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author:("moussa, T")
1.  Randomised clinical trial: low‐FODMAP rye bread vs. regular rye bread to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome 
Grains are high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo‐, Di‐, Monosaccharides And Polyols) and often considered as triggers of IBS symptoms.
To evaluate if rye bread low in FODMAPs would be better tolerated than regular rye bread in subjects with IBS.
The study was conducted as a randomised double blind controlled cross‐over study (n = 87). Participants were supplied with both regular rye bread and low‐FODMAP rye bread for 4 weeks. Symptoms were measured with a symptom severity scoring system (IBS‐SSS) and visual analogue scale (VAS) assessments of individual symptoms. Quality of life was monitored. Colonic fermentation was measured by the breath hydrogen test and dietary intake by food diaries.
Dietary fibre intake increased during both study periods compared to baseline. Many signs of IBS i.e. flatulence, abdominal pain, cramps and stomach rumbling were milder on the low‐FODMAP rye bread (P‐values: 0.04; 0.049; 0.01 and 0.001). The mean of VAS measurements was favourable towards LF bread [−3 (95% CI): −6 to −1, P = 0.02] but no differences were detected in IBS‐SSS or quality of life. The AUC of breath hydrogen values was significantly lower during the low‐FODMAP bread period (median 52.9 vs. 72.6; P = 0.01).
Low‐FODMAP rye bread helps IBS patients to control their symptoms and reduces gastrointestinal gas accumulation. However, replacing regular rye bread by low‐FODMAP bread without concomitant broader dietary changes does not improve quality of life or IBS‐SSS. Nonetheless, inclusion of low‐FODMAP rye bread in diet might be one way that IBS patients could increase their fibre intake.
PMCID: PMC5113694  PMID: 27417338
2.  Clinical findings in relation to mortality in non-tuberculous mycobacterial infections: patients with Mycobacterium avium complex have better survival than patients with other mycobacteria 
We compared the clinical findings and survival in patients with Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) and other non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). A total of 167 adult non-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) patients with at least one positive culture for NTM were included. Medical records were reviewed. The patients were categorised according to the 2007 American Thoracic Society (ATS) criteria. MAC comprised 59 % of all NTM findings. MAC patients were more often female (70 % vs. 34 %, p < 0.001) and had less fatal underlying diseases (23 % vs. 47 %, p = 0.001) as compared to other NTM patients. Symptoms compatible with NTM infection had lasted for less than a year in 34 % of MAC patients but in 54 % of other NTM patients (p = 0.037). Pulmonary MAC patients had a significantly lower risk of death compared to pulmonary other NTM (hazard ratio [HR] 0.50, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.33–0.77, p = 0.002) or subgroup of other slowly growing NTM (HR 0.55, 95 % CI 0.31–0.99, p = 0.048) or as rapidly growing NTM (HR 0.47, 95 % CI 0.25–0.87, p = 0.02). The median survival time was 13.0 years (95 % CI 5.9–20.1) for pulmonary MAC but 4.6 years (95 % CI 3.4–5.9) for pulmonary other NTM. Serious underlying diseases (HR 3.21, 95 % CI 2.05–5.01, p < 0.001) and age (HR 1.07, 95 % CI 1.04–1.09, p < 0.001) were the significant predictors of mortality and female sex was a predictor of survival (HR 0.38, 95 % CI 0.24–0.59, p < 0.001) in the multivariate analysis. Pulmonary MAC patients had better prognosis than pulmonary other NTM patients. The symptom onset suggests a fairly rapid disease course.
PMCID: PMC4545189  PMID: 26155783
3.  Complement C4 Deficiency – A Plausible Risk Factor for Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria (NTM) Infection in Apparently Immunocompetent Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91450.
Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are ubiquitous in the environment and they infect mainly persons with underlying pulmonary diseases but also previously healthy elderly women. Defects in host resistance that lead to pulmonary infections by NTM are relatively unknown. A few genetic defects have been associated with both pulmonary and disseminated mycobacterial infections. Rare disseminated NTM infections have been associated with genetic defects in T-cell mediated immunity and in cytokine signaling in families. We investigated whether there was an association between NTM infections and deficiencies of complement components C4A or C4B that are encoded by major histocompatibility complex (MHC).
50 adult patients with a positive NTM culture with symptoms and findings of a NTM disease were recruited. Patients' clinical history was collected and symptoms and clinical findings were categorized according to 2007 diagnostic criteria of The American Thoracic Society (ATS). To investigate the deficiencies of complement, C4A and C4B gene copy numbers and phenotype frequencies of the C4 allotypes were analyzed. Unselected, healthy, 149 Finnish adults were used as controls.
