Category Archives: zJournal articles

Zika vaccine misconceptions: A social media analysis

Vaccine [In Press] 20 May 2016 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.05.008

Development of the Zika virus vaccine is in its early stages, but there is already cause for concern regarding the success of the eventual vaccination campaign. Evidence suggests the public is skeptical of the development and approval process for vaccines. Extreme media attention, which Zika has already received, can make people concerned about both the disease and the vaccine. We need only look back to the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic to find vaccine similar skepticism [1].

Uncertainty regarding the origin, transmission and health consequences of the Zika virus has created a fertile environment for conspiracy theories and pseudo-scientific claims. These theories emerged in social media, an active forum for the vaccine refusal community [2], and have made their way to the mainstream media (e.g. “Brazil State Bans Pesticide After Zika Claim” in The Wall Street Journal). In the time it takes to develop a vaccine, these claims have the potential to become entrenched, increasing the likelihood people will refuse a Zika vaccine. Physicians and public health officials must begin to address patient concerns and debunk nonscientific claims now.

We characterized these claims through an analysis of Twitter messages (tweets) using big data computational techniques [3]. We identified 145,400 Twitter messages from January 1 to February 20, 2016 that contained both vaccine keywords and a reference to Zika. Fig. 1 shows a rapid rise in the number of Zika vaccine tweets in recent weeks, coinciding with increased media attention around the outbreak.

Development of a Lean Facility Design Roadmap for Design-Bid-Build Forensic Facilities

National Institute of Justice | Forensic Technology Center of Excellence (FTCoE) January 2016;  38 pp

In 2013, NIST published an update to its widely acclaimed Forensic Science Laboratories: Handbook for Facility Planning, Design, Construction and Relocation.  A detailed review revealed that, despite its guidance on integrating the latest scientific developments, efficiency improvements, and sustainability practices in building forensic facilities, it contains few references to Lean  Design.  In an effort to incorporate Lean Design thinking into the planning, construction, and relocation of forensic facilities, the National Institute of Justice’s FTCoE initiated a project to develop guidelines and checklists for Lean Facility Design (LFD). This document reports on the development of these LFD guidelines and checklists and their integration.

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Police officers who responded to 9/11: comorbidity of PTSD, depression, and anxiety 10-11 years later

American Journal of Industrial Medicine Volume 59, Issue 6, pages 425–436, June 2016;  DOI: 10.1002/ajim.22588


After the 9/11/2001 World Trade Center (WTC) attack, many police-responders developed PTSD and might be vulnerable to develop depression and/or anxiety. Comorbidity of PTSD, depression, and/or anxiety is examined.


Police enrollees (N = 1,884) from the WTC Health Registry were categorized into four groups based on comorbidity of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for PTSD were used. Depression (PHQ-8) and anxiety (GAD-7) were assessed with standardized psychometric inventories. Multinomial logistic regression was used to identify putative risk factors associated with comorbidity of PTSD.


Of 243 (12.9% of total) police with probable PTSD, 21.8% had probable PTSD without comorbidity, 24.7% had depression, 5.8% had anxiety, and 47.7% had comorbid depression and anxiety. Risk factors for comorbid PTSD, depression, and anxiety include being Hispanic, decrease in income, experiencing physical injury on 9/11, experiencing stressful/traumatic events since 9/11, and being unemployed/retired.


Nearly half of police with probable PTSD had comorbid depression and anxiety.

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Antidepressants and driving in older adults: a systematic review

Canadian Journal on Aging  Online First 11 May 2015

With an increasing number of older drivers who are prescribed antidepressants, the potential consequences of antidepressant use on driving skills in an aging population are becoming a pressing issue. We conducted a systematic review using MEDLINE, targeting articles specifically pertaining to antidepressants and driving in a population or subgroup of older adults (≥ 55 years of age). The search yielded 267 references, nine of which pertained to the effects of antidepressants on driving in older adults. The single experimental study found imipramine to have detrimental effects on highway driving, whereas nefazodone did not. Seven of eight population-based studies reported a significant increased risk of involvement in a collision associated with antidepressant use. Although the studies indicated a negative effect of antidepressants on driving, the epidemiological designs cannot exclude the possibility that the underlying illness, generally major depression, is the culprit.

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Quantification of fatal helium exposure following self-administration

International Journal of Legal Medicine  Online 25 April 2016

Helium is nontoxic at standard conditions, plays no biological role, and is found in trace amounts in human blood. Helium can be dangerous if inhaled to excess, since it is a simple tissue hypoxia and so displaces the oxygen needed for normal respiration. This report presents a fatal case of a middle-aged male victim who died from self-administered helium exposure. For the first time, the quantification of the helium levels in gastric and lung air and in blood samples was achieved using gas chromatography—mass spectrometry after airtight sampling. The results of the toxicological investigation showed that death was caused directly by helium exposure. However, based on the pathomorphological changes detected during the forensic autopsy, we suppose that the fatal outcome was the result of the lack of oxygen after inhalation.

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Prolonged grief and depression after unnatural loss: Latent class analyses and cognitive correlates

Psychiatry Research Volume 240, 30 June 2016, Pages 358–363;  doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2016.04.012

This study sought to identify (a) subgroups among people confronted with unnatural/violent loss characterized by different symptoms profiles of prolonged grief disorder (PGD) and depression, and (b) socio-demographic, loss-related, and cognitive variables associated with subgroup membership. We used data from 245 individuals confronted with the death of a loved one due to an accident (47.3%), suicide (49%) or homicide (3.7%). Latent class analysis revealed three classes of participants: a resilient-class (25.3%), a predominantly PGD-class (39.2%), and a combined PGD/Depression-class (35.5%). Membership in the resilient-class was predicted by longer time since loss and lower age; membership in the combined class was predicted by lower education. Endorsement of negative cognitions about the self, life, the future, and one’s own grief-reactions was lowest in the Resilient-class, intermediate in the PGD-class, and highest in the combined PGD/Depression-class. When all socio-demographic, loss-related, and cognitive variables were included in multinomial regression analyses predicting class-membership, it was found that negative cognitions about one’s grief was the only variable predicting membership of the PGD-class. Negative cognitions about the self, life, and grief predicted membership of the combined PGD/Depression-class. These findings provide valuable information for the development of interventions for different subgroups of bereaved individuals confronted with unnatural/violent loss.

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Grief Matters: The Australian Journal of Grief and Bereavement – Volume 18 Issue 3 (Summer 2015)

Table of Contents  |  Volume 18 Issue 3 2015

Selected articles

Stories matter: A narrative practice approach to bereavement through suicide