International trends in rates of hypospadias and cryptorchidism. (1/96)

Researchers from seven European nations and the United States have published reports of increasing rates of hypospadias during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Reports of increasing rates of cryptorchidism have come primarily from England. In recent years, these reports have become one focus of the debate over endocrine disruption. This study examines more recent data from a larger number of countries participating in the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Monitoring Systems (ICBDMS) to address the questions of whether such increases are worldwide and continuing and whether there are geographic patterns to any observed increases. The ICBDMS headquarters and individual systems provided the data. Systems were categorized into five groups based on gross domestic product in 1984. Hypospadias increases were most marked in two American systems and in Scandinavia and Japan. The increases leveled off in many systems after 1985. Increases were not seen in less affluent nations. Cryptorchidism rates were available for 10 systems. Clear increases in this anomaly were seen in two U.S. systems and in the South American system, but not elsewhere. Since 1985, rates declined in most systems. Numerous artifacts may contribute to or cause upward trends in hypospadias. Possible "real" causes include demographic changes and endocrine disruption, among others.  (+info)

Process and current status of the epidemiologic studies on cedar pollinosis in Japan. (2/96)

This paper reviews the present situation and future aspects of epidemiologic studies on Japanese cedar pollinosis. Increase of allergic rhinitis patients is observed in both the Patient Survey and the Reports on the Surveys of Social Medical Care Insurance Services, however, these surveys are conducted when cedar pollens do not pollute the air. Many have reported on the prevalence of pollinosis in limited areas but only a few nationwide epidemiologic surveys have been conducted. Most of the studies were conducted at special medical facilities such as university hospitals. There is a high possibility that patients who visit the specific facilities do not exactly represent the actual number of patients and epidemiologic pictures of pollinosis in Japan. The rapid advances in laboratory test methods may change the diagnostic criteria and increase the number of reported patients. Therefore, the prevalence of Japanese cedar pollinosis in Japan has not been determined yet. Determination of the prevalence of cedar pollinosis and description of the epidemiologic pictures constitute the essential steps toward the control of this clinical entity. Thus it is necessary to conduct an epidemiologic survey on Japanese representative samples with a standardized survey form with clear and concise diagnostic criteria.  (+info)

Financing pharmaceuticals in transition economies. (3/96)

This paper (a) provides a methodological taxonomy of pricing, financing, reimbursement, and cost containment methodologies for pharmaceuticals; (b) analyzes complex agency relationships and the health versus industrial policy tradeoff; (c) pinpoints financing measures to balance safety and effectiveness of medicines and their affordability by publicly funded systems in transition; and (d) highlights viable options for policy-makers for the financing of pharmaceuticals in transition. Three categories of measures and their implications for pharmaceutical policy cost containing are analyzed: supply-side measures, targeting manufacturers, proxy demand-side measures, targeting physicians and pharmacists, and demand-side measures, targeting patients. In pursuing supply side measures, we explore free pricing for pharmaceuticals, direct price controls, cost-plus and cost pricing, average pricing and international price comparisons, profit control, reference pricing, the introduction of a fourth hurdle, positive and negative lists, and other price control measures. The analysis of proxy-demand measures includes budgets for physicians, generic policies, practice guidelines, monitoring the authorizing behavior of physicians, and disease management schemes. Demand-side measures explore the effectiveness of patient co-payments, the impact of allowing products over-the-counter and health promotion programs. Global policies should operate simultaneously on the supply, the proxy demand, and the demand-side. Policy-making needs to have a continuous long-term planning. The importation of policies into transition economy may require extensive and expensive adaptation, and/or lead to sub-optimal policy outcomes.  (+info)

Prisoners of the proximate: loosening the constraints on epidemiology in an age of change. (4/96)

