JMIR Publications

Interactive Journal of Medical Research

A new general medical journal for the 21st centrury, focusing on innovation in health and medical research

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Journal Description

i-JMR is a general medical journal with a focus on innovation in health, health care, and medicine - through new medical techniques and innovative ideas and/or research, including - but not limited to - technology, clinical informatics, sociotechnical and organizational health care innovations, or groundbreaking research.

Published by JMIR Publications, publisher of JMIR, the leading eHealth/mHealth journal (Impact Factor 2016: 5.175), i-JMR is a JMIR "sister journal" with a projected impact factor of about 2.03 (2016). which features a rapid and thorough peer-review process, professional copyediting, professional production of PDF, XHTML, and XML proofs.

i-JMR is indexed in PubMed and archived in PubMed Central.

i-JMR is also indexed in Clarivate Analytics (formerly the IP and Science Division of Thomson Reuters) new Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI).

 

Recent Articles:

  • Life activities icons shaping MS (Multiple Sclerosis). Source: Image created by authors; Copyright: Simone & Chiara Eboli; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Health-Related Coping and Social Interaction in People with Multiple Sclerosis Supported by a Social Network: Pilot Study With a New Methodological Approach

    Abstract:

    Background: Social media are a vital link for people with health concerns who find in Web communities a valid and comforting source for information exchange, debate, and knowledge enrichment. This aspect is important for people affected by chronic diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), who are very well informed about the disease but are vulnerable to hopes of being cured or saved by therapies whose efficacy is not always scientifically proven. To improve health-related coping and social interaction for people with MS, we created an MS social network (SMsocialnetwork.com) with a medical team constantly online to intervene promptly when false or inappropriate medical information are shared. Objective: The goal of this study was to assess the impact of SMsocialnetwork.com on the health-related coping and social interaction of people with MS by analyzing areas of interest through a Web-based survey. Methods: Referring to previous marketing studies analyzing the online platform’s role in targeted health care, we conducted a 39-item Web-based survey. We then performed a construct validation procedure using a factorial analysis, gathering together like items of the survey related to different areas of interest such as utility, proximity, sharing, interaction, solving uncertainty, suggestion attitude, and exploration. Results: We collected 130 Web-based surveys. The areas of interest analysis demonstrated that the users positively evaluated SMsocialnetwork.com to obtain information, approach and solve problems, and to make decisions (utility: median 4.2); improve feeling of closeness (proximity: median 5); catalyze relationships and text general personal opinions (sharing: median 5.6); get in touch with other users to receive innovative, effective, and practical solutions (interaction, solving uncertainty, and suggestion attitude medians were respectively: 4.1, 3, and 3); and share information about innovative therapeutic approaches and treatment options (suggestion attitude: median: 3.3). Conclusions: SMsocialnetwork.com was perceived by users to be a useful tool to support health-related coping and social interaction, and may suggest a new kind of therapeutic alliance between physicians and people with MS.

  • Sneezing boy. Source: Flickr; Copyright: Sherif Salama; URL: https://flic.kr/p/rhZhG; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Toward a New Kind of Vaccine: A Logical Extension of the Symmetrical Immune Network Theory

    Abstract:

    Background: The symmetrical immune network theory, developed in 1975, is based on the existence of specific T cell factors and hypothesizes that normal IgG immune responses comprise the production of 2 kinds of antibodies, namely antigen-specific antibodies and anti-idiotypic antibodies. Objective: The aim of this study was to confirm the existence of specific T cells factors and to show that immunization of C3H mice with BL/6 skin or using nominal antigen for immunization (Tetanus Toxoid) induced production of antigen-specific (anti-BL/6 or antitetanus) antibodies plus anti-idiotypic antibodies (C3H anti-anti-C3H). Subsequently, we investigated the role of combinations of antigen-specific and anti-idiotype antibodies in a variety of animal models of clinical diseases. Methods: Antigen-specific antibodies were produced by conventional immunization of mice (eg, with tetanus toxoid or by skin allografting). Subsequent anti-idiotypic antibodies were derived by exhaustive absorption of antigen-specific antibody, with confirmation of anti-idiotypic specificity by binding to relevant target antigen-specific antibodies in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Antigen-specific plus anti-idiotypic antibodies were then used to modulate skin allograft survival, dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis, ovalbumin (OVA)-induced IgE production, and breast cancer growth in mice. Results: Infusions of anti-BL/6 antibodies together with BL/6 anti-anti-BL/6 antibodies specifically suppressed (>85%) an immune response to BL/6 lymphocytes in C3H mice. The two kinds of antibodies with complementary specificity are hypothesized to stimulate 2 populations of T lymphocytes. Coselection of these 2 populations leads to a new stable steady state of the system with diminished reactivity to BL/6 tissue. A combination of anti-C3H and C3H anti‑anti-C3H IgG antibodies down-regulated inflammation in a mouse model of inflammatory bowel disease (>75%) and attenuated anti-IgE production and sensitization to produce IL4 cytokines (>70%) in an OVA-allergy model. Combination of C3H anti‑BL/6 and BL/6 anti-anti-BL/6 antibodies decreased tumor growth and metastases (>705) in an EMT6 transplantable breast cancer model. Conclusions: Use of a combination of antigen-specific and anti-idiotypic antibodies has potential as a new class of vaccines.

