CDKN2A variants in a population-based sample of Queensland families with melanoma.
BACKGROUND: Mutations in the CDKN2A gene confer susceptibility to cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM); however, the population incidence of such mutations is unknown. Polymorphisms in CDKN2A have also been described, but it is not known whether they influence melanoma risk. We investigated the association of CDKN2A mutations and polymorphisms with melanoma risk in a population-based sample of families ascertained through probands with melanoma. METHODS: The 482 Queensland, Australia, families in our sample were characterized previously as having high, intermediate, or low family risk of CMM. Unrelated individuals (n = 200 families/individuals) drawn from the Australian Twin Registry served as control subjects. For individuals in the high-risk group, the entire CDKN2A gene coding region was screened for mutations by use of the polymerase chain reaction, agarose gel electrophoresis, allele-specific oligonucleotide (ASO) hybridization, and single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. The intermediate- and low-risk families and control subjects were analyzed by ASO hybridization for a total of six recurring mutations as well as for polymorphisms at nucleotides (Nts) 442, 500, and 540. RESULTS: CDKN2A mutations were found only in the high-risk families (nine [10.3%] of 87). The prevalence of the Nt500G (guanosine) polymorphism increased linearly with increasing familial risk (two-sided P = .02) and was highest in the nine (primarily Celtic) families with CDKN2A mutations. After adjustment for ethnic origin, the relationship between risk group and the frequency of the Nt500G allele was weakened (P = .25); however, there was no relationship between ethnic origin and Nt500-polymorphism frequency among the control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: CDKN2A mutations are rare in this population (approximately 0.2% of all melanoma cases in Queensland) and appear to be associated with melanoma in only the most affected families. The Nt500G allele appears to be associated with familial risk, but this association probably reflects Celtic ancestry. (+info)
Older people's use of ambulance services: a population based analysis.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the use of emergency and non-urgent ambulance transport services by people aged 65 years and over. SETTING: The study was undertaken in Queensland where the Queensland Ambulance Services (QAS) is the sole provider of emergency pre-hospital and non-urgent ambulance services for the entire state. METHODS: The age and sex of 351,000 emergency and non-urgent cases treated and transported by the QAS from July 1995 to June 1996 were analysed. RESULTS: People aged 65 years and over who comprise 12% of the population utilise approximately one third of the emergency and two thirds of the non-urgent ambulance resources provided in Queensland. While the absolute number of occasions of service for females for emergency services is higher than for males, when the data are stratified for age and sex, males have higher rates of emergency ambulance service utilisation than females across every age group, and particularly in older age groups. Gender differences are also found for non-urgent ambulance usage. The absolute number of occasions of service for older females aged 65 and over using non-urgent ambulance transport is high, but utilisation patterns on stratified data reveal similar gender usage patterns across most age groupings, except at the older age groupings where male usage greatly exceeds female usage. CONCLUSIONS: As the aged are disproportionately high users of ambulance services, it will become increasingly important for ambulance services to plan for the projected increase in the aged population. Emergency pre-hospital care is one of the few health services along the continuum of care where male usage patterns are higher than those of females. More information needs to be obtained on the age and presenting characteristics of those people who are multiple users of the ambulance service. Such information will assist service planners. (+info)
Point source sulphur dioxide peaks and hospital presentations for asthma.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effect on hospital presentations for asthma of brief exposures to sulphur dioxide (SO2) (within the range 0-8700 micrograms/m3) emanating from two point sources in a remote rural city of 25,000 people. METHODS: A time series analysis of SO2 concentrations and hospital presentations for asthma was undertaken at Mount Isa where SO2 is released into the atmosphere by a copper smelter and a lead smelter. The study examined 5 minute block mean SO2 concentrations and daily hospital presentations for asthma, wheeze, or shortness of breath. Generalised linear models and generalised additive models based on a Poisson distribution were applied. RESULTS: There was no evidence of any positive relation between peak SO2 concentrations and hospital presentations or admissions for asthma, wheeze, or shortness of breath. CONCLUSION: Brief exposures to high concentrations of SO2 emanating from point sources at Mount Isa do not cause sufficiently serious symptoms in asthmatic people to require presentation to hospital. (+info)
Comparison of two self-help smoking cessation booklets.
OBJECTIVE: To compare two self-help smoking cessation booklets distributed to callers to a Quitline telephone service in Queensland (Australia). DESIGN: Callers were randomised to receive either a structured 14-day quit programme (Time to quit) or another booklet and described four broad stages of quitting (Can quit). Approximately one month later, these callers were interviewed by telephone. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-reported smoking status at one month and recent quit attempts together with process measures. RESULTS: Altogether, 521 callers (78.3%) were interviewed. They were heavier smokers when compared with all Queensland smokers: on average they had smoked for more than 15 years, smoked nearly 25 cigarettes per day, and almost two-thirds had attempted to quit smoking in the past year. In each group, significant proportions either did not begin to use the booklet (50.5-56.0%), or did not complete its use (77.4-82.3%). There were no differences in the self-reported quit rates at one month (17.0% vs 16.1%; p = 0.93). In an ordinal regression modelling procedure involving age, sex, number of recent quit attempts, number of cigarettes smoked per day, smoking status of partner, number of five closest friends who smoke, education, and booklet received, only the number of cigarettes smoked per day was significantly related to smoking status at one month. CONCLUSIONS: Callers to telephone Quit-line services are typically heavier smokers than the general smoking population, and simple strategies, such as self-help booklets, appear to achieve relatively high success. Nevertheless, there is potential to improve the effectiveness of these materials by making a range of materials available and encouraging callers to make a serious attempt to quit smoking. (+info)
Hormone replacement therapy and risk of epithelial ovarian cancer.
