Showing papers in "International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2020"
TL;DR: The findings identify factors associated with a lower level of psychological impact and better mental health status that can be used to formulate psychological interventions to improve the mental health of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Abstract: Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic is a public health emergency of international concern and poses a challenge to psychological resilience. Research data are needed to develop evidence-driven strategies to reduce adverse psychological impacts and psychiatric symptoms during the epidemic. The aim of this study was to survey the general public in China to better understand their levels of psychological impact, anxiety, depression, and stress during the initial stage of the COVID-19 outbreak. The data will be used for future reference. Methods: From 31 January to 2 February 2020, we conducted an online survey using snowball sampling techniques. The online survey collected information on demographic data, physical symptoms in the past 14 days, contact history with COVID-19, knowledge and concerns about COVID-19, precautionary measures against COVID-19, and additional information required with respect to COVID-19. Psychological impact was assessed by the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R), and mental health status was assessed by the Depression, Anxiety and Stress Scale (DASS-21). Results: This study included 1210 respondents from 194 cities in China. In total, 53.8% of respondents rated the psychological impact of the outbreak as moderate or severe; 16.5% reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms; 28.8% reported moderate to severe anxiety symptoms; and 8.1% reported moderate to severe stress levels. Most respondents spent 20–24 h per day at home (84.7%); were worried about their family members contracting COVID-19 (75.2%); and were satisfied with the amount of health information available (75.1%). Female gender, student status, specific physical symptoms (e.g., myalgia, dizziness, coryza), and poor self-rated health status were significantly associated with a greater psychological impact of the outbreak and higher levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Specific up-to-date and accurate health information (e.g., treatment, local outbreak situation) and particular precautionary measures (e.g., hand hygiene, wearing a mask) were associated with a lower psychological impact of the outbreak and lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression (p < 0.05). Conclusions: During the initial phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, more than half of the respondents rated the psychological impact as moderate-to-severe, and about one-third reported moderate-to-severe anxiety. Our findings identify factors associated with a lower level of psychological impact and better mental health status that can be used to formulate psychological interventions to improve the mental health of vulnerable groups during the COVID-19 epidemic.
TL;DR: This epidemiological picture is an important benchmark for identifying persons at greater risk of suffering from psychological distress and the results are useful for tailoring psychological interventions targeting the post-traumatic nature of the distress.
Abstract: The uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has called for unprecedented measures, to the extent that the Italian government has imposed a quarantine on the entire country. Quarantine has a huge impact and can cause considerable psychological strain. The present study aims to establish the prevalence of psychiatric symptoms and identify risk and protective factors for psychological distress in the general population. An online survey was administered from 18-22 March 2020 to 2766 participants. Multivariate ordinal logistic regression models were constructed to examine the associations between sociodemographic variables; personality traits; depression, anxiety, and stress. Female gender, negative affect, and detachment were associated with higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress. Having an acquaintance infected was associated with increased levels of both depression and stress, whereas a history of stressful situations and medical problems was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. Finally, those with a family member infected and young person who had to work outside their domicile presented higher levels of anxiety and stress, respectively. This epidemiological picture is an important benchmark for identifying persons at greater risk of suffering from psychological distress and the results are useful for tailoring psychological interventions targeting the post-traumatic nature of the distress.
TL;DR: The results showed that negative emotions and sensitivity to social risks increased, while the scores of positive emotions and life satisfaction decreased, and people were concerned more about their health and family, while less about leisure and friends.
Abstract: COVID-19 (Corona Virus Disease 2019) has significantly resulted in a large number of psychological consequences. The aim of this study is to explore the impacts of COVID-19 on people’s mental health, to assist policy makers to develop actionable policies, and help clinical practitioners (e.g., social workers, psychiatrists, and psychologists) provide timely services to affected populations. We sample and analyze the Weibo posts from 17,865 active Weibo users using the approach of Online Ecological Recognition (OER) based on several machine-learning predictive models. We calculated word frequency, scores of emotional indicators (e.g., anxiety, depression, indignation, and Oxford happiness) and cognitive indicators (e.g., social risk judgment and life satisfaction) from the collected data. The sentiment analysis and the paired sample t-test were performed to examine the differences in the same group before and after the declaration of COVID-19 on 20 January, 2020. The results showed that negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, depression and indignation) and sensitivity to social risks increased, while the scores of positive emotions (e.g., Oxford happiness) and life satisfaction decreased. People were concerned more about their health and family, while less about leisure and friends. The results contribute to the knowledge gaps of short-term individual changes in psychological conditions after the outbreak. It may provide references for policy makers to plan and fight against COVID-19 effectively by improving stability of popular feelings and urgently prepare clinical practitioners to deliver corresponding therapy foundations for the risk groups and affected people.
TL;DR: The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with mild stressful impact in a sample of local Chinese residents aged ≥18 years in Liaoning Province, mainland China, even though the pandemic is still ongoing.
