AIMS: To find out whether the incidence of infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS) has changed over the past decade, and if so, to investigate possible contributory factors. METHODS: All infants undergoing pyloromyotomy for IHPS in Sweden between 1987 and 1996 were studied. Using the national patient registers the yearly incidence was determined and evaluated in relation to sex, latitude, urbanisation, and type of surroundings by use of a Poisson model. RESULTS: There was a substantial decline from 2.7/1000 to 0.85/1000 over the time period. The incidence in the south was almost three times greater than in the north. CONCLUSION: The declining incidence and geographical difference suggest that environmental factors are of importance in this disorder.
We have investigated exposure to methylmercury (MeHg) and mercury vapor (Hg0) in pregnant women and their newborns in Stockholm. The women were followed for 15 months post delivery. MeHg, inorganic Hg (I-Hg), and total Hg (T-Hg) in maternal and cord blood were determined by automated alkaline solubilization/reduction and cold vapor atomic fluorescence spectrometry. T-Hg in urine was determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. About 72% of the Hg in blood (n = 148) in early pregnancy was MeHg (median 0.94 microg/L, maximum 6.8 microg/L). Blood MeHg decreased during pregnancy, partly due to decreased intake of fish in accordance with recommendations to not eat certain predatory fish during pregnancy. Cord blood MeHg (median 1.4 microg/L, maximum 4.8 microg/L) was almost twice that in maternal blood in late pregnancy and was probably influenced by maternal MeHg exposure earlier and before pregnancy. Blood I-Hg (median 0.37 microg/L, maximum 4.2 microg/L) and urine T-Hg (median 1.6 microg/L, maximum 12 microg/L) in early pregnancy were highly correlated, and both were associated with the number of amalgam fillings. The concentrations decreased during lactation, probably due to excretion in milk. Cord blood I-Hg was correlated with that in maternal blood. The results show the importance of speciation of Hg in blood for evaluation of exposure and health risks.
Coeliac disease, or permanent gluten sensitive enteropathy, has emerged as a widespread health problem. It is considered an immunological disease, possibly of autoimmune type, albeit strictly dependent on the presence in the diet of wheat gluten and similar proteins from rye and barley. There are reasons to believe that the aetiology of coeliac disease is multifactorial, i.e. that other environmental exposures than the mere presence in the diet of gluten affect the disease process. Our studies have shown that prolonged breast-feeding, or perhaps even more important, ongoing breast-feeding during the period when gluten-containing foods are introduced into the diet, reduce the risk for coeliac disease. The amount of gluten consumed is also of importance in as much as larger amounts of gluten-containing foods increase the risk for coeliac disease, while it still is uncertain if the age for introducing gluten into the diet of infants is important. Thus, a challenging possibility, that need to be further explored, is if the coeliac enteropathy can be postponed, or possibly even prevented for the entire life span, by favourable dietary habits early in life.
Possible hazardous effects of laboratory work on the reproduction outcomes of female laboratory personnel in Sweden from 1990 to 1994 were investigated in a questionnaire-based study (n = 1052) by comparison with personnel in non-laboratory departments. The individual woman constituted the primary sampling unit, with her pregnancies defined as the unit of analysis. Allowance for dependence between different pregnancies of the same woman was considered by applying random effect models. With regard to spontaneous abortions, no elevated odds ratio was found for laboratory work in general, but an odds ratio of 2.3 and a 95% confidence interval of 0.9 to 5.9 (n = 856) was connected to working with chloroform. The odds ratio for large for gestational age infants in association with the mother's laboratory work was 1.9 (confidence interval, 0.7 to 5.2). The result with regard to spontaneous abortion partly supports previously reported increased risks of miscarriage related to laboratory work with solvents.
