Since Dr. Fogh-Andersen's legendary 1942 thesis, the Danish facial cleft population has been one of the most extensively studied in terms of epidemiology and genetic-epidemiology. The etiology of cleft lip and/or palate (CLP) is still largely an enigma, and different results concerning environmental and genetic risk factors are obtained in different countries and regions. This may be due to etiological heterogeneity between settings. Therefore, an in-depth studied area with an ethnically homogeneous population, such as Denmark, has provided one of the best opportunities for progress in CLP etiological research. The present review summarizes epidemiological and genetic-epidemiological studies conducted in the 20th century Danish facial cleft population. Furthermore, analyses of sex differences, time trends and seasonality for more than 7000 CLP cases born in Denmark in the period 1936 to 1987 are presented. The review also points toward the excellent opportunities for continued etiological CLP research in Denmark in the 21st century using already established resources and an on-going prospective cohort study of 100,000 pregnant women.
As the cost of air travel has decreased substantially in the USA and Europe over the past few decades, leisure travel to vacation destinations during the winter months has expanded significantly. This trend has probably increased the incidence of significant ultraviolet radiation exposure and sunburn in a broader population who could not previously afford this kind of travel. The purpose of this study was to analyse the correlation between increasing accessibility to air travel and melanoma incidence. This ecological study surveyed air travel patterns and melanoma incidence over the past three decades. Melanoma age-adjusted incidence was obtained from the United States Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results 9 Registry Database, 1975-2000, and the Cancer Registry of Norway, 1965-2000. United States mean inflation-adjusted airfare prices for four airports linked to leisure destinations (Miami, Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix) were compared with melanoma incidence. Parallel analyses were performed using annual domestic passenger-kilometres and melanoma incidence in Norway. Declining United States leisure-specific airfares corresponded strongly with increasing melanoma incidence (r = 0.96, r = 0.92, P
The burden of celiac disease (CD) is increasingly recognized as a global problem. However, whether this situation depends on genetics or environmental factors is uncertain. The authors examined these aspects in Sweden, a country in which the risk of CD is generally considered to be high. If environmental factors are relevant, CD risk in second-generation immigrant children should be related to maternal length of stay in Sweden before delivery.
Linking the Swedish Medical Birth Registry to other national registries, the authors investigated all singleton children (n = 792,401) born in Sweden between 1987 and 1993. They studied the risk of CD in children before age 6 as a function of the mother's geographical region of birth and length of stay in Sweden before delivery using Cox regression models.
In children whose mothers immigrated to Sweden from a country outside of Europe, a maternal length of stay in Sweden of more than 5 years increased the hazard ratio (HR) of CD (1.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06-2.81). The authors observed a similar result among children born to mothers from a Nordic country outside of Sweden (HR 1.57, 95% CI 0.89-2.75), but a non-conclusive protective effect was observed in second-generation immigrant children from a non-Nordic European country (HR 0.65, 95% CI 0.39-1.09).
The risk of CD among second-generation immigrants seems to be conditioned by maternal length of stay in Sweden before delivery, suggesting that environmental factors contribute to the variation in CD risk observed across populations.
Acrylamide, a probable human carcinogen, is formed in several foods during high-temperature processing. So far, epidemiological studies have not shown any association between human cancer risk and dietary exposure to acrylamide. The purpose of this study was to conduct a nested case control study within a prospective cohort study on the association between breast cancer and exposure to acrylamide using biomarkers. N-terminal hemoglobin adduct levels of acrylamide and its genotoxic metabolite, glycidamide in red blood cells were analyzed (by LC/MS/MS) as biomarkers of exposure on 374 breast cancer cases and 374 controls from a cohort of postmenopausal women. The adduct levels of acrylamide and glycidamide were similar in cases and controls, with smokers having much higher levels (approximately 3 times) than nonsmokers. No association was seen between acrylamide-hemoglobin levels and breast cancer risk neither unadjusted nor adjusted for the potential confounders HRT duration, parity, BMI, alcohol intake and education. After adjustment for smoking behavior, however, a positive association was seen between acrylamide-hemoglobin levels and estrogen receptor positive breast cancer with an estimated incidence rate ratio (95% CI) of 2.7 (1.1-6.6) per 10-fold increase in acrylamide-hemoglobin level. A weak association between glycidamide hemoglobin levels and incidence of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer was also found, this association, however, entirely disappeared when acrylamide and glycidamide hemoglobin levels were mutually adjusted.
