Case-only designs have been used since late 1980’s. In these, as opposed to case-control or cohort studies for instance, only cases are required and are self-controlled, eliminating selection biases and confounding related to control subjects, and time-invariant characteristics. The objectives of this systematic review were to analyze how the two main case-only designs – case-crossover (CC) and self-controlled case series (SCCS) – have been applied and reported in pharmacoepidemiology literature, in terms of applicability assumptions and specificities of these designs.
We systematically selected all reports in this field involving case-only designs from MEDLINE and EMBASE up to September 15, 2010. Data were extracted using a standardized form. The analysis included 93 reports 50 (54%) of CC and 45 (48%) SCCS, 2 reports combined both designs. In 12 (24%) CC and 18 (40%) SCCS articles, all applicable validity assumptions of the designs were fulfilled, respectively. Fifty (54%) articles (15 CC (30%) and 35 (78%) SCCS) adequately addressed the specificities of the case-only analyses in the way they reported results.
Our systematic review underlines that implementation of CC and SCCS designs needs to be more rigorous with regard to validity assumptions, as well as improvement in results reporting.
Background Proper understanding of the roles of, and interactions between genetic, lifestyle, environmental and psycho-social factors in determining the risk of development and/or progression of chronic diseases requires access to very large high-quality databases. Because of the financial, technical and time burdens related to developing and maintaining very large studies, the scientific community is increasingly synthesizing data from multiple studies to construct large databases. However, the data items collected by individual studies must be inferentially equivalent to be meaningfully synthesized. The DataSchema and Harmonization Platform for Epidemiological Research (DataSHaPER; http://www.datashaper.org) was developed to enable the rigorous assessment of the inferential equivalence, i.e. the potential for harmonization, of selected information from individual studies.
Methods This article examines the value of using the DataSHaPER for retrospective harmonization of established studies. Using the DataSHaPER approach, the potential to generate 148 harmonized variables from the questionnaires and physical measures collected in 53 large population-based studies (6.9 million participants) was assessed. Variable and study characteristics that might influence the potential for data synthesis were also explored.
Results Out of all assessment items evaluated (148 variables for each of the 53 studies), 38% could be harmonized. Certain characteristics of variables (i.e. relative importance, individual targeted, reference period) and of studies (i.e. observational units, data collection start date and mode of questionnaire administration) were associated with the potential for harmonization. For example, for variables deemed to be essential, 62% of assessment items paired could be harmonized.
Conclusion The current article shows that the DataSHaPER provides an effective and flexible approach for the retrospective harmonization of information across studies. To implement data synthesis, some additional scientific, ethico-legal and technical considerations must be addressed. The success of the DataSHaPER as a harmonization approach will depend on its continuing development and on the rigour and extent of its use. The DataSHaPER has the potential to take us closer to a truly collaborative epidemiology and offers the promise of enhanced research potential generated through synthesized databases.
Data synthesis; data quality; data pooling; harmonization; meta-analysis; DataSHaPER; retrospective harmonization
For complex diseases like cancer, pooled-analysis of individual data represents a powerful tool to investigate the joint contribution of genetic, phenotypic and environmental factors to the development of a disease. Pooled-analysis of epidemiological studies has many advantages over meta-analysis, and preliminary results may be obtained faster and with lower costs than with prospective consortia.
Design and methods
Based on our experience with the study design of the Melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene, SKin cancer and Phenotypic characteristics (M-SKIP) project, we describe the most important steps in planning and conducting a pooled-analysis of genetic epidemiological studies. We then present the statistical analysis plan that we are going to apply, giving particular attention to methods of analysis recently proposed to account for between-study heterogeneity and to explore the joint contribution of genetic, phenotypic and environmental factors in the development of a disease. Within the M-SKIP project, data on 10,959 skin cancer cases and 14,785 controls from 31 international investigators were checked for quality and recoded for standardization. We first proposed to fit the aggregated data with random-effects logistic regression models. However, for the M-SKIP project, a two-stage analysis will be preferred to overcome the problem regarding the availability of different study covariates. The joint contribution of MC1R variants and phenotypic characteristics to skin cancer development will be studied via logic regression modeling.
