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1.
Front Public Health ; 10: 840292, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1952778

ABSTRACT

Introduction: For young adults, the first year of higher education represents a transition period into adulthood associated with an increased risk of developing depression, anxiety, and stress, contributing to deteriorating physical and mental health. The present study aimed to analyze the relationship between depressive symptoms and social capital and lifestyles among Colombian university students. Methods: In 2020, a longitudinal repeated measures study was conducted on first year students at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. The study was conceptualized and approved by the university before the COVID-19 pandemic appeared. Each student completed a self-administered questionnaire including questions on sociodemographic characteristics, depressive symptoms, perceived stress, social capital, and lifestyles. The study's pilot was conducted in November 2019, and the two measurement points were in January 2020 (wave 1, before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared) and in August 2020 (wave 2, during the COVID-19 pandemic). A binary logistic regression analysis was performed to assess the relationship between depressive symptoms, perceived stress, social capital, and lifestyles. Findings: A total of 609 first year students (response rate = 58.11%) participated in wave 1, and 42% of the participants showed signs of clinically relevant depressive symptoms. In wave 2, despite the difficulties encountered in collecting data due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 216 students from wave 1 participated (35.47%). An increase in a sedentary lifestyle was observed (31.49%). We found that cognitive and behavioral social capital levels decreased by 12.03 and 24.54%, respectively. In addition, we observed a 6.5% increase in students with clinically relevant depressive symptoms compared to wave 1. A low level of behavioral [OR: 1.88; 95% CI (1.16, 3.04)] social capital was associated with clinically relevant depressive symptoms. Conclusion: The health of university students continues to be a public health concern. The study suggests that social capital may play an important role in preventing depressive symptoms. Therefore, universities should put effort into programs that bring students together and promote the creation of social capital.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Social Capital , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Colombia/epidemiology , Depression/psychology , Humans , Life Style , Mental Health , Pandemics , Students/psychology , Universities , Young Adult
2.
Int J Public Health ; 67: 1604542, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809646

ABSTRACT

Since the WHO's "Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plan" in 1999, pandemic preparedness plans at the international and national level have been constantly adapted with the common goal to respond early to outbreaks, identify risks, and outline promising interventions for pandemic containment. Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, public health experts have started to reflect on the extent to which previous preparations have been helpful as well as on the gaps in pandemic preparedness planning. In the present commentary, we advocate for the inclusion of social and ethical factors in future pandemic planning-factors that have been insufficiently considered so far, although social determinants of infection risk and infectious disease severity contribute to aggravated social inequalities in health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disaster Planning , Health Equity , Influenza, Human , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Social Determinants of Health
3.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e060710, 2022 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774972

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the sharpest economic downturn since the Great Recession. To prepare for future crises and to preserve public health, we conduct an overview of systematic reviews to examine the evidence on the effect of the Great Recession on population health. METHODS: We searched PubMed and Scopus for systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses focusing specifically on the impact of the Great Recession on population health (eg, mental health). Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed throughout this review and critical appraisal of included systematic reviews was performed using Assessing the Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews. RESULTS: Twenty-one studies were identified and consistently showed that the Great Recession was most risky to health, the more a country's economy was affected and the longer strict austerity policies were in place. Consequently, a deterioration of health was highest in countries that had implemented strict austerity measures (eg, Greece), but not in countries that rejected austerity measures (eg, Germany). Moreover, the impact of the Great Recession fell disproportionately on the most vulnerable groups such as people in unemployment, at risk of unemployment and those living in poverty. CONCLUSIONS: The experiences of the last economic crisis show that it is possible to limit the consequences for health. Prioritising mental healthcare and prevention, foregoing austerity measures in the healthcare system and protecting vulnerable groups are the most important lessons learnt. Moreover, given the further aggravating social inequalities, a health in all policies approach, based on a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment, is advised.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Population Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Economic Recession , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Systematic Reviews as Topic
4.
PeerJ ; 10: e13111, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1771720

