Scientific Quality of Health-Related Articles in Specialty Cannabis and General Newspapers in San Francisco.
ABSTRACT: Recreational cannabis is being legalized in states across the USA. The public relies on popular media for health information about cannabis. We assessed the accuracy of reporting on health effects of cannabis use in GreenState, a specialty publication on cannabis published by the San Francisco Chronicle and the main newspaper using the Index of Scientific Quality for Health Related News Reports. Results were compared using t-tests. Seventeen GreenState articles and four San Francisco Chronicle articles were identified for analysis. Health articles in GreenState scored 2.9 (±1.1 [SD]) Global, with the highest scoring category Applicability (4.5 ± 0.4) and the lowest Precision (2.4 ± 1.0) on a scale of 1-5. In contrast, the San Francisco Chronicle articles received a Global rating of 4.6 (±0.2), ranging from Applicability (5.0 ± 0) to Benefits (3.8 ± 0.9). Articles in the San Francisco Chronicle scored significantly higher in all categories but Benefits which was not significantly different for the San Francisco Chronicle compared with GreenState (3.8 vs. 3.6, p = 0.77). The public, clinicians, and policymakers need to be aware of this pattern and treat information in publications like GreenState with an appropriate level of skepticism until the quality of reporting improves to general journalistic standards.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Twitter represents a social media platform through which medical cannabis dispensaries can rapidly promote and advertise a multitude of retail products. Yet, to date, no studies have systematically evaluated Twitter behavior among dispensaries and how these behaviors influence the formation of social networks. OBJECTIVES:This study sought to characterize common cyberbehaviors and shared follower networks among dispensaries operating in two large cannabis markets in California. METHODS:From a targeted sample of 119 dispensaries in the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Los Angeles, we collected metadata from the dispensary accounts using the Twitter API. For each city, we characterized the network structure of dispensaries based upon shared followers, then empirically derived communities with the Louvain modularity algorithm. Principal components factor analysis was employed to reduce 12 Twitter measures into a more parsimonious set of cyberbehavioral dimensions. Finally, quadratic discriminant analysis was implemented to verify the ability of the extracted dimensions to classify dispensaries into their derived communities. RESULTS:The modularity algorithm yielded three communities in each city with distinct network structures. The principal components factor analysis reduced the 12 cyberbehaviors into five dimensions that encompassed account age, posting frequency, referencing, hyperlinks, and user engagement among the dispensary accounts. In the quadratic discriminant analysis, the dimensions correctly classified 75% (46/61) of the communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and 71% (41/58) in Greater Los Angeles. CONCLUSIONS:The most centralized and strongly connected dispensaries in both cities had newer accounts, higher daily activity, more frequent user engagement, and increased usage of embedded media, keywords, and hyperlinks. Measures derived from both network structure and cyberbehavioral dimensions can serve as key contextual indicators for the online surveillance of cannabis dispensaries and consumer markets over time.