Acute intestinal infections were clinically and epidemiologically studied in children residing in the towns with different quantitative and qualitative composition of ambient air pollutants and in the districts of a town, which differ in the level of technogenic ambient air pollution. Six hundred and eighty patients with different types of shigellosis and 421 patients with salmonellosis admitted to the infection hospitals of the towns of Angarsk (an intensively polluted locality) and Irkutsk (a better ecological area) were examined in 1995 to 2000. The technogenic ambient air pollution was found to exert a noticeable impact on the incidence with S. sonnei dysentery. In poor environmental areas, all the infections under study are characterized by a great burden, duration, more severe clinical symptoms, and poor laboratory changes in the presence of a decreased responsiveness.
Beginning approximately 4 years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident a steady increase in the incidence of thyroid cancer was observed in children and adolescents of the Bryansk Oblast, which received the highest level of radionuclide contaminants in Russia. We examined the spatial relationship between the residence location of patients with identified thyroid cancer (0-18 years old at the time of the accident) and a number of geographic parameters to better account for the etiology of thyroid cancer spatial distribution. Geographic parameters analyzed included spatial distribution of 137Cs and 131I in soil, population demographics, measurements and reconstructions. of absorbed thyroid 131I doses in the population, and maps of major transportation arteries. An interesting finding is the lack of a consistent correlation between the spatial distribution of radionuclides in the soil and thyroid cancer incidence. Instead, most of the thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed in settlements situated on major railways and roads. Correlating population with thyroid cancer cases and transportation arteries reveals a much higher cancer rate on or near major roads and railways than at a distance from them, again independent of radionuclide soil concentration. There are other important factors, of course, that must be considered in future evaluations of this phenomenon. These include the influence of iodine endemic zones, genetic predisposition to thyroid cancer, and duration of residence time in contaminated areas. The feasibility of radionuclide transport on railways and roads is discussed, together with the vectors for transfer of the contaminants to the human population. Developing a model to reconstruct the radiation dose to the thyroid over time in this geographic region is proposed in light of the impact of transportation arteries. Specific studies are outlined to provide the data necessary to develop this model as well as to better characterize the feasibility and scientific validity of the contribution to human health effects of this transport factor. Transport factor refers to the transport of radionuclides on transportation arteries and the transfer of these agents to the human population residing in the vicinity of these arteries. If the impact on thyroid cancer of the transport of radionuclides on major railways and roads is indeed significant, a major reappraisal of the risk of large-scale radioactive release into the environment is necessary.
Allergy Centre, Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland; Centre for Child Health Research, Tampere University and University Hospital, Tampere, Finland; Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Electronic address: email@example.com.
OBJECTIVES: This study examined certain occupational exposures and the risk for adult-onset asthma. METHODS: A nested case-referent study of adult-onset asthma was performed on a random population sample (N=15813), aged 21 to 51 years. Cases for the study included 2 groups: subjects reporting "physician-diagnosed" asthma (N=251) and a broader "asthma" group (N=362). The "asthma" group consisted of subjects with "physician-diagnosed" asthma (N=251) and subjects reporting asthma-like symptoms without having "physician-diagnosed" asthma (N=111). The referents (N=2044) were randomly selected from the whole population sample. The case-referent sample was investigated with a comprehensive questionnaire about occupational exposures, asthma, respiratory symptoms, smoking, and atopy. Odds ratios were calculated with stratification for gender, year of diagnosis, and birth year. RESULTS: The highest odds ratio for "physician-diagnosed" asthma was associated with exposure to flour dust [odds ratio (OR) 2.8, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.5-5.2] and the occupational handling of resin-based paints (isocyanates) (OR 3.0, 95% CI 1.6-5.9). Exposure to welding fumes, textile dust, and work with glues containing acrylates was also associated with an increased odds ratio for "physician-diagnosed" asthma. Including persons with asthma-like symptoms (ie, the asthma group) showed similar results. CONCLUSION: This population-based case-referent study from Sweden indicates that occupational exposure to acrylate-based compounds and welding fumes is associated with increased risk for adult-onset asthma.
