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1.  Dengue hemorrhagic fever is associated with polymorphisms in JAK1 
European Journal of Human Genetics  2010;18(11):1221-1227.
To identify genes associated with the clinical presentation of dengue, 50 cases of probable or possible dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), 236 dengue fever (DF), and 236 asymptomatic infections were genotyped for 593 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 56 genes across the type 1 interferon (IFN) response pathway as well as other important candidate genes. By single locus analysis comparing DHF with DF, 11 of the 51 markers with P<0.05 were in the JAK1 gene. Five markers were significantly associated by false discovery rate criteria (q<0.20 when P<6 × 10−4). The JAK1 SNPs showed differential distribution by ethnicity and ancestry consistent with epidemiologic observations in the Americas. The association remained significant after controlling for ancestry and income. No association was observed with markers in the gene encoding CD209 (DC-SIGN). An association between DHF and JAK1 polymorphisms is in agreement with expression profiles showing generalized decreased type 1 IFN-stimulated gene expression in these patients.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.98
PMCID: PMC2950898  PMID: 20588308
flavivirus; population structure; interferon; genetic association; Brazil
2.  Dengue hemorrhagic fever is associated with polymorphisms in JAK1 
To identify genes associated with the clinical presentation of dengue, 50 cases of probable or possible dengue hemorrhagic fever, 236 dengue fever and 236 asymptomatic infections were genotyped for 593 single nucleotide polymorphisms in 56 genes across the type 1 interferon response pathway as well as other important candidate genes. By single locus analysis comparing dengue hemorrhagic fever with dengue fever, 11 of the 51 markers with p<0.05 were in the JAK1 gene. Five markers were significantly associated by false discovery rate criteria (q<0.20 when p<6 × 10−4). The JAK1 single nucleotide polymorphisms showed differential distribution by ethnicity and ancestry consistent with epidemiologic observations in the Americas. The association remained significant after controlling for ancestry and income. No association was observed with markers in the gene encoding CD209 (DC-SIGN). An association between dengue hemorrhagic fever and JAK1 polymorphisms is in agreement with expression profiles showing generalized decreased type 1 interferon-stimulated gene expression in these patients.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2010.98
PMCID: PMC2950898  PMID: 20588308
Flavivirus; population structure; interferon; genetic association; Brazil
3.  The presence of serum anti-Ascaris lumbricoides IgE antibodies and of Trichuris trichiura infection are risk factors for wheezing and/or atopy in preschool-aged Brazilian children 
Respiratory Research  2010;11(1):114.
Background
The elucidation of factors that trigger the development of transient wheezing in early childhood may be an important step toward understanding the pathogenesis of asthma and other allergic diseases later in life. Transient wheezing has been mainly attributed to viral infections, although sensitisation to aeroallergens and food allergens may occur at an early age. In developing countries, intestinal helminthic infections have also been associated with allergy or atopy-related disorders.
Objective
The aim of this study was to explore the association of Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides infections with wheezing and atopy in early childhood.
Study design
A cross-sectional study using a Portuguese-language ISAAC phase I questionnaire, adapted for preschool-aged children, nested in a cohort study of childhood diarrhoea, was conducted on 682 children. Two faecal samples per child were examined for the presence of intestinal helminthic infection. IgE antibodies against three allergenic preparations (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus, Blomia tropicalis and common child food), as well as against A. lumbricoides antigens, were measured in a sub-sample of these children, whose parents allowed the procedure. Atopy was defined by the presence of levels of serum IgE antibodies ≥0.35 kU/L against at least one of the three tested allergenic preparations.
Results
Active T. trichiura infection but not A. lumbricoides infection was positively associated with wheezing in the total studied children population [adjusted OR = 2.60; CI = 1.54;4.38] and in the atopic children sub-population [adjusted OR = 3.07; CI = 1.00;9.43]. The association with atopy was also positive and statistically significant only in the brute analysis [OR = 2.13; CI = 1.03;4.40]. Anti-A. lumbricoides IgE antibodies, but not current A. lumbricoides infection, were positively associated with wheezing in atopic children [adjusted OR = 2.01; CI = 1.00;4.50] and in non-atopic children [adjusted OR = 3.07; CI = 1.13;8.35] and it was also associated with atopy [adjusted OR = 7.29; CI = 3.90; 13.4]. On the other hands, reports of wheezing were not significantly associated with atopy.
Conclusions
These data corroborate previous studies showing that wheezing is predominantly associated with infection in early childhood and shows that anti-A. lumbricoides IgE antibodies, but not active Ascaris infections, are associated with wheezing and atopy. Additionally, the data demonstrate that T. trichiura infection may play a role in the pathogenesis of atopic wheezing in early childhood.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-11-114
PMCID: PMC2939601  PMID: 20731833
4.  Allergies and Diabetes as Risk Factors for Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever: Results of a Case Control Study 
Background
The physiopathology of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF), a severe form of Dengue Fever, is poorly understood. We are unable to identify patients likely to progress to DHF for closer monitoring and early intervention during epidemics, so most cases are sent home. This study explored whether patients with selected co-morbidities are at higher risk of developing DHF.
