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Akshara- A Global Initiative

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Menstruation - a stigmatized topic and a social taboo- has led to a lack of menstrual hygiene awareness and improper practices impacting women’s health adversely over generations in India. Akshara aims to increase menstrual hygiene education and reduce stigma in

Menstruation - a stigmatized topic and a social taboo- has led to a lack of menstrual hygiene awareness and improper practices impacting women’s health adversely over generations in India. Akshara aims to increase menstrual hygiene education and reduce stigma in India. A creative children’s illustrated book, and interactive workshop curriculum about menstruation were designed and published in Hindi and English. Menstrual hygiene workshops, utilizing the designed tools, were conducted in Delhi and Ghaziabad, India to over 230 students through NGO partnerships in December 2018. The response to the menstrual hygiene and stigma workshops was overwhelmingly positive, and a significant increase in the knowledge and awareness survey scores was observed after the curriculum teachings and classroom discussions. This evaluation highlights and provides a potential solution path to eradicate the root cause of the menstruation stigma in underprivileged women through education and open conversations on the topic starting at a pivotal young age. The main aim of the workshop was to help eradicate the stigma associated with menstruation and menstrual health in India through education.

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2019-05

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A Cross-State Longitudinal Study of Opioid-Related Deaths Associated with Opioid and Naloxone Prescribing and Prevention Laws

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More than 40% of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid, with more than 46 people dying every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, (CDC, 2017). Over the years, lawmakers have implemented policies and laws to

More than 40% of all U.S. opioid overdose deaths in 2016 involved a prescription opioid, with more than 46 people dying every day from overdoses involving prescription opioids, (CDC, 2017). Over the years, lawmakers have implemented policies and laws to address the opioid epidemic, and many of these vary from state to state. This study will lay out the basic guidelines of common pieces of legislation. It also examines relationships between 6 state-specific prescribing or preventative laws and associated changes in opioid-related deaths using a longitudinal cross-state study design (2007-2015). Specifically, it uses a linear regression to examine changes in state-specific rates of opioid-related deaths after implementation of specific policies, and whether states implementing these policies saw smaller increases than states without these policies. Initial key findings of this study show that three policies have a statistically significant association with opioid related overdose deaths are—Good Samaritan Laws, Standing Order Laws, and Naloxone Liability Laws. Paradoxically, all three policies correlated with an increase in opioid overdose deaths between 2007 and 2016. However, after correcting for the potential spurious relationship between state-specific timing of policy implementation and death rates, two policies have a statistically significant association (alpha <0.05) with opioid overdose death rates. First, the Naloxone Liability Laws were significantly associated with changes in opioid-related deaths and was correlated with a 0.33 log increase in opioid overdose death rates, or a 29% increase. This equates to about 1.39 more deaths per year per 100,000 people. Second, the legislation that allows for 3rd Party Naloxone prescriptions correlated with a 0.33 log decrease in opioid overdose death rates, or a 29% decrease. This equates to 1.39 fewer deaths per year per 100,000 people.

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2019-05

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Dams, Displacement, and Health: Reviewing Impacts of Large Dams on Displaced Communities

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This paper explores the impacts of dam-induced displacement on the health of populations. By the start of the 21st century, an estimated 40-80 million people worldwide were forced to resettle due to the construction of large dams. The process of

This paper explores the impacts of dam-induced displacement on the health of populations. By the start of the 21st century, an estimated 40-80 million people worldwide were forced to resettle due to the construction of large dams. The process of displacement and resettlement is connected to numerous social impacts on communities such as decreases in household income, natural resources, and social connectivity, but less seems to be known about specific health impacts. Analyzing literature in a formal review allowed for increased understanding about what information already exists in published research regarding the connections between dams, displacement, and health. Some negative health impacts as a result of forced displacement were identified, including increases in infectious disease transmission, depression, and mortality rates as well as losses of food and water sources. However, the small amount of cases found in the literature review when compared to the massive scale of dam development worldwide indicates a gap in knowledge in the dam industry and research field specifically about the health of the vast majority of populations forcibly displaced by dams. Health impacts must be considered and systematically studied in dam projects involving displacement to fully understand the needs of resettled populations and move towards equitable processes in development projects worldwide.

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2020-05

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A Closer Look at the Global Partnership: Re-Evaluating Sustainable Development Goal 17

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In an increasingly interconnected world, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the United Nations’ framework for ensuring we continue to transform our world for the better, leaving no population behind. This study examines how the terminology of Sustainable Development Goal

In an increasingly interconnected world, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are the United Nations’ framework for ensuring we continue to transform our world for the better, leaving no population behind. This study examines how the terminology of Sustainable Development Goal 17 for global partnership affects its implementation, focusing on “building capacity”—a widely referenced target in the development arena—and the involvement of the private sector. Key informant interviews with experts in the fields of conflict of interest, ethics, and development revealed a wide variety of (often conflicting) notions about partnership, frameworks for capacity development, and the interactions between public and private actors. A literature review of key policy documents examined the terminology and implementation of multistakeholder partnerships, and analysis offered considerations for risks and suggestions in policy terminology. Results indicate a need for increased attention to the use of partnership terminology as a catch-all term to encompass development work, and makes several recommendations for changes to combat misuse of the partnership label. Finally, this study acknowledges that there is a continued need for research-based evidence for effectiveness of the partnership-based development approach.