Age at first intercourse among Norwegian adolescents was studied by means of survival analysis. The data stemmed from a nation-wide survey of 3000 Norwegian adolescents aged 17-19, yielding a response rate of 61.8%. Median age at first intercourse was 17.3 years among girls and 18.0 years among boys. By means of Cox regression analysis associations between age at onset of intercourse and some correlates were estimated. Age at first intercourse was significantly associated with educational aspirations, smoking behaviour, alcohol consumption, peer affiliation, and frequency of visiting a discotheque. These inter-relationships confirm that age at onset of intercourse comprise an important indicator of the lifestyle of an individual. In order to influence sexual behaviour of adolescents it may thus be appropriate to employ health promotion activities focusing upon environmental and structural factors, as a supplement to traditional methods of sex education.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the main reason for blindness today in the western hemisphere. According to BjÃ¶rn Olafsson, who was the first ophthalmologist in Iceland a century ago, this disease was not found in Iceland. In the blindness-registry of 1950 6% blindness was due to this disease. Today, AMD is responsible for 54% of legal blindness in Iceland. The incidence of the disease increases with age. Heredity and environmental factors are thought to influence its etiology. Indirect methods, including twin studies and increased frequency of this disease in some families, have demonstrated that hereditary factors may be important. This has been confirmed recently by demonstrating that genes on chromosome 1 and chromosome10 play a role. This disease is classified as early stage, with drusen and pigmentary changes and insignificant visual loss. Treatment options for this stage are limited. The use of vitamin E and C and Zinc has, however, been shown to delay its progress. The second and end stage involves visual loss, either as a dry form with pigment epithelial atrophy or wet form, with new vessel formation. Treatment options for the dry form are limited. The second form is more common in Iceland than in other countries. Treatment options for the wet form have increased. Localised laser and drug treatment to neovascular membranes, either alone or as a combination treatment with drugs that have anti-proliferate effect on new vessels (anti-VEGF) are increasingly used. New treatment methods are also used in assisting those that are already visually handicapped. The use of computers is increasing as are the patients' computer skills. As the number of the elderly increases, AMD will be an increasing health problem in Iceland as in other Western countries. It is therefore important to improve the treatment options and the service and counselling of patients.
It is not clear if the downward trend in cardiovascular disease (CVD) observed for ages up to 85 years can be extended to the oldest old, those 85 years and above.
This nationwide cohort study presents age specific trends of CVD as well as for myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke separately for the period 1994 to 2010 for individuals 85 to 99 years old in Sweden. Data were extracted from national registries. All analyses were based on one-year age- and sex- specific figures. The risk for CVD increased with every age above 85 years although the rate of increase leveled off with age. Over time, the risk for CVD and MI decreased for all ages, and for stroke for ages up to 89 years. However, the risk of MI increased until around 2001 in all age groups and both sexes but decreased after that. The overall mortality improved for all outcomes over the period 1994 to 2010, so did the survival within 28 days from an event. The average annual decline in mortality over all ages, 85 and above was 3% for MI, 2% for stroke and for 2% CVD. Corresponding figures for ages 60-84 was 4% for each of MI, stroke and CVD. The results were similar for men and women.
Improvements in CVD risks observed among ages up to 85 years appear to have extended also to ages above 85 years, even if the rate of improvement plateaued with age. The improvements in survival for all ages up to 99 years give no support to the hypothesis that more fragile individuals reach higher ages. Additional research is needed to find out if improvement in survival can be seen also for the second and third event of CVD, stroke and MI.
