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1.  Accessibility and use of urban green spaces, and cardiovascular health: findings from a Kaunas cohort study 
Environmental Health  2014;13:20.
The aims of this study were to explore associations of the distance and use of urban green spaces with the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and its risk factors, and to evaluate the impact of the accessibility and use of green spaces on the incidence of CVD among the population of Kaunas city (Lithuania).
We present the results from a Kaunas cohort study on the access to and use of green spaces, the association with cardiovascular risk factors and other health-related variables, and the risk of cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. A random sample of 5,112 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008. During the mean 4.41 years follow-up, there were 83 deaths from CVD and 364 non-fatal cases of CVD among persons free from CHD and stroke at the baseline survey. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression models were used for data analysis.
We found that the distance from people’s residence to green spaces was not related to the prevalence of health-related variables. However, the prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and the prevalence of diabetes mellitus were significantly lower among park users than among non-users. During the follow up, an increased risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined was observed for those who lived ≥629.61 m from green spaces (3rd tertile of distance to green space) (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.36), and the risk for non-fatal CVD–for those who lived ≥347.81 m (2nd and 3rd tertile) and were not park users (HR = 1.66) as compared to men and women who lived 347.8 m or less (1st tertile) from green space. Men living further away from parks (3rd tertile) had a higher risk of non-fatal and fatal CVD combined, compared to those living nearby (1st tertile) (HR = 1.51). Compared to park users living nearby (1st tertile), a statistically significantly increased risk of non-fatal CVD was observed for women who were not park users and living farther away from parks (2nd and 3rd tertile) (HR = 2.78).
Our analysis suggests public health policies aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles in urban settings could produce cardiovascular benefits.
PMCID: PMC4000006  PMID: 24645935
Green spaces; Cardiovascular diseases; Risk factors
2.  Comparison of four definitions of the metabolic syndrome and odds of ischemic heart disease in the Lithuanian urban population 
The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence of metabolic syndrome diagnosed using four different definitions in the Lithuanian urban population and to determine their association with ischemic heart disease.
Data from the survey performed in the framework of the HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, and Psychosocial factors In Eastern Europe) study were presented. A random sample of 7087 individuals aged 45-72 years was screened in 2006-2008.
In Lithuanian urban population of Kaunas city aged 45-72 years, the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome was determined according to the new Joint Interim Societies (JIS) definition (44.1% of men and 48.7% of women). After adjusting for age, education, smoking habits the metabolic syndrome (irrespective of definition) was associated with a significantly higher risk of ischemic heart disease.
All four metabolic syndrome definitions were associated with ischemic heart disease risk; however odds of this disease were higher in people with metabolic syndrome defined by American Heart Association National Heart Lung Blood Institute definition and National Cholesterol Education program Adult Treatment Panel III definition, than by the new JIS definition.
PMCID: PMC3947490  PMID: 21384223
metabolic syndrome; odds of ischemic heart disease
3.  Correlates of depressive symptoms in urban middle-aged and elderly Lithuanians 
The study aimed to examine the prevalence of depressive symptoms and their correlates in urban middle-aged and elderly Lithuanian adults.
Data from the survey was collected within the framework of the international project HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol and Psychosocial Factors in Eastern Europe). A random sample of 7,115 individuals aged 45–72 years was screened in 2006–2008.
Depressive symptoms were differently associated with independent variables by sex. In men, deprivation (OR 1.85, 95 % CI 1.54–2.17), being divorced (OR 2.34, 95 % CI 1.61–3.39) or widowed (OR 3.64, 95 % CI 2.40–5.52), physical inactivity (OR 1.30, 95 % CI 1.02–1.65), having a history of spine and joint disease (OR 1.72, 95 % CI 1.36–2.17), average perceived health (OR 2.14, 95 % CI 1.55–2.95), poor perceived health (OR 5.13, 95 % CI 3.39–7.76), average quality of life (OR 2.0, 95 % CI 1.55–2.95), or poor quality of life (OR 8.86, 95 % CI 5.19–15.13) were significantly associated with depressive symptoms. In women, deprivation (OR 1.28, 95 % CI 1.15–1.43), being widowed (OR 1.52, 95 % CI 1.23–1.88), mean dose of alcohol per occasion 40–79.9 g (OR 1.65, 95 % CI 1.18–2.30) and more than 80 g (OR 2.09, 95 % CI 1.14–3.82), physical inactivity in leisure time (OR 1.27, 95 % CI 1.04–1.57), having a history of spine and joint disease (OR 1.26, 95 % CI 1.06–1.51), average perceived health (OR 2.56, 95 % CI 1.89–2.72), poor perceived health (OR 5.07, 95 % CI 3.62–7.11), average quality of life (OR 2.27, 95 % CI 1.89–2.72), or poor quality of life (OR 7.21, 95 % CI 4.73–11.00) were significantly associated with depressive symptoms.
