The relationship of smoking to total mortality and to the prevalence of cardiorespiratory symptoms has been studied in three prospective surveys in west central Scotland in which 18 786 people attended a multiphasic screening examination. The prevalence of respiratory symptoms, and to a lesser extent cardiovascular symptoms, increased with the number of cigarettes smoked, with inhalation, and with a younger age of starting to smoke. A lower prevalence of respiratory symptoms in both sexes was observed in smokers of filter cigarettes than in smokers of plain cigarettes, and in those who smoked cigarettes with lower tar levels, irrespective of whether these were filtered or plain. In general, the relationships found between smoking and mortality were similar to those reported by other workers. Current cigarette smokers had a death rate from all causes which was twice that of those who had never smoked. No difference was found between the mortality rates of smokers of plain and filter cigarettes.
OBJECTIVE-To assess the risk of cardiorespiratory symptoms and mortality in non-smokers who were passively exposed to environmental smoke. DESIGN--Prospective study of cohort from general population first screened between 1972 and 1976 and followed up for an average of 11.5 years, with linkage of data from participants in the same household. SETTING--Renfrew and Paisely, adjacent burghs in urban west Scotland. SUBJECTS--15,399 Men and women (80% of all those aged 45-64 resident in Renfrew or Paisley) comprised the original cohort; 7997 attended for multiphasic screening with a cohabitee. Passive smoking and control groups were defined on the basis of a lifelong non-smoking index case and whether the cohabitee had ever smoked or never smoked. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--Cardiorespiratory signs and symptoms and mortality. RESULTS--Each of the cardiorespiratory symptoms examined produced relative risks greater than 1.0 (though none were significant) for passive smokers compared with controls. Adjusted forced expiratory volume in one second was significantly lower in passive smokers than controls. All cause mortality was higher in passive smokers than controls (rate ratio 1.27 (95% confidence interval 0.95 to 1.70)), as were all causes of death related to smoking (rate ratio 1.30 (0.91 to 1.85] and mortality from lung cancer (rate ratio 2.41 (0.45 to 12.83)) and ischaemic heart disease (rate ratio 2.01 (1.21 to 3.35)). When passive smokers were divided into high and low exposure groups on the basis of the amount smoked by their cohabitees those highly exposed had higher rates of symptoms and death. CONCLUSION--Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke cannot be regarded as a safe involuntary habit.
Substance use and sexual risk behaviour affect young people's current and future health and wellbeing in many high-income countries. Our understanding of time-trends in adolescent health-risk behaviour is largely based on routinely collected survey data in school-aged adolescents (aged 15 years or less). Less is known about changes in these behaviours among older adolescents.
We compared two cohorts from the same geographical area (West of Scotland), surveyed in 1990 and 2003, to: describe time-trends in measures of smoking, drinking, illicit drug use, early sexual initiation, number of opposite sex sexual partners and experience of pregnancy at age 18-19 years, both overall and stratified by gender and socioeconomic status (SES); and examine the effect of time-trends on the patterning of behaviours by gender and SES. Our analyses adjust for slight between-cohort age differences since age was positively associated with illicit drug use and pregnancy.
Rates of drinking, illicit drug use, early sexual initiation and experience of greater numbers of sexual partners all increased significantly between 1990 and 2003, especially among females, leading to attenuation and, for early sexual initiation, elimination, of gender differences. Most rates increased to a similar extent regardless of SES. However, rates of current smoking decreased only among those from higher SES groups. In addition, increases in 'cannabis-only' were greater among higher SES groups while use of illicit drugs other than cannabis increased more in lower SES groups.
Marked increases in female substance use and sexual risk behaviours have implications for the long-term health and wellbeing of young women. More effective preventive measures are needed to reduce risk behaviour uptake throughout adolescence and into early adulthood. Public health strategies should reflect both the widespread prevalence of risk behaviour in young people as well as the particular vulnerability to certain risk behaviours among those from lower SES groups.
Adolescent behaviour; time-trends; drinking behaviour; smoking; illicit drugs; sexual behaviour
While various measures of common mental disorders (CMD) have been found to be associated with mortality, a comparison of how different measures predict mortality may improve our understanding of the association. This paper compares how the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the 30-item General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-30) predict all cause and cause-specific mortality.