It is often taken for granted that an ageing population will lead to an increased burden for the health care sector. However, for several diseases of big public health impact the rates have actually come down for a substantial period of time. In this study we investigate how much the incidence rates for myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, and cancer will have to decline in order to counterbalance future demographic changes (changes in population size and age structure) and compare these figures with observed historical trends. Information on incidence rates were obtained from the National Board of Health and Welfare and referred to the total Swedish population. Population projections were obtained from Statistics Sweden. We projected the number of MI events to increase 50-60% between 2010 and 2050. The decline in incidence rates that is required to keep the number of events constant over time is, on average, 1.2%/year for men and 0.9%/year for women, somewhat higher than the trend for the past 10 years. For stroke the corresponding figures were 1.3% (men) and 1% (women), well in line with historical trends. For cancer the results indicate an increasing number of events in the future. Population ageing is more important than population growth when projecting future number of MI, stroke and cancer events. The required changes in incidence rates in order to counterbalance the demographic changes are well in line with historical figures for stroke, almost in line regarding MI, but not in line regarding cancer. For diseases with age dependence similar to these diseases, a reduction of incidence rates in the order of 1-2% is sufficient to offset the challenges of the ageing population. These are changes that have been observed for several diseases indicating that the challenges posed by the ageing population may not be as severe as they may seem when considering the demographic component alone.
Ethnicity is associated with genetic, environmental, lifestyle and social constructs. Difficult to define using a single variable, but strongly predictive of health outcomes and useful for planning healthcare services, it is often lacking in administrative databases, necessitating the use of a surrogate measure. A potential surrogate for ethnicity is birthplace. Our aim was to measure the agreement between birthplace and ethnicity among six major ethic groups as recorded at the population-based mammography service for British Columbia, Canada (BC).
We used records from the most-recent visits of women attending the Screening Mammography Program of British Columbia to cross-tabulate women's birthplaces and self-reported ethnicities, and separately considered results for the time periods 1990-1999 and 2000-2006. In general, we combined countries according to the system adopted by the United Nations, and defined ethnic groups that correspond to the nation groups. The analysis considered birthplaces and corresponding ethnicities for South Asia, East/Southeast Asia, North Europe, South Europe, East Europe, West Europe and all other nations combined. We used the kappa statistic to measure the concordance between self-reported ethnicity and birthplace.
Except for the 'Other' category, the most-common birthplace was East/Southeast Asia and the most-common ethnicity was East/Southeast Asian. The agreement between birthplace and self-reported ethnicity was poor overall, as evidenced by kappa scores of 0.22 in both 1990-1999 and 2000-2006. There was substantial agreement between ethnicity and birthplace for South Asians, excellent agreement for East/Southeast Asians, but poor agreement for Europeans.
Birthplace can be used as a surrogate for ethnicity amongst people with South Asian and East/Southeast Asian ethnicity in BC.
Verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC) is the cause of severe gastrointestinal infection especially among infants. Between 10 and 20 cases are reported annually to the National Infectious Disease Register (NIDR) in Finland. The aim of this study was to identify explanatory variables for VTEC infections reported to the NIDR in Finland between 1997 and 2006. We applied a hurdle model, applicable for a dataset with an excess of zeros.
We enrolled 131 domestically acquired primary cases of VTEC between 1997 and 2006 from routine surveillance data. The isolated strains were characterized by virulence type, serogroup, phage type and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. By applying a two-part Bayesian hurdle model to infectious disease surveillance data, we were able to create a model in which the covariates were associated with the probability for occurrence of the cases in the logistic regression part and the magnitude of covariate changes in the Poisson regression part if cases do occur. The model also included spatial correlations between neighbouring municipalities.
The average annual incidence rate was 4.8 cases per million inhabitants based on the cases as reported to the NIDR. Of the 131 cases, 74 VTEC O157 and 58 non-O157 strains were isolated (one person had dual infections). The number of bulls per human population and the proportion of the population with a higher education were associated with an increased occurrence and incidence of human VTEC infections in 70 (17%) of 416 of Finnish municipalities. In addition, the proportion of fresh water per area, the proportion of cultivated land per area and the proportion of low income households with children were associated with increased incidence of VTEC infections.
