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1.  Prognosis in patients with recent onset low back pain in Australian primary care: inception cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7662):154-157.
Objective To estimate the one year prognosis and identify prognostic factors in cases of recent onset low back pain managed in primary care.
Design Cohort study with one year follow-up.
Setting Primary care clinics in Sydney, Australia.
Participants An inception cohort of 973 consecutive primary care patients (mean age 43.3, 54.8% men) with non-specific low back pain of less than two weeks’ duration recruited from the clinics of 170 general practitioners, physiotherapists, and chiropractors.
Main outcome measures Participants completed a baseline questionnaire and were contacted six weeks, three months, and 12 months after the initial consultation. Recovery was assessed in terms of return to work, return to function, and resolution of pain. The association between potential prognostic factors and time to recovery was modelled with Cox regression.
Results The follow-up rate over the 12 months was more than 97%. Half of those who reduced their work status at baseline had returned to previous work status within 14 days (95% confidence interval 11 to 17 days) and 83% had returned to previous work status by three months. Disability (median recovery time 31 days, 25 to 37 days) and pain (median 58 days, 52 to 63 days) took much longer to resolve. Only 72% of participants had completely recovered 12 months after the baseline consultation. Older age, compensation cases, higher pain intensity, longer duration of low back pain before consultation, more days of reduced activity because of lower back pain before consultation, feelings of depression, and a perceived risk of persistence were each associated with a longer time to recovery.
Conclusions In this cohort of patients with acute low back pain in primary care, prognosis was not as favourable as claimed in clinical practice guidelines. Recovery was slow for most patients. Nearly a third of patients did not recover from the presenting episode within a year.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a171
PMCID: PMC2483884  PMID: 18614473
2.  Secular trends in self reported sexual activity and satisfaction in Swedish 70 year olds: cross sectional survey of four populations, 1971-2001 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7662):151-154.
Objective To study secular trends in self reported sexual behaviour among 70 year olds.
Design Cross sectional survey.
Settings Four samples representative of the general population in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Participants 1506 adults (946 women, 560 men) examined in 1971-2, 1976-7, 1992-3, and 2000-1.
Main outcome measures Sexual intercourse, attitudes to sexuality in later life, sexual dysfunctions, and marital satisfaction.
Results From 1971 to 2000 the proportion of 70 year olds reporting sexual intercourse increased among all groups: married men from 52% to 68% (P=0.002), married women from 38% to 56% (P=0.001), unmarried men from 30% to 54% (P=0.016), and unmarried women from 0.8% to 12% (P<0.001). Men and women from later birth cohorts reported higher satisfaction with sexuality, fewer sexual dysfunctions, and more positive attitudes to sexuality in later life than those from earlier birth cohorts. A larger proportion of men (57% v 40%, P<0.001) and women (52% v 35%, P<0.001) reported very happy relationships in 2000-1 compared with those in 1971-2. Sexual debut before age 20 increased in both sexes: in men from 52% to 77% (P<0.001) and in women from 19% to 64% (P<0.001).
Conclusion Self reported quantity and quality of sexual experiences among Swedish 70 year olds has improved over a 30 year period.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a279
PMCID: PMC2483873  PMID: 18614505
3.  Routine care of peripheral intravenous catheters versus clinically indicated replacement: randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7662):157-160.
Objective To compare routine replacement of intravenous peripheral catheters with replacement only when clinically indicated.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Tertiary hospital in Australia.
Participants 755 medical and surgical patients: 379 allocated to catheter replacement only when clinically indicated and 376 allocated to routine care of catheter (control group).
Main outcome measure A composite measure of catheter failure resulting from phlebitis or infiltration.
Results Catheters were removed because of phlebitis or infiltration from 123 of 376 (33%) patients in the control group compared with 143 of 379 (38%) patients in the intervention group; the difference was not significant (relative risk 1.15, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.40). When the analysis was based on failure per 1000 device days (number of failures divided by number of days catheterised, divided by 1000), no difference could be detected between the groups (relative risk 0.98, 0.78 to 1.24). Infusion related costs were higher in the control group (mean $A41.02; £19.71; €24.80; $38.55) than intervention group ($A36.40). The rate of phlebitis in both groups was low (4% in intervention group, 3% in control group).
Conclusion Replacing peripheral intravenous catheters when clinically indicated has no effect on the incidence of failure, based on a composite measure of phlebitis or infiltration. Larger trials are needed to test this finding using phlebitis alone as a more clinically meaningful outcome.
Registration number Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12605000147684.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a339
PMCID: PMC2483870  PMID: 18614482
4.  Bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris—incidence and mortality in the UK: population based cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7662):160-163.
Objective To determine the incidence of and mortality from bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris in the United Kingdom.
Design Retrospective historical cohort study.
Setting Computerised medical records from the health improvement network, a large population based UK general practice database.
Participants Patients with pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid diagnostic codes and age, sex, and practice matched controls.
Main outcome measures Incidence and mortality compared with the control population by calendar period, age group, sex, geographical region, and degree of social deprivation.
