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1.  Adverse pregnancy outcomes after exposure to methylphenidate or atomoxetine during pregnancy 
Clinical Epidemiology  2015;7:139-147.
Objective
To determine if prenatal exposure to methylphenidate (MPH) or atomoxetine (ATX) increases the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes in women with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Materials and methods
This was a population-based cohort study of all pregnancies in Denmark from 1997 to 2008. Information on use of ADHD medication, ADHD diagnosis, and pregnancy outcomes was obtained from nationwide registers.
Results
We identified 989,932 pregnancies, in which 186 (0.02%) women used MPH/ATX and 275 (0.03%) women had been diagnosed with ADHD but who did not take MPH/ATX. Our reference pregnancies had no exposure to MPH/ATX and no ADHD diagnosis. Exposure to MPH/ATX was associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion (SA; ie, death of an embryo or fetus in the first 22 weeks of gestation) (adjusted relative risk [aRR] 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03–2.36). The risk of SA was also increased in pregnancies where the mother had ADHD but did not use MPH/ATX (aRR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11–2.20). The aRR of Apgar scores <10 was increased among exposed women (aRR 2.06, 95% CI 1.11–3.82) but not among unexposed women with ADHD (aRR 0.99, 95% CI 0.48–2.05).
Conclusion
MPH/ATX was associated with a higher risk of SA, but our study indicated that it may at least partly be explained by confounding by indication. Treatment with MPH/ATX was however associated with low Apgar scores <10, an association not found among women with ADHD who did not use MPH/ATX.
doi:10.2147/CLEP.S72906
PMCID: PMC4317061  PMID: 25657597
attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; ADHD; methylphenidate; atomoxetine; pregnancy outcomes
2.  Breast cancer risk after exposure to perfluorinated compounds in Danish women: a case–control study nested in the Danish National Birth Cohort 
Cancer Causes & Control  2014;25(11):1439-1448.
Objective
Animal studies have indicated that perfluoroalkylated substances (PFAS) increase mammary fibroadenomas. A recent case–control study in Greenlandic Inuit women showed an association between the PFAS serum levels and breast cancer (BC) risk. The present study evaluates the association between serum levels of PFAS in pregnant Danish women and the risk of premenopausal BC during a follow-up period of 10–15 years using prospectively collected exposure data during the pregnancy.
Methods
Questionnaire and blood samples were taken during 1996–2002 and at the end of follow-up, all 250 BC cases and 233 frequency-matched controls were chosen for further analyses. Serum levels of ten perfluorocarboxylated acids, five perfluorosulfonated acids, and one sulfonamide (perflurooctane-sulfonamide, PFOSA) were determined by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization in negative mode. Computer-assisted telephone interviews taken during pregnancy provided data on potential confounders.
Results
Weak positive and negative insignificant associations were found between BC risk and levels of perfluorooctane sulfonamide (PFOSA) and perfluorohexanesulfonate (PFHxS), respectively. Grouped into quintile, the BC cases had a significant positive association with PFOSA at the highest quintiles and a negatively association for PFHxS. Sensitivity analyses excluding uncertain cases caused stronger data for PFOSA and weaker for PFHxS. No further significant associations were observed.
Conclusions
This study does not provide convincing evidence for a causal link between PFAS exposures and premenopausal BC risks 10–15 years later.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10552-014-0446-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10552-014-0446-7
PMCID: PMC4215104  PMID: 25148915
Breast cancer; Perfluoroalkyl substances; Premenopausal Danish women; Prospective collected data
3.  Prenatal Exposure to Maternal Bereavement and Childbirths in the Offspring: A Population-Based Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103353.
Introduction
The decline in birth rates is a concern in public health. Fertility is partly determined before birth by the intrauterine environment and prenatal exposure to maternal stress could, through hormonal disturbance, play a role. There has been such evidence from animal studies but not from humans. We aimed to examine the association between prenatal stress due to maternal bereavement following the death of a relative and childbirths in the offspring.
Materials and Methods
This population-based cohort study included all subjects born in Denmark after 1968 and in Sweden after 1973 and follow-up started at the age of 12 years. Subjects were categorized as exposed if their mothers lost a close relative during pregnancy or the year before and unexposed otherwise. The main outcomes were age at first child and age-specific mean numbers of childbirths. Data was analyzed using Cox Proportional Hazards models stratified by gender and adjusted for several covariates. Subanalyses were performed considering the type of relative deceased and timing of bereavement.
Results
A total of 4,121,596 subjects were followed-up until up to 41 years of age. Of these subjects, 93,635 (2.3%) were exposed and 981,989 (23.8%) had at least one child during follow-up time. Compared to unexposed, the hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval] of having at least one child for exposed males and females were 0.98 [0.96–1.01] and 1.01 [0.98–1.03], respectively. We found a slightly reduced probability of having children in females born to mothers who lost a parent with HR = 0.97 [0.94–0.99] and increased probability in females born to mothers who lost another child (HR = 1.09 [1.04–1.14]), the spouse (HR = 1.29 [1.12–1.48]) or a sibling (HR = 1.13 [1.01–1.27]).
Conclusions
Our results suggested no overall association between prenatal exposure to maternal stress and having a child in early adulthood but a longer time of follow-up is necessary in order to reach a firmer conclusion.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103353
PMCID: PMC4113360  PMID: 25068458
4.  Mortality after Parental Death in Childhood: A Nationwide Cohort Study from Three Nordic Countries 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(7):e1001679.