Methodological guidelines to correctly design and conduct pooled-analyses are needed to facilitate application of such methods, thus providing a better summary of the actual findings on specific fields.
Genetic epidemiology; Melanoma; Meta-analysis; Pooled-analysis; Skin cancer; Study design
Xeroderma pigmentosum complementation group F (XPF or ERCC4) plays a key role in DNA repair that protects against genetic instability and carcinogenesis. A series of epidemiological studies have examined associations between XPF polymorphisms and cancer risk, but the findings remain inconclusive.
In this meta-analysis of 47,639 cancer cases and 51,915 controls, by searching three electronic databases (i.e., MEDLINE, EMBASE and CNKI), we summarized 43 case-control studies from 29 publications on four commonly studied polymorphisms of XPF (i.e., rs1800067, rs1799801, rs2020955 and rs744154), and we did not find statistical evidence of any significant association with overall cancer risk. However, in stratification analyses, we found a significant association of XPF-rs1799801 with a reduced cancer risk in Caucasian populations (4,845 cases and 5,556 controls; recessive model: OR = 0.87, 95% CI = 0.76–1.00, P = 0.049, P = 0.723 for heterogeneity test, I2 = 0). Further genotype-phenotype correlation analysis showed that the homozygous variant CC genotype carriers had higher XPF expression levels than that of the TT genotype carriers (Student’s t test for a recessive model: P = 0.046). No publication bias was found by using the funnel plot and Egger’s test.
This meta-analysis suggests a lack of statistical evidence for the association between the four XPF SNPs and overall risk of cancers. However, XPF-rs1799801 may be associated with cancer risk in Caucasian populations, which needs to be further validated in single large, well-designed prospective studies.
Although it is recognised that some women experience pain or bleeding during a cervical cytology test, few studies have quantified physical after-effects of these tests.
To investigate the frequency, severity, and duration of after-effects in women undergoing follow-up cervical cytology tests, and to identify subgroups with higher frequencies in Grampian, Tayside, and Nottingham.
Cohort study nested with a multi-centre individually randomised controlled trial.
The cohort included 1120 women, aged 20–59 years, with low-grade abnormal cervical cytology who completed a baseline sociodemographic questionnaire and had a follow-up cervical cytology test in primary care 6 months later. Six weeks after this test, women completed a postal questionnaire on pain, bleeding, and discharge experienced after the test, including duration and severity. The adjusted prevalence of each after-effect was computed using logistic regression.
A total of 884 women (79%) completed the after-effects questionnaire; 30% of women experienced one or more after-effect: 15% reported pain, 16% bleeding, and 7% discharge. The duration of discharge was ≤2 days for 66%, 3–6 days for 22%, and ≥7 days for 11% of women. Pain or bleeding lasted ≤2 days in more than 80% of women. Severe after-effects were reported by <1% of women. The prevalence of pain decreased with increasing age. Bleeding was more frequent among nulliparous women. Discharge was more common among oral contraceptive users.
Pain, bleeding, and discharge are not uncommon in women having follow-up cervical cytology tests. Informing women about possible after-effects could better prepare them and provide reassurance, thereby minimising potential non-adherence with follow-up or non-participation with screening in the future.