Data on 2547 men and women from two cohorts, aged approximately 39 and 55 years, from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study who were followed up for mortality over an average of 18.9 (SD 5.0) years. Scores were calculated for HADS depression (HADS-D), HADS Anxiety (HADS-A) and GHQ-30. Cox Proportional Hazards Models were used to determine how each CMD measure predicted mortality.
After adjusting for serious physical illness, smoking, social class, alcohol, obesity, pulse rate and living alone, HRs (95% CI) per SD increase in score for all-cause mortality were: 1.15 (1.07 to 1.25) for HADS-D; 1.13 (1.04 to 1.23) for GHQ-30 and 1.05 (0.96 to 1.14) for HADS-A. After the same adjustments, cardiovascular disease mortality was also related to HADS-D (HR 1.24 (1.07 to 1.43)), to GHQ-30 (HR 1.24 (1.11 to 1.40)) and to HADS-A (HR 1.15 (1.01 to 1.32)); respiratory mortality to GHQ-30 (HR 1.33 (1.13 to 1.55)) and mortality from other causes, excluding injuries, to HADS-D (HR 1.28 (1.05 to 1.55)).
There were associations between CMD and both all-cause and cause-specific mortality which were broadly similar for GHQ-30 and HADS-D and were still present after adjustment for important confounders and mediators.
DEPRESSION; MENTAL HEALTH; MORTALITY; RESPIRATORY DI; HEART DISEASE
The relationship between childhood residential mobility and health in the UK is not well established; however, research elsewhere suggests that frequent childhood moves may be associated with poorer health outcomes and behaviours. The aim of this paper was to compare people in the West of Scotland who were residentially stable in childhood with those who had moved in terms of a range of health measures.
A total of 850 respondents, followed-up for a period of 20 years, were included in this analysis. Childhood residential mobility was derived from the number of addresses lived at between birth and age 18. Multilevel regression was used to investigate the relationship between childhood residential mobility and health in late adolescence (age 18) and adulthood (age 36), accounting for socio-demographic characteristics and frequency of school moves. The authors examined physical health measures, overall health, psychological distress and health behaviours.
Twenty per cent of respondents remained stable during childhood, 59% moved one to two times and 21% moved at least three times. For most health measures (except physical health), there was an increased risk of poor health that remained elevated for frequent movers after adjustment for socio-demographic characteristics and school moves (but was only significant for illegal drug use).
Risk of poor health was elevated in adolescence and adulthood with increased residential mobility in childhood, after adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics and school moves. This was true for overall health, psychological distress and health behaviours, but physical health measures were not associated with childhood mobility.
Residential mobility; health; Scotland; UK; child health; deprivation; health behaviour; health status; migration
OBJECTIVE--The aim was to examine the association between depressive symptoms and smoking in pregnancy and to investigate the part played by social and psychosocial factors. SETTING--A single Glasgow hospital. DESIGN--Prospective survey by postal questionnaires at 20 and 30 weeks' gestation. PARTICIPANTS--A total of 395 women (69% of the 572 eligible) parity 1 who booked for delivery between November 1988 and February 1990 took part. MEASUREMENTS--Depressive symptoms were measured using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Smoking was self reported. The Life Events Inventory and measures of role specific strain and stress in domestic roles were used to assess psychosocial well being. MAIN RESULTS--Smokers were more likely than non-smokers to experience depressive symptoms at 20 and 30 weeks' gestation and on both occasions. The excess risk remained substantial and significant after adjustment for social and psychosocial factors. CONCLUSIONS--Smoking is a significant risk factor for depression in pregnancy. The association of smoking with depression and psychosocial difficulty represents a major problem for interventions intended to reduce smoking in pregnancy.