Jiong Li and colleagues examine mortality rates in children who lost a parent before 18 years old compared with those who did not using population-based data from Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Bereavement by spousal death and child death in adulthood has been shown to lead to an increased risk of mortality. Maternal death in infancy or parental death in early childhood may have an impact on mortality but evidence has been limited to short-term or selected causes of death. Little is known about long-term or cause-specific mortality after parental death in childhood.
Methods and Findings
This cohort study included all persons born in Denmark from 1968 to 2008 (n = 2,789,807) and in Sweden from 1973 to 2006 (n = 3,380,301), and a random sample of 89.3% of all born in Finland from 1987 to 2007 (n = 1,131,905). A total of 189,094 persons were included in the exposed cohort when they lost a parent before 18 years old. Log-linear Poisson regression was used to estimate mortality rate ratio (MRR). Parental death was associated with a 50% increased all-cause mortality (MRR = 1.50, 95% CI 1.43–1.58). The risks were increased for most specific cause groups and the highest MRRs were observed when the cause of child death and the cause of parental death were in the same category. Parental unnatural death was associated with a higher mortality risk (MRR = 1.84, 95% CI 1.71–2.00) than parental natural death (MRR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.24–1.41). The magnitude of the associations varied according to type of death and age at bereavement over different follow-up periods. The main limitation of the study is the lack of data on post-bereavement information on the quality of the parent-child relationship, lifestyles, and common physical environment.
Conclusions
Parental death in childhood or adolescence is associated with increased all-cause mortality into early adulthood. Since an increased mortality reflects both genetic susceptibility and long-term impacts of parental death on health and social well-being, our findings have implications in clinical responses and public health strategies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
When someone close dies, it is normal to grieve, to mourn the loss of that individual. Initially, people who have lost a loved one often feel numb and disorientated and find it hard to grasp what has happened. Later, people may feel angry or guilty, and may be overwhelmed by feelings of sadness and despair. They may become depressed or anxious and may even feel suicidal. People who are grieving can also have physical reactions to their loss such as sleep problems, changes in appetite, and illness. How long bereavement—the period of grief and mourning after a death—lasts and how badly it affects an individual depends on the relationship between the individual and the deceased person, on whether the death was expected, and on how much support the mourner receives from relatives, friends, and professionals.
Why Was This Study Done?
The loss of a life-partner or of a child is associated with an increased risk of death (mortality), and there is also some evidence that the death of a parent during childhood leads to an increased mortality risk in the short term. However, little is known about the long-term impact on mortality of early parental loss or whether the impact varies with the type of death—a natural death from illness or an unnatural death from external causes such as an accident—or with the specific cause of death. A better understanding of the impact of early bereavement on mortality is needed to ensure that bereaved children receive appropriate health and social support after a parent's death. Here, the researchers undertake a nationwide cohort study in three Nordic countries to investigate long-term and cause-specific mortality after parental death in childhood. A cohort study compares the occurrence of an event (here, death) in a group of individuals who have been exposed to a particular variable (here, early parental loss) with the occurrence of the same event in an unexposed cohort.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers obtained data on everyone born in Denmark from 1968 to 2008 and in Sweden from 1973 to 2006, and on most people born in Finland from 1987 to 2007 (more than 7 million individuals in total) from national registries. They identified 189,094 individuals who had lost a parent between the age of 6 months and 18 years. They then estimated the mortality rate ratio (MRR) associated with parental death during childhood or adolescence by comparing the number of deaths in this exposed cohort (after excluding children who died on the same day as a parent or shortly after from the same cause) and in the unexposed cohort. Compared with the unexposed cohort, the exposed cohort had 50% higher all-cause mortality (MRR = 1.50). The risk of mortality in the exposed cohort was increased for most major categories of cause of death but the highest MRRs were seen when the cause of death in children, adolescents, and young adults during follow-up and the cause of parental death were in the same category. Notably, parental unnatural death was associated with a higher mortality risk (MRR = 1.84) than parental natural death (MRR = 1.33). Finally, the exposed cohort had increased all-cause MRRs well into early adulthood irrespective of child age at parental death, and the magnitude of MRRs differed by child age at parental death and by type of death.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that in three high-income Nordic countries parental death during childhood and adolescence is associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality into early adulthood, irrespective of sex and age at bereavement and after accounting for baseline characteristics such as socioeconomic status. Part of this association may be due to “confounding” factors—the people who lost a parent during childhood may have shared other unknown characteristics that increased their risk of death. Because the study was undertaken in high-income countries, these findings are unlikely to be the result of a lack of material or health care needs. Rather, the increased mortality among the exposed group reflects both genetic susceptibility and the long-term impacts of parental death on health and social well-being. Given that increased mortality probably only represents the tip of the iceberg of the adverse effects of early bereavement, these findings highlight the need to provide long-term health and social support to bereaved children.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001679.
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about bereavement, including personal stories; it also provides information about children and bereavement and about young people and bereavement, including links to not-for-profit organizations that support children through bereavement
The US National Cancer Institute has detailed information about dealing with bereavement for the public and for health professionals that includes a section on children and grief (in English and Spanish)
The US National Alliance for Grieving Children promotes awareness of the needs of children and teens grieving a death and provides education and resources for anyone who wants to support them
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about bereavement (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001679
PMCID: PMC4106717  PMID: 25051501
5.  In utero exposure to alcohol and puberty in boys: a pregnancy cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e004467.
