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American Journal of Public Health

Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health current issue
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Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health

Lung cancer is the main cause of cancer death in the developed world. It is also the second most incident cancer in males and the third in females. Tobacco is its main risk factor, with 90% of all LC deaths attributable to tobacco consumption. It has a 13% 5-year survival,1 and more than 60% of all LCs are diagnosed in advanced stages. To reduce the burden of disease, it would be very important to have a screening test that is able to: (1) detect LC at an early stage to modify its prognosis, (2) present a low percentage of false-positives, to avoid unnecessary harms, (3) minimise adverse effects for the patient (ie, cancer-induced radiation) and (4) be cost-effective for the health system.

Screening effectiveness is being assessed in randomised trials. There are seven ongoing trials comparing low-dose CT (LDCT) with usual care.2 The only trial...


The study by Laanani et al1 is a welcome contribution to the growing body of empirical literature interrogating the relationship between the recent economic crisis, unemployment and suicide rates. We nevertheless find that their analysis suffers from three major conceptual and methodological shortcomings.

First, despite making an important distinction between the direct and indirect effects of the recent economic crisis on suicide rates, we believe that the relationship between these effects is inappropriately specified in the analysis. According to the authors, the impact of the crisis on suicide rates is explained by an individual-level unemployment effect and a contextual-level crisis effect. To the extent that they are modelled in a distinctly additive fashion, both of these effects are thought to operate independently from the other. The authors distinguish between the two effects in order to parse out any potential bias caused by contextual features associated with the...


Background

A scientific debate is currently taking place on whether the 2008 economic crisis caused an increase in suicide rates. Our main objective was to assess the impact of unemployment rate on suicide rate in Western European countries between 2000 and 2010. We then tried to estimate the excess number of suicides attributable to the increase of unemployment during the 2008–2010 economic crisis.

Methods

The yearly suicide rates were modelled using a quasi-Poisson model, controlling for sex, age, country and a linear time trend. For each country, the unemployment–suicide association was assessed, and the excess number of suicides attributable to the increase of unemployment was estimated. Sensitivity analyses were performed, notably in order to evaluate whether the unemployment–suicide association found was biased by a confounding context effect (‘crisis effect’).

Results

A significant 0.3% overall increase in suicide rate for a 10% increase in unemployment rate (95% CI 0.1% to 0.5%) was highlighted. This association was significant in three countries: 0.7% (95% CI 0.0% to 1.4%) in the Netherlands, 1.0% (95% CI 0.2% to 1.8%) in the UK and 1.9% (95% CI 0.8% to 2.9%) in France, with a significant excess number of suicides attributable to unemployment variations between 2008 and 2010 (respectively 57, 456 and 564). The association was modified inconsistently when adding a ‘crisis effect’ into the model.

Conclusions

Unemployment and suicide rates are globally statistically associated in the investigated countries. However, this association is weak, and its amplitude and sensitivity to the ‘crisis effect’ vary across countries. This inconsistency provides arguments against its causal interpretation.


Background

How have suicide rates responded to the marked increase in unemployment spurred by the Great Recession? Our paper puts this issue into a wider perspective by assessing (1) whether the unemployment-suicide link is modified by the degree of unemployment protection, and (2) whether the effect on suicide of the present crisis differs from the effects of previous economic downturns.

Methods

We analysed the unemployment-suicide link using time-series data for 30 countries spanning the period 1960–2012. Separate fixed-effects models were estimated for each of five welfare state regimes with different levels of unemployment protection (Eastern, Southern, Anglo-Saxon, Bismarckian and Scandinavian). We included an interaction term to capture the possible excess effect of unemployment during the Great Recession.

Results

The largest unemployment increases occurred in the welfare state regimes with the least generous unemployment protection. The unemployment effect on male suicides was statistically significant in all welfare regimes, except the Scandinavian one. The effect on female suicides was significant only in the eastern European country group. There was a significant gradient in the effects, being stronger the less generous the unemployment protection. The interaction term capturing the possible excess effect of unemployment during the financial crisis was not significant.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that the more generous the unemployment protection the weaker the detrimental impact on suicide of the increasing unemployment during the Great Recession.


Background

In Rwanda, an estimated one million people were killed during the 1994 genocide, leaving the country shattered and social fabric destroyed. Large-scale traumatic events such as wars and genocides have been linked to endemic post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicidality. The study objective was to investigate whether the 1994 genocide exposure is associated with suicide in Rwanda.

