(1/13421) Use of wood stoves and risk of cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract: a case-control study.

BACKGROUND: Incidence rates for cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract in Southern Brazil are among the highest in the world. A case-control study was designed to identify the main risk factors for carcinomas of mouth, pharynx, and larynx in the region. We tested the hypothesis of whether use of wood stoves is associated with these cancers. METHODS: Information on known and potential risk factors was obtained from interviews with 784 cases and 1568 non-cancer controls. We estimated the effect of use of wood stove by conditional logistic regression, with adjustment for smoking, alcohol consumption and for other sociodemographic and dietary variables chosen as empirical confounders based on a change-in-estimate criterion. RESULTS: After extensive adjustment for all the empirical confounders the odds ratio (OR) for all upper aero-digestive tract cancers was 2.68 (95% confidence interval [CI] : 2.2-3.3). Increased risks were also seen in site-specific analyses for mouth (OR = 2.73; 95% CI: 1.8-4.2), pharyngeal (OR = 3.82; 95% CI: 2.0-7.4), and laryngeal carcinomas (OR = 2.34; 95% CI: 1.2-4.7). Significant risk elevations remained for each of the three anatomic sites and for all sites combined even after we purposefully biased the analyses towards the null hypothesis by adjusting the effect of wood stove use only for positive empirical confounders. CONCLUSIONS: The association of use of wood stoves with cancers of the upper aero-digestive tract is genuine and unlikely to result from insufficient control of confounding. Due to its high prevalence, use of wood stoves may be linked to as many as 30% of all cancers occurring in the region.  (+info)

(2/13421) A method for calculating age-weighted death proportions for comparison purposes.

OBJECTIVE: To introduce a method for calculating age-weighted death proportions (wDP) for comparison purposes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A methodological study using secondary data from the municipality of Sao Paulo, Brazil (1980-1994) was carried out. First, deaths are weighted in terms of years of potential life lost before the age of 100 years. Then, in order to eliminate distortion of comparisons among proportions of years of potential life lost before the age of 100 years (pYPLL-100), the denominator is set to that of a standard age distribution of deaths for all causes. Conventional death proportions (DP), pYPLL-100, and wDP were calculated. RESULTS: Populations in which deaths from a particular cause occur at older ages exhibit lower wDP than those in which deaths occur at younger ages. The sum of all cause-specific wDP equals one only when the test population has exactly the same age distribution of deaths for all causes as that of the standard population. CONCLUSION: Age-weighted death proportions improve the information given by conventional DP, and are strongly recommended for comparison purposes.  (+info)

(3/13421) Chagas' disease diagnosis: comparative analysis of parasitologic, molecular, and serologic methods.

During the course of chronic chagasic infection, low parasitemia levels prevent parasite detection by current techniques such as hemoculture and xenodiagnosis. Since serologic tests have sensitivity but lack specificity, molecular assays based on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) have been proposed as alternative tools for parasite detection in individuals with chronic Chagas' disease. A variable degree of PCR efficiency has been reported in the literature and illustrates the need for further evaluation of large numbers of chagasic patients. In this study, we compared an optimized PCR technique with hemoculture and complement-mediated lysis (CoML) in 113 individuals from or living in endemic areas of Brazil who had conventional serologic results that were either positive, negative, or inconclusive. The PCR amplification yielded positive results in 83.5% (66 of 79) of individuals with positive serology, 47.6% (10 of 21) with negative serology, and 46.2% (6 of 13) with inconclusive serology. Of 10 patients with negative serology and positive PCR result, eight (80%) had positive CoML, indicating that they could have been chagasic but were not mounting immune responses. The PCR results were also positive for all individuals who had positive hemoculture, for 37 individuals with negative hemoculture and positive serology, and for two of six individuals with inconclusive serology and negative hemoculture. Thirteen individuals living in nonendemic areas who had negative serology were used as a negative control group: 100% had negative PCR results. Our results show that the optimized PCR protocol used here was very sensitive in detecting the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi in chronic chagasic patients. The PCR and CoML results were well correlated in all of the groups studied, which suggests that our PCR protocol may be effective in the evaluation of cure in patients who receive anti-parasite treatment.  (+info)

(4/13421) Extensive cross-contamination of specimens with Mycobacterium tuberculosis in a reference laboratory.