  • Dupuytren's disease. Source: Flickr; Copyright: Martin Sharman; URL: http://www.flickr.com/photos/19232773@N00/16509855917; License: Creative Commons Attribution + NoDerivatives (CC-BY-ND).

    Dupuytren Disease: Is There Enough Comprehensive Patient Information on the Internet?

    Abstract:

    Background: Dupuytren disease is a chronic nonmalign fibroproliferative disorder that causes finger contractures via proliferation of new tissue under the glabrous skin of the hand, resulting in multiple functional limitations for the patient. As many surgical therapy options exist, patients suffering from this condition actively search for information in their environment before consulting a health professional. Objective: As little is known about the quality of Web-based patient information, the aim of this study was to conduct its systematic evaluation using a validated tool. Methods: A total of 118 websites were included, and qualitative and quantitative assessment was performed using the modified Ensuring Quality Information for Patients (EQIP) tool. This standardized and reproducible tool consists of 36 items to assess available information in three categories: contents, identification, and structure data. Scientific data with restricted access, duplicates, and irrelevant websites were not included. Results: Only 32 websites addressed more than 19 items, and the scores did not significantly differ among the website developers. The median number of items from the EQIP tool was 16, with the top websites addressing 28 out of 36 items. The quality of the newly developed websites did not increase with passing time. Conclusions: This study revealed several shortcomings in the quality of Web-based information available for patients suffering from Dupuytren disease. In the world of continuously growing and instantly available Web-based information, it is the health providers’ negligence of the last two decades that there are very few good quality, informative, and educative websites that could be recommended to patients.

  • Google search for "thoracoscopy" (montage). Source: Placeit; Copyright: JMIR Publications; URL: https://goo.gl/8rhpnk; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Thoracic Surgery Information on the Internet: A Multilingual Quality Assessment

    Abstract:

    Background: Previous data suggest that quality of Internet information regarding surgical conditions and their treatments is variable. However, no comprehensive analysis of website quality exists for thoracic surgery. Objective: The aim of this study was to quantify website quality in a multilingual setting using an international standard for assessment. Methods: Health On the Net (HON) principles may be applied to websites using an automated toolbar function. We used the English, French, Spanish, and German Google search engines to identify 12,000 websites using keywords related to thoracic conditions and procedures. The first 150 websites returned by each keyword in each language were examined. We compared website quality to assess for tertile (is the quality better in first, second, or third 50 websites returned) and language differences. A further analysis of the English site types was undertaken performing a comparative analysis of website provider types. Results: Overall, there are a considerable number of websites devoted to thoracic surgery: “lung cancer” returned over 150 million websites. About 7.85% (940/11,967) of websites are HON-accredited with differences by search term (P<.001) and tertiles (P<.001) of the first 150 websites, but not between languages. Oncological keywords regarding conditions and procedures were found to return a higher percentage of HON-accreditation. The percentage of HON-accredited sites was similar across all four languages (P=.77). In general, the first tertile contained a higher percentage of HON-accredited sites for every keyword. Conclusions: Clinicians should appreciate the lack of validation of the majority of thoracic websites, with discrepancies in quality and number of websites across conditions and procedures. These differences appear similar regardless of language. An opportunity exists for clinicians to participate in the development of informative, ethical, and reliable health websites on the Internet and direct patients to them.

  • Cardiac stress testing. Source: Wikimedia Commons; Copyright: Blue0ctane; URL: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stress_test.jpg; License: Public Domain (CC0).

    Quality of Social Media and Web-Based Information Regarding Inappropriate Nuclear Cardiac Stress Testing and the Choosing Wisely Campaign: A Cross-Sectional...

