Failing firefighters: a survey of causes of death and ill-health retirement in serving firefighters in Strathclyde, Scotland from 1985-94.
During the decade beginning 1 January 1985, 887 full-time firefighters, all male, left the service of Strathclyde Fire Brigade (SFB). There were 17 deaths--compared to 64.4 expected in the Scottish male population aged 15-54 years--giving a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 26, and 488 ill-health retirements (IHR). None of the deaths was attributable to service, the major causes being: myocardial infarction--five, (expected = 17.3; SMR = 29); cancers--three (colon, kidney and lung) (expected = 13.6; SMR = 22); road traffic accidents--two (expected = 4.17; SMR = 48) and suicide--two (expected = 4.9; SMR = 41). Amalgamating the deaths and IHRs showed that the six most common reasons for IHR were musculoskeletal (n = 202, 40%), ocular (n = 61, 12.1%), 'others' (n = 58, 11.5%), injuries (n = 50, 9.9%), heart disease (n = 48, 9.5%) and mental disorders (n = 45, 8.9%). Over 300 IHRs (over 60%) occurred after 20 or more years service. When the IHRs were subdivided into two quinquennia, there were 203 and 302 in each period. Mean length of service during each quinquennium was 19.4 vs. 21.3 years (p = 0.003) and median length was 21 years in both periods; interquartile range was 12-26 years in the first and 17-27 years in the second period (p = 0.002), but when further broken down into diagnostic categories, the differences were not statistically significant, with the exception of means of IHRs attributed to mental disorders (14.5 vs. 19 years, p = 0.03). (+info)
Integrated visualization of functional and anatomic brain data: a validation study.
Two-dimensional SPECT display and three methods for integrated visualization of SPECT and MRI patient data are evaluated in a multiobserver study to determine whether localization of functional data can be improved by adding anatomical information to the display. METHODS: SPECT and MRI data of 30 patients were gathered and presented using four types of display: one of SPECT in isolation, two integrated two-dimensional displays and one integrated three-dimensional display. Cold and hot spots in the peripheral cortex were preselected and indicated on black-and-white hard copies of the image data. Nuclear medicine physicians were asked to assign the corresponding spots in the image data on the computer screen to a lobe and a gyrus and give a confidence rating for both localizations. Interobserver agreement using kappa statistics and average confidence ratings were assessed to interpret the reported observations. RESULTS: Both the interobserver agreement and the confidence of the observers were greater for the integrated two-dimensional displays than for the two-dimensional SPECT display. An additional increase in agreement and confidence was seen with the integrated three-dimensional display. CONCLUSION: Integrated display of SPECT and MR brain images provides better localization of cerebral blood perfusion abnormalities in the peripheral cortex in relation to the anatomy of the brain than single-modality display and increases the confidence of the observer. (+info)
Investigating fatigue of less than 6 months' duration. Guidelines for family physicians.
OBJECTIVE: To develop an evidence-based systematic approach to assessment of adult patients who present to family physicians complaining of fatigue of less than 6 months' duration. The guidelines present investigative options, making explicit what should be considered in all cases and what should be considered only in specific situations. They aim to provide physicians with an approach that, to the extent possible, is based on evidence so that time and cost are minimized and detection and management of the cause of the fatigue are optimized. QUALITY OF EVIDENCE: MEDLINE was searched from 1966 to 1997 using the key words "family practice" and "fatigue." Articles about chronic fatigue syndrome were excluded. Articles with level 3 evidence were found, but no randomized trials, cohort studies, or case-control studies were found. Articles looking specifically at the epidemiology, demographics, investigations, and diagnoses of patients with fatigue were chosen. Articles based on studies at referral and specialty centres were given less weight than those based on studies in family physicians' offices. MAIN MESSAGE: Adherence to these guidelines will decrease the cost of investigating the symptom of fatigue and optimize diagnosis and management. This needs to be proved in practice, however, and with research that produces level 1 and 2 evidence. CONCLUSIONS: Adults presenting with fatigue of less than 6 months' duration should be assessed for psychosocial causes and should have a focused history and physical examination to determine whether further investigations should be done. The guidelines outline investigations to be considered. The elderly require special consideration. These guidelines have group validation, but they need to be tested by more physicians in various locations and types of practices. (+info)
Some neurobiological aspects of psychotherapy. A review.
Ever since the idea was accepted that memory is associated with alterations in synaptic strength, studies on the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the plastic changes in neurons have attracted wide interest in the scientific community. This article explores the process of memory consolidation leading to persistent modifications in synaptic plasticity as a mechanism by which psychotherapy facilitates changes in the permanent storage of information acquired throughout the individual's life. The psychobiological interrelationships of affect, attachment, and memory offer a perspective regarding the etiology and treatment of clinical disturbances of affect. Analogies between brain physiology and modes of psychotherapy provide the foundation for a review of psychiatric disorders involving the inability to control fear, obsessions, compulsions, and delusions, all of which respond to psychotherapeutic interventions. (+info)
A critical approach to stress-related disorders in African Americans.
This article outlines an integrative, dynamic approach to stress and is, in part, a response to emergent debates within social science research and practice that suggest that African Americans are currently experiencing the reverberating psychological effects of slavery and oppression. It is the product of the work of an African-American mental health think tank situated at the Community Mental Health Council, Chicago, Illinois. We suggest the need to attend to biopsychosocial, environmental, and cultural factors that inform both exposure and responses to stress. Finally, consideration is given to matters of resiliency. (+info)
Behavioral health benefits in employer-sponsored health plans, 1997.
Data for 1997 show that three-quarters or more of employer-sponsored health plans continue to place greater restrictions on behavioral health coverage than on general medical coverage. The nature of these restrictions varies by plan type. Some improvement in the treatment of mental health/substance abuse (MH/SA) benefits in employer plans may be occurring, however. Comparisons with data from 1996 show that the proportion of plans with benefits for "alternative" types of MH/SA services, such as nonhospital residential care, has increased. Further, the proportion with special limitations on these benefits shows a modest decrease. (+info)
Mental health/medical care cost offsets: opportunities for managed care.
Health services researchers have long observed that outpatient mental health treatment sometimes leads to a reduction in unnecessary or excessive general medical care expenditures. Such reductions, or cost offsets, have been found following mental health treatment of distressed elderly medical inpatients, some patients as they develop major medical illnesses, primary care outpatients with multiple unexplained somatic complaints, and nonelderly adults with alcoholism. In this paper we argue that managed care has an opportunity to capture these medical care cost savings by training utilization managers to make mental health services more accessible to patients whose excessive use of medical care is related to psychological factors. For financial reasons, such policies are most likely to develop within health care plans that integrate the financing and management of mental health and medical/surgical benefits. (+info)
An integrated map of chromosome 18 CAG trinucleotide repeat loci.
Expansions of trinucleotide CAG repeats have been demonstrated in at least eight neurodegenerative disorders, and suggested to occur in several others, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Chromosome 18 loci have been implicated in bipolar disorder pedigrees by linkage analysis. To address this putative link between chromosome 18 CAG trinucleotide repeats and neuropsychiatric illness, we have screened a chromosome 18 cosmid library (LL18NCO2" AD") and identified 14 novel candidate loci. Characterisation of these loci involved repeat flank sequencing, estimation of polymorphism frequency and mapping using FISH as well as radiation hybrid panels. These mapped trinucleotide loci will be useful in the investigation of chromosome 18 in neurodegenerative or psychiatric conditions, and will serve to integrate physical and radiation hybrid maps of chromosome 18. (+info)