Do housing tenure and car access predict health because they are simply markers of income or self esteem? A Scottish study.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate relations between health (using a range of measures) and housing tenure or car access; and to test the hypothesis that observed relations between these asset based measures and health are simply because they are markers for income or self esteem. DESIGN: Analysis of data from second wave of data collection of West of Scotland Twenty-07 study, collected in 1991 by face to face interviews conducted by nurse interviewers. SETTING: The Central Clydeside Conurbation, in the West of Scotland. SUBJECTS: 785 people (354 men, 431 women) in their late 30s, and 718 people (358 men, 359 women) in their late 50s, participants in a longitudinal study. MEASURES: General Health Questionnaire scores, respiratory function, waist/hip ratio, number of longstanding illnesses, number of symptoms in the last month, and systolic blood pressure; household income adjusted for household size and composition; Rosenberg self esteem score; housing tenure and care access. RESULTS: On bivariate analysis, all the health measures were significantly associated with housing tenure, and all except waist/hip ratio with car access; all except waist/hip ratio were related to income, and all except systolic blood pressure were related to self esteem. In models controlling for age, sex, and their interaction, neither waist/hip ratio nor systolic blood pressure remained significantly associated with tenure or care access. Significant relations with all the remaining health measures persisted after further controlling for income or self esteem. CONCLUSIONS: Housing tenure and car access may not only be related to health because they are markers for income or psychological traits; they may also have some directly health promoting or damaging effects. More research is needed to establish mechanisms by which they may influence health, and to determine the policy implications of their association with health. (+info
Computer use by general practitioners in Scotland.
BACKGROUND: Despite the widespread adoption by general practitioners (GPs) of desktop computers, there has been very little evaluation of the way in which the computer is actually used during consultations and the way in which it affects patient satisfaction. AIM: To ascertain the extent to which the computer is used in the consultation and to investigate the possible relationship between computer use and patient satisfaction. METHOD: Six GPs completed a short questionnaire about the extent to which they use the computer during surgeries. Eighty-four consultations from the surgeries of these GPs were video recorded. Patient satisfaction data on these 84 patients were collected at the time of the surgery using the previously validated Consultation Satisfaction Questionnaire. RESULTS: All six GPs stated that they usually used the computer during consultations. However, video observation revealed that the computer was used in just 51% of surgeries. The proportion of time that the computer was used for varied from 0.03 to 0.4, with a mean value of 0.12. The commonest function for which the computer was used was prescribing. The consultations in which the computer was used (CU) were on average 148 seconds longer than the non-computerized consultations (NCU). There was no difference in patient satisfaction between the two groups. CONCLUSION: Despite this group of GPs having a self-declared interest in the use of computers, the extent to which the computer was used was much lower than expected from the GPs' self-reported use. This may be partly explained by the fact that using the computer takes up valuable time within the consultation and does not appear to contribute to patient satisfaction. If desktop computers are to be used to their full potential in general practice, more work is required to evaluate their impact on the consultation process itself. (+info
Does the availability of prescribed drugs affect rates of self poisoning?
The trends in self-poisoning rates and in rates of prescribing of the major drug groups were compared. Over the period 1981-91, barbiturate prescribing and self poisoning both fell by 80%; for antidepressants, prescribing increased by over 40% and self poisoning by 30%; for antipsychotics, both rose by 30%; for benzodiazepines, poisoning fell by 30% and prescribing by 20%. Even for analgesic drugs, which are also available over the counter, there was a correspondence between changes in self poisoning and prescribing. The availability of prescribed drugs is directly related to their use for self poisoning. Restricting the availability of these drugs is a possible preventative strategy, although further research on this is needed. (+info
Good health care: patient and professional perspectives.