OBJECTIVES: To determine the incidence and case fatality of acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage in the west of Scotland and to identify associated factors. DESIGN: Case ascertainment study. SETTING: All hospitals treating adults with acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage in the west of Scotland. SUBJECTS: 1882 patients aged 15 years and over treated in hospitals for acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage during a six month period. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Incidence of acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage per 100,000 population per year, and case fatality. RESULTS: The annual incidence was 172 per 100,000 people aged 15 and over. The annual population mortality was 14.0 per 100,000. Both were higher among elderly people, men, and patients resident in areas of greater social deprivation. Overall case fatality was 8.2%. This was higher among those who bled as inpatients after admission for other reasons (42%) and those admitted as tertiary referrals (16%). Factors associated with increased case fatality were age, uraemia, pre-existing malignancy, hepatic failure, hypotension, cardiac failure, and frank haematemesis or a history of syncope at presentation. Social deprivation, sex, and anaemia were not associated with increased case fatality after adjustment for other factors. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage was 67% greater than the highest previously reported incidence in the United Kingdom, which may be partially attributable to the greater social deprivation in the west of Scotland and may be related to the increased prevalence of Helicobacter pylori. Fatality after acute upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage was associated with age, comorbidity, hypotension, and raised blood urea concentrations on admission. Although deprivation was associated with increased incidence, it was not related to the risk of fatality.
Existing studies are divided as to whether social inequalities in health widen or converge as people age. In part this is due to reliance on cross-sectional data, but also among longitudinal studies to differences in the measurement of both socioeconomic status (SES) and health and in the treatment of survival effects. The aim of this paper is to examine social inequalities in health as people age using longitudinal data from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Study to investigate the effect of selective mortality, the timing of the SES measure and cohort on the inequality patterns.
The Twenty-07 Study has followed three cohorts, born around 1932, 1952 and 1972, from 1987/8 to 2007/8; 4,510 respondents were interviewed at baseline and, at the most recent follow-up, 2,604 were interviewed and 674 had died. Hierarchical repeated-measures models were estimated for self-assessed health status, with and without mortality, with baseline or time-varying social class, sex and cohort.
Social inequalities in health emerge around the age of 30 after which they widen until the early 60s and then begin to narrow, converging around the age of 75. This pattern is a result of those in manual classes reporting poor health at younger ages, with the gap narrowing as the health of those in non-manual classes declines at older ages. However, employing a more proximal measure of SES reduces inequalities in middle age so that convergence of inequalities is not apparent in old age. Including death in the health outcome steepens the health trajectories at older ages, especially for manual classes, eliminating the convergence in health inequalities, suggesting that healthy survival effects are important. Cohort effects do not appear to affect the pattern of inequalities in health as people age in this study.
There is a general belief that social inequalities in health appear to narrow at older ages; however, taking account of selective mortality and employing more proximal measures of SES removes this convergence, suggesting inequalities in health continue into old age.
A validated postal questionnaire has been used to establish the prevalence of dyspeptic symptoms in five geographical locations from the south coast of England to the north of Scotland. The six month period prevalence of dyspepsia in the 7428 respondents to the questionnaire is 41% and equal between the sexes, with similar prevalence rates in the centres studied. There is considerable overlap between upper abdominal symptoms and symptoms of heartburn; 56% of patients with dyspepsia experience both groups of symptoms. Symptom frequency falls progressively with age in men and women, but the proportion of people seeking medical advice for dyspepsia rises with age. One quarter of the dyspeptic patients studied have consulted a general practitioner about their symptoms. This study suggests that the prevalence of dyspepsia in the community has changed little over the last 30 years, despite evidence that the frequency of peptic ulcer disease is falling. Symptom prevalence is unrelated to social class, but this factor is associated with consultation behaviour, the consultation rate rising from 17% in social class 1 to 29% in social class 4. The use of investigations--barium meal and endoscopy--is similarly related to social class; the lowest rate for ulcer diagnosis (4.7%) is found in social class 1 and the highest (17.1%) in social class 5.
Objective To test the hypothesis that IQ is a fundamental cause of socioeconomic inequalities in health.
Design Cross sectional and prospective cohort study, in which indicators of IQ were assessed by written test and socioeconomic position by self report.
Setting West of Scotland.
Participants 1347 people (739 women) aged 56 in 1987.
Main outcome measures Total mortality and coronary heart disease mortality (ascertained between 1987 and 2004); respiratory function, self reported minor psychiatric morbidity, long term illness, and self perceived health (all assessed in 1988).