Abstract: Our study aimed to investigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and quality of life among local Chinese residents aged ≥18 years in Liaoning Province, mainland China. An online survey was distributed through a social media platform between January and February 2020. Participants completed a modified validated questionnaire that assessed the Impact of Event Scale (IES), indicators of negative mental health impacts, social and family support, and mental health-related lifestyle changes. A total of 263 participants (106 males and 157 females) completed the study. The mean age of the participants was 37.7 ± 14.0 years, and 74.9% had a high level of education. The mean IES score in the participants was 13.6 ± 7.7, reflecting a mild stressful impact. Only 7.6% of participants had an IES score ≥26. The majority of participants (53.3%) did not feel helpless due to the pandemic. On the other hand, 52.1% of participants felt horrified and apprehensive due to the pandemic. Additionally, the majority of participants (57.8–77.9%) received increased support from friends and family members, increased shared feeling and caring with family members and others. In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with mild stressful impact in our sample, even though the COVID-19 pandemic is still ongoing. These findings would need to be verified in larger population studies.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors examined the associations between psychological distress and changes in selected health behaviors since the onset of COVID-19 in Australia and found that negative changes in physical activity, sleep, smoking and alcohol intake were associated with higher depression, anxiety and stress symptoms.
Abstract: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has enforced dramatic changes to daily living including economic and health impacts. Evidence for the impact of these changes on our physical and mental health and health behaviors is limited. We examined the associations between psychological distress and changes in selected health behaviors since the onset of COVID-19 in Australia. An online survey was distributed in April 2020 and included measures of depression, anxiety, stress, physical activity, sleep, alcohol intake and cigarette smoking. The survey was completed by 1491 adults (mean age 50.5 ± 14.9 years, 67% female). Negative change was reported for physical activity (48.9%), sleep (40.7%), alcohol (26.6%) and smoking (6.9%) since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Significantly higher scores in one or more psychological distress states were found for females, and those not in a relationship, in the lowest income category, aged 18–45 years, or with a chronic illness. Negative changes in physical activity, sleep, smoking and alcohol intake were associated with higher depression, anxiety and stress symptoms. Health-promotion strategies directed at adopting or maintaining positive health-related behaviors should be utilized to address increases in psychological distress during the pandemic. Ongoing evaluation of the impact of lifestyle changes associated with the pandemic is needed.
TL;DR: Recent studies show that cadmium induces various epigenetic changes in mammalian cells, both in vivo and in vitro, causing pathogenic risks and the development of various types of cancers.
Abstract: Cadmium (Cd) is a toxic non-essential transition metal that poses a health risk for both humans and animals. It is naturally occurring in the environment as a pollutant that is derived from agricultural and industrial sources. Exposure to cadmium primarily occurs through the ingestion of contaminated food and water and, to a significant extent, through inhalation and cigarette smoking. Cadmium accumulates in plants and animals with a long half-life of about 25–30 years. Epidemiological data suggest that occupational and environmental cadmium exposure may be related to various types of cancer, including breast, lung, prostate, nasopharynx, pancreas, and kidney cancers. It has been also demonstrated that environmental cadmium may be a risk factor for osteoporosis. The liver and kidneys are extremely sensitive to cadmium’s toxic effects. This may be due to the ability of these tissues to synthesize metallothioneins (MT), which are Cd-inducible proteins that protect the cell by tightly binding the toxic cadmium ions. The oxidative stress induced by this xenobiotic may be one of the mechanisms responsible for several liver and kidney diseases. Mitochondria damage is highly plausible given that these organelles play a crucial role in the formation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) and are known to be among the key intracellular targets for cadmium. When mitochondria become dysfunctional after exposure to Cd, they produce less energy (ATP) and more ROS. Recent studies show that cadmium induces various epigenetic changes in mammalian cells, both in vivo and in vitro, causing pathogenic risks and the development of various types of cancers. The epigenetics present themselves as chemical modifications of DNA and histones that alter the chromatin without changing the sequence of the DNA nucleotide. DNA methyltransferase, histone acetyltransferase, histone deacetylase and histone methyltransferase, and micro RNA are involved in the epigenetic changes. Recently, investigations of the capability of sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.), Indian mustard (Brassica juncea), and river red gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) to remove cadmium from polluted soil and water have been carried out. Moreover, nanoparticles of TiO2 and Al2O3 have been used to efficiently remove cadmium from wastewater and soil. Finally, microbial fermentation has been studied as a promising method for removing cadmium from food. This review provides an update on the effects of Cd exposure on human health, focusing on the cellular and molecular alterations involved.
TL;DR: A capillary review of the literature on micro and nanoplastic exposure pathways and their potential risk to human health to summarize current knowledge with the intention of better focus future research in this area and fill knowledge gaps.
Abstract: The distribution and abundance of microplastics into the world are so extensive that many scientists use them as key indicators of the recent and contemporary period defining a new historical epoch: The Plasticene. However, the implications of microplastics are not yet thoroughly understood. There is considerable complexity involved to understand their impact due to different physical–chemical properties that make microplastics multifaceted stressors. If, on the one hand, microplastics carry toxic chemicals in the ecosystems, thus serving as vectors of transport, they are themselves, on the other hand, a cocktail of hazardous chemicals that are added voluntarily during their production as additives to increase polymer properties and prolong their life. To date, there is a considerable lack of knowledge on the major additives of concern that are used in the plastic industry, on their fate once microplastics dispose into the environment, and on their consequent effects on human health when associated with micro and nanoplastics. The present study emphasizes the most toxic and dangerous chemical substances that are contained in all plastic products to describe the effects and implications of these hazardous chemicals on human health, providing a detailed overview of studies that have investigated their abundance on microplastics. In the present work, we conducted a capillary review of the literature on micro and nanoplastic exposure pathways and their potential risk to human health to summarize current knowledge with the intention of better focus future research in this area and fill knowledge gaps.
