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1.  Twenty-year trends in the prevalence of Down syndrome and other trisomies in Europe: impact of maternal age and prenatal screening 
This study examines trends and geographical differences in total and live birth prevalence of trisomies 21, 18 and 13 with regard to increasing maternal age and prenatal diagnosis in Europe. Twenty-one population-based EUROCAT registries covering 6.1 million births between 1990 and 2009 participated. Trisomy cases included live births, fetal deaths from 20 weeks gestational age and terminations of pregnancy for fetal anomaly. We present correction to 20 weeks gestational age (ie, correcting early terminations for the probability of fetal survival to 20 weeks) to allow for artefactual screening-related differences in total prevalence. Poisson regression was used. The proportion of births in the population to mothers aged 35+ years in the participating registries increased from 13% in 1990 to 19% in 2009. Total prevalence per 10 000 births was 22.0 (95% CI 21.7–22.4) for trisomy 21, 5.0 (95% CI 4.8–5.1) for trisomy 18 and 2.0 (95% CI 1.9–2.2) for trisomy 13; live birth prevalence was 11.2 (95% CI 10.9–11.5) for trisomy 21, 1.04 (95% CI 0.96–1.12) for trisomy 18 and 0.48 (95% CI 0.43–0.54) for trisomy 13. There was an increase in total and total corrected prevalence of all three trisomies over time, mainly explained by increasing maternal age. Live birth prevalence remained stable over time. For trisomy 21, there was a three-fold variation in live birth prevalence between countries. The rise in maternal age has led to an increase in the number of trisomy-affected pregnancies in Europe. Live birth prevalence has remained stable overall. Differences in prenatal screening and termination between countries lead to wide variation in live birth prevalence.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.94
PMCID: PMC3522199  PMID: 22713804
trisomy 21; trisomy 18; trisomy 13; trends; maternal age; prenatal screening
2.  Public health professionals' perceptions toward provision of health protection in England: a survey of expectations of Primary Care Trusts and Health Protection Units in the delivery of health protection 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:297.
Background
Effective health protection requires systematised responses with clear accountabilities. In England, Primary Care Trusts and the Health Protection Agency both have statutory responsibilities for health protection. A Memorandum of Understanding identifies responsibilities of both parties, but there is a potential lack of clarity about responsibility for specific health protection functions. We aimed to investigate professionals' perceptions of responsibility for different health protection functions, to inform future guidance for, and organisation of, health protection in England.
Methods
We sent a postal questionnaire to all health protection professionals in England from the following groups: (a) Directors of Public Health in Primary Care Trusts; (b) Directors of Health Protection Units within the Health Protection Agency; (c) Directors of Public Health in Strategic Health Authorities and; (d) Regional Directors of the Health Protection Agency
Results
The response rate exceeded 70%. Variations in perceptions of who should be, and who is, delivering health protection functions were observed within, and between, the professional groups (a)-(d). Concordance in views of which organisation should, and which does deliver was high (≥90%) for 6 of 18 health protection functions, but much lower (≤80%) for 6 other functions, including managing the implications of a case of meningitis out of hours, of landfill environmental contamination, vaccination in response to mumps outbreaks, nursing home infection control, monitoring sexually transmitted infections and immunisation training for primary care staff. The proportion of respondents reporting that they felt confident most or all of the time in the safe delivery of a health protection function was strongly correlated with the concordance (r = 0.65, P = 0.0038).
Conclusion
Whilst we studied professionals' perceptions, rather than actual responses to incidents, our study suggests that there are important areas of health protection where consistent understanding of responsibility for delivery is lacking. There are opportunities to clarify the responsibility for health protection in England, perhaps learning from the approaches used for those health protection functions where we found consistent perceptions of accountability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-6-297
PMCID: PMC1712342  PMID: 17156421

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