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Citizen science and monitoring forest pests : a beneficial alliance?
Maarten De Groot, Michael J.O. Pocock, Jochem Bonte, Pilar Fernandez-Conradi, Elena Valdés-Correcher, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Purpose of the Review One of the major threats to tree health, and hence the resilience of forests and their provision of ecosystem services, is new and emerging pests. Therefore, forest health monitoring is of major importance to detect invasive, emerging and native pest outbreaks. This is usually done by foresters and forest health experts, but can also be complemented by citizen scientists. Here, we review the use of citizen science for detection and monitoring, as well as for hypothesis-driven research and evaluation of control measures as part of forest pest surveillance and research. We then examine its limitations and opportunities and make recommendations on the use of citizen science for forest pest monitoring. Recent Findings The main opportunities of citizen scientists for forest health are early warning, early detection of new pests, monitoring of impact of outbreaks and scientific research. Each domain has its own limitations, opportunities and recommendations to follow, as well as their own public engagement strategies. The development of new technologies provides many opportunities to involve citizen scientists in forest pest monitoring. To enhance the benefits of citizen scientists’ inclusion in monitoring, it is important that they are involved in the cocreation of activities. Summary Future monitoring and research may benefit from tailor-made citizen science projects to facilitate successful monitoring by citizen scientists and expand their practice to countries where the forest health sector is less developed. In this sense, citizen scientists can help understand and detect outbreaks of new pests and avoid problems in the future.
Keywords: forest health, community science, forest management, awareness raising, forest protection
Published in DiRROS: 28.11.2022; Views: 34; Downloads: 18
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Availability and costs of medicines for the treatment of tuberculosis in Europe
Gunar Günther, Lorenzo Guglielmetti, Claude Leu, Christoph Lange, Frank van Leth, 2022, review article

Abstract: Objectives. To evaluate the access to comprehensive diagnostics and novel anti-tuberculosis medicines in European countries. Methods. We investigated access to genotypic and phenotypic M. tuberculosis drug susceptibility testing, availability of anti-tuberculosis drugs and calculated cost of drugs and treatment regimens at major tuberculosis treatment centers in countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) European region where rates of drug-resistant tuberculosis are highest among all WHO regions. Results are stratified by middle-income and high-income countries. Results. Overall, 43 treatment centers in 43 countries participated in the study. For WHO Group A drugs, the frequency of countries with availability of phenotypic drug susceptibility testing was as follows: 30/40 (75%) for levofloxacin, 33/40 (82%) for moxifloxacin, 19/40 (48%) for bedaquiline and 29/40 (72%) for linezolid, respectively. Overall, 36/43 (84%) and 24/43 (56%) of countries had access to bedaquiline and delamanid, while only 6/43 (14%) had access to rifapentine. Treatment of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis with a regimen including a carbapenem was only available in 17/43 (40%) of the countries. Median cost of regimens for drug-susceptible tuberculosis, multidrug-resistant/rifampicin-resistant tuberculosis (shorter regimen, including bedaquiline for six months) and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (including bedaquiline, delamanid and a carbapenem) were € 44 (min-max € 15-152), € 764 (min-max € 542-15152) and € 8709 (min-max € 7965-11759) in middle-income countries (n=12), and € 280 (min-max-€78-1084), € 29765 (min-max 11116-40584), € 217591 (min-max € 82827-320146) in high-income countries (n=29). Conclusion. In countries of the WHO Europe Region there is a widespread lack of drug susceptibility testing capacity to new and re-purposed anti-tuberculosis drugs, lack of access to essential medications in several countries and high treatment cost for drug-resistant tuberculosis.
