Tropical enteropathy in Rhodesia.
Tropical enteropathy, which may be related to tropical sprue, has been described in many developing countries including parts of Africa. The jejunal changes of enteropathy are seen in Rhodesians of all social and racial categories. Xylose excretion, however, is related to socioeconomic status, but not race. Upper socioeconomic Africans and Europeans excrete significantly more xylose than lower socioeconomic Africans. Vitamin B12 and fat absorption are normal, suggesting predominant involvement of the proximal small intestine. Tropical enteropathy in Rhodesia is similar to that seen in Nigeria but is associated with less malabsorption than is found in the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent, and South East Asia. The possible aetiological factors are discussed. It is postulated that the lighter exposure of upper class Africans and Europeans to repeated gastrointestinal infections may accound for their superior xylose absorption compared with Africans of low socioeconomic circumstances. It is further suggested that the milder enteropathy seen in Africa may be explained by a lower prevalence of acute gastroenteritis than in experienced elsewhere in the tropics. (+info
Legalized physician-assisted suicide in Oregon--the first year's experience.
BACKGROUND AND METHODS: On October 27, 1997, Oregon legalized physician-assisted suicide. We collected data on all terminally ill Oregon residents who received prescriptions for lethal medications under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act and who died in 1998. The data were obtained from physicians' reports, death certificates, and interviews with physicians. We compared persons who took lethal medications prescribed under the act with those who died from similar illnesses but did not receive prescriptions for lethal medications. RESULTS: Information on 23 persons who received prescriptions for lethal medications was reported to the Oregon Health Division; 15 died after taking the lethal medications, 6 died from underlying illnesses, and 2 were alive as of January 1, 1999. The median age of the 15 patients who died after taking lethal medications was 69 years; 8 were male, and all 15 were white. Thirteen of the 15 patients had cancer. The case patients and controls were similar with regard to sex, race, urban or rural residence, level of education, health insurance coverage, and hospice enrollment. No case patients or controls expressed concern about the financial impact of their illness. One case patient and 15 controls expressed concern about inadequate control of pain (P=0.10). The case patients were more likely than the controls to have never married (P=0.04) and were more likely to be concerned about loss of autonomy due to illness (P=0.01) and loss of control of bodily functions (P=0.02). At death, 21 percent of the case patients and 84 percent of the controls were completely disabled (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: During the first year of legalized physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, the decision to request and use a prescription for lethal medication was associated with concern about loss of autonomy or control of bodily functions, not with fear of intractable pain or concern about financial loss. In addition, we found that the choice of physician-assisted suicide was not associated with level of education or health insurance coverage. (+info
Incidence and occupational pattern of leukaemias, lymphomas, and testicular tumours in western Ireland over an 11 year period.
STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine incidence of the following malignancies, testicular tumours, all leukaemias and all lymphomas in the West of Ireland in an 11 year period. Secondly, to examine the relation between disease patterns and available occupational data in male subjects of working age. DESIGN: A census survey of all cases occurring in the three counties in the Western Health Board (WHB) area, Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, for the 11 year period 1980 to 1990 inclusive. Average annual age standardised incidence rates for the period were calculated using the 1986 census data. Rates for the area are compared with rates from the southern region of Ireland, which had a tumour registry. Trends over the time period are evaluated. All male subjects for whom occupational data were available were categorised using the Irish socioeconomic group classification and incidence rates by occupation were compared using the standardised incidence ratio method. In one of the counties, Galway, a detailed occupational history of selected cases and an age matched control group was also elicited through patients' general practitioners. SETTING: All available case records in the West of Ireland. RESULTS: There are no national incidence records for the period. Compared with data from the Southern Tumour Registry, the number of cases of women with myeloid leukaemias was significantly lower. Male leukaemia rates were significantly lower as a group (SIR 84 (95% CI 74, 95) but not when considered as individual categories. Regression analysis revealed an increasing trend in the number of new cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among both men (r = 0.47, p = 0.02) and women (r = 0.90, p = 0.0001) and of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in men (r = 0.77, p = 0.005) and women (r = 0.68 p = 0.02) in the WHB region over the last decade. Four hundred and fifty six male cases over the age of 15 years were identified and adequate occupational information was available for 74% of these. Standardised incidence ratios of testicular tumours 100, 938) and agriworkers other than farmers (SIR 377, 95% CI 103, 967). There were also significantly increased incidence ratios for both non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR 169, 95% CI 124, 266) and three categories of leukaemias among farmers. Hodgkin's disease and acute myeloid leukaemias were significantly increased among semi-skilled people. Interview data with 90 cases and 54 controls of both sexes revealed that among farmers, cases (n = 31) were significantly less likely than controls (n = 20) to use tractor mounted spraying techniques (OR = 0.19 (95% CI 0.04, 0.80)) and less likely to wear protective masks (OR 0.22 (95% CI 0.05, 0.84)). CONCLUSIONS: Trends of increase in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and some leukaemias are consistent with studies elsewhere. The study provides further evidence of the relation between agricultural work and certain lymphoproliferative cancers. The possible carcinogenic role of chemicals used in agricultural industries must be considered as an explanation. (+info
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
Is hospital care involved in inequalities in coronary heart disease mortality? Results from the French WHO-MONICA Project in men aged 30-64.
