Top 10 most read in August: glucocorticoid use and brain structure, identifying COVID-19 with wearable sensors, and alcohol consumption after minimum unit pricing

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Earlier in the year COVID-19 papers were still dominating our top ten chart, but in August the list included a range of topics. Three new additions to the list have been highlighted below.

Association between glucocorticoid use and brain structure

At number three in the chart we have Van der Meulen et al. with a prospective cohort study using data from the UK Biobank. They investigated whether Glucocorticoid use causes changes in the grey matter volume and white matter microstructure in the brain. Glucocorticoids are immunosuppressive drugs with a range of reported side effects including neuropsychiatric side effects. Van der Meulen et al. found that Glucocorticoid use was associated with decreased white matter integrity and changes to grey matter volume, they concluded that the changes in brain structure “may contribute to the neuropsychiatric side effects of glucocorticoid medication”. However, they were not able to investigate whether there were any dose- or duration-dependent associations of Glucocorticoid use as these data were not available in the UK Biobank.

Machine learning based identification of COVID-19 infection using wearable devices 

Risch et al are at number five in the chart with a prospective cohort study to investigate whether presymptomatic COVID-19 can be identified using a wearable sensor bracelet. The ava-bracelet measured five physiological parameters, including respiratory rate and heart rate. A machine-learning algorithm was developed by Risch et al to identify COVID-19 infection based on the physiological changes measured by the bracelet. They found that we may be able to identify COVID-19 infection before symptom onset using wearable devices. They did acknowledge that the limited sample means that the study may lack generalisability.

Impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol consumption in Scotland

At number nine is Rehm et al with a controlled interrupted time series analysis investigating whether the introduction of minimum unit pricing impacted alcohol consumption. In 2018 a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol was introduced with the aim of reducing harmful alcohol consumption. Rehm et al used “drink diary” data to assess consumption levels, where participants retrospectively share how much alcohol they have drunk over the previous week. They found that the introduction of the minimum unit pricing was associated with a reduction in alcohol consumption and that a greater reduction in consumption was found in women than in men. Lower reductions in alcohol consumption were seen in young men and people living in deprived areas. However, alcohol consumption may have been inaccurately estimated by those who were surveyed as the data was collected retrospectively.

Below is the full list of papers that were the most read in BMJ Open during August 2022.

Rank Author(s) Title
1 Zemedikun et al. Burden of chronic diseases associated with periodontal diseases: a retrospective cohort study using UK primary care data
2 Bergeron-Boucher et al.
3 Van der Meulen et al. Association between use of systemic and inhaled glucocorticoids and changes in brain volume and white matter microstructure: a cross-sectional study using data from the UK Biobank
4 Loohuis et al. Prediction model study focusing on eHealth in the management of urinary incontinence: the Personalised Advantage Index as a decision-making aid
5 Risch et al.
6 Osanlou et al. Adverse drug reactions, multimorbidity and polypharmacy: a prospective analysis of 1 month of medical admissions
7 Fukuma et al.
8 Burns et al. Systematic review and meta-analysis to examine intrapartum interventions, and maternal and neonatal outcomes following immersion in water during labour and waterbirth
9 Rehm et al. Differential impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol consumption between Scottish men and women: controlled interrupted time series analysis
10 Walach et al. Why do people consent to receiving SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations? A representative survey in Germany

Most read figures are based on pdf downloads and full text views. Abstract views are excluded.

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