NTM patients had more often C4 deficiencies (C4A or C4B) than controls (36/50 [72%] vs 83/149 [56%], OR = 2.05, 95%CI = 1.019–4.105, p = 0.042). C4 deficiencies for female NTM patients were more common than for controls (29/36 [81%] vs 55/100 [55%], OR = 3.39, 95% CI = 1.358–8.460, p = 0.007). C4 deficiences seemed not to be related to any specific underlying disease or C4 phenotype.
C4 deficiency may be a risk factor for NTM infection in especially elderly female patients.
PMCID: PMC3956671  PMID: 24638111
4.  Helicobacter pylori and gastrointestinal symptoms in diagnostics and adjuvant chemotherapy of colorectal cancer 
Oncology Letters  2013;7(2):553-559.
5-Fluorouracil (5-FU)-based chemotherapy is the mainstay of adjuvant treatment for colorectal cancer (CRC). Few studies have explored Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori)-associated gastrointestinal symptoms in the diagnosis of CRC, and the association between H. pylori infection and gastrointestinal toxicity during adjuvant chemotherapy in CRC. Seventy-nine CRC patients were randomised in a prospective clinical trial to receive 5-FU and leucovorin administered as bolus injection (Mayo regimen) or continuous infusion (simplified de Gramont regimen). H. pylori antibodies were analysed at baseline, twice monthly during treatment and after treatment up to 12 months. Thirty-seven patients (47%) were H. pylori-seronegative at baseline. There was no significant association between baseline H. pylori seropositivity (n=42; 53%) and oro-gastrointestinal toxicity during chemotherapy. The median time from symptom onset of CRC to surgery was significantly longer in patients with H. pylori infection (median time, 6 vs. 5 months; P=0.012). Functional dyspeptic symptoms at presentation significantly delayed diagnosis (median time, 7.5 vs. 5 months; P=0.035), whereas anaemia, bowel symptoms, occlusion, blood in the stool, infection and hypolactasia did not. We conclude that there is no association between H. pylori status and gastrointestinal toxicity in CRC patients during chemotherapy. Dyspeptic symptoms and presence of H. pylori may delay the diagnosis of CRC. (
PMCID: PMC3881927  PMID: 24396486
adjuvant treatment; colorectal cancer; gastrointestinal symptoms; Helicobacter pylori
5.  Operative treatment of isthmic spondylolisthesis in children: a long-term, retrospective comparative study with matched cohorts 
European Spine Journal  2010;20(5):766-775.
The purpose of the present study was to compare the long-term clinical, functional and radiographic outcomes of young patients operated on before or at the onset of puberty (Children) and those operated on after that (Adolescents). The study group consisted of 298 patients operated on under the age of 20 years; 55 of them were operated on before or at the onset of growth spurt (29 females <12.5 years, 26 males <14.5 years). Preoperative data were retrieved from patients’ records. After mean follow-up of 17 years (10.7–26.3), physical examination, radiographic measurements and functional testing were performed by independent observers. SRS-24, Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) were utilised to evaluate health-related quality of life. The data were compared between the two age groups in the whole study population and in 41 pairs of patients matched by gender, operative method, severity of preoperative slip, and age at follow-up. Preoperatively, one-third of children did not have significant pain symptoms. They were operated upon for resistant postural anomalies in combination with high risk of slip progression. All of the adolescents had low-back pain as the main clinical symptom. The outcomes were satisfactory in both groups in the whole population (children vs. adolescents; low-grade slip: SRS-24: 95.9 vs. 92.0, ODI: 5.2 vs. 7.5, VAS low-back pain: 18.9 vs. 21.2; high-grade slip: SRS-24: 95.6 vs. 90.6, ODI: 3.4 vs. 6.9, VAS low-back pain: 10.5 vs. 22.1). The differences were statistically significant for ODI and VAS in high-grade patients in favor of the children. The clinical relevance of these differences seems to be minimal. The results of the comparison of the matched cohorts were comparably good. One-fifth of the whole study group had a non-union which did not affect the final outcome. In the children with high-grade slips, there was a mean slip improvement of 14 percentage points due to remodelling. The overall complication rate in the whole population was 7.7%. In conclusion, spinal fusion can be carried out at an early age for low- and high-grade spondylolisthesis with good long-term clinical, functional, radiographic and health-related quality-of-life outcomes when the indications are met.
PMCID: PMC3082687  PMID: 20960014
Spondylolisthesis; Surgery; Children; Adolescents; Comparative study
6.  Hypertension and overall survival in metastatic colorectal cancer patients treated with bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;104(4):599-604.
