Low-weight neonatal survival paradox in the Czech Republic.
Analysis of vital statistics for the Czech Republic between 1986 and 1993, including 3,254 infant deaths from 350,978 first births to married and single women who conceived at ages 18-29 years, revealed a neonatal survival advantage for low-weight infants born to disadvantaged (single, less educated) women, particularly for deaths from congenital anomalies. This advantage largely disappeared after the neonatal period. The same patterns have been observed for low-weight infants born to black women in the United States. Since the Czech Republic had an ethnically homogenous population, virtually universal prenatal care, and uniform institutional conditions for delivery, Czech results must be attributed to social rather than to biologic or medical circumstances. This strengthens the contention that in the United States, the black neonatal survival paradox may be due as much to race-related social stigmatization and consequent disadvantage as to any hypothesized hereditary influences on birth-weight-specific survival. (+info)
Socioeconomic status and cardiovascular risk factors in the Czech Republic.
BACKGROUND: In western countries, prevalence of cardiovascular diseases and most risk factors is higher in lower socioeconomic groups. The social gradients in the former communist societies are less well known. Because in western countries different indicators of socioeconomic status (SES) are correlated, this gradient is found with a number of different measures of SES. We have analysed the presence and magnitude of the socioeconomic gradient in cardiovascular risk factors in a former communist country. As the relationship between material conditions and education has been much weaker than in the west, we have also attempted to separate their effects. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey examined a random sample of men and women resident in six Czech districts participating in the MONICA study in 1992. Participants completed a questionnaire, underwent anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, and provided a blood sample. Two indicators of SES were used: education and material conditions, the indicator constructed from car ownership and crowding. Linear regression was employed to analyse the relation between SES and total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), waist-hip ratio (WHR) and height. Logistic regression was used to assess the association between SES and smoking and hypertension. RESULTS: A total of 1141 men and 1212 women (overall response rate 75%) participated in the study. After controlling for age, all risk factors were associated with education, except HDL cholesterol in women and BMI in men; only smoking in both sexes and WHR in women and height in men were significantly related to material conditions. In mutually adjusted analyses, educational gradients persisted but associations with material conditions disappeared or became substantially weaker. The magnitude of the educational differences was similar to those found in western countries. CONCLUSIONS: Socioeconomic differences in cardiovascular risk factors in Czech Republic in 1992 had the same direction and similar magnitude as in Western Europe, and were strongly related to education rather than material conditions. Materialist explanations for the social differences seem unlikely in this population. (+info)
Genotypic and phenotypic similarity of multiresistant Acinetobacter baumannii isolates in the Czech Republic.
The diversity of 103 clinical isolates of the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-Acinetobacter baumannii complex obtained between 1991 and 1997 from 17 Czech hospitals was studied by ribotyping, biotyping, plasmid profiling and antibiotic susceptibility testing. According to the EcoRI ribotypes, all but one of these isolates were identified to the DNA group level: 77 isolates were allocated to DNA group 2 (A. baumannii), 14 to DNA group 3, 10 to DNA group 13 sensu Tjernberg and Ursing and one to DNA group 1 (A. calcoaceticus). In total, 50 different EcoRI ribotypes and 10 biotypes were observed. Plasmids were found in 92% of the isolates and a high variability in plasmid profiles was found in isolates of the same DNA group. The combination of typing profiles allowed two predominant groups (termed A and B) to be distinguished among the A. baumannii isolates (37 and eight isolates, respectively) that shared a specific ribotype and were highly similar in other properties. These two groups comprised both sporadic and outbreak isolates and were found in most localities. Group A and B isolates were markedly more resistant to antibiotics than most of the remaining isolates, thus representing 85% of all multiresistant isolates. The features of groups A and B corresponded to those of two epidemic clones identified recently among hospital strains in north-western Europe. (+info)
Fetal growth and maternal exposure to particulate matter during pregnancy.
Prior studies reported an association between ambient air concentrations of total suspended particles and SO2 during pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes. We examined the possible impact of particulate matter up to 10 microm (PM10) and up to 2.5 microm (PM2. 5) in size on intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) risk in a highly polluted area of Northern Bohemia (Teplice District). The study group includes all singleton full-term births of European origin over a 2-year period in the Teplice District. Information on reproductive history, health, and lifestyle was obtained from maternal questionnaires. The mean concentrations of pollutants for each month of gestation were calculated using continuous monitoring data. Three intervals (low, medium, and high) were constructed for each pollutant (tertiles). Odds ratios (ORs) for IUGR for PM10 and PM2.5 levels were generated using logistic regression for each month of gestation after adjustment for potential confounding factors. Adjusted ORs for IUGR related to ambient PM10 levels in the first gestational month increased along the concentration intervals: medium 1.62 [95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-2.46], high 2.64 (CI, 1.48-4.71). ORs for PM2.5 were 1.26 (CI, 0.81-1.95) and 2.11 (CI, 1. 20-3.70), respectively. No other associations of IUGR risk with particulate matter were found. Influence of particles or other associated air pollutants on fetal growth in early gestation is one of several possible explanations of these results. Timing of this effect is compatible with a current hypothesis of IUGR pathogenesis. Seasonal factors, one of the other possible explanations, is less probable. More investigation is required to examine these findings and alternative explanations. (+info)
CREST staining of micronuclei from free-living rodents to detect environmental contamination in situ.