Keywords: tuberculosis - drug therapy, Mycobacterium tuberculosis - drug therapy, health care costs - drug therapy, Europe
Published in DiRROS: 31.08.2022; Views: 135; Downloads: 40
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The differences of Slovenian and Italian daily practices experienced in the first wave of covid-19 pandemic
Saša Pišot, Boštjan Šimunič, Ambra Gentile, Antonino Bianco, Gianluca Lo Coco, Rado Pišot, Patrik Drid, Ivana Milovanović, 2022, original scientific article

Abstract: Background: The COVID-19 pandemic situation with the lockdown of public life caused serious changes in people’s everyday practices. The study evaluates the diferences between Slovenia and Italy in health-related everyday practices induced by the restrictive measures during frst wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: The cross-sectional cohort study examined changes through an online survey conducted in nine European countries from April 15–28, 2020. The survey included questions from a simple activity inventory questionnaire (SIMPAQ), the European Health Interview Survey, and some other questions. To compare diference in changes between European countries we examined Italy with severe and its neighbour country Slovenia with low incidence and victims of COVID-19 epidemic. 956 valid responses from Italy (N=511; 50% males) and Slovenia (N=445; 26% males) were investigated. Results: During the survey, there was a 4.7-fold higher incidence and 12.1-fold more deaths (per 100,000) in Italy than in Slovenia. Barring periods and measures were similar, the latter more stringent in Italy. We found more changes in Italy than in Slovenia: physical inactivity increased (Italy:+65% vs. Slovenia:+21%; p<0.001), walking time decreased (Italy: -68% vs. Slovenia: -4.4%; p<0.001); physical work increased by 38% in Slovenia (p<0.001), and recreation time decreased by 37% in Italy (p<0.001). Italians reported a decrease in quality of general health, ftness level, psychological well-being, quality of life and care for own health (p<0.001); Slovenians showed a decline in psychological well-being and quality of life (p<0.001) but generally had a higher concern for their own health (p=0.005). In pooled participants, changes in eating habits (meal size and consumption of unhealthy food), age and physical inactivity were positively correlated with increases in body mass, while changes in general well-being and concern for health were negatively correlated. Conclusion: The study shows that the negative impact of COVID -19 measures is greater in Italy where the pandemic COVID -19 was more prevalent than in Slovenia with low prevalence. Additional consideration should be given to the negative impact of COVID-19 measures on some health-related lifestyle variables when implementing further measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: coronavirus pandemic, pandemic measures, home confinement, public health, physical activity, physical inactivity, dietary habits, eating habits, well-being
Published in DiRROS: 18.02.2022; Views: 297; Downloads: 211
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Corythucha arcuata (Say, 1832) (Hemiptera, Tingidae) in its invasive range in Europe : perception, knowledge and willingness to act in foresters and citizens
Flavius Balacenoiu, Anže Japelj, Iris Bernardinelli, Bastien Castagneyrol, György Csóka, Milka Glavendekić, Gernot Hoch, Boris Hrašovec, Silvija Krajter Ostoić, Márton Paulin, David Williams, Johan Witters, Maarten De Groot, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: The oak lace bug (OLB) Corythucha arcuata (Say, 1832) is an invasive alien species (IAS) that potentially could have many negative impacts on European oak health. Certain measures can be applied to counteract these effects. However, these measures may not be acceptable for forest managers or other stakeholder groups, such as private forest owners, environmental NGOs or the general public. Thereby, we set out to study the perception and knowledge of foresters and other stakeholders on the health status of European oak forests affected by oak lace bug and to investigate what forest health management measures would be acceptable to these target groups. An online survey questionnaire was designed and distributed via social networks, as well as professional networks via e-mails. The survey questionnaire was completed by 2084 respondents from nine European countries: Austria, Croatia, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Serbia and Slovenia. Even though only a little over 60% of respondents reported they had noticed the discolouration of oak leaves caused by OLB, almost all (93%) considered it to be a problem. As respondents come from a country where C. arcuata is widespread and established, people%s general knowledge and awareness of OLB began to increase. The survey revealed that foresters thought that the insect affected photosynthesis, acorn crop and the aesthetics of the trees, but cannot cause death of trees. However, they assume that the value of the wood would decrease (this fact is also supported by the respondents who are connected to an environmental NGO), but that OLB does not affect property value. However, forest owners claim that the value of the property can be affected and that people would avoid entering the forest. In terms of potential control methods, respondents preferred biological or mechanical measures over chemical ones. We consider this study to be a good basis for further research on the topic of perception, knowledge and attitudes related to OLB since we can expect that the IAS, such as OLB, will certainly spread to European countries that were not included in this survey.