    Abstract:

    Background: The World Wide Web and social media provide the public with access to medical information unlike any other time in human history. However, the quality of content related to cardiac stress testing is not well understood. Objective: The aim of our study was to evaluate the quality of content on the Internet relating to the use of cardiac nuclear stress testing and the Choosing Wisely campaign. Methods: We searched the World Wide Web, Google Video (including YouTube), and Twitter for information relating to these two topics. Searches were performed using English language terms from a computer in the United States not logged into any personal user accounts. Search results were reviewed for discussion of specific topics including radiation risk, accuracy of testing, alternative testing options, and discouragement of inappropriate test use. Results: We evaluated a total of 348 items of content from our searches. Relevant search results for Choosing Wisely were fewer than for other search terms (45 vs 303). We did not find any content which encouraged inappropriate testing (ie, screening in low risk individuals or testing prior to low risk operations). Content related to Choosing Wisely was more likely to discourage inappropriate testing than search results for other terms (29/45, 64% vs 12/303, 4.0%, odds ratio 43.95, 95% CI 17.6-112.2, P<.001). Conclusions: The Internet content on nuclear stress tests consistently discouraged inappropriate testing. The Choosing Wisely content was more likely to discourage inappropriate testing, less relevant content was available. Generating authoritative content on the Internet relating to judicious use of medical interventions may be an important role for the Choosing Wisely campaign.

  • Planking. Source: Pinterest; URL: https://www.pinterest.com/dailyfunpics/funny-planking-photos/; License: Fair use/fair dealings.

    Planking or the “Lying-Down Game:” Two Case Reports

    Abstract:

    Background: The monitoring and management of risks regarding children and young people admitted to the emergency department as a result of dangerous behaviors distributed via the Internet should be based on clinical reasoning and knowledge about these social media–related phenomena. Here we examine 2 cases of teenagers who reported severe injuries while performing the “planking” craze, a challenge that consists in lying face-down stiffly like a board on any kind of surface. Objective: Our objective is to examine and describe the Internet craze called planking, also known as the “lying-down game,“ through 2 case reports from our experience, enriching this study with information gained through discussions with secondary school teenagers. Methods: Details of the 2 case reports were taken from electronic medical records giving information on care support processes, care management, and the costs of traumatic episodes. Demographic data, hemoglobin and serum lactate values, and Injury Severity Scores were evaluated. The study took place in secondary schools of our city from 2013 to 2014 during medical education courses, with the aim of analyzing the influence of social media on teenagers' activities and behaviors. Results: Both patients suffered multiple trauma injuries and needed high-level health assistance. The first patient underwent a splenectomy and the second one a nephrectomy; both of them required a long hospital stay (14 and 20 days, respectively), and the costs for their management have been estimated at US $27,000 and US $37,000, respectively. Their decision to perform the planking in dangerous locations was due to their ambition to gain peers' acclaim through shared videos and pictures. Conclusions: Reporting and understanding these cases may potentially help prevent future events occurring in similar circumstances: the scientific community cannot leave this problem unaddressed. There is also a role of education resources for health care professionals; for this, we must identify and follow up strange or misleading information found on websites. A key element of this research study was to report physicians’ misperceptions concerning planking and, with these cases used for teaching purposes, improve knowledge of the clinical and forensic aspects of this emerging problem.

  • Source: Foter.com; Copyright: KimSanDiego; URL: http://foter.com/photo/2012-11-08-14-58-48/; License: Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY).

    Using eHealth Technologies: Interests, Preferences, and Concerns of Older Adults

    Abstract:

    Background: The Internet and eHealth technologies represent new opportunities for managing health. Age, sex, socioeconomic status, and current technology use are some of the known factors that influence individuals’ uptake of eHealth; however, relatively little is known about facilitators and barriers to eHealth uptake specific to older adults, particularly as they relate to their experiences in accessing health care. Objective: The aim of our study was to explore the interests, preferences, and concerns of older adults in using the Internet and eHealth technologies for managing their health in relation to their experiences with the current health care system. Methods: Two focus groups (n=15) were conducted with adults aged 50+ years. Pragmatic thematic analysis using an inductive approach was conducted to identify the interests, preferences, and concerns of using the Internet and eHealth technologies. Results: Five themes emerged that include (1) Difficulty in identifying credible and relevant sources of information on the Web; (2) Ownership, access, and responsibility for medical information; (3) Peer communication and support; (4) Opportunities to enhance health care interactions; and (5) Privacy concerns. These findings support the potential value older adults perceive in eHealth technologies, particularly in their ability to provide access to personal health information and facilitate communication between providers and peers living with similar conditions. However, in order to foster acceptance, these technologies will need to provide personal and general health information that is secure, readily accessible, and easily understood. Conclusions: Older adults have diverse needs and preferences that, in part, are driven by their experiences and frustrations with the health care system. Results can help inform the design and implementation of technologies to address gaps in care and access to health information for older adults with chronic conditions who may benefit the most from this approach.

