Pesticides have been implicated as likely environmental risk factors for Parkinson disease (PD), but assessment of past exposure to pesticides can be difficult. No prior studies of pesticide exposure and PD used biomarkers of exposure collected before the onset of PD. Our investigation examined the association between prospective serum biomarkers of organochlorine pesticides and PD.
We conducted a nested case-control study within the Finnish Mobile Clinic Health Examination Survey, with serum samples collected during 1968-1972, and analyzed in 2005-2007 for organochlorine pesticides. Incident PD cases were identified through the Social Insurance Institution's nationwide registry and were confirmed by review of medical records (n = 101). Controls (n = 349) were matched for age, sex, municipality, and vital status. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of PD were estimated using logistic regression.
Little association emerged with a summary score of the 5 organochlorine pesticides found at high levels, and only increasing dieldrin concentrations trended toward a higher risk of PD (OR per interquartile range [IQR] 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.97-1.69, p = 0.08). Because of possible strong confounding by cigarette smoking among smokers, we ran additional analyses restricted to never smokers (n = 68 cases, 183 controls). In these analyses, increasing dieldrin concentrations were associated with increased odds of PD (OR per IQR 1.95, 95% CI 1.26-3.02, p = 0.003). None of the other organochlorine pesticides were associated with PD in these analyses.
These results provide some support for an increased risk of Parkinson disease with exposure to dieldrin, but chance or exposure correlation with other less persistent pesticides could contribute to our findings.
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Osteoporosis is a major health problem affecting more than 75 million people throughout Europe, the United States, and Japan. Epidemiologic studies have determined that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. We have investigated the association between polymorphisms at the osteocalcin locus and variables linked to bone health. Osteocalcin provides a link between bone and energy metabolism, hence its potential importance as an osteoporosis candidate gene. In this study, we included a total of 996 women (all aged 75 years) from the Osteoporosis Prospective Risk Assessment (OPRA) cohort. We sequenced the osteocalcin gene along with flanking regions to search for novel coding polymorphisms. We also analyzed four polymorphisms selected from within and flanking regions of the osteocalcin gene to study their association with serum total osteocalcin levels (S-TotalOC), total-body (TB) bone mineral density (BMD), fracture, TB fat mass, and body mass index (BMI). The promoter polymorphism rs1800247 was significantly associated with S-TotalOC (p = .012) after controlling for BMI and TB BMD. The polymorphism rs1543297 was significantly associated with prospectively occurring fractures (p = .008). In a model taking into account rs1543297 and rs1800247, along with TB BMD, BMI, smoking, and S-TotalOC, the polymorphisms together were able to identify an additional 6% of women who sustained a fracture (p = .02). We found no association between the polymorphisms and TB BMD, BMI, or TB fat mass. In conclusion, polymorphisms in and around the osteocalcin locus are significantly associated with S-TotalOC and fracture. Genotyping at the osteocalcin locus could add valuable information in the identification of women at risk of osteoporosis.
Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) has been associated with impaired lactation in mice. We examined whether maternal perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and PFOA concentrations correlated with duration of breastfeeding among women.
We randomly selected 1400 pregnant women from the Danish national birth cohort (1996-2002) and measured PFOS and PFOA concentrations in early pregnancy by using high performance liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Self-reported data on the duration of any and exclusive breastfeeding were collected twice during telephone interviews around 6 and 18 months after the birth of the child.
The duration of breastfeeding decreased with increasing concentrations of pregnancy PFOS and PFOA among multiparous women, for whom the adjusted odds ratios (OR) for weaning before 6 months of age were 1.20 (95% CI 1.06-1.37) per 10 ng/ml increase in PFOS concentrations and 1.23 (95% CI 1.13-1.33) per 1 ng/ml increase in PFOA concentrations. No consistent association was found for primiparous women.
These findings suggest that PFOA and PFOS may reduce the ability to lactate, but could equally reflect reverse causation since no association was seen in primiparous women.
To investigate the effect of exposure to damp housing on respiratory symptoms in women and men.
We examined sex differences in the relationship between damp housing and respiratory symptoms in a cross-sectional survey of 1988 adults, 18 to 74 years of age, using a self-administered questionnaire. We used chi (2) and t-tests to test associations between potential risk factors and respiratory symptoms in men and women. We used multiple logistic regression modelling to determine adjusted odds ratios for several possible symptoms and home dampness. All multivariate analyses were stratified by sex.