after-effects; bleeding; complications; cervical smears; cytology; pain; primary care; vaginal discharge
Age-related hearing impairment (ARHI) affects 25–40% of individuals over the age of 65. Despite the high prevalence of this complex trait, ARHI is still poorly understood. We hypothesized that variance in hearing ability with age is largely determined by genetic factors. We collected audiologic data on females of Northern European ancestry and compared different audiogram representations. A web-based speech-to-noise ratio (SNR) hearing test was compared with pure-tone thresholds to see if we could determine accurately hearing ability on people at home and the genetic contribution to each trait compared. Volunteers were recruited from the TwinsUK cohort. Hearing ability was determined using pure-tone audiometry and a web-based hearing test. Different audiogram presentations were compared for age-correlation and reflection of audiogram shape. Using structural equation modelling based on the classical twin model the heritability of ARHI, as measured by the different phenotypes, was estimated and shared variance between the web-based SNR test and pure-tone audiometry determined using bivariate modelling. Pure-tone audiometric data was collected on 1033 older females (age: 41–86). 1970 volunteers (males and females, age: 18–85) participated in the SNR. In the comparison between different ARHI phenotypes the difference between the first two principle components (PC1–PC2) best represented ARHI. The SNR test showed a sensitivity and specificity of 89% and 80%, respectively, in comparison with pure-tone audiogram data. Univariate heritability estimates ranged from 0.70 (95% CI: 0.63–0.76) for (PC1–PC2) to 0.56 (95% CI: 0.48–0.63) for PC2. The genetic correlation of PC1–PC2 and SNR was −0.67 showing that the 2 traits share variances attributed to additive genetic factors. Hearing ability showed considerable heritability in our sample. We have shown that the SNR test provides a useful surrogate marker of hearing. This will enable a much larger sample to be collected at a fraction of the cost, facilitating future genetic association studies.
The Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 gene (BMP4) is located in chromosome 14q22-q23 which has shown evidence of linkage for isolated nonsyndromic cleft lip with or without cleft palate (NSCL/P) in a genome wide linkage analysis of human multiplex families. BMP4 has been shown to play crucial roles in lip and palatal development in animal models. Several candidate gene association analyses also supported its potential risk for NSCL/P, however, results across these association studies have been inconsistent. The aim of the current study was to test for possible association between markers in and around the BMP4 gene and NSCL/P in Asian and Maryland trios.
Family Based Association Test was used to test for deviation from Mendelian assortment for 12 SNPs in and around BMP4. Nominal significant evidence of linkage and association was seen for three SNPs (rs10130587, rs2738265 and rs2761887) in 221 Asian trios and for one SNP (rs762642) in 76 Maryland trios. Statistical significance still held for rs10130587 after Bonferroni correction (corrected p = 0.019) among the Asian group. Estimated odds ratio for carrying the apparent high risk allele at this SNP was 1.61 (95%CI = 1.20, 2.18).
Our results provided further evidence of association between BMP4 and NSCL/P.
Development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a multi-factorial process. Chronic infections with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are important risk factors of HCC. Host factors, such as alcohol drinking, may also play a role. This study aims to provide a synthesis view on the development of HCC by examining multiple risk factors jointly and collectively. Causal-pie modeling technique was applied to analyze a cohort of 11,801 male residents (followed up for 15 years) in Taiwan, during which a total of 298 incident HCC cases were ascertained. The rate ratios adjusted by age were further modeled by an additive Poisson regression. Population attributable fractions (PAFs) and causal-pie weights (CPWs) were calculated. A PAF indicates the magnitude of case-load reduction under a particular intervention scenario, whereas a CPW for a particular class of causal pies represents the proportion of HCC cases attributable to that class. Using PAF we observed a chance to reduce around 60% HCC risk moving from no HBV-related intervention to the total elimination of the virus. An additional ∼15% (or ∼5%) reduction can be expected, if the HBV-related intervention is coupled with an HCV-related intervention (or an anti-drinking campaign). Eight classes of causal pies were found to be significant, including four dose-response classes of HBV (total CPW=52.7%), one independent-effect class of HCV (CPW=14.4%), one HBV-alcohol interaction class (CPW=4.2%), one HBV-HCV interaction class (CPW=1.7%), and one all-unknown class (CPW=27.0%). Causal-pie modeling for HCC helps clarify the relative importance of each viral and host factor, as well as their interactions.