Methods
A matched case-control study was conducted in a dengue sero-positive population in two Brazilian cities. For each case of DHF, 7 sero-positive controls were selected. Cases and controls were interviewed and information collected on demographic and socio-economic status, reported co-morbidities (diabetes, hypertension, allergy) and use of medication. Conditional logistic regression was used to calculate the strength of the association between the co-morbidities and occurrence of DHF.
Results
170 cases of DHF and 1,175 controls were included. Significant associations were found between DHF and white ethnicity (OR = 4.70; 2.17–10.20), high income (OR = 6.84; 4.09–11.43), high education (OR = 4.67; 2.35–9.27), reported diabetes (OR = 2.75; 1.12–6.73) and reported allergy treated with steroids (OR = 2.94; 1.01–8.54). Black individuals who reported being treated for hypertension had 13 times higher risk of DHF then black individuals reporting no hypertension.
Conclusions
This is the first study to find an association between DHF and diabetes, allergy and hypertension. Given the high case fatality rate of DHF (1–5%), we believe that the evidence produced in this study, when confirmed in other studies, suggests that screening criteria might be used to identify adult patients at a greater risk of developing DHF with a recommendation that they remain under observation and monitoring in hospital.
Author Summary
Dengue is an arboviral disease that affects large areas of countries in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Around 500,000 cases and 22,000 deaths of dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF)/Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS), the most severe presentations of this disease, occur annually. It is unclear why some cases of dengue fever (0.5% to 4%) progress to DHF/DSS. There is weak evidence that some diseases could have a role in this process, such as diabetes, hypertension, and allergies. In epidemics most dengue fever cases are sent home as there are too many to be kept in observation, but if it were possible to identify those with a higher risk of progression to DHF, they could be kept for observation, for early detection of signs, symptoms and alterations in laboratory tests suggestive of DHF, to enable timely and effective clinical management and early intervention. We study this issue and we believe that the evidence produced in this study, when confirmed in other studies, suggests that screening criteria might be used to identify adult patients at a greater risk of developing DHF with a recommendation that they remain under observation and monitoring in a hospital.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000699
PMCID: PMC2879373  PMID: 20532230
5.  The Impact of a Program for Control of Asthma in a Low-Income Setting 
Abstract:
The prevalence of asthma is increasing in developing countries and the burden of uncontrolled asthma affects patients, families, and the health system. This is to summarize, evaluate, and discuss previous reports on the impact of a targeted and comprehensive approach to the most severe cases of asthma in a low-income setting. A Program for Control of Asthma (ProAR) was developed in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, prioritizing the control of severe asthma. By facilitating referrals from the public health system and providing proper multidisciplinary but simple management including education and medication, for free, the Program enrolled 2385 patients in 4 reference clinics. They are offered regular follow up and discharged back to primary health care only when asthma control can be maintained without requirement of a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid and a long-acting β2 agonist. ProAR has markedly reduced health resource utilization and decreased the rate of hospital admissions because of asthma in the entire City (2.8 million inhabitants) by 74%. Moderate to severe rhinitis was associated with lack of control of asthma. The average income of the families in the ProAR was US$2955 a year, and they spent 29% of all their income attempting to control the severe asthma of one member, a unbearable expenditure for a low-income family. The ProAR was shown to be cost-effective, reducing costs to the public health system (US$387 patient/year) and the families (US$789 patient/year). In a low-income setting of Brazil, an intervention prioritizing the control of severe asthma was feasible, effective, and reduced costs.
doi:10.1097/WOX.0b013e3181dc3383
PMCID: PMC3488909  PMID: 23268428
asthma; control; treatment; prevention; hospitalization
6.  Regression Splines in the Time-Dependent Coefficient Rates Model for Recurrent Event Data 
Statistics in medicine  2008;27(28):5890-5906.
SUMMARY
Many epidemiologic studies involve the occurrence of recurrent events and much attention has been given for the development of modelling techniques that take into account the dependence structure of multiple event data. This paper presents a time-dependent coefficient rates model that incorporates regression splines in its estimation procedure. Such method would be appropriate in situations where the effect of an exposure or covariates changes over time in recurrent event data settings. The finite sample properties of the estimators are studied via simulation. Using data from a randomized community trial that was designed to evaluate the effect of vitamin A supplementation on recurrent diarrheal episodes in small children, we model the functional form of the treatment effect on the time to the occurrence of diarrhea. The results describe how this effect varies over time. In summary, we observed a major impact of the vitamin A supplementation on diarrhea after 2 months of the dosage, with the effect diminishing after the third dosage. The proposed method can be viewed as a flexible alternative to the marginal rates model with constant effect in situations where the effect of interest may vary over time.
doi:10.1002/sim.3400
PMCID: PMC2804403  PMID: 18696748
7.  Spontaneous Cytokine Production in Children According to Biological Characteristics and Environmental Exposures 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2009;117(5):845-849.
