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1.  Risk Factors for Long-Term Mortality after Hospitalization for Community-Acquired Pneumonia: A 5-Year Prospective Follow-Up Study 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0148741.
Contributors to long-term mortality in patients with community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remain unclear, with little attention paid to pneumonia etiology. We examined long-term survival, causes of death, and risk factors for long-term mortality in adult patients who had been hospitalized for CAP, with emphasis on demographic, clinical, laboratory, and microbiological characteristics.
Two hundred and sixty-seven consecutive patients admitted in 2008–2011 to a general hospital with CAP were prospectively recruited and followed up. Patients who died during hospital stay were excluded. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were collected within 48 hours of admission. Extensive microbiological work-up was performed to establish the etiology of CAP in 63% of patients. Mortality data were obtained from the Norwegian Cause of Death Registry. Cox regression models were used to identify independent risk factors for all-cause mortality.
Of 259 hospital survivors of CAP (median age 66 years), 79 (30.5%) died over a median of 1,804 days (range 1–2,520 days). Cumulative 5-year survival rate was 72.9% (95% CI 67.4–78.4%). Standardized mortality ratio was 2.90 for men and 2.05 for women. The main causes of death were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), vascular diseases, and malignancy. Independent risk factors for death were the following (hazard ratio, 95% CI): age (1.83 per decade, 1.47–2.28), cardiovascular disease (2.63, 1.61–4.32), COPD (2.09, 1.27–3.45), immunocompromization (1.98, 1.17–3.37), and low serum albumin level at admission (0.75 per 5g/L higher, 0.58–0.96), whereas active smoking was protective (0.32, 0.14–0.74); active smokers were younger than non-smokers (P < 0.001). Microbial etiology did not predict mortality.
Results largely confirm substantial comorbidity-related 5-year mortality after hospitalization for CAP and the impact of several well-known risk factors for death, and extend previous findings on the prognostic value of serum albumin level at hospital admission. Pneumonia etiology had no prognostic value, but this remains to be substantiated by further studies using extensive diagnostic microbiological methods in the identification of causative agents of CAP.
PMCID: PMC4746118  PMID: 26849359
2.  Soluble RAGE and atherosclerosis in youth with type 1 diabetes: a 5-year follow-up study 
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) play a role in the development of late complications and atherosclerosis in diabetes by engaging the receptor for advanced glycation end products, RAGE. Receptor binding leads to activation of the vascular endothelium and increased inflammation in the vessel wall. The soluble variants of the receptor, endogenous secretory RAGE (esRAGE) and the cleaved cell-surface part of RAGE, which together comprise soluble RAGE (sRAGE), are suggested to have a protective effect acting as decoys for RAGE. We aimed to test whether high levels of soluble variants of RAGE could be protective against atherosclerosis development.
Participants in the prospective atherosclerosis and childhood diabetes study were examined at baseline (aged 8–18) and at follow-up after 5 years. Both sRAGE and esRAGE were measured by immunoassay in 299 patients with type 1 diabetes and 112 healthy controls at baseline and 241 patients and 128 controls at follow-up. The AGEs methylglyoxal-derived hydroimidazolone-1 (MG-H1) and carboxymethyllysine (CML) were measured by immunoassay. The surrogate markers of atherosclerosis assessed were carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT), C-reactive protein (CRP) and Young’s modulus, measures of arterial wall thickness, inflammation and arterial stiffness, respectively.
Levels of sRAGE and esRAGE correlated strongly both at baseline and at follow-up in both diabetes patients and controls. With increasing age, mean values of both variants declined, independent of gender, diabetes or pubertal stage. In the diabetes group, multiple regression analysis showed a positive association between both variants of soluble RAGE and cIMT. There was no significant relationship with Young’s modulus, but a negative association between sRAGE at baseline and CRP at follow-up. The ratios between the AGEs and the variants of soluble RAGE were increased in diabetes patients compared to controls.
The results show a possible protective effect of high levels of sRAGE at baseline against inflammation 5 years later, but not on arterial stiffness or wall thickness, in this cohort of adolescents and young adults with T1D.
PMCID: PMC4582642  PMID: 26408307
Advanced glycation end products; Receptor for advanced glycation end products; sRAGE; esRAGE; Atherosclerosis; Type 1 diabetes; CRP
3.  Associations between circulating endostatin levels and vascular organ damage in systemic sclerosis and mixed connective tissue disease: an observational study 
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) are chronic immune-mediated disorders complicated by vascular organ damage. The aim of this study was to examine the serum levels of the markers of neoangiogenesis: endostatin and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), in our unselected cohorts of SSc and MCTD.