Men had a significantly higher prevalence of chronic wheeze compared with women. The prevalence of chronic wheeze, wheeze with shortness of breath, and allergy were higher for women reporting damp housing compared with those not reporting damp housing. No significant associations between damp housing and respiratory symptoms were found in men.
These data raise the possibility that women may be more susceptible to the effects of damp housing than men are.
Ambient air pollution has been associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. In Reykjavik, Iceland, air pollutant concentrations exceed official health limits several times every year. The aim was to study the association of concentrations of NO2, O3, PM10, and H2S in the Reykjavik capital area with the dispensing of anti-angina pectoris medication, glyceryl trinitrate to the inhabitants.
Data on daily dispensing of glyceryl trinitrate, were retrieved from the Icelandic Medicines Registry. Data on hourly concentrations of NO2, O3, PM10, and H2S were obtained from the Environment Agency of Iceland. A case-crossover design was used, based on the dispensing of glyceryl trinitrate to 5,246 individuals (=18 years) between 2005 and 2009.
For every 10 µg/m3 increase of NO2 and O3 3-day mean concentrations, the odds ratio (OR) for daily dispensing of glyceryl trinitrates was 1.136 (95% confidence intervals (CI) 1.069-1.207) and 1.094 (95% CI 1.029-1.163) at lag 0, and OR was 1.096 (95% CI 1.029-1.168) and 1.094 (95% CI 1.028-1.166) at lag 1, respectively.
These findings suggest that NO2 and O3 ambient air concentrations may adversely affect cardiovascular health, as measured by the dispensing of glyceryl trinitrates for angina pectoris. Further, the findings suggest that data on the dispensing of medication may be a valuable health indicator when studying the effect of air pollution on cardiovascular morbidity.
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Epidemiologic studies suggest a temporal trend of earlier onset and longer duration of puberty, raising concerns regarding the potential impact of environmental factors on pubertal development. Lead exposure has been associated with delayed pubertal onset in girls; however, epidemiologic data in boys are limited.
We used multivariable logistic regression models to explore the cross-sectional association of blood lead levels with growth and pubertal onset based on physician-assessed testicular volume (TV) and pubertal staging in 489 boys 8-9 years of age from Chapaevsk, Russia. We used multivariable linear regression models to assess associations of blood lead levels with somatic growth at the study entry visit.
The median (25th-75th percentile) blood lead level was 3 microg/dL (2-5 microg/dL). Height, weight, body mass index, birth weight, and gestational age were predictive of the onset of puberty as assessed either by TV (> 3 mL), genitalia stage (G2), or both. Blood lead level was inversely associated with height (p or = 5 microg/dL had 43% reduced odds of having entered G2 compared with those with lower levels (odds ratio = 0.57; 95% confidence interval, 0.34-0.95, p = 0.03).
Relatively low environmental blood lead levels were associated with decreased growth and differences in pubertal onset in periadolescent Russian boys. Future analyses of this prospective cohort will address pubertal onset and progression in relation to lead and other environmental chemicals.
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Lyme disease is the commonest vector-borne zoonosis in the temperate world, and an emerging infectious disease in Canada due to expansion of the geographic range of the tick vector Ixodes scapularis. Studies suggest that climate change will accelerate Lyme disease emergence by enhancing climatic suitability for I. scapularis. Risk maps will help to meet the public health challenge of Lyme disease by allowing targeting of surveillance and intervention activities.
A risk map for possible Lyme endemicity was created using a simple risk algorithm for occurrence of I. scapularis populations. The algorithm was calculated for each census sub-division in central and eastern Canada from interpolated output of a temperature-driven simulation model of I. scapularis populations and an index of tick immigration. The latter was calculated from estimates of tick dispersion distances by migratory birds and recent knowledge of the current geographic range of endemic I. scapularis populations. The index of tick immigration closely predicted passive surveillance data on I. scapularis occurrence, and the risk algorithm was a significant predictor of the occurrence of I. scapularis populations in a prospective field study. Risk maps for I. scapularis occurrence in Canada under future projected climate (in the 2020s, 2050s and 2080s) were produced using temperature output from the Canadian Coupled Global Climate Model 2 with greenhouse gas emission scenario enforcing 'A2' of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
We have prepared risk maps for the occurrence of I. scapularis in eastern and central Canada under current and future projected climate. Validation of the risk maps provides some confidence that they provide a useful first step in predicting the occurrence of I. scapularis populations, and directing public health objectives in minimizing risk from Lyme disease. Further field studies are needed, however, to continue validation and refinement of the risk maps.
