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1.  A Review of the Epidemiological Methods Used to Investigate the Health Impacts of Air Pollution around Major Industrial Areas 
We performed a literature review to investigate how epidemiological studies have been used to assess the health consequences of living in the vicinity of industries. 77 papers on the chronic effects of air pollution around major industrial areas were reviewed. Major health themes were cancers (27 studies), morbidity (25 studies), mortality (7 studies), and birth outcome (7 studies). Only 3 studies investigated mental health. While studies were available from many different countries, a majority of papers came from the United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain. Several studies were motivated by concerns from the population or by previous observations of an overincidence of cases. Geographical ecological designs were largely used for studying cancer and mortality, including statistical designs to quantify a relationship between health indicators and exposure. Morbidity was frequently investigated through cross-sectional surveys on the respiratory health of children. Few multicenter studies were performed. In a majority of papers, exposed areas were defined based on the distance to the industry and were located from <2 km to >20 km from the plants. Improving the exposure assessment would be an asset to future studies. Criteria to include industries in multicenter studies should be defined.
PMCID: PMC3684125  PMID: 23818910
2.  A Pilot Study of the ELFE Longitudinal Cohort: Feasibility and Preliminary Evaluation of Biological Collection 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2011;9(3):223-227.
Etude Longitudinale Française depuis l'Enfance (ELFE) will be a national French cohort of 20,000 children followed from birth to adulthood. Biological samples will be taken at birth to evaluate the fetal exposition to several substances. A pilot study was carried out in October 2007 to test the preanalytical factors that affected sample quality. A variety of fractions were collected by the midwife after delivery from different blood collection tubes. Options in the collection process were 2 daily transports of samples, centralized and standardized processing methodology, and storage of multiple aliquots in liquid nitrogen or at −80°C. We analyzed preanalytical factors that could have affected coagulation and then soluble CD40 Ligand (sCD40L) as a quality control tool for serum quality. Cord blood and urine were collected from 82% and 84% of women, respectively, who agreed to be followed up in the ELFE project. The use of syringe was the main factor correlated with coagulation (relative risk: 2.79 [1.47; 5.31], P<0.01). Maternity unit status was also associated with coagulation (RR: 1.48 [1.03; 2.13] in a private maternity unit vs. a public maternity) as well as time between collection and centrifugation (RR 1.03 [1; 1.07] when time between collection and centrifugation increases from 1 h). There were no extremely low sCD40L values indicating extreme exposures to room temperatures. This first evaluation study allowed us to stress the importance of carefully recording all potentially critical preanalytical variables that might be used at a large-scale level.
PMCID: PMC3178416  PMID: 21977239
3.  Rationales, design and recruitment for the Elfe longitudinal study 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:58.
Many factors act simultaneously in childhood to influence health status, life chances and well being, including pre-birth influences, the environmental pollutants of early life, health status but also the social influences of family and school. A cohort study is needed to disentangle these influences and explore attribution.
Elfe will be a nationally representative cohort of 20 000 children followed from birth to adulthood using a multidisciplinary approach. The cohort will be based on the INSEE Permanent Demographic Panel (EDP) established using census data and civil records. The sample size has been defined in order to match the representativeness criteria and to obtain some prevalence estimation, but also to address the research area of low exposure/rare effects. The cohort will be based on repeated surveys by face to face or phone interview (at birth and each year) as well as medical interview (at 2 years) and examination (at 6 years). Furthermore, biological samples will be taken at birth to evaluate the foetal exposition to toxic substances, environmental sensors will be placed in the child's homes. Pilot studies have been initiated in 2007 (500 children) with an overall acceptance rate of 55% and are currently under progress, the 2-year survey being carried out in October this year.
The longitudinal study will provide a unique source of data to analyse the development of children in their environment, to study the various factors interacting throughout the life course up to adulthood and to determine the impact of childhood experience on the individual's physical, psychological, social and professional development.
PMCID: PMC2754449  PMID: 19772571
4.  Medication Sales and Syndromic Surveillance, France 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2006;12(3):416-421.
Real-time over-the-counter drug sales provide an additional tool for disease surveillance.
Although syndromic surveillance systems using nonclinical data have been implemented in the United States, the approach has yet to be tested in France. We present the results of the first model based on drug sales that detects the onset of influenza season and forecasts its trend. Using weekly lagged sales of a selected set of medications, we forecast influenzalike illness (ILI) incidence at the national and regional level for 3 epidemic seasons (2000-01, 2001-02, and 2002-03) and validate the model with real-time updating on the fourth (2003-04). For national forecasts 1–3 weeks ahead, the correlation between observed ILI incidence and forecast was 0.85–0.96, an improvement over the current surveillance method in France. Our findings indicate that drug sales are a useful additional tool to syndromic surveillance, a complementary and independent source of information, and a potential improvement for early warning systems for both epidemic and pandemic planning.
PMCID: PMC3291431  PMID: 16704778
public health surveillance; influenza; drug sales; forecasting model; sentinel surveillance; research

Results 1-4 (4)