Category Archives: IJHS 1 (1)

IJHS volume 1, issue 1

Predisposition to Impulsivity and Risk-taking: Dopamine D4 Receptor (DRD4) Polymorphic Gene Linked to “Novelty Seeking” Personality Trait



Genetic variation may play a significant role in the expression of complex personality and psychological traits. This article examines the relationship between heritable biological mechanisms and the psychological trait, impulsivity. In particular, dopamine is proposed to play a role in impulsive behaviours, and numerous studies have implicated functional polymorphisms of dopamine-related genes in impulsivity. This article reviews several studies concerning the role of dopamine receptor (DRD4) polymorphisms in the expression of an impulsivity sub-trait known as “novelty seeking”. Furthermore, this article focuses on recent approaches to the study of genetic variation, approaches to the measurement of novelty seeking, as well as other possible regulators of the trait in addition to genetics.

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Personal Health Responsibility: Blaming Victims or Empowering Nations?

Author: Nicholas VALELA


The place for personal responsibility within healthcare has been highly contested within academic debate. Meanwhile, leading causes of death within the United States have shifted to chronic disease as a result of lifestyle behaviours suggesting the need for health promotion to take action. In this position paper, I will argue that the less punitive element of personal responsibility implied by health promotion is both ethically justifiable and beneficial as a means of empowering the individual, population and healthcare system as a whole. Several counter-arguments are presented and subsequently refuted: health responsibility unduly places blame upon vulnerable populations; administration of negative sanctions based on health responsibility is difficult; and actions detrimentally affecting health are not certain to be autonomously undertaken by the individual. Arguments in favour are then presented: a dependence of the population upon the healthcare system has been created; empowerment is effective as the central guiding principle of health promotion; and sensible care for oneself should be a duty of citizens, which they are required to fulfill as the healthcare system is not in a position to act as an unlimited resource. As such, health promotion must continue to emphasize the importance of sensible health behaviour as a means of empowering individuals through self responsibility.

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The Effects of Exogenous Estrogens on Estrogen Receptors in Male Reproductive Organs

Author: Mina TOHIDI


There is an essential physiological role for estrogen in male reproduction. Conversely, exposure to exogenous sources of estrogen has negative effects on reproductive physiology and fertility in men. Infertility, affecting nearly 15% of couples, is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. In at least 20% of cases, male reproductive pathology is the major cause for a couple’s infertility. Thus, it is essential to investigate potential causes of infertility in adult males. Evidence shows that exposure to certain endocrine disruptors is associated with reduced semen quality and impaired fertility in men. Bisphenol A and Diethylstilbestrol are endocrine disruptors that act as exogenous sources of estrogen and have been associated with male reproductive pathology. This review will examine the role of exogenous estrogens on changes in gene expression of estrogen receptors ERα, ERβ, and GPR30. Previous studies have had conflictive results, suggesting that the effects of exogenous estrogens on male reproduction are multi-faceted. Future studies should focus on determining whether exogenous estrogens have a stimulatory and/or inhibitory effect on gene expression and whether this relationship is dose-dependent or if it follows a more complex dosage pattern.

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Discussion of Bisphenol A as an Environmental Endocrine Disruptor: The Low Dose Effect and Governmental Regulations Concerning its Use and Disposal: A Literature Review

Author: Derek MCLELLAN


The disruptive and potentially harmful effects of naturally occurring and man-made endocrine disrupting compounds found in the environment are a topic of considerable debate within government, industry and the general public. Bisphenol A (BPA) is of particular concern due to its incorporation in many consumer products and its potential for leeching. Scientific study continues with attempts to identify and quantify risk associated with this chemical, in order to support industry and regulatory actions. The issue of greatest concern with regards to BPA is the effects of routine exposure to very low concentration of the chemical. The effects of this phenomenon, called Low Dose Effects, raise a great deal of controversy as it is difficult to accurately assess the health outcomes from these exposures. This paper gives a basic understanding of what constitutes Low Dose effects and also examines several studies conducted to determine the health outcomes as a result of exposure to low dose BPA.

Regulatory activities seek to mitigate risk through enactment of legislation to control the use of and exposure to these compounds. As a result the regulatory agencies in Canada and the U.S. have banned the sale of certain consumer products containing BPA and have imposed strict limits on concentration in industrial effluents and waste water drainage. This paper outlines the conditions and limits put in place by both the Canadian and U.S. government regarding the presence of BPA in effluents and consumer products.