OBJECTIVES: The goal of the study was to assess whether possible disparities in coronary heart disease (CHD) management between occupational categories (OC) in men might be observed and contribute to the increasing inequalities in CHD morbidity and mortality reported in France. METHODS: The data from the three registers of the French MONICA Collaborative Centres (MCC-Lille, MCC-Strasbourg, and MCC-Toulouse) were analysed during two period: 1985-87 and 1989-91. Acute myocardial infarctions and coronary deaths concerning men, aged 30-64 years, were included. Non-professionally active and retired men were excluded. Results were adjusted for age and MCC, using a logistic regression analysis. RESULTS: 605 and 695 events were analysed for 1985-87 and 1989-91, respectively. Out of hospital cardiac arrests, with or without cardiac resuscitation, and 28 day case fatality rates were lower among upper executives in both periods. A coronarography before the acute event had been performed more frequently in men of this category and the proportion of events that could be hospitalised was higher among them. In both periods, the management of acute myocardial infarctions in hospital and prescriptions on discharge were similar among occupational categories. CONCLUSIONS: For patients who could be admitted to hospital, the management was found to be similar among OCs, as was the 28 day case fatality rate among the hospitalised patients. In contrast, lower prognosis and higher probability of being hospitalised after the event among some categories suggest that pre-hospital care and the patient's conditions before the event are the primary factors involved. (+info
The social and economic effects of manic depressive illness and of its treatment in lithium clinics.
Advising about the employment of those who have had manic depressive episodes requires Occupational Health Physicians to obtain, with consent, an objective account of previous episodes and to appreciate the enormous range of manic and depressive manifestations. Familiarity is needed with the likely effects of treatment of episodes and the benefits and problems of prophylaxis--not just in general but in individual cases, for example, where driving is required. This article summarizes research into the effects of lithium preparations on the course of the illness, thyroid and renal function and the risk of suicide. The author found that changing from treatment of episodes to continuous prophylaxis benefited employment and personal relationships without causing body weight problems. Many patients do well in life if supported by an experienced professional team, with 61% requiring no further admissions once on lithium, and with an 86% reduction in admissions achieved in our local clinic. (+info
The PRIME study: classical risk factors do not explain the severalfold differences in risk of coronary heart disease between France and Northern Ireland. Prospective Epidemiological Study of Myocardial Infarction.
We are studying the contribution of risk and genetic factors, and their interaction, to the development of ischaemic heart disease (IHD) and other cardiovascular endpoints. The study is prospective, based in three centres in the south, east and north of France and in Northern Ireland. A total of 10,592 men aged 50-59 years were recruited from 1991 to 1993, and examined for evidence of IHD at baseline. Subjects are followed annually by questionnaire. Clinical information is validated from hospital and GP records. Demographic characteristics were similar in all four centres. Body mass index was highest in Strasbourg (mean 27.4 kg/m2 vs. 26.3 kg/m2 in Toulouse and Belfast), but total cholesterol, triglyceride and fibrinogen were highest in Belfast. In Belfast, 6.1% reported having had a coronary angiogram, compared to 3.0% in Toulouse. Conversely, 13.8% in Toulouse reported taking lipid-lowering drugs vs. 1.6% in Belfast. As predicted, a history of myocardial infarction (MI) was highest in Belfast (6.1%) and lowest in Toulouse (1.2%). Some 7.1% of Belfast men reported a medical diagnosis of angina vs. 1.5% in Toulouse. Subjects showing evidence of pre-existing IHD will be studied prospectively but treated in the analysis as an additional variable. These results provide a measure of reassurance that these cohorts are representative of the communities from which they are drawn and provide a reliable baseline for prospective evaluation and cross-sectional comparisons. The levels of the classical risk factors found in this study, particularly when examined in combination, as multiple logistic functions based on previous British studies, are very similar between centres and cannot explain the large differences in the incidence of IHD which exist. Additional risk factors may help explain, at least in part, the major differences in incidence of IHD between these study centres. (+info
Geographic, demographic, and socioeconomic variations in the investigation and management of coronary heart disease in Scotland.
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether age, sex, level of deprivation, and area of residence affect the likelihood of investigation and treatment of patients with coronary heart disease. DESIGN, PATIENTS, AND INTERVENTIONS: Routine discharge data were used to identify patients admitted with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) between 1991 and 1993 inclusive. Record linkage provided the proportion undergoing angiography, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) over the following two years. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to determine whether age, sex, deprivation, and area of residence were independently associated with progression to investigation and revascularisation. SETTING: Mainland Scotland 1991 to 1995 inclusive. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Two year incidence of angiography, PTCA, and CABG. Results-36 838 patients were admitted with AMI. 4831 (13%) underwent angiography, 587 (2%) PTCA, and 1825 (5%) CABG. Women were significantly less likely to undergo angiography (p < 0.001) and CABG (p < 0.001) but more likely to undergo PTCA (p < 0.05). Older patients were less likely to undergo all three procedures (p < 0.001). Socioeconomic deprivation was associated with a reduced likelihood of both angiography and CABG (p < 0.001). There were significant geographic variations in all three modalities (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Variations in investigation and management were demonstrated by age, sex, geography, and socioeconomic deprivation. These are unlikely to be accounted for by differences in need; differences in clinical practice are, therefore, likely. (+info