Project description:Foodborne illness is prevented by inspection and surveillance conducted by health departments across America. Appropriate restaurant behavior is enforced and monitored via public health inspections. However, surveillance coverage provided by state and local health departments is insufficient in preventing the rising number of foodborne illness outbreaks. To address this need for improved surveillance coverage we conducted a supplementary form of public health surveillance using social media data: Yelp.com restaurant reviews in the city of San Francisco. Yelp is a social media site where users post reviews and rate restaurants they have personally visited. Presence of keywords related to health code regulations and foodborne illness symptoms, number of restaurant reviews, number of Yelp stars, and restaurant price range were included in a model predicting a restaurant's likelihood of health code violation measured by the assigned San Francisco public health code rating. For a list of major health code violations see (S1 Table). We built the predictive model using 71,360 Yelp reviews of restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. The predictive model was able to predict health code violations in 78% of the restaurants receiving serious citations in our pilot study of 440 restaurants. Training and validation data sets each pulled data from 220 restaurants in San Francisco. Keyword analysis of free text within Yelp not only improved detection of high-risk restaurants, but it also served to identify specific risk factors related to health code violation. To further validate our model we applied the model generated in our pilot study to Yelp data from 1,542 restaurants in San Francisco. The model achieved 91% sensitivity 74% specificity, area under the receiver operator curve of 98%, and positive predictive value of 29% (given a substandard health code rating prevalence of 10%). When our model was applied to restaurant reviews in New York City we achieved 74% sensitivity, 54% specificity, area under the receiver operator curve of 77%, and positive predictive value of 25% (given a prevalence of 12%). Model accuracy improved when reviews ranked highest by Yelp were utilized. Our results indicate that public health surveillance can be improved by using social media data to identify restaurants at high risk for health code violation. Additionally, using highly ranked Yelp reviews improves predictive power and limits the number of reviews needed to generate prediction. Use of this approach as an adjunct to current risk ranking of restaurants prior to inspection may enhance detection of those restaurants participating in high risk practices that may have gone previously undetected. This model represents a step forward in the integration of social media into meaningful public health interventions.
Project description:The re-emergence of tuberculosis (TB) in the mid-1980s in many parts of the world, including the United States, is often attributed to the emergence and rapid spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). Although it is well established that TB transmission is particularly amplified in populations with high HIV prevalence, the epidemiology of interaction between TB and HIV is not well understood. This is partly due to the scarcity of HIV-related data, a consequence of the voluntary nature of HIV status reporting and testing, and partly due to current practices of screening high risk populations through separate surveillance programs for HIV and TB. The San Francisco Department of Public Health, TB Control Program, has been conducting active surveillance among the San Francisco high-risk populations since the early 1990s. We present extensive TB surveillance data on HIV and TB infection among the San Francisco homeless to investigate the association between the TB cases and their HIV+ contacts. We applied wavelet coherence and phase analyses to the TB surveillance data from January 1993 through December 2005, to establish and quantify statistical association and synchrony in the highly non-stationary and ostensibly non-periodic waves of TB cases and their HIV+ contacts in San Francisco. When stratified by homelessness, we found that the evolution of TB cases and their HIV+ contacts is highly coherent over time and locked in phase at a specific periodic scale among the San Francisco homeless, but no significant association was observed for the non-homeless. This study confirms the hypothesis that the dynamics of HIV and TB are significantly intertwined and that HIV is likely a key factor in the sustenance of TB transmission among the San Francisco homeless. The findings of this study underscore the importance of contact tracing in detection of HIV+ individuals that may otherwise remain undetected, and thus highlights the ever-increasing need for HIV-related data and an integrative approach to monitoring high-risk populations with respect to HIV and TB transmission.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Nearly half of Americans with diagnosed hypertension have uncontrolled blood pressure (BP) while some integrated healthcare systems, such as Kaiser Permanente Northern California, have achieved control rates upwards 90%. METHODS AND RESULTS:We adapted Kaiser Permanente's evidence-based treatment protocols in a racially and ethnically diverse population at 12 safety-net clinics in the San Francisco Health Network. The intervention consisted of 4 elements: a hypertension registry, a simplified treatment intensification protocol that included fixed-dose combination medications containing diuretics, standardized BP measurement protocol, and BP check visits led by registered nurse and pharmacist staff. The study population comprised patients with hypertension who made ?1 primary care visits within the past 24 months (n=15 917) and had a recorded BP measurement within the past 12 months. We conducted a postintervention time series analysis from August 2014 to August 2016 to assess the effect of the intervention on BP control for 24 months for the pilot site and for 15 months for 11 other San Francisco Health Network clinics combined. Secondary outcomes were changes in use of guideline-recommended medication prescribing. Rates of BP control increased at the pilot site (68%-74%; P<0.01) and the 11 other San Francisco Health Network clinic sites (69%-74%; P<0.01). Statistically significant improvements in BP control rates (P<0.01) at the 11 San Francisco Health Network clinic sites occurred in all racial and ethnic groups (blacks, 60%-66%; whites, 69%-75%; Latinos, 67%-72%; Asians, 78%-82%). Use of fixed-dose combination medications increased from 10% to 13% (P<0.01), and the percentage of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor prescriptions dispensed in combination with a thiazide diuretic increased from 36% to 40% (P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS:Evidence-based system approaches to improving BP control can be implemented in safety-net settings and could play a pivotal role in achieving improved population BP control and reducing hypertension disparities.