Many health needs assessment exercises are professionally led, employing complex epidemiological methods. An alternative method that gives valuable information about patient preferences is a forced-choice questionnaire, which this study used in five practices in the West of Scotland. In each practice, patient-centred care was the most highly valued attribute of service provision. (+info
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
Geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic variations in the investigation and management of coronary heart disease in Scotland.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether age, sex, level of deprivation, and area of residence affect the likelihood of investigation and treatment of patients with coronary heart disease. DESIGN, PATIENTS, AND INTERVENTIONS: Routine discharge data were used to identify patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between 1991 and 1993 inclusive. Record linkage provided the proportion undergoing angiography, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) over the following two years. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether age, sex, deprivation, and area of residence were independently associated with progression to investigation and revascularisation. SETTING: Mainland Scotland 1991 to 1995 inclusive. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Two year incidence of angiography, PTCA, and CABG. Results-36 838 patients were admitted with AMI. 4831 (13%) underwent angiography, 587 (2%) PTCA, and 1825 (5%) CABG. Women were significantly less likely to undergo angiography (p < 0.001) and CABG (p < 0.001) but more likely to undergo PTCA (p < 0.05). Older patients were less likely to undergo all three procedures (p < 0.001). Socioeconomic deprivation was associated with a reduced likelihood of both angiography and CABG (p < 0.001). There were significant geographic variations in all three modalities (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Variations in investigation and management were demonstrated by age, sex, geography, and socioeconomic deprivation. These are unlikely to be accounted for by differences in need; differences in clinical practice are, therefore, likely. (+info
Factors influencing tackle injuries in rugby union football.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the influence of selected aspects of lifestyle, personality, and other player related factors on injuries in the tackle. To describe the detailed circumstances in which these tackles occurred. METHODS: A prospective case-control study was undertaken in which the tackling and tackled players ("the cases") involved in a tackle injury were each matched with "control" players who held the same respective playing positions in the opposing teams. A total of 964 rugby matches involving 71 senior clubs drawn from all districts of the Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) were observed by nominated linkmen who administered self report questionnaires to the players identified as cases and controls. Information on lifestyle habits, match preparation, training, and coaching experience was obtained. A validated battery of psychological tests assessed players' trait anger and responses to anger and hostility. The circumstances of the tackles in which injury occurred were recorded by experienced SRU coaching staff in interviews with involved players after the match. RESULTS: A total of 71 tackle injury episodes with correct matching of cases and controls were studied. The following player related factors did not contribute significantly to tackle injuries: alcohol consumption before the match, feeling "below par" through minor illness, the extent of match preparation, previous coaching, or practising tackling. Injured and non-injured players in the tackle did not differ in their disposition toward, or expression of, anger or hostility. Some 85% of tackling players who were injured were three quarters, and 52% of injuries occurred when the tackle came in behind the tackled player or within his peripheral vision. Either the tackling or tackled player was sprinting or running in all of these injury episodes. One third of injuries occurred in differential speed tackles--that is, when one player was travelling much faster than the other at impact. The player with the lower momentum was injured in 80% of these cases. Forceful or crunching tackles resulting in injury mostly occurred head on or within the tackled player's side vision. CONCLUSIONS: Attention should be focused on high speed tackles going in behind the tackled player's line of vision. Comparative information on the circumstances of the vast majority of tackles in which no injury occurs is required before any changes are considered to reduce injuries in the tackle. (+info
Prevalence of angiographic atherosclerotic renal artery disease and its relationship to the anatomical extent of peripheral vascular atherosclerosis.
BACKGROUND: Recognition of the possible presence of atherosclerotic renal artery disease (ARAD) is important because of its progressive nature, and because of the potential for precipitating an acute deterioration in renal function by administration of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. The aim of this study was to identify the prevalence of ARAD in patients undergoing peripheral angiography and its relationship to the extent of their peripheral vascular disease (PVD). METHODS: The reports of the 218 patients who underwent peripheral angiography to investigate PVD in one centre in a calendar year, and in whom it was possible to image the renal arteries, were analysed retrospectively. The presence of atherosclerotic disease in the renal, aortic, iliac, femoral and distal areas was recorded for each patient. RESULTS: The prevalence of ARAD was 79/218 (36.2%). The greater the number of atherosclerotic areas of the arterial tree, the higher the prevalence of ARAD. Patients with aortic disease and bilateral iliac, femoral and distal vessel disease had the highest incidence of ARAD 19/38 (50%). The incidence of ARAD in those with femoral artery atherosclerosis was significantly higher than in those without femoral artery atherosclerosis (42.1% compared with 9.7%, P=0.001 chi2). There was no significant difference in those groups with or without iliac and distal disease. None of the 11 patients with normal femoral and iliac arteries had ARAD. CONCLUSIONS: Renal artery atherosclerosis is a common occurrence in patients with PVD. If extensive PVD is recognized during aortography, a high flush should be considered to examine the renal arteries, if they are not included in the main study. (+info