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Journal: International journal of environmental research and public health


We performed a retrospective analysis spanning ten years of pediatric practice focused on patients with variable vaccination born into a practice, presenting a unique opportunity to study the effects of variable vaccination on outcomes. The average total incidence of billed office visits per outcome related to the outcomes were compared across groups (Relative Incidence of Office Visit (RIOV)). RIOV is shown to be more powerful than odds ratio of diagnoses. Full cohort, cumulative incidence analyses, matched for days of care, and matched for family history analyses were conducted across quantiles of vaccine uptake. Increased office visits related to many diagnoses were robust to days-of-care-matched analyses, family history, gender block, age block, and false discovery risk. Many outcomes had high RIOV odds ratios after matching for days-of-care (e.g., anemia (6.334), asthma (3.496), allergic rhinitis (6.479), and sinusitis (3.529), all significant under the Z-test). Developmental disorders were determined to be difficult to study due to extremely low prevalence in the practice, potentially attributable to high rates of vaccine cessation upon adverse events and family history of autoimmunity. Remarkably, zero of the 561 unvaccinated patients in the study had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to 0.063% of the (partially and fully) vaccinated. The implications of these results for the net public health effects of whole-population vaccination and with respect for informed consent on human health are compelling. Our results give agency to calls for research conducted by individuals who are independent of any funding sources related to the vaccine industry. While the low rates of developmental disorders prevented sufficiently powered hypothesis testing, it is notable that the overall rate of autism spectrum disorder (0.84%) in the cohort is half that of the US national rate (1.69%). The practice-wide rate of ADHD was roughly half of the national rate. The data indicate that unvaccinated children in the practice are not unhealthier than the vaccinated and indeed the overall results may indicate that the unvaccinated pediatric patients in this practice are healthier overall than the vaccinated.


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder in which a significant number of the children experience a developmental regression characterized by a loss of previously acquired skills and abilities. Typically reported are losses of verbal, nonverbal, and social abilities. Several recent studies suggest that children diagnosed with an ASD have abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased glutathione (GSH) reserve capacity, resulting in a compromised oxidation/reduction (redox) and detoxification capacity. Research indicates that the availability of thiols, particularly GSH, can influence the effects of thimerosal ™ and other mercury (Hg) compounds. TM is an organomercurial compound (49.55% Hg by weight) that has been, and continues to be, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, particularly in developing countries. Thiol-modulating mechanisms affecting the cytotoxicity of TM have been identified. Importantly, the emergence of ASD symptoms post-6 months of age temporally follows the administration of many childhood vaccines. The purpose of the present critical review is provide mechanistic insight regarding how limited thiol availability, abnormal sulfation chemistry, and decreased GSH reserve capacity in children with an ASD could make them more susceptible to the toxic effects of TM routinely administered as part of mandated childhood immunization schedules.

Concepts: Autism, Disulfide bond, Glutathione, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Cysteine, Thiol, Thiols


Hypertension is the second biggest known global risk factor for disease after poor diet; perhaps lifestyle interventions are underutilized? In a previous small pilot study, it was found that a low carbohydrate diet was associated with significant improvements in blood pressure, weight, ‘deprescribing’ of medications and lipid profiles. We were interested to investigate if these results would be replicated in a larger study based in ‘real world’ GP practice. 154 patients with type 2 diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance were recruited into an observational cohort study in primary care. The effects of a low carbohydrate diet sustained for an average of two years (interquartile range 10-32 months) on cardiovascular risk factors were examined. Results demonstrate significant and substantial reductions in blood pressure (mean reduction of systolic BP 10.9 mmHg (interquartile range 0-22 mmHg) (p < 0.0001), mean reduction in diastolic BP 6.3 mmHg (interquartile range 0-12.8 mmHg) (p < 0.0001) and mean weight reduction of 9.5 Kg (interquartile range 5-13 Kg) (p < 0.0001) together with marked improvement in lipid profiles. This occurred despite a 20% reduction in anti-hypertensive medications. This novel and potentially highly effective dietary modification, done very cheaply alongside routine care, offers hope that should be tested in a large prospective trial.