Objectives
Epidemiological studies have raised concerns about the reproductive consequences of in utero exposure to alcohol. Maternal lifestyle factors have been associated with altered pubertal development, but the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on male puberty is unknown. Thus, the objective was to explore whether prenatal alcohol exposure alters pubertal development in boys.
Setting
Follow-up of a Danish pregnancy cohort.
Participants
Sons (N=2522) of women who were enrolled in a Danish pregnancy cohort between 1984 and 1987.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
Indicators of pubertal development, assessed by age at first nocturnal emission, voice break, acne and regular shaving.
Results
We found a tendency towards a later age at first nocturnal emission and voice break following in utero exposure to binge drinking. Boys exposed to ≥5 binge drinking episodes during pregnancy experienced their first nocturnal emission 7.3 months (95% CI −2.8 to 17.4) later and voice break 4.9 months (95% CI −0.6 to 10.4) later than the unexposed boys. Results for average weekly alcohol consumption were in the same direction, but differences were smaller and not statistically significant.
Conclusions
We found no strong support for the hypothesis that in utero exposure to weekly alcohol consumption is a risk factor for altered pubertal development, but a tendency towards delayed pubertal development among boys exposed to binge drinking during fetal life was observed. Longitudinal studies, with data collected as children go through puberty, are needed to explore this further.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004467
PMCID: PMC4067820  PMID: 24916086
Epidemiology; Reproductive Medicine
6.  Psychiatric disorders following fetal death: a population-based cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e005187.
Objectives
Women have increased risks of severe mental disorders after childbirth and death of a child, but it remains unclear whether this association also applies to fetal loss and, if so, to which extent. We studied the risk of any inpatient or outpatient psychiatric treatment during the time period from 12 months before to 12 months after fetal death.
Design
Cohort study using Danish population-based registers.
Setting
Denmark.
Participants
A total of 1 112 831 women born in Denmark from 1960 to 1995 were included. In total, 87 687cases of fetal death (International Classification of Disease-10 codes for spontaneous abortion or stillbirth) were recorded between 1996 and 2010.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The main outcome measures were incidence rate ratios (risk of first psychiatric inpatient or outpatient treatment).
Results
A total of 1379 women had at least one psychiatric episode during follow-up from the year before fetal death to the year after. Within the first few months after the loss, women had an increased risk of psychiatric contact, IRR: 1.51 (95% CI 1.15 to 1.99). In comparison, no increased risk of psychiatric contact was found for the period before fetal death. The risk of experiencing a psychiatric episode was highest for women with a loss occurring after 20 weeks of gestation (12 month probability: 1.95%, 95% CI 1.50 to 2.39).
Conclusions
Fetal death was associated with a transient increased risk of experiencing a first-time episode of a psychiatric disorder, primarily adjustment disorders. The risk of psychiatric episodes tended to increase with increasing gestational age at the time of the loss.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005187
PMCID: PMC4054628  PMID: 24907247
Epidemiology; Obstetrics; Psychiatry
7.  Severe Maternal Stress Exposure Due to Bereavement before, during and after Pregnancy and Risk of Overweight and Obesity in Young Adult Men: A Danish National Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e97490.
Background
Perinatal stress may programme overweight and obesity. We examined whether maternal pre- and post-natal bereavement was associated with overweight and obesity in young men.
Methods
A cohort study was conducted including 119,908 men born from 1976 to 1993 and examined for military service between 2006 and 2011. Among them, 4,813 conscripts were born to mothers bereaved by death of a close relative from 12 months preconception to birth of the child (exposed group). Median body mass index (BMI) and prevalence of overweight and obesity were estimated. Odds ratio of overweight (BMI≥25 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) were estimated by logistic regression analysis adjusted for maternal educational level.
Results
Median BMI was similar in the exposed and the unexposed group but the prevalence of overweight (33.3% versus 30.4%, p = 0.02) and obesity (9.8% versus 8.5%, p = 0.06) was higher in the exposed group. Conscripts exposed 6 to 0 months before conception and during pregnancy had a higher risk of overweight (odds ratio 1.15, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.03; 1.27 and odds ratio 1.13, 95% CI: 1.03; 1.25, respectively). Conscripts born to mothers who experienced death of the child’s biological father before child birth had a two-fold risk of obesity (odds ratio 2.00, 95% CI: 0.93; 4.31). There was no elevated risk in those who experienced maternal bereavement postnatally.
Conclusion
Maternal bereavement during the prenatal period was associated with increased risk of overweight or obesity in a group of young male conscripts, and this may possibly be reflected to severe stress exposure early in life. However, not all associations were clear, and further studies are warranted.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097490
PMCID: PMC4020839  PMID: 24828434
8.  Maternal Pre-Pregnancy BMI and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) in 5-Year-Old Children: A Cohort Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94498.
Background
An association between maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and childhood intelligence quotient (IQ) has repeatedly been found but it is unknown if this association is causal or due to confounding caused by genetic or social factors.
Methods
We used a cohort of 1,783 mothers and their 5-year-old children sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort. The children participated between 2003 and 2008 in a neuropsychological assessment of cognitive ability including IQ tests taken by both the mother and the child. Linear regression analyses were used to estimate the associations between parental BMI and child IQ adjusted for a comprehensive set of potential confounders. Child IQ was assessed with the Wechsler Primary and Preschool Scales of Intelligence – Revised (WPPSI-R).
Results
The crude association between maternal BMI and child IQ showed that BMI was adversely associated with child IQ with a reduction in IQ of −0.40 point for each one unit increase in BMI. This association was attenuated after adjustment for social factors and maternal IQ to a value of −0.27 (−0.50 to −0.03). After mutual adjustment for the father's BMI and all other factors except maternal IQ, the association between paternal BMI and child IQ yielded a regression coefficient of −0.26 (−0.59 to 0.07), which was comparable to that seen for maternal BMI (−0.20 (−0.44 to 0.04)).
