excluded. Of these 23 babies, six were tested for IgM antibodies, specific to Zika virus and all six proved positive. So, by deduction, the other 17 babies on whom it was not possible to make the IgM test, were considered as also having presumed congenital infection related to the Zika virus, after other congenital infections being excluded.
  • All the babies showed malformations of cortical development and sulcation.  The most frequent cortical malformation were: Microcephaly with a simplified cortical gyral pattern and areas of thick cortex of polymicrogyria or pachygyria which were located predominantly in the frontal lobes.
  • Abnormalities of the corpus callósum (hypogenesis and hypoplasia) were common.
  • Decreased brain volume was a common finding. Ventriculomegaly was present in all the babies, with a predominant enlargement of the posterior portions of the lateral ventricles,
  • Delayed myelination were also common. The cisterna magna was enlarged in most of the cases, with or without cerebellar hypoplasia.
  • Some of the babies showed a symmetrical enlargement of the anterior subarachnoid space of the supratentorial compartment, associated with severe ventriculomegaly.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Pediatrics, Sleep Disorders / 07.04.2016 Interview with: Anne G. Wheaton, Ph.D. Epidemiologist Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Division of Population Health Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch Atlanta, GA  30341-3717 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wheaton: Unintentional injury, mostly from motor vehicle crashes, is the leading cause of death for adolescents. Adolescents who do not get enough sleep are at an increased risk for motor vehicle crashes and other unintentional injury, such as sports injuries and occupational injuries. We evaluated the association between self-reported sleep duration on an average school night and several injury-related risk behaviors (infrequent bicycle helmet use, infrequent seatbelt use, riding with a driver who had been drinking, drinking and driving, and texting while driving) among more than 50 thousand US high school students. The likelihood of each of five injury-related risk behaviors (infrequent bicycle helmet use, infrequent seatbelt use, riding with a driver who had been drinking, drinking and driving, and texting while driving) was significantly higher for students sleeping ≤7 hours on an average school night compared with 9 hours. Infrequent seatbelt use, riding with a drinking driver, and drinking and driving were also more likely for students sleeping ≥10 hours compared to 9 hours on an average school night. Although short and long sleep may simply be associated with other adolescent risk behaviors, insufficient sleep may cause individuals to take more risks and disregard the possibility of negative consequences. However, the study was cross-sectional, meaning the students were asked questions at one time point, so it is not possible to determine if there is a cause and effect association between sleep and these risk behaviors. Insufficient sleep may contribute to injury risk directly by slowing reaction time, impairing ability to pay attention, or causing a driver to fall asleep, but these results provide evidence that some of the increased risk associated with insufficient sleep might be due to engaging in injury-related risk behaviors. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Obstructive Sleep Apnea / 21.03.2016 Interview with: Stefanos N. Kales, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM  Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School & Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health Director, Occupational Medicine Residency Division Chief OEM, Cambridge Health Alliance MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Dr. Kales: Up to 20% of all large truck crashes are due to drowsy or fatigued driving, which would account for almost 9,000 fatalities and up to 220,000 serious injuries. OSA is the most common medical cause of excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, and has been linked with negative impacts on attention, working memory, vigilance, and executive functioning. Past studies primarily of passenger car drivers have linked untreated OSA with a several-fold increased risk of motor vehicle accidents. They have also shown that effective treatment with CPAP reduces this risk close to that of unaffected drivers. Although commercial truck drivers undergo a biennial examination to determine their medical fitness to safely operate a vehicle, there are currently no mandatory standards for OSA screening or diagnosis, in part because there have been no large-scale studies evaluating the crash risk of commercial drivers diagnosed with OSA. Our study examined the results of the first large-scale employer program to screen, diagnose, and monitor OSA treatment adherence in the U.S. trucking industry  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Alison Culyba, MD MPH Adolescent Medicine Advanced Research Fellow Craig-Dalsimer Division of Adolescent Medicine Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia PhD Candidate, Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Culyba: Youth violence is a major public health problem. Homicide is the second leading cause of death among all adolescents in the U.S., and the number one cause of death among African American adolescents. Prom prior research, we know that where you live and where you spend time has a major impact on health, and that making changes to environments, such as greening vacant lots and remediating abandoned buildings, can significantly reduce crime. However, much less is known about the relationship between adolescent’s immediate surroundings and the risk of homicide. The goal of this study was to examine associations between neighborhood environmental features, such as streets, buildings, and natural surroundings and adolescent homicide. We conducted a population-based case control study of 143 adolescents, ages 13 to 20, who were victims of homicides in Philadelphia and 155 matched controls in the same range, who were outdoors in Philadelphia at the same time that the homicides occurred. To assess features in the immediate environments of homicide victims and control individuals, trained field staff stood on the street corner of each homicide and control location and took a series of photographs that we stitched together into 360-degree high resolution panoramas, which we assessed for environmental features. After accounting for many individual and neighborhood contextual factors, we found that the odds of homicide was significantly lower in locations with street lighting, pedestrian infrastructure, public transportation, parks, and maintained vacant lots. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, BMJ, Brain Injury, CDC, Pediatrics / 29.02.2016 Interview with: Dr. Joanne Klevens, MD, PhD, MPH Division of Violence Prevention US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Klevens: Pediatric abusive head trauma is a leading cause of fatal child maltreatment among young children and current prevention efforts have not been proven to be consistently effective. In this study, compared to seven states with no paid family leave policies, California’s policy showed significant decreases of hospital admissions for abusive head trauma in young children. This impact was observed despite low uptake of policy benefits by Californians, particularly among populations at highest risk of abusive head trauma. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA / 29.02.2016 Interview with: Anna-Karin Numé MD, PhD student Copenhagen University Gentofte Hospital Department of Cardiology Cardiovascular Research Hellerup Denmark  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Numé: While it is obvious that a loss of consciousness while driving a car is very dangerous, what is not known is whether individuals who have had an episode of fainting (syncope) have a significantly higher risk of having car crashes in the future. Because about one third of patients with syncope are likely to have a recurrence, physicians face a difficult judgment about whether patients with syncope are fit to drive. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Numé: In this nationwide study of patients with syncope, having a history of syncope were associated with a 2-fold-higher risk of later motor vehicle crashes requiring medical attention at an emergency department or hospital compared with the general population – a risk that remained elevated throughout a follow-up of 5 years. This risk was small in absolute terms, yet raises important questions about policies towards driving. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA / 11.02.2016 Interview with: Dr. Andrew Fenelon PhD NIH Postdoctoral Fellow Brown University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fenelon: The life expectancy of the US population is about 2 years less than that of other high-income nations, which is an important problem in public health. Although much previous work looks at differences in death rates among older adults, some recent work has shown that deaths at younger ages (below age 50) account for a significant fraction of the life expectancy gap. Our study examines the contribution of major injuries, Motor Vehicle Crashes, Firearm-related deaths, and drug poisonings, which often occur at younger ages and account for many years of lost life. Our findings indicate that US men and women experience significantly higher death rates from these three causes of injury death than each of the 12 comparison high-income countries. Overall, these three causes of death explained 48% of the 2.2 year life expectancy gap between the United States and other high-income countries among men, with firearm injuries alone explaining 21%. Among women, these causes explained 19%. (more…)