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Social Media and its Use in Health Promotion

Authors: Joëlle J. LEVAC & Tracey O’SULLIVAN


Social media holds considerable potential for health promotion and other health intervention activities, as it addresses some of the limitations in traditional health communication by increasing accessibility, interaction, engagement, empowerment and customization. The use of social media increases the potential for easy access to preventive medicine, interaction with health care providers, interprofessional communication in emergency management, and public health. However, more research is needed to determine its long term effectiveness and to maximize the strategic presence of health organizations on social networking websites. This paper provides encouraging information about the possibilities of using social media to improve access to health information and health care providers, as well as to promote positive health behaviour change. It is essential for health promotion organizations to capitalize on the opportunities provided by social media, in order to modernize strategies to reach all age groups and to tailor programs to current communication trends, all of which are offered at a relatively low cost.

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A Review of Xq28 and the Effect on Homosexuality

Author: Philip M. LEE


The cause of homosexuality remains a hotly contested debate to this day. Although the role of genetics has diminished over the past decade because of the popularity of environmental influences, it continues to be a relevant correlative possibility. Since its inception in the early 1990’s from a study conducted by Dr. Dean Hamer, the genetic locus Xq28 has become amongst one of the most important genetic factors of sexual orientation. Subsequent studies attempting replication have improved on the original experiment although the initial measures and methods of experimentation may have biased the results of the findings. Consequently, contention between advocates for and against Xq28 continues over 15 years later with mounting evidence weakening the link of Xq28 and homosexuality. Even though the majority of genetic discussion revolves around Hamer’s original findings, more recent genetic markers have also now been found which may show positive connections and provide the basis for further research.

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Portrayals of Childbirth: An Examination of Internet Based Media



More pregnant women turn to reality-based television programs and the Internet than to prenatal classes. Scant research examines the portrayal of childbirth in these new media. Although its impact is unknown, we do know that up to 20% of pregnant women fear giving birth; consequences include avoiding pregnancy, termination, depression, and increased maternal morbidity.

Overall internet content tended to be contradictory but largely reflected two categories: natural and mainstream, with two different portrayals of childbirth. Natural sources focused on eliminating fear, discrediting hospital births, and promoting ‘alternative’ options such as home birth and midwifery. Mainstream sources reinforced fears, discredited home births, reported statistics from studies, and employed misinformation. Popular Internet sources tended to have the goal of educating whereas media uncovered in the purposive searches tended towards entertainment goals. Conflicting and misinformation from the Internet may entrench rather than assuage fears. Women may become confused and develop a heavily biased representation of birth. This could strongly impact a woman’s approach to and experience of birth.

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A Review of the Effects of Psychological Interventions on the Quality of Life for Children with Atopic Dermatitis

Author: Maria A. CZERNIAKOW


Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a psychologically debilitating disease due to its embarrassing skin lesions and pruritic nature which disturb the quality of life (QOL) of the patients. Even though children are primarily affected, caregivers can also be affected due to being the first line of care for others who are inflicted. This review focuses on randomized control trials which investigated the use of non-chemical forms of treatment to improve QOL and disease severity in children. A search of the PubMed database identified six studies that met the inclusion criteria. The studies were ranked from most rigorous trial to least. Various forms of education as an intervention were used. Conversely the viewing of a humorous film was tested to examine if it had an impact on QOL. Education intervention versus no education at all showed that the intervention group had a larger decrease in disease severity than the control group. The form of education as a single consult with an AD educated nurse showed no difference between the control and the intervention group. Comparison of nurse-led clinics with the dermatologist-led clinics indicated that the nurse-led clinics were more successful. Viewing humorous films before bedtime was demonstrated as a successful means of reducing night-time awakenings. Also specific AD education versus routine education and consultations showed improvement in both groups. Finally AD video-education versus direct parental teaching concluded that the video-education was more effective. Although the studies show that any form of education intervention is better than none, the methodological assessment of the studies showed that four of the studies were not rigorous enough or were not described at all. Further studies must be conducted in a more methodologically sound manner for the results to be considered replicable and valid.

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