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BACKGROUND: Growing interest is nowadays focused on the quality of life of elderly people who survive with chronic diseases. Coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the most common diseases among the elderly and may have an unfavourable impact on the patient's emotional well-being. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to describe the prevalence of depression and the occurrence of depressive symptoms among elderly CHD patients, with a special emphasis on the relations between depression and the severity of CHD, and to find out the possible association between CHD and depression. METHODS: The study was carried out at the health centre of the municipality of Lieto, in south-west Finland. The study population consisted of 488 community-dwelling men and 708 women, over 64 years old, from among whom the participants with CHD (89 men and 73 women) were selected, and for whom 178 male and 146 female sex- and age-matched controls (free of CHD) were drawn from the population. CHD patients were selected on the basis of the presence of angina pectoris or a past myocardial infarction. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Zung Self-rating Depression Scale. Depression was described in relation to the severity of dyspnoea and chest pain among patients. The associations between depression and age, health, health behaviour, drugs, functional ability and social, psychosocial and environmental factors were analysed by logistic regression analyses. RESULTS: The prevalence of depression was 29% among male patients and 20% among female patients. Depression was significantly more common among male CHD patients than among male controls (P = 0.011). Among women, depression was not associated with CHD. Earlier, depression had gone undiagnosed among many CHD patients and controls, especially male patients. Among male CHD patients, depression was associated with more severe dyspnoea, but no similar association was found among female CHD patients. Among men the occurrence of CHD, physical disability, widowhood or divorce, and among women previous clinical depression, physical disability and the use of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, were associated with depression. CONCLUSION: Depression is common among patients with CHD. It seems that CHD is not an independent factor in the aetiology of depression among the elderly. The association of CHD with depression among men is explained by the acute or chronic psychic stress caused by CHD. It may be that the more complicated the patient's CHD, the more probable is the presence of depression.
Although alcohol is a recognized teratogen, evidence is limited on alcohol intake and oral cleft risk. The authors examined the association between maternal alcohol consumption and oral clefts in a national, population-based case-control study of infants born in 1996-2001 in Norway. Participants were 377 infants with cleft lip with or without cleft palate, 196 with cleft palate only, and 763 controls. Mothers reported first-trimester alcohol consumption in self-administered questionnaires completed within a few months after delivery. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals, adjusting for confounders. Compared with nondrinkers, women who reported binge-level drinking (>or=5 drinks per sitting) were more likely to have an infant with cleft lip with or without cleft palate (odds ratio = 2.2, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 4.2) and cleft palate only (odds ratio = 2.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.2, 5.6). Odds ratios were higher among women who binged on three or more occasions: odds ratio = 3.2 for cleft lip with or without cleft palate (95% confidence interval: 1.0, 10.2) and odds ratio = 3.0 for cleft palate only (95% confidence interval: 0.7, 13.0). Maternal binge-level drinking may increase the risk of infant clefts.
We explored correlates of the Eating Disorder Inventory subscales Body Dissatisfaction (BD) and Drive for Thinness (DT) and genetic and environmental influences on these traits.
In a population-based sample of 4,667 Finnish twins aged 22-27 years, we conducted twin modeling to explore genetic and environmental contributions to body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness. Logistic regression was used for the correlational analysis.
Various eating and body size-related factors and psychosomatic symptoms were significantly associated with high body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness in both genders. In women, early puberty onset, early initiation of sexual activity, and multiple sex partners were statistically significant risk factors of body dissatisfaction. In gender-specific univariate twin models, additive genes accounted for 59.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 53.2-64.7%) of the variance in body dissatisfaction and for 51.0% (95% CI = 43.7-57.5%) of the variance in drive for thinness among females, but for none of the variance among males.
There are very distinct gender differences in the heritability patterns of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness in young adults.
The aim of this study was to investigate the association between exposure to cosmetics, often containing mineral oil, and the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The study was performed against the background that occupational exposure to mineral oil has recently been shown to be associated with an increased risk for RA in man, and that injection of or percutaneous exposure to mineral-oil-containing cosmetics can induce arthritis in certain rat strains.