Keywords: attitude, citizen knowledge, Europe, forest health, IAS control measures, invasive alien species, survey
Published in DiRROS: 28.10.2021; Views: 582; Downloads: 353
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Quantification of the link between timed up-and-go test subtasks and contractile muscle properties
Andreas Ziegl, Dieter Hayn, Peter Kastner, Ester Fabiani, Boštjan Šimunič, Kerstin Löffler, Lisa Weidinger, Bianca Brix, Nandu Goswami, Günter Schreier, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Frailty and falls are a major public health problem in older adults. Muscle weakness of the lower and upper extremities are risk factors for any, as well as recurrent falls including injuries and fractures. While the Timed Up-and-Go (TUG) test is often used to identify frail members and fallers, tensiomyography (TMG) can be used as a non-invasive tool to assess the function of skeletal muscles. In a clinical study, we evaluated the correlation between the TMG parameters of the skeletal muscle contraction of 23 elderly participants (22 f, age 86.74 % 7.88) and distance-based TUG test subtask times. TUG tests were recorded with an ultrasonic-based device. The sit-up and walking phases were significantly correlated to the contraction and delay time of the muscle vastus medialis (% = 0.55%0.80, p < 0.01). In addition, the delay time of the muscles vastus medialis (% = 0.45, p = 0.03) and gastrocnemius medialis (% = %0.44, p = 0.04) correlated to the sit-down phase. The maximal radial displacements of the biceps femoris showed significant correlations with the walk-forward times (% = %0.47, p = 0.021) and back (% = %0.43, p = 0.04). The association of TUG subtasks to muscle contractile parameters, therefore, could be utilized as a measure to improve the monitoring of elderly people%s physical ability in general and during rehabilitation after a fall in particular. TUG test subtask measurements may be used as a proxy to monitor muscle properties in rehabilitation after long hospital stays and injuries or for fall prevention.
Keywords: timed up-and-go test, tensiomyography, biomedical engineering, biomedical sensors, health
Published in DiRROS: 18.10.2021; Views: 481; Downloads: 349
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Usefulness of rapid antigen testing for SARS-CoV-2 screening of healthcare workers : ǂa ǂpilot study
Anja Šterbenc, Viktorija Tomič, Urška Bidovec, Katja Vrankar, Aleš Rozman, Mihaela Zidarn, 2021, short scientific article

Abstract: Background. Identification of infected healthcare workers (HCWs) is an important step in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission control. Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are considered an important addition to molecular tests in diagnosing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), mainly because of their fast turnaround time, easier analytical procedure and lower price. However, real-life studies on the usefulness of such testing for screening of HCWs are limited. Methods. Physicians, nurses and hospital attendants currently working at the University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik were invited to participate in the pilot study. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained three times per week for two consecutive weeks and tested with a point-of-care RAT and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Serum samples were obtained at the beginning of the study and 2 weeks after the last swab was collected to evaluate the serological status. Results. A total of 191 nasopharyngeal swabs from 36 HCWs were obtained. None of the samples tested was positive for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antigen, whereas two HCWs tested positive on RT-PCR. Of these, one HCW had a newly identified SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas RT-PCR probably detected a previous but recent infection in the other HCW. Conclusio.n Based on the results of this pilot study, it is unlikely that RAT will reliably detect novel SARS-CoV-2 infections among asymptomatic HCWs despite serial sampling. Although RT-PCR-based screening of HCWs may not be feasible due to high sample volume, molecular methods may identify SARS-CoV-2-infected HCWs already during the presymptomatic stage.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, health personnel, COVID-19 serological testing, real-time polymerase chain reaction, rapid antigen test, screening
Published in DiRROS: 28.05.2021; Views: 710; Downloads: 159
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Globally altered sleep patterns and physical activity levels by confinement in 5056 individuals : ECLB COVID-19 international online survey
