Decreased seroprevalence for Toxoplasma gondii in Seventh Day Adventists in Maryland.
Despite its widespread prevalence, uncertainties remain about the relative contribution of various routes of transmission to the overall rate of infection with Toxoplasma gondii, particularly in developed countries. To explore the hypothesis that meat consumption is an important risk factor for infection, a cross-sectional seroprevalence study was performed on healthy adults in one region in the state of Maryland. The population included Seventh Day Adventists who as a group follow a diet containing no meat, and control community volunteers who were not Seventh Day Adventists. Thirty-one percent of the population had serologic evidence of T. gondii infection. People with T. gondii infection were older (49 versus 42 years old; P < 0.01, by t-test) and less likely to be Seventh Day Adventists (24% versus 50%; P < 0.01, by chi-square test) than people without T. gondii infection. When adjustments were made for age and gender through multiple logistic regression, Seventh Day Adventists had a significantly decreased risk of T. gondii infection (odds ratio = 0.21, 95% confidence interval = 0.09-0.46, P = 0.0001) compared with the controls. While the basis for this effect remains to be determined, one possible protective factor is the general adherence of Seventh Day Adventists to a diet that does not contain meat. (+info)
The costs of hospital services: a case study of Evangelical Lutheran Church hospitals in Tanzania.
The health care systems of many developing countries are facing a severe crisis. Problems of financing services leads to high patient fees which make institutions of Western health care unaffordable for the majority of the rural poor. The conflict between sustainability and affordability of the official health care system challenges both local decision-makers and health management consultants. Decisions must be made soon so that the existing health care systems can survive. However, these decisions must be based on sound data, especially on the costs of health care services. The existing accounting systems of most hospitals in developing countries do not provide decision-makers with these data. Costs are generally underestimated. The leadership of the 16 hospitals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania is currently analyzing how the existing health care services should be restructured. Therefore, reliable estimates of the costs of hospitals services are required. A survey on 'Costing of health services of the Evang. Luth. Church in Tanzania' was prepared, which summarizes the results of seven months of field investigations in Lutheran hospitals. The major findings are that the costs of providing adequate services are much higher than expected. The most important factors determining these costs are the administrative efficiency of the hospital and the scope of services offered. The paper closes with some recommendations on how to improve the services in order to make them both affordable for the rural poor and financially sustainable for the Church. It is concluded that even the best improvement of technical efficiency will not safeguard the survival of the hospital-based health care services of the Lutheran Church in Tanzania. These findings call for a reallocation of health care resources to lower levels of the health care pyramid. (+info)
Suicide, religion, and socioeconomic conditions. An ecological study in 26 countries, 1990.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: Relative risks are frequently assumed to be stable across populations but this may not apply in psychiatric epidemiology where sociocultural context may modify them. Such ecological effect modification will give curved associations between aggregated risk factor and outcome. This was examined in connection with the ecological association between suicide rates and an aggregate index of religiosity. DESIGN: Ecological study of associations between suicide rates and an index of religiosity, adjusted for socioeconomic variation. The effect of stratification of the study sample according to levels of religiosity, was examined. SETTING: 26 European and American countries. SUBJECTS: Interview data from 37,688 people aggregated by country. OUTCOME MEASURES: Age and sex specific (1986-1990) suicide rates. MAIN RESULT: Adjusted for socioeconomic variation, negative associations of male suicide rates with religiosity were apparent in the 13 least religious countries only (test for interaction F (1, 25) = 5.6; p = 0.026). Associations between religiosity and female suicide rates did not vary across countries. CONCLUSION: The bent ecological association was apparent only after adjustment for socioeconomic variation suggesting that, rather than confounding, ecological modification of individual level links between religion and male (but not female) suicide risk is the responsible mechanism. This concurs with micro-level findings suggesting that suicide acceptance depends not only on personal but also on contextual levels of religious belief, and that men are more sensitive to this phenomenon than women. In psychiatric epidemiology, relative risks vary with the exposure's prevalence. This has important implications for research and prevention. (+info)
Identification of a mutation cluster in mevalonate kinase deficiency, including a new mutation in a patient of Mennonite ancestry.