Results In sex adjusted analyses, indices of socioeconomic position (childhood and current social class, education, income, and area deprivation) were significantly associated with each health outcome. Thus the greatest risk of ill health and mortality was evident in the most socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, as expected. After adjustment for IQ, a marked attenuation in risk occurred for poor mental health (range of attenuation in risk ratio across the five socioeconomic indicators: 15-58%), long term illness (25-53%), poor self perceived health (41-56%), respiratory function (44-66%), coronary heart disease mortality (31-111%), and total mortality (45-131%). Despite the clear reduction in the magnitude of these effects after controlling for IQ, in half of the associations examined the risk of ill health in socioeconomically disadvantaged people was still at least twice that of advantaged people. Statistical significance was lost for only 5/25 separate socioeconomic health gradients that showed significant relations in sex adjusted analyses.
Conclusions Scores from the IQ test used here did not completely explain the socioeconomic gradients in health. However, controlling for IQ did lead to a marked reduction in the magnitude of these gradients. Further exploration of the currently scant information about IQ, socioeconomic position, and health is needed.
The UK Government has now spent £7 million to link together every GP practice in Scotland on the NHSnet. The Scottish Health Minister recently stated that "The GP will have at his fingertips a wealth of up-to-date information, new procedures, and the best of current thinking in the NHS". The uptake of this new technology, together with the knowledge of how to put it into practice, is extremely varied amongst Primary Care Staff. A little knowledge can be dangerous and very distressing for the less adept patient faced with the bare facts about their disease. Therefore, it is important to know how people who have access to the Internet use the medical information available to them and the response of the Family Doctors and Practice Nurses in the West of Scotland to caring for people with such information.
A structured questionnaire was distributed to Family Doctors and General Practice Nurses in all Primary Care Practices throughout Glasgow.
Initial results show 86% of GPs and 66% of Practice Nurses access the Internet either from their Practice or from Home. Those clinicians that have not yet accessed, the net highlight "Time Restraints" and "Unsure of Technology" as the most common reasons for stopping them. 67% of patients have presented Internet-based healthcare information that is new to the Doctor or Nurse. Only, 78 % of the information presented by the patient was accurate, while half of the patients had correctly interpreted the information. On the other hand, 90% of clinicians found the consultation with this type of patient to be more interactive than usual, while 78% of clinicians felt their patients had higher expectations. Finally, it was found that 90% of clinicians discovered that, a patient presenting with healthcare information from the Internet participated more actively in their treatment.
Approximately, three quarters of clinicians questioned have seen patients who supplemented their consultation with information obtained from the Internet. Those patients have higher expectations than the average patient and are found to participate, more actively, in their treatment. With the continued proliferation of health sites on the Internet and the fact that more patients are empowered by new PCs and free Internet access, this type of patient consultation can only increase.
Internet; Education; Primary Care; Training
OBJECTIVE: To investigate relations between health (using a range of measures) and housing tenure or car access; and to test the hypothesis that observed relations between these asset based measures and health are simply because they are markers for income or self esteem. DESIGN: Analysis of data from second wave of data collection of West of Scotland Twenty-07 study, collected in 1991 by face to face interviews conducted by nurse interviewers. SETTING: The Central Clydeside Conurbation, in the West of Scotland. SUBJECTS: 785 people (354 men, 431 women) in their late 30s, and 718 people (358 men, 359 women) in their late 50s, participants in a longitudinal study. MEASURES: General Health Questionnaire scores, respiratory function, waist/hip ratio, number of longstanding illnesses, number of symptoms in the last month, and systolic blood pressure; household income adjusted for household size and composition; Rosenberg self esteem score; housing tenure and care access. RESULTS: On bivariate analysis, all the health measures were significantly associated with housing tenure, and all except waist/hip ratio with car access; all except waist/hip ratio were related to income, and all except systolic blood pressure were related to self esteem. In models controlling for age, sex, and their interaction, neither waist/hip ratio nor systolic blood pressure remained significantly associated with tenure or care access. Significant relations with all the remaining health measures persisted after further controlling for income or self esteem. CONCLUSIONS: Housing tenure and car access may not only be related to health because they are markers for income or psychological traits; they may also have some directly health promoting or damaging effects. More research is needed to establish mechanisms by which they may influence health, and to determine the policy implications of their association with health.
The possible mechanisms for explaining health inequality are subject to debate. This study considers the roles of psychosocial and material mechanisms in observed inequalities in disability among older people.
Cross‐sectional analysis of cohort study.
723 respondents aged 63 years from the West of Scotland Twenty‐07 Study.