Khaled Trabelsi, Achraf Ammar, Liwa Masmoudi, Omar Boukhris, Hamdi Chtourou, Bassem Bouaziz, Michael Brach, Boštjan Šimunič, Rado Pišot, Saša Pišot, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Symptoms of psychological distress and disorder have been widely reported in people under quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic; in addition to severe disruption of peoples% daily activity and sleep patterns. This study investigates the association between physical-activity levels and sleep patterns in quarantined individuals. An international Google online survey was launched in April 6th, 2020 for 12-weeks. Forty-one research organizations from Europe, North-Africa, Western-Asia, and the Americas promoted the survey through their networks to the general society, which was made available in 14 languages. The survey was presented in a differential format with questions related to responses %before% and %during% the confinement period. Participants responded to the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) questionnaire and the short form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. 5056 replies (59.4% female), from Europe (46.4%), Western-Asia (25.4%), America (14.8%) and North-Africa (13.3%) were analysed. The COVID-19 home confinement led to impaired sleep quality, as evidenced by the increase in the global PSQI score (4.37 % 2.71 before home confinement vs. 5.32 % 3.23 during home confinement) (p < 0.001). The frequency of individuals experiencing a good sleep decreased from 61% (n = 3063) before home confinement to 48% (n = 2405) during home confinement with highly active individuals experienced better sleep quality (p < 0.001) in both conditions. Time spent engaged in all physical-activity and the metabolic equivalent of task in each physical-activity category (i.e., vigorous, moderate, walking) decreased significantly during COVID-19 home confinement (p < 0.001). The number of hours of daily-sitting increased by ~2 hours/days during home confinement (p < 0.001). COVID-19 home confinement resulted in significantly negative alterations in sleep patterns and physical-activity levels. To maintain health during home confinement, physical-activity promotion and sleep hygiene education and support are strongly warranted.
Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, public health, restrictions, isolation, home confinement, psychosocial health, sleep, sedentary lifestyle, physical activities, lifestyle, behaviours
Published in DiRROS: 24.03.2021; Views: 9654; Downloads: 482
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A cross-country examination on the fear of COVID-19 and the sense of loneliness during the first wave of COVID-19 outbreak
Gianluca Lo Coco, Ambra Gentile, Ksenja Bosnar, Ivana Milovanović, Antonino Bianco, Patrik Drid, Saša Pišot, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: The aim of the current study is to examine gender, age. and cross-country differences in fear of COVID-19 and sense of loneliness during the lockdown, by comparing people from those countries with a high rate of infections and deaths (e.g., Spain and Italy) and from countries with a mild spread of infection (e.g., Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina). A total of 3876 participants (63% female) completed an online survey on %Everyday life practices in COVID-19 time% in April 2020, including measures of fear of COVID-19 and loneliness. Males and females of all age groups in countries suffering from the powerful impact of the COVID-19 pandemic reported greater fear of COVID-19 and sense of loneliness. In less endangered countries, females and the elderly reported more symptoms than males and the young; in Spanish and Italian samples, the pattern of differences is considerably more complex. Future research should thoroughly examine different age and gender groups. The analysis of emotional well-being in groups at risk of mental health issues may help to lessen the long term social and economic costs due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, public health, restrictions, isolation, loneliness, fear, psychosocial distress
Published in DiRROS: 15.03.2021; Views: 771; Downloads: 536
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Effects of home confinement on mental health and lifestyle behaviours during the COVID-19 outbreak : insights from the ECLB-COVID19 multicentre study
Achraf Ammar, Khaled Trabelsi, Michael Brach, Hamdi Chtourou, Omar Boukhris, Liwa Masmoudi, Bassem Bouaziz, Boštjan Šimunič, Rado Pišot, Saša Pišot, 2021, original scientific article