The rapid and continuing progress in gene discovery for complex diseases is fuelling interest in the potential application of genetic risk models for clinical and public health practice.The number of studies assessing the predictive ability is steadily increasing, but they vary widely in completeness of reporting and apparent quality.Transparent reporting of the strengths and weaknesses of these studies is important to facilitate the accumulation of evidence on genetic risk prediction.A multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Human Genome Epidemiology Network developed a checklist of 25 items recommended for strengthening the reporting of Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies (GRIPS), building on the principles established by prior reporting guidelines.These recommendations aim to enhance the transparency, quality and completeness of study reporting, and thereby to improve the synthesis and application of information from multiple studies that might differ in design, conduct or analysis.
To investigate the utility of uncorrected visual acuity measures in screening for refractive error in white school children aged 6-7-years and 12-13-years.
The Northern Ireland Childhood Errors of Refraction (NICER) study used a stratified random cluster design to recruit children from schools in Northern Ireland. Detailed eye examinations included assessment of logMAR visual acuity and cycloplegic autorefraction. Spherical equivalent refractive data from the right eye were used to classify significant refractive error as myopia of at least 1DS, hyperopia as greater than +3.50DS and astigmatism as greater than 1.50DC, whether it occurred in isolation or in association with myopia or hyperopia.
Results are presented from 661 white 12-13-year-old and 392 white 6-7-year-old school-children. Using a cut-off of uncorrected visual acuity poorer than 0.20 logMAR to detect significant refractive error gave a sensitivity of 50% and specificity of 92% in 6-7-year-olds and 73% and 93% respectively in 12-13-year-olds. In 12-13-year-old children a cut-off of poorer than 0.20 logMAR had a sensitivity of 92% and a specificity of 91% in detecting myopia and a sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 84% in detecting hyperopia.
Vision screening using logMAR acuity can reliably detect myopia, but not hyperopia or astigmatism in school-age children. Providers of vision screening programs should be cognisant that where detection of uncorrected hyperopic and/or astigmatic refractive error is an aspiration, current UK protocols will not effectively deliver.
Studies on familial aggregation of cancer may suggest an overall contribution of inherited genes or a shared environment in the development of malignant disease. We performed a meta-analysis on familial clustering of prostate cancer. Out of 74 studies reporting data on familial aggregation of prostate cancer in unselected populations retrieved by a Pubmed search and browsing references, 33 independent studies meeting the inclusion criteria were used in the analysis performed with the random effects model. The pooled rate ratio (RR) for first-degree family history, i.e. affected father or brother, is 2.48 (95% confidence interval: 2.25–2.74). The incidence rate for men who have a brother who got prostate cancer increases 3.14 times (CI:2.37–4.15), and for those with affected father 2.35 times (CI:2.02–2.72). The pooled estimate of RR for two or more affected first-degree family members relative to no history in father and in brother is 4.39 (CI:2.61–7.39). First-degree family history appears to increase the incidence rate of prostate cancer more in men under 65 (RR:2.87, CI:2.21–3.74), than in men aged 65 and older (RR:1.92, CI:1.49–2.47), p for interaction = 0.002. The attributable fraction among those having an affected first-degree relative equals to 59.7% (CI:55.6–63.5%) for men at all ages, 65.2% (CI:57.7–71.4%) for men younger than 65 and 47.9% (CI:37.1–56.8%) for men aged 65 or older. For those with a family history in 2 or more first-degree family members 77.2% (CI:65.4–85.0%) of prostate cancer incidence can be attributed to the familial clustering. Our combined estimates show strong familial clustering and a significant effect-modification by age meaning that familial aggregation was associated with earlier disease onset (before age 65).
Obesity causes a high disease burden in Australia and across the world. We aimed to analyse the cost-effectiveness of weight reduction with pharmacotherapy in Australia, and to assess its potential to reduce the disease burden due to excess body weight.
We constructed a multi-state life-table based Markov model in Excel in which body weight influences the incidence of stroke, ischemic heart disease, hypertensive heart disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, post-menopausal breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer and kidney cancer. We use data on effectiveness identified from PubMed searches, on mortality from Australian Bureau of Statistics, on disease costs from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, and on drug costs from the Department of Health and Ageing. We evaluate 1-year pharmacological interventions with sibutramine and orlistat targeting obese Australian adults free of obesity-related disease. We use a lifetime horizon for costs and health outcomes and a health sector perspective for costs. Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratios (ICERs) below A$50 000 per Disability Adjusted Life Year (DALY) averted are considered good value for money.