Hypertension (HTN) is a common toxicity of anti-VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) antibody treatment. It may be a marker of VEGF signalling pathway inhibition and therefore represent a cancer biomarker in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) patients treated with chemotherapy and bevacizumab.
A total of 101 consecutive patients with mCRC were treated with standard chemotherapy combined with bevacizumab at dose of 2.5 mg kg−1 per week in a single centre. The median follow-up time of the patients alive was 64 months. Blood pressure was measured before each bevacizumab infusion, and HTN was graded according to common toxicity criteria for adverse events version 3.0.
Overall, 57 patients (56%) developed ⩾grade 1 HTN (median blood pressure 168/97 mm Hg), whereas 44 (44%) remained normotensive when treated with bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy regimen. Overall response rate was higher among patients with HTN (30 vs 20% P=0.025). Hypertension was associated with improved progression-free survival (10.5 vs 5.3 months; P=0.008) and overall survival (25.8 vs 11.7 months; P<0.001), and development of HTN within 3 months had an independent, prognostic influence in a multivariate landmark survival analysis together with other known mCRC prognostic factors (P=0.007). There was no association between HTN and development of thromboembolic complications.
Hypertension may predict outcome of bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy in mCRC. These data require confirmation in prospective studies including pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic analyses.
PMCID: PMC3049598  PMID: 21304526
bevacizumab; hypertension; predictive factor
7.  Results of brace treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in boys compared with girls: a retrospective study of 102 patients treated with the Boston brace 
European Spine Journal  2006;16(3):393-397.
The aim of the study was to compare the results of brace treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) in male patients with matched female patients and to assess the effectiveness of bracing of boys in AIS and to discuss the results with published data. Between 1987 and 1995, 51 consecutive male patients with AIS were treated with the Boston brace. The patients were advised to wear the brace 23 h/day. The medical records of all patients were reviewed. Cobb angles and Risser signs were measured before bracing, in brace, at brace discontinuation and at final follow-up. Everyone of 51 male patients was compared with a female patient who was treated by the same method and matched by Risser sign, curve pattern, curve magnitude and duration of treatment and follow-up time. Compliance with brace was noted at every visit. Fourteen boys had worn the brace only during nighttime or occasionally and were considered non-compliant. Only compliant patients with treatment period > 1 year and follow-up > 1 year after treatment were accepted for the analyses of effectiveness of brace treatment and its prognostic factors. Thirty-three boys met these inclusion criteria. Bracing was considered to have a failure if > 5° progression occurred or if surgery was performed. At the final follow-up study progression > 5° was found in 16/51 (31.4%) of male patients. Corresponding figures of female patients were 11/51 (21.6%), respectively. In compliant boys progression > 5° occurred in 6/33 boys compared with 9/33 girls. The association between risk of progression and correction% in brace was statistically significant. The overall results of brace treatment of idiopathic scoliosis in male patients were inferior compared with matched females. One reason for inferior overall results in boys was poor compliance with brace wear. However, brace treatment in AIS may be recommended with the same principles in both genders.
PMCID: PMC2200711  PMID: 16909249
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Male patients; Brace treatment; Comparative study
8.  Direct repair for treatment of symptomatic spondylolysis and low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis in young patients: no benefit in comparison to segmental fusion after a mean follow-up of 14.8 years 
European Spine Journal  2006;15(10):1437-1447.
