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Mental health concerns no specific life stage. As early as childhood or adolescence, individuals may already suffer from severe anxiety and depression. In fact, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that 10-20% of children and adolescents experience some form of mental illnesses which are caused by several factors, including lifestyle.

In the recent Mental Health Forum held in line with the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) 2017, a study entitled “Association between Lifestyle Behaviors and Psychosocial Health Conditions among Adolescents in the Region” was presented by Dr. Jennifer M. Nailes of the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC).

The study described the mental health profiles of 21,500 adolescent respondents which include social support, stress management, degree of self-efficacy and level of perceived social support, and level of depression, anxiety, and stress.

Results revealed relatively high scores on social support and stress management highlighting that 80-90% of the respondents have a positive relationship with their parents as well as with their teachers and peers. According to Dr. Nailes, this indicates a positive social support dimension wherein most of the adolescents are capable of coping up with stress as they have family and friends to whom they can turn when experiencing problems.

Majority of the respondents also stated that they have some form of depression. According to Dr. Nailes, the findings were consistent with the World Health Organization (WHO) study entitled “Health for the World’s Adolescents” which revealed that depression is the predominant cause of illness and disability for both boys and girls aged 10 to 19 years old.

Adolescents need to be treated as a distinct part of our population and it is important to realize and address their health and lifestyle problems,” Dr. Nailes said. In helping adolescents live a mentally healthier life, Dr. Nailes emphasized the vital role that families play. 

Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes the visible,” said University of the Philippines Manila Medical Informatics Unit Chief Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, borrowing a quote from artist Paul Klee, during the 2nd Central Visayas Health Research and Innovation Conference (CVHRIC) held in Cebu City on 21-22 June 2017.

Communication has always been vital in bringing health research closer to the public. In translating scientific to general knowledge, the use of visual communication is an effective strategy.

Dr. Isip-Tan emphasized the role of visual data storytelling as a platform to popularize health research. She discussed that this type of storytelling includes a set of fact-based story pieces which are visualized in order to support intended messages and are packaged in a way that are appealing and easily remembered by the public.

According to Dr. Isip-Tan, the choice of appropriate genre for visual data storytelling depends on the complexity of the story, its medium, and its intended audience. She cited seven kinds of genre that can be used: the magazine style, annotated chart, partitioned poster, flow chart, comic strip, slide show, and film or video animation.

In creating the story, Dr. Isip-Tan also emphasized the importance of the following processes: gathering data, making the story and incorporating research evidences, and presenting the story through graphics and visual materials. According to Dr. Isip-Tan, this process makes it easier for people to relate to the stories and grasp the information compared to a standard medical information sheet. However, she also noted the disadvantages of storytelling such as the difficulty of incorporating evidence without compromising the style of the story and being comprehensive while observing brevity.

At the end of her presentation, Dr. Isip-Tan highlighted the importance of using effective visual elements in visual storytelling such as the following: rigid literal interpretations, familiar analogy, symbolic and color analogies, and iterative participatory design.

Department of Science and Technology

Call for Proposals 2017

Science for Change Program (S4CP)

Accelerated R&D Program for Capacity Building of Research and Development Institutions and Industrial Competitiveness

a) Niche Centers in the Regions for R&D (NICER) Program. The program will capacitate HEIs in the Regions, through an institutional grant for R&D activities that will make significant improvement in regional research and S&T infrastructure. Through NICER, HEIs will be able to integrate regional development needs with R&D and local resources.

b) R&D Leadership (RDLead) Program. The program will engage experts with strong leadership, management and innovative policy-making proficiency to be in charge of strengthening the research capabilities of the HEIs or RDIs. The RDLead experts will lead in establishing new and upgrading existing R&D Centers under the NICER Program, or upgrading of existing RDIs.

c) Collaborative Research and Development to Leverage Philippine Economy (CRADLE) Program. The program will help create a synergistic relationship between the academe as producer of knowledge and manpower, and the industry as the entity which translates technologies to real world applications to generate new opportunities for Filipinos in the form of new industries, enterprises, jobs and solutions to pressing community and national problems. Under the CRADLE Program, the private sector industry will identify the problem; and the HEI or RDI will undertake the research and development, with funding from DOST.

d) Business Innovation through S&T (BIST) for Industry Program. The program facilitates the acquisition of foreign technologies by Filipino companies for immediate incorporation into their R&D activities. The BIST program will provide partial funding to private sectors to enhance their technological capacity to undertake R&D through purchase of high-tech equipment, technology licensing, and acquisition of patent rights.