The ICERs are A$130 000/DALY (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 93 000–180 000) for sibutramine and A$230 000/DALY (170 000–340 000) for orlistat. The interventions reduce the body weight-related disease burden at the population level by 0.2% and 0.1%, respectively. Modest weight loss during the interventions, rapid post-intervention weight regain and low adherence limit the health benefits.
Treatment with sibutramine or orlistat is not cost-effective from an Australian health sector perspective and has a negligible impact on the total body weight-related disease burden.
There are sparse data on genetic, epigenetic and vitamin D exposure in African Americans (AA) with colon polyp. Consequently, we evaluated serum 25(OH) D levels, vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms and the methylation status of the tumor suppressor gene dickkopf homolog 1 (DKK1) as risk factors for colon polyp in this population.
The case-control study consisted of 93 patients with colon polyp (cases) and 187 healthy individuals (controls) at Howard University Hospital. Serum levels of 25(OH)D (including D3, D2, and total) were measured by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. DNA analysis focused on 49 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the VDR gene. Promoter methylation analysis of DKK1 was also performed. The resulting data were processed in unadjusted and multivariable logistic regression analyses.
Cases and controls differed in vitamin D status (D3<50 nmol/L: Median of 35.5 in cases vs. 36.8 in controls nmol/L; P = 0.05). Low levels of 25(OH)D3 (<50 nmol/L) were observed in 86% of cases and 68% of controls and it was associated with higher risks of colon polyp (odds ratio of 2.7, 95% confidence interval 1.3–3.4). The SNP analysis showed no association between 46 VDR polymorphisms and colon polyp. The promoter of the DKK1 gene was unmethylated in 96% of the samples.
We found an inverse association between serum 25(OH)D3 and colon polyp in AAs. VDR SNPs and DKK1 methylation were not associated with colon polyp. Vitamin D levels may in part explain the higher incidence of polyp in AAs.
The Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G) is an organisation that aims to promote collaboration between researchers in the field of population-based genomics. The main objectives of P3G are to encourage collaboration between researchers and biobankers, optimize study design, promote the harmonization of information use in biobanks, and facilitate transfer of knowledge between interested parties. The importance of calibration and harmonisation of methods for environmental exposure assessment to allow pooling of data across studies in the evaluation of gene-environment interactions has been recognised by P3G, which has set up a methodological group on calibration with the aim of; 1) reviewing the published methodological literature on measurement error correction methods with assumptions and methods of implementation; 2) reviewing the evidence available from published nutritional epidemiological studies that have used a calibration approach; 3) disseminating information in the form of a comparison chart on approaches to perform calibration studies and how to obtain correction factors in order to support research groups collaborating within the P3G network that are unfamiliar with the methods employed; 4) with application to the field of nutritional epidemiology, including gene-diet interactions, ultimately developing a inventory of the typical correction factors for various nutrients.
Systematic review of (a) the methodological literature on methods to correct for measurement error in epidemiological studies; and (b) studies that have been designed primarily to investigate the association between diet and disease and have also corrected for measurement error in dietary intake.
The conduct of a systematic review of the methodological literature on calibration will facilitate the evaluation of methods to correct for measurement error and the design of calibration studies for the prospective pooling of biobanks. This could increase the efficiency of the design of such studies, improve statistical power, reduce bias, and aid in the assessment of gene-environment interaction effects in complex diseases. The systematic review of calibration of dietary intake information could inform gene-diet interaction investigations involving the pooling of results from studies with nutritional data collected in different ways.