Results 869 people with bullous pemphigoid and 138 people with pemphigus vulgaris were identified. The median age at presentation for bullous pemphigoid was 80 (range 23-102) years, and 534 (61%) patients were female. The median age at presentation for pemphigus vulgaris was 71 (21-102) years, and 91 (66%) patients were female. Incidences of bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris were 4.3 (95% confidence interval 4.0 to 4.6) and 0.7 (0.6 to 0.8) per 100 000 person years. The incidence of bullous pemphigoid increased over time; the average yearly increase was 17% (incidence rate ratio=1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 1.2). An average yearly increase in incidence of pemphigus vulgaris of 11% (incidence rate ratio=1.1, 1.0 to 1.2) occurred. The risk of death for patients with bullous pemphigoid was twice as great as for controls (adjusted hazard ratio=2.3, 95% confidence interval 2.0 to 2.7). For pemphigus vulgaris, the risk of death was three times greater than for controls (adjusted hazard ratio=3.3, 2.2 to 5.2).
Conclusions Incidences of bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris are increasing. The reasons for the changes in incidence are not clearly understood but have implications for identifying causative factors. Both disorders are associated with a high risk of death. Previous estimates may have underestimated the risk of death associated with these diseases.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a180
PMCID: PMC2483869  PMID: 18614511
5.  Neuromuscular training and the risk of leg injuries in female floorball players: cluster randomised controlled study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):96-99.
Objective To investigate whether a neuromuscular training programme is effective in preventing non-contact leg injuries in female floorball players.
Design Cluster randomised controlled study.
Setting 28 top level female floorball teams in Finland.
Participants 457 players (mean age 24 years)—256 (14 teams) in the intervention group and 201 (14 teams) in the control group—followedup for one league season (six months).
Intervention A neuromuscular training programme to enhance players’ motor skills and body control, as well as to activate and prepare their neuromuscular system for sports specific manoeuvres.
Main outcome measure Acute non-contact injuries of the legs.
Results During the season, 72 acute non-contact leg injuries occurred, 20 in the intervention group and 52 in the control group. The injury incidence per 1000 hours playing and practise in the intervention group was 0.65 (95% confidence interval 0.37 to 1.13) and in the control group was 2.08 (1.58 to 2.72). The risk of non-contact leg injury was 66% lower (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.34, 95% confidence interval 0.20 to 0.57) in the intervention group.
Conclusion A neuromuscular training programme was effective in preventing acute non-contact injuries of the legs in female floorball players. Neuromuscular training can be recommended in the weekly training of these athletes.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN26550281.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a295
PMCID: PMC2453298  PMID: 18595903
6.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):103-106.
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
7.  Cardiovascular evaluation, including resting and exercise electrocardiography, before participation in competitive sports: cross sectional study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):88-92.
Objective To evaluate the clinical usefulness of complete preparticipation cardiovascular screening in a large cohort of sports participants.
Design Cross sectional study of data over a five year period.
Setting Institute of Sports Medicine in Florence, Italy.
Participants 30 065 (23 570 men) people seeking to obtain clinical eligibility for competitive sports.
Main outcome measures Results of resting and exercise 12 lead electrocardiography.
Results Resting 12 lead ECG patterns showed abnormalities in 1812 (6%) participants, with the most common abnormalities (>80%) concerning innocent ECG changes. Exercise ECG showed an abnormal pattern in 1459 (4.9%) participants. Exercise ECG showed cardiac anomalies in 1227 athletes with normal findings on resting ECG. At the end of screening, 196 (0.6%) participants were considered ineligible for competitive sports. Among the 159 participants who were disqualified at the end of the screening for cardiac reasons, a consistent proportion (n=126, 79.2%) had shown innocent or negative findings on resting 12 lead ECG but clear pathological alterations during the exercise test. After adjustment for possible confounders, logistic regression analysis showed that age >30 years was significantly associated with an increased risk of being disqualified for cardiac findings during exercise testing.
Conclusions Among people seeking to take part in competitive sports, exercise ECG can identify those with cardiac abnormalities. Follow-up studies would show if disqualification of such people would reduce the incidence of CV events among athletes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a346
PMCID: PMC2453296  PMID: 18599474
8.  Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):92-95.
Objective To examine prospectively the association between muscular strength and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in men.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Aerobics centre longitudinal study.
Participants 8762 men aged 20-80.
Main outcome measures All cause mortality up to 31 December 2003; muscular strength, quantified by combining one repetition maximal measures for leg and bench presses and further categorised as age specific thirds of the combined strength variable; and cardiorespiratory fitness assessed by a maximal exercise test on a treadmill.
