All 291 fatal accidents (510 persons on board, 318 drowned) in water traffic in Finland in 1986-1988 were investigated by specific teams. Only some data of this extensive investigation are presented in this study. Staggering and falling in boat because of drunkenness, falling over and sinking of boat were the main causes of getting into water of the people aboard. Only 3.5% of the drowned had used life jackets and 9.7% of them could not swim. The reduced ability to swim because of alcohol and the exhaustion were in about half of the drowned the actual cause and the cold water in one third the background factor for drowning. The results indicate that fatal accidents in water traffic are a major problem of males (95.9%) and give important information for countermeasures.
In Finland a nationwide screening programme for congenital hypothyroidism (CHT) has operated since 1980 with complete coverage. Among the total of 307,000 newborns screened, the incidence per 100,000 was 24.6 for thyroid dysgenesis and 4.0 for dyshormonogenesis. We conclude that, when screening is based on cord serum TSH, the false-positive results are caused mainly by difficult delivery. The most important factors associated with dyshormonogenesis were CHT in the family, origin from a geographic risk area, and origin of both mother and father from the same community. These reflect the autosomal recessive inheritance. The risk factors for dysgenesis were female gender, CHT in the family, birth in a geographic risk area, and birth during a risk period of the year.
A case-control study was conducted to investigate the association between serum selenium and risk of death from acute coronary heart disease (CHD) as well as risk of fetal and non-fetal myocardial infarction (MI). Case-control pairs came from a population of 11,000 persons examined in 1972 from two counties in eastern Finland, an area with an exceptionally high mortality from cardiovascular diseases. Cases were aged 35-59 years and had died of CHD or other CVD or had a non-fetal MI during a seven-year follow-up. Controls were matched for sex, age, daily tobacco consumption, serum cholesterol, diastolic blood pressure, and history of angina pectoris. The mean serum selenium concentration for all cases was 51.8 micrograms/l and for all controls 55.3 micrograms/l (p less than 0.01). Serum selenium of less than 45 micrograms/l was associated with an adjusted relative risk of CHD death of 2.9 (p less than 0.01, 95% CI, 1.4-6.0), a relative risk of CVD death of 2.2 (p less than 0.01, 95% CI, 1.2-4.0), and a relative risk of fatal and nonfatal MI of 2.1 (p less than 0.001, 95% Ci, 1.4-3.1). 22% (95% CI, 8-35%) of contrary deaths were attributable to serum selenium in the whole study population.
Three groups of 10 men of low selenium status were given 200 micrograms Se/day as Serich wheat, Se-rich yeast, or sodium selenate for 11 wk. Twenty unsupplemented subjects served as controls. Plasma Se levels increased steadily in the wheat and yeast groups for 11 wk without plateauing, whereas in the selenate group, plasma Se plateaued around 110 ng/ml after 4 wk. Platelet glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities increased rapidly in the wheat and selenate groups for 4 wk and then plateaued. Platelet GSH-Px increased more slowly in the yeast group. Ten weeks after the supplements were discontinued, platelet GSH-Px was higher in the wheat and yeast groups than in the selenate group. Assessment of Se bioavailability requires a short-term platelet GSH-Px measurement to determine immediate availability, a medium-term plasma Se measurement to estimate retention, and a long-term platelet GSH-Px measurement after supplements are discontinued to determine the covertibility of tissue Se stores to biologically active Se.
Conventional laboratory tests: gamma glutamyltransferase (GGT), alanine aminotransferase (ALAT), aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), cholesterol, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-cholesterol) were studied as possible markers of heavy drinking in a sample of 1,619 first-year university students in Helsinki. Alcohol consumption was measured on a frequency-volume scale. No significant (p
The legal limit for drinking and driving in Britain is 80 mg/dl (17.4 mmol/l) of alcohol in the blood. This was chosen 20 years ago on the basis of studies that have recently been reanalysed. Changes in public opinion, the results of recent research, and the evaluation of other countermeasures, such as random breath testing, show that there are good grounds for revising the legal limit downwards. It is suggested that the legal limit should be reduced from 80 mg/dl to 50 mg/dl (10.9 mmol/l) and random breath testing introduced as in most Nordic countries. A zero limit is proposed for learner and first year drivers, who are likely to have accidents even with low concentrations of alcohol in their blood.
Since the introduction of random breath testing in Finland in 1977 the drinking and driving rate has halved, and there has been an appreciable reduction in the rates of death and injury from road accidents associated with drinking. The results of Finnish studies indicate that random breath testing deters social drinkers and detects problem drinkers. Problem drinkers are more likely to be driving in morning traffic, when vulnerable road users such as children are about, and are more likely to be detected by random breath testing than by any other police activity. Random breath testing is a popular measure and has not only saved lives but has paid for itself by savings in health service and other resources. Introducing random breath testing into Britain could save at least 400 lives a year. The main recommendation of the Blennerhassett report of 1976--discretionary testing--is compared with the success of random breath testing in Finland.
Cites: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1983 Apr 23;286(6374):1319-226132655
Cites: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985 Mar 16;290(6471):827-302858243
The study includes medicolegally examined deaths among drug addicts in 1991 in the five Nordic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. A common definition of 'drug addict' was applied by the participating countries. The greatest number of drug addict deaths per 10(5) inhabitants was observed in Denmark followed, in descending order by Norway, Sweden, Finland and finally Iceland with only four deaths. The main difference between the countries was found in the number of fatal poisonings. The distribution according to geographical regions showed that about half of all drug addict deaths occurred in the metropolitan areas. Of the capitals, the greatest number of fatal poisonings per 10(5) inhabitants was seen in Oslo, followed by Copenhagen with a similar number, Stockholm with only the half, and Helsinki with a quarter. Heroin/morphine dominated as cause of death in fatal poisonings in Norway and Sweden. In Denmark, heroin/morphine caused about half of the fatal poisonings only, and nearly one third of the fatal poisonings was caused by methadone. Except for two cases in Sweden, methadone deaths were not seen in the other Nordic countries. Amphetamine caused one tenth of the fatal poisonings in Sweden. In Finland only one tenth of the deaths were caused by heroin/morphine and more by codeine, ethylmorphine and different drugs and poisons not classified in Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 or the International Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971. A widespread use of alcohol, cannabis and benzodiazepines, diazepam especially, was seen in all the countries.
The extent of drug use among drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs in Finland was studied. All blood samples submitted to the laboratory during 1 week in two study periods, in 1979 (n = 298) and 1993 (n = 332), were analyzed for alcohol and psychotropic drugs. Drugs classified as hazardous to traffic safety were detected in 7.0% of the samples in 1979 and 26.8% in 1993. Benzodiazepines were the most frequently found drugs in both years: 6.0% of the cases in 1979 and 22.9% in 1993. Illegal drugs were found in 4% of the cases in 1993. Of the samples tested, 296 in 1979 and 317 in 1993 were from drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol only. In 1979 every fourteenth and in 1993 every fourth of these suspected drunken drivers had drugs in their blood. Drugs, other than alcohol, were found six times more often than expected by the police. The results indicate that the trend of drug use, multidrug use and drug abuse is increasing among cases suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs.