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.
Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA) is a disease resulting from a hypersensitivity response to Aspergillus fumigatus, although the pathogenesis of the disease is unknown and its prevalence in cystic fibrosis (CF) is still poorly defined. Data from the Epidemiologic Registry of Cystic Fibrosis (ERCF) on 12,447 CF patients gathered from 224 CF centres in nine European countries were analysed. The ERCF definition of ABPA diagnosis is a positive skin test and serum precipitins to A. fumigatus, together with serum immunoglobulin (Ig)E levels >1,000 U x mL(-1) and additional clinical or laboratory parameters. The overall prevalence of ABPA in the ERCF population was 7.8% (range: 2.1% in Sweden to 13.6% in Belgium). Prevalence was low or =20-12.9% in those with FEV1
Comment In: Eur Respir J. 2001 May;17(5):1052-311488309
The results of 1904 allogeneic HLA identical sibling donor bone marrow transplants performed in 52 European centers between 1979 and 1986 and reported to the EBMT leukemia registry were analysed by geographical location of the transplant. Patients were grouped into six regions: United Kingdom, Nordic Group, Benelux, France, Central Europe and Southern Europe. There were significant differences between these regions with respect to patient population and outcome. The relative proportion of the three major disease categories, stage and subtype of the diseases, graft-versus-host disease prevention methods, donor recipient sex combinations, age of the patient, year of the transplant and the time intervals from diagnosis to transplant, from diagnosis to first complete remission for acute leukemia and the time from first complete remission to the transplant varied from region to region. The analysis of outcome parameters showed a significant difference in relapse incidence from region to region. This influence of region was confirmed in a multivariate analysis and was independent of the other factors known to affect outcome. Leukemia-free survival and transplant-related mortality were not different. The reasons for these differences could not be explained by the data in the registry. We conclude that regional factors must be considered when bone marrow transplant data are compared and we postulate that pretransplant factors probably affect outcome more than was previously realized.
Screening of 43 healthy Danish haemophiliacs revealed a significantly lower helper/suppressor (H/S) ratio than in controls. 8 of the haemophiliacs had an H/S ratio less than or equal to 1.0. A significant negative correlation occurred between the total lifetime factor VIII treatment and the H/S ratio. However, high-dose factor VIII treatment given to patients with antibodies against factor VIII was not associated with immunological abnormalities. Children had a significantly higher H/S ratio than the adult haemophiliacs. Patients exclusively treated with Danish cryoprecipitate during the last year had a significantly higher H/S ratio than patients receiving preparations from other sources. This difference might, however, be explained by lower age and lower total lifetime dose in the group receiving Danish preparations. Haemophiliacs treated with American preparations did not differ immunologically from those treated with preparations of other origin. Total serum IgG was increased in 23% of the patients. This parameter was negatively correlated with the H/S ratio. The possible relation of the observed immunological alterations among otherwise healthy haemophiliacs to the acquired immune deficiency syndrome warrants further attention.
Infant health and survival in the US compare unfavorably with other Western industrial democracies. Circumstances that contribute to favorable pregnancy outcomes in other countries include nearly complete participation of pregnant women in early prenatal care and linkage of care to extensive support benefits. The study reported here extends these earlier observations to preventive health services for children from infancy through adolescence and to the social benefit programs that support their families. This report looks at the condition of children in 10 European countries: Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. All of these countries have better infant survival rates than the US, and they all share elements of pluralism in their systems of health care.
392 patients with amoebiasis, diagnosed at Roslagstull Hospital, Stockholm during 10 yr, are reviewed. The disease is increasing in frequency, due both to increased travelling by Swedish citizens and immigration from non-European countries. The risk for an ordinary charter tourist is, however, rather low. Two-thirds of the patients were symptomatic and one-third were regarded as asymptomatic cyst carriers. The importance of repeated examination of stool samples and examinations using different techniques, especially direct microscopy of fresh faeces, is pointed out. The latter technique is in our laboratory shown to be as efficient in cases with no diarrhoea as in those with diarrhoea, with trophozoites demonstrated in the same frequency in both groups. Sigmoidoscopy with scrapings was seldom of diagnostic value.
Despite the widespread use of pertussis vaccines during the last decades, pertussis has remained an endemic disease with frequent epidemic outbreaks. Currently two types of vaccines are used: whole-cell vaccines (WCVs) and recently developed acellular vaccines (ACVs). The long-term aim of our studies is to assess the effect of different vaccination policies on the population structure of Bordetella pertussis and ultimately on the disease burden in Europe. In the present study, a total of 102 B. pertussis isolates from the period 1998 to 2001 from five European countries (Finland, Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands, and France) were characterized. The isolates were analyzed by typing based on variable number of tandem repeats (VNTR); by sequencing of polymorphic genes encoding the surface proteins pertussis toxin S1 and S3 subunits (ptxA and ptxC), pertactin (prn), and tracheal colonization factor (tcfA); and by fimbrial serotyping. The results reveal a relationship between geographic location and VNTR types, the frequency of the ptxC alleles, and serotypes. We have not observed a relationship between the strain characteristics we studied and vaccination programs. Our results provide a baseline which can be used to reveal changes in the B. pertussis population in Europe in the coming years.
Among 424 HLA identical siblings undergoing stem cell transplantation, 364 were Scandinavians and 60 represented other ethnic groups. The cumulative probabilities of acute graft-versus-host disease grades II-IV were similar in both groups, 17% in Scandinavians and 12% in the others, p = 0.4. In a multivariate analysis, less effective immune suppression with cyclosporine or methotrexate alone (p = 0.001), recipient seropositive for three to four herpes viruses (p = 0.004), CMV-seropositive recipient (p = 0.05) and early engraftment (before day 15) (p = 0.05) were independent risk-factors for acute GVHD grades II-IV. The cumulative probabilities of chronic GVHD were 47% and 68% in the two ethnic populations, respectively (p = 0.004). In multivariate analysis, higher patient age (p