The aim of the present study was to assess the long-term clinical, functional, and radiographic outcome of direct repair of spondylolysis using cerclage wire fixation according to Scott in young patients with symptomatic spondylolysis or low-grade isthmic spondylolisthesis as compared to the outcome after uninstrumented posterolateral in situ fusion. Twenty-five out of 28 patients of the direct repair group (89%) and 23 out of 28 of the fusion group (82%) were available for follow-up examination. The assessment by independent observers included a structured interview (Oswestry questionnaire [ODI], visual analogue scale, SRS questionnaire), a clinical examination, functional testing, plain radiography, and MRI. The groups were comparable as to the mean age at operation (18.2 vs. 16.2 years.), the follow-up time (14.8 vs. 15.0 years), and the amount of preoperative slip (7.2 vs. 13.1%). The mean ODI and SRS total scores were significantly better in the fusion group (4.3 [0–16] and 96 [57–117]) as compared to the direct repair group (11.4[0–52] and 87[53–107]; P=0.02 and P=0.011, respectively). In functional testing, both groups reached normal values for abdominal and back muscle strength. The lumbar spine flexion and extension ROM was decreased in both groups showing no statistical difference between the groups. Significant progressive narrowing of the olisthetic disc was detected on the plain radiographs after direct repair. On the flexion-extension radiographs, in the direct repair group, the mobility in the lytic/olisthetic segment was decreased in comparison to normal values from the literature. The mobility at the level above the operated segment was decreased in the direct repair group as compared to the fusion group (P=0.057). On T2-weighted MR images in the direct repair group, the signal intensity of the disc below the affected vertebra was decreased in 17/23 (74%) patients. There was no difference between the groups in the nucleus signal intensity of the adjacent disc above the operated segment. No association between the disc degeneration on MRI and the outcome of the patients could be established. In the direct repair group the following complications were seen: transient nerve root irritation (2), superficial infection (1), UTI (1); in the fusion group the complications were: subcutaneous seroma (2) and UTI (1). There were six re-operations, cerclage removal(4), conversion into segmental fusion(2) in the direct repair group, and one re-operation, instrumented respondylodesis, in the fusion group. In conclusion, the results of direct repair of the spondylolysis using cerclage wire fixation according to Scott were very satisfactory in 76% of the patients after a mean follow-up of 14.8 years. After direct repair, the ODI deteriorated with time leading to a clinically moderate but statistically significant difference in favour of segmental fusion. Lumbar spine mobility was decreased after direct repair. Secondary segmental instability above the spinal fusion was not detected. The procedure does not seem to be capable of preventing the olisthetic disc from degeneration. The theoretical benefits of direct repair could not be proven.
PMCID: PMC3241827  PMID: 16463195
Spondylolysis; Isthmic spondylolisthesis; Operative treatment; Direct repair; Posterolateral fusion; Comparative study
9.  Effectiveness of the Providence nighttime bracing in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis: a comparative study of 36 female patients 
European Spine Journal  2006;15(7):1139-1143.
The aim of the study was to assess the results of treatment of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) with the Providence nighttime brace at 1.8 years after discontinuation of bracing. A total of 36 consecutive female patients with an average Cobb angle of 28.4° and an apex below T 10 were studied prospectively. For comparisons, 36 matched patients treated with the Boston full-time brace were studied retrospectively. With the Providence night brace an average of 92% for brace correction of the primary curve was achieved and during follow-up progression of the curve >5° occurred in 27% of the patients. In the control group of the Boston full-time brace patients, brace correction was 50% and the progression of the major curve occurred in 22% of the patients. We conclude that the Providence night brace may be recommended for the treatment of AIS with curves less than 35° in lumbar and thoracolumbar cases.
PMCID: PMC3233933  PMID: 16429287
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Brace treatment; The Providence night brace
10.  Development of spinal posture in a cohort of children from the age of 11 to 22 years 
European Spine Journal  2005;14(8):738-742.
Spinal posture and the resultant changes during the entire pubertal growth period have not been reported previously. No cohort study has focused on the development of spinal posture during both the ascending and the descending phase of peak growth of the spine. The growth and development of a population-based cohort of 1060 children was followed up for a period of 11 years. The children were examined 5 times, at the ages of 11, 12, 13, 14 and 22 years. A total of 430 subjects participated in the final examination. Sagittal spinal profiles were determined using spinal pantography by the same physician throughout the study. Thoracic kyphosis was more prominent in males at all examinations. The increasing tendency towards thoracic kyphosis continued in men, but not in women. The degree of lumbar lordosis was constant during puberty and young adulthood. Women were more lordotic at all ages. Thoracic hyperkyphosis of ≥45° was as prevalent in boys as girls at 14 years, but significantly (P<0.0001) more prevalent in men (9.6%) than in women (0.9%) at 22 years. The degree of mean thoracic kyphosis and the prevalence of hyperkyphosis increased in men during the descending phase of peak growth of the spine, but decreased in women.
PMCID: PMC3489247  PMID: 15843973
Spinal posture; Thoracic kyphosis; Lumbar lordosis; Thoracic hyperkyphosis; Pubertal growth
11.  Long-term clinical, functional and radiological outcome 21 years after posterior or posterolateral fusion in childhood and adolescence isthmic spondylolisthesis 
European Spine Journal  2005;14(7):639-644.
