Accessing credible research online is not always easy, but there are a growing number of Open Access repositories and publishers, like ourselves, who are making research more accessible by the minute. Our Open Access research platform features thousands of articles from across the world. Every month, we select a few to share with you.
This month’s top picks explore glaucoma risks among Middle Eastern populations, the relationship between Vitamin D levels and menstrual health, the impact of the pandemic on grocery shopping in Ukraine, the appropriateness of educational material at the disposal of people with lower back pain, the countless benefits of gum arabic, and prediction models for the spread of dengue fever.
JOVR: Prevalence Rates and Risk Factors for Primary Open Angle Glaucoma in the Middle East
Glaucoma is a chronic and progressive optic condition and one of the leading causes of blindness in people above 60 years of age. The optic nerve damage that occurs in glaucoma patients is typically caused by fluid build-up. While demographic factors can affect different risk levels for glaucoma, few studies have been conducted to understand the prevalence of glaucoma in the Middle Eastern population. In this systematic review from the Journal of Ophthalmic and Vision Research (JOVR), 50 related articles with a high sample size were analysed. The article examined data from five different Middle Eastern countries: Iran, Israel, Qatar, Oman, and Saudi Arabia. Within this sample, the researchers look at genetic characteristics, such as chromosomal influences and familial trends; demographic factors, like age, gender, socio-economic status, and lifestyle; ocular risk factors, like intraocular pressure, vascular influences, optic disc hemorrhages, and cup-to-disc ratio; as well as systematic comorbidities, such as blood pressure and antihypertensive medication, diabetes mellitus, and obstructive sleep apnea.
Could the Middle Eastern population be at a higher risk of glaucoma than those of European or African descent? And what are the risk factors associated with glaucoma in the Middle East? Continue reading here.
IJRM: Association Between Serum 25-Hydroxy Vitamin D Level and Menstrual Cycle Length and Regularity: A cross-sectional observational study
Vitamin D has been proven to be indispensable to our human body, with benefits like boosting immunity, improving lung function, promoting cardiovascular health, and supporting calcium absorption. This article from the International Journal of Reproductive BioMedicine (IJRM) investigates yet another potential benefit of vitamin D – menstrual health. Vitamin D receptors are found in the female reproductive tract, and research has suggested that it may affect ovarian function and follicle maturation. Blood was drawn from two groups of female patients of reproductive age. The first group of women had reported irregular cycles – either frequent or infrequent, while the second group of patients had regular cycles. The study found that women who had regular cycles had significantly higher levels of vitamin D in their blood.
Might vitamin D levels affect fertility in women of reproductive age? Could vitamin supplementation help to reverse the causes of infertility? Continue reading here.
KnE Social Sciences: Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on Grocery Retail in Ukraine
The pandemic has affected almost all industries around the world, impacting market values and consumer behaviour. While the influence of the COVID-19 crisis on cyclical industries might be easy to assess, the effect on non-cyclical industries, like retail, is a bit more challenging to evaluate. Businesses that are more flexible and able to innovate seem to be able to adapt better and survive the global crisis. Some businesses have even found opportunity during the crisis and expanded. This study from KnE Social Sciences investigates the repercussions of COVID-19 for the grocery retail sector in Ukraine. The transition from more traditional sales channels, like brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping was quick. This study suggests that although physical stores are reopening, the transformation in consumer purchasing habits is likely permanent, and online shopping will therefore continue to gain popularity in Ukraine.
Could these difficulties catalyse the development of the retail industry in Ukraine? Read more about the changing market dynamics here.
KnE Social Sciences: Is it Important for Elementary School Students to Learn the Basics of Finance?
During the past few decades, plenty of nations have been invested in increasing awareness about the need for financial literacy at an early age. World organisations and research have also recognised the need to develop better financial education curricula for students. This qualitative study from KnE Social Sciences explores the significance of expanding curricula to include financial education for primary schools. The study held focus group discussions, observations, surveys, and semi-structured interviews to formulate a comprehensive understanding of the benefits and importance of offering basic financial knowledge to elementary school students. Based on the findings of the study, it seems that students in Indonesia lack basic financial knowledge, especially that no formal financial education is offered at school at the elementary level.
Could informal financial education at home compensate for the lack of financial knowledge provided at school? Continue reading here.
SJMS: Effectiveness of Gum Arabic in Diabetes and its Complications: A Narrative Review
Gum arabic is a glutenous dried substance that is obtained from tree branches and trunks of the Acacia and red Acacia species (seyal). Gum arabic is found in some African countries like Nigeria, Sudan, and Chad as well as in countries of the Arabian Peninsula, like Pakistan and India. Gum arabic’s chemical composition includes magnesium, calcium, and potassium which make it an excellent source of minerals. Although gum arabic has been traditionally used to treat a countless number of health conditions, including impotence, hyperglycaemia, weight increase, and epilepsy, this narrative review from the Sudan Journal of Medical Sciences (SJMS) focuses on gum arabic’s ability to treat diabetes as well as other disorders. The study investigates the hypolipidemic and antidiabetic potential of gum arabic across various published research. Additionally, it examines gum arabic’s ability to improve renal function, testicular degeneration, erectile dysfunction, and wound healing in diabetic patients.
How efficiently can gum arabic reverse the effects of diabetes? Read more about its benefits here.
KnE Life Sciences: Prediction of Dengue Fever Cases in Malang City using a Neural Network Model
In many Indonesian cities, including the city of Malang, dengue fever has been declared an endemic. More than 1500 cases and 13 deaths attributed to dengue fever were recorded in 2015. Dengue fever transmission is affected by various factors like population density, population mobility, and quality of housing. And since mosquitoes are this disease’s carriers, dengue fever triggers tend to be environmental in nature. “[C]hanging temperatures, humidity, and rainfall […] cause mosquitoes to lay eggs more often”. This makes dengue fever triggers periodic and cyclical which, in turn, makes them predictable to some extent. By referring to dengue fever data from previous years (1940s to 1988), this study from KnE Life Sciences uses the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) system to predict the rate of dengue fever progression and transmission.
Can forecasting the surge in dengue fever cases help optimize prevention efforts? Learn more about this prediction model here.
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