With hurdle models we were able to distinguish between risk factors for the occurrence of the disease and the incidence of the disease for data characterised by an excess of zeros. The density of bulls and the proportion of the population with higher education were significant both for occurrence and incidence, while the proportion of fresh water, cultivated land, and the proportion of low income households with children were significant for the incidence of the disease.
Epidemiologic evidence has demonstrated that air pollution may impair cardiovascular health, leading to potentially life-threatening arrhythmias. Efforts have been made, with the use of epidemiologic data and controlled exposures in diverse animal and human populations, to verify the relationship between air pollution and arrhythmias. The purpose of this review is to examine and contrast the epidemiologic and toxicologic evidence to date that relates airborne pollutants with cardiac arrhythmia. We have explored the potential biological mechanisms driving this association. Using the PubMed database, we conducted a literature search that included the terms "air pollution" and "arrhythmia" and eventually divergent synonyms such as "particulate matter," "bradycardia," and "atrial fibrillation." We reviewed epidemiologic studies and controlled human and animal exposures independently to determine whether observational conclusions were corroborated by toxicologic results. Numerous pollutants have demonstrated some arrhythmic capacity among healthy and health-compromised populations. However, some exposure studies have shown no significant correlation of air pollutants with arrhythmia, which suggests some uncertainty about the arrhythmogenic potential of air pollution and the mechanisms involved in arrhythmogenesis. While data from an increasing number of controlled exposures with human volunteers suggest a potential mechanistic link between air pollution and altered cardiac electrophysiology, definite conclusions regarding air pollution and arrhythmia are elusive as the direct arrhythmic effects of air pollutants are not entirely consistent across all studies.
Vehicle engine exhaust includes ultrafine particles with a large surface area and containing absorbed polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, transition metals and other substances. Ultrafine particles and soluble chemicals can be transported from the airways to other organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and brain. Our aim was to investigate whether air pollution from traffic is associated with risk for other cancers than lung cancer.
We followed up 54,304 participants in the Danish Diet Cancer and Health cohort for 20 selected cancers in the Danish Cancer Registry, from enrolment in 1993-1997 until 2006, and traced their residential addresses from 1971 onwards in the Central Population Registry. We used modeled concentration of nitrogen oxides (NO(x)) and amount of traffic at the residence as indicators of traffic-related air pollution and used Cox models to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRRs) after adjustment for potential confounders.
NO(x) at the residence was significantly associated with risks for cervical cancer (IRR, 2.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01;5.93, per 100 µg/m(3) NO(x)) and brain cancer (IRR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.25;4.19, per 100 µg/m(3) NO(x)).
This hypothesis-generating study indicates that traffic-related air pollution might increase the risks for cervical and brain cancer, which should be tested in future studies.
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Cancer incidence and its possible relation to environmental contaminants, including radiation, continues to be a perceived health threat for the arctic-dwelling Alaska Native (Inupiat Eskimo) people despite the lack of a direct link to high-dose exposure. To better understand this concern, all known malignancies diagnosed in this population (n = 177) in three consecutive eight-year periods (1971-1994) were evaluated. The most recent average incidence rate (age-adjusted to world standard population) of 315 per 100,000 (95% confidence interval, CI = 248-382) represents a 33% surge (albeit non-significant) in Alaska Native cancer incidence over the initial period studied. The male rate 366 (95% CI = 266-466) for the same period exceeds the female rate 258 (95% CI = 169-347) by 42%. Two patterns of cancer incidence are seen at the village level. One, a 24 y upward trend found in the villages of Barrow, Point Hope and Kaktovik (combined rate of increase significant [P = 0.047]) associated with lung cancer; and the other, a stable trend over the past 16 y, associated with colon and rectal cancer. Lung cancer is the predominant cancer by site and is primarily a male disease. The recent male lung cancer incidence rate of 137 (95% CI = 73-201) exceeds the female rate by greater than five times. Total lung cancer cases are primarily confined to four villages where the incidence significantly (P = 0.0043) exceeds the remaining population. The major female cancers are colon/rectal and breast with cancer of the cervix virtually eliminated. Breast cancer is found primarily in two villages where its excess is significant (P = 0.025). Inupiat Eskimo cancer epidemiology is unique, differing from both the Alaska Native and other Circumpolar populations. At present, this uniqueness cannot be explained by an overt environmental contaminant exposure. Although tobacco very likely plays a central role, it by itself cannot fully explain the extremely high male lung cancer rate and why only specific villages are affected. Genetic predisposition and environmental factors may play a synergistic role as cofactors. A cooperative investigative effort with the Inupiat population is indicated and may go a long way in reducing cancer concern in the region.
