To measure the effectiveness of fluoride varnish (FV) (Duraflor), 5% sodium fluoride, Pharmascience Inc., Montréal, QC, Canada) and caregiver counseling in preventing early childhood caries (ECC) in Aboriginal children in a 2-year community-randomized controlled trial.
Twenty First Nations communities in the Sioux Lookout Zone (SLZ), Northwest Ontario, Canada were randomized to two study groups. All caregivers received oral health counseling, while children in one group received FV twice per year and the controls received no varnish. A total of 1275, 6 months to 5-year-old children from the SLZ communities were enrolled. In addition, a convenience sample of 150 primarily non-Aboriginal children of the same age were recruited from the neighboring community of Thunder Bay and used as comparisons. Longitudinal examinations for the dmft/s indices were conducted by calibrated hygienists in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Aboriginal children living in the SLZ or in Thunder Bay had significantly higher caries prevalence and severity than non-Aboriginal children in Thunder Bay. FV treatment conferred an 18% reduction in the 2-year mean 'net' dmfs increment for Aboriginal children and a 25% reduction for all children, using cluster analysis to adjust for the intra-cluster correlation among children in the same community. Adjusted odds ratio for caries incidence was 1.96 times higher in the controls than in the FV group (95% CI = 1.08-3.56; P = 0.027). For those caries-free at baseline, the number (of children) needed to treat (NNT) equaled 7.4.
Findings support the use of FV at least twice per year, in conjunction with caregiver counseling, to prevent ECC, reduce caries increment and oral health inequalities between young Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.
Surveys of dental health among Aboriginal children in Canada, using scales such as the Decayed, Missing, and Filled Teeth (DMFT) score, indicate that Aboriginal children have 2 to 3 times poorer oral health compared with other populations. A remote First Nations community approached requested assistance in addressing the health of their children. The objective was to work with the community to improve oral health and knowledge among school children. The hypothesis formulated was that after 3 years of the program there would be a significant decrease in dmft/DMFT (primary/permanent) score.
This was a cross-sectional study of all school-aged children in a small, remote First Nations community. Pre- and post- intervention evaluation of oral health was conducted by a dentist not involved in the study. The intervention consisted of a school-based program with daily brush-ins, fluoride application, educational presentations, and a recognition/incentive scheme.
Twenty-six children were assessed prior to the intervention, representing 45% of the 58 children then in the community. All 40 children in the community were assessed following the intervention. Prior to the intervention, 8% of children were cavity free. Following 3 years of the intervention, 32% were cavity free. Among the 13 children assessed both pre- and post-intervention, dmft/DMFT score improved significantly (p
Past experiences enhance the future. Health care providers gaining expertise in creative thinking, traditional medicine, spirituality, and cultural sensitivity is an essential requirement for 21st century health care. We must stay mindful that poverty, isolation, and rural living may create new forms of social exclusion because of lack of communication and rapidly changing technology. Conversely, sensory overload resulting from a faster paced lifestyle and rapid enhancements in technology may cause increased tension and stress. This article reviews successes that may offer the reader ideas on coping with the provision of health care services in such a volatile changing environment, while honoring tradition and cultural competency.
BACKGROUND: Mortality that is due to cervical cancer among American Indian and Alaska Native women in the Pacific Northwest exceeds that among women of other races. Nevertheless, little information is available regarding the prevalence and follow-up of abnormal Papanicolaou smears among American Indian and Alaska Native women in the region. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective review of medical records of American Indian and Alaska Native women seen at 12 Indian Health Service and tribally operated clinics in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho who had an abnormal Papanicolaou smear in 1992. RESULTS: Of 4547 Papanicolaou smear results reviewed, 280 (6.2 percent) had an abnormal result (dysplasia or carcinoma in situ). Of the recommended colposcopies, 167 of 224 (75 percent) were completed. Women with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions were more likely to obtain recommended colposcopy than were women with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions. Women treated at clinics that referred patients to outside providers for colposcopy were more likely to have colposcopy than were those who were offered the procedure on site. CONCLUSIONS: The proportion of Pacific Northwest American Indian and Alaska Native women in Indian Health Service and tribal clinics with abnormal Papanicolaou smears and the proportion who receive colposcopy are similar to those in other populations. The higher rate of cervical cancer mortality among American Indian and Alaska Native women could be due to failure to screen high-risk women. Cytologic screening rates, methods to improve adherence to colposcopy recommendations, and the contribution of other factors to the cause of cervical cancer mortality need to be characterized in this population.
A large number of Aboriginal people await transplantation, and reluctance to donate organs has been noted among Aboriginal people. The purpose of this study was to explore the values and beliefs regarding organ donation of Coast Salish people living in British Columbia, Canada. Interviews were held with 14 people (8 women and 6 men) ranging in age from 25 to 63 years. Contextual themes were: lack of trust, life in Aboriginal communities, and tension between contemporary and traditional perspectives. Themes pertaining to death and dying were: acceptance of fate, death routines/rituals, and body wholeness. Themes pertaining to organ donation were: "we don't talk about it," transfer of spirit, and helping others. There was considerable diversity in beliefs among participants, which suggests that the beliefs held by an individual Aboriginal person should not be assumed to reflect those of any specific Aboriginal community.
Examining the role of culture and cultural perceptions of aging and dementia in the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of age-related cognitive impairment remains an understudied area of clinical neuropsychology. This paper describes a qualitative study based on a series of key informant group interviews with an Aboriginal Grandmothers Group in the province of Saskatchewan. Thematic analysis was employed in an exploration of Aboriginal perceptions of normal aging and dementia and an investigation of issues related to the development of culturally appropriate assessment techniques. Three related themes were identified that highlighted Aboriginal experiences of aging, caregiving, and dementia within the healthcare system: (1) cognitive and behavioural changes were perceived as a normal expectation of the aging process and a circular conception of the lifespan was identified, with aging seen as going back "back to the baby stage", (2) a "big change in culture" was linked by Grandmothers to Aboriginal health, illness (including dementia), and changes in the normal aging process, and (3) the importance of culturally grounded healthcare both related to review of assessment tools, but also within the context of a more general discussion of experiences with the healthcare system. Themes of sociocultural changes leading to lifestyle changes and disruption of the family unit and community caregiving practices, and viewing memory loss and behavioural changes as a normal part of the aging process were consistent with previous work with ethnic minorities. This research points to the need to understand Aboriginal perceptions of aging and dementia in informing appropriate assessment and treatment of age-related cognitive impairment and dementia in Aboriginal seniors.