Mental disorders are a key cause of sickness absence (SA) and challenge prolonging working careers. Thus, evidence on the development of SA trends is needed. In this study, educational differences in long SAs due to mental disorders were examined in two age groups among employees of the City of Helsinki from 2004 to 2013.
All permanently and temporarily employed staff aged 18-34 and 35-49 were included in the analyses (n=~27800 per year). SA spells of =14 days due to mental disorders were examined annually. Education was classified to higher and lower levels. Joinpoint regression was used to identify major turning points in SA trends.
Joinpoint regression models showed that lower educated groups had more long SAs spells due to mental disorders than those groups with higher education. SA trends decreased during the study period in all studied age and educational groups. Lower educated age groups had similar SA trends. Younger employees with higher education had the fewest SAs.
A clear educational gradient was found in long SAs due to mental disorders during the study period. SA trends decreased from 2004 to 2013.
Panel studies on changes of occupational class differences in health have given varying results. The aim of this study was to examine changes of occupational class differences in physical functioning and the factors that explain these changes.
A cohort of middle-aged employees of the City of Helsinki was followed up for an average of 6 years in two surveys from 2000-2002 and 2007. Hierarchical linear random effects models were fitted to analyse the changes of occupational class differences in SF-36 physical functioning, as well as the contribution of physical and psychosocial working conditions, material conditions, health behaviours and employment status to these changes.
Lower occupational classes had worse physical functioning at baseline: among women, the SF-36 scores ranged from 50.5 in the highest class to 47.1 in the lowest one, and among men from 52.2 to 48.9, with higher scores indicating better health. Occupational class differences widened during the follow-up due to stronger decline of physical functioning in the lower occupational classes than in the higher occupational classes. The largest difference in the decline of functioning between classes was 1.2 scores among women and 1.5 scores among men. Among women the widening of the class differences could be explained partly by health behaviours and employment status and among men by material conditions.
Occupational class differences in physical functioning widened due to a faster decline of physical functioning in the lower occupational classes. Health behaviours, employment status and material conditions explained the widening class differences in physical functioning.
Socioeconomic differences in smoking over time and across national contexts are poorly understood. We assessed the magnitude of relative and absolute social class differences in smoking in cohorts from Britain, Finland, and Japan over 5-7 years.
The British Whitehall II study (n = 4350), Finnish Helsinki Health Study (n = 6328), and Japanese Civil Servants Study (n = 1993) all included employed men and women aged 35-68 at baseline in 1997-2002. Follow-up was in 2003-2007 (mean follow-up 5.1, 6.5, and 3.6 years, respectively). Occupational social class (managers, professionals and clerical employees) was measured at baseline. Current smoking and covariates (age, marital status, body mass index, and self-rated health) were measured at baseline and follow-up. We assessed relative social class differences using the Relative Index of Inequality and absolute differences using the Slope Index of Inequality.
Social class differences in smoking were found in Britain and Finland, but not in Japan. Age-adjusted relative differences at baseline ranged from Relative Index of Inequality 3.08 (95% confidence interval 1.99-4.78) among Finnish men to 2.32 (1.24-4.32) among British women, with differences at follow-up greater by 8%-58%. Absolute differences remained stable and varied from Slope Index of Inequality 0.27 (0.15-0.40) among Finnish men to 0.10 (0.03-0.16) among British women. Further adjustment for covariates had modest effects on inequality indices.
Large social class differences in smoking persisted among British and Finnish men and women, with widening tendencies in relative differences over time. No differences could be confirmed among Japanese men or women.
Changes over time in social class differences in smoking are poorly understood across countries. Our study focused on employees from Britain, Finland and Japan, and found relative and absolute and class differences among British and Finnish men and women. Key covariates had modest effects on the differences. Relative differences tended to widen over the 4- to 7-year follow-up, whereas absolute differences remained stable. In contrast, class differences in smoking among Japanese men or women were not found. Britain and Finland are at the late stage of the smoking epidemic model, whereas Japan may not follow the same model.
