Environmental noise is a growing and well recognized health problem. However, in many cases people are exposed not to a single noise source-for example, road, railway, or aircraft noise-but to a combination of noise exposures and there is only limited knowledge of the effects on health of exposure to combined noise sources. A socio-acoustic survey among 1953 persons aged 18-75 years was conducted in residential areas exposed to railway and road traffic noise with sound levels ranging from L(Aeq,24h) 45-72 dB in a municipality east of Gothenburg, Sweden. The objectives were to assess various adverse health effects, including annoyance, and to elucidate the impact of exposure to single and combined noise sources. In areas exposed to both railway and road traffic, the proportion annoyed by the total traffic sound environment (total annoyance) was significantly higher than in areas with one dominant noise source (rail or road traffic) with the same total sound exposure (L(Aeq,24h,tot)). This interaction effect was significant from 59 dB and increased gradually with higher sound levels. Effects of the total sound exposure should be considered in risk assessments and in noise mitigation activities.
BACKGROUND: Oral corticosteroids and inhaled bronchodilators with or without antibiotics represent standard treatment of COPD exacerbations of moderate severity. Frequent courses of oral steroids may be a safety issue. We wanted to evaluate in an out-patient setting whether a 2-week course of inhaled budesonide/formoterol would be equally effective for treatment of acute COPD exacerbations as standard therapy in patients judged by the investigator not to require hospitalisation. METHODS: This was a double-blind, randomised, non-inferiority, parallel-group, multicentre study comparing two treatment strategies; two weeks' treatment with inhaled budesonide/formoterol (320/9 microg, qid) was compared with prednisolone (30 mg once daily) plus inhaled formoterol (9 microg bid) in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD attending a primary health care centre. Inclusion criteria were progressive dyspnoea for less than one week, FEV1 30-60% of predicted normal after acute treatment with a single dose of oral corticosteroid plus nebulised salbutamol/ipratropium bromide and no requirement for subsequent immediate hospitalisation, i.e the clinical status after the acute treatment allowed for sending the patient home.A total of 109 patients (mean age 67 years, 33 pack-years, mean FEV1 45% of predicted) were randomized to two weeks' double-blind treatment with budesonide/formoterol or prednisolone plus formoterol and subsequent open-label budesonide/formoterol (320/9 microg bid) for another 12 weeks. Change in FEV1 was the primary efficacy variable. Non-inferiority was predefined. RESULTS: Non-inferiority of budesonide/formoterol was proven because the lower limit of FEV1-change (97.5% CI) was above 90% of the efficacy of the alternative treatment. Symptoms, quality of life, treatment failures, need for reliever medication (and exacerbations during follow-up) did not differ between the groups. No safety concerns were identified. CONCLUSION: High dose budesonide/formoterol was as effective as prednisolone plus formoterol for the ambulatory treatment of acute exacerbations in non-hospitalized COPD patients. An early increase in budesonide/formoterol dose may therefore be tried before oral corticosteroids are used. CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT00259779.
BACKGROUND: Malignant diseases but also cardiovascular and respiratory disorders and diabetes mellitus have been associated with work in pulp and paper production. The present cohort focuses on cardiovascular mortality in relation to various exposures in this industry. METHODS: The cohort, followed-up for mortality, includes 7,107 workers, 6,350 men and 757 women, from three major old mills in the middle of Sweden. RESULTS: Instead of a healthy-worker effect, a slightly increased risk for death in diseases of the circulatory system was found for male workers. Notably, work with sulfate digestion, steam and power generation and maintenance was associated with significantly increased risks. Cerebrovascular diseases showed non-significantly increased risks for maintenance and paper and paperboard production and manufacture. CONCLUSIONS: The differences in risk among various parts of the production are striking although it is hard to pinpoint any specific exposures. Dust and small particles along with sulfur compounds might be suspected.
OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to determine mortality among pulp and paper mill workers according to the main mill pulping process, department, and gender, particular reference being given to diseases of the circulatory and respiratory systems. METHODS: The cohort of 18 163 men and 2 291 women employed between 1939 and 1999 and with >1 year of employment was followed for mortality from 1952 to 2001 (acute myocardial infarction from 1969). Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated by comparing the observed number of deaths with the expected number for the entire Swedish population. Exposure was assessed from personnel files in the mills. Data from an exposure measurement database are also presented. RESULTS: There were 5898 deaths in the cohort. Total mortality had an SMR of 1.02 (95% CI 0.98-1.06) for the men in the sulfate mills and an SMR of 0.93 (95% CI 0.90-0.97) for the men in the sulfite mills. Mortality from acute myocardial infarction was increased among the men in both the sulfate and sulfite mills [SMR 1.22 (95% CI 1.12-1.32) and SMR 1.11 (95% CI 1.02-1.21), respectively] and by department in sulfate pulping (SMR 1.29, 95% CI 1.07-1.54), paper production (SMR 1.26, 95% CI 1.06-1.49), and maintenance (SMR 1.16, 95% CI 1.02-1.30). Mortality from cerebrovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and nonmalignant respiratory diseases was not increased. CONCLUSIONS: Death from acute myocardial infarction, but not cerebrovascular diseases, was increased in this cohort and was probably related to a combination of different occupational exposures (eg, dust, sulfur compounds, shift work, and noise).
OBJECTIVES: The aims of the study were to: (i) test the reliability of a health-related quality of life (HRQOL) instrument [Swedish Health-Related Quality of Life Survey (SWED-QUAL)] on women patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD); (ii) compare their HRQOL to a normal population group comparable in age; and (iii) test for subgroup differences in HRQOL considering psychiatric DSM axis-I comorbidity. METHOD: The study was conducted in connection to a randomized, controlled trial of psychotherapy for women BPD patients. Seventy-five women with BPD diagnosis were administered the SWED-QUAL. Statistic reliability was evaluated with inter-item correlations, total-item correlations and internal consistency criterions. The BPD patients' SWED-QUAL results were compared with data extracted from a published study and subgroup differences due to axis-I comorbidity were analysed. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: SWED-QUAL could be considered as an instrument with acceptable reliability when assessing HRQOL in BPD patients. The BPD patients suffered significant impairments in HRQOL overall health dimensions compared to normal population. There were no subgroup differences due to axis-I comorbidity, which indicate that BPD in itself might be a predictor of substantial HRQOL impairment.
OBJECTIVES: The low molecular weight heparin, Dalteparin, shortens human labor time. The aim of this study was to investigate if the mechanism behind this effect involves myometrial contractility and cervical ripening and if the anticoagulative activity is necessary for its effect. DESIGN: Experimental in vitro study. SETTING: Lund University and Karolinska Institute, Sweden. METHODS: The effect of low molecular weight heparins with or without anticoagulative properties on myometrial contractility was measured in vitro on smooth muscle strips from biopsies obtained at elective cesarean sections. The effects on cervical ripening were assessed in cervical fibroblasts cultured from explants of cervical biopsies obtained at delivery. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Mean force and number of contractions in uterine smooth muscle strips and interleukin-8 (IL-8) secretion in cervical fibroblasts. RESULTS: Myometrial smooth muscle strips pretreated with low molecular weight heparins showed increased contractile activity compared to untreated smooth muscle strips. Secretion of IL-8 from cultured cervical fibroblasts was significantly increased after treatment with low molecular weight heparin. Both these effects were independent of anticoagulative activity of the low molecular weight heparin. CONCLUSIONS: A possible underlying mechanism for the shortened labor time after low molecular weight heparin treatment is enhanced myometrial contractility and an increased IL-8 secretion in cervical fibroblast, mimicking the final cervical ripening in vivo. Our data support the notion that anticoagulant activity is not required to promote labor.
AIMS: Methods for prediction of the peak of the influenza from early observations are suggested. These predictions can be used for planning purposes. METHODS: In this study, new robust methods are described and applied to weekly Swedish data on influenza-like illness (ILI) and weekly laboratory diagnoses of influenza (LDI). Both simple and advanced rules for how to predict the time and height of the peak of LDI are suggested. The predictions are made using covariates calculated from data in early LDI reports. The simple rules are based on the observed LDI values, while the advanced ones are based on smoothing by unimodal regression. The suggested predictors were evaluated by cross-validation and by application to the observed seasons. RESULTS: The relationship between ILI and LDI was investigated, and it was found that the ILI variable is not a good proxy for the LDI variable. The advanced prediction rule regarding the time of the peak of LDI had a median error of 0.9 weeks, and the advanced prediction rule for the height of the peak had a median deviation of 28%. CONCLUSIONS: The statistical methods for predictions have practical usefulness.