The assumption behind the presented work is that the information people search for on the internet reflects the disease status in society. By having access to this source of information, epidemiologists can get a valuable complement to the traditional surveillance and potentially get new and timely epidemiological insights. For this purpose, the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control collaborates with a medical web site in Sweden.
We built an application consisting of two conceptual parts. One part allows for trends, based on user specified requests, to be extracted from anonymous web query data from a Swedish medical web site. The second conceptual part permits tailored analyses of particular diseases, where more complex statistical methods are applied to the data. To evaluate the epidemiological relevance of the output, we compared Google search data and search data from the medical web site.
In the paper, we give concrete examples of the output from the web query-based system. We also present results from the comparison between data from the search engine Google and search data from the national medical web site.
The application is in regular use at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control. A system based on web queries is flexible in that it can be adapted to any disease; we get information on other individuals than those who seek medical care; and the data do not suffer from reporting delays. Although Google data are based on a substantially larger search volume, search patterns obtained from the medical web site may still convey more information from an epidemiological perspective. Furthermore we can see advantages with having full access to the raw data.
Cites: J Med Internet Res. 2005 Jul 1;7(3):e3615998627
Cites: AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2006;:244-817238340
Cites: Clin Infect Dis. 2008 Dec 1;47(11):1443-818954267
Cites: PLoS One. 2009;4(2):e437819197389
Cites: Nature. 2009 Feb 19;457(7232):1012-419020500
A prospective population study of women in Gothenburg, Sweden was started in 1968-69 and comprised 1462 women aged 38, 46, 50, 54, or 60 years at baseline. Follow-up studies were carried out in 1974-75, 1980-81, and 1992-93. The baseline study included an extensive medical and dental examination. Serum mercury concentration (beta-HG) was determined in deep-frozen samples from all participants in 1968-69 and in a random subsample of sera from participants in 1980-81, about 20 years after the baseline examination. S-Hg was statistically significantly correlated with number of amalgam fillings at both examinations. Of 30 defined symptoms and 4 different clusters of symptoms, no one was independently correlated with S-Hg measured in the samples from 1968-69, while there was a negative statistically significant correlation with over-exertion and poor appetite in 1980-81. Blood hemoglobin and serum B-12 concentrations in 1968-69 were statistically significantly and positively correlated with S-Hg, while erythrocyte sedimentation rate and the serum concentrations of potassium and triglycerides were significantly and negatively correlated with S-Hg, also after including potential confounders. Blood hematocrit examined in 1980-81 was negatively correlated with S-Hg. When including potential confounders, serum IgA was also statistically significantly correlated with S-Hg, but not in univariate analysis. No statistically significant correlation was observed between S-Hg, on the one hand, and the incidence of diabetes, myocardial infarction, stroke, or cancer on the other, while a statistically significant negative correlation was observed with overall mortality when age and education were included as background variables. There were some correlations between biological variables and S-Hg, probably of no negative clinical significance, and we conclude that there is no association between disease and S-Hg on a population basis in middle-aged and older women.
Epidemiological studies have revealed that high levels of lignans and isoflavonoids are frequently associated with low breast, prostate and colon cancer risk, as well as a low risk of coronary heart disease. These compounds seem to be cancer protective and/or are biomarkers of a 'healthy' diet. All soy protein products consumed by Asian populations have high concentrations of isoflavonoids. In other countries, such as Finland and Sweden, the lignan levels are higher in populations with the lowest risk because of a high consumption of whole-grain rye bread, berries and some vegetables. There is a strong association between fibre intake per kilogram body weight and lignan concentrations in body fluids. Breast cancer has been found to be associated with low lignan levels in the USA, Finland, Sweden and Australia. With regard to prostate and colon cancer, as well as coronary heart disease, the epidemiological data related to phytoestrogens are still very limited.
Contrary to popular belief, stratospheric ozone depletion, and the resultant increase in solar UV-B (280-320 nm), are unlikely to fully recover soon. Notwithstanding the success of the Montreal Protocol in reducing the amount of ozone destroying chemicals into the stratosphere, the life-times of these compounds are such that even with full compliance with the Protocol by all countries, it will be decades before stratospheric ozone could return to pre-1980 levels. This raises the question, therefore, of what will happen to biological processes essential to the maintenance of life on earth which are sensitive to damage by increased UV-B radiation, particularly those involved with human health? The polar regions, because of the vagaries of climate and weather, are the bellwether for stratospheric ozone depletion and will, therefore, be the first to experience impacts due to increases in solar UV-B radiation. The impacts of these are incompletely understood and cannot be predicted with certainty. While some UV-B impacts on human health are recognized, much is unknown, unclear and uncertain. Thus, this paper attempts, as a first approximation, to point out potential impacts to the health and welfare of human inhabitants of the Arctic due to increased solar UV-B radiation associated with stratospheric ozone depletion. As will be seen, much more data is critically needed before adequate risk assessment can occur.
Investigations of the nature and cause of enteric disease in children under 2 years of age were conducted in Kotzebue on the Bering Sea coast of Alaska several miles above the Arctic Circle. The majority of cases of enteric disease leading to hospitalization were associated with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli, an organism which previously had not been associated with enteric disease in the Far North except sporadically. Studies indicated that the source of infection was the community rather than the hospital. The predominant serotype was 0111:B4.
From: Fortuine, Robert et al. 1993. The Health of the Inuit of North America: A Bibliography from the Earliest Times through 1990. University of Alaska Anchorage. Citation number 1710.
Cited in: Fortuine, Robert. 1968. The Health of the Eskimos: a bibliography 1857-1967. Dartmouth College Libraries. Citation number 688.
A survey was made in 3205 children aged 6-17 years from the families of natives residing in the areas exposed to nuclear explosion (Group 1). A control group comprised 3200 children living under the similar climatogeographic and social conditions (Group 2). In Group 1 children circulatory diseases, lymphadenopathies, connective and bone tissue dysplasias come first in the structure of morbidity. There was an increase in respiratory diseases at the expense of long-ill children. The fact that lymphadenopathies and connective and bone tissue dysplasias are predominant and respiratory infection is persistent suggests that small-dose radiation has a negative impact on the above systems.