Do housing tenure and car access predict health because they are simply markers of income or self esteem? A Scottish study.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate relations between health (using a range of measures) and housing tenure or car access; and to test the hypothesis that observed relations between these asset based measures and health are simply because they are markers for income or self esteem. DESIGN: Analysis of data from second wave of data collection of West of Scotland Twenty-07 study, collected in 1991 by face to face interviews conducted by nurse interviewers. SETTING: The Central Clydeside Conurbation, in the West of Scotland. SUBJECTS: 785 people (354 men, 431 women) in their late 30s, and 718 people (358 men, 359 women) in their late 50s, participants in a longitudinal study. MEASURES: General Health Questionnaire scores, respiratory function, waist/hip ratio, number of longstanding illnesses, number of symptoms in the last month, and systolic blood pressure; household income adjusted for household size and composition; Rosenberg self esteem score; housing tenure and care access. RESULTS: On bivariate analysis, all the health measures were significantly associated with housing tenure, and all except waist/hip ratio with car access; all except waist/hip ratio were related to income, and all except systolic blood pressure were related to self esteem. In models controlling for age, sex, and their interaction, neither waist/hip ratio nor systolic blood pressure remained significantly associated with tenure or care access. Significant relations with all the remaining health measures persisted after further controlling for income or self esteem. CONCLUSIONS: Housing tenure and car access may not only be related to health because they are markers for income or psychological traits; they may also have some directly health promoting or damaging effects. More research is needed to establish mechanisms by which they may influence health, and to determine the policy implications of their association with health. (+info)
Comparison of large restriction fragments of Mycobacterium avium isolates recovered from AIDS and non-AIDS patients with those of isolates from potable water.
We examined potable water in Los Angeles, California, as a possible source of infection in AIDS and non-AIDS patients. Nontuberculous mycobacteria were recovered from 12 (92%) of 13 reservoirs, 45 (82%) of 55 homes, 31 (100%) of 31 commercial buildings, and 15 (100%) of 15 hospitals. Large-restriction-fragment (LRF) pattern analyses were done with AseI. The LRF patterns of Mycobacterium avium isolates recovered from potable water in three homes, two commercial buildings, one reservoir, and eight hospitals had varying degrees of relatedness to 19 clinical isolates recovered from 17 patients. The high number of M. avium isolates recovered from hospital water and their close relationship with clinical isolates suggests the potential threat of nosocomial spread. This study supports the possibility that potable water is a source for the acquisition of M. avium infections. (+info)
Radon and lung cancer: a cost-effectiveness analysis.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the cost-effectiveness of general and targeted strategies for residential radon testing and mitigation in the United States. METHODS: A decision-tree model was used to perform a cost-effectiveness analysis of preventing radon-associated deaths from lung cancer. RESULTS: For a radon threshold of 4 pCi/L, the estimated costs to prevent 1 lung cancer death are about $3 million (154 lung cancer deaths prevented), or $480,000 per life-year saved, based on universal radon screening and mitigation, and about $2 million (104 lung cancer deaths prevented), or $330,000 per life-year saved, if testing and mitigation are confined to geographic areas at high risk for radon exposure. For mitigation undertaken after a single screening test and after a second confirmatory test, the estimated costs are about $920,000 and $520,000, respectively, to prevent a lung cancer death with universal screening and $130,000 and $80,000 per life-year for high risk screening. The numbers of preventable lung cancer deaths are 811 and 527 for universal and targeted approaches, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest possible alternatives to current recommendations. (+info)
Health impacts of domestic coal use in China.
Domestic coal combustion has had profound adverse effects on the health of millions of people worldwide. In China alone several hundred million people commonly burn raw coal in unvented stoves that permeate their homes with high levels of toxic metals and organic compounds. At least 3,000 people in Guizhou Province in southwest China are suffering from severe arsenic poisoning. The primary source of the arsenic appears to be consumption of chili peppers dried over fires fueled with high-arsenic coal. Coal samples in the region were found to contain up to 35,000 ppm arsenic. Chili peppers dried over high-arsenic coal fires adsorb 500 ppm arsenic on average. More than 10 million people in Guizhou Province and surrounding areas suffer from dental and skeletal fluorosis. The excess fluorine is caused by eating corn dried over burning briquettes made from high-fluorine coals and high-fluorine clay binders. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons formed during coal combustion are believed to cause or contribute to the high incidence of esophageal and lung cancers in parts of China. Domestic coal combustion also has caused selenium poisoning and possibly mercury poisoning. Better knowledge of coal quality parameters may help to reduce some of these health problems. For example, information on concentrations and distributions of potentially toxic elements in coal may help delineate areas of a coal deposit to be avoided. Information on the modes of occurrence of these elements and the textural relations of the minerals and macerals in coal may help predict the behavior of the potentially toxic components during coal combustion. (+info)
A population-based study of environmental hazards in the homes of older persons.