Results During an average follow-up of 18.9 years, 503 deaths occurred (145 cardiovascular disease, 199 cancer). Age adjusted death rates per 10 000 person years across incremental thirds of muscular strength were 38.9, 25.9, and 26.6 for all causes; 12.1, 7.6, and 6.6 for cardiovascular disease; and 6.1, 4.9, and 4.2 for cancer (all P<0.01 for linear trend). After adjusting for age, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, baseline medical conditions, and family history of cardiovascular disease, hazard ratios across incremental thirds of muscular strength for all cause mortality were 1.0 (referent), 0.72 (95% confidence interval 0.58 to 0.90), and 0.77 (0.62 to 0.96); for death from cardiovascular disease were 1.0 (referent), 0.74 (0.50 to 1.10), and 0.71 (0.47 to 1.07); and for death from cancer were 1.0 (referent), 0.72 (0.51 to 1.00), and 0.68 (0.48 to 0.97). The pattern of the association between muscular strength and death from all causes and cancer persisted after further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness; however, the association between muscular strength and death from cardiovascular disease was attenuated after further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness.
Conclusion Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer in men, even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other potential confounders.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a439
PMCID: PMC2453303  PMID: 18595904
9.  Cardiovascular evaluation, including resting and exercise electrocardiography, before participation in competitive sports: cross sectional study 
Objective To evaluate the clinical usefulness of complete preparticipation cardiovascular screening in a large cohort of sports participants.
Design Cross sectional study of data over a five year period.
Setting Institute of Sports Medicine in Florence, Italy.
Participants 30 065 (23 570 men) people seeking to obtain clinical eligibility for competitive sports.
Main outcome measures Results of resting and exercise 12 lead electrocardiography.
Results Resting 12 lead ECG patterns showed abnormalities in 1812 (6%) participants, with the most common abnormalities (>80%) concerning innocent ECG changes. Exercise ECG showed an abnormal pattern in 1459 (4.9%) participants. Exercise ECG showed cardiac anomalies in 1227 athletes with normal findings on resting ECG. At the end of screening, 196 (0.6%) participants were considered ineligible for competitive sports. Among the 159 participants who were disqualified at the end of the screening for cardiac reasons, a consistent proportion (n=126, 79.2%) had shown innocent or negative findings on resting 12 lead ECG but clear pathological alterations during the exercise test. After adjustment for possible confounders, logistic regression analysis showed that age >30 years was significantly associated with an increased risk of being disqualified for cardiac findings during exercise testing.
Conclusions Among people seeking to take part in competitive sports, exercise ECG can identify those with cardiac abnormalities. Follow-up studies would show if disqualification of such people would reduce the incidence of CV events among athletes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a346
PMCID: PMC2453296  PMID: 18599474
10.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
11.  Neuromuscular training and the risk of leg injuries in female floorball players: cluster randomised controlled study 
Objective To investigate whether a neuromuscular training programme is effective in preventing non-contact leg injuries in female floorball players.
Design Cluster randomised controlled study.
Setting 28 top level female floorball teams in Finland.
Participants 457 players (mean age 24 years)—256 (14 teams) in the intervention group and 201 (14 teams) in the control group—followedup for one league season (six months).
Intervention A neuromuscular training programme to enhance players’ motor skills and body control, as well as to activate and prepare their neuromuscular system for sports specific manoeuvres.
Main outcome measure Acute non-contact injuries of the legs.
Results During the season, 72 acute non-contact leg injuries occurred, 20 in the intervention group and 52 in the control group. The injury incidence per 1000 hours playing and practise in the intervention group was 0.65 (95% confidence interval 0.37 to 1.13) and in the control group was 2.08 (1.58 to 2.72). The risk of non-contact leg injury was 66% lower (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.34, 95% confidence interval 0.20 to 0.57) in the intervention group.
Conclusion A neuromuscular training programme was effective in preventing acute non-contact injuries of the legs in female floorball players. Neuromuscular training can be recommended in the weekly training of these athletes.
Trial registration Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN26550281.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a295
PMCID: PMC2453298  PMID: 18595903
12.  Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study 
Objective To examine prospectively the association between muscular strength and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer in men.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Aerobics centre longitudinal study.
Participants 8762 men aged 20-80.
Main outcome measures All cause mortality up to 31 December 2003; muscular strength, quantified by combining one repetition maximal measures for leg and bench presses and further categorised as age specific thirds of the combined strength variable; and cardiorespiratory fitness assessed by a maximal exercise test on a treadmill.
Results During an average follow-up of 18.9 years, 503 deaths occurred (145 cardiovascular disease, 199 cancer). Age adjusted death rates per 10 000 person years across incremental thirds of muscular strength were 38.9, 25.9, and 26.6 for all causes; 12.1, 7.6, and 6.6 for cardiovascular disease; and 6.1, 4.9, and 4.2 for cancer (all P<0.01 for linear trend). After adjusting for age, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, body mass index, baseline medical conditions, and family history of cardiovascular disease, hazard ratios across incremental thirds of muscular strength for all cause mortality were 1.0 (referent), 0.72 (95% confidence interval 0.58 to 0.90), and 0.77 (0.62 to 0.96); for death from cardiovascular disease were 1.0 (referent), 0.74 (0.50 to 1.10), and 0.71 (0.47 to 1.07); and for death from cancer were 1.0 (referent), 0.72 (0.51 to 1.00), and 0.68 (0.48 to 0.97). The pattern of the association between muscular strength and death from all causes and cancer persisted after further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness; however, the association between muscular strength and death from cardiovascular disease was attenuated after further adjustment for cardiorespiratory fitness.