NICER, RDLead and CRADLE are for HEIs and RDIs; while CRADLE and BIST are for private industry companies.

For more details, please visit the DOST website at:  


Hurray for S&T fans and exhibit goers!

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will again celebrate the annual National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) on 11 to 15 July 2017 at the World Trade Center Metro Manila, with the theme “Science for the People.”

Under the Proclamation No. 19, the third week of July was declared as the National Science and Technology Week, authorizing the DOST agencies to undertake commemorative ceremonies and activities providing focus on the contribution of S&T to national development.  

With the subtheme "Conquering Diseases, Promoting Health," the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) will lead the health cluster, with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI).

For this year’s celebration, we want to show that our supported technologies are being used from womb to tomb. NSTW will serve as a good venue for other government agencies and private sectors to support and create similar initiatives improving the lives of the citizens through S&T,” Dr. Montoya said.

Expected activities in the health group include fora, games, raffle, massage, nutrition counseling, cooking demonstration, and weeklong interactive exhibit.

Among the programs and technologies to be featured include Drug Discovery and Development Program, Rxbox, OL Trap, Genomics, Pinggang Pinoy, Polyvinyl Pyrrolidone (PVP) Carrrageenan Hydrogel Dressing, Reliefvent, eHATID, and Axis Knee System.

For more information on NSTW2017, visit http://nstw.dost.gov.ph/.■

On this year’s Philippine Healthcare and Social Media Summit, six researchers conferred their studies during the oral research presentation.

Included in the list were Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan of #HealthXPh, Mr. Kennedy Espina of the Ateneo de Manila University Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, Mr. Ralph Jason Li of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Mr. Rick Jason Obrero of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine Medical Informatics Unit, Ms. Ann Meredith Garcia of the Blessed Family Doctors General Hospital, and Mr. Nelson Tiongson of the UP Manila Medical Informatics Unit.

Isip-Tan presented her research entitled “Content Analysis of Tweets of Pregnant Women with Diabetes” which aims to describe health beliefs of pregnant women with diabetes using tweets and discussed how information on diabetes in pregnancy is shared on Twitter. According to Isip-Tan, Twitter can be an expressive tool for women who have preexisting diabetes and Gestational Diabetes (GD) as this has identified issues that are important to the patients.

Espina discussed his master thesis which presents the use of real-time latent data from social media, particularly from Twitter, to complement existing disease surveillance efforts. He mentioned using Infodemiology to predict a range of possible disease incidences of dengue and typhoid fever within the Western Visayas region.

Li presented his study on the main sources of anxiety and dissatisfaction of gestational diabetes patients as determined by the content analysis of their blogs using the online tool Symplur. Results from his study showed that 422 out of 2,787 sentences from the 56 blogs expressed anxiety or dissatisfaction on symptoms or side effects (18.96%) and treatment (18.25%).

Obredo, on the other hand, discussed his research project wherein he gathered comments from Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan’s highest commented Facebook post on Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). He recommended using a better pre-processing algorithm for the study.

Garcia presented her study on lung cancer-related Twitter activity among patients and healthcare-related professionals. She explained that Twitter can be used to describe aspects related to hashtag #lungcancer as well as the top concerns of patients by using cross-sectional internet-based study involving the analysis of all publicly available tweets posted by patients and healthcare professionals.

Tiongson explained that his study hopes to provide an initial assessment on how Facebook is being utilized as a health communications platform. Data from the Department of Health (DOH) Facebook page was consolidated and compared along with the standards defined in the Process Evaluation Framework by Neiger et. al. (2012). Based from the findings, the DOH Facebook Page has not been fully utilized, mostly in terms of engagement principles of social media.

The 3rd Philippine Healthcare and Social Media Summit is a summit organized by the Council, in partnership with the #HealthXPh.