OBJECTIVES: This study sought to estimate the population-based prevalence of environmental hazards in the homes of older persons and to determine whether the prevalence of these hazards differs by housing type or by level of disability in terms of activities of daily living (ADLs). METHODS: An environmental assessment was completed in the homes of 1000 persons 72 years and older. Weighted prevalence rates were calculated for each of the potential hazards and subsequently compared among subgroups of participants characterized by housing type and level of ADL disability. RESULTS: Overall, the prevalence of most environmental hazards was high. Two or more hazards were found in 59% of bathrooms and in 23% to 42% of the other rooms. Nearly all homes had at least 2 potential hazards. Although age-restricted housing was less hazardous than community housing, older persons who were disabled were no less likely to be exposed to environmental hazards than older persons who were nondisabled. CONCLUSIONS: Environmental hazards are common in the homes of community-living older persons. (+info)
Effect of dampness at home in childhood on bronchial hyperreactivity in adolescence.
BACKGROUND: Relatively little is known about risk factors for the persistence of asthma and respiratory symptoms from childhood into adolescence, and few studies have included objective measurements to assess outcomes and exposure. METHODS: From a large cross sectional study of all 4th grade school children in Munich (mean age 10.2 years), 234 children (5%) with active asthma were identified. Of these, 155 (66%) were reinvestigated with lung function measurements and bronchial provocation three years later (mean age 13.5 years). RESULTS: At follow up 35.5% still had active asthma. Risk factors for persisting asthma symptoms in adolescence were more severe asthma (OR 4.94; CI 1.65 to 14.76; p = 0.004) or allergic triggers (OR 3.54; CI 1.41 to 8.92; p = 0.007) in childhood. Dampness was associated with increased night time wheeze and shortness of breath but not with persisting asthma. Risk factors for bronchial hyperreactivity in adolescence were bronchial hyperreactivity in childhood (p = 0.004), symptoms triggered by allergen exposure (OR 5.47; CI 1.91 to 25.20; p = 0.029), and damp housing conditions (OR 16.14; CI 3.53 to 73.73; p < 0.001). In a subgroup in whom house dust mite antigen levels in the bed were measured (70% of the sample), higher mite antigen levels were associated with bronchial hyperreactivity (OR per quartile of mite antigen 2.30; CI 1.03 to 5.12; p = 0.042). Mite antigen levels were also significantly correlated with dampness (p = 0.05). However, the effect of dampness on bronchial hyperreactivity remained significant when adjusting for mite allergen levels (OR 5.77; CI 1.17 to 28.44; p = 0.031). CONCLUSION: Dampness at home is a significant risk factor for the persistence of bronchial hyperreactivity and respiratory symptoms in children with asthma. This risk is only partly explained by exposure to house dust mite antigen. (+info)
Social environment and year of birth influence type 1 diabetes risk for African-American and Latino children.
OBJECTIVE: Credible epidemiological data, primarily from European-origin populations, indicate that environmental factors play an important role in the incidence of type 1 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A population-based registry of incident cases of type 1 diabetes among African-American and Latino children in Chicago was used to explore the influence of individual and neighborhood characteristics on diabetes risk. New cases of insulin-treated diabetes in African-American and Latino Chicagoans aged 0-17 years for 1985-1990 (n = 400) were assigned to one of 77 community areas based on street address. Census tables provided denominators, median household income, percentage of adults > or = 25 years old who had completed high school and college, and a crowding variable for each community area individual-level data were birth cohort, sex, and ethnicity. Outcomes in Poisson regression were sex-, ethnic-, and birth cohort-specific incidence rates. RESULTS: Significant univariate associations between diabetes risk and ethnicity, birth cohort, crowding, and the percentage of adults in each community area who had completed high school and college were observed. African-Americans had a relative risk (RR) of 1.42 (95% CI, 1.14-1.76) compared with Latinos. Risk varied significantly by birth cohort in both ethnic groups. For every 10% increase in the proportion of adults who completed college, the RR for diabetes increased by 25% (RR, 1.25 [95% CI, 1.09-1.44]). Social class variables were significant determinants of risk for African Americans, but not for Latinos. CONCLUSIONS: The strong birth cohort and social class associations observed in this study implicate an infectious exposure linked with age. (+info)
Fish and mammals in the economy of an ancient Peruvian kingdom.
Fish and mammal bones from the coastal site of Cerro Azul, Peru shed light on economic specialization just before the Inca conquest of A. D. 1470. The site devoted itself to procuring anchovies and sardines in quantity for shipment to agricultural communities. These small fish were dried, stored, and eventually transported inland via caravans of pack llamas. Cerro Azul itself did not raise llamas but obtained charqui (or dried meat) as well as occasional whole adult animals from the caravans. Guinea pigs were locally raised. Some 20 species of larger fish were caught by using nets; the more prestigious varieties of these show up mainly in residential compounds occupied by elite families. (+info)