Effects of dispersed recreational activities on the microbiological quality of forest surface water.
The microbiological quality of forest surface waters in the Greenwater River watershed was examined to investigate the influence of heavy motorized camping in an area with no sanitary facilities. Indicator densities increased during weekend human-use periods when compared to weekdays. Increases in indicator densities were also noted downstream from heavily used camping areas when compared to upstream sites. Seasonal, weekly, and diurnal fluctuations in indicator densities were observed. This study suggests that potential health hazards exist in this watershed during periods of human use. (+info)
Maternal second trimester serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha-soluble receptor p55 (sTNFp55) and subsequent risk of preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia is characterized by diffuse vascular endothelial dysfunction. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), which plays a key role in the cytokine network responsible for immunoregulation, is also known to contribute to endothelial dysfunction and other metabolic disturbances noted in preeclampsia. Results from cross-sectional studies and one longitudinal study indicate that TNF-alpha (or its soluble receptor, sTNFp55) is increased in the peripheral circulation and amniotic fluid of women with preeclampsia as compared with normotensive women. Between December 1993 and August 1994, prediagnostic sTNFp55 concentrations (a marker of excessive TNF-alpha release) were measured in 35 women with preeclampsia and 222 normotensive women to determine whether elevations precede the clinical manifestation of the disorder. Logistic regression procedures were used to calculate maximum likelihood estimates of odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Mean second trimester (15-22 weeks' gestation) serum sTNFp55 concentrations, measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, were 14.4% higher in preeclamptic women than in normotensive controls (716.6 pg/ml (standard deviation 193.6) vs. 626.4 pg/ml (standard deviation 158.0); p = 0.003). The relative risk of preeclampsia increased across successively higher quintiles of sTNFp55 (odds ratios were 1.0, 1.3, 2.1, and 3.7, with the lowest quintile used as the referent; p for trend = 0.007). After adjustment for maternal age, adiposity, and parity, the relative risk between extreme quintiles was 3.3 (95% confidence interval 0.8-13.4). These findings indicate that the level of TNF-alpha in maternal circulation is increased prior to the clinical manifestation of the disorder, and they are consistent with the hypothesized role of cytokines in mediating endothelial dysfunction and the pathogenesis of preeclampsia. Further work is needed to identify modifiable risk factors for the excessive synthesis and release of TNF-alpha in pregnancy, and to assess whether lowering of TNF-alpha concentrations in pregnancy alters the incidence and severity of preeclampsia. (+info)
Relation between obesity and breast cancer in young women.
This study was conducted to assess the relation between body size and risk of breast cancer among young women. A case-control study was conducted among women aged 21-45 years living in three counties in Washington State. Cases were women born after 1944 with invasive or in situ breast cancer that was diagnosed between January 1, 1983, and April 30, 1990. Controls were selected using random digit dialing and were frequency-matched to cases on the basis of age and county of residence. Interviews took place between 1986 and 1992. Body size was evaluated using indices from several different time periods. After adjustment for confounders, a decreased risk of breast cancer was found for women in the highest quintile of body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2) as compared with the lowest quintile (for maximum lifetime body mass index, odds ratio = 0.69, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.51-0.94). Age modified the relation between body size and risk of breast cancer. The odds ratio for women in the highest quintile of maximum body mass index who were aged 21-35 years was 0.29 (95% CI 0.16-0.55), as compared with an odds ratio of 1.5 for women aged 36-45 years (95% CI 0.9-2.5) (p for interaction = 0.003). This study supports prior research showing a decreased risk of breast cancer associated with increased body size among premenopausal or young women. More detailed analysis in this study found a strong effect that was limited to the youngest age group (< or = 35 years). (+info)
Maternal smoking and Down syndrome: the confounding effect of maternal age.
Inconsistent results have been reported from studies evaluating the association of maternal smoking with birth of a Down syndrome child. Control of known risk factors, particularly maternal age, has also varied across studies. By using a population-based case-control design (775 Down syndrome cases and 7,750 normal controls) and Washington State birth record data for 1984-1994, the authors examined this hypothesized association and found a crude odds ratio of 0.80 (95% confidence interval 0.65-0.98). Controlling for broad categories of maternal age (<35 years, > or =35 years), as described in prior studies, resulted in a negative association (odds ratio = 0.87, 95% confidence interval 0.71-1.07). However, controlling for exact year of maternal age in conjunction with race and parity resulted in no association (odds ratio = 1.00, 95% confidence interval 0.82-1.24). In this study, the prevalence of Down syndrome births increased with increasing maternal age, whereas among controls the reported prevalence of smoking during pregnancy decreased with increasing maternal age. There is a substantial potential for residual confounding by maternal age in studies of maternal smoking and Down syndrome. After adequately controlling for maternal age in this study, the authors found no clear relation between maternal smoking and the risk of Down syndrome. (+info)
Pathogenicity of Ichthyophonus hoferi for laboratory-reared Pacific herring Clupea pallasi and its early appearance in wild Puget Sound herring.