Conclusion Muscular strength is inversely and independently associated with death from all causes and cancer in men, even after adjusting for cardiorespiratory fitness and other potential confounders.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a439
PMCID: PMC2453303  PMID: 18595904
13.  Bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris—incidence and mortality in the UK: population based cohort study 
Objective To determine the incidence of and mortality from bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris in the United Kingdom.
Design Retrospective historical cohort study.
Setting Computerised medical records from the health improvement network, a large population based UK general practice database.
Participants Patients with pemphigus vulgaris and bullous pemphigoid diagnostic codes and age, sex, and practice matched controls.
Main outcome measures Incidence and mortality compared with the control population by calendar period, age group, sex, geographical region, and degree of social deprivation.
Results 869 people with bullous pemphigoid and 138 people with pemphigus vulgaris were identified. The median age at presentation for bullous pemphigoid was 80 (range 23-102) years, and 534 (61%) patients were female. The median age at presentation for pemphigus vulgaris was 71 (21-102) years, and 91 (66%) patients were female. Incidences of bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris were 4.3 (95% confidence interval 4.0 to 4.6) and 0.7 (0.6 to 0.8) per 100 000 person years. The incidence of bullous pemphigoid increased over time; the average yearly increase was 17% (incidence rate ratio=1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.1 to 1.2). An average yearly increase in incidence of pemphigus vulgaris of 11% (incidence rate ratio=1.1, 1.0 to 1.2) occurred. The risk of death for patients with bullous pemphigoid was twice as great as for controls (adjusted hazard ratio=2.3, 95% confidence interval 2.0 to 2.7). For pemphigus vulgaris, the risk of death was three times greater than for controls (adjusted hazard ratio=3.3, 2.2 to 5.2).
Conclusions Incidences of bullous pemphigoid and pemphigus vulgaris are increasing. The reasons for the changes in incidence are not clearly understood but have implications for identifying causative factors. Both disorders are associated with a high risk of death. Previous estimates may have underestimated the risk of death associated with these diseases.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a180
PMCID: PMC2483869  PMID: 18614511
14.  Routine care of peripheral intravenous catheters versus clinically indicated replacement: randomised controlled trial 
Objective To compare routine replacement of intravenous peripheral catheters with replacement only when clinically indicated.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Tertiary hospital in Australia.
Participants 755 medical and surgical patients: 379 allocated to catheter replacement only when clinically indicated and 376 allocated to routine care of catheter (control group).
Main outcome measure A composite measure of catheter failure resulting from phlebitis or infiltration.
Results Catheters were removed because of phlebitis or infiltration from 123 of 376 (33%) patients in the control group compared with 143 of 379 (38%) patients in the intervention group; the difference was not significant (relative risk 1.15, 95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.40). When the analysis was based on failure per 1000 device days (number of failures divided by number of days catheterised, divided by 1000), no difference could be detected between the groups (relative risk 0.98, 0.78 to 1.24). Infusion related costs were higher in the control group (mean $A41.02; £19.71; €24.80; $38.55) than intervention group ($A36.40). The rate of phlebitis in both groups was low (4% in intervention group, 3% in control group).
Conclusion Replacing peripheral intravenous catheters when clinically indicated has no effect on the incidence of failure, based on a composite measure of phlebitis or infiltration. Larger trials are needed to test this finding using phlebitis alone as a more clinically meaningful outcome.
Registration number Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12605000147684.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a339
PMCID: PMC2483870  PMID: 18614482
15.  Secular trends in self reported sexual activity and satisfaction in Swedish 70 year olds: cross sectional survey of four populations, 1971-2001 
Objective To study secular trends in self reported sexual behaviour among 70 year olds.
Design Cross sectional survey.
Settings Four samples representative of the general population in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Participants 1506 adults (946 women, 560 men) examined in 1971-2, 1976-7, 1992-3, and 2000-1.
Main outcome measures Sexual intercourse, attitudes to sexuality in later life, sexual dysfunctions, and marital satisfaction.
Results From 1971 to 2000 the proportion of 70 year olds reporting sexual intercourse increased among all groups: married men from 52% to 68% (P=0.002), married women from 38% to 56% (P=0.001), unmarried men from 30% to 54% (P=0.016), and unmarried women from 0.8% to 12% (P<0.001). Men and women from later birth cohorts reported higher satisfaction with sexuality, fewer sexual dysfunctions, and more positive attitudes to sexuality in later life than those from earlier birth cohorts. A larger proportion of men (57% v 40%, P<0.001) and women (52% v 35%, P<0.001) reported very happy relationships in 2000-1 compared with those in 1971-2. Sexual debut before age 20 increased in both sexes: in men from 52% to 77% (P<0.001) and in women from 19% to 64% (P<0.001).