A population-based case-control study of incident cases of RA was performed among the population aged 18 to 70 years in a defined area of Sweden during May 1996 to December 2003. A case was defined as an individual from the study base, who received for the first time a diagnosis of RA according to the 1987 American College of Rheumatology criteria. Controls were randomly selected from the study base with consideration taken for age, gender and residential area. Cases (n = 1,419) and controls (n = 1,674) answered an extensive questionnaire regarding environmental and lifestyle factors including habits of cosmetic usage. The relative risk of developing RA was calculated for subjects with different cosmetic usage compared with subjects with low or no usage. Analysis was also performed stratifying the cases for presence/absence of rheumatoid factor and antibodies to citrulline-containing peptides.
The relative risks of developing RA associated with use of cosmetics were all close to one, both for women and men, for different exposure categories, and in relation to different subgroups of RA.
This study does not support the hypothesis that ordinary usage of common cosmetics as body lotions, skin creams, and ointments, often containing mineral oil, increase the risk for RA in the population in general. We cannot exclude, however, that these cosmetics can contribute to arthritis in individuals carrying certain genotypes or simultaneously being exposed to other arthritis-inducing environmental agents.
Improved work organisation could be of importance for decreased bullying in workplaces. Participants in the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health (SLOSH) responded to questions about work and workplace and whether they had been bullied during the past year in 2006. Those in worksites with at least five employees who did not report that they had been bullied in 2006 and without workplace change between 2006 and 2008 constituted the final sample (n=1,021 men and 1,182 women). Work characteristics and workplace factors in 2006 were used in multiple logistic regression as predictors of bullying in 2008. Separate analyses were performed for work characteristics and workplace factors respectively. Adjustments for demographic factors were made in all analyses. The question used for bullying was: "Are you exposed to personal persecution by means of vicious words or actions from your superiors or your workmates?" Such persecution any time during the past year was defined as bullying. For both genders organisational change and conflicting demands were identified as risk factors, and good decision authority as a protective factor. Dictatorial leadership, lack of procedural justice and attitude of expendability were male and lack of humanity a female risk factor for bullying.
Diet is regarded as one of the most important environmental factors associated with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk. A recent report comprehensively concluded that total energy intake does not have a simple relationship with CRC risk, and that the data were inconsistent for carbohydrate, cholesterol and protein. The objective of this study was to identify the associations of CRC risk with dietary intakes of total energy, protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, and alcohol using data from a large case-control study conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) and Ontario (ON), Canada.
Incident colorectal cancer cases (n = 1760) were identified from population-based cancer registries in the provinces of ON (1997-2000) and NL (1999-2003). Controls (n = 2481) were a random sample of residents in each province, aged 20-74 years. Family history questionnaire (FHQ), personal history questionnaire (PHQ), and food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) were used to collect study data. Logistic regression was used to evaluate the association of intakes of total energy, macronutrients and alcohol with CRC risk.
Total energy intake was associated with higher risk of CRC (OR: 1.56; 95% CI: 1.21-2.01, p-trend = 0.02, 5th versus 1st quintile), whereas inverse associations emerged for intakes of protein (OR: 0.85, 95%CI: 0.69-1.00, p-trend = 0.06, 5th versus 1st quintile), carbohydrate (OR: 0.81, 95%CI: 0.63-1.00, p-trend = 0.05, 5th versus 1st quintile) and total dietary fiber (OR: 0.84, 95% CI:0.67-0.99, p-trend = 0.04, 5th versus 1st quintile). Total fat, alcohol, saturated fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and cholesterol were not associated with CRC risk.
This study provides further evidence that high energy intake may increase risk of incident CRC, whereas diets high in protein, fiber, and carbohydrate may reduce the risk of the disease.
Several studies have found an association between overweight and asthma, yet the temporal relationship between their onsets remains unclear. We investigated the development of body mass index (BMI) from birth to adolescence among 2,818 children with and without asthma from a Swedish birth cohort study, the BAMSE (a Swedish acronym for "children, allergy, milieu, Stockholm, epidemiology") Project, during 1994-2013. Measured weight and height were available at 13 time points throughout childhood. Asthma phenotypes (transient, persistent, and late-onset) were defined by timing of onset and remission. Quantile regression was used to analyze percentiles of BMI, and generalized estimating equations were used to analyze the association between asthma phenotypes and the risk of high BMI. Among females, BMI development differed between children with and without asthma, with the highest BMI being seen among females with persistent asthma. The difference existed throughout childhood but increased with age. For example, females with persistent asthma had 2.33 times' (95% confidence interval: 1.21, 4.49) greater odds of having a BMI above the 85th percentile at age =15 years than females without asthma. Among males, no clear associations between asthma and BMI were observed. In this study, persistent asthma was associated with high BMI throughout childhood among females, whereas no consistent association was observed among males.