Methods

We conducted a population-based case–control study. Suicide victims were matched to three living controls for sex, age and residential location. Exposure was defined as being a genocide survivor, having suffered physical/sexual abuse in the genocide, losing a first-degree relative in the genocide, having been convicted for genocide crimes or having a first-degree relative convicted for genocide. From May 2011 to May 2013, 162 cases and 486 controls were enrolled countrywide. Information was collected from the police, local village administrators and family members.

Results

After adjusting for potential confounders, having been convicted for genocide crimes was a significant predictor for suicide (OR=17.3, 95% CI 3.4 to 88.1). Being a survivor, having been physically or sexually abused during the genocide, and having lost a first-degree family member to genocide were not significantly associated with suicide.

Conclusions

These findings demonstrate that individuals convicted for genocide crimes are experiencing continued psychological disturbances that affect their social reintegration into the community even 20 years after the event. Given the large number of genocide perpetrators reintegrated after criminal courts and Gacaca traditional reconciling trials, suicide could become a serious public health burden if preventive remedial action is not identified.


Background

Studies on the association between adult asthma and dementia are few. We investigated the risk of dementia in patients diagnosed with adult asthma compared with that of people without asthma who were age and sex matched to the study patients.

Methods

We used data from the National Health Insurance Research Database. A total of 12 771 patients with newly diagnosed asthma between 2001 and 2003 were evaluated and 51 084 people without asthma were used as the comparison cohort. Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was used to measure the HR of dementia for the asthmatic cohort, compared with that of the non-asthmatic cohort.

Results

The HR of dementia was 1.27 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15 to 1.41) for the asthmatic cohort, compared with the non-asthmatic cohort after adjusting for age, sex, comorbidities, annual outpatient department visits and medicine used. The HR of dementia development increased substantially as frequency of asthma exacerbation and hospitalisation increased.

Conclusions

This nationwide cohort study suggests that the risk of dementia development is significantly increased in patients with asthma compared with that of the general population. In addition, dementia risk increases substantially with asthma exacerbation and hospitalisation frequency increases.


Background

Immunoglobulins (Ig) are essential for combating infectious disease. However, high levels are associated with a range of diseases and/or poor health behaviours, such as autoimmune diseases, chronic infection, HIV and excessive alcohol consumption. In the present analyses, we extend this body of work by examining whether higher levels of serum Ig G, A and M are associated with increased mortality risk.

Methods

Participants were 4255 Vietnam-era, former US army personnel (the Vietnam Experience Study). From military service files, telephone interviews in 1983 and a medical examination in 1986, sociodemographic, and health data were collected. Contemporary morning fasted blood samples were taken from which IgG, IgA and IgM concentrations were determined. Mortality surveillance over 15 years gave rise to deaths ascribed to all-causes, cardiovascular disease mortality, all cancers combined mortality, external cause and ‘other’ causes (predominantly comprising deaths due to infectious disease). Cox proportional hazard models were utilised to compute HRs per SD increase in Ig which were first adjusted for age and then additionally adjusting for a range of candidate confounders.

Results

In multiply adjusted analyses, in general, the higher the immunoglobulin concentration, the greater the risk of death. Thus, IgA (HR=2.0 95% CI 1.47 to 2.73), IgM (HR=1.5 95% CI 1.11 to 1.91) and IgG (HR=5.8 95% CI 3.38 to 9.95) were positively related to all-cause mortality. Corresponding results for ‘other’ causes of mortality were 4.7 (2.64 to 8.19), 3.5 (2.29 to 5.45) and 33.4 (15.13 to 73.64).

Conclusions

In the present study, high levels of Ig are associated with an elevated risk of death from total and ‘other’ causes, mainly infectious disease. High levels of Ig, particularly IgG, may signal subclinical disease.


Background

Several individual-level stressors have been linked to incident coronary heart disease (CHD), but less attention has focused on the influence of neighbourhood-level sources of stress. In this study we examined prospective associations of individual-level and neighbourhood-level stressors with incident CHD.

Methods

Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis participants aged 45–84 years at baseline (2000–2002) with complete data were included in the analyses (n=6678 for individual-level and n=6105 for neighbourhood-level stressors). CHD was defined as non-fatal myocardial infarction, resuscitated cardiac arrest or CHD death. Median follow-up was 10.2 years. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were fitted to estimate associations of individual-level and neighbourhood-level stressors (categorised into approximate tertiles) with incident CHD.