Project description:SEVERAL SCIENTIFIC AND GENERAL MEDICAL JOURNALS publish full-length articles on their Web sites and abridged versions in their print journals. We surveyed a stratified random sample of BMJ readers and authors to elicit their preferred format for the abridged print version. Each participant received a research paper abridged in 3 different formats: conventional abridged version, journalistic version and enhanced-abstract version. Overall, 45% (95% confidence interval [CI] 42%-48%) of the respondents said they liked the conventional version most, 31% (95% CI 28%-34%) preferred the journalistic version and 25% (95% CI 22%-27%) preferred the enhanced-abstract version. Twenty-eight percent (95% CI 25%-32%) indicated that use of the journalistic format for abridged articles would very likely stop them from submitting papers to BMJ, and 13% (95% CI 11%-16%) said the use of the enhanced-abstract version would stop them from submitting to BMJ. Publishers of general medical journals who publish shortened articles should consider that authors and readers prefer a more conventional style of abridged papers.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the new media age, the public searches for information both online and offline. Many studies have examined how the public reads and understands this information but very few investigate how people assess the quality of journalistic articles as opposed to information generated by health professionals. OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to examine how public health care workers (HCWs) and the general public seek, read, and understand health information and to investigate the criteria by which they assess the quality of journalistic articles. METHODS:A Web-based nonprobability sampling questionnaire survey was distributed to Israeli HCWs and members of the public via 3 social media outlets: Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram. A total of 979 respondents participated in the online survey via the Qualtrics XM platform. RESULTS:The findings indicate that HCWs find academic articles more reliable than do members of the general public (44.4% and 28.4%, respectively, P<.001). Within each group, we found disparities between the places where people search for information and the sources they consider reliable. HCWs consider academic articles to be the most reliable, yet these are not their main information sources. In addition, HCWs often use social networks to search for information (18.2%, P<.001), despite considering them very unreliable (only 2.2% found them reliable, P<.001). The same paradoxes were found among the general public, where 37.5% (P<.001) seek information via social networks yet only 8.4% (P<.001) find them reliable. Out of 6 quality criteria, 4 were important both to HCWs and to the general public. CONCLUSIONS:In the new media age where information is accessible to all, the quality of articles about health is of critical importance. It is important that the criteria examined in this research become the norm in health writing for all stakeholders who write about health, whether they are professional journalists or citizen journalists writing in the new media.
