(1/1906) Longitudinal evaluation of serovar-specific immunity to Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The serovars of Neisseria gonorrhoeae that are predominant in a community change over time, a phenomenon that may be due to the development of immunity to repeat infection with the same serovar. This study evaluated the epidemiologic evidence for serovar-specific immunity to N. gonorrhoeae. During a 17-month period in 1992-1994, all clients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic in rural North Carolina underwent genital culture for N. gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal isolates were serotyped according to standard methods. Odds ratios for repeat infection with the same serovar versus any different serovar were calculated on the basis of the distribution of serovars in the community at the time of reinfection. Of 2,838 patients, 608 (21.4%; 427 males and 181 females) were found to be infected with N. gonorrhoeae at the initial visit. Ninety patients (14.8% of the 608) had a total of 112 repeat gonococcal infections. Repeat infection with the same serovar occurred slightly more often than would be expected based on the serovars prevalent in the community at the time of reinfection, though the result was marginally nonsignificant (odds ratio = 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.0-2.4; p = 0.05). Choosing partners within a sexual network may increase the likelihood of repeat exposure to the same serovar of N. gonorrhoeae. Gonococcal infection did not induce evident immunity to reinfection with the same serovar. (+info)
(2/1906) Should a history section be included on the National Youth Sports Program preparticipation physical examination?
The National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) is an annual event sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association that provides structured sports and enrichment programs to youth of low socioeconomic status. As part of the program, youths undergo a free medical examination that uses a physical examination checklist but does not include a section on medical history. To determine what additional information a medical history would provide, a history form was used in conjunction with the regular preparticipation examination for participants in the 1996 NYSP at the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The history form provided information such as family history of sudden death, personal history of asthma or bone injury, and whether participants took medications or used corrective lenses. Seventy-nine percent of the completed history forms documented a positive response to at least one question. Of these, only 5% had physical findings on examination. Conversely, 15% of participants had physical findings that were not reported on the history form. Because much of what is discovered by a medical history often is not found on physical examination and because history information can be used to prevent the occurrence of an accident or illness, this study suggests that the use of such a form is beneficial in providing a more comprehensive screening. (+info)
(3/1906) Environmental contaminants and body fat distribution.
The effect of body mass index (BMI) and waist:hip ratio (WHR) on plasma levels of organochlorines [i.e., 1,1-dichloro-2,2-bis(p-chlorophenyl)ethylene (DDE)] was investigated in a sample of black and white women drawn from a population-based study in North Carolina. Organochlorine levels were determined in plasma samples from 99 women selected on the basis of race (black versus white) and quartile of the WHR (1st versus 4th). Of a panel of 20 organochlorine compounds tested, only DDE was detectable in most study subjects. Measurements of height, weight, and waist and hip circumferences were taken during an in-person interview. Information was elicited regarding dietary, residential, and breast-feeding histories. Results of multiple regression analyses indicate that black women had significantly higher plasma levels of DDE than white women. These levels were independent of BMI and WHR. BMI but not WHR was also found to be an independent predictor of DDE plasma level. These results suggest that black/white differences should be considered in studies that explore the relationship between environmental contaminants and various disease outcomes, such as breast cancer risk. In addition, BMI may affect circulating levels of contaminants and should also be considered a potentially important modifying factor for exposure to lipophilic substances. (+info)
(4/1906) Evidence for a black-white crossover in all-cause and coronary heart disease mortality in an older population: the North Carolina EPESE.
OBJECTIVES: This cohort study evaluated racial differences in mortality among Blacks and Whites 65 years and older. METHODS: A total of 4136 men and women (1875 Whites and 2261 Blacks) living in North Carolina were interviewed in 1986 and followed up for mortality until 1994. Hazard ratios (HRs) for all-cause and cause-specific mortality were calculated, with adjustment for sociodemographic and coronary heart disease (CHD) risk factors. RESULTS: Black persons had higher mortality rates than Whites at young-old age (65-80 years) but had significantly lower mortality rates after age 80. Black persons age 80 or older had a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR of Blacks vs Whites, 0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.62, 0.90) and of CHD mortality (HR 0.44: 95% CI = 0.30, 0.66). These differences were not observed for other causes of death. CONCLUSIONS: Racial differences in mortality are modified by age. This mortality crossover could be attributed to selective survival of the healthiest oldest Blacks or to other biomedical factors affecting longevity after age 80. Because the crossover was observed for CHD deaths only, age overreporting by Black older persons seems an unlikely explanation of the mortality differences. (+info)
(5/1906) What's driving an epidemic? The spread of syphilis along an interstate highway in rural North Carolina.
OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to determine whether county syphilis rates were increased along Interstate Highway 95 (I-95) in North Carolina during a recent epidemic. METHODS: Ecological data on syphilis cases demographic data, highway data, and drug activity data were used to conduct a cross-sectional and longitudinal study of North Carolina countries from 1985 to 1994. Crude and adjusted incidence rate ratios (IRRs) were determined by means of standard and longitudinal Poisson regression models adjusted for sociodemographic factors and drug use. RESULTS: Ten-year syphilis rates in I-95 counties greatly exceeded rates in non-I-95 counties (38 vs 16 cases per 100,000 persons) and remained higher after adjustment for race, age, sex, poverty, large cities, and drug activity (adjusted IRR = 2.05, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.84, 2.28). Syphilis rates were stable until 1989, when rates increased sharply in I-95 counties but remained stable in non-I-95 counties. Increased drug activity in I-95 counties preceded the rise in syphilis cases. CONCLUSIONS: A better understanding of the relationship between high-ways and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases may guide future prevention interventions. (+info)
(6/1906) Predictors of crop diversification: a survey of tobacco farmers in North Carolina (USA).
OBJECTIVE: To assess the attitudes and behaviours of North Carolina tobacco farmers around crop diversification. DESIGN: Cross-sectional telephone survey. PARTICIPANTS: Active tobacco farmers in 14 North Carolina counties (n = 1236), interviewed between January and April 1997 (91% response rate). OUTCOME MEASURES: Interest in, experience with, and perceived barriers to diversification. RESULTS: Most farmers (95%) grew/raised a commodity other than tobacco (mean = 2.8). A total of 60% of farmers expressed interest in trying other on-farm activities to supplement their tobacco and 60% reported taking action in the past year around supplementation. Younger age and college education were positively associated with interest. College education, off-farm income, and larger farm size were associated with the number of actions taken. For perceived external barriers to diversification, use of tobacco, percent income from tobacco, lack of college education, and younger age were most strongly associated with the number of barriers. For internal barriers (personal factors), percent income from tobacco, use of tobacco, and lack of college education were most strongly associated with the number of barriers. CONCLUSIONS: Most farmers were involved in diverse operations and expressed interest in continuing to diversify, although the breadth of diversification was narrow. Farmers noted many barriers to diversifying. If conventional production and marketing techniques are employed for non-tobacco alternatives, these alternatives may not provide the sustainable profitability that tobacco has afforded. Competition from foreign tobacco growers is the primary threat to the future of American growers and tobacco dependent communities. (+info)
(7/1906) Do tailored behavior change messages enhance the effectiveness of health risk appraisal? Results from a randomized trial.
Health risk appraisal (HRA) remains one of the most widely used health promotion tools despite only equivocal evidence for its effectiveness. Theories of behavior change predict conventional HRA's ineffectiveness because risk information alone is seldom sufficient to change complex behaviors. In this study, a randomized trial compared the effects of feedback from an enhanced HRA with a typical HRA and a control group among adult patients from eight family medicine practices. The enhanced HRA assessed behavior-specific psychosocial factors and provided patients with computer-generated, individually-tailored behavior change information in addition to typical HRA risk feedback. Changes in seven behaviors were assessed at a 6 month follow-up. Overall, patients receiving enhanced HRA feedback were 18% more likely to change at least one risk behavior than were patients receiving typical HRA feedback or no feedback (OR = 1.18, 95% CI = 1.00, 1.39). The enhanced HRA feedback appeared to promote changes in cholesterol screening, dietary fat consumption and physical activity, but not in smoking, seat belt use, mammography and Pap smears. We conclude that the addition of theory-based, individually-tailored behavior change information may improve the effectiveness of HRA. (+info)
(8/1906) Cost implications of selective preoperative risk screening in the care of candidates for peripheral vascular operations.
The preoperative identification that patients are at high risk for adverse postoperative outcomes is the first step toward preventing costly in-hospital complications. The economic implications of noninvasive screening strategies in the care of patients undergoing peripheral vascular operations must be clarified. A decision model was developed from the peer-reviewed literature on patients undergoing preoperative screening by means of dipyridamole myocardial perfusion imaging, dobutamine echocardiography, or cardiac catheterization before vascular operations (n = 23 studies). Routine versus selective screening strategies were compared for patients with an intermediate likelihood of having coronary artery disease on the basis of clinical history of coronary disease or typical symptoms. Median costs (1994 US dollars) of preoperative screening strategies were derived with two microcosting approaches: adjusted Medicare charges (top-down approach) and a bottom-up approach with Duke University Center direct cost estimate data. In-hospital cost was 11% higher for preoperative screening by means of routine cardiac catheterization ($27,760) than for routine pharmacologic stress imaging ($24,826, P = 0.001). The total cost of a do-nothing strategy, that is, no preoperative testing, was 5.9% less than that of routine preoperative pharmacologic stress imaging and 15.9% lower than that of cardiac catheterization (P = 0.001). Selective screening among patients with a history of coronary disease or typical angina resulted in further reduction of the cost of care to a level comparable with that of a do-nothing strategy (52.5% reduction in cost with pharmacologic stress imaging, P > 0.20). Use of noninvasive testing for preoperative risk stratification was cost effective for patients 60 to 80 years of age. Cost per life saved ranged from $33,338 to $21,790. However, coronary revascularization after an abnormal noninvasive test was cost effective only for patients older than 70 years. In this economic decision model, substantial cost savings were predicted when selective noninvasive stress imaging was added to preoperative screening for patients about to undergo vascular operations. With a selective screening approach, the economic impact of initial diagnostic testing may be minimized without compromising patient outcomes. (+info)