BACKGROUND: Psychosocial resources as well as lifestyle habits during pregnancy have been shown to effect the risk of having a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) child. Most previous studies are based on a single assessment of these exposures, which does not take into account the possibility of different effects during early and late stages of pregnancy. METHODS: The impact of psychosocial and lifestyle factors on the risk of giving birth to an SGA child (as measured by ultrasound) was examined among 747 nulliparous Swedish women who completed both a prenatal baseline, and a post-partum assessment. RESULTS: Those registering low social participation on both assessments showed increased risk of giving birth to an SGA infant (OR = 2.44 and 95% CI: 1.06-5.66), while at one assessment (OR = 1.70 and 95% CI: 0.74-3.91). Maternal smoking confirmed by both or one assessments yielded an OR = 2.72 and 95% CI: 1.37-5.39 and OR = 1.60 and 95% CI: 0.58-4.46, respectively. During early pregnancy, poor instrumental support, maternal smoking, or passive smoking yielded increased risks of SGA, adjusted for confounding (OR = 2.39 and 95% CI: 1.11-5.17; OR = 2.38 and 95% CI: 1.27-4.49; OR = 2.92 and 95% CI: 1.17-7.32, respectively). In late pregnancy, only maternal smoking yielded a significant association (OR = 2.34 and 95% CI: 1.24-4.41). CONCLUSION: Scheduling repeated assessments of psychosocial resources and lifestyle factors during pregnancy yielded additional information. The findings suggest that there can be differential effects of such exposures depending on gestational stage. This information is of importance when designing appropriate intervention strategies for maternal health services as well as for public health relevant policy formulation (e.g. regarding exposure to environmental tobacco during pregnancy).
OBJECTIVES: This study attempted to give a medical and social prognosis for patients with perceived "electrical sensitivity". METHODS: In 1980-1998, 350 patients with electrical sensitivity were registered at the University Hospital of Northern Sweden in Umeå, Sweden. Those with hypersensitivity to electricity had multiple symptoms evoked by exposure to different electric environments. Those with skin symptoms related to the use of visual display terminals (VDT) predominantly had facial skin symptoms evoked by a VDT, television screens, or fluorescent light tubes. A questionnaire on civil status, current health status, care, treatment and other measures taken, consequences of the problem, eliciting factors, and current employment was sent to all the patients. The response rate was 73%. Of the 50 respondents with hypersensitivity to electricity, 38% were men and 62% were women. Of the 200 patients with skin symptoms related to VDT use, 21.5% were men and 78.5% women. RESULTS: More women than men had turned to caregivers, including complementary therapies. A larger proportion of patients with hypersensitivity to electricity (38%) than those with skin symptoms related to VDT use (17%) was no longer gainfully employed. Both groups reported a higher symptom frequency than that reported by the the general population. Over time, the medical prognosis improved in the latter group but not in the former. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with hypersensitivity to electricity, particularly women, have extensive medical problems and a considerable number of them stop working. Many patients with skin symptoms related to VDT use have a favorable prognosis. Both groups need early and consistent management.
We examined cancer incidence in an expanded cohort of Swedish chimney sweeps.
We added male chimney sweep trade union members (1981-2006) to an earlier cohort (employed 1918-1980) and linked them to nationwide registers of cancer, causes of deaths, and total population. The total cohort (n = 6320) was followed from 1958 through 2006. We estimated standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) using the male Swedish population as reference. We estimated exposure as years of employment and analyzed for exposure-response associations by Poisson regression.
A total of 813 primary cancers were observed versus 626 expected (SIR = 1.30; 95% confidence interval = 1.21, 1.39). As in a previous follow-up, SIRs were significantly increased for cancer of the esophagus, liver, lung, bladder, and all hematopoietic cancer. New findings included significantly elevated SIRs for cancer of the colon, pleura, adenocarcinoma of the lung, and at unspecified sites. Total cancer and bladder cancer demonstrated positive exposure-response associations.
Exposure to soot and asbestos are likely causes of the observed cancer excesses, with contributions from adverse lifestyle factors. Preventive actions to control work exposures and promote healthier lifestyles are an important priority.
BACKGROUND: Autoantibodies against beta-cell antigens together with human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-risk genotypes are used as predictive markers for type 1 diabetes (T1D). In this study, we have investigated the role of HLA-risk and -protective genotypes for development of beta-cell autoantibodies and progression to T1D in healthy children. METHODS: T1D-related HLA genotypes and autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase [glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies (GADA)] and islet antigen-2 (IA-2A) were studied at 1, 2.5 and 5 yr of age in unselected healthy children and children with T1D participating in the All Babies In Southeast Sweden (ABIS) study. Results: GADA or IA-2A positivity at 5 yr of age was associated with DR4-DQ8 haplotype and DR3-DQ2/DR4-DQ8 genotype. By the age of 6-7 yr, we identified 32 children with T1D among the 17 055 participants in the ABIS study. Eight of 2329 (0.3%) non-diabetic children had permanent autoantibodies, and 143 of 2329 (6%) children had transient autoantibodies. HLA-risk genotypes associated with T1D, whereas protective genotypes were seldom found in children with T1D. Children with permanent autoantibodies had more often risk-associated DR4-DQ8 haplotype than autoantibody-negative children. No associations with HLA-risk or -protective genotypes were found for transient autoantibodies. CONCLUSIONS: The strong relation between HLA-risk alleles and T1D once again confirmed that HLA-risk genotypes play an important role for development of T1D. However, HLA genotypes seem not to explain induction of autoantibodies, especially transient autoantibodies, in the general population, emphasizing the role of environmental factors in the initiation of autoimmunity. It seems that HLA-risk genotypes are responsible for maturation of the permanent autoantibody response.