Results

Higher reported individual-level stressors were associated with higher incident CHD. Participants in the high individual-level stressor category had 65% higher risk of incident CHD (95% CI 1.23 to 2.22) than those in the low category after adjusting for sociodemographics (P for trend=0.002). This association weakened but remained significant with further adjustment for behavioural and biological risk factors. There was a non-linear relationship between neighbourhood-level stressors and incident CHD (P for quadratic term=0.01). Participants in the medium category had 49% higher CHD risk (95% CI 1.06 to 2.10) compared with those in the low category; those in the high category had only 27% higher CHD risk (95% CI 0.83 to 1.95). These associations persisted with adjustment for risk factors and individual-level stressors.

Conclusions

Individual-level and neighbourhood-level stressors were independently associated with incident CHD, though the nature of the relationships differed.


Background

When implemented at scale, the impact on health and health inequalities of public health interventions depends on who receives them in addition to intervention effectiveness.

Methods

The MEND 7–13 (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) programme is a family-based weight management intervention for childhood overweight and obesity implemented at scale in the community. We compare the characteristics of children referred to the MEND programme (N=18 289 referred to 1940 programmes) with those of the population eligible for the intervention, and assess what predicts completion of the intervention.

Results

Compared to the MEND-eligible population, proportionally more children who started MEND were: obese rather than overweight excluding obese; girls; Asian; from families with a lone parent; living in less favourable socioeconomic circumstances; and living in urban rather than rural or suburban areas. Having started the programme, children were relatively less likely to complete it if they: reported ‘abnormal’ compared to ‘normal’ levels of psychological distress; were boys; were from lone parent families; lived in less favourable socioeconomic circumstances; and had participated in a relatively large MEND programme group; or where managers had run more programmes.

Conclusions

The provision and/or uptake of MEND did not appear to compromise and, if anything, promoted participation of those from disadvantaged circumstances and ethnic minority groups. However, this tendency was diminished because programme completion was less likely for those living in less favourable socioeconomic circumstances. Further research should explore how completion rates of this intervention could be improved for particular groups.


Background

It is uncertain whether the inverse equity hypothesis—the idea that new health interventions are initially primarily accessed by the rich, but that inequalities narrow with diffusion to the poor—holds true for cancer screening in low and middle income countries (LMICs).This study examines the relationship between overall coverage and economic inequalities in coverage of cancer screening in four middle-income countries.

Methods

Secondary analyses of cross-sectional data from the WHO study on Global Ageing and Adult Health in China, Mexico, Russia and South Africa (2007–2010). Three regression-based methods were used to measure economic inequalities: (1) Adjusted OR; (2) Relative Index of Inequality (RII); and (3) Slope Index of Inequality.

Results

Coverage for breast cancer screening was 10.5% in South Africa, 19.3% in China, 33.8% in Russia and 43% in Mexico, and coverage for cervical cancer screening was 24% in South Africa, 27.2% in China, 63.7% in Mexico and 81.5% in Russia. Economic inequalities in screening participation were substantially lower or non-existent in countries with higher aggregate coverage, for both breast cancer screening (RII: 14.57 in South Africa, 4.90 in China, 2.01 in Mexico, 1.04 in Russia) and cervical cancer screening (RII: 3.60 in China, 2.47 in South Africa, 1.39 in Mexico, 1.12 in Russia).

Conclusions

Economic inequalities in breast and cervical cancer screening are low in LMICs with high screening coverage. These findings are consistent with the inverse equity hypothesis and indicate that high levels of equity in cancer screening are feasible even in countries with high income inequality.


Background

In Western settings, migration is associated with psychological well-being, but studies inevitably focus on culturally distinct ethnic minorities, making it difficult to distinguish migration from cultural assimilation. Many children in Hong Kong, a developed non-Western setting, have migrant parents with the same Chinese ethnicity. This study examined the association of migration with the child's psychological well-being in Hong Kong.

Methods

Multivariable linear regression was used in Hong Kong's ‘Children of 1997’ Chinese birth cohort to examine the adjusted associations of migration (both parents Hong Kong born n=4285, both parents migrant n=1921, mother-only migrant n=462, father-only migrant n=1110) with a parent-reported Rutter score for child behaviour at ~7 (n=6294, 80% follow-up) and ~11 years (n=5598, 71% follow-up), self-reported Culture-Free Self-Esteem Inventory score at ~11 years (n=6937, 88% follow-up) and self-reported Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depressive symptom score at ~13 years (n=5797, 73% follow-up), adjusted for sex, highest parental education and occupation, household income, maternal and paternal age at birth, age of assessment and survey mode (PHQ-9 only).