HOXA1 and HOXB1 have been strongly posed as candidate genes for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) given their important role in the development of hindbrain. The A218G (rs10951154) in HOXA1 and the insertion variant in HOXB1 (nINS/INS, rs72338773) were of special interest for ASD but with inconclusive results. Thus, we conducted a meta-analysis integrating case-control and transmission/disequilibrium test (TDT) studies to clearly discern the effect of these two variants in ASD.
Methods and Findings
Multiple electronic databases were searched to identify studies assessing the A218G and/or nINS/INS variant in ASD. Data from case-control and TDT studies were analyzed in an allelic model using the Catmap software. A total of 10 and 7 reports were found to be eligible for meta-analyses of A218G and nINS/INS variant, respectively. In overall meta-analysis, the pooled OR for the 218G allele and the INS allele was 0.97 (95% CI = 0.76-1.25, Pheterogeneity = 0.029) and 1.14 (95% CI = 0.97-1.33, Pheterogeneity = 0.269), respectively. No significant association was also identified between these two variants and ASD risk in stratified analysis. Further, cumulative meta-analysis in chronologic order showed the inclination toward null-significant association for both variants with continual adding studies. Additionally, although the between-study heterogeneity regarding the A218G is not explained by study design, ethnicity, and sample size, the sensitive analysis indicated the stability of the result.
This meta-analysis suggests the HOXA1 A218G and HOXB1 nINS/INS variants may not contribute significantly to ASD risk.
The accuracy of screening for anal cancer precursors relative to screening for cervical cancer precursors has not been systematically examined. The aim of the current meta-analysis was to compare the relative accuracy of anal cytology to cervical cytology in discriminating between histopathologic high grade and lesser grades of dysplasia when the reference standard biopsy is obtained using colposcope magnification.
Methods and Findings
The outcome metric of discrimination was the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve area. Random effects meta-analysis of eligible studies was performed with examination of sources of heterogeneity that included QUADAS criteria and selected covariates, in meta-regression models. Thirty three cervical and eleven anal screening studies were found to be eligible. The primary meta-analytic comparison suggested that anal cytologic screening is somewhat less discriminating than cervical cytologic screening (ROC area [95% confidence interval (C.I.)]: 0.834 [0.809–0.859] vs. 0.700 [0.664–0.735] for cervical and anal screening, respectively). This finding was robust when examined in meta-regression models of covariates differentially distributed by screening setting (anal, cervical).
Anal cytologic screening is somewhat less discriminating than cervical cytologic screening. Heterogeneity of estimates within each screening setting suggests that other factors influence estimates of screening accuracy. Among these are sampling and interpretation errors involving both cytology and biopsy as well as operator skill and experience.
Data from several previous studies examining heart-rate and cardiovascular risk have hinted at a possible relationship between heart-rate and non-cardiac mortality. We thus systematically examined the predictive value of heart-rate variables on the subsequent risk of death from cancer.
In the Paris Prospective Study I, 6101 asymptomatic French working men aged 42 to 53 years, free of clinically detectable cardiovascular disease and cancer, underwent a standardized graded exercise test between 1967 and 1972. Resting heart-rate, heart-rate increase during exercise, and decrease during recovery were measured. Change in resting heart-rate over 5 years was also available in 5139 men. Mortality including 758 cancer deaths was assessed over the 25 years of follow-up.
There were strong, graded and significant relationships between all heart-rate parameters and subsequent cancer deaths. After adjustment for age and tobacco consumption and, compared with the lowest quartile, those with the highest quartile for resting heart-rate had a relative risk of 2.4 for cancer deaths (95% confidence interval: 1.9–2.9, p<0.0001) This was similar after adjustment for traditional cardiovascular risk factors and was observed for the commonest malignancies (respiratory and gastrointestinal). Similarly, significant relationships with cancer death were observed between poor heart rate increase during exercise, poor decrease during recovery and greater heart-rate increase over time (p<0.0001 for all).
Resting and exercise heart rate had consistent, graded and highly significant associations with subsequent cancer mortality in men.