In this work immunofluorescent antikinetochore (CREST) staining was used to analyse bone marrow micronuclei (MN) from free-living animals belonging to four different rodent species. Yellow-necked mice (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus) were trapped in the Czech Republic, Algerian mice (Mus spretus) in Spain and house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) in Italy. Animals were collected in areas displaying low or high environmental pollution in order to investigate the sensitivity of CREST analysis on bone marrow MN as a biomarker of environmental stress in situ. Differences in total MN frequencies between animals collected in control or contaminated areas were statistically significant for two species, whereas the differences in CREST+ MN were statistically significant for three species. Interestingly, the percentages of CREST+ MN in animals collected in the control areas were very low (3. 2-8.7%), suggesting that activities inducing alterations in the distribution of chromosomes are very rare in natural conditions. The increased frequencies of CREST+ MN observed in areas with high environmental impact indicate that activities producing loss of chromosomes at mitosis may be characteristic of anthropogenic environments such as industrial settlements around petrochemical factories. Our data suggest that the analysis of CREST+ MN may represent a sensitive end-point for the detection of environmental contamination by genotoxic xenobiotics, offering the advantage of providing information on the mechanism of action of environmental contaminants. (+info)
A multidrug-resistant tuberculosis microepidemic caused by genetically closely related Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains.
IS6110 DNA fingerprinting was used to characterize an outbreak of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in 21 individuals (17 males and 4 females) living in or roaming among four distantly separated areas in the Czech Republic. The restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis separated the collected Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains into group A, including 14 patients with six IS6110 copies, and group B, with 7 patients displaying highly similar RFLP patterns but with two additional IS6110 bands. A switch from pattern A to pattern B was observed in one patient, and the subsequent detection of subclone B in seven more individuals has been explained by the instability of DNA genotypes caused by transposition of IS6110 elements. (+info)
Trajectories of fetal loss in the Czech Republic.
Using data for 555,038 pregnancies conceived in the Czech Republic in 1987-1990, we show that pronounced differences in fetal survival in the middle trimester of pregnancy by marital status, educational level, and labor force attachment become much smaller at full term; survival differences by age at conception and number of previous deliveries show relatively constant proportional hazards throughout gestation. Social inequalities in postpartum life chances have been documented previously, but we show that similar inequalities exist before birth. (+info)
Pregnancy outcomes and outdoor air pollution: an ecological study in districts of the Czech Republic 1986-8.
OBJECTIVES: Outdoor air pollution has consistently been shown to predict mortality. The finding that this association is stronger in infants than in children or adults raises the question whether air pollution could also be related to pregnancy outcomes--such as birthweight and stillbirth. The association between outdoor air pollution and stillbirths and low birthweight in the Czech Republic, where air pollution was high, was examined. METHODS: An ecological study was conducted, with routinely collected data on stillbirths and low birthweight (< 2500 g), air pollution (total suspended particulates, sulphur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx)), and socioeconomic factors (mean income, car ownership, divorce rate, etc). The analyses were restricted to 45 districts on which data on air pollution were available for the period 1986-8. The effects of exposure variables on frequency of pregnancy outcomes were estimated by logistic regression with district-years as the units of analysis. RESULTS: Stillbirth rate (4.2/1000 births in monitored districts) was not significantly associated with any indicator of air pollution, and was weakly related to mean income and proportion of births outside marriage. Crude prevalence of low birthweight (prevalence 5.5%) showed highly significant associations with several socioeconomic factors; after controlling for these, odds ratios (ORs)/50 micrograms/m3 increase in pollutant were: 1.04 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.96 to 1.12) for total suspended particles, 1.10 (1.02 to 1.17) for SO2, and 1.07 (0.98 to 1.16) for NOx. When all pollutants were included in one model, SO2 remained related to low birthweight (OR 1.10 (1.01 to 1.20), p = 0.033). CONCLUSION: These results are consistent with a recent study in China where birthweight was also associated with total suspended particles and SO2 but ecological studies must be interpreted cautiously. Residual confounding by socioeconomic factors cannot be ruled out. The association between air pollution and birthweight requires further investigation. (+info)