Background
Environmental factors are likely to have profound effects on the development of host immune responses, with serious implications for infectious diseases and inflammatory disorders such as asthma.
Objective
This study was designed to investigate the effects of environmental exposures on the cytokine profile of children.
Methods
The study involved measurement of T helper (Th) 1 (interferon-gamma), 2 [interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-13], and the regulatory cytokine IL-10 in unstimulated peripheral blood leukocytes from 1,376 children 4–11 years of age living in a poor urban area of the tropics. We also assessed the impact of environmental exposures in addition to biological characteristics recorded at the time of blood collection and earlier in childhood (0–3 years before blood collection).
Results
The proportion of children producing IL-10 was greater among those without access to drinking water [p < 0.05, chi-square test, odds ratio (OR) = 1.67]. The proportion of children producing IL-5 and IL-10 (OR = 10.76) was significantly greater in households that had never had a sewage system (p < 0.05, trend test).
Conclusions
These data provide evidence for the profound effects of environmental exposures in early life as well as immune homeostasis in later childhood. Decreased hygiene (lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation) in the first 3 years of life is associated with higher spontaneous IL-10 production up to 8 years later in life.
doi:10.1289/ehp.0800366
PMCID: PMC2685851  PMID: 19478971
age; breast-feeding; cytokine profile; IL-10; SCAALA; sewage; sex; tap water
8.  Estimating adjusted prevalence ratio in clustered cross-sectional epidemiological data 
Background
Many epidemiologic studies report the odds ratio as a measure of association for cross-sectional studies with common outcomes. In such cases, the prevalence ratios may not be inferred from the estimated odds ratios. This paper overviews the most commonly used procedures to obtain adjusted prevalence ratios and extends the discussion to the analysis of clustered cross-sectional studies.
Methods
Prevalence ratios(PR) were estimated using logistic models with random effects. Their 95% confidence intervals were obtained using delta method and clustered bootstrap. The performance of these approaches was evaluated through simulation studies. Using data from two studies with health-related outcomes in children, we discuss the interpretation of the measures of association and their implications.
Results
The results from data analysis highlighted major differences between estimated OR and PR. Results from simulation studies indicate an improved performance of delta method compared to bootstrap when there are small number of clusters.
Conclusion
We recommend the use of logistic model with random effects for analysis of clustered data. The choice of method to estimate confidence intervals for PR (delta or bootstrap method) should be based on study design.
doi:10.1186/1471-2288-8-80
PMCID: PMC2625349  PMID: 19087281
9.  A Community Study of Factors Related to Poorly Controlled Asthma among Brazilian Urban Children 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e37050.
Background
Asthma constitutes a serious public health problem in many regions of the world, including the city of Salvador, State of Bahia – Brazil. The purpose of this study was to analyse the factors associated with poor asthma control.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Two definitions were used for asthma: 1) wheezing in the last 12 months; 2) wheezing in the last 12 months plus other asthma symptoms or asthma diagnosis ever. The definition of poorly controlled asthma was: at least one reported hospitalisation due to asthma and/or high frequency of symptoms, in the last year. Children with poorly controlled asthma (N = 187/374) were compared with wheezing children with controlled asthma regarding age, gender, atopy, parental asthma, rhinitis, eczema, exposure to second hand tobacco smoke, presence of moulds, pets and pests in the house, helminth infections and body mass index. Crude and logistic regression adjusted odds ratios were used as measures of association. There was a higher proportion of poorly controlled asthma among children with eczema (OR = 1.55; 95% CI 1.02; 2.37). The strength of the association was greater among children with eczema and rhinitis (42.6%, 53.4% and 57.7%, respectively, in children who had no rhinitis nor eczema, had only one of those, and had both (p = 0.02 for trend test). The presence of mould in the houses was inversely associated with poorly controlled asthma (OR = 0.54; 95% CI 0.34; 0.87).
Conclusions/Significance
Our results indicate an association between eczema and poor asthma control in this environment, but emphasize the role of various other individual and environmental factors as determinants of poor control.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037050
PMCID: PMC3365022  PMID: 22693565
10.  Chronic virus infections supress atopy but not asthma in a set of children from a large latin american city: a cross-section study 
Background
The prevalence of allergic diseases has increased over recent decades in affluent countries, but remains low in rural populations and some non-affluent countries. An explanation for these trends is that increased exposure to infections may provide protection against the development of allergy. In this work we investigated the association between exposure to viral infections in children living in urban Brazil and the prevalence of atopy and asthma.
