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1.  The effect of pacemaker mode on cognitive function 
Heart  2005;91(9):1209-1210.
PMCID: PMC1769110  PMID: 16103560
CAMCOG; CANTAB; pacemaker; cognitive function; pacing mode
2.  Randomised controlled trial of effects of coordinating care for terminally ill cancer patients. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;305(6865):1317-1322.
OBJECTIVES--To measure effects on terminally ill cancer patients and their families of coordinating the services available within the NHS and from local authorities and the voluntary sector. DESIGN--Randomised controlled trial. SETTING--Inner London health district. PATIENTS--Cancer patients were routinely notified from 1987 to 1990. 554 patients expected to survive less than one year entered the trial and were randomly allocated to a coordination or a control group. INTERVENTION--All patients received routinely available services. Coordination group patients received the assistance of two nurse coordinators, whose role was to ensure that patients received appropriate and well coordinated services, tailored to their individual needs and circumstances. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Patients and carers were interviewed at home on entry to the trial and at intervals until death. Interviews after bereavement were also conducted. Outcome measures included the presence and severity of physical symptoms, psychiatric morbidity, use of and satisfaction with services, and carers' problems. Results from the baseline interview, the interview closest to death, and the interview after bereavement were analysed. RESULTS--Few differences between groups were significant. Coordination group patients were less likely to suffer from vomiting, were more likely to report effective treatment for it, and less likely to be concerned about having an itchy skin. Their carers were more likely to report that in the last week of life the patient had had a cough and had had effective treatment for constipation, and they were less likely to rate the patient's difficulty swallowing as severe or to report effective treatment for anxiety. Coordination group patients were more likely to have seen a chiropodist and their carers were more likely to contact a specialist nurse in a night time emergency. These carers were less likely to feel angry about the death of the patient. CONCLUSIONS--This coordinating service made little difference to patient or family outcomes, perhaps because the service did not have a budget with which it could obtain services or because the professional skills of the nurse-coordinators may have conflicted with the requirements of the coordinating role.
PMCID: PMC1883850  PMID: 1483075
3.  Risk factors for readmission to hospital for asthma in childhood. 
Thorax  1994;49(1):33-36.
BACKGROUND--Readmissions account for part of the increase in hospital admissions for asthma in childhood seen in many countries. METHODS--This observational study recorded demographic features and the severity, treatment and management of asthma in 1034 individual children admitted to hospital over a one year period, followed for a maximum of 33 months. RESULTS--Readmissions were common, with 33% readmitted by six months and 51% by two years. After controlling for a wide range of variables, factors that significantly increased readmission were: female sex (relative risk (RR) 1.23; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 1.46), young age (age < 5 years RR 1.71; 95% CI 1.41 to 2.08), number of previous admissions (one previous admission RR 1.32; two, RR 1.68; three, RR 2.00; four or more, RR 2.80), and inpatient intravenous treatment (RR 1.29; 95% CI 1.08 to 1.55). Inpatient treatment with theophylline was used frequently (98.4%), but was associated with decreased readmissions (RR 0.51, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.92). Factors which did not predict readmission included ethnicity, respiratory and pulse rate, medical team, prescribed prophylactic treatment, type of follow up, or the use of action plans. CONCLUSIONS--Risk factors for readmission relate to the characteristics of the individual (age and sex), severity of the condition (intravenous treatment), and number of previous admissions which may reflect severity or behaviour of the illness. Medical treatment and management did not influence readmissions. Strategies to reduce the high readmission rate for asthma in childhood need to be developed.
PMCID: PMC474083  PMID: 8153938
4.  Age-dependent penetrance of different germline mutations in the BRCA1 gene 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2009;62(4):350-356.
BRCA1 gene mutations have been extensively studied in relation to breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility. Various genotype–phenotype correlation attempts have yielded important data pertaining to the consequences of BRCA1 mutations. However, little is known about the effects of recurrent BRCA mutations on expressivity and the age of onset of cancer in a population. This study addresses whether different exon mutations have variable expressivity especially in relation to the age of onset of breast cancer.
Using a step-wise systematic approach, culminating in the sequencing of all BRCA1 and BRCA2 exons with the addition of multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification, the relationship between disease phenotypes and gene mutations in 219 individuals and their family members was examined.