It has been suggested that oestrogen replacement therapy is associated with risk of epithelial ovarian cancer of the endometrioid type. Using data from an Australian population-based case-control study, the relation between unopposed oestrogen replacement therapy and epithelial ovarian cancer, both overall and according to histological type, was examined. A total of 793 eligible incident cases of epithelial ovarian cancer diagnosed from 1990 to 1993 among women living in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria were identified. These were compared with 855 eligible female controls selected at random from the electoral roll, stratified by age and geographic region. Trained interviewers administered standard questionnaires to obtain detailed reproductive and contraceptive histories, as well as details about hormone replacement therapy and pelvic operations. No clear associations were observed between use of hormone replacement therapy overall and risk of ovarian cancer. Unopposed oestrogen replacement therapy was, however, associated with a significant increase in risk of endometrioid or clear cell epithelial ovarian tumours (odds ratio (OR) 2.56; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.32-4.94). In addition, the risk associated with oestrogen replacement therapy was much larger in women with an intact genital tract (OR 3.00; 95% CI 1.54-5.85) than in those with a history of either hysterectomy or tubal ligation. Post-menopausal oestrogen replacement therapy may, therefore, be a risk factor associated with endometrioid and clear cell tumours in particular. Additionally, the risk may be increased predominantly in women with an intact genital tract. These associations could reflect a possible role of endometriosis in the development of endometrioid or clear cell ovarian tumours. (+info)
Using multi media to enhance a flexible learning program: lessons learned.
Central Queensland University is a well-established distance education provider with an internationally recognized reputation in flexible learning. It has a well-developed infrastructure for the preparation of quality print and multimedia learning materials. A symposium and working conference linking twelve sites, including Auckland NZ via video conferencing, and supported by print based materials and web based conferencing was held during November 1998 with the assistance of Telstra's Conferlink. This paper provides the background, organisation, and evaluation results. Our conclusions are that appropriate use of a combination of print based materials, videoconferencing and a web based classroom works well for the provision of continuing education to health professionals. In addition this symposium was able to reach clinicians and demonstrate the value of informatics to support evidence based practice. (+info)
Detection of Australian gill-associated virus (GAV) and lymphoid organ virus (LOV) of Penaeus monodon by RT-nested PCR.
A highly sensitive test based on reverse transcription followed by nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-nPCR) was developed to detect the Australian yellow-head-like viruses, gill-associated virus (GAV) and lymphoid organ virus (LOV) of Penaeus monodon. The RT-nPCR detected viral RNA in as little as 10 fg lymphoid organ total RNA isolated from GAV-infected P. monodon. Amplification of serial dilutions of a GAV cDNA clone showed that the nested PCR was sufficiently sensitive to detect a single genome equivalent using a DNA template. The specificity and sensitivity of the RT-nPCR was also demonstrated using experimentally infected P. (Marsupenaeus) japonicus, where GAV sequences could be amplified from lymphoid organ and haemocyte RNA as early as 6 h post infection (p.i.), and from gills by 24 h p.i. In contrast, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) identified nucleocapsids and virions in lymphoid organ cells and haemocytes from Days 3 and 6 p.i., respectively, while there was no evidence of infection in gill cells at any time. The practical application of the RT-nPCR was demonstrated by screening healthy wild-caught P. monodon broodstock. The high prevalence (>98%) of broodstock that were positive by RT-nPCR suggests that LOV is endemic in northern Queensland. In addition, results with lymphoid organ, gill and haemocyte RNA suggest that small gill biopsies may be best suited to the non-sacrificial testing of valuable broodstock. The speed and sensitivity of the RT-nPCR make it a useful adjunct to TEM for diagnosing LOV/GAV infection of P. monodon, with the additional benefit that screening of gill biopsies may facilitate selection of LOV-free broodstock. (+info)
Incidence, site, and nature of injuries in amateur rugby league over three consecutive seasons.
OBJECTIVES: To report the incidence, site, and nature of injuries in amateur rugby league over three consecutive seasons. METHODS: Six hundred players registered with an amateur rugby league organisation were studied over three consecutive seasons. All injuries sustained during the amateur rugby league matches were recorded. Information recorded included the date and time of injury, name of injured player, anatomical site and nature of injury, and position of the player. RESULTS: The incidence of injury was 160.6 per 1000 player-position game hours, with forwards having a significantly higher incidence of injury than backs (182.3 per 1000 v 142.0 per 1000, chi2 = 14.60, df = 1, p<0.001). Over 25% of the total injuries (40.6 per 1000) sustained during the three year period were to the head and neck, while injuries to the face (21.3 per 1000, 13.3%), abdomen and thorax (21.3 per 1000, 13.3%), and knee (17.8 per 1000, 11.1%) were less common (chi2 = 21.83, df = 8, p<0.01). Muscular injuries (haematomas and strains) were the most common type of injury (45.7 per 1000, 28.5%, chi2 = 17.98, df = 7, p<0.05). Significantly more injuries occurred in the latter stages of the season (chi2 = 22.94, df = 1, p<0.001), with most injuries (70.8%, chi2 = 162.29, df = 1, p<0.001) sustained in the second half of matches. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that muscular injuries and injuries to the head and neck are the most commonly sustained injuries in amateur rugby league. Furthermore, injuries are more often sustained in the latter stages of the season and during the second half of matches. These findings suggest that fatigue or accumulative microtrauma, or both, may contribute to injuries in amateur rugby league players. (+info)