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Journal Articles (CANHelp Working Group)

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  1. Adherence and barriers to H. pylori treatment in Arctic Canada. [Download]

    Title: Adherence and barriers to H. pylori treatment in Arctic Canada.
    Creator: Lefebvre, M.
    Description: Introduction. Helicobacter pylori infection is an emerging health concern to some northern Canadian Aboriginal communities and their clinicians. Clinicians in the north perceive H. pylori infection to be a major clinical problem because they find H. pylori infection in many patients evaluated for common stomach complaints, leading to frequent demand for treatment, which often fails. Moreover, public health authorities identified the need for information to develop locally appropriate H. pylori control strategies. We described adherence and identified barriers to completing treatment among H. pylori-positive participants in a community-based project inspired by local concerns about H. pylori infection risks. Methods. In 2008, 110 H. pylori-positive participants (diagnosed by a breath test, histopathology and/or culture) of the Aklavik H. pylori project were randomised to standard-of-care or sequential treatment. We ascertained adherence by interviewing participants using a structured questionnaire. We estimated adherence frequencies as the proportion of participants who reported taking either 100% of doses (perfect adherence) or ≥80% of doses (good adherence). To compare the proportion with perfect or good adherence in subgroups, we report proportion differences and 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results. Of 87 participants who were interviewed, 64% reported perfect adherence and 80% reported good adherence. We observed more frequent perfect adherence for: standard therapy (67%) versus sequential (62%); males (76%) versus females (52%); participants 40–77 years (79%) versus 17–39 (50%). Proportion differences were 5% (CI: −15, 25) for standard versus sequential therapy; 23% (CI: 4, 43) for male versus female; and 29% (CI: 10, 48) for 40–77 versus 15–39 years for perfect adherence. Of the 29 participants who reported poor adherence (<80% of doses taken), the following barriers to treatment were reported: changed mind about taking treatment (24%), consumption of alcoholic beverages (18%), nausea (18%), forgetfulness (12%), stomach pain (12%), difficulty in swallowing pills (6%), no reason (6%) or bad taste of the pills (6%). Conclusion. This analysis suggests that adherence to treatment for eliminating H. pyori infection may vary by regimen and may be influenced by socio-demographic factors. These findings add to the small body of evidence pertaining to adherence to H. pylori treatment in Arctic Aboriginal communities. On-going research in additional northern Canadian communities will accumulate data for developing recommendations to improve adherence for treatment to eliminate H. pylori infection.
    Subjects: cancer, circumpolar regions, Aboriginal health, Helicobacter pylori, peptic ulcers
    Date Created: 2014
  2. Challenges created by data dissemination and access restrictions when attempting to address community concerns: individual privacy versus public wellbeing. [Download]

    Title: Challenges created by data dissemination and access restrictions when attempting to address community concerns: individual privacy versus public wellbeing.
    Creator: Colquhoun, A.
    Description: Background: Population health data are vital for the identification of public health problems and the development of public health strategies. Challenges arise when attempts are made to disseminate or access anonymised data that are deemed to be potentially identifiable. In these situations, there is debate about whether the protection of an individual’s privacy outweighs potentially beneficial public health initiatives developed using potentially identifiable information.While these issues have an impact at planning and policy levels, they pose a particular dilemma when attempting to examine and address community concerns about a specific health problem. Methods: Research currently underway in northern Canadian communities on the frequency of Helicobacter pylori infection and associated diseases, such as stomach cancer, is used in this article to illustrate the challenges that data controls create on the ability of researchers and health officials to address community concerns. Results: Barriers are faced by public health professionals and researchers when endeavouring to address community concerns; specifically, provincial cancer surveillance departments and community-driven participatory research groups face challenges related to data release or access that inhibit their ability to effectively address community enquiries. The resulting consequences include a limited ability to address misinformation or to alleviate concerns when dealing with health problems in small communities. Conclusions: The development of communication tools and building of trusting relationships are essential components of a successful investigation into community health concerns. It may also be important to consider that public wellbeing may outweigh the value of individual privacy in these situations. As such, a re-evaluation of data disclosure policies that are applicable in these circumstances should be considered.
    Subjects: Helicobacter pylori, Aboriginal health, confidentiality, circumpolar regions, cancer, Canada
    Date Created: 2012
  3. Challenges in conducting community-driven research created by differing ways of talking and thinking about science: a researcher’s perspective. [Download]