It is shown that different BRCA1 gene mutations have distinct effects that influence the age of onset of breast or ovarian cancer. Mutations in exon 2 of the BRCA1 gene had significantly lower penetrance compared with mutations of exons 11, 13 and 20. The median age of affliction with breast cancer was 55 years for 185delAG in exon 2 (95% confidence interval (CI) 46.7 to 59.5), 47 years for the 4184delTCAA mutation in exon 11 (95% CI 39 to 55.4), and 41 years for exon 13 duplication (95% CI 32.9 to 49.7) of the BRCA1 gene. Moreover, 14 novel mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes in the Yorkshire/Humberside population were identified.
Conclusions: The 185delAG mutation of the BRCA1 gene is a low penetrance mutation that is age dependent especially when compared with the exon 13 duplication mutation. The data have important ramifications on screening, genetic counselling and prophylactic treatment of BRCA1 gene mutation carriers.
PMCID: PMC2656651  PMID: 19329713
5.  Disentangling Kaposi's sarcoma. 
British Medical Journal  1978;2(6150):1498.
PMCID: PMC1608735  PMID: 719495
8.  Social determinants of nutrient intake in smokers and non-smokers during pregnancy. 
STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to investigate the effects of social factors (education, income, marital status, partners' employment status, housing tenure, social class), smoking, and maternal height on the dietary intake of pregnant women. DESIGN--The study was a prospective investigation on a two phase sample. SETTING--The study involved women attending the antenatal clinic at a district general hospital. PATIENTS--A group of pregnant Caucasian women, selected because they were heavy smokers (15+ cigarettes/day) (n = 94) and a randomly selected sample of never smokers (n = 112) were studied. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Data on social factors were collected by interviewer administered questionnaire. A 7 day weighed intake method was used to determine dietary intake at 28 weeks gestation. In univariate analyses, income, housing tenure and social class had significant effects on intakes of both macro- and micronutrients, and maternal education and smoking had significant effects on intakes of micronutrients. Using a stepwise multivariate analysis with income, smoking and maternal education, income was a significant factor in the intake of most nutrients but this effect disappeared when social class and housing tenure factors were entered into the model. Only social class and housing tenure had any significant effect on intakes of macronutrients--energy, protein and fat. Smoking and maternal education were the most important determinants of quality of diet (nutrient density); other factors had only negligible effects. Income was the only significant factor in alcohol intake. It is suggested that the effects of social class and income are overlapping. CONCLUSIONS--Smoking, being renters of accommodation, and being of minimum education and low social class are risk factors for poor dietary intake. It is recommended that such higher risk groups be specifically targeted for nutritional advice in pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC1060643  PMID: 2273357
9.  Asthma as a link between chest illness in childhood and chronic cough and phlegm in young adults 
The link between chest illnesses in childhood to age 7 and the prevalence of cough and phlegm in the winter reported at age 23 was investigated in a cohort of 10 557 British children born in one week in 1958 (national child development study). Both pneumonia and asthma or wheezy bronchitis to age 7 were associated with a significant excess in the prevalence of chronic cough and phlegm at age 23 after controlling for current smoking. This excess was largely attributable to the association of cough and phlegm at age 23 with a history of asthma or wheezy bronchitis from age 16. When adjustment was made for recent wheezing, current cigarette consumption, previous smoking habit, and passive exposure to smoke the relative odds of cough or phlegm, or both, in subjects with a history of childhood chest illness was 1·11 (95% confidence interval 0·97 to 1·27). When analysed separately asthma, wheezy bronchitis, and pneumonia up to age 7 did not significantly increase the prevalence of either cough or phlegm.
The explanation for the observed continuity between chest illness in childhood and respiratory symptoms in later life may lie more in the time course of functional disturbances related to asthma than in the persistence of structural lung damage.