Long-term radiological studies have shown that a high rate of fusion can be achieved with posterolateral spondylodesis. Radiological findings, however, do not always correlate with patient satisfaction and outcome. No studies have been conducted on the long-term results of functional outcome, including spinal mobility and trunk strength measurements, after operative treatment of spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis, as compared with the reference population. Of 129 consecutive patients with isthmic spondylolisthesis operated on with spondylodesis between 1977 and 1987, 107 (83%) participated in the study. Posterior spondylodesis was performed in 29 (27%) patients and posterolateral spondylodesis in 78 (73%) patients. The average follow-up time was 20.9 years (range 15.1–26.2 years). Radiographs obtained preoperatively and at the 2-year and final follow-ups were assessed for quality of the fusion and degenerative changes. Outcome was assessed at the last follow-up by physical examination, spinal mobility and non-dynamometric trunk strength measurements, and calculation of Oswestry disability index (ODI) scores. The fusion rate was 66% after posterior fusion and 83% after posterolateral fusion. Degenerative changes in the lumbar intervertebral discs above the fusion level were noted in 13 (12%) patients. At the final follow-up 14% of patients reported back pain often or very often. The mean ODI score was 7.6 (0–68). Moderate disability was found in 6% of patients and severe disability in 1%; one patient was crippled. No correlation was found between disc degeneration or solidity of the fusion and the ODI score. Non-dynamometric trunk strength measurements corresponded with the reference values. Lumbar flexion, but not extension, was diminished when compared with that of the reference population. The overall long-term clinical outcome is good in patients with spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis operated on with posterior or posterolateral fusion. The clinical and radiological outcomes do not, however, appear to correlate with each other. Lumbar flexion is diminished, but the patients perform, on average, as well as the general population in non-dynamometric trunk strength measurements.
PMCID: PMC3489228  PMID: 15690214
Spondylolysis; Spondylolisthesis; Spinal fusion; Functional outcome; Oswestry disability index
12.  Anthropometric measurements and growth as predictors of low-back pain: a cohort study of children followed up from the age of 11 to 22 years 
European Spine Journal  2005;14(6):595-598.
Body height is an alleged risk factor for low-back pain (LBP) in adulthood, but its importance is obscure during childhood and adolescence. We studied growth for its association with the incidence of LBP in a population study of 430 children who were examined five times: at the age 11,12,13,14 and 22 years. Body height and weight and the degrees of trunk asymmetry, thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis were measured at every examination. The history of LBP was obtained by a structured questionnaire at the ages of 14 and 22 years. The incidence of LBP was defined as pain, which occurred on eight or more days during the past year among those 338 children who had been free from LBP until 14 years of age. Growth of body height between 11 years and 14 years of age predicted the incidence of LBP. Adjusted for sex, the odds ratio (with 95% confidence interval) per an increment of one SD (4.3 cm) was 1.32 (1.06–1.65), the P value for trend being 0.03. Growth after 14 years of age was inversely related to the incidence of LBP, but the association did not reach statistical significance (P for trend = 0.06). Other anthropometric measurements or their changes were not found to predict LBP. Our results are not compatible with the old myth that spinal growth actually contributes to LBP. But abundant growth in early adolescence may be a risk factor for subsequent LBP.
PMCID: PMC3489232  PMID: 15789230
Adolescence; Anthropometry; Growth; Low-back pain; Spinal posture
13.  Sustained reduction in bronchial hyperresponsiveness with inhaled fluticasone propionate within three days in mild asthma: time course after onset and cessation of treatment 
Thorax  2003;58(6):500-504.
Background: Bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) is characteristic of asthmatic airways, is induced by airway inflammation, and is reduced by inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). The time course for the onset and cessation of the effect of ICS on BHR is unclear. The effect of inhaled fluticasone propionate (FP) on BHR in patients with mild persistent asthma was assessed using time intervals of hours, days and weeks.
Methods: Twenty six asthmatic patients aged 21–59 years were selected for this randomised, double blind, parallel group study. The effect of 250 µg inhaled FP (MDI) administered twice daily was compared with that of placebo on BHR assessed using a dosimetric histamine challenge method. The dose of histamine inducing a decrease in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) by 15% (PD15FEV1) was measured before and 6, 12, 24 and 72 hours, and 2, 4 and 6 weeks after starting treatment, and 48 hours, 1 week and 2 weeks after cessation of treatment. Doubling doses of changes in PD15FEV1 were calculated and area under the curve (AUC) statistics were used to summarise the information from individual response curves.
Results: The increase in PD15FEV1 from baseline was greater in the FP group than in the placebo group; the difference achieved significance within 72 hours and remained significant until the end of treatment. In the FP group PD15FEV1 was 1.85–2.07 doubling doses above baseline between 72 hours and 6 weeks after starting treatment. BHR increased significantly within 2 weeks after cessation of FP treatment.
