(65/548) Religion-based tobacco control interventions: how should WHO proceed?

Using religion to improve health is an age-old practice. However, using religion and enlisting religious authorities in public health campaigns, as exemplified by tobacco control interventions and other activities undertaken by WHO's Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although all possible opportunities within society should be exploited to control tobacco use and promote health, religion-based interventions should not be exempted from the evidence-based scrutiny to which other interventions are subjected before being adopted. In the absence of data and debate on whether this approach works, how it should be applied, and what the potential downsides and alternatives are, international organizations such as WHO should think carefully about using religion-based public health interventions in their regional programmes.  (+info)

(66/548) Mitochondrial haplotype diversity in the tortoise species Testudo graeca from North Africa and the Middle East.

BACKGROUND: To help conservation programs of the endangered spur-thighed tortoise and to gain better insight into its systematics, genetic variation and evolution in the tortoise species Testudo graeca (Testudines: Testudinidae) was investigated by sequence analysis of a 394-nucleotide fragment of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene for 158 tortoise specimens belonging to the subspecies Testudo graeca graeca, Testudo graeca ibera, Testudo graeca terrestris, and a newly recognized subspecies Testudo graeca whitei. A 411-nucleotide fragment of the mitochondrial D-loop was additionally sequenced for a subset of 22 T. graeca, chosen because of their 12S gene haplotype and/or geographical origin. RESULTS: Haplotype networks generated by maximum-likelihood and neighbor-joining analyses of both the separate and the combined sequence data sets suggested the existence of two main clades of Testudo graeca, comprising Testudo graeca from northern Africa and Testudo graeca from the Turkey and the Middle East, respectively. CONCLUSION: Mitochondrial DNA haplotyping suggests that the tortoise subspecies of T. g. graeca and T. g. ibera are genetically distinct, with a calculated divergence time in the early or middle Pleistocene. Other proposed subspecies could not clearly be recognized based upon their mt haplotypes and phylogenetic position, and were either part of the T. g. graeca or of the T. g. ibera clade, suggesting that genetic evidence for the existence of most of the 15 proposed subspecies of T. graeca is weak.  (+info)

(67/548) Childbirth in Palestine.

OBJECTIVE: This study describes staffing, caseloads and reported routine practices for normal childbirth in Palestinian West Bank (WB) governmental maternity facilities and compares these practices with evidence-based care. METHODS: Data on routine childbirth practices in all eight governmental hospitals were obtained through interviews with head obstetricians and midwives. Data on staffing and monthly number of births were collected by phone or personal interview from all 37 WB hospitals. RESULTS: Forty-eight percent of WB deliveries took place in crowded and understaffed governmental hospitals. Reported practices were not consistently in line with evidence-based care. Lack of knowledge and structural barriers were reasons for this gap. CONCLUSION: The implications of limiting unnecessary interventions in the normal birth process are particularly important in a context of limited access and scarce resources. More skilled birth attendants and a universal commitment to effective care are needed.  (+info)

(68/548) Middle East Society for Organ Transplantation (MESOT) Transplant Registry.

During the seventies, sporadic renal transplants were performed in few MESOT-region countries, mainly Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Lebanon. Since the introduction of cyclosporine in the early eighties, transplantation has become the preferred therapeutic modality for end-stage renal failure. In 1986, the Islamic theologians (Al Aloma) issued what became known as the Amman declaration, in which they accepted brain death and retrieval and transplantation of organs from living and cadaveric donors. Based on this and similar declarations, all Middle Eastern countries except Egypt passed laws that allow cadaveric transplantation and regulate live donations. Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon all have current active cadaveric programs and perform liver, heart, pancreas, and lung transplants. More than 5088 renal transplants/year are performed in the region with Iran leading with 1600. The cumulative number of renal transplant patients is now nearly 60,000. With a 2003 population of 600,682,175, the rate/million for renal transplantation in the MESOT region is a mere 9/million. Rates of renal transplantation range from 31/million in some countries to 0 in others. The major obstacle in establishing an accurate number of transplants is "tourist transplantation," in which the same transplanted patients are registered in different countries. Although cadaveric programs have been active for more than 10 years, live-related and nonrelated transplants account for nearly 85% of the total transplants. The data presented were collected from MESOT representatives in the region and from publications. For proper compilation of the registry, a format is being proposed that will be presented at the Congress for review and adaptation. Even with the limited resources in the region, immunosuppressive drugs for induction and maintenance therapy are available and are used. Costs for transplantation and immunosuppressive therapy are either totally or heavily supported by governmental agencies.  (+info)

(69/548) Seeking asylum in Denmark: refugee children's mental health and exposure to violence.

AIMS: The aim of this study was to compare profiles of present mental health and previous exposure to violence among refugee children from the Middle East, whose asylum seeking families either did or did not obtain permission to stay in Denmark. METHODS: Shortly after arrival in Denmark, the parents of 311 Middle-Eastern children answered a structured interview on their children's exposure to organized violence and their mental health. The families were followed-up as concerns receipt of a residence permit. RESULTS: At arrival in Denmark, the children's patterns of previous exposure to violence and present mental health was generally similar irrespective of the family getting a residence permit, as was the case for 90 families (60.4%) with 190 children (61.1%). In both groups an overwhelming majority, eight to nine out of 10 children, had been exposed to conditions of war and had stayed in a refugee camp, and seven out of 10 had witnessed violence. Half of the children had a tortured parent. Considerably more children of families who did not get a residence permit had lost a parent (30.6% versus 13.7%; P<0.001). In both groups about two-thirds suffered from anxiety and about 30% from sleep problems, and children whose families did not later on get a residence permit more often appeared sad or miserable (43.8% versus 27.9%; P<0.005). CONCLUSIONS: The asylum-granting decision process seems to have divided the children into two groups with only superficial disparity as concerns their previous exposure to violence and their present mental health. There seems to be good reason to systematically integrate evidence on the children of refugee families in the treatment of applications for permission to stay.  (+info)

(70/548) Recessive mutations in the CYP4V2 gene in East Asian and Middle Eastern patients with Bietti crystalline corneoretinal dystrophy.