Cites: J Public Health (Oxf). 2012 Aug;34(3):390-622375070
The contribution of de novo variants in severe intellectual disability (ID) has been extensively studied whereas the genetics of mild ID has been less characterized. To elucidate the genetics of milder ID we studied 442 ID patients enriched for mild ID (>50%) from a population isolate of Finland. Using exome sequencing, we show that rare damaging variants in known ID genes are observed significantly more often in severe (27%) than in mild ID (13%) patients. We further observe a significant enrichment of functional variants in genes not yet associated with ID (OR: 2.1). We show that a common variant polygenic risk significantly contributes to ID. The heritability explained by polygenic risk score is the highest for educational attainment (EDU) in mild ID (2.2%) but lower for more severe ID (0.6%). Finally, we identify a Finland enriched homozygote variant in the CRADD ID associated gene.
Disability retirement (DR) among young employees is an increasing problem affecting work life and public health, given the potential major loss of working time. Little is known about educational differences in the risk of DR among young employees, despite the need for such knowledge in targeting preventive measures. We examined the association between education and DR due to any cause and to mental and non-mental causes among young employees.
Personnel register data of the City of Helsinki from the years 2002-2013 for 25-to-34-year-old employees (n= 41225) were linked to register data from the Finnish Centre for Pensions on DR (n= 381), and from Statistics Finland on education. Education was categorised into four hierarchical groups. The mean follow-up time was 5.7 years. Cox regression analysis was used.
There were 381 DR events and of the events, over 70% were due to mental disorders and 72% were temporary. A consistent educational gradient was found. Those with a basic education were at the highest risk of DR due to any cause (HR 4.64, 95% CI 3.07, 7.02), and to mental (HR 4.79, 95% CI 2.89, 7.94) and non-mental causes (HR 4.32, 95% CI 2.10, 8.91).
DR due to any cause, and to mental and non-mental causes, followed a clear educational gradient. Early intervention, treatment and rehabilitation with a view to maintaining work ability are needed among young employees, especially those with low education. Adapting working conditions to their health and work ability may also help to avoid premature exit from work.
Clonal hematopoiesis driven by somatic heterozygous TET2 loss is linked to malignant degeneration via consequent aberrant DNA methylation, and possibly to cardiovascular disease via increased cytokine and chemokine expression as reported in mice. Here, we discover a germline TET2 mutation in a lymphoma family. We observe neither unusual predisposition to atherosclerosis nor abnormal pro-inflammatory cytokine or chemokine expression. The latter finding is confirmed in cells from three additional unrelated TET2 germline mutation carriers. The TET2 defect elevates blood DNA methylation levels, especially at active enhancers and cell-type specific regulatory regions with binding sequences of master transcription factors involved in hematopoiesis. The regions display reduced methylation relative to all open chromatin regions in four DNMT3A germline mutation carriers, potentially due to TET2-mediated oxidation. Our findings provide insight into the interplay between epigenetic modulators and transcription factor activity in hematological neoplasia, but do not confirm the putative role of TET2 in atherosclerosis.
A low socioeconomic position (SEP) is consistently associated with ill health, sickness absence (SA) and permanent disability, but studies among young employees are lacking. We examined the interrelationships between education, occupational class and income as determinants of SA among 25-34-year-old employees. We also examined, whether the association between SEP and SA varied over time in 2002-2007 and 2008-2013.
The analyses covered young, 25-34-year-old women and men employed by the City of Helsinki over the time periods 2002-2007 and 2008-2013. Four-level education and occupational class classifications were used, as well as income quartiles. The outcome measure was the number of annual SA days.
Education had the strongest and most consistent independent association with SA among women and men in both periods under study. Occupational class had weaker independent and less consistent association with SA. Income had an independent association with SA, which strengthened over time among the men. The interrelationships between the SEP indicators and SA were partly explained by prior or mediated through subsequent SEP indicators. Socioeconomic differences followed only partially a gradient for occupational class and also for income among men.
Preventive measures to reduce the risk of SA should be considered, especially among young employees with a basic or lower-secondary education.
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Whether low occupational class amplifies the risk of disability retirement among employees with cardiovascular disease (CVD) is unknown. We examined this issue in two prospective cohort studies.