The current chronic kidney disease epidemic, the major health issue in the rice paddy farming areas in Sri Lanka has been the subject of many scientific and political debates over the last decade. Although there is no agreement among scientists about the etiology of the disease, a majority of them has concluded that this is a toxic nephropathy. None of the hypotheses put forward so far could explain coherently the totality of clinical, biochemical, histopathological findings, and the unique geographical distribution of the disease and its appearance in the mid-1990s. A strong association between the consumption of hard water and the occurrence of this special kidney disease has been observed, but the relationship has not been explained consistently. Here, we have hypothesized the association of using glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the disease endemic area and its unique metal chelating properties. The possible role played by glyphosate-metal complexes in this epidemic has not been given any serious consideration by investigators for the last two decades. Furthermore, it may explain similar kidney disease epidemics observed in Andra Pradesh (India) and Central America. Although glyphosate alone does not cause an epidemic of chronic kidney disease, it seems to have acquired the ability to destroy the renal tissues of thousands of farmers when it forms complexes with a localized geo environmental factor (hardness) and nephrotoxic metals.

Concepts: Scientific method, Chronic kidney disease, Kidney, Epidemiology, Infectious disease, Theory, Sri Lanka, Epidemic


Childhood and adolescence are important developmental phases which influence health and well-being across the life span. Social relationships are fundamental to child and adolescent development; yet studies have been limited to children’s relationships with other humans. This paper provides an evidence review for the potential associations between pet ownership and emotional; behavioural; cognitive; educational and social developmental outcomes. As the field is in the early stages; a broad set of inclusion criteria was applied. A systematic search of databases and grey literature sources found twenty-two studies meeting selection criteria. The review found evidence for an association between pet ownership and a wide range of emotional health benefits from childhood pet ownership; particularly for self-esteem and loneliness. The findings regarding childhood anxiety and depression were inconclusive. Studies also showed evidence of an association between pet ownership and educational and cognitive benefits; for example, in perspective-taking abilities and intellectual development. Evidence on behavioural development was unclear due to a lack of high quality research. Studies on pet ownership and social development provided evidence for an association with increased social competence; social networks; social interaction and social play behaviour. Overall, pet ownership and the significance of children’s bonds with companion animals have been underexplored; there is a shortage of high quality and longitudinal studies in all outcomes. Prospective studies that control for a wide range of confounders are required.

Concepts: Psychology, Sociology, Educational psychology, Child, Adolescence, Developmental psychology, Behavior, Social relation


The COVID-19 pandemic caused the shutdown of entire nations all over the world. In addition to mobility restrictions of people, the World Health Organization and the Governments have prescribed maintaining an inter-personal distance of 1.5 or 2 m (about 6 feet) from each other in order to minimize the risk of contagion through the droplets that we usually disseminate around us from nose and mouth. However, recently published studies support the hypothesis of virus transmission over a distance of 2 m from an infected person. Researchers have proved the higher aerosol and surface stability of SARS-COV-2 as compared with SARS-COV-1 (with the virus remaining viable and infectious in aerosol for hours) and that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV can occur besides close-distance contacts. Indeed, there is reasonable evidence about the possibility of SARS-COV-2 airborne transmission due to its persistence into aerosol droplets in a viable and infectious form. Based on the available knowledge and epidemiological observations, it is plausible that small particles containing the virus may diffuse in indoor environments covering distances up to 10 m from the emission sources, thus representing a kind of aerosol transmission. On-field studies carried out inside Wuhan Hospitals showed the presence of SARS-COV-2 RNA in air samples collected in the hospitals and also in the surroundings, leading to the conclusion that the airborne route has to be considered an important pathway for viral diffusion. Similar findings are reported in analyses concerning air samples collected at the Nebraska University Hospital. On March 16th, we have released a Position Paper emphasizing the airborne route as a possible additional factor for interpreting the anomalous COVID-19 outbreaks in northern Italy, ranked as one of the most polluted areas in Europe and characterized by high particulate matter (PM) concentrations. The available information on the SARS-COV-2 spreading supports the hypothesis of airborne diffusion of infected droplets from person to person at a distance greater than two meters (6 feet). The inter-personal distance of 2 m can be reasonably considered as an effective protection only if everybody wears face masks in daily life activities.


The last case of polio from India was reported in 2011. That year, the non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP) rate in India was 13.35/100,000, where the expected rate is 1⁻2/100,000. A previous study of data from 2000 to 2010 has detailed the NPAFP rate in a state correlated with the pulse polio rounds conducted there, and the strongest correlation with the NPAFP rate was found when the number of doses from the previous 4 years were used. However, a simple association being found with regression analysis does not prove a causal relationship. After publication of those findings, as the threat of polio had lessened, the number of rounds of OPV administration was brought down. The present study has been done to look at data till the end of 2017, to see if the incidence of NPAFP declined with this reduction in polio immunization rounds. We used polio surveillance data acquired by the Government of India from 2000⁻2017. Correlation of the NAFP rate to the number of polio rounds in the state was examined, and the cumulative effect of polio doses administered in previous years was sought. NPAFP rate correlated with the OPV pulse polio rounds in that year (R = 0.46; p < 0.001), and the NPAFP rate started to decrease from 2012 when the number of pulse polio rounds had decreased. NPAFP rates in the states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Bihar were the highest in the country. Looking at the high-NPAFP states of UP and Bihar, we found that the correlation coefficient was strongest when doses used over 5 years was considered (R = 0.76; p < 0.001). The response to the reduction in OPV rounds (de-challenging) adds credence to the assumption that OPV was responsible for the change in the NPAFP rate. Now that India has been polio-free for over 6 years, we propose that we may be able to reduce NPAFP by further reducing pulse polio rounds.