In Sweden, as in many other European countries, traffic noise is an important environmental health issue. At present, almost two million people are exposed to average noise levels exceeding the outdoor national guideline value (55 dB(A)). Despite efforts to reduce the noise burden, noise-related health effects, such as annoyance and sleep disturbances, are increasing. The scientific interest regarding more serious health effects related to the cardiovascular system is growing, and several experimental and epidemiological studies have been performed or are ongoing. Most of the studies on cardiovascular outcomes have been related to noise from road or aircraft traffic. Few studies have included railway noise. The outcomes under study include morning saliva cortisol, treatment for hypertension, self-reported hypertension, and myocardial infarction. The Swedish studies on road traffic noise support the hypothesis of an association between long-term noise exposure and cardiovascular disease. However, the magnitude of effect varies between the studies and has been shown to depend on factors such as sex, number of years at residence, and noise annoyance. Two national studies have been performed on the cardiovascular effects of aircraft noise exposure. The first one, a cross-sectional study assessing self-reported hypertension, has shown a 30% risk increase per 5 dB(A) noise increase. The second one, which to our knowledge is the first longitudinal study assessing the cumulative incidence of hypertension, found a relative risk (RR) of 1.10 (95% CI 1.01 - 1.19) per 5 dB(A) noise increase. No associations have been found between railway noise and cardiovascular diseases. The findings regarding noise-related health effects and their economic consequences should be taken into account in future noise abatement policies and community planning.
A Swedish cohort analysis in this issue (1) demonstrates a significant reduction in all cause mortality and in cardiovascular mortality associated with several measures of sun exposure. In addition, ultraviolet exposure from tanning beds is associated with a significant increase in all cause mortality and cancer mortality. A potential explanation for the protective association is that UV exposure results in high levels of serum vitamin D which may improve survival. However, that explanation does not hold for ultraviolet exposure from tanning beds, which in this study is associated with a significant increase in all cause mortality and cancer mortality. Such a finding is curious and inconsistent with a vitamin D hypothesis. These results should impel investigators to study further the biology of ultraviolet radiation, both natural and artificial, and its health effects.
RefSource: Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011 Apr;20(4):683-90
Although the clinical utility of categorically defined attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is well established, there is also strong evidence supporting the notion of ADHD as an extreme of a continuous trait. Nevertheless, the question of whether the etiology is the same for different levels of DSM-IV ADHD symptoms remains to be investigated. The aim of this study was to assess genetic links between the extreme and the subthreshold range of ADHD symptoms.
Parents of all Swedish 9- and 12-year-old twins born between 1992 and 2000 were interviewed for DSM-IV ADHD symptoms and associated conditions. Two validated cutoff values were used for screening and assigning research diagnoses. Response rate was 80%. Twin methods were applied to investigate the extent to which ADHD is etiologically distinct from subthreshold variations in ADHD symptoms.
Extremes analyses indicated a strong genetic link between the extreme and the subthreshold variation, with almost identical group heritability estimates around .60 for the diagnostic (prevalence 1.78%) and screening (prevalence 9.75%) criteria of ADHD.
A strong genetic link between the extreme and the subthreshold variation of DSM-IV based assessments of ADHD symptoms was found. The data suggest that ADHD is best viewed as the quantitative extreme of genetic and environmental factors operating dimensionally throughout the distribution of ADHD symptoms, indicating that the same etiologic factors are involved in the full range of symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
The association between chronic respiratory diseases and work disability has been demonstrated a number of times over the past 20 years, but still little is known about work disability in occupational cohorts of workers exposed to respiratory irritants. This study investigated job or task changes due to respiratory problems as an indicator of work disability in pulp mill workers occupationally exposed to irritants.