Conclusion Self reported quantity and quality of sexual experiences among Swedish 70 year olds has improved over a 30 year period.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a279
PMCID: PMC2483873  PMID: 18614505
16.  Prognosis in patients with recent onset low back pain in Australian primary care: inception cohort study 
Objective To estimate the one year prognosis and identify prognostic factors in cases of recent onset low back pain managed in primary care.
Design Cohort study with one year follow-up.
Setting Primary care clinics in Sydney, Australia.
Participants An inception cohort of 973 consecutive primary care patients (mean age 43.3, 54.8% men) with non-specific low back pain of less than two weeks’ duration recruited from the clinics of 170 general practitioners, physiotherapists, and chiropractors.
Main outcome measures Participants completed a baseline questionnaire and were contacted six weeks, three months, and 12 months after the initial consultation. Recovery was assessed in terms of return to work, return to function, and resolution of pain. The association between potential prognostic factors and time to recovery was modelled with Cox regression.
Results The follow-up rate over the 12 months was more than 97%. Half of those who reduced their work status at baseline had returned to previous work status within 14 days (95% confidence interval 11 to 17 days) and 83% had returned to previous work status by three months. Disability (median recovery time 31 days, 25 to 37 days) and pain (median 58 days, 52 to 63 days) took much longer to resolve. Only 72% of participants had completely recovered 12 months after the baseline consultation. Older age, compensation cases, higher pain intensity, longer duration of low back pain before consultation, more days of reduced activity because of lower back pain before consultation, feelings of depression, and a perceived risk of persistence were each associated with a longer time to recovery.
Conclusions In this cohort of patients with acute low back pain in primary care, prognosis was not as favourable as claimed in clinical practice guidelines. Recovery was slow for most patients. Nearly a third of patients did not recover from the presenting episode within a year.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a171
PMCID: PMC2483884  PMID: 18614473
17.  Sacrospinous hysteropexy versus vaginal hysterectomy with suspension of the uterosacral ligaments in women with uterine prolapse stage 2 or higher: multicentre randomised non-inferiority trial 
Objective To investigate whether uterus preserving vaginal sacrospinous hysteropexy is non-inferior to vaginal hysterectomy with suspension of the uterosacral ligaments in the surgical treatment of uterine prolapse.
Design Multicentre randomised controlled non-blinded non-inferiority trial.
Setting 4 non-university teaching hospitals, the Netherlands.
Participants 208 healthy women with uterine prolapse stage 2 or higher requiring surgery and no history of pelvic floor surgery.
Interventions Treatment with sacrospinous hysteropexy or vaginal hysterectomy with suspension of the uterosacral ligaments. The predefined non-inferiority margin was an increase in surgical failure rate of 7%.
Main outcome measures Primary outcome was recurrent prolapse stage 2 or higher of the uterus or vaginal vault (apical compartment) evaluated by the pelvic organ prolapse quantification system in combination with bothersome bulge symptoms or repeat surgery for recurrent apical prolapse at 12 months’ follow-up. Secondary outcomes were overall anatomical recurrences, including recurrent anterior compartment (bladder) and/or posterior compartment (bowel) prolapse, functional outcome, complications, hospital stay, postoperative recovery, and sexual functioning.
Results Sacrospinous hysteropexy was non-inferior for anatomical recurrence of the apical compartment with bothersome bulge symptoms or repeat surgery (n=0, 0%) compared with vaginal hysterectomy with suspension of the uterosacral ligaments (n=4, 4.0%, difference −3.9%, 95% confidence interval for difference −8.6% to 0.7%). At 12 months, overall anatomical recurrences, functional outcome, quality of life, complications, hospital stay, measures on postoperative recovery, and sexual functioning did not differ between the two groups. Five serious adverse events were reported during hospital stay. None was considered to be related to the type of surgery.
Conclusions Uterus preservation by sacrospinous hysteropexy was non-inferior to vaginal hysterectomy with suspension of the uterosacral ligaments for surgical failure of the apical compartment at 12 months’ follow-up.
Trial registration trialregister.nl NTR1866.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3717
PMCID: PMC4512203  PMID: 26206451
18.  Birth weight and later life adherence to unhealthy lifestyles in predicting type 2 diabetes: prospective cohort study 
Objectives To prospectively assess the joint association of birth weight and established lifestyle risk factors in adulthood with incident type 2 diabetes and to quantitatively decompose the attributing effects to birth weight only, to adulthood lifestyle only, and to their interaction.
Design Prospective cohort study.
Setting Health Professionals Follow-up Study (1986-2010), Nurses’ Health Study (1980-2010), and Nurses’ Health Study II (1991-2011).
Participants 149 794 men and women without diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer at baseline.
Main outcome measure Incident cases of type 2 diabetes, identified through self report and validated by a supplementary questionnaire. Unhealthy lifestyle was defined on the basis of body mass index, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and the alternate healthy eating index.