TL;DR: Multiple logistic regression analysis found that not experiencing the SARS outbreak in 2003, being worried about being infected by COVID-19, being bothered by having not enough surgical masks andbeing bothered by not being able to work from home were associated with a poorer mental health status.
Abstract: It has been three months since the first confirmed case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, and people now have a more complete picture of the extent of the pandemic. Therefore, it is time to evaluate the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health. The current population-based study aimed to evaluate the depression and anxiety of people in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic. Respondents were randomly recruited and asked to complete a structured questionnaire, including the patient health questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), the generalized anxiety disorder-7 (GAD-7), the global rating of change scale and items related to COVID-19. Of the 500 respondents included in the study, 19% had depression (PHQ-9 score ≥ 10) and 14% had anxiety (GAD score ≥ 10). In addition, 25.4% reported that their mental health had deteriorated since the pandemic. Multiple logistic regression analysis found that not experiencing the SARS outbreak in 2003, being worried about being infected by COVID-19, being bothered by having not enough surgical masks and being bothered by not being able to work from home were associated with a poorer mental health status. Psychological support, such as brief, home-based psychological interventions, should be provided to citizens during the pandemic.
TL;DR: 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.
Abstract: 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.
TL;DR: The chemical features of nickel in human beings and the mechanisms of its toxicity are described and the attention is focused on strategies to remove nickel from the environment, such as phytoremediation and phytomining.
Abstract: Nickel is a transition element extensively distributed in the environment, air, water, and soil. It may derive from natural sources and anthropogenic activity. Although nickel is ubiquitous in the environment, its functional role as a trace element for animals and human beings has not been yet recognized. Environmental pollution from nickel may be due to industry, the use of liquid and solid fuels, as well as municipal and industrial waste. Nickel contact can cause a variety of side effects on human health, such as allergy, cardiovascular and kidney diseases, lung fibrosis, lung and nasal cancer. Although the molecular mechanisms of nickel-induced toxicity are not yet clear, mitochondrial dysfunctions and oxidative stress are thought to have a primary and crucial role in the toxicity of this metal. Recently, researchers, trying to characterize the capability of nickel to induce cancer, have found out that epigenetic alterations induced by nickel exposure can perturb the genome. The purpose of this review is to describe the chemical features of nickel in human beings and the mechanisms of its toxicity. Furthermore, the attention is focused on strategies to remove nickel from the environment, such as phytoremediation and phytomining.
TL;DR: The results indicate that the stock markets in major affected countries and areas fell quickly after the coronavirus outbreak, and countries in Asia experienced more negative abnormal returns as compared to other countries.
Abstract: This paper evaluates the short-term impact of the coronavirus outbreak on 21 leading stock market indices in major affected countries including Japan, Korea, Singapore, the USA, Germany, Italy, and the UK etc. The consequences of infectious disease are considerable and have been directly affecting stock markets worldwide. Using an event study method, our results indicate that the stock markets in major affected countries and areas fell quickly after the virus outbreak. Countries in Asia experienced more negative abnormal returns as compared to other countries. Further panel fixed effect regressions also support the adverse effect of COVID-19 confirmed cases on stock indices abnormal returns through an effective channel by adding up investors' pessimistic sentiment on future returns and fears of uncertainties.
TL;DR: A narrative review to describe existing literature with regard to Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management and future perspective and a picture of the current state of the art is presented.
Abstract: At the end of 2019 a novel virus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), causing severe acute respiratory syndrome expanded globally from Wuhan, China. In March 2020 the World Health Organization declared the SARS-Cov-2 virus a global pandemic. We performed a narrative review to describe existing literature with regard to Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management and future perspective. MEDLINE, EMBASE and Scopus databases were searched for relevant articles. Although only when the pandemic ends it will be possible to assess the full health, social and economic impact of this global disaster, this review represents a picture of the current state of the art. In particular, we focus on public health impact, pathophysiology and clinical manifestations, diagnosis, case management, emergency response and preparedness.
TL;DR: Results indicate that public health measures differentially affected Canadians who were active and inactive and physical activity was strongly associated with well-being outcomes in inactive individuals, suggesting that health promoting measures directed towards inactive individuals may be essential to improvingWell-being.