Results

Migration was unrelated to the overall self-esteem or depressive symptoms, but both parents migrant was associated with better behaviour (lower Rutter scores) at ~7 years (β-coefficient (β) –1.07, 95% CI –1.48 to –0.66) and ~11 years (–0.89, 95% CI –1.33 to –0.45).

Conclusions

In a non-Western context, migration appeared to be protective for childhood behaviour.


Background

Previous research has shown an inconsistent relationship between the spatial distribution of hospital treated self-harm and area-level factors such as deprivation and social fragmentation. However, many of these studies have been confined to urban centres, with few focusing on rural settings and even fewer studies carried out at a national level. Furthermore, no previous research has investigated if travel time to hospital services can explain the area-level variation in the incidence of hospital treated self-harm.

Methods

From 2009 to 2011, the Irish National Registry of Deliberate Self Harm collected data on self-harm presentations to all hospital emergency departments in the country. The Registry uses standard methods of case ascertainment and also geocodes patient addresses to small area geographical level. Negative binomial regression was used to explore the ecological relationship between area-level self-harm rates and various area-level factors.

Results

Deprivation, social fragmentation and population density had a positive linear association with self-harm, with deprivation having the strongest independent effect. Furthermore, self-harm incidence was found to be elevated in areas that had shorter journey times to hospital. However, while this association became attenuated after controlling for other area-level factors it still remained statistically significant. A subgroup analysis examining the effect of travel time on specific methods of self-harm, found that this effect was most marked for self-harm acts involving minor self-cutting.

Conclusions

Self-harm incidence was influenced by proximity to hospital services, population density and social fragmentation; however, the strongest area-level predictor of self-harm was deprivation.


Background

Disparities in cancer incidence and mortality have been observed by measures of area-level socioeconomic status (SES); however, the extent to which these disparities are explained by individual SES is unclear.

Methods

Participants included 60 756 men and women in the VITamins And Lifestyle (VITAL) study cohort, aged 50–76 years at baseline (2000–2002) and followed through 2010. We constructed a block group SES index using the 2000 US Census and fit Cox proportional hazards models to estimate the association between area-level SES (by quintile) and total and site-specific cancer incidence and total cancer mortality, with and without household income and individual education in the models.

Results

Lower area-level SES was weakly associated with higher total cancer incidence and lower prostate cancer risk, but was not associated with risk of breast cancer. Compared with the highest-SES areas, living in the lowest-SES areas was associated with higher lung (HR: 2.21, 95% CI 1.69 to 2.90) and colorectal cancer incidence (HR: 1.52, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.09) and total cancer mortality (HR: 1.68, 95% CI 1.47 to 1.93). Controlling for individual education and household income weakened the observed associations, but did not eliminate them (lung cancer HR: 1.43, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.91; colorectal cancer HR: 1.35, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.88; cancer mortality HR: 1.28, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.48).

Conclusions

Area-level socioeconomic disparities exist for several cancer outcomes. These differences are not fully explained by individual SES, suggesting area-level factors may play a role.


Background

Recent research has emphasised that the challenge in researching socioeconomic differences in adolescent health cross-nationally lies in providing valid and comparable measures of socioeconomic position (SEP) across regions. This study aims to examine measures of occupational status derived from the International Standard Classification of Occupations (ISCO), alongside commonly used affluence measures in association with adolescent self-rated health (SRH).

Methods

Data were from the 2005/2006 ‘Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study’ (HBSC); 27 649 individuals aged 11, 13 and 15 years from Germany, Macedonia, Norway, Turkey, Wales and Scotland. Three occupational scales were compared: the International Socioeconomic Index of Occupational Status (ISEI), the Standard International Occupational Prestige Scale (SIOPS) and the Erikson–Goldthorpe–Portocarero class categories (EGP). Correlation analyses compared these occupational scales with the family affluence scale (FAS) and a family well-off measure, while logistic regression assessed the association between occupational scales and poor SRH. Multiple imputation techniques investigated possible bias arising from parental occupation missingness.

Results

Moderate correlations existed between occupational scales and FAS and family well-off. Socioeconomic inequalities in poor SRH were found for ISEI, SIOPS and EGP in all regions, independent of FAS and family well-off. Models of imputed data sets did not alter the results. The relationship between SEP and SRH was therefore not biased by high levels of missing values for ISCO.