"Modern epidemiology" has a primary orientation to the study of multiple risk factors for chronic noncommunicable diseases. If epidemiologists are to understand the determinants of population health in terms that extend beyond proximate, individual-level risk factors (and their biological mediators), they must learn to apply a social-ecologic systems perspective. The mind-set and methods of modern epidemiology entail the following four main constraints that limit engagement in issues of wider context: 1) a preoccupation with proximate risk factors; 2) a focus on individual-level versus population-level influences on health; 3) a typically modular (time-windowed) view of how individuals undergo changes in risk status (i.e., a life-stage vs. a life-course model of risk acquisition); and 4) the, as yet, unfamiliar challenge of scenario-based forecasting of health consequences of future, large-scale social and environmental changes. The evolution of the content and methods of epidemiology continues. Epidemiologists are gaining insights into the complex social and environmental systems that are the context for health and disease; thinking about population health in increasingly ecologic terms; developing dynamic, interactive, life-course models of disease risk acquisition; and extending their spatial-temporal frame of reference as they perceive the health risks posed by escalating human pressures on the wider environment. The constraints of "the proximate" upon epidemiology are thus loosening as the end of the century approaches.  (+info)

Strong bones in later life: luxury or necessity? (5/96)

Osteoporosis is a global problem which will increase in significance as the population of the world both increases and ages. This report looks at how the demographic changes in different countries of the world will be reflected in the incidence and cost of osteoporotic disease. Comparisons are made between the data collected by the European Union's Report on Osteoporosis in the European Community, issued in June 1998, and some of the data available from other parts of the world. The importance of prevention, early detection and appropriate treatment is stressed, as well as the need for national health services to provide reimbursement of the costs of prevention, diagnosis and treatment for high-risk groups.  (+info)

Strong bones in later life: luxury or necessity? The view from Tunisia: need for an inclusive approach.(6/96)


Social determinants of birthweight and length of gestation in Estonia during the transition to democracy. (7/96)

BACKGROUND: To investigate social variation in birthweight and length of gestation in Estonia in the period of transition to a democracy and market economy. METHODS: All live births resulting from singleton pregnancies reported to the Estonian Medical Birth Registry in 1992-1997 (n = 84, 629) were studied with respect to social variation in birthweight and preterm delivery (<37 weeks gestation). The results were adjusted for maternal age, parity, education, nationality, marital status, smoking in pregnancy, sex of the infant (and gestational age). RESULTS: Between 1992 and 1997, mean birthweight increased from 3,465g to 3,497g (P < 0.001) and the preterm rate fell from 5.8% to 5.1% (P = 0.001). Maternal education, marital status and nationality were all independently related to the mean birthweight and the risk of preterm birth. The mean difference in birthweight between children of mothers with basic and university education was 87 g (95% CI : 74-100). Children born to mothers of non-Estonian compared to Estonian nationality were on average 77 g lighter (95% CI: 70-84). While the effect of nationality and marital status on birthweight was relatively stable during the study period, differences in birth outcome by maternal education became stronger. CONCLUSIONS: The mean birthweight increased and the preterm rate decreased in Estonia as a whole during the transition. However, the improvements were not shared equally by all social groups. An increase in variation in birthweight by maternal education was particularly notable.  (+info)

Are recent cohorts healthier than their predecessors? (8/96)

OBJECTIVES: This article examines changes in the health status of Canadian adults between 1978/79 and 1996/97. DATA SOURCES: Data are from the the Canadian Vital Statistics Data Base, the 1991 General Social Survey, the 1978/79 Canada Health Survey (CHS), and the 1996/97 National Population Health Survey (NPHS). ANALYTICAL TECHNIQUES: Age-specific mortality rates are presented for 1978 and 1996. The cumulative incidence of heart disease is shown for 1991. Cross-sectional comparisons of prevalence rates for selected chronic conditions, activity limitation, disability days, smoking and overweight are shown for 1978/79 and 1996/97. Multiple logistic regression models were used to test differences in odds ratios for the chronic conditions and for activity limitation between the CHS and the NPHS. SUDAAN, which accounts for the complex survey design, was used to estimate standard errors of the prevalence and of the coefficients in the logistic model. MAIN RESULTS: Lower mortality rates and lower prevalence of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and activity limitation suggest that recent cohorts are healthier than previous cohorts. When the age effect was controlled along with education and income, the odds of having these conditions were generally lower for each successive cohort, and lower in the mid-1990s than in the late 1970s. However, the odds of having diabetes were higher in 1996/97 than in 1978/79, and higher among more recent cohorts than among earlier cohorts.  (+info)