OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify possible health effects caused by different cleaning agents used in graffiti removal. METHODS: In 38 graffiti removers working 8-h shifts in the Stockholm underground system, the exposure to organic solvents was assessed by active air sampling, biological monitoring, and by interviews and a questionnaire. Health effects were registered, by physical examinations, porta7ble spirometers and self-administered questionnaires. The prevalence of symptoms was compared with 49 controls working at the underground depots, and with 177 population controls. RESULTS: The 8-h time-weighted average exposures (TWA) were low, below 20% of the Swedish permissible exposure limit value (PEL) for all solvents. The short-term exposures occasionally exceeded the Swedish short-term exposure limit values (STEL), especially during work in poorly ventilated spaces, e.g. in elevators. The graffiti removers reported significantly higher prevalence of tiredness and upper airway symptoms compared with the depot controls, and significantly more tiredness, headaches and symptoms affecting airways, eyes and skin than the population controls. Among the graffiti removers, some of the symptoms increased during the working day. On a group basis, the lung function registrations showed normal values. However, seven workers displayed a clear reduction of peak expiratory flow (PEF) over the working shift. CONCLUSIONS: Though their average exposure to organic solvents was low, the graffiti removers reported significantly higher prevalence of unspecific symptoms such as fatigue and headache as well as irritative symptoms from the eyes and respiratory tract, compared with the controls. To prevent adverse health effects it is important to inform the workers about the health risks, and to restrict use of the most hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, it is important to develop good working practices and to encourage the use of personal protective equipment.
This paper discusses the misclassification that occurs when relying solely on routine register data in family studies of disease clustering. A register study of familial aggregation of schizophrenia is used as an example. The familial aggregation is studied using a regression model for the disease in the child including the disease status of the parents as a risk factor. If all the information is found in the routine registers then the disease status of the parents is only known from the time when the register started and if this information is used unquestioningly the parents who have had the disease before this time are misclassified as disease-free. Two methods are presented to adjust for this misclassification: regression calibration and an EM-type algorithm. These methods are used in the schizophrenia example where the large effect of having a schizophrenic mother hardly shows any signs of bias due to misclassification. The methods are also studied in simulations showing that the misclassification problem increases with the disease frequency.
Research findings indicate that the ability to create meaning out of turning points (i.e., significant life experiences) is related to psychological well-being. It is not clear, however, whether individuals who report meaning-making and higher well-being are better adjusted prior to the experience of their turning point event. This study examined whether meaning-making and timing of turning points would be associated with higher scores on well-being. Participants were 418 Grade 12 students (209 of whom reported having had a turning point event and a matched group of 209 adolescents who did not report having had a turning point event). This subset of participants was taken from a larger longitudinal study of 803 (52% female) Grade 12 Canadian students (M age = 17 years). All participants completed well-being measures 3 years prior, when they were in Grade 9. Meaning-making was significantly associated with higher psychological well-being, controlling for Grade 9 scores on well-being. Importantly, adolescents who reported meaning-making in Grade 12 did not differ on well-being prior to the experience of their turning point event, when they were in Grade 9, from adolescents who did not report meaning-making. These findings highlight the importance of examining meaning-making in relation to positive adjustment among adolescents reporting a significant life-changing event. Limitations regarding the use of survey measures and the generalizability of the results to a culturally diverse group of adolescents are discussed.
To evaluate circulating adrenal steroid hormones, cortisol diurnal rhythm and the negative feedback function of the cortisol axis in patients with dystrophia myotonica (DyM), a disease where metabolic disturbances, peripheral insulin insensitivity and cognitive dysfunction are common features.
Morning serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, androstenedione, 17 alpha-hydroxy progesterone and cortisol; morning serum levels of testosterone and insulin; diurnal rhythm of saliva cortisol; and an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, together with a cognitive screening test in men with DyM and in controls.
Outpatient clinic in co-operation with Umeå University Hospital.
Fifteen men with DyM and 13 age-matched controls.
Adrenal steroid hormone levels, diurnal rhythm of saliva cortisol, dexamethasone suppression test and Mini Mental State Examination scores.
