CONTEXT: Mercuric compounds are nephrotoxic and neurotoxic at high doses. Thimerosal, a preservative used widely in vaccine formulations, contains ethylmercury. Thus it has been suggested that childhood vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccine could be causally related to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether vaccination with a thimerosal-containing vaccine is associated with development of autism. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Population-based cohort study of all children born in Denmark from January 1, 1990, until December 31, 1996 (N = 467 450) comparing children vaccinated with a thimerosal-containing vaccine with children vaccinated with a thimerosal-free formulation of the same vaccine. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Rate ratio (RR) for autism and other autistic-spectrum disorders, including trend with dose of ethylmercury. RESULTS: During 2 986 654 person-years, we identified 440 autism cases and 787 cases of other autistic-spectrum disorders. The risk of autism and other autistic-spectrum disorders did not differ significantly between children vaccinated with thimerosal-containing vaccine and children vaccinated with thimerosal-free vaccine (RR, 0.85 [95% confidence interval [CI], 0.60-1.20] for autism; RR, 1.12 [95% CI, 0.88-1.43] for other autistic-spectrum disorders). Furthermore, we found no evidence of a dose-response association (increase in RR per 25 microg of ethylmercury, 0.98 [95% CI, 0.90-1.06] for autism and 1.03 [95% CI, 0.98-1.09] for other autistic-spectrum disorders). CONCLUSION: The results do not support a causal relationship between childhood vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccines and development of autistic-spectrum disorders.
Preeclampsia encompasses multiple conditions of varying severity. We examined the recurrence and familial aggregation of preeclampsia by timing of onset, which is a marker for severity. We ascertained personal and family histories of preeclampsia for women who delivered live singletons in Denmark in 1978-2008 (almost 1.4 million pregnancies). Using log-linear binomial regression, we estimated risk ratios for the associations between personal and family histories of preeclampsia and the risk of early-onset (before 34 weeks of gestation, which is typically the most severe), intermediate-onset (at 34-36 weeks of gestation), and late-onset (after 36 weeks of gestation) preeclampsia. Previous early-, intermediate-, or late-onset preeclampsia increased the risk of recurrent preeclampsia with the same timing of onset 25.2 times (95% confidence interval (CI): 21.8, 29.1), 19.7 times (95% CI: 17.0, 22.8), and 10.3 times (95% CI: 9.85, 10.9), respectively, compared with having no such history. Preeclampsia in a woman's family was associated with a 24%-163% increase in preeclampsia risk, with the strongest associations for early- and intermediate-onset preeclampsia in female relatives. Preeclampsia in the man's family did not affect a woman's risk of early-onset preeclampsia and was only weakly associated with her risks of intermediate- and late-onset preeclampsia. Early-onset preeclampsia appears to have the largest genetic component, whereas environmental factors likely contribute most to late-onset preeclampsia. The role of paternal genes in the etiology of preeclampsia appears to be limited.
The possible association between prenatal factors and breast cancer has been discussed for more than a decade. Birth weight has been used commonly as a proxy measure for intrauterine growth. Whereas some previous studies have found support for an association between birth weight and breast cancer, others have been inconclusive or found no association. We investigated the relationship between birth weight and risk of female breast cancer in a cohort of 106,504 Danish women. Birth weights were obtained from school health records on girls born between 1930-1975. Information on breast cancer came from linking the cohort with the Danish Cancer Registry and the Danish Breast Cancer Cooperative Groups Registry. A total of 2,334 cases of primary breast cancer were diagnosed in the cohort during 3,255,549 person-years of follow-up among women with birth weight between 500-6,000 g. Of these, 922 (40%) were diagnosed with primary breast cancer at the age of 50 years or older. A significant association between birth weight and breast cancer was found equivalent to an increase in risk of 9% per 1,000 g increase in birth weight (95% CI 2-17). The increase was observed for all age groups, representing both pre- and post-menopausal women, and irrespective of tumor characteristics. Adjustment for age at first birth and parity did not influence the results. Birth weight is positively associated with risk of breast cancer, indicating that prenatal factors are important in the etiology of breast cancer.
It is well established that prenatal biologic processes are important for the development of some childhood cancers, whereas less is known regarding their influence on adult cancer risk. High birth weight has been associated with risk of breast cancer, whereas studies of other specific cancers and all cancers together have been less conclusive.