This study examines the familial clustering and relative influence of genetic and environmental effects on postterm birth in the Swedish population by considering all full- and half-siblings born in Sweden between 1992 and 2004. Of the eligible 475,429 births, 21% occurred after 41 completed weeks and 5.5% occurred after 42 completed weeks of gestation. Odds of postterm birth increased if mothers were older, heavier, more educated, primiparous, or carrying a male fetus. The highest odds increase was seen in women with a previous postterm birth, both with the same partner (odds ratio = 4.4, 95% confidence interval: 4.0, 4.6) and after a partner change (odds ratio = 3.4, 95% confidence interval: 2.9, 3.9). Sisters of women with a postterm birth were also at increased odds of postterm birth (odds ratio = 1.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.6, 2.0) while brothers' partners were not. Half of the variation in postterm birth could not be explained by factors shared in families, and the remaining half was explained by genetic factors, namely fetal (26%) and maternal (21%) genetic factors. Familial clustering of postterm birth is attributed to genetic effects, and fetal genetic effects have a considerable influence on the liability of postterm birth.
The school food environment is important to target as less healthful food and beverages are widely available at schools. This study examined whether the availability of specific food/beverage items was associated with a number of school environmental factors.
Principals from elementary (n=369) and middle/high schools (n=118) in British Columbia (BC), Canada completed a survey measuring characteristics of the school environment. Our measurement framework integrated constructs from the Theories of Organizational Change and elements from Stillman's Tobacco Policy Framework adapted for obesity prevention. Our measurement framework included assessment of policy institutionalization of nutritional guidelines at the district and school levels, climate, nutritional capacity and resources (nutritional resources and participation in nutritional programs), nutritional practices, and school community support for enacting stricter nutritional guidelines. We used hierarchical mixed-effects logistic regression analyses to examine associations with the availability of fruit, vegetables, pizza/hamburgers/hot dogs, chocolate candy, sugar-sweetened beverages, and french fried potatoes.
In elementary schools, fruit and vegetable availability was more likely among schools that have more nutritional resources (OR=6.74 and 5.23, respectively). In addition, fruit availability in elementary schools was highest in schools that participated in the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program and the BC Milk program (OR=4.54 and OR=3.05, respectively). In middle/high schools, having more nutritional resources was associated with vegetable availability only (OR=5.78). Finally, middle/high schools that have healthier nutritional practices (i.e., which align with upcoming provincial/state guidelines) were less likely to have the following food/beverage items available at school: chocolate candy (OR=?.80) and sugar-sweetened beverages (OR=?.76).
School nutritional capacity, resources, and practices were associated with the availability of specific food/beverage items in BC public schools. Policies targeting the school environment are increasingly being considered as one of the strategies used to address childhood obesity, as a result it is important to further understand the factors associated with the availability of specific food/beverage items at school.
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To examine a possible association of parental chronic pain with chronic pain in the adolescent and young adult and to explore whether a relationship could be explained by socioeconomic and psychosocial factors or may be affected by differences in family structure.
All inhabitants of Nord-Trøndelag County who were 13 years or older were invited to enroll in the study. In total, 8200 of 10 485 invitees (78.2%) participated in the investigation. Among 7913 participants in the target age group (age range, 13-18 years), 7373 (93.2%) completed the pain questions. The final study population consisted of 5370 adolescents or young adults for whom one or both parents participated in the adult survey.
The primary outcome measure was chronic nonspecific pain in adolescents and young adults, defined as pain in at least 1 location, unrelated to any known disease or injury, experienced at least once a week during the past 3 months. Chronic multisite pain was defined as chronic pain in at least 3 locations.