Abstract: A global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) resulted in restrictions to daily living for Canadians, including social distancing and closure of city and provincial recreation facilities, national parks and playgrounds. The objective of this study was to assess how these preemptive measures impacted physical activity behaviour and well-being of Canadians. An online survey was utilized to measure participant physical activity behavior, nature exposure, well-being and anxiety levels. Results indicate that while 40.5% of inactive individuals became less active, only 22.4% of active individuals became less active. Comparatively, 33% of inactive individuals became more active while 40.3% of active individuals became more active. There were significant differences in well-being outcomes in the inactive population between those who were more active, the same or less active (p < 0.001) but this was not seen in the active population. Inactive participants who spent more time engaged in outdoor physical activity had lower anxiety than those who spent less time in outdoor physical activity. Public health measures differentially affected Canadians who were active and inactive and physical activity was strongly associated with well-being outcomes in inactive individuals. This suggests that health promoting measures directed towards inactive individuals may be essential to improving well-being.
TL;DR: Females and participants with chronic conditions were associated with a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances and an increased time spent on the internet and an avoidance of activities through peer pressure increased the likelihood of at least one mental health outcome.
Abstract: Italy was the first European country that entered a nationwide lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since quarantine can impact on mental health, this study aimed to estimate the prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms and sleeping disturbances in the Italian population during lockdown. The factors that might influence such outcomes were explored. A national cross-sectional survey was performed during the last 14 days of the Italian lockdown. Questionnaires assessed socio-demographics characteristic, behaviors and healthcare access. The outcomes were assessed using Patient Health Questionnaire-2 and Generalized Anxiety Disorder-2. Participants with sleep disturbances completed the Insomnia Severity Index. The sample size was 1515. Depression and anxiety symptom prevalence was 24.7% and 23.2%; 42.2% had sleep disturbances and, among them, 17.4% reported moderate/severe insomnia. Being female, an increased time spent on the internet and an avoidance of activities through peer pressure increased the likelihood of at least one mental health outcome. Increasing age, an absence of work-related troubles and being married or being a cohabitant reduced such a probability. Females and participants with chronic conditions were associated with a higher prevalence of sleep disturbances. It is crucial to study effective interventions, specifically planning strategies, for more vulnerable groups and to consider the role of the internet.
TL;DR: Assessment of anxiety and fear of getting infected among dentists while working during the current novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) outbreak in China found that more than two-thirds of the general dental practitioners questioned were anxious and scared by the devastating effects of CO VID-19.
Abstract: An outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in China has influenced every aspect of life. Healthcare professionals, especially dentists, are exposed to a higher risk of getting infected due to close contact with infected patients. The current study was conducted to assess anxiety and fear of getting infected among dentists while working during the current novel coronavirus diseases (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition, dentists' knowledge about various practice modifications to combat COVID-19 has been evaluated. A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey from 10th to 17th March 2020. The well-constructed questionnaire was designed and registered at online website (Kwiksurveys) and validated. A total of 669 participants from 30 different countries across the world responded. After scrutiny, completed questionnaires (n = 650) were included in the study. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 25. Chi-Square and Spearman correlation tests were applied to control confounders and assess the relation of dentists' response with respect to gender and educational level. More than two-thirds of the general dental practitioners (78%) from 30 countries questioned were anxious and scared by the devastating effects of COVID-19. A large number of dentists (90%) were aware of recent changes in the treatment protocols. However, execution of amended treatment protocol was recorded as 61%. The majority of the dentists (76%) were working in the hospital setting out of which 74% were from private, and 20% were from government setups. Individually we received a large number of responses from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, but collectively more than 50% of the responses were from other parts of the world. Despite having a high standard of knowledge and practice, dental practitioners around the globe are in a state of anxiety and fear while working in their respective fields due to the COVID-19 pandemic impact on humanity. A number of dental practices have either modified their services according to the recommended guidelines to emergency treatment only or closed down practices for an uncertain period.
TL;DR: This review sets the basis for a better understanding of the psychological conditions of workers during the pandemic, integrating individual and social perspectives, and providing insight into possible individual, social, and occupational approaches to this “psychological pandemic”.
Abstract: The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has deeply altered social and working environments in several ways. Social distancing policies, mandatory lockdowns, isolation periods, and anxiety of getting sick, along with the suspension of productive activity, loss of income, and fear of the future, jointly influence the mental health of citizens and workers. Workplace aspects can play a crucial role on moderating or worsening mental health of people facing this pandemic scenario. The purpose of this literature review is to deepen the psychological aspects linked to workplace factors, following the epidemic rise of COVID-19, in order to address upcoming psychological critical issues in the workplaces. We performed a literature search using Google Scholar, PubMed, and Scopus, selecting papers focusing on workers' psychological problems that can be related to the workplace during the pandemic. Thirty-five articles were included. Mental issues related to the health emergency, such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and sleep disorders are more likely to affect healthcare workers, especially those on the frontline, migrant workers, and workers in contact with the public. Job insecurity, long periods of isolation, and uncertainty of the future worsen the psychological condition, especially in younger people and in those with a higher educational background. Multiple organizational and work-related interventions can mitigate this scenario, such as the improvement of workplace infrastructures, the adoption of correct and shared anti-contagion measures, including regular personal protective equipment (PPE) supply, and the implementation of resilience training programs. This review sets the basis for a better understanding of the psychological conditions of workers during the pandemic, integrating individual and social perspectives, and providing insight into possible individual, social, and occupational approaches to this "psychological pandemic".