Morning serum levels of dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate, androstenedione and 17 alpha-hydroxy progesterone were significantly decreased in DyM after inclusion of age and body mass index in multiple regression analyses (48, 26 and 32% decreases, respectively). An abnormal diurnal rhythm of saliva cortisol was present in all patients, mean saliva cortisol levels being significantly increased (33%) in DyM patients. Dexamethasone suppressibility did not differ between groups. DyM patients scored significantly lower on the Mini Mental State Examination (P
This study investigated whether chronic airflow limitation and rapid decline in pulmonary function were associated with peak exposures to ozone and other irritant gases in pulp mills. Bleachery workers potentially exposed to irritant gassings (n = 178) from three Swedish pulp mills, and a comparison group of workers not exposed to irritant gassings (n = 54) from two paper mills, were studied. Baseline surveys occurred in 1995-1996, with follow-up surveys in 1998-1999. Participants performed spirometry and answered questions regarding ozone, chlorine dioxide (ClO2), and sulphur dioxide (SO2) gassings. From regression models controlling for potential confounders, declines in both the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (-24 mL x yr(-1)) and the forced vital capacity (FVC) (-19 mL x yr(-1)) were associated with ClO2/SO2 gassings. At follow-up, the prevalence of chronic airflow limitation (i.e. FEV1/FVC less than the lower limit of normal) was elevated for participants with only pre-baseline ozone gassings and with both pre-baseline and interval ozone gassings, after controlling for potential confounders. These findings suggest that obstructive effects among bleachery workers are associated with ozone gassings, and that adverse effects on spirometry might also accompany chlorine dioxide/sulphur dioxide gassings. Peak exposures to irritant gases in pulp mills should be prevented.
OBJECTIVE--To clarify the nature of the association between alcohol intake and psoriasis. DESIGN--Case-control study of men aged 19-50 with onset of skin disease in 1976 or later. SETTING--Outpatient clinics of the departments of dermatology of the university central hospitals in Helsinki, Oulu, and Tampere from September 1987 to April 1989. SUBJECTS--144 Patients with psoriasis and 285 unmatched controls with other skin diseases. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Results of clinical examination and self administered questionnaire assessing lifestyle and alcohol intake during two specified periods--namely, 12 months before the onset of skin disease and 12 months before the date of examination. RESULTS--Recalled mean alcohol intake before the onset of skin diseases was 42.9 g/day among the patients with psoriasis and 21.0 g/day among the controls. In logistic regression analysis psoriasis was associated with alcohol intake but not with coffee consumption, smoking, age, marital state, or social group. The odds ratio for psoriasis at an alcohol intake of 100 g/day compared with no intake was 2.2 (95% confidence interval 1.3 to 3.9). The controls decreased their alcohol intake after the onset of the disease but the group with psoriasis did not. Analysis of serum enzyme values showed that gamma-glutamyltransferase activity was significantly correlated with alcohol intake (r = 0.35), the mean activity being 75.0 U/l among patients with psoriasis and 41.9 U/l among controls. CONCLUSIONS--Alcohol is a risk factor for psoriasis in young and middle aged men, and psoriasis may sustain drinking.
Comorbid alcohol use disorders (AUDs) in schizophrenia are associated with increased morbidity, more inpatient treatment, and violent offending. It is of clinical importance to identify those with schizophrenia who may go on to develop an alcohol use disorder; however, the risk factors are not well understood. The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for the development of an AUD in patients after they had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
We conducted a retrospective case-control study of 12,653 individuals diagnosed with ICD-defined schizophrenia in Sweden in 1973-2004, using data from national registers. We tested the associations between individual factors (marital status, immigrant status, and previous violent offending), sociodemographic factors (income and education), and parental risk factors (AUDs, psychosis, and violent offending) ICD-defined and AUD development using logistic regression modeling.
Over a median follow-up of 17.3 years, 7.6% of patients had at least 1 hospital diagnosis of AUD. After adjustment for gender and age at diagnosis in a multivariate regression model, previous violent offending (OR = 2.1; 95% CI, 1.8-2.5), low education (OR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1-1.5), maternal AUD (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4-2.7), and paternal AUD (OR = 1.9; 95% CI, 1.5-2.3) remained independently associated with increased risk of patient AUD.
AUDs are a common sequela of schizophrenia. Risk factors that could be identified at the time of first presentation include low educational attainment, previous violent offending, and parental history of AUDs and may inform clinical treatment and follow-up of those most at risk.
Recent evidence has implicated the genes for 5-lipoxygenase activating protein (ALOX5AP) and phosphodiesterase 4D (PDE4D) as susceptibility genes for stroke in the Icelandic population. The aim of the present study was to explore the role of these genes in a central European population of stroke patients.