Conclusions

ISCO-based indicators of occupational status in cross-national self-administered adolescent health surveys were found to be robust measures of SEP in adolescence. These measure different aspects of SEP independent of FAS and family well-off.


Background

To examine changes in the incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) with cardiac origin in the non-disaster areas of Japan before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011.

Methods

The 35 prefectures in Japan with no dead or missing caused directly by the earthquake were defined as the non-disaster areas. Data of adult OHCA patients in the non-disaster areas from March 4 to 24 each year from 2005 to 2011 were obtained from the All-Japan Utstein Registry. Risk ratios (RRs) of OHCA incidence and 95% CIs were estimated for three specific weeks in 2011 (1 week before and 2 weeks after the earthquake) by applying multivariable Poisson regression model. Incidence in the corresponding periods of March 4–24 from 2005 to 2010 was set as the baseline risk.

Results

In the analyses from a total of 17 353 OHCA patients, the incidence statistically significantly increased in the first week after the earthquake in all adults (adjusted-RR=1.13, 95% CI=1.05 to 1.22, p=0.001) and in elderly women (adjusted-RR=1.23, 95% CI=1.11 to 1.37, p<0.001).

Conclusions

The Great East Japan Earthquake caused the increase of OHCA among elderly women even in the non-disaster areas.


Background

Systematic reviews (SRs) are expected to critically appraise included studies and privilege those at lowest risk of bias (RoB) in the synthesis. This study examines if and how critical appraisals inform the synthesis and interpretation of evidence in SRs.

Methods

All SRs published in March–May 2012 in 14 high-ranked medical journals and a sample from the Cochrane library were systematically assessed by two reviewers to determine if and how: critical appraisal was conducted; RoB was summarised at study, domain and review levels; and RoB appraisals informed the synthesis process.

Results

Of the 59 SRs studied, all except six (90%) conducted a critical appraisal of the included studies, with most using or adapting existing tools. Almost half of the SRs reported critical appraisal in a manner that did not allow readers to determine which studies included in a review were most robust. RoB assessments were not incorporated into synthesis in one-third (20) of the SRs, with their consideration more likely when reviews focused on randomised controlled trials. Common methods for incorporating critical appraisals into the synthesis process were sensitivity analysis, narrative discussion and exclusion of studies at high RoB. Nearly half of the reviews which investigated multiple outcomes and carried out study-level RoB summaries did not consider the potential for RoB to vary across outcomes.

Conclusions

The conclusions of the SRs, published in major journals, are frequently uninformed by the critical appraisal process, even when conducted. This may be particularly problematic for SRs of public health topics that often draw on diverse study designs.


Abbas Faisal

Aboul-Enein Faisal

Addo O Yaw

Ahmadi Naseam

Ailes Elizabeth

Ajdacic-Gross Vladeta

Akers April

Akinyemi Oluwaseun

albana maher

Alberg Anthony J

Albrecht Sandra

Albrecht Sandra

Alcalay Neal

Alishahi Amir

Álvarez-Dardet Carlos

Alves Luis

Alwan Nisreen

Amaral André

Amini Reza

Andrade Kate

Antonakakis Nikolaos

Antunes Jose Leopoldo Ferreira

Apfelbacher Christian

Appenzeller Brice

Arcaya Mariana

Åslund Cecilia

Astell-Burt Thomas

Azimi-Nezhad Mohsen

Badger Stephen A

Baird Janis

Bann David

Barbu Corentn

Barouki Robert

Barrera-Gómez Jose

Barros Aluísio

Bartholomew Sharon

Basten Stuart

Bastos Joao

Basu Debasish

Becares Laia

Beeri Michal

Belfort Mandy

Ben-Shlomo Yoav

Bender Anne Mette

Bentley Rebecca

Bergman Beverly

Bettina Meinow

Beyer Kirsten

Bhende Amrita

Bian Shi-Zhu

Bjørngaard Johan Håkon

Blane D

Blázquez Ana

Bleijenberg Nienke

Bobowik Magdalena

Boen Courney

Boffetta Paolo

Bolíbar Bonaventura

Bolumar Francisco

Boone-Heinonen Janne

Bopegamage Shubhada

Botoseneanu Anda

Boucher Babara

Boughattas Sonia

Braggion Marco

Brandão de Mattos Cinara

Breeze Elizabeth

Bremberg Sven

Brenner Darren

...