Conclusion
Although maternal pre-pregnancy BMI was inversely associated with the IQ of her child, the similar association with paternal BMI suggests that it is not a specific pregnancy related adiposity effect.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094498
PMCID: PMC3984139  PMID: 24727836
9.  Birth weight, gestational age, fetal growth and childhood asthma hospitalization 
Background
Childhood asthma may have a fetal origin through fetal growth and development of the immunocompetence or respiratory organs.
Objective
We examined to which extent short gestational age, low birth weight and fetal growth restriction were associated with an increased risk of asthma hospitalization in childhood.
Methods
We undertook a cohort study based on several national registers in Denmark, Sweden and Finland. We included all live singleton born children in Denmark during 1979-2005 (N = 1,538,093), in Sweden during 1973-2004 (N = 3,067,670), and a 90% random sample of singleton children born in Finland during 1987-2004 (N = 1,050,744). The children were followed from three years of age to first hospitalization for asthma, emigration, death, their 18th birthday, or the end of study (the end of 2008 in Denmark, and the end of 2007 in Sweden or Finland), whichever came first. We computed the pseudo-values for each observation and used them in a generalized estimating equation to estimate relative risks (RR) for asthma hospitalization.
Results
A total of 131,783 children were hospitalized for asthma during follow-up. The risk for asthma hospitalization consistently increased with lower birth weight and shorter gestational age. A 1000-g decrease in birth weight corresponded to a RR of 1.17 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15-1.18). A one-week decrease in gestational age corresponded to a RR of 1.05 (95% CI 1.04-1.06). Small for gestational age was associated with an increased risk of asthma hospitalization in term but not in preterm born children.
Conclusions
Fetal growth and gestational age may play a direct or indirect causal role in the development of childhood asthma.
doi:10.1186/1710-1492-10-13
PMCID: PMC3973844  PMID: 24602245
Asthma; Birth weight; Gestational age; Hospitalization; Small for gestational age
10.  In-Utero Exposure to Bereavement and Offspring IQ: A Danish National Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88477.
Background
Intelligence is a life-long trait that has strong influences on lifestyle, adult morbidity and life expectancy. Hence, lower cognitive abilities are therefore of public health interest. Our primary aim was to examine if prenatal bereavement measured as exposure to death of a close family member is associated with the intelligence quotient (IQ) scores at 18-years of age of adult Danish males completing a military cognitive screening examination.
Methods
We extracted records for the Danish military screening test and found kinship links with biological parents, siblings, and maternal grandparents using the Danish Civil Registration System (N = 167,900). The prenatal exposure period was defined as 12 months before conception until birth of the child. We categorized children as exposed in utero to severe stress (bereavement) during prenatal life if their mothers lost an elder child, husband, parent or sibling during the prenatal period; the remaining children were included in the unexposed cohort. Mean score estimates were adjusted for maternal and paternal age at birth, residence, income, maternal education, gestational age at birth and birth weight.
Results
When exposure was due to death of a father the offsprings' mean IQ scores were lower among men completing the military recruitment exam compared to their unexposed counterparts, adjusted difference of 6.5 standard IQ points (p-value = 0.01). We did not observe a clinically significant association between exposure to prenatal maternal bereavement caused by death of a sibling, maternal uncle/aunt or maternal grandparent even after stratifying deaths only due to traumatic events.
Conclusion
We found maternal bereavement to be adversely associated with IQ in male offspring, which could be related to prenatal stress exposure though more likely is due to changes in family conditions after death of the father. This finding supports other literature on maternal adversity during fetal life and cognitive development in the offspring.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088477
PMCID: PMC3928249  PMID: 24558394
11.  Epidemiologic methods for investigating male fecundity 
Asian Journal of Andrology  2013;16(1):17-22.
Fertility is a couple concept that has been measured since the beginning of demography, and male fecundity (his biological capacity to reproduce) is a component of the fertility rate. Unfortunately, we have no way of measuring the male component directly, although several indirect markers can be used. Population registers can be used to monitor the proportion of childless couples, couples who receive donor semen, trends in dizygotic twinning, and infertility diagnoses. Studies using time-to-pregnancy (TTP) may identify couple subfecundity, and TTP data will correlate with sperm quality and quantity as well as sexual activity and a number of other conditions. Having exposure data available for couples with a fecund female partner would make TTP studies of interest in identifying exposures that may affect male fecundity. Biological indicators such as sperm quality and quantity isolate the male component of fertility, and semen data therefore remain an important source of information for research. Unfortunately, often over half of those invited to provide a sperm sample will refuse, and the study is then subject to a selection that may introduce bias. Because the most important time windows for exposures that impair semen production could be early fetal life, puberty, and the time of ejaculation; longitudinal data over decades of time are required. The ongoing monitoring of semen quality and quantity should continue, and surveys monitoring fertility and waiting TTP should also be designed.
doi:10.4103/1008-682X.122198
PMCID: PMC3901876  PMID: 24369129
data collection; epidemiology; epidemiological monitoring; fertility; sperm count; time-to-pregnancy (TTP)
12.  Low Birth Weight in Children Born to Mothers with Hyperthyroidism and High Birth Weight in Hypothyroidism, whereas Preterm Birth Is Common in Both Conditions: A Danish National Hospital Register Study 
European Thyroid Journal  2013;2(2):135-144.