Project description:We traced the Chlamydia trachomatis L2b variant in Amsterdam and San Francisco. All recent lymphogranuloma venereum cases in Amsterdam were caused by the L2b variant. This variant was also present in the 1980s in San Francisco. Thus, the current "outbreak" is most likely a slowly evolving epidemic.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In recent years, national and global mortality data have been characterized in terms of well-established risk factors. In this regard, alcohol consumption has been called the third leading "actual cause of death" (modifiable behavioral risk factor) in the United States, after tobacco use and the combination of poor diet and physical inactivity. Globally and in various regions of the world, alcohol use has been established as a leading contributor to the overall burden of disease and as a major determinant of health disparities, but, to our knowledge, no one has characterized alcohol-related harm in such broad terms at the local level. We asked how alcohol-related premature mortality in San Francisco, measured in years of life lost (YLLs), compares with other well-known causes of premature mortality, such as ischemic heart disease or HIV/AIDS. METHODS: We applied sex- and cause-specific population-attributable fractions (PAFs) of years of life lost (YLLs) from the Global Burden of Disease Study to 17 comparable outcomes among San Francisco males and females during 2004-2007. We did this in three ways: Method 1 assumed that all San Franciscans drink like populations in developed economies. These estimates were limited to alcohol-related harm. Method 2 modified these estimates by including several beneficial effects. Method 3 assumed that Latino and Asian San Franciscans drink alcohol like populations in the global regions related to their ethnicity. RESULTS: By any of these three methods, alcohol-related premature mortality accounts for roughly a tenth of all YLLs among males. Alcohol-related YLLs among males are comparable to YLLs for leading causes such as ischemic heart disease and HIV/AIDS, in some instances exceeding them. Latino and black males bear a disproportionate burden of harm. Among females, for whom estimates differed more by method and were smaller than those for males, alcohol-related YLLs are comparable to leading causes which rank somewhere between fifth and fourteenth. CONCLUSIONS: Alcohol consumption is a major contributor to premature mortality in San Francisco, especially among males. Interventions to avert alcohol-related harm in San Francisco should be taken at the population level and deserve the same attention that is given to other major risk factors, such as smoking or obesity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Despite continued reductions in the number of HIV cases reported among San Francisco men who have sex with men (MSM) and the HIV-prevention potential offered by pharmaceutical tools such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), there are uncertainties, particularly given reported decreases in consistent condom use. A key uncertainty is what groups of MSM should be targeted. This study estimates the distribution of behavioral patterns before infection among San Francisco MSM newly infected with HIV in 2014. METHODS:We used a novel modeling approach. The approach uses estimates from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System for MSM, the Medical Monitoring Project, 2 trials of PrEP, and a meta-analysis of per-act risks of HIV infection. RESULTS:The modeling study suggests that 76% of newly HIV-infected MSM in 2014 were individuals with no discernible strategy in the 6 months before infection: that is, they had condomless receptive anal intercourse with one or more partners not perceived to be HIV uninfected. An estimated 7% of newly infected MSM were serosorters before infection. CONCLUSIONS:Prevention efforts in San Francisco must reach HIV-uninfected MSM with no discernible behavioral strategy, a group that constitutes 8% of HIV-uninfected MSM in the city. Our study suggests that if all HIV-uninfected, San Francisco MSM with no discernible strategy had been on PrEP in 2014, there would have been 70% fewer HIV infections among San Francisco MSM. Uncertainty analysis suggests that PrEP's impact may be maximized by encouraging PrEP persistence and concomitant reductions in sexual risk behaviors.
Project description:In the United States, hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission is rising among people who inject drugs (PWID). Many regions have insufficient prevention intervention coverage. Using modeling, we investigated the impact of scaling up prevention and treatment interventions on HCV transmission among PWID in Perry County, Kentucky, and San Francisco, California, where HCV seroprevalence among PWID is >50%. A greater proportion of PWID access medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or syringe service programs (SSP) in urban San Francisco (established community) than in rural Perry County (young, expanding community). We modeled the proportion of HCV-infected PWID needing HCV treatment annually to reduce HCV incidence by 90% by 2030, with and without MAT scale-up (50% coverage, both settings) and SSP scale-up (Perry County only) from 2017. With current MAT and SSP coverage during 2017-2030, HCV incidence would increase in Perry County (from 21.3 to 22.6 per 100 person-years) and decrease in San Francisco (from 12.9 to 11.9 per 100 person-years). With concurrent MAT and SSP scale-up, 5% per year of HCV-infected PWID would need HCV treatment in Perry County to achieve incidence targets-13% per year without MAT and SSP scale-up. In San Francisco, a similar proportion would need HCV treatment (10% per year) irrespective of MAT scale-up. Reaching the same impact by 2025 would require increases in treatment rates of 45%-82%. Achievable provision of HCV treatment, alongside MAT and SSP scale-up (Perry County) and MAT scale-up (San Francisco), could reduce HCV incidence.