Does risk factor epidemiology put epidemiology at risk? Peering into the future.
The multiple cause black box paradigm of the current risk factor era in epidemiology is growing less serviceable. This single level paradigm is likely to be displaced. The signs are that the growing strength of molecular epidemiology on the one side, and of a global epidemiology based on information systems on the other, will come to dominate epidemiology and segregate it into separate disciplines. At the same time, the links with public health interests grow weaker. A multilevel ecoepidemiology has the potential to bind these strands together. (+info)
The European mesothelioma epidemic.
Projections for the period 1995-2029 suggest that the number of men dying from mesothelioma in Western Europe each year will almost double over the next 20 years, from 5000 in 1998 to about 9000 around 2018, and then decline, with a total of about a quarter of a million deaths over the next 35 years. The highest risk will be suffered by men born around 1945-50, of whom about 1 in 150 will die of mesothelioma. Asbestos use in Western Europe remained high until 1980, and substantial quantities are still used in several European countries. These projections are based on the fit of a simple age and birth cohort model to male pleural cancer mortality from 1970 to 1989 for six countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Switzerland) which together account for three-quarters of the population of Western Europe. The model was tested by comparing observed and predicted numbers of deaths for the period 1990-94. The ratio of mesothelioma to recorded pleural cancer mortality has been 1.6:1 in Britain but was assumed to be 1:1 in other countries. (+info)
Usefulness of fractional flow reserve to predict clinical outcome after balloon angioplasty.
BACKGROUND: After regular coronary balloon angioplasty, it would be helpful to identify those patients who have a low cardiac event rate. Coronary angiography alone is not sensitive enough for that purpose, but it has been suggested that the combination of optimal angiographic and optimal functional results indicates a low restenosis chance. Pressure-derived myocardial fractional flow reserve (FFR) is an index of the functional severity of the residual epicardial lesion and could be useful for that purpose. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 60 consecutive patients with single-vessel disease, balloon angioplasty was performed by use of a pressure instead of a regular guide wire. Both quantitative coronary angiography (QCA) and measurement of FFR were performed 15 minutes after the procedure. A successful angioplasty result, defined as a residual diameter stenosis (DS) <50%, was achieved in 58 patients. In these patients, DS and FFR, measured 15 minutes after PTCA, were analyzed in relation to clinical outcome. In those 26 patients with both optimal angiographic (residual DS by QCA /=0.90) results, event-free survival rates at 6, 12, and 24 months were 92+/-5%, 92+/-5%, and 88+/-6%, respectively, versus 72+/-8%, 69+/-8%, and 59+/-9%, respectively, in the remaining 32 patients in whom the angiographic or functional result or both were suboptimal (P=0.047, P=0.028, and P=0.014, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: In patients with a residual DS /=0.90, clinical outcome up to 2 years is excellent. Therefore, there is a complementary value of coronary angiography and coronary pressure measurement in the evaluation of PTCA result. (+info)
Pregnancies averted among U.S. teenagers by the use of contraceptives.
CONTEXT: The personal and social costs associated with teenage pregnancy in the United States concern many policymakers and researchers, yet the role of contraception in preventing these pregnancies has not been adequately quantified. METHODS: Published estimates of contraceptive effectiveness were applied to 1995 National Survey of Family Growth data on sexual and contraceptive practices in order to estimate the number of pregnancies averted through the use of contraceptives by U.S. teenagers. Four scenarios of contraceptives access--from current levels of access to highly restricted access--and teenagers' sexual and contraceptive practices in response to such restrictions are used to project the potential impact on pregnancies among teenagers. RESULTS: Current levels of contraceptive use averted an estimated 1.65 million pregnancies among 15-19-year-old women in the United States during 1995. If these young women had been denied access to both prescription and over-the-counter contraceptive methods, an estimated one million additional pregnancies (ranging from 750,000 to 1.25 million) would have occurred, assuming some decrease in sexual activity. These pregnancies would have led to 480,000 live births, 390,000 abortions, 120,000 miscarriages, 10,000 ectopic pregnancies and 37 maternal deaths. CONCLUSIONS: Contraceptive use by teenage women prevents pregnancies and negative pregnancy-related health consequences that can disrupt the lives of adolescent women and that have substantial societal costs. Continued and expanded access to contraceptives for adolescents is a critically important public health strategy. (+info)
Quality circles in ambulatory care: state of development and future perspective in Germany.