Objectives
Maternal hyper- and hypothyroidism have been associated with increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, but studies have led to inconsistent results. We aimed to identify children born to mothers with a hospital-recorded diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction in Denmark and to study the association with gestational age at delivery and birth weight of the child.
Study Design
Population-based cohort study using Danish nationwide registers. All singleton live births in Denmark between January 1, 1978 and December 31, 2006 were identified and stratified by maternal diagnosis of hyper- or hypothyroidism registered in the Danish National Hospital Register before January 1, 2007.
Results
Maternal first-time diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction before, during or after pregnancy was registered in 32,809 (2.0%) of the singleton live births (n = 1,638,338). Maternal diagnosis of hyperthyroidism (adjusted OR 1.22, 95% CI 1.15-1.30) and hypothyroidism (adjusted OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.08-1.27) were associated with increased risk of preterm birth. Moreover, birth weight in children born to mothers with a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism was lower (adjusted difference −51 g, 95% CI −58 to −43 g) and higher in relation to maternal hypothyroidism (adjusted difference 20 g, 95% CI 10-30 g). Hyperthyroidism was associated with small-for-gestational-age (adjusted OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.10-1.20) and hypothyroidism with large-for-gestational-age children (adjusted OR 1.24, 95% CI 1.17-1.31).
Conclusions
Based on Danish nationwide registers, both maternal hyper- and hypothyroidism were associated with increased risk of preterm birth. Actual birth weight of the child and birth weight for gestational age were low if the mother had a diagnosis of hyperthyroidism and high if the diagnosis was hypothyroidism.
doi:10.1159/000350513
PMCID: PMC3821508  PMID: 24783052
Thyroid disease; Hyperthyroidism; Hypothyroidism; Iodine; Pregnancy; Gestational age; Birth weight; Birth length; Danish National Hospital Register

13.  Congenital Cerebral Palsy, Child Sex and Parent Cardiovascular Risk 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e79071.
Objective
Genes associated with cardiovascular disease may also be risk factors for congenital cerebral palsy (CP) and these associations may be modified by sex, since there is an increased risk of CP in male children. We investigated the association between CP of the child with cardiovascular disease in parents, taking sex of the child into consideration.
Methods
All parents of non-adopted singletons born in Denmark between 1973 and 2003 were included. Parents of a child with CP, confirmed by the Danish National CP registry, were considered exposed. Cox proportional hazards regressions were used to model risk of cardiovascular outcomes for exposed parents compared to all other parents beginning at the child’s 10th birthday.
Results
We identified 733,730 mothers and 666,652 fathers among whom 1,592 and 1,484, respectively, had a child with CP. The mean age for mothers at end of follow up was 50±8 years. After adjustment for maternal age, parental education, child’s sex, child’s residence, child being small for gestational age and maternal hypertensive disorder during pregnancy, mothers of CP male children had an excess risk of cardiovascular disease (HR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.16-2.00), attributable mostly to an increased incidence of hypertension and cerebrovascular disease. After additional adjustment for preterm birth, the association was markedly attenuated for cardiovascular disease (1.34, 95%CI: 1.02 - 1.76), became nonsignificant for hypertension, but remained significant for cerebrovascular disease (HR: 2.73, 95% CI: 1.45- 5.12). There was no increased risk of cardiovascular events in mothers of female CP children, or fathers of CP children of any sex.
Conclusions
Women that have a male child with CP are at increased risk for premature cardiovascular disease. Part of this association may be related to risk factors for preterm births.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0079071
PMCID: PMC3815096  PMID: 24223882
14.  Psychological Stress and Hospitalization for Childhood Asthma-a Nationwide Cohort Study in Two Nordic Countries 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e78816.
Objective
Exposures to psychological stress in early life may contribute to the development or exacerbation of asthma. We undertook a cohort study based on data from several population-based registers in Denmark and Sweden to examine whether bereavement in childhood led to increased asthma hospitalization.
Methods
All singleton children born in Denmark during 1977-2008 and in Sweden during 1973-2006 were included in the study (N=5,202,576). The children were followed from birth to the date of first asthma hospitalization, emigration, death, their 18th birthday, or the end of study (31 December 2007 in Sweden and 31 December 2008 in Denmark), whichever came first. All the children were assigned to the non-bereaved group until they lost a close relative (mother, father or a sibling), from when they were included in the bereaved group. We evaluated the hazard ratio (HR) of first hospitalization for asthma in bereaved children using Cox proportional hazards regression models, compared to those who were in the non-bereaved group. We also did a sub-analysis on the association between bereavement and first asthma medication.
Results
A total of 147,829 children were hospitalized for asthma. The overall adjusted HR of asthma hospitalization in bereaved children was 1.10 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.04-1.16), compared to non-bereaved children. The risk of asthma hospitalization was increased in those who lost a close relative at age of 14-17 years (HR=1.54, 95% CI: 1.23-1.92), but not in younger age groups. The association between bereavement and asthma hospitalization did not change over time since bereavement. In the sub-analysis in singleton live births during 1996-2008 recorded in the DMBR, bereavement was associated with a lower use of asthma medication (HR=0.87, 95% CI: 0.80-0.95).
Conclusions
Our data suggests that psychological stress following bereavement in late adolescence is associated with an increased risk of asthma hospitalization or lowers the threshold for asthma hospitalization.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078816
PMCID: PMC3808299  PMID: 24205324
15.  Prenatal Antidepressant Exposure and Risk of Spontaneous Abortion – A Population-Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72095.
