Stressful events and circumstances reported by patients prior to being prescribed antidepressants
This large online survey found that over two thirds of New Zealanders who had been prescribed antidepressants reported that they were dealing with at least one and often more than one stressful circumstance in their lives. The most commonly reported stressful circumstances were relationship difficulties, life transitions, losses, work related difficulties as well as stress related to their own or other people’s health difficulties. As most antidepressants are prescribed primary care level, it is important for GPs to be aware of the significance of these psychosocial stressors in their patients’ lives and recommend treatments that address these directly.
Student-led intervention to inNOvate hand hygiene practice in Auckland Region’s medical students (the No HHARMS study)
In 2013 national data showed poor compliance with hand hygiene by medical students. A student-led initiative improved compliance, but there is still room for further improvement. Some lessons were also learned about the best way to analyse hand hygiene data.
Should New Zealand introduce nationwide pulse oximetry screening for the detection of critical congenital heart disease in newborn infants?
Identifying babies with critical cardiac defects as early as possible is crucial for their survival and long-term wellbeing. A pulse oximeter is a device that can determine the oxygen level in the blood and has been successfully utilised internationally to aid in the early diagnosis of cardiac defects. New Zealand has a largely midwifery-lead model of maternity care and will face unique challenges when implementing a new screening practice. The feasibility of a nationwide screening programme should be investigated prior to adopting this practice at national level.
New Zealand rugby health study: motor cortex excitability in retired elite and community level rugby players
We examined brain excitability in retired rugby players in comparison to people who had played non-contact sport, to help determine any association between brain injury sustained through rugby and altered corticomotor function (ie, the function of neural pathways from the brain that control movement). There was some evidence of altered corticomotor function in the retired elite rugby players compared to the non-contact sport control group; however, this was not the case for those who had played club-level rugby. Both groups of retired rugby players had experienced more concussions than the non-contact sport players. Given the absence of altered corticomotor function among the community rugby players, there was no evidence that the differences in corticomotor function in the elite rugby players were related to previous concussions.
Demographic and psychological correlates of New Zealanders' support for euthanasia
There is strong public support for euthanasia when people are asked whether doctors should be allowed by law to end the life of a patient with a painful incurable disease upon their request. Non-religious, liberal, younger, employed, non-parents and those living in rural areas were more supportive. Those of Pacific or Asian ethnicity, with lower income and higher deprivation, education and socio-economic status were less supportive. Furthermore, those high on the personality traits extraversion (being sociable and assertive), conscientiousness (being diligent and organised) and neuroticism (being anxious and insecure) showed more support, while those high on agreeableness (being tolerant and cooperative) and honesty-humility (being fair and sincere) exhibited less support.
Changes in the age pattern of New Zealand suicide rates
Age patterns of suicide in both Australia and New Zealand have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. Fluctuations have been attributed to a complexity of factors. Changes within society and in availability of health and community services have doubtless affected suicide rates. The rise in suicide rate of Māori and Australian indigenous younger people has been alarming. There has been a welcome reduction in late life suicide rates, especially notable among New Zealand older men.
Alcohol sponsorship of a summer of sport: a frequency analysis of alcohol marketing during major sports events on New Zealand television
Alcohol sponsorship of televised sport in New Zealand is prevalent. Sport is used by alcohol companies to bypass regulations on traditional forms of advertising. Viable models of sponsorship replacement are available but require political will from both sports organisations and governments for their implementation.