A striking increase in the numbers of cultures positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis was noticed in a mycobacterial reference laboratory in Campinas, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, in May 1995. A contaminated bronchoscope was the suspected cause of the increase. All 91 M. tuberculosis isolates grown from samples from patients between 8 May and 18 July 1995 were characterized by spoligotyping and IS6110 fingerprinting. Sixty-one of the 91 isolates had identical spoligotype patterns, and the pattern was arbitrarily designated S36. The 61 specimens containing these isolates had been processed and cultured in a 21-day period ending on 1 June 1995, but only 1 sample was smear positive for acid-fast bacilli. The patient from whom this sample was obtained was considered to be the index case patient and had a 4+ smear-positive lymph node aspirate that had been sent to the laboratory on 10 May. Virtually all organisms with spoligotype S36 had the same IS6110 fingerprint pattern. Extensive review of the patients' charts and investigation of laboratory procedures revealed that cross-contamination of specimens had occurred. Because the same strain was grown from all types of specimens, the bronchoscope was ruled out as the outbreak source. The most likely source of contamination was a multiple-use reagent used for specimen processing. The organism was cultured from two of the solutions 3 weeks after mock contamination. This investigation strongly supports the idea that M. tuberculosis grown from smear-negative specimens should be analyzed by rapid and reliable strain differentiation techniques, such as spoligotyping, to help rule out laboratory contamination.  (+info)

(5/13421) Dual and recombinant infections: an integral part of the HIV-1 epidemic in Brazil.

We systematically evaluated multiple and recombinant infections in an HIV-infected population selected for vaccine trials. Seventy-nine HIV-1 infected persons in a clinical cohort study in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, were evaluated for 1 year. A combination of molecular screening assays and DNA sequencing showed 3 dual infections (3.8%), 6 recombinant infections (7.6%), and 70 (88.6%) infections involving single viral subtypes. In the three dual infections, we identified HIV-1 subtypes F and B, F and D, and B and D; in contrast, the single and recombinant infections involved only HIV-1 subtypes B and F. The recombinants had five distinct B/F mosaic patterns: Bgag-p17/Bgag-p24/Fpol/Benv, Fgag-p17/Bgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv, Bgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv, Bgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Benv, and Fgag-p17/B-Fgag-p24/Fpol/Fenv. No association was found between dual or recombinant infections and demographic or clinical variables. These findings indicate that dual and recombinant infections are emerging as an integral part of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Brazil and emphasize the heterogenous character of epidemics emerging in countries where multiple viral subtypes coexist.  (+info)

(6/13421) Integrating homoeopathy in health systems.

Homoeopathy is a therapy which involves many components and three main agents: the patient, with his or her condition and personal characteristics; the medication used, with its composition and manufacturing procedure; and the physician, with his or her approach to treatment and concepts of health. The development of research and evaluation structures, combined with a critical education in the discipline, would help to improve practices and define homoeopathy's potential role in relation to the other therapies, both conventional and unconventional, used in Western health systems.  (+info)

(7/13421) Full results of the genome-wide scan which localises a locus controlling the intensity of infection by Schistosoma mansoni on chromosome 5q31-q33.

Three hundred million individuals are at risk of infection by schistosomes, and thousands die each year of severe hepatic disease. Previous studies have shown that the intensity of infection by Schistosoma mansoni in a Brazilian population is controlled by a major gene, denoted as SM1. We report here the full results of a genome-wide search that was performed on this population to localise SM1. Two hundred and forty-six microsatellites were used for the primary map, and only one region in 5q31-q33 provided significant evidence of linkage. SM1 was subsequently mapped to this region, which contains several genes encoding cytokines or cytokine receptors which are involved in protection against schistosomes. Three additional regions, 1p22.2, 7q36 and 21q22-22-qter, yielded promising, although not significant, lod-score values. These regions contain candidate genes encoding cytokines or molecules relevant to anti-schistosome immunity.  (+info)

(8/13421) Familial clustering of diabetic nephropathy in Brazilian type 2 diabetic patients.

There is evidence for genetic predisposition to diabetic nephropathy in type 1 diabetic patients. However, there are few studies on type 2 diabetic patients, and most of those have been conducted on ethnic minorities or Caucasian individuals. The aim of this study was to ascertain the presence of an inherited predisposition to diabetic nephropathy in a sample of Brazilian type 2 diabetic patients. Families with two or more type 2 diabetic siblings were identified. Subjects with the longest duration of known diabetes were considered probands. Some 90 probands and their 107 diabetic siblings were studied. Urinary albumin excretion rate was measured in a sterile 24-h urine sample on at least three different occasions. Probands and siblings were classified according to urinary albumin excretion rate as normo- (<20 microg/min), micro- (20-200 microg/min), or macroalbuminuric (>200 microg/min). Patients with end-stage renal disease were included in the macroalbuminuric group. Macroalbuminuria was identified in 5.2% of the siblings of normoalbuminuric probands and in 24.1% of the siblings of macroalbuminuric probands (P = 0.024). In multiple logistic regression, the presence of diabetic nephropathy in probands (micro- or macroalbuminuria and end-stage renal disease) was significantly associated with the presence of sibling diabetic nephropathy (odds ratio = 3.75, 95% CI = 1.36-10.40, P = 0.011) adjusted for proband fasting plasma glucose and diabetes duration. Interpretation of these results should take into account the possibility that the families including siblings with diabetic nephropathy may have been overcounted and, on the other hand, that the siblings without diabetic nephropathy may have been undercounted. In conclusion, there is a familial aggregation of diabetic nephropathy in this sample of type 2 diabetic patients.  (+info)