The latest medical research on Addiction Psychiatry

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Accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time among children and their parents in the UK before and after COVID-19 lockdowns: a natural experiment.

International Journal of Epidemiology

Restrictions due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic reduced physical activity provision for both children and their parents. Recent studies have reported decreases in physical activity levels during lockdown restrictions, but these were largely reliant on self-report methods, with data collected via unrepresentative self-report surveys. The post-pandemic impacts on children's activity levels remain unknown. A key question is how active children become once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Active-6 is a repeated cross-sectional natural experiment. Accelerometer data from 1296 children aged 10-11 and their parents were collected in 50 schools in the Greater Bristol area, UK in March 2017-May 2018 (pre-COVID-19 comparator group), and compared to 393 children aged 10-11 and parents in 23 of the same schools, collected in May-December 2021. Mean minutes of accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were derived for weekdays and weekend and compared pre- and post-lockdown via linear multilevel models.

After adjusting for seasonality, accelerometer wear time and child/parent demographics, children's mean weekday and weekend MVPA were 7.7 min (95% CI: 3.5 to 11.9) and 6.9 min (95% CI: 0.9 to 12.9) lower in 2021 than in 2018, respectively, while sedentary time was higher by 25.4 min (95% CI: 15.8 to 35.0) and 14.0 min (95% CI: 1.5 to 26.5). There was no evidence that differences varied by child gender or household education. There was no significant difference in parents' MVPA or sedentary time, either on weekdays or weekends.

Children's MVPA was lower by 7-8 min/day in 2021 once restrictions were lifted than before the pandemic for all groups, on both weekdays and weekends. Previous research has shown that there is an undesirable age-related decline in children's physical activity. The 8-min difference reported here would be broadly comparable to the decline that would have previously been expected to occur over a three-year period. Parents' physical activity was similar to pre-pandemic levels. Our results suggest that despite easing of restrictions, children's activity levels have not returned to pre-pandemic levels. There is an urgent need to understand why these changes have occurred and how long they are maintained.

A systems thinking approach to understanding youth active recreation.

International Journal of Epidemiology

Active recreation contributes to child and adolescent physical activity, however, factors affecting uptake are poorly understood at the systems level. The aims of this study were: (1) to use systems analysis methods to understand youth active recreation in Victoria, Australia, (ii) identify potential system leverage points to enhance active recreation, and (iii) explore stakeholder views of systems analysis methods for informing practice and policy decision-making.

Phase 1: Umbrella review of systematic reviews (2013-2018), synthesising evidence for correlates, determinants and intervention evidence for promoting active recreation. Phase 2: Development of three systems models (ActorMap and two ActivMaps), depicting active recreation actors/organisations, correlates, determinants and intervention evidence. Phase 3: Development of causal loop diagrams (CLDs) and identification of leverage points based on the Action Scales Model. Phase 4: Model feedback via stakeholder interviews (n = 23; 16 organisations).

From the literature, 93 correlates and determinants, and 49 intervention strategies were associated with child and adolescent active recreation; the majority located at a social or individual level. Ten potential system leverage points were identified in the CLDs, which differed for pre-schoolers versus children and adolescents. Only time outdoors (an event leverage point) emerged for all age groups. Changes to the built and natural environment (i.e., land use planning, urban design) as a complete domain was a key structural leverage point for influencing active recreation in children and adolescents. Subject matter experts and stakeholder interviews identified 125 actors operating across seven hierarchical active recreation system levels in Victoria. Stakeholder interviews identified 12 areas for future consideration and recommendations for practice/policy influence.

Our findings underscore the need for dynamic models of system behaviour in active recreation, and to capture stakeholder influence as more than a transactional role in evidence generation and use. Effective responses to youth inactivity require a network of interventions that target specific leverage points across the system. Our models illustrate areas that may have the greatest system-level impact, such as changes to the built and natural environment, and they provide a tool for policy, appraisal, advocacy, and decision-making within and outside of government.