Sera of SSc patients (N = 298) and MCTD patients (N = 162) from two longitudinal Norwegian cohorts were included. Blood donors were included as controls (N = 100). Circulating VEGF and endostatin were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay.
Mean endostatin levels were increased in SSc patients 93.7 (37) ng/ml (P < .001) and MCTD patients 83.2 (25) ng/ml (P < .001) compared to controls 65.1 (12) ng/ml. Median VEGF levels were elevated in SSc patients 209.0 (202) pg/ml compared to MCTD patients 181.3 (175) pg/ml (P = .017) and controls 150.0 (145) pg/ml (P < .001). Multivariable analysis of SSc subsets showed that pulmonary arterial hypertension (coefficient 15.7, 95 % CI: 2.2–29.2, P = .023) and scleroderma renal crisis (coefficient 77.6, 95 % CI: 59.3–100.0, P < .001) were associated with elevated endostatin levels. Multivariable analyses of MCTD subsets showed that digital ulcers were associated with elevated endostatin levels (coefficient 10.5, 95 % CI: 3.2–17.8, P = .005). The risk of death increased by 1.6 per SD endostatin increase (95 % CI: 1.2–2.1, P = .001) in the SSc cohort and by 1.6 per SD endostatin increase (95 % CI: 1.0–2.4, P = .041) in the MCTD cohort after adjustments to known risk factors.
Endostatin levels were elevated in patients with SSc and MCTD, particularly SSc patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and scleroderma renal crisis, and MCTD patients with digital ulcers. Elevated endostatin levels were also associated with increased all-cause mortality during follow-up in both groups of patients. We propose that endostatin might indicate the degree of vascular injury in SSc and MCTD patients.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13075-015-0756-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4551562  PMID: 26315510
4.  Are poor set-shifting abilities associated with a higher frequency of body checking in anorexia nervosa? 
The rigid and obsessional features of anorexia nervosa (AN) have led researchers to explore possible underlying neuropsychological difficulties. Numerous studies have demonstrated poorer set-shifting in patients with AN. However, due to a paucity of research on the connection between neuropsychological difficulties and the clinical features of AN, the link remains hypothetical. The main objective of this study was to explore the association between set-shifting and body checking.
The sample consisted of 30 females diagnosed with AN and 45 healthy females. Set-shifting was assessed using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and frequency of body checking was assessed using the Body Checking Questionnaire (BCQ).
The analysis showed no significant correlations between any of the WCST scores and the BCQ.
The results suggest that there is no association between set-shifting difficulties and frequency of body checking among patients with AN. An alternative explanation could be that the neuropsychological measure included in this study is not sensitive to the set-shifting difficulties observed in clinical settings. We recommend that future studies include more ecologically valid measures of set-shifting in addition to standard neuropsychological tests.
PMCID: PMC4403677  PMID: 25897402
Anorexia nervosa; Eating disorders; Body checking; Set-shifting; Cognitive flexibility
5.  Risk Factors for Community-Acquired Urinary Tract Infections Caused by ESBL-Producing Enterobacteriaceae –A Case–Control Study in a Low Prevalence Country 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e69581.
Community-acquired urinary tract infection (CA-UTI) is the most common infection caused by extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae, but the clinical epidemiology of these infections in low prevalence countries is largely unknown. A population based case-control study was conducted to assess risk factors for CA-UTI caused by ESBL-producing E. coli or K. pneumoniae. The study was carried out in a source population in Eastern Norway, a country with a low prevalence of infections caused by ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. The study population comprised 100 cases and 190 controls with CA-UTI caused by ESBL-producing and non-ESBL-producing E. coli or K. pneumoniae, respectively. The following independent risk factors of ESBL-positive UTIs were identified: Travel to Asia, The Middle East or Africa either during the past six weeks (Odds ratio (OR) = 21; 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.5–97) or during the past 6 weeks to 24 months (OR = 2.3; 95% CI: 1.1–4.4), recent use of fluoroquinolones (OR = 16; 95% CI: 3.2–80) and β-lactams (except mecillinam) (OR = 5.0; 95% CI: 2.1–12), diabetes mellitus (OR = 3.2; 95% CI: 1.0–11) and recreational freshwater swimming the past year (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 1.0–4.0). Factors associated with decreased risk were increasing number of fish meals per week (OR = 0.68 per fish meal; 95% CI: 0.51–0.90) and age (OR = 0.89 per 5 year increase; 95% CI: 0.82–0.97). In conclusion, we have identified risk factors that elucidate mechanisms and routes for dissemination of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in a low prevalence country, which can be used to guide appropriate treatment of CA-UTI and targeted infection control measures.