PMCID: PMC2546285  PMID: 3129062
11.  Short-term associations between outdoor air pollution and mortality in London 1992-4 
OBJECTIVES: A previous study of the short term effects of air pollution in London from April 1987 to March 1992 found associations between all cause mortality and black smoke and ozone, but no clear evidence of specificity for cardiorespiratory deaths. London data from 1992 to 1994 were analysed to examine the consistency of results over time and to include particles with a mean aerodynamic diameter of 10 microns (PM10) and carbon monoxide. METHODS: Poisson regression was used of daily mortality counts grouped by age and diagnosis, adjusting for trend, seasonality, calendar effects, deaths from influenza, meteorology, and serial correlation. The pollutants examined were particles (PM10 and black smoke), nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulphur dioxide, and carbon monoxide with single and cumulative lags up to 3 days. RESULTS: No significant associations were found between any pollutant and all cause mortality, but, with the exception of ozone, all estimates were positive. Each pollutant apart from ozone was significantly associated with respiratory mortality; PM10 showed the largest effect (4% increase in deaths of all ages for a 10th-90th percentile increment). The pollutants significantly associated with cardiovascular deaths were nitrogen dioxide, ozone, and black smoke but there was no evidence of an association with PM10. In two pollutant models of respiratory deaths, the effect of black smoke, which in London indicates fine particles of diesel origin, was independent of that of PM10, but not vice versa. CONCLUSION: These results from a new data set confirm a previous report that there are associations between various air pollutants and daily mortality in London. This new study found greater specificity for associations with respiratory and cardiovascular deaths, and this increases the plausibility of a causal explanation. However, the effects of ozone found in the earlier study were not replicated. The fraction of PM10 which comprises black smoke accounted for much of the effect of PM10.
PMCID: PMC1757726  PMID: 10450240
12.  The natural history of asthma in childhood. 
The incidence and prognosis of childhood asthma and wheezing illness (AW) was studied using data obtained at ages 7, 11, and 16 from a national cohort of 8806 children born in 1958. By the age of 16, 24.7% were reported to have experienced at least one episode of AW. In 18.3% AW had started before the age of 8, but only 4.2% continued to have symptoms in later childhood. A further 3.6% began to have AW between the ages of 8 and 11, and 2.8% began between the ages of 12 and 16. Of those with AW at age 7, 28.3% had symptoms at 11 and 16.5% at 16; these proportions were about doubled if AW at 7 had been severe. The associations between natural history and a large number of perinatal, social, environmental, and medical factors were examined. Those which predicted the onset of AW after the age of 7 were: male sex of child; mother aged 15-19 at child's birth; history of pneumonia, whooping cough, throat or ear infections or tonsillectomy; eczema, allergic rhinitis; and periodic vomiting or abdominal pain.
PMCID: PMC1052505  PMID: 3746173
15.  Census of mental hospital patients and life expectancy of those unlikely to be discharged. 
British Medical Journal  1975;4(5998):671-675.
A census in a London mental hospital was performed so that the numbers of patients requiring permanent care for the next 20 to 40 years could be estimated. Of 1467 resident patients 20% had been admitted in the preceding five months and 15% in the year before that. Of the 65% who had been in hospital for over 17 months 1% (16 patients) had been in hospital for over 5o years. Altogether 257 (18%) patients would probably be discharged, 339 (23%) might possibly be discharged if there were adequate community facilities, but 871 (59%) were not likely to be discharged; 239 patients under the age of 65 who had been admitted between 1950 and 1973 were unlikely to be discharged. There were about 10 new younger long-stay patients from each year's admissions. Three conditions--schizophrenia, organic brain syndrome, and affective illness--affected 79% of the population. Fourteen per cent had been employed on admission and 28% were considered employable or possibly employable. Half of those who might be considered for discharge (296) would need a hostel. No rehabilitation was needed or possible for 40% of the patients; 299 (20%) patients were chairbound or bedridden and 400 (27%) were totally dependent on nursing and 587 (40%) partly dependent. Twenty months after the census 361 (25%) patients had left (59 had been readmitted), 284 (19%) had died, and 822 (56%) had remained as inpatients. The most realistic future prediction was that 210 (14%) of these patients would still be in the hospital in 20 years and 43 (3%) in 40 years. In the light of these findings and the scarceness of resources current Department of Health and Social Security plans for phasing out mental hospitals must be challenged.
PMCID: PMC1675812  PMID: 812584
16.  Factors associated with the starting of cigarette smoking by primary school children 
A matched sample of 300 children was selected from 7,115 Derbyshire primary school children, who had completed an initial screening questionnaire on smoking and respiratory symptoms in March 1971. In July 1971, 293 of the 300 children (229 boys and 64 girls) completed a second questionnaire giving information about their first cigarette, smoking by their parents, siblings, and friends, and also their reasons for smoking or not. Because of the small number of girls, only the results from the boys are reported here. Over a period of four months only 63% of the children were consistent in their replies.