The authors established a cohort of more than 200,000 men and women who were born between 1936 and 1975. Birth weights were obtained from school health records and information concerning cancer from the Danish Cancer Registry. Follow-up was performed between April 1, 1968 and December 31, 2003. During 6,975,553 person-years of follow-up, a total of 12,540 primary invasive cancers were diagnosed.
Analyses of site-specific cancers revealed that the majority of cancers had a positive linear association with birth weight. Departures from a positive linear association were found to be statistically significant for cancers of the pancreas and bladder, which demonstrated a V-shaped association, and testicular cancer, which demonstrated an inverse association with birth weight. Excluding these 3 exceptions, the trends for the individual cancer sites were not heterogeneous, and the overall trend was a relative risk of 1.07 (95% confidence interval, 1.03-1.11) per 1000-g increase in birth weight. This trend was the same in men and women and in all age groups.
A 7% increase in cancer risk was observed per 1000-g increase in birth weight. Few cancers demonstrated a nonlinear association with birth weight, and testicular cancer was found to be negatively associated with birth weight. The authors hypothesized that the biologic explanation behind the association between birth weight and cancer at different sites should be sought in a common pathway.
A possible aetiological link between obesity and certain autoimmune diseases (ADs) has been suggested. We investigated the associations between body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and 43 ADs.
75,008 women participating in the Danish National Birth Cohort were followed during a median time of 11 years. Diagnoses on ADs were retrieved from the Danish National Patient Register. Cox proportional hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated adjusting for potential confounders (smoking, alcohol, parity and socio-occupational status).
During follow-up, 2430 women (3.2%) developed a total of 2607 new-onset ADs. Risk of any autoimmune disease was increased in obese women (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.46) compared with normal weight women (18.5-=25 kg/m2). Obese women (BMI=30 kg/m2) were at increased risk of sarcoidosis (HR 3.59; 95% CI, 2.31 to 5.57) and type 1 diabetes mellitus (HR 2.67; 95% CI, 1.71 to 4.17). Risk of dermatitis herpetiformis increased by 14% (95% CI, 1% to 30%) per BMI unit. Conversely, risk of celiac disease and Raynaud's phenomenon decreased by 7% (95% CI, 1% to 13%) and 12% (95% CI, 4% to 19%) per BMI unit, respectively. Further associations between BMI and risk of psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's disease were suggested.
BMI was found to be associated with several Ads. This was most pronounced between obesity and risk of sarcoidosis and and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus. These novel findings need confirmation and the possible role of adipose tissue-derived immunological changes in the development of autoimmune reactions needs consideration.
We investigated the possible association between body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) and hospitalization or treatment for acute infection in a prospective cohort study. We linked 75,001 women enrolled in the Danish National Birth Cohort from 1996 to 2002, who had information on BMI and a broad range of confounders, to data on infectious diseases and use of antimicrobial agents from the National Patient Register and the Danish Prescription Register. Associations were tested using Cox proportional hazards models. During 12 years of follow-up, we observed a U-shaped association between baseline BMI and later hospitalization for 1) any infectious disease and 2) infections of the respiratory tract, whereas a dose-response relationship was seen for skin infections. The most pronounced associations were seen for acute upper respiratory infections at multiple and unspecified sites (underweight (BMI
Bottle-feeding has been suggested to increase the risk of pyloric stenosis (PS). However, large population-based studies are needed. We examined the effect of bottle-feeding during the first 4 months after birth, by using detailed data about the timing of first exposure to bottle-feeding and extensive confounder information.
We performed a large population-based cohort study based on the Danish National Birth Cohort, which provided information on infants and feeding practice. Information about surgery for PS was obtained from the Danish National Patient Register. The association between bottle-feeding and the risk of PS was evaluated by hazard ratios (HRs) estimated in a Cox regression model, adjusting for possible confounders.