Methods
School age children living in poor neighborhoods in the city of Salvador were studied. Data on asthma symptoms and relevant risk factors were obtained by questionnaire. Skin prick tests (SPTs) were performed to seven aeroallergens, and specific IgE was measured to four of these. Viral infections were determined by the presence of specific IgG in serum to Herpes simplex (HSV), Herpes zoster (HZV), Epstein-Barr (EBV), and Hepatitis A (HAV) viruses.
Results
A total of 644 (49.7%) children had at least one allergen-specific IgE> 0.35 kU/L and 489 (37.7%) had specific IgE> 0.70 kU/L. A total of 391 (30.2%) children were skin test positive (SPT+), and 295 (22.8%) children were asthmatic. The seroprevalence of viral infections was 88.9% for EBV, 55.4% for HSV, 45.5% for VZV and 17.5% for HAV. Negative associations were observed between SPT+ and HSV (OR = 0.64, CI = 0.51, 0.82) and EBV (OR = 0.63, CI = 0.44, 0.89) infections, but no associations were seen between viral infections and the presence of allergen-specific IgE or asthma.
Conclusion
These data do not support previous data showing a protective effect of HAV against atopy, but did show inverse associations between SPT+ (but not specific IgE+) and infections with HSV and EBV. These findings suggest that different viral infections may protect against SPT+ in different settings and may indicate an immunoregulatory role of such infections on immediate hypersensitivity responses. The data provide no support for a protective effect of viral infections against asthma in this population.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-11-24
PMCID: PMC3125392  PMID: 21569568
11.  Evidence for a modulatory effect of IL-10 on both Th1 and Th2 cytokine production: The role of the environment 
Clinical Immunology (Orlando, Fla.)  2011;139(1-3):57-64.
Allergic and other immune-mediated diseases are complex disease states determined by interplay between host genetics and environmental factors. Environmental changes such as fewer infections and reduced exposure to microbial products have been suggested to have led to insufficient regulation of Th1 and Th2 immune responses, causing an increased incidence of inflammatory diseases. The objective of the present study was to investigate the effect of poor living environmental conditions on mitogen-induced production of cytokines (Th1 and Th2) by peripheral blood leukocytes in children living in urban Brazil and investigate the role of IL-10 in modifying this effect. Our data showed that the proportion of children producing Th1 and Th2 cytokines was lower among those with poor living conditions and that this finding was stronger in children producing IL-10. These results provide a possible biologic explanation for the temporal trends of increasing risk of inflammatory diseases observed in populations living in affluent countries.
doi:10.1016/j.clim.2010.12.019
PMCID: PMC3070800  PMID: 21285005
BMI, Body mass index; CpG-DNA, bacterial DNA; DC, dendritic cell; IFN, Interferon; LB, B lymphocyte; LPS, lipopolysaccharide; MΦ, macrophage; MHC, major histocompatibility complex; Neu, neutrophil; NO, nitric oxide; OR, odds ratio; PBLs, peripheral blood leukocytes; SCAALA, Social Changes Asthma and Allergy in Latin America; TGF-β, transforming growth factor β; Th1, T helper 1; Th17, T helper 17; Th2, T helper 2; TLR, toll like receptors; Treg, T regulatory; WBC, whole blood cells culture; IL-10; Th1/Th2; Environment; Sewage system; Street paving; Immune regulation
12.  Cost-effectiveness analysis of a state funded programme for control of severe asthma 
BMC Public Health  2007;7:82.
Background
Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases and a major economical burden to families and health systems. Whereas efficacy of current therapeutical options has been clearly established, cost-effectiveness analysis of public health interventions for asthma control are scarce.
Methods
81 patients with severe asthma (12–75 years) joining a programme in a reference clinic providing free asthma medication were asked retrospectively about costs and events in the previous 12 months. During 12 months after joining the programme, information on direct and indirect costs, asthma control by lung function, symptoms and quality of life were collected. The information obtained was used to estimate cost-effectiveness of the intervention as compared to usual public health asthma management. Sensitivity analysis was conducted.
Results
64 patients concluded the study. During the 12-months follow-up within the programme, patients had 5 fewer days of hospitalization and 68 fewer visits to emergency/non scheduled medical visits per year, on average. Asthma control scores improved by 50% and quality of life by 74%. The annual saving in public resources was US$387 per patient. Family annual income increased US$512, and family costs were reduced by US$733.
Conclusion
A programme for control of severe asthma in a developing country can reduce morbidity, improve quality of life and save resources from the health system and patients families.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-7-82
PMCID: PMC1896159  PMID: 17509137

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