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2018-05

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Perceptions of Vaccine Risks and Effectiveness Among ASU Students

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The development of safe and effective vaccines has been one of the greatest public achievements of the 20th century. However, there is still considerable public debate about the relative health costs and benefits of vaccines, and the information and misinformation

The development of safe and effective vaccines has been one of the greatest public achievements of the 20th century. However, there is still considerable public debate about the relative health costs and benefits of vaccines, and the information and misinformation spread through these debates can have a direct impact on vaccination and whether or not herd immunity will continue in the United States for different diseases. To understand perceptions of vaccine risks and effectiveness among young adults in the U.S., this study describes Arizona State University students' perceptions of the harms and benefits of vaccines. A preliminary free list (n=30) identified what vaccines ASU college students were most likely to recall spontaneously. The six vaccines most commonly mentioned by ASU students were: influenza (flu), chickenpox, HPV, polio, MMR, and smallpox. Using these top six vaccines, we then developed a second survey about the knowledge and perceptions of each of these vaccines and vaccines as a whole. We found that students generally perceived vaccines as safe and important to their health, but they maintained an overall lack of understanding of how vaccines work and what they protect against. While this study is only a preliminary investigation into the perceptions of ASU college students on six commonly mentioned vaccines, this could lead to investigations on how to educate and promote the usage of vaccines to college students.

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2017-12

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Morality And Disgust In Food Preferences

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How are perceptions of morality and disgust regarding meat consumption related to each other? Which factor is more salient in determining one's willingness to eat the meat of a specific animal? How do these answers vary across religious groups? This

How are perceptions of morality and disgust regarding meat consumption related to each other? Which factor is more salient in determining one's willingness to eat the meat of a specific animal? How do these answers vary across religious groups? This study investigates the ways that concepts like morality and disgust are related to food preferences and hopes to shed light on the mechanisms that enforce culturally sanctioned food taboos. The study compares 4 groups of people in the U.S.: Christians (n = 39), Hindus (n = 29), Jews (n = 23), and non-religious people (n = 63). A total of 154 participants were given surveys in which they rated their feelings about eating various animals. Data from Christian and non-religious groups exhibited similar patterns such as a high likelihood of eating a given animal when starving, while results from Jews and Hindus were consistent with their religion's respective food taboos. Despite these differences, morality and disgust are strongly correlated with one another in almost all instances. Moreover, morality and disgust are almost equally important considerations when determining willingness to eat when starving.

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2014-12

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From the Physician's Perspective: Integrating Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States

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The United States is experiencing an increase in the prevalence and influence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in patient healthcare, reflecting the increasingly positive public and professional attitudes on the use of CAM therapies. Despite the growing presence of

The United States is experiencing an increase in the prevalence and influence of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in patient healthcare, reflecting the increasingly positive public and professional attitudes on the use of CAM therapies. Despite the growing presence of CAM in U.S. healthcare, there are still many barriers to integration. This study aims to reveal the attitudes of conventional, integrative and CAM practitioners concerning the major challenges of CAM's integration, explore their proposed solutions, and reveal any discrepancies in these attitudes among different types of practitioners. Twenty-eight practitioners were interviewed on the challenges in the five facets of CAM's integration: integration into hospitals, integration into medical schools, insurance coverage for CAM, licensing & regulation of CAM practitioners, and clinical research in CAM. The overall positive attitudes on the benefits of CAM's integration support previous research on the subject; however, the conventional practitioners were unable to extend these benefits to real-world application, and they were unaware of many of the challenges facing CAM's integration. The CAM practitioners attributed many of the problems facing integration to the inability of CAM's philosophy to comply with the current ideology of medical academia, health insurance model, and laws that govern the licensing and regulation of medical practitioners. The CAM and integrative practitioners perceived there to be a large resistance from conventional practitioners, specifically concerning the integration of CAM into education, providing insurance coverage for CAM, and the licensing and regulation of CAM practitioners. They attributed this to a perceived lack of research on safe and effective treatments in CAM. The conventional practitioner responses reflected this weariness of treatment effectiveness in their responses. However, the CAM and integrative practitioners believed these claims to be largely inaccurate, and constructed by the influence and manipulation of large-scale medical corporations and organizations. The participants believed that more evidence-based research in CAM, and increased public awareness in CAM therapies will force conventional practitioners to increase their knowledge in CAM, helping to alleviate their fears and skepticism of CAM therapies. By easing these concerns, dialogue can occur among practitioners of different modalities that will help to ensure a smooth integration of CAM and will raise the quality of patient healthcare by providing safe and effective resources for alternate forms of treatment.