Results During 20-30 years of follow-up, 11 709 new cases of type 2 diabetes were documented. The multivariate adjusted relative risk of type 2 diabetes was 1.45 (95% confidence interval 1.32 to 1.59) per kg lower birth weight and 2.10 (1.71 to 2.58) per unhealthy lifestyle factor. The relative risk of type 2 diabetes associated with a combination of per kg lower birth weight and per unhealthy lifestyle factor was 2.86 (2.26 to 3.63), which was more than the addition of the risk associated with each individual factor, indicating a significant interaction on an additive scale (P for interaction<0.001). The attributable proportions of joint effect were 22% (95% confidence interval 18.3% to 26.4%) to lower birth weight alone, 59% (57.1% to 61.5%) to unhealthy lifestyle alone, and 18% (13.9% to 21.3%) to their interaction.
Conclusion Most cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented by the adoption of a healthier lifestyle, but simultaneous improvement of both prenatal and postnatal factors could further prevent additional cases.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3672
PMCID: PMC4510778  PMID: 26199273
19.  Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction 
Objectives To examine the prospective associations between consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice with type 2 diabetes before and after adjustment for adiposity, and to estimate the population attributable fraction for type 2 diabetes from consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in the United States and United Kingdom.
Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.
Data sources and eligibility PubMed, Embase, Ovid, and Web of Knowledge for prospective studies of adults without diabetes, published until February 2014. The population attributable fraction was estimated in national surveys in the USA, 2009-10 (n=4729 representing 189.1 million adults without diabetes) and the UK, 2008-12 (n=1932 representing 44.7 million).
Synthesis methods Random effects meta-analysis and survey analysis for population attributable fraction associated with consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
Results Prespecified information was extracted from 17 cohorts (38 253 cases/10 126 754 person years). Higher consumption of sugar sweetened beverages was associated with a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes, by 18% per one serving/day (95% confidence interval 9% to 28%, I2 for heterogeneity=89%) and 13% (6% to 21%, I2=79%) before and after adjustment for adiposity; for artificially sweetened beverages, 25% (18% to 33%, I2=70%) and 8% (2% to 15%, I2=64%); and for fruit juice, 5% (−1% to 11%, I2=58%) and 7% (1% to 14%, I2=51%). Potential sources of heterogeneity or bias were not evident for sugar sweetened beverages. For artificially sweetened beverages, publication bias and residual confounding were indicated. For fruit juice the finding was non-significant in studies ascertaining type 2 diabetes objectively (P for heterogeneity=0.008). Under specified assumptions for population attributable fraction, of 20.9 million events of type 2 diabetes predicted to occur over 10 years in the USA (absolute event rate 11.0%), 1.8 million would be attributable to consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (population attributable fraction 8.7%, 95% confidence interval 3.9% to 12.9%); and of 2.6 million events in the UK (absolute event rate 5.8%), 79 000 would be attributable to consumption of sugar sweetened beverages (population attributable fraction 3.6%, 1.7% to 5.6%).
Conclusions Habitual consumption of sugar sweetened beverages was associated with a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes, independently of adiposity. Although artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice also showd positive associations with incidence of type 2 diabetes, the findings were likely to involve bias. None the less, both artificially sweetened beverages and fruit juice were unlikely to be healthy alternatives to sugar sweetened beverages for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Under assumption of causality, consumption of sugar sweetened beverages over years may be related to a substantial number of cases of new onset diabetes.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3576
PMCID: PMC4510779  PMID: 26199070
20.  Effectiveness of two year balance training programme on prevention of fall induced injuries in at risk women aged 75-85 living in community: Ossébo randomised controlled trial 
Objective To assess the effectiveness of a two year exercise programme of progressive balance retraining in reducing injurious falls among women aged 75-85 at increased risk of falls and injuries and living in the community.
Design Pragmatic multicentre, two arm, parallel group, randomised controlled trial.
Setting 20 study sites in 16 medium to large cities throughout France.
Participants 706 women aged 75-85, living in their own home, and with diminished balance and gait capacities, randomly allocated to the experimental intervention group (exercise programme, n=352) or the control group (no intervention, n=354).
Intervention Weekly supervised group sessions of progressive balance training offered in community based premises for two years, supplemented by individually prescribed home exercises.
Outcome measures A geriatrician blinded to group assignment classified falls into one of three categories (no consequence, moderate, severe) based on physical damage and medical care. The primary outcome was the rate of injurious falls (moderate and severe). The two groups were compared for rates of injurious falls with a “shared frailty” model. Other outcomes included the rates of all falls, physical functional capacities (balance and motor function test results), fear of falling (FES-I), physical activity level, and perceived health related quality of life (SF-36). Analysis was by intention to treat.
Results There were 305 injurious falls in the intervention group and 397 in the control group (hazard ratio 0.81, 95% confidence interval 0.67 to 0.99). The difference in severe injuries (68 in intervention group v 87 in control group) was of the same order of magnitude (0.83, 0.60 to 1.16). At two years, women in the intervention group performed significantly better on all physical tests and had significantly better perception of their overall physical function than women in the control group. Among women who started the intervention (n=294), the median number of group sessions attended was 53 (interquartile range 16-71). Five injurious falls related to the intervention were recorded.
Conclusion A two year progressive balance retraining programme combining weekly group and individual sessions was effective in reducing injurious falls and in improving measured and perceived physical function in women aged 75-85 at risk of falling.
Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT00545350).
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3830
PMCID: PMC4511529  PMID: 26201510
21.  Avoidability of hospital deaths and association with hospital-wide mortality ratios: retrospective case record review and regression analysis 
Objectives To determine the proportion of avoidable deaths (due to acts of omission and commission) in acute hospital trusts in England and to determine the association with the trust’s hospital-wide standardised mortality ratio assessed using the two commonly used methods - the hospital standardised mortality ratio (HSMR) and the summary hospital level mortality indicator (SHMI).
Design Retrospective case record review of deaths.
Setting 34 English acute hospital trusts (10 in 2009 and 24 in 2012/13) randomly selected from across the spectrum of HSMR.
Main outcome measures Avoidable death, defined as those with at least a 50% probability of avoidability in view of trained medical reviewers. Association of avoidable death proportion with the HSMR and the SHMI assessed using regression coefficients, to estimate the increase in avoidable death proportion for a one standard deviation increase in standardised mortality ratio.
Participants 100 randomly selected hospital deaths from each trust.
Results The proportion of avoidable deaths was 3.6% (95% confidence interval 3.0% to 4.3%). It was lower in 2012/13 (3.0%, 2.4% to 3.7%) than in 2009 (5.2%, 3.8% to 6.6%). This difference is subject to several factors, including reviewers’ greater awareness in 2012/13 of orders not to resuscitate, patients being perceived as sicker on admission, minor differences in review form questions, and cultural changes that might have discouraged reviewers from criticising other clinicians. There was a small but statistically non-significant association between HSMR and the proportion of avoidable deaths (regression coefficient 0.3, 95% confidence interval −0.2 to 0.7). The regression coefficient was similar for both time periods (0.1 and 0.3). This implies that a difference in HSMR of between 105 and 115 would be associated with an increase of only 0.3% (95% confidence interval −0.2% to 0.7%) in the proportion of avoidable deaths. A similar weak non-significant association was observed for SHMI (regression coefficient 0.3, 95% confidence interval −0.3 to 1.0).
Conclusions The small proportion of deaths judged to be avoidable means that any metric based on mortality is unlikely to reflect the quality of a hospital. The lack of association between the proportion of avoidable deaths and hospital-wide SMRs partly reflects methodological shortcomings in both metrics. Instead, reviews of individual deaths should focus on identifying ways of improving the quality of care, whereas the use of standardised mortality ratios should be restricted to assessing the quality of care for conditions with high case fatality for which good quality clinical data exist.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3239
PMCID: PMC4502415  PMID: 26174149
22.  Risk of intracranial haemorrhage in antidepressant users with concurrent use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: nationwide propensity score matched study 
Objective To define the risk of intracranial haemorrhage among patients treated with antidepressants and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), compared with the risk among those treated with antidepressants without NSAIDs.
Design Retrospective nationwide propensity score matched cohort study.
Setting Korean nationwide health insurance database between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2013.
Participants Patients who began receiving antidepressants for the first time (index date) without a history of having received a prescription for antidepressants during the preceding year. Patients who had been diagnosed as having cerebrovascular diseases within a year before the index date were excluded.
Main outcome measure Time to first hospital admission with intracranial haemorrhage within 30 days after drug use. Matched Cox regression models were used to compare the risk of intracranial haemorrhage among patients who were treated with antidepressants with and without NSAIDs, after propensity score matching with a 1:1 ratio.
Results After propensity score estimation and matching in a 1:1 ratio, the cohort used in the analysis included 4 145 226 people. The 30 day risk of intracranial haemorrhage during the entire study period was higher for combined use of antidepressants and NSAIDs than for use of antidepressants without NSAIDs (hazard ratio 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.32 to 1.85). No statistically meaningful differences were found in risk of intracranial haemorrhage between the antidepressant drug classes.
Conclusions Combined use of antidepressants and NSAIDs was associated with an increased risk of intracranial haemorrhage within 30 days of initial combination.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3517
PMCID: PMC4501372  PMID: 26173947
23.  Real world effectiveness of primary implantable cardioverter defibrillators implanted during hospital admissions for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities: cohort study of older patients with heart failure 
Objectives To examine the effectiveness of primary implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) in elderly patients receiving the device during a hospital admission for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities, with an emphasis on adjustment for early mortality and other factors reflecting healthy candidate bias rather than the effect of the ICD.
Design Retrospective cohort study.
Setting Linked data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and American College of Cardiology-National Cardiovascular Data Registry ICD registry, nationwide heart failure registry, and Medicare claims data 2004-09.
Population 23 111 patients aged ≥66 who were admitted to hospital for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities and eligible for primary ICDs.
Main outcome measures All cause mortality and sudden cardiac death. Latency analyses with Cox regression were used to derive crude hazard ratios and hazard ratios adjusted for high dimension propensity score for outcomes after 180 days from index implantation or discharge.