Purpose
To estimate the risk of spontaneous abortion after use of antidepressant medication during pregnancy.
Methods
From the Danish Medical Birth Registry and the Danish National Hospital Registry, we identified all pregnancies leading to in- or outpatient contacts in Denmark from February 1997 to December 2008. The Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics provided information on the women's prescriptions for antidepressants during pregnancy. We obtained information on women who were diagnosed with depression from the Danish Psychiatric Central Registry. Adjusted relative risks (aRR) of spontaneous abortion were estimated according to exposure to antidepressants or maternal depression using binomial regression.
Results
Of the 1,005,319 pregnancies (547,300 women) identified, 114,721 (11.4%) ended in a spontaneous abortion. We identified 22,061 pregnancies exposed to antidepressants and 1,843 with a diagnosis of depression with no antidepressant use, of which 2,637 (12.0%) and 205 (11.1%) ended in a spontaneous abortion, respectively. Antidepressant exposure was associated with an aRR of 1.14 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.10–1.18) for spontaneous abortion compared with no exposure to antidepressants. Among women with a diagnosis of depression, the aRR for spontaneous abortion after any antidepressant exposure was 1.00 (95% CI 0.80–1.24). No individual selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) was associated with spontaneous abortions. In unadjusted analyses, we found that mirtazapine, venlafaxine, and duloxetine were associated with spontaneous abortions among women with depression but we had no information on potential differences in disease severity and only few pregnancies were exposed in the population.
Conclusion
We identified a slightly increased risk of spontaneous abortion associated with the use of antidepressants during pregnancy. However, among women with a diagnosis of depression, antidepressants in general or individual SSRI in particular were not associated with spontaneous abortions. Further studies are warranted on the newer non-SSRI antidepressants, as we had insufficient data to adjust for important confounding factors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072095
PMCID: PMC3756033  PMID: 24015208
16.  Correction: Prenatal Exposure to Bereavement and Type-2 Diabetes: A Danish Longitudinal Population Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):10.1371/annotation/dbd21894-4722-499c-afaf-b03015fae7d8.
doi:10.1371/annotation/dbd21894-4722-499c-afaf-b03015fae7d8
PMCID: PMC3744642  PMID: 23976927
17.  Maternal Thyroid Dysfunction and Risk of Seizure in the Child: A Danish Nationwide Cohort Study 
Journal of Pregnancy  2013;2013:636705.
Thyroid hormones are essential for brain development, and maternal thyroid disease may affect child neurocognitive development. Some types of seizures may also depend upon early exposure of the developing central nervous system, and we hypothesized that maternal thyroid dysfunction could increase the risk of seizure in the child. In a Danish population-based study we included 1,699,693 liveborn singletons, and from the Danish National Hospital Register we obtained information on maternal diagnosis of hyper- or hypothyroidism and neonatal seizure, febrile seizure, and epilepsy in the child. Maternal diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction before or after birth of the child was registered in two percent of the singleton births. In adjusted analyses, maternal hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism first time diagnosed after birth of the child were associated with a significant increased risk of epilepsy in the child. Moreover, hypothyroidism diagnosed after birth of the child was associated with a significant increased risk of neonatal and febrile seizures. No significant association was seen for maternal diagnosis prior to birth of the child. We speculate if some degree of maternal thyroid dysfunction was already present during the pregnancy in mothers diagnosed after birth of the child and if this untreated condition may present a neurodevelopmental risk.
doi:10.1155/2013/636705
PMCID: PMC3745964  PMID: 23984072
18.  Early life bereavement and childhood cancer: a nationwide follow-up study in two countries 
BMJ Open  2013;3(5):e002864.
Objective
Childhood cancer is a leading cause of child deaths in affluent countries, but little is known about its aetiology. Psychological stress has been suggested to be associated with cancer in adults; whether this is also seen in childhood cancer is largely unknown. We investigated the association between bereavement as an indicator of severe childhood stress exposure and childhood cancer, using data from Danish and Swedish national registers.
Design
Population-based cohort study.
Setting
Denmark and Sweden.
Participants
All live-born children born in Denmark between 1968 and 2007 (n=2 729 308) and in Sweden between 1973 and 2006 (n=3 395 166) were included in this study. Exposure was bereavement by the death of a close relative before 15 years of age. Follow-up started from birth and ended at the first of the following: date of a cancer diagnosis, death, emigration, day before their 15th birthday or end of follow-up (2007 in Denmark, 2006 in Sweden).
Outcome measures
Rates and HRs for all childhood cancers and specific childhood cancers.
Results
A total of 1 505 938 (24.5%) children experienced bereavement at some point during their childhood and 9823 were diagnosed with cancer before the age of 15 years. The exposed children had a small (10%) increased risk of childhood cancer (HR 1.10; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.17). For specific cancers, a significant association was seen only for central nervous system tumours (HR 1.14; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.28).
Conclusions
Our data suggest that psychological stress in early life is associated with a small increased risk of childhood cancer.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002864
PMCID: PMC3664350  PMID: 23793702
Childhood cancer; bereavement; psychological stress; risk factor; follow up
19.  Maternal Use of Antibiotics and the Risk of Childhood Febrile Seizures: A Danish Population-Based Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61148.
Objective
In a large population-based cohort in Denmark to examine if maternal use of antibiotics during pregnancy, as a marker of infection, increases the risk of febrile seizures in childhood in a large population-based cohort in Denmark.