It would appear that the parents and brothers living in the household, as well as friends, influence boys to take up smoking. Over half of the smokers were given their first cigarette. Eleven per cent of the boys were given their first cigarette by their parents.
The children's attitudes to smoking were complex. They did not think smoking was enjoyable. Non-smokers saw smoking as showing off. Most of the children thought smoking caused cancer, but some of these did not see this as a health hazard. Few children saw curiosity as an important reason for smoking. This may have implications for effective antismoking education.
PMCID: PMC478813  PMID: 4816586
17.  Development of a functional scoring system for rheumatoid arthritis patients with cervical myelopathy. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1996;55(12):901-906.
OBJECTIVE: To be able to measure disability objectively in rheumatoid arthritis complicated by cervical myelopathy. METHODS: The responses to the Stanford health assessment questionnaire disability index were recorded from 250 consecutive patients (group 1) referred to our unit for spinal surgery. Using principal components analysis the questionnaire was reduced from 20 questions to 10 questions. In the second part of the study, the results of the questionnaire for those patients undergoing surgery from the original group of 250 patients were analysed with respect to outcome. RESULTS: The reduction in the number of questions results in no significant loss of information, reliability (internal consistency Cronbach's alpha = 0.968) or sensitivity. The new scale, the myelopathy disability index, measures only one dimension (Eigen value 6.97) and may be more finely tuned to the measurement of disability in these myelopathic patients. When administered to the 194 patients undergoing cervical spine (group 2) surgery the myelopathy disability index was an accurate predictor of neurological and functional outcome, as well as survival following surgery (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: The myelopathy disability index provides a much needed objective and reliable means of assessing disability in patients with rheumatoid involvement of the cervical spine and also in predicting outcome following surgical intervention. It also provides information for both the patient and surgeon alike, on what to realistically expect from surgery. Its adoption should facilitate comparisons between different forms of surgical intervention.
PMCID: PMC1010342  PMID: 9014584
19.  Health effects of an air pollution episode in London, December 1991. 
Thorax  1995;50(11):1188-1193.
BACKGROUND--In December 1991 London experienced a unique air pollution episode during which concentrations of nitrogen dioxide rose to record levels, associated with moderate increases in black smoke. The aim of this study was to investigate whether this episode was associated with adverse health effects and whether any such effects could be attributed to air pollution. METHODS--The numbers of deaths and hospital admissions occurring in Greater London during the week of the episode were compared with those predicted using data from the week before the episode and from equivalent periods from the previous four years. Relative risks (RR) (episode week versus predicted) for adverse health events were estimated using log linear modelling and these were compared with estimates from control areas which had similar cold weather but without increased air pollution. RESULTS--In all age groups mortality was increased for all causes (excluding accidents) (relative risk = 1.10) and cardiovascular diseases (1.14); non-significant increases were observed for all respiratory diseases (1.22), obstructive lung diseases (1.23), and respiratory infections (1.23). In the elderly (65 + years) the relative risk of hospital admission was increased for all respiratory diseases (1.19) and for obstructive lung diseases (1.43), and a non-significant increase was observed for ischaemic heart disease (1.04). In children (0-14 years) there was no increase in admissions for all respiratory diseases and only a small non-significant increase for asthma. When compared with control areas the relative risks became non-significant but remained increased. CONCLUSIONS--The air pollution episode was associated with an increase in mortality and morbidity which was unlikely to be explained by the prevailing weather, a coincidental respiratory epidemic, or psychological factors due to publicity. Air pollution is a plausible explanation but the relative roles of nitrogen dioxide and particulates cannot be distinguished.
PMCID: PMC475092  PMID: 8553276
20.  Blood loss during primary total hip arthroplasty: use of preoperative measurements to predict the need for transfusion. 
The blood loss resulting from total hip arthroplasty was studied in 53 patients. Calculated blood loss exceeded measured blood loss in all cases. The most significant predictor of postoperative packed-cell volume (PCV) was the preoperative PCV. In a further 37 patients the preoperative PCV was used successfully to predict the postoperative PCV and the need for transfusion.
PMCID: PMC2502963  PMID: 9422872
21.  Sample size in cluster randomisation. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7130):549.
PMCID: PMC2665662  PMID: 9501723

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