Main outcome measure
The Office of Population Census and Surveys Multidimensional Disability Severity Score. Respondents were dichotomised to the highest scoring tertile, and compared with the lowest and mid‐tertiles combined.
Socioeconomic position across adulthood was measured in three ways. Respondents reported perceptions of their own financial position (perceived financial hardship) across four decades of adult life. Data on possession of several indicators of material wealth (eg, ownership of television and washing machine; material conditions) during the same periods were also ascertained. Standard occupational classification was also recorded, based on longest held occupation. The relationship between the measures of socioeconomic position and disability was examined using logistic regression, adjusting for sex, morbidity and lifestyle factors.
Perceived financial hardship and material conditions in earlier decades of life were found to be associated with reported disability. However, in the fully adjusted model, there was stronger evidence for material conditions as a predictor of disability: across four decades they remained an independent risk factor for disability after adjustment for sex, morbidity, lifestyle factors and perceived financial hardship. Those in the most deprived material conditions group had 2½times the odds of reporting severe disability than those in the reference group. After adjustment, evidence for an association between perceived financial hardship and reported disability was not convincing.
The data provide evidence to support the “material” explanation for observed inequalities in reported disability among older people.
There is evidence to support that the number of self-reported symptoms is a strong predictor of health outcomes. In studies examining the link between symptoms and functional status, focus has traditionally been on individual symptoms or specific groups of symptoms. We aim to identify associations between the number of self-reported symptoms and functional status.
A questionnaire was sent to people in seven age groups (N = 3227) in Ullensaker municipality in Southern Norway. The Standardised Nordic Questionnaire and the Subjective Health Complaints Inventory were used to record 10 musculoskeletal symptoms and 13 non-musculoskeletal symptoms, respectively. Four COOP-WONCA charts were used to measure functional status.
We found a strong linear association between the number of self-reported symptoms and functional status. The number of symptoms explained 39.2% of the variance in functional status after adjusting for the effects of age and sex. Including individual symptoms instead of only the number of symptoms made little difference to the effect of musculoskeletal pain but affected the influence of non-muscular symptoms. Including even minor problems captured substantially more of the variance in functional status than including only serious problems.
The strong association between the number of symptoms and functional status, irrespective of type of symptom, might indicate that the symptoms share some common characteristics. The simple act of counting symptoms may provide an approach to study the relationships between health and function in population studies and might be valuable in research on medically unexplained conditions.
Functional status; Medically unexplained symptoms; Number of symptoms; Population study; Symptom reporting
The objective is to examine the association between the amount of smoking seen in films and current smoking in young adults living in the west of Scotland in the UK. Cross-sectional analyses (using multivariable logistic regression) of data collected at age 19 (2002–04) from a longitudinal cohort originally surveyed at age 11 (1994–95) were conducted. The main outcome measure is smoking at age 19. No association was found between the number of occurrences of smoking estimated to have been seen in films (film smoking exposure) and current (or ever) smoking in young adults. This lack of association was unaffected by adjustment for predictors of smoking, including education, risk-taking orientation and smoking among peers. There was no association between film smoking exposure and smoking behaviour for any covariate-defined subgroup. Associations have been found between film smoking exposure and smoking initiation in younger adolescents in the United States. In this study, conducted in Scotland, no similar association was seen, suggesting that there may be age or cultural limitations on the effects of film smoking exposure on smoking. The lack of association could be due to methodological issues or greater sophistication of older adolescents and young adults in interpreting media images or the greater ubiquity of real-life smoking instances in Scotland. If the latter, film smoking exposure could become a more important risk factor for smoking uptake and maintenants in older adolescents following the recent ban on smoking in public places in Scotland.
Health status has been demonstrated to vary by neighbourhood socioeconomic status (SES). However, neighbourhood effects may vary between countries. In this study, neighbourhood variations in health outcomes are compared across four socially contrasting neighbourhoods in Glasgow, Scotland and Hamilton, Ontario Canada. Data came from the 2001 wave of the West of Scotland Twenty-07 Longitudinal Study and a 2000/2001 cross-sectional survey conducted in Hamilton. The results of the comparison point to important variations in the relationship between neighbourhood SES and health. While both cities display a socioeconomic gradient with respect to various measures of health and health behaviours, for some outcome measures the high SES neighbourhoods in Glasgow display distributions similar to those found in the low SES neighbourhoods in Hamilton. Our results suggest that a low SES neighbourhood in one country may not mean the same for health as a low SES neighbourhood in another country. As such, country context may explain the distribution of health status and health behaviours among socially contrasting neighbourhoods, and neighbourhood variations in health may be context specific.