Abstract: Although recognised as effective measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, social distancing and self-isolation have been suggested to generate a burden throughout the population. To provide scientific data to help identify risk factors for the psychosocial strain during the COVID-19 outbreak, an international cross-disciplinary online survey was circulated in April 2020. This report outlines the mental, emotional and behavioural consequences of COVID-19 home confinement. The ECLB-COVID19 electronic survey was designed by a steering group of multidisciplinary scientists, following a structured review of the literature. The survey was uploaded and shared on the Google online survey platform and was promoted by thirty-five research organizations from Europe, North Africa, Western Asia and the Americas. Questions were presented in a differential format with questions related to responses %before% and %during% the confinement period. 1047 replies (54% women) from Western Asia (36%), North Africa (40%), Europe (21%) and other continents (3%) were analysed. The COVID-19 home confinement evoked a negative effect on mental wellbeing and emotional status (P < 0.001; 0.43 % d % 0.65) with a greater proportion of individuals experiencing psychosocial and emotional disorders (+10% to +16.5%). These psychosocial tolls were associated with unhealthy lifestyle behaviours with a greater proportion of individuals experiencing (i) physical (+15.2%) and social (+71.2%) inactivity, (ii) poor sleep quality (+12.8%), (iii) unhealthy diet behaviours (+10%), and (iv) unemployment (6%). Conversely, participants demonstrated a greater use (+15%) of technology during the confinement period. These findings elucidate the risk of psychosocial strain during the COVID-19 home confinement period and provide a clear remit for the urgent implementation of technology-based intervention to foster an Active and Healthy Confinement Lifestyle AHCL).
Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, public health, restrictions, isolation, home confinement, psychosocial health, mental wellbeing, depression, satisfaction, lifestyle, behaviours
Published in DiRROS: 18.12.2020; Views: 929; Downloads: 506
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Psychological consequences of COVID-19 home confinement : the ECLB-COVID19 multicenter study
Achraf Ammar, Patrick Mueller, Khaled Trabelsi, Hamdi Chtourou, Omar Boukhris, Liwa Masmoudi, Bassem Bouaziz, Michael Brach, Marlen Schmicker, Boštjan Šimunič, Rado Pišot, 2020, original scientific article

Abstract: Background Public health recommendations and government measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have enforced restrictions on daily-living. While these measures are imperative to abate the spreading of COVID-19, the impact of these restrictions on mental health and emotional wellbeing is undefined. Therefore, an international online survey (ECLB-COVID19) was launched on April 6, 2020 in seven languages to elucidate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on mental health and emotional wellbeing. Methods The ECLB-COVID19 electronic survey was designed by a steering group of multidisciplinary scientists, following a structured review of the literature. The survey was uploaded and shared on the Google online-survey-platform and was promoted by thirty-five research organizations from Europe, North-Africa, Western-Asia and the Americas. All participants were asked for their mental wellbeing (SWEMWS) and depressive symptoms (SMFQ) with regard to %during% and %before% home confinement. Results Analysis was conducted on the first 1047 replies (54% women) from Asia (36%), Africa (40%), Europe (21%) and other (3%). The COVID-19 home confinement had a negative effect on both mental-wellbeing and on mood and feelings. Specifically, a significant decrease (p < .001 and %% = 9.4%) in total score of the SWEMWS questionnaire was noted. More individuals (+12.89%) reported a low mental wellbeing %during% compared to %before% home confinement. Furthermore, results from the mood and feelings questionnaire showed a significant increase by 44.9% (p < .001) in SMFQ total score with more people (+10%) showing depressive symptoms %during% compared to %before% home confinement. Conclusion The ECLB-COVID19 survey revealed an increased psychosocial strain triggered by the home confinement. To mitigate this high risk of mental disorders and to foster an Active and Healthy Confinement Lifestyle (AHCL), a crisis-oriented interdisciplinary intervention is urgently needed.
Keywords: coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic, public health, restrictions, isolation, home confinement, psychosocial health, psychological consequences, mental health, emotions, wellbeing, physical inactivity
Published in DiRROS: 18.12.2020; Views: 900; Downloads: 761
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