A scoping search and a systematic literature review were conducted to give an insight on entry and exit screening referring to travelers at points of entry, by analyzing published evidence on practices, guidelines, and experiences in the past 15 years worldwide. Grey literature, PubMed. and Scopus were searched using specific terms. Most of the available data identified through the systematic literature review concerned entry screening measures at airports. Little evidence is available about entry and exit screening measure implementation and effectiveness at ports and ground crossings. Exit screening was part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) temporary recommendations for implementation in certain points of entry, for specific time periods. Exit screening measures for Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the three most affected West African countries did not identify any cases and showed zero sensitivity and very low specificity. The percentages of confirmed cases identified out of the total numbers of travelers that passed through entry screening measures in various countries worldwide for Influenza Pandemic (H1N1) and EVD in West Africa were zero or extremely low. Entry screening measures for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) did not detect any confirmed SARS cases in Australia, Canada, and Singapore. Despite the ineffectiveness of entry and exit screening measures, authors reported several important concomitant positive effects that their impact is difficult to assess, including discouraging travel of ill persons, raising awareness, and educating the traveling public and maintaining operation of flights from/to the affected areas. Exit screening measures in affected areas are important and should be applied jointly with other measures including information strategies, epidemiological investigation, contact tracing, vaccination, and quarantine to achieve a comprehensive outbreak management response. Based on review results, an algorithm about decision-making for entry/exit screening was developed.


Dog walking is a popular everyday physical activity. Dog owners are generally more active than non-owners, but some rarely walk with their dog. The strength of the dog-owner relationship is known to be correlated with dog walking, and this qualitative study investigates why. Twenty-six interviews were combined with autoethnography of dog walking experiences. Dog walking was constructed as “for the dog”, however, owners represented their dog’s needs in a way which aligned with their own. Central to the construction of need was perceptions of dog personality and behaviour. Owners reported deriving positive outcomes from dog walking, most notably, feelings of “happiness”, but these were “contingent” on the perception that their dogs were enjoying the experience. Owner physical activity and social interaction were secondary bonuses but rarely motivating. Perceptions and beliefs of owners about dog walking were continually negotiated, depending on how the needs of the owner and dog were constructed at that time. Complex social interactions with the “significant other” of a pet can strongly motivate human health behaviour. Potential interventions to promote dog walking need to account for this complexity and the effect of the dog-owner relationship on owner mental wellbeing.

Concepts: Psychology, Understanding, Sociology, Mind, Behavior, Motivation, Social relation, Walking


In this study, a chlorine dioxide solution (UC-1) composed of chlorine dioxide was produced using an electrolytic method and subsequently purified using a membrane. UC-1 was determined to contain 2000 ppm of gaseous chlorine dioxide in water. The efficacy and safety of UC-1 were evaluated. The antimicrobial activity was more than 98.2% reduction when UC-1 concentrations were 5 and 20 ppm for bacteria and fungi, respectively. The half maximal inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of H1N1, influenza virus B/TW/71718/04, and EV71 were 84.65 ± 0.64, 95.91 ± 11.61, and 46.39 ± 1.97 ppm, respectively. A 3-(4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) test revealed that the cell viability of mouse lung fibroblast L929 cells was 93.7% at a 200 ppm UC-1 concentration that is over that anticipated in routine use. Moreover, 50 ppm UC-1 showed no significant symptoms in a rabbit ocular irritation test. In an inhalation toxicity test, treatment with 20 ppm UC-1 for 24 h showed no abnormality and no mortality in clinical symptoms and normal functioning of the lung and other organs. A ClO₂ concentration of up to 40 ppm in drinking water did not show any toxicity in a subchronic oral toxicity test. Herein, UC-1 showed favorable disinfection activity and a higher safety profile tendency than in previous reports.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Concentration, Chemical equilibrium, Oxide, Chlorine, Solution, Parts-per notation, Chlorine dioxide