TL;DR: No longer meeting PA guidelines and increased screen time were associated with worse depression, loneliness, stress, and PMH, and self-isolation/quarantine was associated with higher depressive and anxiety symptoms compared to social distancing.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic altered many facets of life. We aimed to evaluate the impact of COVID-19-related public health guidelines on physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior, mental health, and their interrelations. Cross-sectional data were collected from 3052 US adults 3–8 April 2020 (from all 50 states). Participants self-reported pre- and post-COVID-19 levels of moderate and vigorous PA, sitting, and screen time. Currently-followed public health guidelines, stress, loneliness, positive mental health (PMH), social connectedness, and depressive and anxiety symptoms were self-reported. Participants were grouped by meeting US PA guidelines, reporting ≥8 h/day of sitting, or ≥8 h/day of screen time, pre- and post-COVID-19. Overall, 62% of participants were female, with age ranging from 18–24 (16.6% of sample) to 75+ (9.3%). Self-reported PA was lower post-COVID among participants reporting being previously active (mean change: −32.3% [95% CI: −36.3%, −28.1%]) but largely unchanged among previously inactive participants (+2.3% [−3.5%, +8.1%]). No longer meeting PA guidelines and increased screen time were associated with worse depression, loneliness, stress, and PMH (p < 0.001). Self-isolation/quarantine was associated with higher depressive and anxiety symptoms compared to social distancing (p < 0.001). Maintaining and enhancing physical activity participation and limiting screen time increases during abrupt societal changes may mitigate the mental health consequences.
TL;DR: A digital learning package that outlines the actions that team leaders can take to provide psychologically safe spaces for staff, together with guidance on communication and reducing social stigma, peer and family support, and encouragement of self-care and help-seeking behaviour is developed and evaluated.
Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) will undoubtedly have psychological impacts for healthcare workers, which could be sustained; frontline workers will be particularly at risk. Actions are needed to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on mental health by protecting and promoting the psychological wellbeing of healthcare workers during and after the outbreak. We developed and evaluated a digital learning package using Agile methodology within the first three weeks of UK outbreak. This e-package includes evidence-based guidance, support and signposting relating to psychological wellbeing for all UK healthcare employees. A three-step rapid development process included public involvement activities (PPIs) (STEP 1), content and technical development with iterative peer review (STEP 2), and delivery and evaluation (STEP 3). The package outlines the actions that team leaders can take to provide psychologically safe spaces for staff, together with guidance on communication and reducing social stigma, peer and family support, signposting others through psychological first aid (PFA), self-care strategies (e.g., rest, work breaks, sleep, shift work, fatigue, healthy lifestyle behaviours), and managing emotions (e.g., moral injury, coping, guilt, grief, fear, anxiety, depression, preventing burnout and psychological trauma). The e-package includes advice from experts in mental wellbeing as well as those with direct pandemic experiences from the frontline, as well as signposting to public mental health guidance. Rapid delivery in STEP 3 was achieved via direct emails through professional networks and social media. Evaluation included assessment of fidelity and implementation qualities. Essential content was identified through PPIs (n = 97) and peer review (n = 10) in STEPS 1 and 2. The most important messages to convey were deemed to be normalisation of psychological responses during a crisis, and encouragement of self-care and help-seeking behaviour. Within 7 days of completion, the package had been accessed 17,633 times, and healthcare providers had confirmed immediate adoption within their health and wellbeing provisions. Evaluation (STEP 3, n = 55) indicated high user satisfaction with content, usability and utility. Assessment of implementation qualities indicated that the package was perceived to be usable, practical, low cost and low burden. Our digital support package on 'psychological wellbeing for healthcare workers' is free to use, has been positively evaluated and was highly accessed within one week of release. It is available here: Supplementary Materials. This package was deemed to be appropriate, meaningful and useful for the needs of UK healthcare workers. We recommend provision of this e-package to healthcare workers alongside wider strategies to support their psychological wellbeing during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
TL;DR: High scores on emotional exhaustion and depersonalization are risk factors for mental health, with resilience and personal fulfilment being protective variables.
Abstract: The number of health workers infected with COVID-19 in Spain is one of the highest in the world. The aim of this study is to analyse posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic. Associations between burnout, resilience, demographic, work and COVID-19 variables are analysed. Cross-sectional data on 1422 health workers were analysed. A total of 56.6% of health workers present symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, 58.6% anxiety disorder, 46% depressive disorder and 41.1% feel emotionally drained. The profile of a health worker with greater posttraumatic stress symptoms would be a person who works in the Autonomous Community of Madrid, in a hospital, is a woman, is concerned that a person he/she lives with may be infected, and thinks that he/she is very likely to be infected. The risk variables for anxiety and depression would be a person that is a woman, working 12- or 24-h shifts, and being worried that a family member could be infected. High scores on emotional exhaustion and depersonalization are risk factors for mental health, with resilience and personal fulfilment being protective variables. Data are provided to improve preventive measures for occupational health workers.
TL;DR: Although there was an initial delay in responding, a unique combination of strong governance, strict regulation, strong community vigilance and citizen participation, and wise use of big data and digital technologies, were some of the key factors in China’s efforts to combat this virus.