  • Image source: iStock. License purchased by the author.

    Assessing the Performance of a Modified LACE Index (LACE-rt) to Predict Unplanned Readmission After Discharge in a Community Teaching Hospital

    Abstract:

    Background: The LACE index was designed to predict early death or unplanned readmission after discharge from hospital to the community. However, implementing the LACE tool in real time in a teaching hospital required practical unavoidable modifications. Objective: The purpose of this study was to validate the implementation of a modified LACE index (LACE-rt) and test its ability to predict readmission risk using data in a hospital setting. Methods: Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information’s Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS), and the hospital electronic medical record for one large community hospital in Toronto, Canada, were used in this study. A total of 3855 admissions from September 2013 to July 2014 were analyzed (N=3855) using descriptive statistics, regression analysis, and receiver operating characteristic analysis. Prospectively collected data from DAD and NACRS were linked to inpatient data. Results: The LACE-rt index was a fair test to predict readmission risk (C statistic=.632). A LACE-rt score of 10 is a good threshold to differentiate between patients with low and high readmission risk; the high-risk patients are 2.648 times more likely to be readmitted than those at low risk. The introduction of LACE-rt had no significant impact on readmission reduction. Conclusions: The LACE-rt is a fair tool for identifying those at risk of readmission. A collaborative cross-sectoral effort that includes those in charge of providing community-based care is needed to reduce readmission rates. An eHealth solution could play a major role in streamlining this collaboration.

  • Patient education. Image taken by Jason Johnson at Southern Illinois University, Department of Public Affairs. Permission to use granted to JMIR Publications. Image source: http://siumed.zenfolio.com/p843676833/h5b162fac#h5b162fac.

    Evaluating YouTube as a Source of Patient Education on the Role of the Hospitalist: A Cross-Sectional Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Hospital medicine is a relatively new specialty field, dedicated to the delivery of comprehensive medical care to hospitalized patients. YouTube is one of the most frequently used websites, offering access to a gamut of videos from self-produced to professionally made. Objective: The aim of our study was to determine the adequacy of YouTube as an effective means to define and depict the role of hospitalists. Methods: YouTube was searched on November 17, 2014, using the following search words: “hospitalist,” “hospitalist definition,” “what is the role of a hospitalist,” “define hospitalist,” and “who is a hospitalist.” Videos found only in the first 10 pages of each search were included. Non-English, noneducational, and nonrelevant videos were excluded. A novel 7-point scoring tool was created by the authors based on the definition of a hospitalist adopted by the Society of Hospital Medicine. Three independent reviewers evaluated, scored, and classified the videos into high, intermediate, and low quality based on the average score. Results: A total of 102 videos out of 855 were identified as relevant and included in the analysis. Videos uploaded by academic institutions had the highest mean score. Only 6 videos were classified as high quality, 53 as intermediate quality, and 42 as low quality, with 82.4% (84/102) of the videos scoring an average of 4 or less. Conclusions: Most videos found in the search of a hospitalist definition are inadequate. Leading medical organizations and academic institutions should consider producing and uploading quality videos to YouTube to help patients and their families better understand the roles and definition of the hospitalist.

  • Online Health Information. Image sourced and copyright owned by authors.

    Online Health Information Regarding Male Infertility: An Evaluation of Readability, Suitability, and Quality

    Abstract:

    Background: Many men lack knowledge about male infertility, and this may have consequences for their reproductive and general health. Men may prefer to seek health information online, but these sources of information vary in quality. Objective: The objective of this study is to determine if online sources of information regarding male infertility are readable, suitable, and of appropriate quality for Internet users in the general population. Methods: This study used a cross-sectional design to evaluate online sources resulting from search engine queries. The following categories of websites were considered: (1) Canadian fertility clinics, (2) North American organizations related to fertility, and (3) the first 20 results of Google searches using the terms “male infertility” and “male fertility preservation” set to the search locations worldwide, English Canada, and French Canada. Websites that met inclusion criteria (N=85) were assessed using readability indices, the Suitability Assessment of Materials (SAM), and the DISCERN tool. The associations between website affiliation (government, university/medical, non-profit organization, commercial/corporate, private practice) and Google placement to readability, suitability, and quality were also examined. Results: None of the sampled websites met recommended levels of readability. Across all websites, the mean SAM score for suitability was 45.37% (SD 11.21), or “adequate”, while the DISCERN mean score for quality was 43.19 (SD 10.46) or “fair”. Websites that placed higher in Google obtained a higher overall score for quality with an r (58) value of -.328 and a P value of .012, but this position was not related to readability or suitability. In addition, 20% of fertility clinic websites did not include fertility information for men. Conclusions: There is a lack of high quality online sources of information on male fertility. Many websites target their information to women, or fail to meet established readability criteria for the general population. Since men may prefer to seek health information online, it is important that health care professionals develop high quality sources of information on male fertility for the general population.