Methods
All live-born singletons born in Denmark between January 1, 1996 and September 25, 2004 and who were alive on the 90th day of life were identified from the Danish National Birth Registry. Diagnoses of febrile seizures were obtained from the Danish National Hospital Register and maternal use of antibiotics was obtained from the National Register of Medicinal Product Statistics. Hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) were estimated by Cox proportional hazard regression models.
Results
We followed 551,518 singletons for up to 5 years and identified a total of 21,779 children with a diagnosis of febrile seizures. Slightly increased hazard ratios were observed among most exposure groups when compared to the unexposed group, ex. HR 1.08 95% CI: 1.05–1.11 for use of any systemic antibiotic during pregnancy.
Conclusion
We found weak associations between the use of pharmacologically different antibiotics during pregnancy and febrile seizures in early childhood which may indicate that some infections, or causes or effects of infections, during pregnancy could affect the fetal brain and induce susceptibility to febrile seizures.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061148
PMCID: PMC3627381  PMID: 23613800
20.  Ambient Air Pollution and Autism in Los Angeles County, California 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;121(3):380-386.
Background: The prevalence of autistic disorder (AD), a serious developmental condition, has risen dramatically over the past two decades, but high-quality population-based research addressing etiology is limited.
Objectives: We studied the influence of exposures to traffic-related air pollution during pregnancy on the development of autism using data from air monitoring stations and a land use regression (LUR) model to estimate exposures.
Methods: Children of mothers who gave birth in Los Angeles, California, who were diagnosed with a primary AD diagnosis at 3–5 years of age during 1998–2009 were identified through the California Department of Developmental Services and linked to 1995–2006 California birth certificates. For 7,603 children with autism and 10 controls per case matched by sex, birth year, and minimum gestational age, birth addresses were mapped and linked to the nearest air monitoring station and a LUR model. We used conditional logistic regression, adjusting for maternal and perinatal characteristics including indicators of SES.
Results: Per interquartile range (IQR) increase, we estimated a 12–15% relative increase in odds of autism for ozone [odds ratio (OR) = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.06, 1.19; per 11.54-ppb increase] and particulate matter ≤ 2.5 µm (OR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.24; per 4.68-μg/m3 increase) when mutually adjusting for both pollutants. Furthermore, we estimated 3–9% relative increases in odds per IQR increase for LUR-based nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide exposure estimates. LUR-based associations were strongest for children of mothers with less than a high school education.
Conclusion: Measured and estimated exposures from ambient pollutant monitors and LUR model suggest associations between autism and prenatal air pollution exposure, mostly related to traffic sources.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1205827
PMCID: PMC3621187  PMID: 23249813
air pollution; autism; land-use regression; pregnancy; traffic
21.  Risk of Cerebral Palsy and Childhood Epilepsy Related to Infections before or during Pregnancy 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57552.
Background and Aim
Maternal infections during pregnancy have been associated with several neurological disorders in the offspring. However, given the lack of specificity for both the exposures and the outcomes, other factors related to infection such as impaired maternal immune function may be involved in the causal pathway. If impaired maternal immune function plays a role, we would expect infection before pregnancy to be associated with these neurological outcomes.
Methods/Principal Findings
The study population included all first-born singletons in Denmark between January 1 1982 and December 31 2004. We identified women who had hospital-recorded infections within the 5 year period before pregnancy, and women who had hospital-recorded infections during pregnancy. We grouped infections into either infections of the genitourinary system, or any other infections. Cox models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) with 95% confidence interval (CI). Maternal infection of the genitourinary system during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of cerebral palsy (aHR = 1.63, 95% CI: 1.34–1.98) and epilepsy (aHR = 1.27, 95% CI: 1.13–1.42) in the children, compared to children of women without infections during pregnancy. Among women without hospital-recorded infections during pregnancy, maternal infection before pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of epilepsy (aHR = 1.35, 95% CI: 1.21–1.50 for infections of the genitourinary system, and HR = 1.12, 95% CI: 1.03–1.22 for any other infections) and a slightly higher risk of cerebral palsy (aHR = 1.20, 95% CI: 0.96–1.49 for infections of the genitourinary system, and HR = 1.23, 95% CI: 1.06–1.43 for any other infections) in the children, compared to children of women without infections before (and during) pregnancy.
Conclusions
These findings indicate that the maternal immune system, maternal infections, or factors related to maternal immune function play a role in the observed associations between maternal infections before pregnancy and cerebral diseases in the offspring.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0057552
PMCID: PMC3583873  PMID: 23460873
22.  Sex Differences in Response to Anti-TNF Therapy in Early and Established Rheumatoid Arthritis – Results from the Longitudinal Danish DANBIO Registry 
The Journal of rheumatology  2011;39(1):46-53.
Objective
To investigate sex differences in response to anti-tumor necrosis factor (TNF) therapy over time in early versus established rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
RA patients who initiated anti-TNF therapy between January 2003 and June 2008 in Denmark were selected from the DANBIO Registry. Sex differences in baseline disease features were examined using Chi-square, Mann-Whitney and t-tests. Using a generalized estimating equations (GEE) model for repeated measures, we examined EULAR responses in men and women over 48 months of follow up, adjusting for baseline values of age, disease activity (DAS28), disease duration and anti-TNF, methotrexate and prednisolone use.