Conclusions: A sustained reduction in BHR to histamine in patients with mild asthma was achieved within 3 days of starting treatment with FP at a daily dose of 500 µg. The effect tapered within 2 weeks of cessation of treatment.
PMCID: PMC1746689  PMID: 12775860
14.  Does genotype predict development of the spinal deformity in patients with diastrophic dysplasia? 
European Spine Journal  2002;11(4):327-331.
This study analyzed whether genotype can be used to predict development of spinal deformity in patients with diastrophic dysplasia (DD). Severity and natural history of scoliosis vary among patients, but the magnitude of the curves is similar among siblings. Plain radiographs were taken of 69 patients aged 16 years or older. The degree of scoliosis was measured according to Cobb's method. Blood samples were collected from patients clinically diagnosed as having DD and the genotype was determined. Fifty-six patients were found to be homozygous for the Finnish founder DTD mutation, DTDSTFin. Of these 56, 51 (91%) had scoliosis, with an average curve of 43° (range 12°–188°). The DTDSTFin/R279 W genotype was found in nine patients, and of these, eight (89%) had scoliosis, with an average curve of 34° (range 11°–70°). The DTDSTFin/nondetermined genotype was found in four patients. Three (75%) of them had scoliosis, with an average curve of 126° (range 77°–188°). Statistical analysis found no difference in the prevalence or magnitude of curves between subgroups. The development and severity of the scoliosis cannot, therefore, be predicted from the genotype. It seems possible that scoliosis development is affected by several genes as well as by external factors.
PMCID: PMC3610472  PMID: 12193993
Osteochondrodysplasia Diastrophic dysplasia Scoliosis Genotype DTDST gene
15.  Patient participation in decision‐making on the introduction of home respiratory care: who does not participate? 
Objectives  In this study we examined home respiratory patients' participation in decision‐making on whether to begin home respiratory care therapy, and this participation in decision‐making during the latest visit to the clinic.
Subjects and methods  The target population consisted of patients who were using home respiratory care devices and who were visiting the outpatient clinics. Postal questionnaires were sent to 4159 patients (40% of respiratory care device users in Finland). A total of 3336 answered (response rate 80%) and 3153 were eligible for analysis. Odds ratios, chi‐square tests, Mann–Whitney U‐test and stepwise logistic regression analysis were used in the data analyses.
Results  Patients who did not participate in decision‐making were more frequently older people, women and had lower income than the other patients. While these results parallel those of previous studies, in contrast we found more women with high education to be non‐participants. Non‐participants were not participating in decision‐making during their latest visit to the clinic in spite of the fact that they considered participation almost as important as did the other patients. Non‐participants were less satisfied with the quality of care given and felt that their life had improved less than did the other patients.
Conclusion  The ethical principle of equal opportunities to participate in care decisions was not applied among home respiratory care patients in this study. The results challenge health‐care professionals to notice inequalities and improve their practices. The results can be generalized to all home respiratory care patients in Finland.
PMCID: PMC5060172  PMID: 12752740
decision‐making; participation; patient satisfaction; respiratory care
16.  Effect of long term consumption of probiotic milk on infections in children attending day care centres: double blind, randomised trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2001;322(7298):1327.
To examine whether long term consumption of a probiotic milk could reduce gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in children in day care centres.
Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled study over seven months.
18 day care centres in Helsinki, Finland.
571 healthy children aged 1-6 years: 282 (mean (SD) age 4.6 (1.5) years) in the intervention group and 289 (mean (SD) age 4.4 (1.5) years) in the control group.
Milk with or without Lactobacillus GG. Average daily consumption of milk in both groups was 260 ml.
Main outcome measures
Number of days with respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms, absences from day care because of illness, respiratory tract infections diagnosed by a doctor, and course of antibiotics.
Children in the Lactobacillus group had fewer days of absence from day care because of illness (4.9 (95% confidence interval 4.4 to 5.5) v 5.8 (5.3 to 6.4) days, 16% difference, P=0.03; age adjusted 5.1 (4.6 to 5.6) v 5.7 (5.2 to 6.3) days, 11% difference, P=0.09). There was also a relative reduction of 17% in the number of children suffering from respiratory infections with complications and lower respiratory tract infections (unadjusted absolute % reduction −8.6 (−17.2 to −0.1), P=0.05; age adjusted odds ratio 0.75 (0.52 to 1.09), P=0.13) and a 19% relative reduction in antibiotic treatments for respiratory infection (unadjusted absolute % reduction −9.6 (−18.2 to −1.0), P=0.03; adjusted odds ratio 0.72 (0.50 to 1.03), P=0.08) in the Lactobacillus group.