Abstract: Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a humanitarian emergency, which started in Wuhan in China in early December 2019, brought into the notice of the authorities in late December, early January 2020, and, after investigation, was declared as an emergency in the third week of January 2020. The WHO declared this as Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 31th of January 2020, and finally a pandemic on 11th March 2020. As of March 24th, 2020, the virus has caused a casualty of over 16,600 people worldwide with more than 380,000 people confirmed as infected by it, of which more than 10,000 cases are serious. Mainly based on Chinese newspapers, social media and other digital platform data, this paper analyzes the timeline of the key actions taken by the government and people over three months in five different phases. It found that although there was an initial delay in responding, a unique combination of strong governance, strict regulation, strong community vigilance and citizen participation, and wise use of big data and digital technologies, were some of the key factors in China's efforts to combat this virus. Being inviable and non-measurable (unlike radioactive exposure), appropriate and timely information is very important to form the basic foundation of mitigation and curative measures. Infodemic, as it is termed by WHO, is a key word, where different stakeholder's participation, along with stricter regulation, is required to reduce the impact of fake news in this information age and social media. Although different countries will need different approaches, focusing on its humanitarian nature and addressing infodemic issues are the two critical factors for future global mitigation efforts.
TL;DR: The prevailing data suggest that micro- and nanoplastic accumulation in mammalian and human tissues would likely have negative, yet unclear long-term consequences, and there is a need for cellular and systemic toxicity due to micro-and nanoplastics to be better illuminated, and the underlying mechanisms defined by further work.
Abstract: Fragmented or otherwise miniaturized plastic materials in the form of micro- or nanoplastics have been of nagging environmental concern. Perturbation of organismal physiology and behavior by micro- and nanoplastics have been widely documented for marine invertebrates. Some of these effects are also manifested by larger marine vertebrates such as fishes. More recently, possible effects of micro- and nanoplastics on mammalian gut microbiota as well as host cellular and metabolic toxicity have been reported in mouse models. Human exposure to micro- and nanoplastics occurs largely through ingestion, as these are found in food or derived from food packaging, but also in a less well-defined manner though inhalation. The pathophysiological consequences of acute and chronic micro- and nanoplastics exposure in the mammalian system, particularly humans, are yet unclear. In this review, we focus on the recent findings related to the potential toxicity and detrimental effects of micro- and nanoplastics as demonstrated in mouse models as well as human cell lines. The prevailing data suggest that micro- and nanoplastics accumulation in mammalian and human tissues would likely have negative, yet unclear long-term consequences. There is a need for cellular and systemic toxicity due to micro- and nanoplastics to be better illuminated, and the underlying mechanisms defined by further work.
TL;DR: Women, younger age (18–29), student status, unemployment status, prior psychiatric history, and those reporting greater negative impact on their QOL, were at higher risk for increased anxiety and depression symptoms, and the youngest age group and males also reported lower levels of compliance with PM.
Abstract: Effective management of the global pandemic caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (also known as COVID-19), resulted in the implementation of severe restrictions in movement and enforcement of social distancing measures. This study aimed to understand and characterize the psychosocial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the general population and to identify risks and protective factors that predict changes in mental health status. In addition, the study investigated compliance with precautionary measures (PM) to halt the spread of the virus. The online anonymous survey collected information on sociodemographic data, compliance with PM, quality of life (QOL), and mental health via the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). A total of 1642 adult participants (71.6% women, 28.4% men) completed the survey in the European island country, Cyprus. A large percentage (48%) reported significant financial concerns and 66.7% significant changes in their QOL. About 41% reported symptoms associated with mild anxiety; 23.1% reported moderate-severe anxiety symptoms. Concerning depression, 48% reported mild and 9.2% moderate-severe depression symptoms. Women, younger age (18–29), student status, unemployment status, prior psychiatric history, and those reporting greater negative impact on their QOL, were at higher risk for increased anxiety and depression symptoms (p < 0.05). The youngest age group and males also reported lower levels of compliance with PM. Higher compliance with PM predicted lower depression scores (p < 0.001) but higher anxiety for measures related to personal hygiene. The results of this study provide important data on the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on mental health and QOL and identify a variety of personal and social determinants that serve as risks and protective factors. Furthermore, it has implications for policy makers demonstrating the need for effective mental health programs and guidance for the implementation of PM as a public health strategy.
TL;DR: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has taken the world by storm and this study examines its impact on the anxiety level of university students in Malaysia during the peak of the crisis and the pertinent characteristics affecting their anxiety.
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown has taken the world by storm. This study examines its impact on the anxiety level of university students in Malaysia during the peak of the crisis and the pertinent characteristics affecting their anxiety. A cross-sectional online survey, using Zung’s self-rating anxiety questionnaire was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. Out of the 983 respondents, 20.4%, 6.6%, and 2.8% experienced minimal to moderate, marked to severe, and most extreme levels of anxiety. Female gender (OR = 21.456, 95% CI = 1.061, 1.998, p = 0.020), age below 18 years (OR = 4.147, 95% CI = 1.331, 12.918, p = 0.014), age 19 to 25 (OR = 3.398, 95% CI = 1.431, 8.066, p = 0.006), pre-university level of education (OR = 2.882, 95% CI = 1.212, 6.854, p = 0.017), management studies (OR = 2.278, 95% CI = 1.526, 3.399, p < 0.001), and staying alone (OR = 2.208, 95% CI = 1.127, 4.325, p = 0.021) were significantly associated with higher levels of anxiety. The main stressors include financial constraints, remote online teaching and uncertainty about the future with regard to academics and career. Stressors are predominantly financial constraints, remote online learning, and uncertainty related to their academic performance, and future career prospects.