Data about respiratory symptoms and disease diagnoses, socio-demographic variables, occupational exposures, gassing episodes, and reported work changes due to respiratory problems were collected using a questionnaire answered by 3226 pulp mill workers. Information about work history and departments was obtained from personnel files. Incidence and hazard ratios for respiratory work disability were calculated with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
The incidence of respiratory work disability among these pulp mill workers was 1.6/1000 person-years. The hazard ratios for respiratory work disability were increased for workers reporting gassings (HR 5.3, 95% CI 2.7-10.5) and for those reporting physician-diagnosed asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chronic rhinitis, when analyzed in the same model.
This cohort study of pulp mill workers found that irritant peak exposure during gassing episodes was a strong predictor of changing work due to respiratory problems, even after adjustment for asthma, chronic bronchitis, and chronic rhinitis.
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Studies have found an association between low birth weight and ADHD, but the nature of this relation is unclear. First, it is uncertain whether birth weight is associated with both of the ADHD dimensions, inattentiveness and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Second, it remains uncertain whether the association between birth weight and ADHD symptom severity is confounded by familial factors.
Parents of all Swedish 9- and 12-year-old twins born between 1992 and 2000 were interviewed for DSM-IV inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive ADHD symptoms by the Autism - Tics, AD/HD and other Comorbidities (A-TAC) inventory (N = 21,775 twins). Birth weight was collected prospectively through the Medical Birth Registry. We used a within-twin pair design to control for genetic and shared environmental factors.
Reduced birth weight was significantly associated with a mean increase in total ADHD (ß = -.42; 95% CI: -.53, -.30), inattentive (ß = -.26; 95% CI: -.33, -.19), and hyperactive-impulsive (ß = -.16; 95% CI: -.22, -.10) symptom severity. These results imply that a change of one kilogram of birth weight corresponded to parents rating their child nearly one unit higher (going from "no" to "yes, to some extent" on a given symptom) on the total ADHD scale. These associations remained within pairs of MZ and DZ twins, and were also present when restricting the analyses to full term births.
There is an independent association between low birth weight and all forms of ADHD symptoms, even after controlling for all environmental and genetic confounds shared within twin pairs. These results indicate that fetal growth restriction (as reflected in birth weight differences within twin pairs) and/or the environmental factors which influence it is in the casual pathway leading to ADHD.
Prolonged computer work with an extended neck is commonly believed to be associated with an increased risk of neck-shoulder disorders. The aim of this study was to compare neck postures during computer work between female cases with neck-shoulder disorders, and healthy referents. Based on physical examinations, 13 cases and 11 referents were selected among 70 female air traffic controllers with the same computer-based work tasks and identical workstations. Postures and movements were measured by inclinometers, placed on the forehead and upper back (C7/Th1) during authentic air traffic control. A recently developed method was applied to assess flexion/extension in the neck, calculated as the difference between head and upper back flexion/extension. Results: cases and referents did not differ significantly in neck posture (median neck flexion/extension: -10 degrees vs. -9 degrees ; p=0.9). Hence, the belief that neck extension posture is associated with neck-shoulder disorders in computer work is not supported by the present data.
This study was an investigation of prevalence and associations between self-rated health and working conditions for small-scale enterprisers in a county in Sweden. A postal questionnaire was answered by 340 male and 153 female small-scale enterprisers in different sectors, with a response rate of 66%. For comparative purposes, data from a population study of 1,699 employees in private companies was included in the analyses. Differences were tested by Chi(2)-test and associations were presented as odds ratios (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI). The frequency of health problems in male enterprisers was higher than in employees in the private sector, while the frequency of health problems in female enterprisers was equal to that of the control employees. The main findings highlighted that male enterprisers reported higher rate of health problems and female enterprisers equal rate compared with employees in the private sector. Enterprisers stated musculoskeletal pain (women 59%, men 56%) and mental health problems (women 47%, men 45%) as the most frequent health problems. Poor job satisfaction, reported by 17% of the females and 20% of the male enterprisers, revealed an OR of 10.42 (95% CI 5.78-18.77) for poor general health. For the enterprisers, the most frequent complaints, musculoskeletal pain and mental health problems, were associated with poor job satisfaction and poor physical work environment. An association between poor general health and working as an enterpriser remained after adjusting for working conditions, sex and age.