Results
At initiation of anti-TNF therapy (baseline), 328 women and 148 men had early RA (≤2 years), and 1,245 women and 408 men had established RA (>2 years). In both early and established RA, men and women had active disease with similar DAS28 scores (mean±SD: 5.2±1.1), physician global scores, swollen joint counts and radiographic changes. In early RA, men were significantly more likely to achieve a EULAR good/moderate response over 48 months compared to women (GEE: p=0.003), and a significant interaction between sex and follow up time (GEE: p<0.0005) suggested that men achieved this response sooner than women.
Conclusion
Better responses to anti-TNF therapy among men compared to women in early but not established RA suggest that disease duration at initiation of therapy may be an important factor to consider when investigating sex differences in treatment responses.
doi:10.3899/jrheum.110548
PMCID: PMC3563108  PMID: 22089458
Rheumatoid arthritis; Sex; Anti-TNF response
23.  Spontaneous Abortion and a Diet Drug Containing Caffeine and Ephedrine: A Study within the Danish National Birth Cohort 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e50372.
Background
Medications may be consumed periconceptionally before a woman knows she is pregnant. In this study, the authors evaluate the association of a prescription diet drug (Letigen) containing ephedrine (20 mg) and caffeine (200 mg) with spontaneous abortion (SAB) in the Danish National Birth Cohort.
Methods
Women were recruited during their first prenatal visit from 1996–2002. Pre-conception and early pregnancy medication use was reported on the enrollment form, and pregnancy outcome was determined by linking the mother's Civil Registration Number to the Medical Birth Registry and the National Hospital Discharge Register. Of 97,903 eligible pregnancies, 4,443 ended in SAB between 5 and 20 completed gestational weeks, inclusive. Letigen use was reported for 565 pregnancies. Cox regression models accounting for left truncation were fit to estimate the effect of pre-conception and early pregnancy Letigen use on SAB.
Principal Findings
The estimated maternal age-adjusted hazard ratio for SAB was 1.1 (95% confidence interval 0.8–1.6) for any periconceptional Letigen use compared to no periconceptional use.
Conclusions
Although Letigen has high levels of caffeine (the recommended 3 pills/day are approximately equivalent to caffeine from 6 cups of coffee), periconceptional use does not appear to be associated with an appreciably increased hazard of clinically recognized SAB.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0050372
PMCID: PMC3500353  PMID: 23166844
24.  Prenatal Exposure to Bereavement and Type-2 Diabetes: A Danish Longitudinal Population Based Study 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(8):e43508.
Background
The etiology of type-2 diabetes is only partly known, and a possible role of prenatal stress in programming offspring for insulin resistance has been suggested by animal models. Previously, we found an association between prenatal stress and type-1 diabetes. Here we examine the association between prenatal exposure to maternal bereavement during preconception and pregnancy and development of type-2 diabetes in the off-spring.
Methods
We utilized data from the Danish Civil Registration System to identify singleton births in Denmark born January 1st 1979 through December 31st 2008 (N = 1,878,246), and linked them to their parents, grandparents, and siblings. We categorized children as exposed to bereavement during prenatal life if their mothers lost an elder child, husband or parent during the period from one year before conception to the child’s birth. We identified 45,302 children exposed to maternal bereavement; the remaining children were included in the unexposed cohort. The outcome of interest was diagnosis of type-2 diabetes. We estimated incidence rate ratios (IRRs) from birth using log-linear poisson regression models and used person-years as the offset variable. All models were adjusted for maternal residence, income, education, marital status, sibling order, calendar year, sex, and parents’ history of diabetes at the time of pregnancy.
Results
We found children exposed to bereavement during their prenatal life were more likely to have a type-2 diabetes diagnosis later in life (aIRR: 1.31, 1.01–1.69). These findings were most pronounced when bereavement was caused by death of an elder child (aIRR: 1.51, 0.94–2.44). Results also indicated the second trimester of pregnancy to be the most sensitive period of bereavement exposure (aIRR:2.08, 1.15–3.76).
Conclusions
Our data suggests that fetal exposure to maternal bereavement during preconception and the prenatal period may increase the risk for developing type-2 diabetes in childhood and young adulthood.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043508
PMCID: PMC3429491  PMID: 22952698
25.  The 5-minute Apgar score as a predictor of childhood cancer: a population-based cohort study in five million children 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001095.
Objective
The aetiology of childhood cancer remains largely unknown but recent research indicates that uterine environment plays an important role. We aimed to examine the association between the Apgar score at 5 min after birth and the risk of childhood cancer.
Design
Nationwide population-based cohort study.
Setting
Nationwide register data in Denmark and Sweden.
Study population
All live-born singletons born in Denmark from 1978 to 2006 (N=1 771 615) and in Sweden from 1973 to 2006 (N=3 319 573). Children were followed up from birth to 14 years of age.
Main outcome measures
Rates and HRs for all childhood cancers and for specific childhood cancers.
Results
A total of 8087 children received a cancer diagnosis (1.6 per 1000). Compared to children with a 5-min Apgar score of 9–10, children with a score of 0–5 had a 46% higher risk of cancer (adjusted HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.15 to 1.89). The potential effect of low Apgar score on overall cancer risk was mostly confined to children diagnosed before 6 months of age. Children with an Apgar score of 0–5 had higher risks for several specific childhood cancers including Wilms’ tumour (HR 4.33, 95% CI 2.42 to 7.73).
Conclusions
A low 5 min Apgar score was associated with a higher risk of childhood cancers diagnosed shortly after birth. Our data suggest that environmental factors operating before or during delivery may play a role on the development of several specific childhood cancers.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001095
PMCID: PMC3425910  PMID: 22874628
Oncology; Epidemiology; Paediatric oncology; Preventive Medicine

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