To estimate the annual cost associated with the management of dry eye patients by ophthalmologists in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (UK) from the perspective of the healthcare systems in the respective countries.
Published epidemiological and healthcare resource use data attributable to dry eye syndrome was supplemented with information obtained from interviewing ophthalmologists in the six countries.
The estimated prevalence of dry eye syndrome among patients reporting to ophthalmologists was less than 0.1% in all six countries. The total annual healthcare cost of 1,000 dry eye syndrome sufferers managed by ophthalmologists ranged from 0.27 million US dollars (95% CI: 0.20 US dollars; 0.38 million US dollars) in France to 1.10 million US dollars (95% CI: 0.70 US dollars; 1.50 million US dollars) in the UK. A large proportion of dry eye patients either self-treat or are managed by their general practitioner. Hence, our analysis reflects the prevalence and costs of those patients severe enough to warrant treatment by an ophthalmologist.
Given the limitations of the available economic evidence and our data sources, dry eye syndrome does not appear to impose a direct burden to the health care expenditure in the countries investigated. However, given that many dry eye sufferers self-treat with over-the-counter artificial tears and other medications, data which our study did not capture, the true societal costs of dry eye syndrome, borne by both patient and government, are likely to be higher.
Previous studies have found that smoking cessation is associated with a short-term increase in health-care use. This may be because 'sicker' smokers are more likely to stop smoking. The current study assessed the association between smoking cessation and health-care use, adjusting for pre-cessation physical and mental health conditions.
Data came from the ATTEMPT cohort, a multi-national prospective survey of smokers in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France and Spain, that lasted 18 months (with follow-ups every 3 months).
A total of 3645 smokers completed the baseline questionnaire. All participants smoked at least five cigarettes per day, intended to quit smoking within the next 3 months and were between 35 and 65 years of age.
Participants were asked questions about their socio-demographic and smoking characteristics, as well previous smoking-related morbidities. Participants were also asked to report their health-care use in the previous 3 months i.e. emergency room (ER) visits, hospitalization, whether hospitalization required surgery, and health-care appointments.
A total of 8252, 4779 and 1954 baseline episodes of smoking were available for 3, 6 and 12 months, respectively. Of these, 2.8% (n = 230), 0.9% (n = 40) and 0.7% (n = 14) were followed by 3, 6 and 12 months of abstinence. No significant differences were found among 3, 6 or 12 months of abstinence and ER visits, hospitalization and whether hospitalization required surgery or health-care visits. However, 6-month smoking cessation episodes were associated with higher odds of reporting an appointment with a dietician.
Smoking cessation does not appear to be associated with a substantial short-term increase or decrease in health-care use after adjusting for pre-cessation morbidities.
Although low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is the primary lipid target for cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk reduction, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides (TG) have also emerged as risk factors. This study evaluated attainment of goal/normal lipid levels in current clinical practice among high-risk patients following lipid-modifying therapy (LMT).
Data for patients aged =35years and on LMT for =12months were identified from electronic medical records (United Kingdom and Sweden) and extracted from medical charts (Canada and Spain). High CVD risk was defined according to the Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. An index period was defined, from January 1995-July 2008, during which patients received an initial LMT prescription. Prevalence of lipid abnormalities was assessed 12months before and after the index date. Multivariate logistic regressions evaluated predictors of attaining goal/normal lipid levels.
Among 12,768 high-risk patients, 75% had elevated LDL-C, 37% low HDL-C, and 30% elevated TG before LMT. Despite therapy (97% statins only), 23% had elevated LDL-C, 36% low HDL-C, 16% elevated TG, and 17% had =2 abnormal lipid levels. Framingham risk score >20% (Odds Ratio, 95% confidence interval: 0.37,0.31-0.43), diabetes (0.75,0.64-0.88), hypertension (1.26,1.09-1.46), current smoker (0.82,0.70-0.95) and increased body mass index (0.95,0.94-0.96) were associated with the likelihood of attaining =2 normal lipid levels (vs. LDL-C goal only).
Current approaches to lipid management improve LDL-C goal attainment; however, control of multiple lipid risk factors remains poor. Patients may benefit from more comprehensive approaches to lipid management, which treat multiple lipid abnormalities, as suggested in clinical guidelines.
The role of nutrition in the pathogenesis of colorectal cancer is not fully understood. Milk products are an essential part of human nutrition in Western countries. Absorption of lactose, the main sugar of milk, is regulated by the activity of the lactase enzyme in the gut wall. The activity of lactase is genetically determined and is associated with a C/T single nucleotide polymorphism residing 13910 bp upstream of the lactase coding sequence. Here we have studied the relationship between the C/T(-13910) polymorphism and colorectal cancer in Finnish, British, and Spanish populations.
A total of 2766 subjects, including 963 Finnish, 283 British, and 163 Spanish subjects with colorectal cancer, and 773 Finnish, 363 British, and 221 Spanish control subjects, were genotyped for the C/T(-13910) variant by polymerase chain reaction minisequencing.
The C/C(-13910) genotype, which is a robust molecular marker of low lactase activity (lactase non-persistence), was found to significantly associate with the risk of colorectal cancer (p = 0.015) in the Finnish subjects, with an odds ratio of 1.40 (95% confidence interval 1.07-1.85). No association was found with site, histology, or stage of the tumour. No significant risk was detected in the British or Spanish populations.