TL;DR: Among different Pb-remediation approaches, certain advanced approaches such as microbial assisted phytoremediation which could possibly minimize the Pb load from the resources in a sustainable manner and would be a viable option to ensure a safe food production system are highlighted.
Abstract: Lead (Pb) toxicity has been a subject of interest for environmental scientists due to its toxic effect on plants, animals, and humans. An increase in several Pb related industrial activities and use of Pb containing products such as agrochemicals, oil and paint, mining, etc. can lead to Pb contamination in the environment and thereby, can enter the food chain. Being one of the most toxic heavy metals, Pb ingestion via the food chain has proven to be a potential health hazard for plants and humans. The current review aims to summarize the research updates on Pb toxicity and its effects on plants, soil, and human health. Relevant literature from the past 20 years encompassing comprehensive details on Pb toxicity has been considered with key issues such as i) Pb bioavailability in soil, ii) Pb biomagnification, and iii) Pb- remediation, which has been addressed in detail through physical, chemical, and biological lenses. In the review, among different Pb-remediation approaches, we have highlighted certain advanced approaches such as microbial assisted phytoremediation which could possibly minimize the Pb load from the resources in a sustainable manner and would be a viable option to ensure a safe food production system.
TL;DR: The Spanish adult population, especially young people, students and very active men, decreased daily self-reported PA and increased ST during COVID-19 confinement.
Abstract: Background: The lockdown and social distancing caused by COVID-19 may influence common health behavior. The unprecedent worldwide confinement, in which Spain has been one of the most affected—with severe rules governing confinement—may have changed physical activity (PA) and sedentary habits due to prolonged stays at home. Purpose: The aim of this study is to evaluate how self-reported PA and sedentary time (ST) have changed during confinement in the Spanish population. Methods: 3800 healthy adults (age 18–64 years) residing in Spain answered the international physical activity questionnaire short (IPAQ-S) twice between 23 March and 1 April (confinement). Data analysis was carried out taking into consideration meeting general PA recommendations before confinement, age and gender. Results: Self-reported PA decreased significantly during confinement in our sample. Vigorous physical activities (VPA) and walking time decreased by 16.8% (p < 0.001) and 58.2% (p < 0.001), respectively, whereas ST increased by 23.8% (p < 0.001). The percent of people fulfilling the 75 min/week of VPA recommendation decreased by 10.7% (p < 0.001) while the percent of people who reached 150 min/week of moderate activity barely changed (1.4%). The group that performed the most VPA before confinement showed the greatest decrease (30.5%, p < 0.001). Men reduced time in VPA more than women (21% vs 9%, respectively) who even increased time in moderate PA by 11% (p < 0.05) and reported less increase in ST than men (35% vs 25.3%, respectively). Conclusion: The Spanish adult population, especially young people, students and very active men, decreased daily self-reported PA and increased ST during COVID-19 confinement.
TL;DR: The findings show that COVID-19 has an impact on youth mental health and is particularly associated with depression and anxiety in adolescent cohorts, and the methodological quality of future research should be drastically improved.
Abstract: The psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been widely discussed during the past few months, with scholars expressing concern about its potential debilitating consequences on youth mental health. Hence, this research aimed to provide a systematic review of the evidence on the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on youth mental health. We conducted a mixed methods integrated review to identify any empirical study that focused on young people ≤ 18 years old. Eight databases were systematically searched to identify studies of any type of research design. The selection procedure followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. The protocol of this systematic review was registered with PROSPERO (protocol ID: CRD4202019375). Twelve studies deemed eligible for data extraction (n = 12,262). The findings show that COVID-19 has an impact on youth mental health and is particularly associated with depression and anxiety in adolescent cohorts. The quality appraisal indicated that all studies were of low or moderate methodological quality. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting young people’s lives, and thus generating robust research evidence to inform policy decisions is essential. Hence, the methodological quality of future research should be drastically improved.
TL;DR: The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak has an indirect effect on negative emotions by affecting sleep quality, and a possible mitigation strategy for improving mental health includes taking suitable amounts of daily physical activity and sleeping well.