Laboratory-reared pathogen-free Pacific herring were exposed to pure cultures of Ichthyophonus hoferi, and reproduced the disease seen in naturally infected fish--thus fulfilling Koch's Postulates. Pathogen-free herring used in this study were reared from artificially spawned eggs incubated in filtered, UV-sterilized seawater, eliminating the variables associated with multiple infections, which are common in wild herring. Wild free-ranging herring were captured monthly from June through October by dip net from 'herring balls' located in the northern Puget Sound. I. hoferi infections were identified in these fish soon after metamorphoses, about 4 mo post-hatch. The prevalence increased from 5 to 6% in 0-yr fish to 24% in 1-yr-old fish to 50 to 70% in fish over 2 yr old, with no associated increase in mortality. The route of natural transmission to wild herring was not determined, but carnivorous fish became infected and died when they were experimentally fed tissues infected with the organism. In vitro culture of tissues was the most sensitive method for identifying both clinical and subclinical infections. (+info)
Hypertension, antihypertensive medication use, and risk of renal cell carcinoma.
To investigate whether diuretic medication use increases risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the authors conducted a case-control study of health maintenance organization members in western Washington State. Cases (n = 238) diagnosed between January 1980 and June 1995 were compared with controls (n = 616) selected from health maintenance organization membership files. The computerized health maintenance organization pharmacy database provided information on medications prescribed after March 1977. Additional exposure information was collected from medical records. For women, use of diuretics was associated with increased risk of RCC (odds ratio (OR) = 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-3.1), but the association was not independent of a diagnosis of hypertension (adjusted for hypertension, OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.5-2.1). Similarly, nondiuretic antihypertensive use was associated with increased risk, but only when unadjusted for hypertension. For men, neither diuretic nor nondiuretic antihypertensive use was associated with risk of RCC. A diagnosis of hypertension was clearly associated with RCC risk for women (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.1), but not men (OR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.7-2.5). High systolic and diastolic blood pressures were associated with increased risk in both sexes. These results do not support the hypothesis that use of diuretic medication increases RCC risk; they are more consistent with an association between RCC and high blood pressure. (+info)
Juvenile hypothyroidism among two populations exposed to radioiodine.
We found an epidemic of juvenile hypothyroidism among a population of self-defined "downwinders" living near the Hanford nuclear facility located in southeast Washington State. The episode followed massive releases of 131I. Self-reported data on 60 cases of juvenile hypothyroidism (<20 years of age) among a group of 801 Hanford downwinders are presented, as well as data concerning the thyroid status of approximately 160,000 children exposed to radioiodine before 10 years of age as a result of the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl explosion in the former Soviet Union. These children were residents of five regions near Chernobyl. They were examined by standardized screening protocols over a period of 5 years from 1991 to 1996. They are a well-defined group of 10 samples. Fifty-six cases of hypothyroidism were found among boys and 92 among girls. Body burdens of 137Cs have been correlated with hypothyroidism prevalence rates. On the other hand, the group of juvenile (<20 years of age) Hanford downwinders is not a representative sample. Most of the 77 cases of juvenile hypothyroidism in the Hanford group were diagnosed from 1945 to 1970. However, the ratio of reported cases to the county population under 20 years of age is roughly correlated with officially estimated mean levels of cumulative thyroid 131I uptake in these counties, providing evidence that juvenile hypothyroidism was associated with radioiodine exposures. Because even subtle hypothyroidism may be of clinical significance in childhood and can be treated, it may be useful to screen for the condition in populations exposed to radioiodine fallout. Although radiation exposure is associated with hypothyroidism, its excess among fallout-exposed children has not been previously quantified. (+info)
Waking the health plan giant: Group Health Cooperative stops counting sheep and starts counting key tobacco indicators.
Implementing a comprehensive approach to decreasing tobacco use in a large health plan requires hard work and commitment on the part of many individuals. We found that major organisational change can be accomplished and sustained. Keys to our success included our decision to remove access barriers to our cessation programmes (including cost); obtaining top leadership buy-in; identifying accountable individuals who owned responsibility for change; measuring key processes and outcomes; and finally keeping at it tenaciously through multiple cycles of improvement. (+info)