Low lactase enzyme activity, defined by genotyping of the C/T(-13910) variant, may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Further studies are warranted to investigate the role of milk and other dairy products in the pathogenesis of colon cancer in different populations.
Cites: Gut. 2004 Nov;53(11):1571-615479673
Cites: Cancer Causes Control. 1999 Oct;10(5):387-9610530608
Cites: Mutat Res. 2000 Apr;462(2-3):227-3310767634
Smoking cessation improves physical health but it has been suggested that in vulnerable individuals it may worsen mental health. This study aimed to identify the short- and longer-term effects of stopping smoking on depression and anxiety in the general population and in those with a history of these disorders.
Sociodemographic and smoking characteristics, and mental and physical health were assessed using established measures in the ATTEMPT cohort, an international longitudinal study of smokers (n = 3645). Smokers who had stopped for at least 3 months or less than 3 months at the 12-month follow-up were compared with current smokers (n = 1640).
At follow-up, 9.7% [95% confidence interval (CI) 8.3-11.2] of smokers had stopped for less than 3 months and 7.5% (95% CI 6.3-8.9) for at least 3 months. Compared with current smokers, prevalence of depression prescriptions obtained in the last 2 weeks was lower for those who had stopped for less than 3 months [odds ratio (OR) 0.37, 95% CI 0.14-0.96] or at least 3 months (OR 0.25, 95% CI 0.06-0.94) after adjusting for baseline prescription levels and confounding variables. Adjusted prevalence of recent depression symptoms was also lower for ex-smokers who had stopped for less than 3 months (OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.15-0.78) or at least 3 months (OR 0.24, 95% CI 0.09-0.67) than among continuing smokers. There was no change in anxiety measures in the general population or any increase in anxiety or depression symptoms in ex-smokers with a past history of these conditions.
Smoking cessation does not appear to be associated with an increase in anxiety or depression and may lead to a reduced incidence of depression.
Uncertainty regarding the benefits of influenza vaccination may contribute to the underutilization of this vaccine. We have conducted serial cohort studies using the administrative data bases of a Twin Cities based managed care organization to assess the impact of disease and benefits of vaccination among the elderly. For the 6 seasons 1990-1991 through 1995-1996, there were more than 20,000 elderly members of the health plan included in each cohort. Data collected included information on baseline demographic and health characteristics, vaccination status and outcomes (hospitalizations and death). Multivariate regression techniques were used to compare the risks of outcomes between vaccinated and unvaccinated persons while controlling for covariates and confounders. Results for data pooled over the 6 seasons demonstrated that influenza vaccination was associated with significant reductions in hospitalizations, outpatient visits, and death among the elderly. Similar findings were observed for low, intermediate, and high risk subgroups. Vaccination was also associated with cost savings. These findings are consistent with results from studies conducted in other countries and over other seasons and strongly support age-based recommendations for annual influenza vaccination for all persons ages 65 and over.
The existence of winter seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and its milder population variants implies that depression estimates in a given population may tend to be higher in winter than at other times of the year. The aim of this study was therefore to test whether depression prevalence estimates based on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) are systematically moderated by season of administration. Existing information from the screening phase of a multicentre investigation of depression prevalence provided the data for the study. Repeated cross-sectional BDI data from samples in the United Kingdom (n=1299), Finland (n=1352), Norway (n=2711) and Spain (n=1246) were analysed for month- and season-of-administration effects. Whether data were measured continuously or as a dichotomous variable (BDI cutoff >/=13), there was no evidence of a systematic seasonal pattern in depression estimates across the four sites. No seasonal effects reached statistical significance at any single site, and trends in the association between winter and elevated BDI scores were positive in two sites (UK and Norway) and negative in two (Finland and Spain). Although limited by a post hoc analysis of existing data, this study provides the strongest evidence to date that season of administration is not a moderator of depression prevalence as estimated by the BDI.
Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, is a major contributor to functional impairment and loss of independence in older persons. The European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA) is a collaborative study involving six European cohort studies on ageing. This project focuses on the personal and societal burden and its determinants of osteoarthritis. This paper describes the design of the project, and presents some descriptive analyses on selected variables across countries.
EPOSA is an observational study including pre-harmonized data from European cohort studies (Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom) on older community-dwelling persons aged 65 to 85 years. In total, 2942 persons were included in the baseline study with a mean age of 74.2 years (SD 5.1), just over half were women (51,9%). The baseline assessment was conducted by a face-to-face interview followed by a clinical examination. Measures included physical, cognitive, psychological and social functioning, lifestyle behaviour, physical environment, wellbeing and care utilisation. The clinical examination included anthropometry, muscle strength, physical performance and OA exam. A follow-up assessment was performed 12-18 months after baseline.
The EPOSA study is the first population-based study including a clinical examination of OA, using pre-harmonized data across European countries. The EPOSA study provides a unique opportunity to study the determinants and consequences of OA in general populations of older persons, including both care-seeking and non care-seeking persons.
Cites: Med Clin (Barc). 1999 Jun 5;112(20):767-7410422057