ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Graphs are often used in medical communication, both in clinical practice and health management. They can help the processing of quantitative information but may also contribute to drawing wrong conclusions. The aim of the survey is to study the graphical perception of the data at the management level and its possible effects, showing how some criteria of appraisal of a phenomenon are influenced by the graphical format. METHODS: One hundred and five medical doctors and health direction professionals of hospitals in Naples, Rome, Siena and Turin were interviewed. Four different graphs or table related to the same hypothetical data on average hospital stay in the period January 2000 to September 2003 were shown to participants, and their impressions were recorded. RESULTS: Less than one-fourth of the participants understood that the data set was the same for the different diagrams. The process of understanding is mostly correlated with being a director, having a degree in medicine and working in central-northern cities. The table seems easier for interpretation (98.1%), more suitable (84.8%), more used (92.4%) and more pleasant than other data presentation. On the other hand radar format had worse results in all questions. CONCLUSIONS: The choice of a graphical format may influence the understanding of data. Further research is needed in order to sustain the improvement of medical and health professionals' knowledge in the display data format.
The European Journal of Public Health 03/2012; · 2.73 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To investigate the relationship between the attitude towards orthodontic treatment and the objective level of orthodontic need, and variables like gender, socioeconomic status and geographical context, among 6- to 16-year-old children.
The attitude of 2284 Italian children towards orthodontics was assessed using the Child Orthodontic Attitude Survey (COAS) questionnaire, previously validated for Italian-speaking children. The level of orthodontic need was evaluated by using the Risk of Malocclusion Assessment (ROMA) Index while socioeconomic status (SES) was based on parental job activities. The univariate analysis was performed using chi-square tests to find differences between groups for categorical variables, while multivariate analyses were conducted using logistic regression models.
Individuals with a higher SES had a statistically significant lower need of orthodontic treatment (P = 0.003). Children with a very high SES were from northern (20.8%) and central Italy (65.9%), while only 13.3% lived in southern Italy (P < 0.001). Logistic regression showed that females, older children, in-treatment subjects and children from the region of Puglia were more likely to have orthodontics (OR = 2.09; 95% CI: 1.66-2.64, OR = 1.08; 95% CI: 1.01-1.15, OR = 1.48, 95% CI: 1.11-1.97, OR = 1.43; 95% CI: 1.05-1.95, respectively).
The orthodontic treatment attitude largely depends on age, gender and geographical context but is not influenced by the real level of orthodontic therapy need.
Community Dentistry And Oral Epidemiology 02/2012; 40 Suppl 1:71-6. · 1.89 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 180 million people, 3% of the world population, are infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). In Italy, the prevalence in the general population is reported to be greater than 5% and 9% among households of HCV-positive patients.
The aim of this study was to estimate the trends of HCV infection in Italy in the period 1996-2006.
The formula ln (rate) = b × years was applied for logarithmic transformation of the incidence rates to obtain time trends of HCV infection, using the join-point regression program software version 3.3.1. Linear graphs representing trends and the annual percentage change (APC) were considered for each joinpoint. Time changes are expressed as expected annual percentage change (EAPC) with the respective 95% confidence intervals (CIs); significance levels of time trends are also reported. The null hypothesis was tested using a maximum of 3 changes in slope with an overall significance level of 0.05 divided by the number of joinpoints in the final model.
Considering all age groups, the incidence rate decreased from 2.02 to 0.55 per 100,000. The join-point analysis showed a statistically significant decrease in the incidence rates of HCV infection. No join-points were found in any age groups. Our data show that the incidence rates of HCV infections have considerably decreased in each age group throughout the studied period (1996-2006).
This decreasing trend in HCV infections is, in part, attributable to behavioral and social changes. Improved hygiene, use of precautions in medical settings, blood screening, and sexual educational campaigns seem to have contributed to reduce the transmission of infection during the last 10 years.
Hepatitis Monthly 11/2011; 11(11):895-900. · 2.19 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: Infant mortality rate (IMR) is a key public health indicator. Maternal age is a well-known determinant of pregnancy and delivery complications and of infant morbidity and mortality. In Italy the Infant Mortality Rate was 3.7/1000 during 2005, lower than the average IMR for the European Union (4.94/1000). Sicily is the Italian region with the highest IMR, 5/1000, and neonatal mortality rate (NMR), 3.8/1000, with substantial variation among its nine districts. The present study compared a high IMR/NMR district (Messina) with a low IMR/NMR district (Palermo) during the period 2004-2006 to evaluate potential determinants of the IMRs' differences between the two districts and specifically the impact of maternal age.
The Death Causes Registers identified all deaths during the first year of life recorded among infants born to residents of the two districts in 2004-2006. For every case, available hospital charts records were abstracted using a standardized form designed to capture information on potential determinants of infant death. For each district and for each year, IMRs and NMRs were computed. Chi-squared statistics tested the significance of differences between district-specific IMRs. A Poisson regression model was used to analyze the relationship between maternal age, district of residence and IMR.
The 246 death registry-confirmed cases included 143 (58.1%) males and 103 (41.2%) females, with mean age at death of 33.3 days (SD: 64.5, median: 5.5). The average IMR for 2004-2006 was significantly higher for the Messina district than for the Palermo district (p = 0.0001). The IMR ratio was 1.6 (95%CI: 1.2 - 2.1). The IMRs declined from 2004 to 2006. A significant interaction (p = 0.04) between maternal age and district of residence was documented.
The association between advanced maternal age and infant deaths in the Messina district was due in part to the excess of newborns from advanced age mothers, but also to increased risk of death among such newborns. The significant interaction between district of residence and maternal age indicated that the IMR excess in the Messina district cannot be explained by disproportionately high live birth rates among older mothers and suggested the hypothesis that health care facilities in the Messina district could be less well prepared to provide assistance to the excess of high risk pregnancies and deliveries, as compared to Palermo district.
BMC Public Health 01/2011; 11:817. · 2.00 Impact Factor