The aim of this study was to enhance knowledge about patients' beliefs related to different kinds of illnesses and to describe and understand their beliefs as they relate to their outlook on their illnesses. Fifty-two patients with various illness symptoms receiving integrative anthroposophic care answered an item in a questionnaire about their own thinking of the causes of their illness. The method used for analysis was qualitative content analysis. The result showed that from a patient's perspective a complex combination of causes led to illness. The most prominent causes were psychosocial factors, but personal attitudes, biological factors and chance were also mentioned. Beliefs act as either facilitating or constraining. The informants displayed more constraining than facilitating beliefs, which might prevent them from improving their health. Furthermore, the informants might improve their ability to deal with their illness by identifying their own personal internal resources.
A political emergency arose in 1985 for the province of Alberta, Canada, because allegations of increased health risk had frightened rural Alberta residents exposed for 28 years to the airborne effluent of sour gas processing plants. In an epidemiologic study that took 3 months in the field, cross-sectional and cohort comparisons were conducted for these residents and for two carefully selected control groups. Clinical examinations were conducted with objective methods and criteria. No excess rates were found in the exposed group for any life-threatening or seriously disabling conditions. For the exposed group in the index area the reported cardinal symptoms were slightly higher than in the main unexposed reference group, but the observed cardinal signs were slightly lower. This project shows that scientifically sound strategies can be used to investigate major health controversies. Rigorous clinical methods of measurement, incorporated into a classical epidemiologic study, can inspire confidence in the studied population and can make the results acceptable to clinicians and policy makers. The studies can be done rapidly in response to urgent or crisis situations without compromising methodologic rigor or the quality of the analyses.
During reformation years all basic medical and demographic indices have undergone negative changes in Russia. Since 1992 there has been a steady-state decrease in the population due to the fact that mortality rates are extremely greater than birth ones. In 2001, the Russian population reduced in number by nearly a million. The birth rates are twice less than that requires for a simple reproduction of generations. Extremely high death rates remain among the population, in able-bodied males. The main reasons for the demographic crisis are the negative consequences of the implemented reforms rather than the transition from traditional to the new present-day reproduction of the population. It is problematic now to correct the situation via active migration of Russian-speaking persons. This requires enormous funds to provide comers with jobs and dwelling. It is unreal to diminish annual departure of 100 thousand persons, mainly young educated professionals from the country, though it is joust not only a demographic, but a strategic problem. In 2001 there was a some rise in birth rates. But this is the most illusive way of solving the demographic crisis. Just in the USSR, the high educational level of the population, the socioeconomic emancipation of females and progress in medicine gave rise to the transition to the present-day reproduction of the population, which is characterized by low birth and death rates. So the population is unlikely to be replenished by high birth rates. The main way of overcoming the demographic crisis is to reduce mortality and not to allow young people to die prematurely. For this it is necessary to know the biological mechanisms responsible for extremely high mortality. It is most likely to be due to breakdown in the dynamic stereotype of higher nervous performance, as stated by I. P. Pavlov. Today it is insufficient to control alcoholism, traumatism, and smoking by healthy lifestyle propaganda in order to reduce death rates in Russian. All these disasters took place after the Great Patriotic War, but an aspiration for long and happy life was prevalent in the consciousness of the people who has won the war. At present, neither the whole able-bodied population nor all young people have an internal aim at living long. To overcome this tragic gap in the consciousness requires primarily a great working motivation.