A total of 639 consecutive stroke patients and 736 unrelated population-based controls that had been matched for age and sex were examined using a case-control design. Twenty-two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering ALOX5AP were genotyped. For PDE4D, microsatellite AC008818-1 and 12 SNPs, which tag all common haplotypes in previously identified linkage disequilibrium (LD) blocks, were analyzed.
A nominally significant association with stroke was observed with several SNPs from ALOX5AP, including SNP SG13S114, which had been part of the Icelandic at-risk haplotype. Associations were stronger in males than in females, with SG13S114 (odds ratio, 1.24; 95% CI, 1.04 to 1.55; P=0.017) and SG13S100 (odds ratio, 1.26; 95% CI 1.03 to 1.54; P=0.024) showing the strongest associations. No significant associations were detected with single markers and haplotypes in PDE4D. The frequencies of single-marker alleles and haplotypes differed largely from those in the Icelandic population.
The present study suggests that sequence variants in the ALOX5AP gene are significantly associated with stroke, particularly in males. Variants in the PDE4D gene are not a major risk factor for stroke in individuals from central Europe. Population differences in allele and haplotype frequencies as well as LD structure may contribute to the observed differences between populations.
The role of smoking and air pollution in bronchial asthma in otherwise healthy adults is still unclear. We compared 79 cases of asthma, diagnosed between ages 20 and 65 years, with 304 randomly drawn population controls of similar age from the same catchment area as the cases. The comparison involved questionnaire information on smoking habits, occupational exposures, dwelling conditions, various suspect allergenic exposures, and atopy. Those who had smoked for 3 years or more, present or past, were at increased risk for bronchial asthma (odds ratio = 1.9; 95% confidence interval = 1.1-3.3). Adjustment by multiple logistic regression for age and gender as well as atopy and air pollution at work did not change the relative risk estimate. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke, or passive smoking, at work involved a slightly greater risk.
BACKGROUND: The M235T and T174M angiotensinogen mutations have been linked to increased risk for ischemic heart and cerebrovascular disease. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether angiotensinogen mutations are associated with ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and ischemic cerebrovascular disease. DESIGN: Six case-control studies from the Copenhagen City Heart Study. SETTING: Copenhagen, Denmark. PARTICIPANTS: Participants in the Copenhagen City Heart Study and patients from the same hospital with ischemic heart disease (n = 866 and n = 943, respectively), myocardial infarction (n = 519 and n = 493, respectively), or ischemic cerebrovascular disease (n = 489 and n = 434, respectively) and 7975 controls without these conditions. MEASUREMENTS: Genotypes for the M235T and T174M angiotensinogen mutations were compared between controls and Copenhagen City Heart Study participants with ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular disease (studies 1a, 1b, and 1c) and patients from Copenhagen University Hospital with the same conditions (studies 2a, 2b, and 2c). RESULTS: Relative allele frequencies of 235T and 174M in the general population were 0.41 and 0.12, respectively. Genotype was not associated with increased risk for ischemic heart or ischemic cerebrovascular disease in studies of either mutation alone or combined in women or men. Among compound heterozygotes (235MT /174TM ), women in case-control study 2a had decreased risk for ischemic heart disease in age-adjusted analysis; however, this decreased risk was not seen in multifactorial-adjusted or matched analyses, in men, or in case-control study 1a. Among double homozygotes (235TT /174MM ), women in case-control study 2b had increased risk for myocardial infarction in matched analysis; however, this increased risk was not seen in age- or multifactorial-adjusted analyses, in men, or in case-control study 1b. Among single homozygotes (235TT /174TT ), men in case-control study 2b had increased risk for myocardial infarction in multifactorial-adjusted and matched analyses. This risk was not present in age-adjusted analysis, in women, or in case-control study 1b. In addition, male single homozygotes had decreased risk for ischemic cerebrovascular disease in case-control study 2c in age- and multifactorial-adjusted analyses, but this finding was not seen in matched analysis, in women, or in case-control study 1c. CONCLUSIONS: In six large case-control studies, the M235T and T174M angiotensinogen mutations were not consistently associated with increased (or decreased) risk for ischemic heart disease, myocardial infarction, or ischemic cerebrovascular disease. Statistically significant associations may represent chance findings rather than real phenomena.