In the Finnish Public Sector Study and the Helsinki Health Study (n=50.799 employees), prevalent CVD (coronary heart disease or stroke, n=1269) was ascertained using records from national health registers, self-reported doctor-diagnosed diseases, and Rose Angina Questionnaire. Data linkage to national pension registers allowed the follow up of disability retirement among the participants for a mean of six years. We analysed the associations of occupational class and CVD with disability retirement using Cox regression, tested interactions between occupational class and prevalent CVD in predicting disability retirement by calculating the Synergy Index, and pooled the results from the two studies using fixed-effect meta-analysis.
Compared with the participants from high occupational class and no CVD, the participants from the low occupational class without CVD had a 2.13-fold (95% CI 1.97-2.30), those with high occupational class and CVD a 2.18-fold (1.73-2.74); and those with both low occupational class and CVD a 4.49-fold (3.83-5.26) risk of disability retirement. A Synergy Index of 1.55 (1.16-2.06) suggested a greater than additive effect for low occupational class and CVD in combination.
Individuals with both low occupational class and CVD are at a particularly high risk of premature exit from the labour market due to work disability. These findings suggest that better preventive strategies are needed to improve prognosis in this risk group.
Mental symptoms are prevalent among populations, but their associations with premature mortality are inadequately understood. We examined whether mental symptoms contribute to cause-specific mortality among midlife employees, while considering key covariates.
Baseline mail survey data from 2000-02 included employees, aged 40-60, of the City of Helsinki, Finland (n?=?8960, 80 % women, response rate 67 %). Mental symptoms were measured by the General Health Questionnaire 12-item version (GHQ-12) and the Short Form 36 mental component summary (MCS). Covariates included sex, marital status, social support, health behaviours, occupational social class and limiting long-standing illness. Causes of death by the end of 2013 were obtained from Statistics Finland (n?=?242) and linked individually to survey data pending consent (n?=?6605). Hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) were calculated using Cox regression analysis.
For all-cause mortality, only MCS showed a weak association before adjustments. For natural mortality, no associations were found. For unnatural mortality (n?=?21), there was a sex adjusted association with GHQ (HR?=?1.96, 95 % CI?=?1.45-2.64) and MCS (2.30, 95 % CI?=?1.72-3.08). Among unnatural causes of death suicidal mortality (n?=?11) was associated with both GHQ (2.20, 95 % CI?=?1.47-3.29) and MCS (2.68, 95 % CI?=?1.80-3.99). Of the covariates limiting long-standing illness modestly attenuated the associations.
Two established measures of mental symptoms, i.e. GHQ-12 and SF-36 MCS, were both associated with subsequent unnatural, i.e. accidental and violent, as well as suicidal mortality. No associations were found for natural mortality due to diseases. These findings need to be corroborated in further populations. Supporting mental health through workplace measures may help counteract subsequent suicidal and other unnatural mortality among midlife employees.
Cites: Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;163(8):1412-816877655
The human neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) gene is highly expressed in the brain, is implicated in numerous functions associated with neuronal development, and is a leading candidate gene for schizophrenia. The T allele of SNP8NRG243177, part of a risk haplotype for schizophrenia, has been previously associated with decreases in white matter in the right anterior internal capsule and the left anterior thalamic radiation. To our knowledge no studies have described the effects of SNP8NRG243177 on grey matter volume at a voxelwise level. We assessed associations between this SNP and brain structure in 79 general population volunteers from the Northern Finland 1966 Birth Cohort (NFBC 1966). We show, for the first time, that genetic variation in SNP8NRG243177 is associated with variation in frontal brain structure in both grey and white matter. T allele carriers showed decreased grey matter volume in several frontal gyri, including inferior, middle and superior frontal gyri and the anterior cingulate gyrus, as well as decreased white matter volume in the regions of the genu and body of the corpus callosum, anterior and superior corona radiata, anterior limb of the internal capsule and external capsule regions traversed by major white matter tracts of the anterior thalamic radiation, and the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. These results suggest that this genetic variant may mediate risk for schizophrenia, in part, through its effect on brain structure in these regions.