Living conditions for children and young people are of great interest. In previous investigations, differences in sickness among social groups have been found. WHO plans to reduce differences in health conditions among groups within the countries by at least 25%. In this article, attention is drawn to inequalities in health among children in Denmark. Parameters such as the risk of stillbirth, congenital malformations and death during the first year of life do not differ between social groups. Where the less harsh data are concerned, inequalities still exist between social groups, also among Danish children. In relation to the goals set by WHO, it is important to be aware that the existing ways of measurement may not be sufficient.
The aim of the present study was to provide data on the reliability and validity of a Danish translation of the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI), a short measure of the impact of dermatological diseases on quality of life. The DLQI was administered to 200 outpatients and 100 hospitalized patients suffering from a range of dermatological diseases and to 100 sex- and age-matched healthy controls. Mean scores, internal consistency and test-retest reliability were comparable to the results reported for the original English version. Hospitalized patients reported greater impairment of disease-related quality of life than outpatients, and patients with atopic dermatitis and psoriasis exhibited greater scores than patients suffering from other dermatological diseases. Discriminant, construct and predictive validities of the Danish translation of the DLQI were satisfactory, as indicated by significant associations between DLQI scores and physician-rated disease severity, disease duration and the time patients were willing to spend each day on a hypothetical effective treatment. The results also suggest that the emphasis Danish patients place on various aspects of disability covered by the questionnaire is similar to that of English patients. In conclusion, the Danish translation of the DLQI showed satisfactory reliability and the preliminary results indicate that this version is a valid measure, which can be used in both research and clinical settings.
School health records for a group of Danish school children, who started school in 1977, 1987 and 1997, were studied in order to evaluate hearing ability at the time of starting school and leaving school. One thousand, six hundred and five children who were evaluated by audiometry were included in the study. We found a higher prevalence of hearing loss in children who started school in 1987 and 1997 compared to those who started in 1977. The typical hearing loss was in the high frequencies. At the end of school the hearing ability of children who had started school in 1977 was just as poor as of that of those who had started in 1987. Whether this hearing loss may lead to poorer learning capacities in the afflicted children should be evaluated by further studies that include information on exposure to noise.
There is circumstantial evidence that human sperm count may have declined during past decades. The purpose of this study was to identify the association between semen quality and year of birth.
The study comprised 8608 men consulting four Danish medical centres from 1968 to 1992 because of infertility. Data on semen quality and urogenital disorders were obtained from medical records while lifestyle data were collected from a subset of the population by a postal questionnaire (response 80%). Semen characteristics were analysed as a linear function of year of birth, centre, season and calendar year at time of semen examination, sexual abstinence and lifestyle factors. Effects of age were accounted for by restriction and stratified analysis.
The sperm count declined with increasing year of birth at two of the four centres, but this association disappeared when confounders were adjusted for. Within the subset of men born 1950-1970 we revealed a decrease in the average sperm count by 1.9 mill/ml (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.45, 2.27) per one advancing year of birth. This finding was consistent across centres even after adjustment for effects of covariates. The proportion of morphologically normal sperm cells changed in parallel with the sperm count, while semen volume did not decline in any time periods.
We found a birth cohort effect on sperm count and morphology among Danish infertile men born after 1950 but not in men born in the first part of the century. The findings are compatible with an environmental impact during prenatal life but the evidence is far from unequivocal.
Comment In: Int J Epidemiol. 1998 Jun;27(3):5389698149
We investigated a possible causal relation between exposure to organic solvents in Danish workers (housepainters, typographers/printers, carpenters/cabinetmakers) and onset of multiple sclerosis. Data on men included in the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Register (3,241 men) were linked with data from the 1970 census from the National Bureau of Statistics in Denmark, which has data on occupational status for 1,768,846 men between 15 and 74 years of age. From this census, we ascertained a group of 124,766 "solvent-exposed" men and an "unexposed" group of 87,501 male electricians, bricklayers, and butchers. Over a follow-up period of 20 years, we observed no increase in the incidence of multiple sclerosis among men presumed to be exposed to organic solvents. It was not possible to obtain data on potential confounders, and the study design has some potential for selection bias. Nevertheless, the study does not support existing hypotheses regarding an association between occupational exposure to organic solvents and multiple sclerosis.
BACKGROUND: The aim of the study was to examine the use of systemic and topical antibiotics in relation to age and sex in Danish children. METHODS: We used the Pharmacoepidemiological Prescription Database to identify the individual prescriptions of antibiotics provided for all 0-to 15-year-old children in North Jutland County, Denmark, during 1997. The population was approximately 95000 children. RESULTS: We identified 44640 prescriptions for systemic antibiotics. The annual prescription rate was highest in the 1- to 2-year-olds, with 945 prescriptions/1000 children/year. One-half of these children received at least 1 prescription, and 12% received 3 or more prescriptions. Among the 11- to 15-year-old children 17% received one or more prescriptions. Overall 88% of the prescriptions were penicillins and 10% were macrolides. In children younger than 3 years 57% of prescriptions were for broad spectrum penicillins, but in children older than 6 years penicillin V was the most frequently used antibiotic. We identified 12 661 prescriptions for topical antibiotics used in eye infections. The prescription rate peaked in the 1- to 2-year-old children, one-third of whom received at least 1 prescription. CONCLUSIONS: Almost two-thirds of the 0- to 2-year-old children in the population were treated with either systemic or topical antibiotics during 1 year. Physicians prescribe mostly penicillins, but the proportion of broad spectrum penicillins for young children was so high, however, that enforcement of national guidelines should be reconsidered.
Pregnant women are allowed sick leave (SL) due to obstetrical or occupational risk factors. The aim was to describe reasons for SL during pregnancy. Pregnant women in a Danish county applying for SL were consecutively included in the study during 12 months in 1991-92. Data were obtained by questionnaires mailed to the women and their medical doctors. Of 1483 pregnant women on SL, 994 participated. Approximately 96% were on SL due to obstetrical risk factors. Occupational factors contributed to SL in at least 50% of the cases, mainly when working in a standing or walking position or when lifting. The women were rarely replaced in other jobs before leaving work. On average the women were absent for 83 days before official pregnancy leave started. Although SL during pregnancy is overwhelmingly due to obstetrical risk factors, occupational factors often contribute. Occupational Health and Safety Organizations are rarely involved at the workplace before issuing a sick leave certificate.