Abstract: (1) Background: The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global public health emergency that has caused worldwide concern. Vast resources have been allocated to control the pandemic and treat patients. However, little attention has been paid to the adverse impact on mental health or effective mitigation strategies to improve mental health. (2) Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the adverse impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on Chinese college students’ mental health, understand the underlying mechanisms, and explore feasible mitigation strategies. (3) Methods: During the peak time of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, we conducted longitudinal surveys of sixty-six college students. Structured questionnaires collected information on demographics, physical activity, negative emotions, sleep quality, and aggressiveness level. A mixed-effect model was used to evaluate associations between variables, and the mediating effect of sleep quality was further explored. A generalized additive model was used to determine the dose-response relationships between the COVID-19 death count, physical activity, and negative emotions. (4) Results: The COVID-19 death count showed a direct negative impact on general sleep quality (β = 1.37, 95% confidence interval [95% CI]: 0.55, 2.19) and reduced aggressiveness (β = −6.57, 95% CI: −12.78, −0.36). In contrast, the COVID-19 death count imposed not a direct but an indirect impact on general negative emotions (indirect effect (IE) = 0.81, p = 0.012), stress (IE = 0.40, p < 0.001), and anxiety (IE = 0.27, p = 0.004) with sleep quality as a mediator. Moreover, physical activity directly alleviated general negative emotions (β = −0.12, 95% CI: −0.22, −0.01), and the maximal mitigation effect occurred when weekly physical activity was about 2500 METs. (5) Conclusions: (a) The severity of the COVID-19 outbreak has an indirect effect on negative emotions by affecting sleep quality. (b) A possible mitigation strategy for improving mental health includes taking suitable amounts of daily physical activity and sleeping well. (c) The COVID-19 outbreak has reduced people’s aggressiveness, probably by making people realize the fragility and preciousness of life.
TL;DR: It is argued that a strengthened multi-interdisciplinary approach, involving urban planning, publicmental health, environmental health, epidemiology, and sociology, is needed to investigate the effects of the built environment on mental health, so as to inform welfare and housing policies centered on population well-being.
Abstract: Since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic on 11 March, severe lockdown measures have been adopted by the Italian Government. For over two months of stay-at-home orders, houses became the only place where people slept, ate, worked, practiced sports, and socialized. As consolidated evidence exists on housing as a determinant of health, it is of great interest to explore the impact that COVID-19 response-related lockdown measures have had on mental health and well-being. We conducted a large web-based survey on 8177 students from a university institute in Milan, Northern Italy, one of the regions most heavily hit by the pandemic in Europe. As emerged from our analysis, poor housing is associated with increased risk of depressive symptoms during lockdown. In particular, living in apartments <60 m2 with poor views and scarce indoor quality is associated with, respectively, 1.31 (95% CI: 1046-1637), 1.368 (95% CI: 1166-1605), and 2.253 (95% CI: 1918-2647) times the risk of moderate-severe and severe depressive symptoms. Subjects reporting worsened working performance from home were over four times more likely to also report depression (OR = 4.28, 95% CI: 3713-4924). Housing design strategies should focus on larger and more livable living spaces facing green areas. We argue that a strengthened multi-interdisciplinary approach, involving urban planning, public mental health, environmental health, epidemiology, and sociology, is needed to investigate the effects of the built environment on mental health, so as to inform welfare and housing policies centered on population well-being.
TL;DR: The review suggests that panic buying is influenced by individuals’ perception of the threat of the health crisis and scarcity of products, which is caused by negative emotions and uncertainty, and coping behaviour, which views panic buying as a venue to relieve anxiety and regain control over the crisis.
Abstract: Attributed to the recent COVID-19 pandemic, panic buying is now a frequent occurrence in many countries, leading to stockouts and supply chain disruptions. Consequently, it has received much attention from academics and the retail industry. The aim of this study is to review, identify, and synthesise the psychological causes of panic buying, which is a relatively new and unexplored area in consumer behaviour research. A systematic review of the related literature is conducted. The review suggests that panic buying is influenced by (1) individuals’ perception of the threat of the health crisis and scarcity of products; (2) fear of the unknown, which is caused by negative emotions and uncertainty; (3) coping behaviour, which views panic buying as a venue to relieve anxiety and regain control over the crisis; and (4) social psychological factors, which account for the influence of the social network of an individual. This study contributes to the literature by consolidating the scarce and scattered research on the causes of panic buying, drawing greater theoretical insights into each cause and also offers some implications for health professionals, policy makers, and retailers on implementing appropriate policies and strategies to manage panic buying. Recommendations for future research are also provided.
TL;DR: The potential role of PM in the spread of COVID-19 is highlighted and the positive correlation between the virus spread, PM, and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor involved in the entry of the virus into pulmonary cells and inflammation is analyzed.
Abstract: Sars-cov-2 virus (Covid-19) is a member of the coronavirus family and is responsible for the pandemic recently declared by the World Health Organization. A positive correlation has been observed between the spread of the virus and air pollution, one of the greatest challenges of our millennium. Covid-19 could have an air transmission and atmospheric particulate matter (PM) could create a suitable environment for transporting the virus at greater distances than those considered for close contact. Moreover, PM induces inflammation in lung cells and exposure to PM could increase the susceptibility and severity of the Covid-19 patient symptoms. The new coronavirus has been shown to trigger an inflammatory storm that would be sustained in the case of pre-exposure to polluting agents. In this review, we highlight the potential role of PM in the spread of Covid-19, focusing on Italian cities whose PM daily concentrations were found to be higher than the annual average allowed during the months preceding the epidemic. Furthermore, we analyze the positive correlation between the virus spread, PM, and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), a receptor involved in the entry of the virus into pulmonary cells and inflammation.