    Title: Challenges in conducting community-driven research created by differing ways of talking and thinking about science: a researcher’s perspective.
    Creator: Colquhoun, A.
    Description: Increasingly, health scientists are becoming aware that research collaborations that include community partnerships can be an effective way to broaden the scope and enhance the impact of research aimed at improving public health. Such collaborations extend the reach of academic scientists by integrating a variety of perspectives and thus strengthening the applicability of the research. Communication challenges can arise, however, when attempting to address specific research questions in these collaborations. In particular, inconsistencies can exist between scientists and community members in the use and interpretation of words and other language features, particularly when conducting research with a biomedical component. Additional challenges arise from differing perceptions of the investigative process. There may be divergent perceptions about how research questions should and can be answered, and in expectations about requirements of research institutions and research timelines. From these differences, misunderstandings can occur about how the results will ultimately impact the community. These communication issues are particularly challenging when scientists and community members are from different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds that may widen the gap between ways of talking and thinking about science, further complicating the interactions and exchanges that are essential for effective joint research efforts. Community-driven research that aims to describe the burden of disease associated with Helicobacter pylori infection is currently underway in northern Aboriginal communities located in the Yukon and Northwest Territories, Canada, with the goal of identifying effective public health strategies for reducing health risks from this infection. This research links community representatives, faculty from various disciplines at the University of Alberta, as well as territorial health care practitioners and officials. This highly collaborative work will be used to illustrate, from a researcher’s perspective, some of the challenges of conducting public health research in teams comprising members with varying backgrounds. The consequences of these challenges will be outlined, and potential solutions will be offered.
    Subjects: Helicobacter pylori, circumpolar regions, Aboriginal health, cancer
    Date Created: 2013
  4. Helicobacter pylori incidence and re-infection in the Aklavik H. pylori Project. [Download]

    Title: Helicobacter pylori incidence and re-infection in the Aklavik H. pylori Project.
    Creator: Carraher, S.
    Description: Background. The Aklavik H. pylori Project (AHPP) (
    ) is a community-driven project examining Helicobacter pylori infection and its influence on health in a diverse Aboriginal community in the Northwest Territories. Initial research revealed that 58% of 333 participants who underwent a urea breath test (UBT) between 2007 and 2010 were H. pylori-positive. From 2008 to 2010, we offered treatment to H. pylori-positive participants and 113 consented to this treatment. Objective. We estimated H. pylori incidence in AHPP participants who initially tested negative and the re-infection frequency in initially positive participants who were successfully treated to clear the infection. Methods. Participants who were initially H. pylori-negative or negative after treatment during 2008-2010 were eligible for inclusion. From November 2011 to June 2012, participants were offered a UBT and the samples were analyzed using infrared spectroscopy (IRIS). Participants with a positive test result were classified as new cases for estimating incidence among participants testing negative at baseline and re-infection among those successfully treated for H. pylori infection. Results. Among 38 initially negative participants, follow-up UBT showed that 33 remained negative, 3 were positive, and 2 had uncertain status. The estimated incidence proportion during the follow-up period was 8.3% (95% CI: 1.8-22.0%). Among 43 participants with a negative post-treatment UBT, 41 remained negative and 2 were positive. The estimated re-infection proportion during the follow-up period was 4.7% (95% CI: 0.6-16.0%). The frequency of new cases was similar in males and females. Aboriginal participants had a combined re-infection/incidence rate of 2.4% per year (95% CI: 0.8-5.9% per year). All 9 non-Aboriginal participants remained free from infection throughout the study period, as did all 23 participants aged 55 years and above. Conclusions. The AHPP has substantially reduced the burden of infection in Aklavik since 2008. Continued monitoring, treatment, community engagement and knowledge translation activities are needed to ensure a lasting benefit of the project.
    Subjects: epidemiology, incidence, Arctic, collaborative research, Aboriginal health, Helicobacter pylori infection
    Date Created: 2013
  5. Disease manifestations of Helicobacter pylori infection in Arctic Canada: using epidemiology to address community concerns. [Download]

    Title: Disease manifestations of Helicobacter pylori infection in Arctic Canada: using epidemiology to address community concerns.
    Creator: Cheung, J.
    Description: Objectives Helicobacter pylori infection, linked to gastric cancer, is responsible for a large worldwide disease burden. H pylori prevalence and gastric cancer rates are elevated among indigenous Arctic communities, but implementation of prevention strategies is hampered by insufficient information. Some communities in northern Canada have advocated for H pylori prevention research. As a first step, community-driven research was undertaken to describe the H pylori-associated disease burden in concerned communities. Design Participants in this cross-sectional study completed a clinical interview and gastroscopy with gastric biopsies taken for histopathological examination in February 2008. Setting Study procedures were carried out at the health centre in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Canada (population ∼600). Participants All residents of Aklavik were invited to complete a clinical interview and gastroscopy; 194 (58% female participants; 91% Aboriginal; age range 10–80 years) completed gastroscopy and had gastric biopsies taken. Primary and secondary outcome measures This analysis estimates the prevalence of gastric abnormalities detected by endoscopy and histopathology, and associations of demographic and clinical variables with H pylori prevalence. Results Among 194 participants with evaluable gastric biopsies, 66% were H pylori-positive on histology. Among H pylori-positive participants, prevalence was 94% for acute gastritis, 100% for chronic gastritis, 21% for gastric atrophy and 11% for intestinal metaplasia of the gastric mucosa, while chronic inflammation severity was mild in 9%, moderate in 47% and severe in 43%. In a multivariable model, H pylori prevalence was inversely associated with previous gastroscopy, previous H pylori therapy and aspirin use, and was positively associated with alcohol consumption. Conclusions In this population, H pylori-associated gastric histopathology shows a pattern compatible with elevated risk of gastric cancer. These findings demonstrate that local concern about health risks from H pylori is warranted and provide an example of how epidemiological research can address health priorities identified by communities.
    Subjects: Helicobacter pylori, Aboriginal health, gastric abnormalities, cancer
    Date Created: 2014