OBJECTIVE: To survey the quantitative development of quality circles (peer review groups; QC) and their moderators in ambulatory care in Germany, to describe approaches to documentation and evaluation, to establish what types of facilities and support is available and to assess opinions on the future importance of QC. DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey using a standardized questionnaire and supplementary telephone interviews. SETTING: All 23 German regional Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (ASHIP) were surveyed. RESULTS: The total number of QC in ambulatory care in Germany increased rapidly from 16 in 1993 to 1633 in June 1996, with about 17% (range 1.0-52.1%) of all practicing physicians (112 158) currently involved. Throughout Germany, 2403 moderators were trained in 168 training courses by the qualifying date. Follow-up meetings were held or being planned in 20 ASHIP, with approximately 39% (23-95%) of the moderators participating. Systematic documentation of QC work was undertaken or planned in all 23 ASHIIP, and 10 ASHIP carried out comparative evaluation, with at least five others planning to start it. The ASHIP promoted the work of QC by providing organizational (22) or financial (20) support, materials (20) or mediation of resource persons (16). Eleven ASHIP received grants from drug companies. ASHIP rated the future importance of QC as increasing (18) or stable (four), but in no case as decreasing. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: The quantitative growth of QC in Germany is encouraging, but the extent of support and evaluation appears insufficient. Increased methodological support and facilitation, follow-up meetings on a more regular basis, improved documentation and evaluation of individual QC, and problem oriented evaluation of their impact on health care are essential for further successful development. Principles, problems and solutions discussed may be relevant for similar QI activities in other countries. (+info)
Melanoma cells present a MAGE-3 epitope to CD4(+) cytotoxic T cells in association with histocompatibility leukocyte antigen DR11.
In this study we used TEPITOPE, a new epitope prediction software, to identify sequence segments on the MAGE-3 protein with promiscuous binding to histocompatibility leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR molecules. Synthetic peptides corresponding to the identified sequences were synthesized and used to propagate CD4(+) T cells from the blood of a healthy donor. CD4(+) T cells strongly recognized MAGE-3281-295 and, to a lesser extent, MAGE-3141-155 and MAGE-3146-160. Moreover, CD4(+) T cells proliferated in the presence of recombinant MAGE-3 after processing and presentation by autologous antigen presenting cells, demonstrating that the MAGE-3 epitopes recognized are naturally processed. CD4(+) T cells, mostly of the T helper 1 type, showed specific lytic activity against HLA-DR11/MAGE-3-positive melanoma cells. Cold target inhibition experiments demonstrated indeed that the CD4(+) T cells recognized MAGE-3281-295 in association with HLA-DR11 on melanoma cells. This is the first evidence that a tumor-specific shared antigen forms CD4(+) T cell epitopes. Furthermore, we validated the use of algorithms for the prediction of promiscuous CD4(+) T cell epitopes, thus opening the possibility of wide application to other tumor-associated antigens. These results have direct implications for cancer immunotherapy in the design of peptide-based vaccines with tumor-specific CD4(+) T cell epitopes. (+info)
The present state and future prospects of occupational health in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is a relatively young and developing country. At the present time, like in most developing countries, a clear demarcation between occupational health care and general medical care is difficult to be recognized in Bangladesh. Occupational health is a fairly new field, as the country is undergoing industrialization and occupational health activities are operated by several ministries, such as Labour, Health, Industry and Transport. Legal foundations of the occupational health-care system based on British India and Pakistani era, were adopted and amended by the Government of Bangladesh after the liberation of the country in 1971. Most of the Labour laws have been rectified by the Government of Bangladesh according to the ILO Conventions. Reconsideration of the occupational health service system avoiding duplication for the 'occupational health' component in several ministries might be helpful to achieve the successful provision of an occupational health service in the developing Bangladesh. (+info)
KRAS mutations predict progression of preneoplastic gastric lesions.
Eight hundred sixty-three subjects with atrophic gastritis were recruited to participate in an ongoing chemoprevention trial in Narino, Colombia. The participants were randomly assigned to intervention therapies, which included treatment to eradicate Helicobacter pylori infection followed by daily dietary supplementation with antioxidant micronutrients in a 2 x 2 x 2 factorial design. A series of biopsies of gastric mucosa were obtained according to a specified protocol from designated locations in the stomach for each participant at baseline (before intervention therapy) and at year three. A systematic sample of 160 participants was selected from each of the eight treatment combinations. DNA was isolated from each of these biopsies (n = 320), and the first exon of KRAS was amplified using PCR. Mutations in the KRAS gene were detected using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and confirmed by sequence analysis. Of all baseline biopsies, 14.4% (23 of 160) contained KRAS mutations. Among those participants with atrophic gastritis without metaplasia, 19.4% (6 of 25) contained KRAS mutations, indicating that mutation of this important gene is likely an early event in the etiology of gastric carcinoma. An important association was found between the presence of KRAS mutations in baseline biopsies and the progression of preneoplastic lesions. Only 14.6% (20 of 137) of participants without baseline KRAS mutations progressed from atrophic gastritis to intestinal metaplasia or from small intestinal metaplasia to colonic metaplasia; however, 39.1% (9 of 23) with baseline KRAS mutations progressed to a more advanced lesion after 3 years [univariate odds ratio (OR), 3.76 (P = 0.05); multivariate OR adjusted for treatment, 3.74 (P = 0.04)]. In addition, the specificity of the KRAS mutation predicted progression. For those participants with G-->T transversions at position 1 of codon 12 (GGT-->TGT), 19.4% (5 of 17) progressed (univariate OR, 2.4); however, 60.0% (3 of 5) of participants with G-->A transitions at position 1 of codon 12 (GGT-->AGT) progressed (univariate OR, 8.7; P = 0.004 using chi2 test). (+info)