Strategies to reduce the energy content of foods pre-ordered for lunch in the workplace: a randomised controlled trial in an experimental online canteen.

International Journal of Epidemiology

Prompting employees to swap their usual lunches for lower-energy alternatives may help align energy intake with public health recommendations. We tested the effect of offering lower-energy swaps with and without physical activity calorie equivalent (PACE) information on the energy of lunches pre-ordered in an online hypothetical workplace canteen.

UK employed adults (n = 2,150) were invited to hypothetically pre-order their lunch from the canteen through a custom-made online platform. They were randomised 1:1:1 to: (i) control: no swaps offered; (ii) lower-energy swaps offered; or (iii) lower-energy swaps offered with PACE information. The primary outcome was the total energy ordered using analysis of covariance and controlling for the energy content of the initial items ordered. Secondary outcomes were swap acceptance rate and intervention acceptability.

Participants were 54% female, had a mean age of 36.8 (SD = 11.6) and a BMI of 26.3 (SD = 5.6). Compared with an average 819 kcal energy ordered in the control, both the swaps and swaps + PACE interventions significantly reduced average energy ordered by 47 kcal (95% CI: -82 to -13, p = 0.003) and 66 kcal (95% CI: -100 to -31, p < 0.001), respectively. Compared with offering swaps only, the swaps + PACE intervention led to significantly higher swap acceptance (OR: 1.63, 95% CI: 1.27 to 2.09, p < 0.001) but did not significantly reduce energy ordered (-19 kcal, 95% CI: -53 to 16, p = 0.591). About 65% and 16% of intervention participants found the swap interventions acceptable and unacceptable, respectively, with the swaps + PACE intervention being considered more acceptable than swaps only (OR: 1.32, 95%CI: 1.09 to 1.60, p < 0.004).

Offering lower-energy swaps with or without PACE information reduced the energy of pre-ordered lunches experimentally. Both interventions hold promise for reducing the energy of purchased foods and drinks. Trial Registration As Predicted reference number: 56358, 22/01/21, https://aspredicted.org/pw2qr.pdf.

Prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of physical activity and sitting time among South American adolescents: a harmonized analysis of nationally representative cross-sectional surveys.

International Journal of Epidemiology

To identify the prevalence and sociodemographic correlates of different domains of physical activity (PA) and higher sitting time among South American adolescents.

Data from national surveys of 11 South American countries were analyzed, and comprised information on 166,901 adolescents. PA (≥ 60 min/day of moderate-vigorous PA), physical education classes (PEC) (≥ 3 classes/wk), active commuting to school (≥ 1 d/wk), and higher sitting time (≥ 3 h/d) were self-reported. Sociodemographic correlates, such as gender, age, and food security status were explored using a random effect meta-analysis for logistic parameters.

Recommended PA ranged between 7.5% (Brazil) and 19.0% (Suriname). Peru (2.2%) and Guyana (43.1%) presented the lowest prevalence of PEC and active commuting to school, respectively. Higher sitting time was less prevalent in Bolivia (24.6%) and more prevalent in Argentina (55.6%). Compared to girls, boys were more prone to reach recommendations for PA [OR = 1.94(1.65;2.28)]; to reach ≥ 3 PEC [OR = 1.17(1.04;1.33)] and to be active in commuting to school [(OR = 1.14(1.06;1.23)], but less prone to higher sitting time [OR = 0.89(0.82;0.96)]. Older adolescents had less odds of reach PA guidelines [OR = 0.86(0.77; 0.97)] and accumulated higher sitting time [OR = 1.27(1.14;1.41)]. Adolescents with food insecurity reported more PEC [OR = 1.12(1.04;1.21)] and active commuting to school [OR = 1.12(1.02;1.22)] but had less higher sitting time than their food security pairs [OR = 0.89(0.81;0.98)].