The rapid and continuing progress in gene discovery for complex diseases is fueling interest in the potential application of genetic risk models for clinical and public health practice. The number of studies assessing the predictive ability is steadily increasing, but the quality and completeness of reporting varies. A multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Human Genome Epidemiology Network developed a checklist of 25 items recommended for strengthening the reporting of Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies, building on the principles established by previous reporting guidelines. These recommendations aim to enhance the transparency of study reporting, and thereby to improve the synthesis and application of information from multiple studies that might differ in design, conduct, or analysis. A detailed Explanation and Elaboration document is published on the EJHG website.
Smokers have a higher prevalence of major depressive episodes and depressive symptoms than the general population, but whether this association is causal, or is due to confounding or reverse causation is uncertain because of the problems inherent in some epidemiological studies. Mendelian randomization, in which a genetic variant is used as a surrogate for measuring exposure, is an approach which may be used to better understand this association. We investigated the rs1051730 single nucleotide polymorphism in the nicotine acetylcholine receptor gene cluster (CHRNA5-CHRNA3-CHRNB4), associated with smoking phenotypes, to determine whether women who continued to smoke were also more likely to report a low mood during pregnancy. We found among women who smoked pre-pregnancy, those with the 1051730 T allele smoked more and were less likely to quit smoking during pregnancy, but were also less likely to report high levels of depressed mood at 18 weeks of pregnancy (per allele OR = 0.84, 95%CI 0.72 to 0.99, p = 0.034). The association between genotype and depressed mood was limited to women who were smokers prior to pregnancy, with weak evidence of an interaction between smoking status and genotype (p = 0.07). Our results do not support a causal role of smoking on depressed mood, but are consistent with a self-medication hypothesis, whereby smoking is used to alleviate symptoms of depression. A replication study using multiple genetic variants which influence smoking via different pathways is required to confirm these findings and provide evidence that the genetic variant is reflecting the effect of quitting smoking on depressed mood, and is not directly affecting mood.
The thalidomide tragedy of the 1960s resulted in thousands of children being born with severe limb reduction defects (LRD), among other malformations. In Brazil, there are still babies born with thalidomide embryopathy (TE) because of leprosy prevalence, availability of thalidomide, and deficiencies in the control of drug dispensation. Our objective was to implement a system of proactive surveillance to identify birth defects compatible with TE. Along one year, newborns with LRD were assessed in the Brazilian hospitals participating in the Latin-American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECLAMC). A phenotype of LRD called thalidomide embryopathy phenotype (TEP) was established for surveillance. Children with TEP born between the years 2000–2008 were monitored, and during the 2007–2008 period we clinically investigated in greater detail all cases with TEP (proactive period). The period from 1982 to 1999 was defined as the baseline period for the cumulative sum statistics. The frequency of TEP during the surveillance period, at 3.10/10,000 births (CI 95%: 2.50–3.70), was significantly higher than that observed in the baseline period (1.92/10,000 births; CI 95%: 1.60–2.20), and not uniformly distributed across different Brazilian regions. During the proactive surveillance (2007–2008), two cases of suspected TE were identified, although the two mothers had denied the use of the drug during pregnancy. Our results suggest that TEP has probably increased in recent years, which coincides with the period of greater thalidomide availability. Our proactive surveillance identified two newborns with suspected TE, proving to be a sensitive tool to detect TE. The high frequency of leprosy and the large use of thalidomide reinforce the need for a continuous monitoring of TEP across Brazil.
Women testing positive for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection experience increased levels of anxiety that have been attributed to fears of stigmatization and developing cervical cancer. The objective of this study was to investigate the association between HPV infection and anxiety in women who were unaware they had been tested specifically for HPV, to determine if any anxiety experienced by HPV-positive women could be due to causes other than learning of test results.
This study was nested within a randomised controlled trial of management of women with abnormal cervical cytology conducted in the United Kingdom with recruitment between 1999 and 2002. At baseline, prior to having a sample taken for HPV testing, the results of which were not disclosed, women were assessed for anxiety using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and asked about fears of developing cervical cancer (“cancer worries”); this assessment was repeated at 12, 18, 24, and 30 months of follow-up. Logistic regression and generalized estimating equations were used for the cross-sectional (baseline) and longitudinal analyses, respectively.