  • Source: https://pixabay.com/en/sushi-lunch-table-food-eat-cook-1186825; CC0 Public Domain.

    Japanese Consumer Perceptions of Genetically Modified Food: Findings From an International Comparative Study

    Abstract:

    Background: Reports of food-related incidents, such as cows infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (2001) and the Fukushima nuclear accident (2011), engendered significant fear among Japanese consumers and led to multiple farmer suicides, even when no actual health damage occurred. The growing availability of genetically modified (GM) food is occurring against this backdrop of concern about food safety. Consumers need information to assess risk and make informed purchasing decisions. However, we lack a clear picture of Japanese consumer perceptions of GM food. Objective: This study aims to understand Japanese consumer perceptions of GM food for risk communication. Consumer perceptions of GM food were compared among 4 nations. Methods: A Web-based survey was conducted in Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. Participants were asked about demographics, fear of health hazards, resistance to GM and breeding-improved products, perception of GM technology and products, and willingness to pay. Multiple linear regression analyses were conducted, as were t tests on dichotomous variables, and 1-way analysis of variance and post hoc tests. Results: Of 1812 individuals who agreed to participate, 1705 (94%) responded: 457 from Japan and 416 each from France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The male/female and age group ratios were all about even. Some resistance to GM food was seen in all countries in this study. France showed the strongest resistance (P<.001), followed by Japan, which had stronger resistance than the United States and the United Kingdom (P<.001). Overall, females, people in their 60s and older, and those without higher education showed the greatest resistance to GM food. Japan showed stronger fear of food hazards than other nations (P<.001, odds ratio=2.408, CI: 1.614-3.594); Japanese and French respondents showed the strongest fear of hazards from GM food (P<.001). Regarding perceptions of GM technology and products, consumers in nations other than Japan would accept GM food if it were appropriately explained, they were provided with scientific data supporting its safety, and they understood that all food carries some risk. However, Japanese consumers tended to accept GM technology but rejected its application to food (P<.001). Of those willing to purchase GM food, consumers in Japan required a discount of 30% compared with about 20% in other nations. Conclusion: All consumers in our study showed resistance to GM food. Although no health hazards are known, respondents in Japan and France strongly recognized GM food as a health risk. Price discounts of 30% and GM technology may be communication cues to start discussions about GM food among Japanese consumers. Although education-only risk communication generally is not effective, such an approach may work in Japan to help consumers better understand GM technology and, eventually, GM food. The gap between accepting GM technology and rejecting its application to food should be explored further.

  • Screenshot of ZIPSE (Information Portal about Rare Diseases). Source: https://www.portal-se.de/ZIPSE/. Copyright held by authors.

    Adopting Quality Criteria for Websites Providing Medical Information About Rare Diseases

    Abstract:

    Background: The European Union considers diseases to be rare when they affect less than 5 in 10,000 people. It is estimated that there are between 5000 and 8000 different rare diseases. Consistent with this diversity, the quality of information available on the Web varies considerably. Thus, quality criteria for websites about rare diseases are needed. Objective: The objective of this study was to generate a catalog of quality criteria suitable for rare diseases. Methods: First, relevant certificates and quality recommendations for health information websites were identified through a comprehensive Web search. Second, all considered quality criteria of each certification program and catalog were examined, extracted into an overview table, and analyzed by thematic content. Finally, an interdisciplinary expert group verified the relevant quality criteria. Results: We identified 9 quality certificates and criteria catalogs for health information websites with 304 single criteria items. Through this, we aggregated 163 various quality criteria, each assigned to one of the following categories: thematic, technical, service, content, and legal. Finally, a consensus about 13 quality criteria for websites offering medical information on rare diseases was determined. Of these categories, 4 (data protection concept, imprint, creation and updating date, and possibility to contact the website provider) were identified as being the most important for publishing medical information about rare diseases. Conclusions: The large number of different quality criteria appearing within a relatively small number of criteria catalogs shows that the opinion of what is important in the quality of health information differs. In addition, to define useful quality criteria for websites about rare diseases, which are an essential source of information for many patients, a trade-off is necessary between the high standard of quality criteria for health information websites in general and the limited provision of information about some rare diseases. Finally, transparently presented quality assessments can help people to find reliable information and to assess its quality.

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