Few adolescents reach the PA recommendation. Actions aiming the promotion of PA and the reduction of sitting time must consider girls and older adolescents as target groups, as well as the specifics of each country.

Impact of Canada's menthol cigarette ban on quitting among menthol smokers: pooled analysis of pre-post evaluation from the ITC Project and the Ontario Menthol Ban Study and projections of impact in the USA.

Tobacco Control

Between 2015 and 2018, Canada banned menthol cigarettes. This study pooled data from two pre-post cohort studies (the Ontario Menthol Ban Study, and the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation (ITC) Canada Survey, conducted in seven provinces) to derive more precise estimates of the impact of Canada's menthol ban on quitting and to apply these estimates to project the impact of a menthol ban in the USA.

Weighted multivariable logistic analyses compared post-ban quit success of menthol smokers with non-menthol smokers (for daily smokers and for all (daily + non-daily) smokers), controlling for sex, age, ethnicity, education, baseline smoking status, baseline cigarettes per day and study regions. Projections to the USA were created by multiplying the effect size of the Canadian menthol ban on quitting (percentage of increased quitting among menthol smokers) by the number of menthol smokers overall and among African Americans, from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

After the menthol cigarette ban, menthol smokers were more likely than non-menthol smokers to have quit smoking among daily smokers (difference=8.0%; 95% CI: 2.4% to 13.7%,p=0.005) and all (daily+non-daily) smokers (difference=7.3%; 95% CI: 2.1% to 12.5%,p=0.006). The projected number of smokers who would quit after a US menthol ban would be 789 724 daily smokers (including 199 732 African Americans) and 1 337 988 daily+non-daily smokers (including 381 272 African Americans).

This pooled analysis of Canada's menthol cigarette ban provides the foundation for estimating the impact of menthol bans in the USA and other countries. Projections suggest that a US menthol cigarette ban would have a substantial impact on increasing quitting.

Ice flavours and non-menthol synthetic cooling agents in e-cigarette products: a review.

Tobacco Control

E-cigarettes with cooling flavours have diversified in ways that complicate tobacco control with the emergence of: (1) Ice-hybrid flavours (eg, 'Ra...

Antithrombotic therapy in the postacute phase of cervical artery dissection: the Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults Cervical Artery Dissection.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

To explore the impact of antithrombotic therapy discontinuation in the postacute phase of cervical artery dissection (CeAD) on the mid-term outcome of these patients.

In a cohort of consecutive patients with first-ever CeAD, enrolled in the setting of the multicentre Italian Project on Stroke in Young Adults Cervical Artery Dissection, we compared postacute (beyond 6 months since the index CeAD) outcomes between patients who discontinued antithrombotic therapy and patients who continued taking antithrombotic agents during follow-up. Primary outcome was a composite of ischaemic stroke and transient ischaemic attack. Secondary outcomes were (1) Brain ischaemia ipsilateral to the dissected vessel and (2) Recurrent CeAD. Associations with the outcome of interest were assessed by the propensity score (PS) method.

Of the 1390 patients whose data were available for the outcome analysis (median follow-up time in patients who did not experience outcome events, 36.0 months (25th-75th percentile, 62.0)), 201 (14.4%) discontinued antithrombotic treatment. Primary outcome occurred in 48 patients in the postacute phase of CeAD. In PS-matched samples (201 vs 201), the incidence of primary outcomes among patients taking antithrombotics was comparable with that among patients who discontinued antithrombotics during follow-up (5.0% vs 4.5%; p(log rank test)=0.526), and so was the incidence of the secondary outcomes ipsilateral brain ischaemia (4.5% vs 2.5%; p(log rank test)=0.132) and recurrent CeAD (1.0% vs 1.5%; p(log rank test)=0.798).

Discontinuation of antithrombotic therapy in the postacute phase of CeAD does not appear to increase the risk of brain ischaemia during follow-up.

Impact of previous disease-modifying treatment on safety and efficacy in patients with MS treated with AHSCT.

Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry

Autologous haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (AHSCT) is a highly effective treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). The impact of previous long-lasting disease-modifying treatments (DMT) for safety and efficacy of AHSCT is unknown.

To explore whether previous DMTs with long-lasting effects on the immune system (anti-CD20 therapy, alemtuzumab and cladribine) affect treatment-related complications, long-term outcome and risk of new MS disease activity in patients treated with AHSCT.

Retrospective observational study of 104 relapsing remitting patients with MS treated by AHSCT in Sweden and Norway from 2011 to 2021, grouped according to the last DMT used ≤6 months prior to AHSCT. The primary outcomes were early AHSCT-related complications (mortality, neutropenic fever and hospitalisation length), long-term complications (secondary autoimmunity) and proportion of patients with No Evidence of Disease Activity (NEDA-3 status): no new relapses, no MRI activity and no disease progression during the follow-up.

The mean follow-up time was 39.5 months (range 1-95). Neutropenic fever was a common AHSCT-related complication affecting 69 (66%) patients. There was no treatment-related mortality. During the follow-up period, 20 patients (19%) were diagnosed with autoimmunity. Occurrence of neutropenic fever, hospitalisation length or secondary autoimmunity did not vary dependent on the last DMT used prior to AHSCT. A total of 84 patients (81%) achieved NEDA-3 status, including all patients (100%) using rituximab, alemtuzumab or cladribine before AHSCT.

This study provides level 4 evidence that AHSCT in patients previously treated with alemtuzumab, cladribine or rituximab is safe and efficacious.

Ex ante evaluation of the impact of tobacco control policy measures aimed at the point of sale in the Netherlands.

Tobacco Control

The Netherlands aims to implement stricter tobacco control policies targeting the retail environment. This paper is an ex ante policy evaluation of the potential impact of the current tobacco display and advertising ban as well as future tobacco sales bans on tobacco outlet visibility and availability.

Between September 2019 and June 2020, all potential tobacco retailers in four Dutch cities (Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Haarlem and Zwolle) were visited and mapped using Global Positioning System. For each retailer selling tobacco, we completed a checklist on the visibility of tobacco products and advertising. Expected reductions in tobacco outlet visibility and availability were calculated per policy measure in absolute numbers (percentage or percentage point decrease) as well as density and proximity.

Out of 870 tobacco outlets, 690 were identified with visible tobacco products/advertising. The display ban in supermarkets and small outlets (respectively) is expected to decrease the number (-15; -42 percentage points), outlet density per 10 000 capita (-0.9; -2.6) and proximity in metres (+27 m; +400 m) of outlets with visible products/advertising. The upcoming bans on vending machines and sales in supermarkets are expected to decrease the number (-12%; -31%), density (-0.7; -1.9) and proximity (+12 m; +68 m) of tobacco outlets. Further changes in the number, density and proximity (respectively) of tobacco outlets may be achieved with future sales bans in petrol stations (-7%; -0.4; +60 m) and particularly with a ban on sales in small outlets (-43%; -2.7; +970 m).

A display ban and a sales ban in small outlets will contribute most to reducing tobacco outlet visibility and availability, assuming that no market shift towards other tobacco outlets will take place.

Development of an objectively measured walkability index for the Netherlands.

International Journal of Epidemiology

Walkability indices have been developed and linked to behavioural and health outcomes elsewhere in the world, but not comprehensively for Europe. We aimed to 1) develop a theory-based and evidence-informed Dutch walkability index, 2) examine its cross-sectional associations with total and purpose-specific walking behaviours of adults across socioeconomic (SES) and urbanisation strata, 3) explore which walkability components drive these associations.