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2014-05

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Stress and Biological Pathways of Schizophrenia: EGR3 Dependent HTR2A Expression in Response to Sleep Deprivation

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Environmental and genetic factors contribute to schizophrenia etiology, yet few studies have demonstrated how environmental stimuli impact genes associated with the disorder. Immediate early genes (IEGs) are of great interest to schizophrenia research because they are activated in response to

Environmental and genetic factors contribute to schizophrenia etiology, yet few studies have demonstrated how environmental stimuli impact genes associated with the disorder. Immediate early genes (IEGs) are of great interest to schizophrenia research because they are activated in response to physiological stress from the environment, and subsequently regulate the expression of downstream genes that are essential to neuropsychiatric function. An IEG, early growth response 3 (EGR3) has been identified as a main gene involved in a network of transcription factors implicated in schizophrenia susceptibility. The serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) seems to play an important role in schizophrenia and the dysfunction of the 5-HT2AR encoding gene, HTR2A, within the prefrontal cortex (PFC) contributes to multiple psychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia. EGR3's role as a transcription factor that is activated by environmental stimuli suggests it may regulate Htr2a transcription in response to physiological stress, thus affecting 5-HT2AR function in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between Egr3 activation and Htr2a expression after an environmental stimulus. Sleep deprivation is an acute physiological stressor that activates Egr3. Therefore to examine the relationship between Egr3 and Htr2a expression after an acute stress, wild type and Egr3 knockout mice that express EGFP under the control of the Htr2a promoter were sleep deprived for 8 hours. We used immunohistochemistry to determine the location and density of Htr2a-EGFP expression after sleep deprivation and found that Htr2a-EGFP expression was not affected by sex or subregions of the PFC. Additionally, Htr2a-EGFP expression was not affected by the loss of Egr3 or sleep deprivation within the PFC. The LPFC subregions, layers V and VI showed significantly more Htr2a-EGFP expression than layers I-III in all animals for both sleep deprivation and control conditions. Possible explanations for the lack of significant effects in this study may be the limited sample size or possible biological abnormalities in the Htr2a-EGFP mice. Nonetheless, we did successfully visualize the anatomical distribution of Htr2a in the prefrontal cortex via immunohistochemical staining. This study and future studies will provide insight into how Egr3 activation affects Htr2a expression in the PFC and how physiological stress from the environment can alter candidate schizophrenia gene function.

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2014-05

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Factors influencing uptake of the Take Home Ration in Southern Rajasthan, India

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Due to persistent undernutrition in India and the increased demands placed on a woman’s body during childbearing and lactation, the Indian government has implemented a program to provide supplemental nutrition packets to women in rural India. This study examines the

Due to persistent undernutrition in India and the increased demands placed on a woman’s body during childbearing and lactation, the Indian government has implemented a program to provide supplemental nutrition packets to women in rural India. This study examines the factors influencing uptake of nutritional packets by lactating mothers in southern, rural Rajasthan. Women were recruited from 65 villages in Rajasthan, India (n=149, minimum of 2 per village) to evaluate the relationship of nutrition packet uptake and two factors--education levels and distance to the health center.
Level of education had little impact on whether or not women received the nutrition packet. Of those women with no education, 63.1% received the packet. Of those with any education, 63.9% got the packet.
In contrast, distance was strongly correlated with whether or not women received the packet. For example, of the women living within 200 meters of the health center, 93.2% received a nutrition packet. Of the women living between 250 meters and one kilometer of the health center, 68.4% received a nutrition packet. Of the women living over one kilometer from the health center, only 25% received a nutrition packet. The relationship between uptake of packets and women’s perception of distance to the health center was also explored. Out of 50 women who did not receive the packet, all of the women who said there was no health center in their village did live more than one kilometer from a health center. Of the women who lived between 250 meters and one kilometer from the health center, 40% felt it was too far. Of the women who lived more than a kilometer from the health center, 66.7% felt it was too far and 29.6% said there was no health center in their village. Again, it does not appear that ‘too far’ is just a default reason for women, but that actual distance, more so than education, is a major contributing factor in their ability to take the nutrition packet. These findings suggest that improving access to supplemental nutrition packets at the village level may increase uptake by the women.

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2015-05

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Dualism and the Self: Conceptions of the Core Self Within a Dualistic Framework

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Some scholars have suggested that individuals are inclined to believe that they have souls because they are also inclined to believe that they have a core, immutable self. The present study will explore this question in several parts. First, what

Some scholars have suggested that individuals are inclined to believe that they have souls because they are also inclined to believe that they have a core, immutable self. The present study will explore this question in several parts. First, what is the extent to which individuals report having a core self? Next, how do beliefs about a core self relate to belief or non-belief in an eternal soul? The final question looks at location as an extension of the core self and soul relationship. Where is the self perceived to reside within a dualistic framework, the body or the soul? This study assessed the stated beliefs of 200 respondents using Amazon Mechanical Turk as a recruiting platform. Greater belief in a core self was moderately associated with greater belief in an eternal soul (r= 0.30, p<.01), and with belief in the self as a reflection of the soul (r=0.31, p<.01) and as a reflection of the brain (r=0.21, p<.01). This suggests that belief in a core self does hold association with belief in an eternal soul. However, its perceived location seems to show little preference as residing withing the soul versus the body.

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2014-12