We investigated the influence of different aspects of alcohol consumption on the risk of Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes in adults.
We used data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey (HUNT) study, in which all adults aged = 20 years from Nord-Trondelag County were invited to participate in three surveys in 1984-1986, 1995-1997 and 2006-2008. Patients with diabetes were identified using self-reports, and participants with onset age = 35 years were classified as having Type 2 diabetes if they were negative for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (n = 1841) and as having autoimmune diabetes if they were positive for anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase (n = 140). Hazard ratios of amount and frequency of alcohol use, alcoholic beverage choice, and binge drinking and alcohol use disorders were estimated.
Moderate alcohol consumption (adjusted for confounders) was associated with a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes in men, but not in women (hazard ratio for men 10-15 g/day 0.48, 95% CI 0.28-0.77; hazard ratio for women = 10 g/day 0.81, 95% CI 0.33-1.96). The reduced risk was primarily linked to consumption of wine [hazard ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.87-0.99 (per g/day)]. No increased risk was seen in participants reporting binge drinking or in problem drinkers. The results were also compatible with a reduced risk of autoimmune diabetes associated with alcohol consumption [hazard ratio 0.70, 95% CI 0.45-1.08 (frequent consumption) and hazard ratio 0.36, 95% CI 0.13-0.97 (2-7 g/day)].
Moderate alcohol consumption associates with reduced risk of both Type 2 diabetes and autoimmune diabetes. A protective effect of alcohol intake may be limited to men. High alcohol consumption does not seem to carry an increased risk of diabetes.
A statistically significant direct strong correlation was found between the annual average daily concentrations of air benz[a]pyrene and the lung and the gastric cancer morbidity rates in males and females, skin, thyroid, and ovarian cancer in females. The certain interval of the measured concentration of benz[a]pyrene and the recorded morbidity rate was shown to be characteristic of each of the above-mentioned tumors.
Environmental determinants of appendicitis are poorly understood. Past work suggests that air pollution may increase the risk of appendicitis.
We investigated whether ambient ground-level ozone (O3) concentrations were associated with appendicitis and whether these associations varied between perforated and nonperforated appendicitis.
We based this time-stratified case-crossover study on 35,811 patients hospitalized with appendicitis from 2004 to 2008 in 12 Canadian cities. Data from a national network of fixed-site monitors were used to calculate daily maximum O3 concentrations for each city. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate city-specific odds ratios (ORs) relative to an interquartile range (IQR) increase in O3 adjusted for temperature and relative humidity. A random-effects meta-analysis was used to derive a pooled risk estimate. Stratified analyses were used to estimate associations separately for perforated and nonperforated appendicitis.
Overall, a 16-ppb increase in the 7-day cumulative average daily maximum O3 concentration was associated with all appendicitis cases across the 12 cities (pooled OR = 1.07; 95% CI: 1.02, 1.13). The association was stronger among patients presenting with perforated appendicitis for the 7-day average (pooled OR = 1.22; 95% CI: 1.09, 1.36) when compared with the corresponding estimate for nonperforated appendicitis [7-day average (pooled OR = 1.02, 95% CI: 0.95, 1.09)]. Heterogeneity was not statistically significant across cities for either perforated or nonperforated appendicitis (p > 0.20).
Higher levels of ambient O3 exposure may increase the risk of perforated appendicitis.
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