Results Patients who received an ICD during a hospital admission had lower crude mortality risk than patients who did not receive an ICD (40% v 60% at three years); however, with conditioning on 180 day survival and with adjustment for high dimension propensity score, the apparent benefit with ICD was no longer evident for sudden cardiac death (adjusted hazard ratio 0.95, 95% confidence interval 0.78 to 1.17) and had a diminished impact on total mortality (0.91, 0.82 to 1.00). There were trends towards a benefit with ICD in reducing mortality or sudden cardiac death in patients who had had a myocardial infarction more than 40 days previously, left bundle branch block, or low serum B type natriuretic peptide; however, these trends did not reach significance.
Conclusion After adjustment for healthy candidate bias and confounding, the benefits of primary ICD therapy seen in pivotal trials were not apparent in patients aged 66 or over who received ICDs during a hospital admission for exacerbation of heart failure or other acute co-morbidities. Future research is warranted to further identify subgroups of elderly patients who are more likely to benefit from ICDs. Recognition of those patients whose dominant risk factors are from decompensated heart failure and non-cardiac co-morbidities will allow better focus on ICDs in those patients for whom the device offers the most benefit and provides meaningful prolonging of life.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3529
PMCID: PMC4501450  PMID: 26174233
24.  Intraoperative protective mechanical ventilation and risk of postoperative respiratory complications: hospital based registry study 
Objective To evaluate the effects of intraoperative protective ventilation on major postoperative respiratory complications and to define safe intraoperative mechanical ventilator settings that do not translate into an increased risk of postoperative respiratory complications.
Design Hospital based registry study.
Setting Academic tertiary care hospital and two affiliated community hospitals in Massachusetts, United States.
Participants 69 265 consecutively enrolled patients over the age of 18 who underwent a non-cardiac surgical procedure between January 2007 and August 2014 and required general anesthesia with endotracheal intubation.
Interventions Protective ventilation, defined as a median positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) of 5 cmH2O or more, a median tidal volume of less than 10 mL/kg of predicted body weight, and a median plateau pressure of less than 30 cmH2O.
Main outcome measure Composite outcome of major respiratory complications, including pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, pneumonia, and re-intubation.
Results Of the 69 265 enrolled patients 34 800 (50.2%) received protective ventilation and 34 465 (49.8%) received non-protective ventilation intraoperatively. Protective ventilation was associated with a decreased risk of postoperative respiratory complications in multivariable regression (adjusted odds ratio 0.90, 95% confidence interval 0.82 to 0.98, P=0.013). The results were similar in the propensity score matched cohort (odds ratio 0.89, 95% confidence interval 0.83 to 0.97, P=0.004). A PEEP of 5 cmH2O and median plateau pressures of 16 cmH2O or less were associated with the lowest risk of postoperative respiratory complications.
Conclusions Intraoperative protective ventilation was associated with a decreased risk of postoperative respiratory complications. A PEEP of 5 cmH2O and a plateau pressure of 16 cmH2O or less were identified as protective mechanical ventilator settings. These findings suggest that protective thresholds differ for intraoperative ventilation in patients with normal lungs compared with those used for patients with acute lung injury.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3646
PMCID: PMC4501577  PMID: 26174419
25.  Evaluation of symptom checkers for self diagnosis and triage: audit study 
Objective To determine the diagnostic and triage accuracy of online symptom checkers (tools that use computer algorithms to help patients with self diagnosis or self triage).
Design Audit study.
Setting Publicly available, free symptom checkers.
Participants 23 symptom checkers that were in English and provided advice across a range of conditions. 45 standardized patient vignettes were compiled and equally divided into three categories of triage urgency: emergent care required (for example, pulmonary embolism), non-emergent care reasonable (for example, otitis media), and self care reasonable (for example, viral upper respiratory tract infection).
Main outcome measures For symptom checkers that provided a diagnosis, our main outcomes were whether the symptom checker listed the correct diagnosis first or within the first 20 potential diagnoses (n=770 standardized patient evaluations). For symptom checkers that provided a triage recommendation, our main outcomes were whether the symptom checker correctly recommended emergent care, non-emergent care, or self care (n=532 standardized patient evaluations).
Results The 23 symptom checkers provided the correct diagnosis first in 34% (95% confidence interval 31% to 37%) of standardized patient evaluations, listed the correct diagnosis within the top 20 diagnoses given in 58% (55% to 62%) of standardized patient evaluations, and provided the appropriate triage advice in 57% (52% to 61%) of standardized patient evaluations. Triage performance varied by urgency of condition, with appropriate triage advice provided in 80% (95% confidence interval 75% to 86%) of emergent cases, 55% (47% to 63%) of non-emergent cases, and 33% (26% to 40%) of self care cases (P<0.001). Performance on appropriate triage advice across the 23 individual symptom checkers ranged from 33% (95% confidence interval 19% to 48%) to 78% (64% to 91%) of standardized patient evaluations.
Conclusions Symptom checkers had deficits in both triage and diagnosis. Triage advice from symptom checkers is generally risk averse, encouraging users to seek care for conditions where self care is reasonable.
doi:10.1136/bmj.h3480
PMCID: PMC4496786  PMID: 26157077

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