Mevalonate kinase (MKase) deficiency (MKD) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder in the pathway of cholesterol and nonsterol isoprenoid biosynthesis. Thus far, two disease-causing missense alleles have been identified, N301T and A334T. We report four additional mutations associated with MKD: L264F, T243I, L265P, and I268T, the last found in a patient of Mennonite ancestry. Electrophoretic analysis of bacterially expressed wild-type and mutant MKase indicated that I268T and T243I mutants produced normal or somewhat reduced amounts of MKase protein; conversely, L264F and L265P mutations resulted in considerably decreased, or absent, MKase protein. Immunoblot analysis of MKase from all patients suggested that the MKase polypeptide was grossly intact and produced in amounts comparable to control levels. Three mutations resulted in significantly diminished MKase enzyme activity (<2%), whereas the I268T allele yielded approximately 20% residual enzyme activity. Our results should allow more-accurate identification of carriers and indicate a mutation "cluster" within amino acids 240-270 of the mature MKase polypeptide. (+info)
Nut consumption, vegetarian diets, ischemic heart disease risk, and all-cause mortality: evidence from epidemiologic studies.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected and novel findings in nutritional epidemiology in the past 5 y has been that nut consumption seems to protect against ischemic heart disease (IHD). Frequency and quantity of nut consumption have been documented to be higher in vegetarian than in nonvegetarian populations. Nuts also constitute an important part of other plant-based diets, such as Mediterranean and Asian diets. In a large, prospective epidemiologic study of Seventh-day Adventists in California, we found that frequency of nut consumption had a substantial and highly significant inverse association with risk of myocardial infarction and death from IHD. The Iowa Women's Health Study also documented an association between nut consumption and decreased risk of IHD. The protective effect of nuts on IHD has been found in men and women and in the elderly. Importantly, nuts have similar associations in both vegetarians and nonvegetarians. The protective effect of nut consumption on IHD is not offset by increased mortality from other causes. Moreover, frequency of nut consumption has been found to be inversely related to all-cause mortality in several population groups such as whites, blacks, and the elderly. Thus, nut consumption may not only offer protection against IHD, but also increase longevity. (+info)
Associations between diet and cancer, ischemic heart disease, and all-cause mortality in non-Hispanic white California Seventh-day Adventists.
Results associating diet with chronic disease in a cohort of 34192 California Seventh-day Adventists are summarized. Most Seventh-day Adventists do not smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol, and there is a wide range of dietary exposures within the population. About 50% of those studied ate meat products <1 time/wk or not at all, and vegetarians consumed more tomatoes, legumes, nuts, and fruit, but less coffee, doughnuts, and eggs than did nonvegetarians. Multivariate analyses showed significant associations between beef consumption and fatal ischemic heart disease (IHD) in men [relative risk (RR) = 2.31 for subjects who ate beef > or =3 times/wk compared with vegetarians], significant protective associations between nut consumption and fatal and nonfatal IHD in both sexes (RR approximately 0.5 for subjects who ate nuts > or =5 times/wk compared with those who ate nuts <1 time/wk), and reduced risk of IHD in subjects preferring whole-grain to white bread. The lifetime risk of IHD was reduced by approximately 31% in those who consumed nuts frequently and by 37% in male vegetarians compared with nonvegetarians. Cancers of the colon and prostate were significantly more likely in nonvegetarians (RR of 1.88 and 1.54, respectively), and frequent beef consumers also had higher risk of bladder cancer. Intake of legumes was negatively associated with risk of colon cancer in nonvegetarians and risk of pancreatic cancer. Higher consumption of all fruit or dried fruit was associated with lower risks of lung, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. Cross-sectional data suggest vegetarian Seventh-day Adventists have lower risks of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and arthritis than nonvegetarians. Thus, among Seventh-day Adventists, vegetarians are healthier than nonvegetarians but this cannot be ascribed only to the absence of meat. (+info)
Cyanocobalamin (vitamin B-12) status in Seventh-day Adventist ministers in Australia.
As part of the Adventist Ministers' Health Study, a series of cross-sectional surveys conducted in 1992, 1994, and 1997, the serum vitamin B-12 status of 340 Australian Seventh-day Adventist ministers was assessed in 1997. The ministers in the study participated voluntarily. Of this group, 245 were either lactoovovegetarians or vegans who were not taking vitamin B-12 supplements. Their mean vitamin B-12 concentration was 199 pmol/L (range: 58-538 pmol/L), 53% of whom had values below the reference range for the method used (171-850 pmol/L) and 73% of whom had values <221 pmol/L, the lower limit recommended by Herbert. Dual-isotope Schillings test results in 36 lactoovovegetarians with abnormally low vitamin B-12 concentrations indicated that dietary deficiency was the cause in 70% of cases. Data from the dietary questionnaires supported dietary deficiency as the cause of low serum vitamin B-12 in this population of lactoovovegetarians and vegans, 56 (23%) of whom consumed sufficient servings of vitamin B-12-containing foods to obtain the minimum daily maintenance allowance of the vitamin (1 microg). (+info)
Graffiti - visual memory of Croatian history.
Throughout the Middle Ages a unique Croatian Glagolitic script co-existed with Latin and western Cyrillic scripts, thus creating an open, large, and tolerant cultural environment. Many works common to European cultural heritage were translated into Croatian (Church Slavonic) language and preserved in the Glagolitic script. Among the oldest preserved Glagolitic monuments carved in stone are the so-called tables from Baska on the island Krk and Valun (11th-12th century) containing not only many names and church dedications but also valuable historical data. For centuries this script also provided a vehicle of transferring and preserving medical knowledge. (+info)