Neighbourhood; Health status; Health behaviours; International comparison; Socioeconomic status; Country context
OBJECTIVE--To assess the career paths of doctors who completed vocational training in the west of Scotland between 1968 and 1987 and their views on the hospital component of their training. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of the experience and opinions of vocationally trained doctors obtained from a postal questionnaire. SETTING--West of Scotland. SUBJECTS--1255 Doctors identified from Glasgow University records who had been vocationally trained in the west of Scotland between 1968 and 1987. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Personal details; employment; jobs held currently; additional professional commitments; importance of hospital posts held in various specialties to respondents currently in general practice; and retrospective choice of hospital posts, based on subsequent experience. RESULTS--619 Responses were received, 543 initially and 76 after a letter of reminder, from a possible total of 974 (excluding 153 questionnaires returned by the post office and 128 returned because of misunderstanding between the name and address); the overall response rate was therefore 64%. 607/619 (98%) Respondents were employed at the time of the study, of whom 517/607 (85%) were in general practice. A third (202/609) had been unemployed at some point, significantly more of them women (122/243, 50% v 80/376, 21%; chi 2 = 54.8, p less than 0.001). 510/563 (91%) Respondents held one postgraduate qualification or more, and 284/612 (46%) had additional professional commitments. The hospital posts most commonly held were in obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry, paediatrics, and medicine. Medicine, obstetrics, paediatrics, and dermatology were considered to be the most relevant hospital specialties by those who had experience of them and were now in general practice. Although ophthalmology and ear, nose, and throat were not rated highly by these doctors, other respondents wished that they had held posts in these specialties (32 and 40 respectively). During the hospital training 354/475 (75%) respondents thought that they were looked on as a junior hospital doctor and not as a trainee for general practice. CONCLUSIONS--Most of those who had entered vocational training were in employment, and most were in general practice. According to them, the most beneficial hospital posts for vocational training are medicine, obstetrics, paediatrics, and dermatology. Trainees should be encouraged to attend clinics in gynaecology, ear, nose, and throat, and ophthalmology.
OBJECTIVE--To quantify the relation between lung cancer and exposure to asbestos in men in west Scotland and to estimate the proportion of lung cancer which may be attributed to exposure to asbestos. DESIGN--An ecological correlation study of the incidence of lung cancer in men and past asbestos exposure. The unit of analysis was the postcode sector. Correction was made for past cigarette smoking, air pollution, and deprivation. SETTING--The region covered by the west of Scotland cancer registry, containing 2.72 million people and including Glasgow and the lower reaches of the River Clyde, where shipbuilding was once a major industry. SUBJECTS--All men diagnosed with lung cancer between 1975 and 1984 whose residence at the time of registration was within the west of Scotland. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE--The population attributable risk for asbestos related lung cancer. RESULTS--An estimated 5.7% (95% confidence interval 2.3 to 9.1%) of all lung cancers in men registered in the west of Scotland during the period 1975-84 were asbestos related, amounting to 1081 cases. CONCLUSIONS--A considerable proportion of cases of lung cancer in men in Glasgow and the west of Scotland from 1975 to 1984 were asbestos related. Most of these may not have been considered for compensation by the Department of Social Security. Given the very small annual number of recorded cases of asbestosis this condition is probably not a prerequisite for the development of asbestos related lung cancer. A heightened awareness of the increasing incidence of asbestos related neoplasms and their more thorough investigation are recommended.
Forty children with the fetal alcohol syndrome were identified in the west of Scotland. All were growth retarded and had abnormal facial features, and all those who were tested were found to have neurological or developmental abnormalities. Two children died of associated physical defects. Most of the mothers were socially deprived, and all had drunk heavily while pregnant. Three women had subsequently died. These findings provide clear evidence that in the west of Scotland maternal alcohol abuse during pregnancy is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in children.
The adverse effects of advancing maternal age on offspring's health and development are well understood. Much less is known about the impact of paternal age.