Among the 2842 participants, there was no association between HPV status and anxiety among white women. Among non-white women, however, anxiety was less common among HPV-positive than HPV-negative women (adjusted odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.22 to 0.77). Among non-smokers, cancer worry was more common in HPV-positive than HPV-negative women; the opposite association was observed among ex-smokers.
Associations between HPV status and anxiety may be explained by factors other than learning of test results and may vary by ethnicity and lifestyle factors.
The rapid and continuing progress in gene discovery for complex diseases is fueling interest in the potential application of genetic risk models for clinical and public health practice. The number of studies assessing the predictive ability is steadily increasing, but they vary widely in completeness of reporting and apparent quality. Transparent reporting of the strengths and weaknesses of these studies is important to facilitate the accumulation of evidence on genetic risk prediction. A multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Human Genome Epidemiology Network developed a checklist of 25 items recommended for strengthening the reporting of Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies (GRIPS), building on the principles established by previous reporting guidelines. These recommendations aim to enhance the transparency, quality and completeness of study reporting, and thereby to improve the synthesis and application of information from multiple studies that might differ in design, conduct or analysis.
Genetic factors are important determinants of overweight. We examined whether there are differential effect sizes depending on children's body composition.
We analysed data of n = 4,837 children recorded in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), applying quantile regression with sex- and age-specific standard deviation scores (SDS) of body mass index (BMI) or with body fat mass index and fat-free mass index at 9 years as outcome variables and an “obesity-risk-allele score” based on eight genetic variants known to be associated with childhood BMI as the explanatory variable.
The quantile regression coefficients increased with increasing child's BMI-SDS and fat mass index percentiles, indicating larger effects of the genetic factors at higher percentiles. While the associations with BMI-SDS were of similar size in medium and high BMI quantiles (40th percentile and above), effect sizes with fat mass index increased over the whole fat mass index distribution. For example, the fat mass index of a normal-weight (50th percentile) child was increased by 0.13 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.09, 0.16) per additional allele, compared to 0.24 kg/m2 per allele (95% CI: 0.15, 0.32) in children at the 90th percentile. The genetic associations with fat-free mass index were weaker and the quantile regression effects less pronounced than those on fat mass index.
Genetic risk factors for childhood overweight appear to have greater effects on fatter children. Interaction of known genetic factors with environmental or unknown genetic factors might provide a potential explanation of these findings.
The rapid and continuing progress in gene discovery for complex diseases is fueling interest in the potential application of genetic risk models for clinical and public health practice. The number of studies assessing the predictive ability is steadily increasing, but the quality and completeness of reporting varies. A multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Human Genome Epidemiology Network developed a checklist of 25 items recommended for strengthening the reporting of Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies (GRIPS), building on the principles established by prior reporting guidelines. These recommendations aim to enhance the transparency of study reporting, and thereby to improve the synthesis and application of information from multiple studies that might differ in design, conduct, or analysis. A detailed Explanation and Elaboration document is published.
Genetic; Risk prediction; Methodology; Guidelines; Reporting
The rapid and continuing progress in gene discovery for complex diseases is fuelling interest in the potential application of genetic risk models for clinical and public health practice. The number of studies assessing the predictive ability is steadily increasing, but they vary widely in completeness of reporting and apparent quality. Transparent reporting of the strengths and weaknesses of these studies is important to facilitate the accumulation of evidence on genetic risk prediction. A multidisciplinary workshop sponsored by the Human Genome Epidemiology Network developed a checklist of 25 items recommended for strengthening the reporting of Genetic RIsk Prediction Studies (GRIPS), building on the principles established by prior reporting guidelines. These recommendations aim to enhance the transparency, quality and completeness of study reporting, and thereby to improve the synthesis and application of information from multiple studies that might differ in design, conduct or analysis.
Genetic; Risk prediction; Methodology; Guidelines; Reporting