Components of the index included: population density, retail and service density, land use mix, street connectivity, green space, sidewalk density and public transport density. Each of the seven components was calculated for three Euclidean buffers: 150 m, 500 m and 1000 m around every 6-digit postal code location and for every administrative neighbourhood in GIS. Componential z-scores were averaged, and final indices normalized between 0 and 100. Data on self-reported demographic characteristics and walking behaviours of 16,055 adult respondents (aged 18-65) were extracted from the Dutch National Travel Survey 2017. Using Tobit regression modelling adjusted for individual- and household-level confounders, we assessed the associations between walkability and minutes walking in total, for non-discretionary and discretionary purposes. By assessing the attenuation in associations between partial indices and walking outcomes, we identified which of the seven components drive these associations. We also tested for effect modification by urbanization degree, SES, age and sex.

In fully adjusted models, a 10% increase in walkability was associated with a maximum increase of 8.5 min of total walking per day (95%CI: 7.1-9.9). This association was consistent across buffer sizes and purposes of walking. Public transport density was driving the index's association with walking outcomes. Stratified results showed that associations with minutes of non-discretionary walking were stronger in rural compared to very urban areas, in neighbourhoods with low SES compared to high SES, and in middle-aged (36-49 years) compared to young (18-35 years old) and older adults (50-65 years old).

The walkability index was cross-sectionally associated with Dutch adult's walking behaviours, indicating its validity for further use in research.

Public support for policies to phase out the retail sale of cigarettes in Australia: results from a nationally representative survey.

Tobacco Control

There is growing international interest in a goal once considered unthinkable: phasing out the retail sales of smoked tobacco products. In this study, we examined public support for phasing out sales and specific measures for moving towards a phase-out among a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.

In December 2019, we used a probability-based online panel, Life in Australia™, to survey n=1939 Australian adults (n=1874 included in analyses due to missing data).

Almost two-thirds of respondents thought it would be 'a good thing' if there came a time when it was no longer legal to sell cigarettes in shops in Australia and only 16.7% thought it would be 'a bad thing'. After the concept of a phase-out was defined as removing a product from the Australian market over a set period, such as 5 years, but still allowing purchases online from overseas companies, 50.7% indicated support for such a phase-out and 61.8% thought it should happen within 10 years. Support was greater for specific measures such as licensing tobacco retailers (75.3%) and restricting sales to places children cannot enter (76.3%). Support tended to be consistent across demographic subgroups but was stronger among never and former smokers than among current smokers.

There has been little public discussion in Australia about the goal of 1 day phasing out the retail sale of cigarettes. It is notable that such policies are reasonably well supported by the Australian public, with only minority opposition.

Understanding e-cigarette content and promotion on YouTube through machine learning.

Tobacco Control

YouTube is a popular social media used by youth and has electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) content. We used machine learning to identify the content of e-cigarette videos, featured e-cigarette products, video uploaders, and marketing and sales of e-cigarette products.

We identified e-cigarette content using 18 search terms (eg, e-cig) using fictitious youth viewer profiles and predicted four models using the metadata as the input to supervised machine learning: (1) video themes, (2) featured e-cigarette products, (3) channel type (ie, video uploaders) and (4) discount/sales. We assessed the association between engagement data and the four models.

3830 English videos were included in the supervised machine learning. The most common video theme was 'product review' (48.9%), followed by 'instruction' (eg, 'how to' use/modify e-cigarettes; 17.3%); diverse e-cigarette products were featured; 'vape enthusiasts' most frequently posted e-cigarette videos (54.0%), followed by retailers (20.3%); 43.2% of videos had discount/sales of e-cigarettes; and the most common sales strategy was external links for purchasing (34.1%). 'Vape trick' was the least common theme but had the highest engagement (eg, >2 million views). 'Cannabis' (53.9%) and 'instruction' (49.9%) themes were more likely to have external links for purchasing (p<0.001). The four models achieved an F1 score (a measure of model accuracy) of up to 0.87.

Our findings indicate that on YouTube videos accessible to youth, a variety of e-cigarette products are featured through diverse videos themes, with discount/sales. The findings highlight the need to regulate the promotion of e-cigarettes on social media platforms.