In the last several years, West Nile virus (WNV) was proven to be present especially in the neighboring countries of Austria, such as Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, as well as in eastern parts of Austria, where it was detected in migratory and domestic birds. In summer 2010, infections with WNV were reported from Romania and northern Greece with about 150 diseased and increasingly fatal cases. We tested the sera of 1,607 blood donors from North Tyrol (Austria) and South Tyrol (Italy) for antibodies against WNV by using IgG enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Initial results of the ELISA tests showed seroprevalence rates of 46.2% in North Tyrol and 0.5% in South Tyrol, which turned out to be false-positive cross-reactions with antibodies against tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) by adjacent neutralization assays. These results indicate that seropositivity against WNV requires confirmation by neutralization assays, as cross-reactivity with TBEV is frequent and because, currently, WNV is not endemic in the study area.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate determinants of the acceptability of isoflavone products among postmenopausal women with regard to social and lifestyle factors, dietary habits, health concerns, food beliefs, menopausal symptoms and therapies, and to elucidate preferences for specific products. METHODS: A consumer survey was conducted among postmenopausal women in four European countries (Germany, Denmark, Italy and the UK), including a total of 465 respondents. RESULTS: The declared acceptability of isoflavones was highest in Germany (80%), followed by Italy (75%), the UK (59%) and Denmark (55%; p
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a disease with a remarkable racial and geographical distribution. In most parts of the world it is a rare condition and in only a handful of places does this low risk profile alter. These include the Southern Chinese, Eskimos and other Arctic natives, inhabitants of South-East Asia and also the populations of North Africa and Kuwait.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) most commonly affects individuals of Northern European descent who live in countries at high latitude. The relative contributions of ancestry, country of birth and residence as determinants of MS risk have been studied in adult MS, but have not been explored in the pediatric MS population. In this study, we compare the demographics of pediatric- and adult-onset MS patients cared for in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a multicultural region. The country of birth, residence during childhood, and ancestry were compared for 44 children and 573 adults. Our results demonstrate that although both the pediatric and adult cohorts were essentially born and raised in the same region of Ontario, Canada, children with MS were more likely to report Caribbean, Asian or Middle Eastern ancestry, and were less likely to have European heritage compared with individuals with adult-onset MS. The difference in ancestry between the pediatric and adult MS cohorts can be explained by two hypotheses: (1) individuals raised in a region of high MS prevalence, but whose ancestors originate from regions in which MS is rare, have an earlier age of MS onset, and (2) the place of residence during childhood, irrespective of ancestry, determines lifetime MS risk -- a fact that will be reflected in a change in the demographics of the adult MS cohort in our region as Canadian-raised children of recent immigrants reach the typical age of adult-onset MS.
A recent method of age-standardisation of relative survival ratios for cancer patients does not require calculation of age-specific relative survival ratios, as ratios of age-specific proportions between the standard population and study group at the beginning of the follow-up are used to substitute the original individual observations. This method, however, leads to direct age-standardisation with weights that are different for each patient group if the general population mortality patterns for the groups are different. This is the case in international comparisons, and in comparisons between genders and time periods. The magnitude of the bias caused by the differences in general population mortality is investigated for comparisons involving European countries and the USA. Patients in each country are assumed to have exactly the same age-specific relative survival ratios as those diagnosed in Finland in 1985-2004. An application of a properly functioning age-standardisation method should then give exactly equal age-standardised relative survival ratios for each country. However, the recent method shows substantial differences between countries, with highest relative survival for populations, where the general population mortality in the oldest ages is the highest. This source of error can thus be a serious limitation for the use of the method, and other methods that are available should then be employed.
OBJECTIVES: The European Commission's new health strategy for improving health at the European Union (EU) level includes tackling alcohol consumption. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of alcohol consumption and problem drinking, as well as students' attitudes towards banning the sale of alcohol on campus. STUDY DESIGN: In total, 5826 students from universities in seven European countries (Denmark, Germany, Spain, Lithuania, Poland, Bulgaria and Turkey) took part in this cross-sectional study. METHODS: A self-administered questionnaire assessed sociodemographic information, frequency of alcohol consumption, problem drinking and attitudes towards banning the sale of alcohol on campus. RESULTS: The highest prevalence of drinking alcohol more than once per week was reported in Bulgarian (males 46%, females 64%) and Spanish students (males 59%, females 64%). Among those students who drank alcohol (n=3170), problem drinking (CAGE score >1) was found in 24% of males and 13% of females. Male gender, depressive moods and a low importance of good grades at university were risk factors for drinking alcohol more than once per week as well as for problem drinking. There were substantial country differences in the proportion of students who would support a ban of alcohol sales on campus (23% in Denmark, 88% in Poland). Support for a ban was higher among female students and among students who drank alcohol once or less per week. CONCLUSIONS: Problem drinking is a concern among students in many European countries, especially among males. Students' support for banning the sale of alcohol on campus varies between countries and should be considered in developing EU policy.
OBJECTIVE: Frequency of heavy alcohol use among adolescents is examined by family structure and propensity toward heavy alcohol use on the individual level, and by alcohol availability and drinking patterns among adolescents on the societal level. The analysis includes direct effects and moderating effects of societal-level indicators on individual-level associations between family structure and frequency of heavy alcohol use. METHOD: The study drew upon self-reports from 34,001 students in Cyprus, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Sweden and the United Kingdom participating in the 1999 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs study. Distinctions were drawn between adolescents living with both parents, a single mother, a single father, a mother and stepfather, a father and stepmother, and neither biological parent. The multilevel analysis estimated the effects of societal-level factors on the intercepts and slopes of individual-level regression models. RESULTS: Adolescents living with both biological parents engaged less frequently in heavy alcohol use than those living in any other arrangements. Living with a single mother was associated with less heavy drinking than living with a single father or with neither biological parent. National beer sales figures and societal patterns of heavy adolescent alcohol use predicted more frequent heavy drinking and greater effects of living in nonintact families. CONCLUSIONS: Adolescent heavy drinking is more common in all types of nonintact families. The adverse effect of living in nonintact families is greater in societies where alcohol availability is greater and where adolescents drink more heavily.
Allergists around the world have different practice styles when administering subcutaneous aeroallergen immunotherapy (IT) in peak pollen seasons, especially when changing doses or frequency of IT. The Immunotherapy practice parameters do not specifically address this issue.
Given the paucity of good data about adjustment of allergen immunotherapy during the pollen seasons, we examined whether a significant difference is present in the way allergists administer immunotherapy during allergy seasons.
To quantify the practice styles of allergists who are members of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI), a self-reported electronic survey was disseminated in September 2010 with the help of the AAAAI Needs Assessment Committee. The responses were tallied and analyzed according to demographic information.
A total of 1,201 allergists in the AAAAI responded to the survey. Most responders practice in an urban or suburban nonacademic practice in the United States and have been in practice for more than 10 years. The size of their practice was variable. Those in practice for more than 10 years were more likely to adjust the dose and frequency of immunotherapy in pollen seasons.
This survey highlights the differences in the practice styles of AAAAI member allergists, and these differences may be associated with their demographic characteristics. Given the wide variability in how allergists adjust dose and frequency of immunotherapy during pollen seasons, establishing guidelines regarding this routine dilemma might help standardize the delivery of treatment to patients.