OBJECTIVES: To establish the gender difference amongst newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic patients aged 15-34 years, considering age at diagnosis, temporal trend and seasonal variation at time of diagnosis. STUDY DESIGN: A population-based prospective study with a mean annual population at risk of 2.3 million. SETTING: All departments of medicine, endocrinology and paediatrics and primary health care units in Sweden. SUBJECTS: Incident cases of diabetes aged 15-34 years at diagnosis 1983-2002. MEASURE INSTRUMENT: Basic characteristics of patients at diagnosis were reported by the diagnosing doctor on a standardized form. Level of ascertainment was estimated at 80-90%. RESULTS: Amongst all incident cases (n = 8012), 74% was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The mean annual incidence rate of type 1 diabetes was 12.7/100,000, in men 16.4/100,000 and in women 8.9/100,000. The incidence of type 1 diabetes decreased slowly by increasing age but was in all age groups higher in men, yielding an overall male/female ratio of 1.8. In both genders the incidence of type 1 diabetes decreased in average of 1.0% per year. A seasonal pattern with significantly higher incidence during January-March and lower during May-July was seen in both genders. CONCLUSIONS: A clear male predominance of type 1 diabetes was seen in all ages. The temporal trend and the seasonal pattern was similar in men and women. Hence, internal factors related to the gender rather than differences in the exposure to environmental factors seem to explain the consistent male-female bias in the postpubertal risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
The theory that natural selection has conserved mechanisms by which women subjected to environmental stressors abort frail male fetuses implies that climate change may affect sex ratio at birth and male longevity. Using time series methods, we find that cold ambient temperatures during gestation predict lower secondary sex ratios and longer life span of males in annual birth cohorts composed of Danes, Finns, Norwegians, and Swedes born between 1878 (earliest year with complete life tables) and 1914 (last birth cohort for which male life span can be estimated). We conclude that ambient temperature affects the characteristics of human populations by influencing who survives gestation, a heretofore unrecognized effect of climate on humanity.
The hospital sound environment is complex. Alarms, medical equipment, activities, and ventilation generate noise that may present occupational problems as well as hinder recovery among patients. In this study, sound measurements and occupant evaluations were conducted in a neurological intensive care unit. Staff completed questionnaires regarding psychological and physiological reactions to the sound environment. A-weighted equivalent, minimum, and maximum (L(Aeq),L(AFMin),L(AFMax)) and C-weighted peak (L(CPeak)) sound pressure levels were measured over five days at patient and staff locations. Acoustical descriptors that may be explored further were investigated, including level distributions, restorative periods, and spectral content. Measurements near the patients showed average L(Aeq) values of 53-58 dB. The mean length of restorative periods (L(Aeq) below 50 dB for more than 5 min) was 9 and 13 min for day and night, respectively. Ninety percent of the time, the L(AFMax) levels exceeded 50 dB and L(CPeak) exceeded 70 dB. Dosimeters worn by the staff revealed higher noise levels. Personnel perceived the noise as contributing to stress symptoms. Compared to the majority of previous studies, this study provides a more thorough description of intensive care noise and aids in understanding how the sound environment may be disruptive to occupants.
BACKGROUND: A classification of 12 work categories was used to evaluate the cancer incidence and mortality among a cohort of Swedish rubber tire workers. METHODS: Cancer incidence and mortality in the cohort was compared with expected values from national rates. Standardized incidence and mortality ratios were calculated for the total cohort, for sub-cohorts and with the inclusion of a latency requirement. RESULTS: Among men, increased incidence and mortality risks were found for cancer in the larynx; SIR=2.10; 95% confidence intervals (95% CI): 1.05-3.76, SMR=2.08; 95% CI: 0.42-6.09. Increased risks were also seen for cancer in the trachea, bronchus, and lung; SIR=1.62; 95% CI: 1.28-2.02, SMR=1.54; 95% CI: 1.21-1.94, the incidence risk was highest among those with the longest exposure duration and among workers in compounding/mixing, milling, and maintenance. Decreased incidence risks were seen for cancer of the prostate (SIR=0.74; 95% CI: 059-0.92) and skin (SIR=0.57; 95% CI: 0.36-0.84). CONCLUSIONS: The finding of an excess of tumors in the respiratory system is in agreement with earlier findings in other studies on rubber tire workers. The results on other cancer types are compared to earlier findings and related to work processes and chemical exposures of possible causal importance.