We explored paternal age-offspring cognition associations in 772 participants from the West of Scotland Twenty-07 study. Offspring cognitive ability was assessed using Part 1 of the Alice Heim 4 (AH4) test of General Intelligence and by reaction time (RT).
There was no evidence of a parental age association with offspring RT. However, we observed an inverse U-shaped association between paternal age and offspring AH4 score with the lowest scores observed for the youngest and oldest fathers. Adjustment for parental education and socioeconomic status somewhat attenuated this association. Adjustment for number of, particularly older, siblings further reduced the scores of children of younger fathers and appeared to account for the lower offspring scores in the oldest paternal age group.
We observed a paternal age association with AH4 but not RT, a measure of cognition largely independent of social and educational experiences. Factors such as parental education, socioeconomic status and number of, particularly older, siblings may play an important role in accounting for paternal age-AH4 associations. Future studies should include parental intelligence.
Understanding how common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression vary with socio-economic circumstances as people age can help to identify key intervention points. However, much research treats these conditions as a single disorder when they differ significantly in terms of their disease burden. This paper examines the socio-economic pattern of anxiety and depression separately and longitudinally to develop a better understanding of their disease burden for key social groups at different ages.
The Twenty-07 Study has followed 4510 respondents from three cohorts in the West of Scotland for 20 years and 3846 respondents had valid data for these analyses. Hierarchical repeated-measures models were used to investigate the relationship between age, social class and the prevalence of anxiety and depression over time measured as scores of 8 or more out of 21 on the relevant subscale of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).
Social class differences in anxiety and depression widened with age. For anxiety there was a nonlinear decrease in prevalence with age, decreasing more slowly for those from manual classes compared to non-manual, whereas for depression there was a non-linear increase in prevalence with age, increasing more quickly for those from manual classes compared to non-manual. This relationship is robust to cohort, period and attrition effects.
The more burdensome disorder of depression occurs more frequently at ages where socio-economic inequalities in mental health are greatest, representing a ‘double jeopardy’ for older people from a manual class.
Age; anxiety; depression; longitudinal; socio-economic inequalities
Cases of holoprosencephaly which occurred in the west of Scotland over the past 20 years were ascertained from genetics, paediatric, and pathology department records. Fifty cases were identified of which 17 had an underlying cytogenetic abnormality. Of the remaining 33 cases, 26 were delivered after 28 weeks' gestation giving a birth prevalence of 1 in 26730. Twenty-one babies were liveborn and nine children are currently alive. All survivors are profoundly mentally retarded and most have seizures. Twenty-eight patients with non-chromosomal holoprosencephaly had a total of 23 sibs and three families were identified where there was either recurrence of holoprosencephaly (one family), a related cerebral malformation (one family), or mental handicap (one family) giving an overall recurrence risk for serious neurological disability of 12% (standard error 7%). We conclude that holoprosencephaly does not necessarily breed true and this observation should be taken into account when giving genetic counselling and attempting ultrasound prenatal diagnosis after the birth of an affected child.
Background: The management of glaucoma has been changed in the past decade by the introduction of new drugs. The impact of these changes on clinical care of patients was examined by examining operation and prescribing rates for glaucoma in four geographical areas of Scotland for the years 1994 to 1999.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of national health statistics: primary care prescribing data, hospital derived operation rates, consultant numbers, optometrist numbers, and eye test data, expressed by estimated population at risk of glaucoma. The outcome measures were prescribing volume and cost for glaucoma medications, and operation rates, corrected for population estimated to be at risk of glaucoma (PEG), for trabeculectomy, for Scotland as a whole, and for four geographical “regions” (north east, south east, central, and south west Scotland).
Results: Prescribed items per 1000 population estimated to have glaucoma (PEG) increased by 24.9% between 1994 and 1999. This was above the general increase in prescribing in Scotland (17.8%). This increase varied in the four health regions evaluated (14.3% to 31.9%). Prescribing of topical β blockers increased little (6.4%), but there was a large increase in the use of new products (topical prostaglandins, carbonic anhydrase inhibitors, and α2 agonists), at the expense of miotics (47.7% fall), and older sympathomimetics. This change in prescribing pattern was accompanied by a 61.5% increase in cost (range 42.2% to 73.4% in the four regions). New drugs accounted for more than half of total glaucoma expenditure in 1999. Operation rates (corrected for PEG) fell by 45.9% (range 43.1 to 58.6%) between 1994 and 1999. Other indicators suggested increased activity in ophthalmic areas (for example, cataract operations, eye tests, numbers of optometrists and ophthalmic surgeons all increased). Within north east Scotland operation rates decreased and prescribing increased less than in other regions, both from lowest regional baseline in 1994.