Health status and lifestyle factors are associated with depressive symptoms. Associations between depressive symptoms and long-term health problems are partially mediated by self-rated quality of life and self-rated health.
PMCID: PMC4108842  PMID: 24570202
Depressive symptoms; Health status; Life-style factors; Middle-aged and elderly Lithuanian adults
4.  Cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive function in middle aged and elderly Lithuanian urban population: results from the HAPIEE study 
BMC Neurology  2012;12:149.
The purpose of this study was to examine associations between cardiovascular risk factors and cognitive ability in middle aged and elderly Lithuanian urban population.
Data from the survey performed in the framework of the HAPIEE (Health, Alcohol, Psychosocial Factors in Eastern Europe) study were presented. A random sample of 7,087 individuals aged 45–72 years was screened in 2006–2008.
The scores of immediate recall and delayed verbal recall, cognitive speed and attention were significantly lower in men than in women; yet numerical ability scores were higher in men. Significant associations between lowered cognitive functions and previous stroke (in male OR = 2.52; 95% CI = 1.75-3.64; in female OR = 2.45; 95% CI = 1.75, 3.64) as well as ischemic heart disease history (among male OR = 1.28; 95% CI = 1.03-1.60) have been determined. Higher level of physical activity in leisure time (among female OR = 1.32; 95% CI = 1.03-1.69), poor self-rated health (among male OR = 1.57; 95% CI = 1.15-2.14) and poor quality of life (in male OR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.07-2.61; in female OR = 2.81; 95% CI = 1.92-4.11) were related to lowered cognitive function.
The findings of the study suggest that associations between cardiovascular risk factors and lowered cognitive function among healthy middle-aged and elderly adults strongly depend on gender.
PMCID: PMC3517768  PMID: 23199035
5.  Alcohol consumption and risk of gastric cancer: a cohort study of men in Kaunas, Lithuania, with up to 30 years follow-up 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:475.
Gastric cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in the world. Epidemiological findings on alcohol use in relation to gastric cancer remain controversial. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of alcohol consumption on the risk of gastric cancer.
The association between alcohol intake and the risk of gastric cancer was examined in a population-based cohort of 7,150 men in Kaunas, Lithuania, who were enrolled during 1972–1974 or 1976–1980. After up to 30 years of follow-up, 185 gastric cancer cases were identified. Multivariate Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI). The attained age was used as a time-scale.
After adjustment for smoking, education level and body mass index, the HR of gastric cancer was 2.00 (95% CI: 1.04–3.82) for the highest alcohol consumption frequency (2–7 times per week) compared with occasional drinking (a few times per year) and 1.90 (95% CI: 1.13–3.18) for ≥100.0 g ethanol/week versus 0.1–9.9 g ethanol/week. A stronger effect of alcohol consumption on gastric cancer risk was observed during the second half of the study (1993–2008). In the analysis of gastric cancer risk by alcoholic beverage type, all beverages were included simultaneously in the model. The multivariate HR for men who consumed ≥0.5 litre of wine per occasion (compared with those who consumed <0.5 litre) was 2.95 (95% CI: 1.30–6.68). Higher consumption of beer or vodka was not statistically significantly associated with gastric cancer risk. After adjustment for smoking, education level, body mass index and ethanol, we found no excess risk of gastric cancer in association with total acetaldehyde intake.