PMCID: PMC3720588  PMID: 23936052
7.  Early Signs of Atherosclerosis in Diabetic Children on Intensive Insulin Treatment 
Diabetes Care  2010;33(9):2043-2048.
To evaluate early stages of atherosclerosis and predisposing factors in type 1 diabetic children and adolescents compared with age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects.
All children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes, aged 8–18 years in Health Region South-East in Norway were invited to participate in the study (n = 800). A total of 40% (n = 314) agreed to participate and were compared with 118 age-matched healthy control subjects. Carotid artery intima-media thickness (cIMT) and elasticity were measured using standardized methods.
Mean age of the diabetic patients was 13.7 years, mean diabetes duration was 5.5 years, and mean A1C was 8.4%; 97% were using intensive insulin treatment, and 60% were using insulin pumps. Diabetic patients had more frequently elevated cIMT than healthy control subjects: 19.5% were above the 90th centile of healthy control subjects, and 13.1% were above the 95th centile (P < 0.001). Mean cIMT was higher in diabetic boys than in healthy control subjects (0.46 ± 0.06 vs. 0.44 ± 0.05 mm, P = 0.04) but not significantly so in girls. There was no significant difference between the groups regarding carotid distensibility, compliance, or wall stress. None of the subjects had atherosclerotic plaque formation. Although within the normal range, the mean values of systolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and apolipoprotein B were significantly higher in the diabetic patients than in the healthy control subjects.
Despite short disease duration, intensive insulin treatment, fair glycemic control, and no signs of microvascular complications, children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes had slightly increased cIMT compared with healthy control subjects, and the differences were more prominent in boys.
PMCID: PMC2928360  PMID: 20530748
8.  Reduction in BMI z-score and improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors in obese children and adolescents. The Oslo Adiposity Intervention Study - a hospital/public health nurse combined treatment  
BMC Pediatrics  2011;11:47.
Weight loss and increased physical fitness are established approaches to reduce cardiovascular risk factors. We studied the reduction in BMI z-score associated with improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight and obese children and adolescents treated with a combined hospital/public health nurse model. We also examined how aerobic fitness influenced the results.
From 2004-2007, 307 overweight and obese children and adolescents aged 7-17 years were referred to an outpatient hospital pediatrics clinic and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. Together with family members, they were counseled regarding diet and physical activity at biannual clinic visits. Visits with the public health nurse at local schools or at maternal and child health centres were scheduled between the hospital consultations. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and after one year, and aerobic fitness (VO2peak) was measured. In the analyses, 230 subjects completing one year of follow-up by December 2008 were divided into four groups according to changes in BMI z-score: Group 1: decrease in BMI z-score≥0.23, Group 2: decrease in BMI z-score≥0.1-< 0.23, Group 3: decrease in/stable BMI z-score≥0.0-< 0.1, Group 4: increase in BMI z-score (>0.00-0.55).
230 participants were included in the analyses (75%). Mean (SD) BMI z-score was reduced from 2.18 (0.30) to 2.05 (0.39) (p < 0.001) in the group as a whole. After adjustment for BMI z-score, waist circumference and gender, the three groups with reduced BMI z-score had a significantly greater reduction in HOMA-IR, insulin, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and total/HDL cholesterol ratio than the group with increased BMI z-score. Adding change in aerobic fitness to the model had little influence on the results. Even a very small reduction in BMI z-score (group 3) was associated with significantly lower insulin, total cholesterol, LDL and total/HDL cholesterol ratio. The group with the largest reduction in BMI z-score had improvements in HOMA-IR and aerobic fitness as well. An increase in BMI z-score was associated with worsening of C-peptide and total/HDL cholesterol ratio.
Even a modest reduction in BMI z-score after one year of combined hospital/and public health nurse intervention was associated with improvement in several cardiovascular risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3121603  PMID: 21619652

Results 1-8 (8)