Lactobacillus GG may reduce respiratory infections and their severity among children in day care. The effects of the probiotic Lactobacillus GG were modest but consistently in the same direction.
What is already known on this topicChildren attending day care centres are at high risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal infectionThe successful prevention of respiratory infections could be extremely useful for families and for society in generalShort term use of probiotic bacteria has been shown to reduce the severity of rotavirus diarrhoea and the incidence of diarrhoea associated with the use of antibioticsWhat this study addsIn a double blind, randomised, long term study milk containing Lactobacillus GG slightly reduced the incidence of respiratory infections and antibiotic treatment in children
PMCID: PMC32161  PMID: 11387176
17.  Immediate and long term effects of weight reduction in obese people with asthma: randomised controlled study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2000;320(7238):827-832.
To investigate the influence of weight reduction on obese patients with asthma.
Open study, two randomised parallel groups.
Private outpatients centre, Helsinki, Finland.
Two groups of 19 obese patients with asthma (body mass index (kg/m2) 30 to 42) recruited through newspaper advertisements.
Supervised weight reduction programme including 8 week very low energy diet.
Main outcome measures
Body weight, morning peak expiratory flow (PEF), forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1); and also asthma symptoms, number of acute episodes, courses of oral steroids, health status (quality of life).
At the end of the weight reducing programme, the participants in the treatment group had lost a mean of 14.5% of their pretreatment weight, the controls 0.3%. The corresponding figures after one year were 11.3% and a weight gain of 2.2%. After the 8 week dieting period the difference in changes in percentage of predicted FEV1 from baseline in the treatment and control groups was 7.2% (95% confidence interval 1.9% to 12.5%, P=0.009). The corresponding difference in the changes in FVC was 8.6% (4.8% to 12.5%, P<0.0001). After one year the differences in the changes in the two groups were still significant: 7.6% for FEV1 (1.5% to 13.8%, P=0.02) and 7.6% for FVC (3.5% to 11.8%, P=0.001). By the end of the weight reduction programme, reduction in dyspnoea was 13 mm (on a visual analogue scale 0 mm to 100 mm) in the treatment group and 1 mm in the control group (P=0.02). The reduction of rescue medication was 1.2 and 0.1 doses respectively (P=0.03). After one year the differences in the changes between the two groups were −12 for symptom scores (range −1 to −22, P=0.04) and −10 for total scores (−18 to −1, P=0.02). The median number of exacerbations in the treatment group was 1 (0-4) and in the controls 4 (0-7), P=0.001.
Weight reduction in obese patients with asthma improves lung function, symptoms, morbidity, and health status.
PMCID: PMC27319  PMID: 10731173
18.  Accuracy of pedicle screw insertion: A prospective CT study in 30 low back patients 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(6):402-405.
A prospective study of the accuracy of titanium pedicle screw placement in 30 low back operations was performed. The postoperative plain radiographs and CT reformation images were evaluated by two independent radiologists. Thirty-two out of 152 screws (21%) perforated the pedicle cortex. One-tenth of the perforations was detected with conventional radiography. In ten patients (33%) all the screws were located within the pedicle. The clinical significance of this study lies in the finding that pedicle perforations are more frequent than is generally believed and that, in spite of the many malplacements, no screw that perforated by less than 4.0 mm caused neurological problems. Only one nerve root lesion was detected.
PMCID: PMC3467718  PMID: 9455669
Spinal surgery; Pedicle screws; Complications; CT
19.  Disc herniation in the lumbar spine during growth: Long-term results of operative treatment in 18 patients 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(6):390-392.
We studied 18 patients who had undergone surgery for herniated lumbar discs between the ages of 11 and 17 years. The inclusion criteria for girls was an age of 15 years or below and for boys 17 or below at surgery. The mean follow-up time was 10 years and the clinical outcome was good. Age at surgery and length of the follow-up had no effect on the result. The radiological disc height at follow-up did not correlate with the follow-up time or age of the patient at operation. MRI scans at follow-up from ten patients operated at less than 15 years of age revealed multilevel disc degeneration but favourable clinical results.
PMCID: PMC3467727  PMID: 9455666
Disc herniation; Children; Operative treatment; Long-term results
20.  Disc degeneration in young patients with isthmic spondylolisthesis treated operatively or conservatively: A long-term follow-up 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(6):393-397.