Maternal chronic pain was associated with chronic nonspecific pain and chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults (odds ratio, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3-1.8). Paternal chronic pain was associated with increased odds of pain in adolescents and young adults. The odds of chronic nonspecific pain and chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults increased when both parents reported pain. Adjustments for socioeconomic and psychosocial factors did not change the results, although differences in family structure did. Among offspring living primarily with their mothers, clear associations were observed between maternal pain and pain in adolescents and young adults, but no association was found with paternal pain.
Parental chronic pain is associated with chronic nonspecific pain and especially with chronic multisite pain in adolescents and young adults. Family structure influences the relationship, indicating that family pain models and shared environmental factors are important in the origin of chronic pain.
Cross-sectional study in a subcohort of the 1986 Northern Finland Birth Cohort (n = 1987).
To investigate the role of environmental factors and LBP history in sciatica symptoms among Finnish young adults.
History of low back pain (LBP), smoking, and male sex are associated with sciatica in adult populations. The role of the environmental determinants of sciatica has not been evaluated in populations consisting of only adolescents.
Sciatic symptoms and environmental exposures were elicited by a mailed questionnaire and the associations were analyzed using multinomial logistic regression.
Female sex was associated with severe sciatica at 18 years (OR, 3.9; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.6-9.3). Both reported LBP at 16 years and LBP requiring consultation of a health care professional were associated with mild sciatica at 18 years (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3-4.9; and OR, 3.8; 95% CI, 1.2-11.9). In addition, LBP at 16 years requiring consultation of a health care professional was associated with severe sciatica at 18 years (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.7-15.3). Smoking, obesity, physical workload, and level of physical activity were not associated with sciatica.
Females reported sciatic pain more often than males. LBP at 16 years predicted sciatica at 18 years.
A previous study reported a negative association between perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA) concentrations and fecundability.
We examined this association among women enrolled in the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study (MoBa), in 2003-2004. This analysis was restricted to 451 primiparous women to avoid bias due to previous pregnancy. Self-reported time-to-pregnancy (TTP) and plasma were obtained around 18 weeks of gestation. Approximately half of the women had measurable PFOSA levels; missing values were multiply imputed. We used the logistic analogue of discrete-time survival analysis to examine the adjusted association between PFOSA, other perfluoroalkyl substances, and TTP.
The median-measured PFOSA concentration was 0.03?ng/ml (interquartile range = 0.02, 0.07). The age and body mass index-adjusted association between an interquartile distance increase in PFOSA and TTP was 0.91 (95% confidence interval = 0.71, 1.17). Imputation of missing PFOSA resulted in similar estimates. No association was observed with other perfluoroalkyl substances.
Based on a weakly decreased fecundability odds ratio, we found only limited support for an association between plasma PFOSA concentrations and TTP among primiparous women. See Video Abstract at http://links.lww.com/EDE/B79.
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Multimorbidity is prevalent, and knowledge regarding its aetiology is limited. The general pathogenic impact of adverse life experiences, comprising a wide-ranging typology, is well documented and coherent with the concept allostatic overload (the long-term impact of stress on human physiology) and the notion embodiment (the conversion of sociocultural and environmental influences into physiological characteristics). Less is known about the medical relevance of subtle distress or unease. The study aim was to prospectively explore the associations between existential unease (coined as a meta-term for the included items) and multimorbidity.
Our data are derived from an unselected Norwegian population, the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study, phases 2 (1995-1997) and 3 (2006-2008), with a mean of 11 years follow-up.
The analysis includes 20 365 individuals aged 20-59 years who participated in both phases and was classified without multimorbidity (with 0-1 disease) at baseline.
From HUNT2, we selected 11 items indicating 'unease' in the realms of self-esteem, well-being, sense of coherence and social relationships. Poisson regressions were used to generate relative risk (RR) of developing multimorbidity, according to the respondents' ease/unease profile.
A total of 6277 (30.8%) participants developed multimorbidity. They were older, more likely to be women, smokers and with lower education. 10 of the 11 'unease' items were significantly related to the development of multimorbidity. The items 'poor self-rated health' and 'feeling dissatisfied with life' exhibited the highest RR, 1.55 and 1.44, respectively (95% CI 1.44 to 1.66 and 1.21 to 1.71). The prevalence of multimorbidity increased with the number of 'unease' factors, from 26.7% for no factor to 49.2% for 6 or more.
In this prospective study, 'existential unease' was associated with the development of multimorbidity in a dose-response manner. The finding indicates that existential unease increases people's vulnerability to disease, concordant with current literature regarding increased allostatic load.
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