Among 70148 singleton infants, 65 infants had surgery for PS, of which 29 were bottle-fed before PS diagnosis. The overall HR of PS for bottle-fed infants compared with not bottle-fed infants was 4.62 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.78-7.65). Among bottle-fed infants, risk increases were similar for infants both breast and bottle-fed (HR: 3.36 [95% CI: 1.60-7.03]), formerly breastfed (HR: 5.38 [95% CI: 2.88-10.06]), and never breastfed (HR: 6.32 [95% CI: 2.45-16.26]) (P = .76). The increased risk of PS among bottle-fed infants was observed even after 30 days since first exposure to bottle-feeding and did not vary with age at first exposure to bottle-feeding.
Bottle-fed infants experienced a 4.6-fold higher risk of PS compared with infants who were not bottle-fed. The result adds to the evidence supporting the advantage of exclusive breastfeeding in the first months after birth.
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Digoxin use is associated with increased incidence of breast and uterus cancers. We postulated that digoxin use might affect tumor characteristics and increase relapse risk in women with breast cancer.
Incident breast cancer cases in Danish women (n = 49,312; 1995 to 2008) were identified. Analyses were conducted in women 20 to 74 years old. Relapse hazard ratios (HR) were compared in women using and not using digoxin, adjusting for age, calendar period, protocol, tumor size, nodal involvement, histology grade, estrogen-receptor (ER) status, and anti-estrogen therapy in Cox regression models.
At diagnosis, tumors in digoxin users were more likely ER+ (85.4% vs. 78.6%: P = 0.002) and have grade 1 ductal histology (37.2% vs. 25.7%; P = 0.004), compared to non-users. 45 relapses occurred in women already using digoxin at breast cancer diagnosis (1,487 person-years); 24 relapses occurred in women later starting digoxin (384 person-years). Overall relapse risk HR in digoxin users was 1.13 (95% confidence interval: 0.88, 1.46) compared to non-users. Relapse risk in digoxin users was significantly increased in the first year (2.19; 1.26, 3.78) but not thereafter (0.99; 0.74, 1.32) (P = 0.02 for difference in HRs). First-year relapse hazard was high in digoxin-using women with ER+ tumors (2.51; 1.39, 4.55) but not ER- tumors (0.72; 0.10, 5.27). Recurrence hazard was not significantly changed among digoxin-using women also using tamoxifen.
Breast cancers arising in digoxin-using women had better prognostic features. After adjustment for markers, overall breast cancer relapse risk in digoxin users was not increased significantly, although recurrence hazards for ER+ tumors were higher in the first year following diagnosis.
OBJECTIVE: The increased risk of breast cancer in women with family history of breast cancer (FHBC) might be reduced by early childbirths. However, childbirth induces a transient increase in risk in the first 5-10 years, which coincides with the relatively increased risk of family cases at a young age. The objective was to investigate this short-term change in risk according to FHBC. METHODS: We used a population-based cohort of 1.5 million Danish women. Between 1968 and 1990, 2770 incident cases of breast cancer below 40 years of age were identified in the Danish Cancer Register, of whom 276 (10%) had a FHBC. RESULTS: The first 5 years after a birth the short-term increase in risk was 30% (3-64%) larger in women with FHBC than without FHBC. After the first 5 years we observed no difference in the effect of a birth between women with and without FHBC. CONCLUSIONS: The adverse short-term effect of childbirthis stronger in women with FHBC.
The role of breastfeeding in allergic diseases remains controversial. The authors studied the association between breastfeeding and development of atopic dermatitis during the first 18 months of life among children with and without a parental history of allergy. A cohort study of 15,430 mother-child pairs enrolled in The Danish National Birth Cohort was carried out between 1998 and 2000. Data on breastfeeding, atopic dermatitis, and potential confounders was obtained from telephone interviews conducted during pregnancy and when the children were 6 and 18 months of age. The cumulative incidence of atopic dermatitis was 11.5% at 18 months of age. Overall, current breastfeeding was not associated with atopic dermatitis (incidence rate ratio (IRR) = 0.91, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.80, 1.04). Exclusive breastfeeding for at least 4 months was associated with an increased risk of atopic dermatitis in children with no parents with allergies (IRR = 1.29, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.55) but not for children with one (IRR = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.94, 1.31) or two (IRR = 0.88, 95% CI: 0.69, 1.13) parents with allergies (test for homogeneity, p = 0.03). The authors found no overall effects of exclusive or partial breastfeeding on the risk of atopic dermatitis. However, the effect of exclusive breastfeeding for 4 months or more depended on parental history of allergic diseases.