BACKGROUND: Bietti crystalline corneoretinal dystrophy (BCD) is an autosomal recessively inherited disorder characterised by tiny yellowish glittering retinal crystals, choroidal sclerosis, and crystals in the peripheral cornea, associated with progressive night blindness. CYP4V2, encoding a member of cytochrome p450 (CYP450) protein family, was recently identified as the causative gene. METHODS: We recruited 11 unrelated patients with BCD and characteristic clinical features; eight of Japanese, two of Middle Eastern, and one of Chinese ancestry. Genomic DNA was extracted from peripheral blood leucocytes, and all 11 exons and the flanking intron splice sites of the CYP4V2 gene were amplified and sequenced. A complete ophthalmological examination was performed. RESULTS: We found recessive mutations in the CYP4V2 gene in all of the 11 patients. Two novel mutations, L173W and Q450X, were identified in a Japanese patient and two unrelated patients from Middle Eastern countries, respectively. Each patient was a homozygote. A previously reported mutation IVS6-8_810delinsGC was identified in seven unrelated Japanese patients and the Chinese patient with BCD. All patients with BCD shared a characteristic fundus appearance with numerous intraretinal crystal deposits and atrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium. However, the clinical findings, including elecroretinograph recordings, indicated that there was considerable variation in the degree of visual dysfunction even among patients of similar ages carrying the same mutation. CONCLUSIONS: Defects in CYP4V2 are the main cause of BCD. The IVS6-8_810delinsGC mutant allele may be especially prevalent among patients with BCD in East Asian countries, resulting from a single founder. Variation of disease severity suggests that environmental or additional genetic factors influence the course of the retinal disease.  (+info)

(71/548) Genotyping of Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates in two cities of Turkey: description of a new family of genotypes that is phylogeographically specific for Asia Minor.

BACKGROUND: Population-based bacterial genetics using repeated DNA loci is an efficient approach to study the biodiversity and phylogeographical structure of human pathogens, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the agent of tuberculosis. Indeed large genetic diversity databases are available for this pathogen and are regularly updated. No population-based polymorphism data were yet available for M. tuberculosis in Turkey, at the crossroads of Eurasia. RESULTS: A total of 245 DNAs from Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates from tuberculosis patients residing in Turkey (Malatya n = 147 or Ankara n = 98) were genotyped by spoligotyping, a high-throughput genotyping method based on the polymorphism of the Direct Repeat locus. Thirty-three spoligotyping-defined clusters including 206 patients and 39 unique patterns were found. The ST41 cluster, as designated according to the international SpolDB3 database project, represented one fourth and when gathered to three genotypes, ST53, ST50 and ST284, one half of all the isolates. Out of 34 clinical isolates harboring ST41 which were further genotyped by IS6110 and by MIRU-VNTR typing, a typical 2-copy IS6110-RFLP pattern and a "215125113322" MIRU-VNTR pattern were observed among 21 clinical isolates. Further search in various databases confirms the likely Turkish-phylogeographical specificity of this clonal complex. CONCLUSION: We described a new phylogeographically-specific clone of M. tuberculosis, designated LAM7-TUR. Further investigations to assess its frequency within all regions of Turkey and its phylogeographical origin and phylogenetic position within the global M. tuberculosis phylogenetic tree will shed new light on its endemicity in Asia Minor.  (+info)

(72/548) Routines in facility-based maternity care: evidence from the Arab World.

OBJECTIVES: To document facility-based practices for normal labour and delivery in Egypt, Lebanon, the West Bank (part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory) and Syria and to categorise common findings according to evidence-based obstetrics. DESIGN: Three studies (Lebanon, West Bank and Syria) interviewed a key informant (providers) in maternity facilities. The study in Egypt directly observed individual labouring women. SETTING: Maternity wards. SAMPLE: Nationally representative sample of hospitals drawn in Lebanon and Syria. In the West Bank, a convenience sample of hospitals was used. In Egypt, the largest teaching hospital's maternity ward was observed. METHODS: Shared practices were categorised by adapting the World Health Organization's (WHO) 2004 classification of practices for normal birth into the following: practices known to be beneficial, practices likely to be beneficial, practices unlikely to be beneficial and practices likely to be ineffective or harmful. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Routine hospital practices for normal labor and delivery. RESULTS: There was infrequent use of beneficial practices that should be encouraged and an unexpectedly high level of harmful practices that should be eliminated. Some beneficial practices were applied inappropriately and practices of unproven benefit were also documented. Some documented childbirth practices are potentially harmful to mothers and their babies. CONCLUSION: Facility practices for normal labour were largely not in accordance with the WHO evidence-based classification of practices for normal birth. The findings are worrying given the increasing proportion of facility-based births in the region and the improved but relatively high maternal and neonatal mortality ratios in these countries. Obstacles to following evidence-based protocols for normal labour require examination.  (+info)