Insight
is our reward

Publications in Public Health & Health Services by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

December 1, 2022

Background: In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, most countries implemented physical distancing measures. Many mental health experts warned that through increasing social isolation and anxiety, these measures could negatively affect psychosocial wellbeing. However, socially aligning with others by adhering to these measures may also be beneficial for wellbeing. Methods: We examined these two contrasting hypotheses using cross-national survey data (N = 6675) collected fortnightly from participants in 115 countries over 3 months at the beginning of the pandemic. Participants reported their wellbeing, perceptions of how vulnerable they were to Covid-19 (i.e., high risk of infection) and how much they, and others in their social circle and country, were adhering to the distancing measures. Results: Linear mixed-effects models showed that being a woman, having lower educational attainment, living alone and perceived high vulnerability to Covid-19 were risk factors for poorer wellbeing. Being young (18–25) was associated with lower wellbeing, but longitudinal analyses showed that young people’s wellbeing improved over 3 months. In contrast to widespread views that physical distancing measures negatively affect wellbeing, results showed that following the guidelines was positively associated with wellbeing even for people in high-risk groups. Conclusions: These findings provide an important counterpart to the idea that pandemic containment measures such as physical distancing negatively impacted wellbeing unequivocally. Despite the overall burden of the pandemic on psychosocial wellbeing, social alignment with others can still contribute to positive wellbeing. The pandemic has manifested our propensity to adapt to challenges, particularly highlighting how social alignment can forge resilience.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Public Health

NOMIS Researcher(s)

January 1, 2022

The continuing drug overdose crisis in the U.S. has highlighted the urgent need for greater access to treatment. This paper examines the impact of openings and closings of substance use disorder treatment facilities in New Jersey on emergency room visits for substance use disorder issues among nearby residents. We find that drug-related ER visits increase by 7.4% after a facility closure and decrease by 6.5% after an opening. The effects are smaller for the middle aged than for either younger or older people, and are also somewhat larger for Black residents, and for those on Medicaid. The results suggest that expanding access to treatment results in significant reductions in morbidity related to drugs.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Health Policy & Services

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

January 1, 2021

Missed appointments are estimated to cost the UK National Health Service (NHS) approximately £1 billion annually. Research that leads to a fuller understanding of the types of factors influencing spatial and temporal patterns of these so-called “Did-Not-Attends” (DNAs) is therefore timely. This research articulates the results of a study that uses machine learning approaches to investigate whether these factors are consistent across a range of medical specialities. A predictive model was used to determine the risk-increasing and risk-mitigating factors associated with missing appointments, which were then used to assign a risk score to patients on an appointment-by-appointment basis for each speciality. Results show that the best predictors of DNAs include the patient’s age, appointment history, and the deprivation rank of their area of residence. Findings have been analysed at both a geographical and medical speciality level, and the factors associated with DNAs have been shown to differ in terms of both importance and association. This research has demonstrated how machine learning techniques have real value in informing future intervention policies related to DNAs that can help reduce the burden on the NHS and improve patient care and well-being.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Public Health

NOMIS Researcher(s)

July 1, 2020

The development of clinical interventions that significantly improve human healthspan requires robust markers of biological age as well as thoughtful therapeutic targets. To promote these goals, we performed a systematic review and analysis of human aging and proteomics studies. The systematic review includes 36 different proteomics analyses, each of which identified proteins that significantly changed with age. We discovered 1,128 proteins that had been reported by at least two or more analyses and 32 proteins that had been reported by five or more analyses. Each of these 32 proteins has known connections relevant to aging and age-related disease. GDF15, for example, extends both lifespan and healthspan when overexpressed in mice and is additionally required for the anti-diabetic drug metformin to exert beneficial effects on body weight and energy balance. Bioinformatic enrichment analyses of our 1,128 commonly identified proteins heavily implicated processes relevant to inflammation, the extracellular matrix, and gene regulation. We additionally propose a novel proteomic aging clock comprised of proteins that were reported to change with age in plasma in three or more different studies. Using a large patient cohort comprised of 3,301 subjects (aged 18–76 years), we demonstrate that this clock is able to accurately predict human age.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Gerontology

NOMIS Researcher(s)

April 1, 2020

Child health is increasingly understood to be a critical form of human capital, but only recently have we begun to understand how valuable it is and how its development could be better supported. This article provides an overview of recent work that demonstrates the key role of public insurance in supporting longer term human capital development and points to improvements in child mental health as an especially important mechanism.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Health Policy & Services

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

September 1, 2019

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Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Public Health

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is rarely addressed in the context of aging even though there is an overlap in pathology. We previously used a phenotypic screening platform based on old age-associated brain toxicities to identify the flavonol fisetin as a potential therapeutic for AD and other age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Based on earlier results with fisetin in transgenic AD mice, we hypothesized that fisetin would be effective against brain aging and cognitive dysfunction in rapidly aging senescence-accelerated prone 8 (SAMP8) mice, a model for sporadic AD and dementia. An integrative approach was used to correlate protein expression and metabolite levels in the brain with cognition. It was found that fisetin reduced cognitive deficits in old SAMP8 mice while restoring multiple markers associated with impaired synaptic function, stress, and inflammation. These results provide further evidence for the potential benefits of fisetin for the treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Public Health & Health Services, Gerontology