Conclusions: The introduction of new drug classes has had dramatic effects on the prescribing of glaucoma treatments. There has been a decline in older treatments and an increase in new agents, which has been associated with a large reduction in operation rates for glaucoma in Scotland over 6 years. Comparison of prescribing and operation data indicates regional differences in healthcare delivery for glaucoma.
topical treatments; glaucoma; Scotland
Patients with functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders treated with tricyclic antidepressants may report non-GI symptoms. It is unclear whether these symptoms are side effects of the medication or reflect a general behavioral tendency to report symptoms. This study 1) evaluated whether a checklist of symptoms reported by patients prior to taking desipramine increased in number or worsened in severity after being on a tricyclic antidepressant (desipramine), and 2) assessed baseline factors that predispose patients to report symptoms.
Female patients in the drug arm of a multi-center NIH treatment trial for functional bowel disorders completed a 15 item symptom questionnaire at baseline before randomization and at 2 weeks after starting Desipramine (n=81), or placebo (n=40) and at study completion 12 weeks later. Patients were asked on each occasion if they experienced any of 15 Symptoms and its level of severity and frequency, and the results were compared.
A total of 57 patients in the desipramine arm who completed the questionnaire at both week 0 and week 2 comprised the study sample. Certain symptoms reported as side effects: dizziness, dry mouth/thirstiness, lightheadedness, feeling jittery or tremors and flushing not only were reported more often but also worsened at week 2 indicating a drug effect. Conversely, other symptoms that were also reported as side effects: feeling tired in AM, nausea, blurred vision, headaches, decreased appetite, and trouble sleeping either did not change in severity or showed improvement at week 2 (tiredness). All these symptoms except trouble sleeping were reported less often at Week 2 than at baseline (Week 2). Psychological distress but not desipramine level significantly correlated with symptom reporting.
The majority of symptoms often attributed to side effects of desipramine were present prior to treatment, and only a few related to its anticholinergic effects worsened 2 weeks after beginning treatment, suggesting that most symptoms considered as side effects were not related to drug per se. Clinicians should consider that “Side effects” may relate more to psychological distress than to drug effects.
BACKGROUND. At the time of the introduction of fundholding, a number of potential benefits and concerns about fundholding were debated. AIM. A study was undertaken to compare process and outcome of care in patients with different levels of physical, social and psychological need in 1990 and 1992 in six fundholding groups in Scotland. METHOD. Patients aged 16 years and over consulting with a range of marker conditions in 1990 and 1992 completed a pre-consultation health status questionnaire asking about physical, social and psychological problems, and a postconsultation satisfaction/enablement questionnaire asking about their ability to cope, and understand their illness. Main outcome measures were consultation length and satisfaction/enablement score. RESULTS. Of patients attending in the study period, 39% consulted for one or more marker condition. The proportion of patients reporting social problems rose between 1990 and 1992 for 11 out of 12 conditions. Overall, consultation lengths remained constant. Patients wanting to discuss social problems had significantly longer consultations than those reporting no social problems or problems they did not wish to discuss. The proportion of patients expressing enablement dropped for eight conditions and rose for four between 1990 and 1992. The decrease in the proportion expressing enablement remained after controlling for the rise in the percentage reporting social problems. Patients who had social problems they did not wish to discuss but a general health questionnaire score of five or more were the group reporting lowest enablement. Significantly more patients with pain, skin problems and digestive problems reported social problems and significantly fewer of them reported enablement in 1992 compared with 1990. Patients with diabetes, angina, chronic bronchitis and problems seeing fared relatively well over the study period. Some patients with psychosocial problems fared poorly (they had relatively short consultations and were unlikely to express an ability to cope/understand their illness). CONCLUSION. The issue of whether benefits to some patient groups from recent health service changes may be matched by disadvantage to other groups, for example those with clinical problems with no financial incentive to provide pro-active care or with psychosocial difficulties, is discussed.