The purpose of this longterm follow-up was (1) to investigate disc changes in the olisthetic segment in patients treated conservatively, (2) to compare disc changes above the slipped vertebra in conservatively treated patients with those in operatively treated patients, and (3) to establish possible relations of disc changes to the degree of the slip and to subjective back pain symptoms of the patients. The subjects were 227 patients with isthmic L5 olisthesis diagnosed under 20 years of age (mean 13.8 years) with a mean follow-up of 15.4 (range 5–30) years. Of these, 145 patients had been treated with segmental fusion and 82 had been treated conservatively. At follow-up, standing anteroposterior and lateral radiographs as well as flexion/extension views of the lumbar spine were taken. Disc degeneration was graded semiquantitatively: 0 = normal disc height, 1 = decrease of disc height < 50%, 2 = decrease ≥50%, and 3 = obliteration of the disc. In the conservatively treated patients degeneration of the olisthetic disc was distributed by grade as follows: 0:n = 38, 1:n = 24, 2:n = 14, 3:n = 6. No motion at all was observed in the olisthetic segment in 40 patients (48%) with a mean slip of 30%,, segmental motion of 4°–18° was found in 42 patients with a mean slip of 14%. There was a statistically significant association of the degree of slip to the severity of disc degeneration and non-mobility of the segment. Grade 1 degeneration of the L4/5 disc occurred in 25.6% of the conservatively treated patients and in 32% of 48 patients treated with L5-S1 fusion. This correlated with the severity of the slip, but not with pain symptoms or pathologic segmental mobility at the time of follow-up. Out of 84 patients with L4-S1 fusion, in 17% grade 1 degeneration of the L3/4 disc was observed, and 3 out of 13 patients (23%) with L3-S1 fusion had grade 1 degeneration of the disc above the fusion. The disc changes had no correlation with subjective pain symptoms. It is concluded that the natural course of isthmic spondylolisthesis is associated with disc degeneration and spontaneous stabilization of the olisthetic segment. Fusion operations do not significantly increase the rate of disc degeneration in the adjacent disc above the fusion after a mean postoperative follow-up of 13.8 years. No correlation between the number of degenerated discs or the degree of degeneration and subjective low back pain symptoms was found.
PMCID: PMC3467728  PMID: 9455667
Spondylolisthesis; Conservative treatment; Spinal fusion; Disc degeneration; Low back pain
21.  Pregnancy and delivery in patients operated by the Harrington method for idiopathic scoliosis 
European Spine Journal  1997;6(5):304-307.
The course and outcome of 142 pregnancies in 146 patients operated between 1970 and 1975 by the Harrington method for idiopathic scoliosis were studied to determine the effects of scoliosis on pregnancy and childbirth and the effects of pregnancy on the remaining fused and unfused scoliotic curvatures. Occurrence of and sick leave due to low back pain during pregnancy was determined. The patients, all originally treated at the Orthopedic Hospital of the Invalid Foundation (Orton) in Helsinki, Finland, were invited to a clinical and radiological re-examination on average 19 years following surgery. The results show that pregnancy does not significantly increase fused scoliotic curvatures nor the remaining unfused curvatures. A somewhat higher proportion of children (23%) were delivered by cesarean section than in the general population (15%;P < 0.01), but this result should only be taken as suggestive. Rates of complications of pregnancy and in labor did not differ from those in the background population. The offspring were healthy. Low back pain during pregnancy occurred in about 40% of our patients, but was severe enough to cause sick leave only in 11 % of the pregnancies.
PMCID: PMC3454608  PMID: 9391799
Idiopathic scoliosis; Surgery; Pregnancy; Low back pain
22.  Randomised comparison of guided self management and traditional treatment of asthma over one year. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1996;312(7033):748-752.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of self management of asthma with traditional treatment. DESIGN: 12 month prospective randomised trial. SETTING: Outpatient clinics in Finland. SUBJECTS: 115 patients with mild to moderately severe asthma. INTERVENTIONS: Patient education and adjustment of anti-inflammatory therapy guided by peak flow measurements. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Unscheduled admissions to hospital and outpatient visits, days off work, courses of antibiotics and prednisolone, lung function, and quality of life. RESULTS: The mean number of unscheduled visits to ambulatory care facilities (0.5 v 1.0), days off work (2.8 v 4.8), and courses of antibiotics (0.4 v 0.9) and prednisolone (0.4 v 1.0) per patient were lower and the quality of life score (16.6 v 8.4 at 12 months) higher in the self management group than in the traditionally treated group. In both groups admissions for asthma were rare. CONCLUSIONS: Self management reduces incidents caused by asthma and improves quality of life.
PMCID: PMC2350456  PMID: 8605463

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