This study supports a link between alcohol consumption (primarily from ethanol) and the development of gastric cancer in the Lithuanian population. Although an association with heavy wine consumption was observed, the effect of exposure to acetaldehyde on the development of gastric cancer in this cohort was not confirmed. Further research is needed to provide a more detailed evaluation of alcohol drinking and gastric cancer risk.
PMCID: PMC3527179  PMID: 23066954
Alcohol; Alcoholic beverage; Gastric cancer; Cohort studies; Risk factors
6.  Trends in prevalence, awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension, and the risk of mortality among middle-aged Lithuanian urban population in 1983–2009 
Arterial hypertension (AH) is a main risk factor for the risk from cardiovascular (CVD) and stroke mortality. Only few data was published on prevalence, awareness and management of AH in Lithuania. Development of objective approaches to the treatment and control of AH reduces the risk of mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate time trends, the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of AH and risk of mortality among Lithuanian urban population aged 45–64 years during the period of 1983–2009.
Time trends of AH and risk of mortality were examined in three MONICA health surveys in 1983, 1986, 1992, and in one health survey according to MONICA protocol in 2002 included randomly recruited of 2,218 men and 2,491 women. AH was defined as systolic blood pressure (BP) ≥140 mmHg and/or diastolic BP of ≥90 mmHg or current use of antihypertensive medication. The main outcome measures were all-cause mortality, mortality from CVD, coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. The mean duration of follow-up was 11.8 ± 9.2 years. All survey periods were age standardized to the year 2006 of Kaunas population. The estimates of hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval were based on the multivariate Cox proportional hazards regression.
In men during 1983–2002 period hypertension prevalence was 52.1–58.7% and did not significantly change whereas in women decreased from 61.0 to 51.0%. There was a significant increase in hypertension awareness among hypertensive men and women (45.0 to 64.4% and 47.7 to 72.3%, respectively) and in treated hypertensives (55.4 to 68.3% in men and 65.6 to 86.2% in women). Adjusted Cox proportional hazard regression analyses revealed a strong dose–response association between blood-pressure level and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke-mortality risk in both men and women groups.
In Lithuanian urban population the prevalence of hypertension remains high. Despite positive changes in hypertension awareness and treatment, hypertension control remains poor. A strong dose–response association between the level of BP and all-cause, CVD, CHD and stroke mortality risk was indicated.
PMCID: PMC3480954  PMID: 22937997
Hypertension; Awareness; Treatment; Control; Risk of mortality
7.  Trends in suicide in a Lithuanian urban population over the period 1984–2003 
BMC Public Health  2006;6:184.
Throughout the last decade of the twentieth century, Lithuania had the highest suicide rates in Europe among both men and women aged 25–64 years. The rates increased from 1986 until 1995, but later there was a slight decrease. This paper describes the trends in suicide deaths in urban population in Lithuania by gender, dates and suicide method over the period 1984–2003.
Data from the regional mortality register were used to analyze suicide deaths among all men and women aged 25–64 years in Kaunas city, Lithuania over the period 1984–2003. Age-standardized death rates per 100,000 persons (using European standard population) were calculated by gender, suicide method and dates. A joinpoint regression method was used to estimate annual percentage changes (EPACs) and to detect points where the trends changed significantly.
The frequency of death by suicide among males was 48% higher in 1994–2003 than in 1984–1993. The corresponding increase among females was 28%. The most common methods of suicide among men were hanging, strangulation and suffocation (87.4% among all suicide deaths). The proportions of hanging, strangulation and suffocation in males increased by 6.9% – from 83.9% to 89.7% – compared to a 24.2% increase in deaths from handgun, rifle and shotgun firearm discharges and a 216.7% increase in deaths from poisoning with solvents, gases, pesticides and vapors. Among females, the most common methods of suicide were hanging, strangulation and suffocation (68.3% of all suicide deaths). The proportion of hanging deaths among females increased during the time period examined, whereas the proportion of poisonings with solid or liquid substances decreased.
Suicide rates increased significantly among urban men aged 25–64 years in Lithuania throughout the period 1984–2003, whereas among women an increasing but statistically insignificant trend was observed. There were changes in the suicide methods used by both men and women. Changes in the choice of method may have contributed to the changes in suicide rates.
PMCID: PMC1540427  PMID: 16836765

Results 1-7 (7)