ABSTRACT

Background: Poor mental health among university students remains a pressing public health issue. Over the past few years, digital health interventions have been developed and considered promising in increasing psychological wellbeing among university students. Therefore, this umbrella review aims to synthesize evidence on digital health interventions targeting university students and to evaluate their effectiveness. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed in April 2021 searching PubMed, Psychology and Behavioural Science Collection, Web of Science, ERIC, and Scopus for systematic reviews and meta-analyses on digital mental health interventions targeting university students. The review protocol was registered in the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews PROSPERO [CRD42021234773]. Results: The initital literature search resulted in 806 records of which seven remained after duplicates were removed and evaluated against the inclusion criteria. Effectiveness was reported and categorized into the following six delivery types: (a) web-based, online/computer-delivered interventions (b) computer-based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), (c) mobile applications and short message service (d) virtual reality interventions (e) skills training (f) relaxation and exposure-based therapy. Results indicated web-based online/computer delivered-interventions were effective or at least partially effective at decressing depression, anxiety, stress and eating disorder symptoms. This was similar for skills-training interventions, CBT-based intervention and mobile applications. However, digital mental health interventions using virtual reality and relaxation, exposure-based therapy was inconclusive. Due to the variation in study settings and inconsistencies in reporting, effectiveness was greatly dependent on the delivery format, targeted mental health problem and targeted purpose group. Conclusion: The findings provide evidence for the beneficial effect of digital mental health interventions for university students. However, this review calls for a more systematic approach in testing and reporting the effectiveness of digital mental health interventions.

5.
Front Public Health ; 9: 732787, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1468376

ABSTRACT

Characterization of the naturally acquired B and T cell immune responses to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is important for the development of public health and vaccination strategies to manage the burden of COVID-19 disease. We conducted a prospective, cross-sectional analysis in COVID-19 recovered patients at various time points over a 10-month period in order to investigate how circulating antibody levels and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) release by peripheral blood cells change over time following natural infection. From March 2020 till January 2021, we enrolled 412 adults mostly with mild or moderate disease course. At each study visit, subjects donated peripheral blood for testing of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies and IFN-γ release after SARS-CoV-2 S-protein stimulation. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies were positive in 316 of 412 (76.7%) and borderline in 31 of 412 (7.5%) patients. Our confirmation assay for the presence of neutralizing antibodies was positive in 215 of 412 (52.2%) and borderline in 88 of 412 (21.4%) patients. Likewise, in 274 of 412 (66.5%) positive IFN-γ release and IgG antibodies were detected. With respect to time after infection, both IgG antibody levels and IFN-γ concentrations decreased by about half within 300 days. Statistically, production of IgG and IFN-γ were closely associated, but on an individual basis, we observed patients with high-antibody titres but low IFN-γ levels and vice versa. Our data suggest that immunological reaction is acquired in most individuals after natural infection with SARS-CoV-2 and is sustained in the majority of patients for at least 10 months after infection after a mild or moderate disease course. Since, so far, no robust marker for protection against COVID-19 exists, we recommend utilizing both, IgG and IFN-γ release for an individual assessment of the immunity status.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Immunoglobulin G , Outpatients , Prospective Studies
7.
Front Public Health ; 8: 570543, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-858827

ABSTRACT

A vast majority of COVID-19 cases present with mild or moderate symptoms. The study region is in an urban and well-defined environment in a low-incidence region in Northern Germany. In the present study, we explored the dynamics of the antibody response with respect to onset, level and duration in patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA were detected by automated enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) of SARS-CoV-2 infected patients monitored by the Health Protection Authority. This explorative monocentric study shows IgA and IgG antibody profiles from 118 patients with self-reported mild to moderate, or no COVID-19 related symptoms after laboratory-confirmed infection with SARS-CoV-2. We found that 21.7% and 18.1% of patients were seronegative for IgA or IgG, respectively. Clinically, most of the seronegative patients showed no to only moderate symptoms. With regard to antibody profiling 82% of all patients developed sustainable antibodies (IgG) and 78% (IgA) 3 weeks or later after the infection. Our data indicate that antibody-positivity is a useful indicator of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Negative antibodies do not rule out SARS-CoV-2 infection. Future studies are needed to determine the functionality of the antibodies in terms of neutralization capacity leading to personal protection and prevention ability to transmit the virus as well as to protect after vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
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