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1.  Seasonality, incidence and prognosis in atrial fibrillation and stroke in Denmark and New Zealand 
BMJ Open  2012;2(4):e001210.
Objectives
There are relatively few large studies of seasonal variation in the occurrence of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). We investigated the seasonal variation in incidence rates of hospitalisation with stroke in patients from Denmark and New Zealand.
Design
Cohort study.
Setting
Nationwide hospital discharge data from Denmark and New Zealand.
Participants
243 381 (median age 75) subjects having a first-time hospitalisation with AF in Denmark and 51 480 (median age 76) subjects in New Zealand constituted the study population. Subjects with previous hospitalisation with stroke were excluded.
Primary and secondary effect measures
Peak-to-trough ratio of the seasonal variation in incidence rates of stroke in AF patients adjusted for an overall trend was primary effect measure and was assessed using a log-linear Poisson regression model. Secondary effect measures were incidence rate ratios of AF and 30-day case fatality for stroke patients.
Results
Incidence rates of AF per 1000 person-years in Denmark increased by 5.4% (95% CI 5.3% to 5.7%) for patients aged <65 and 5% (95% CI 4.9% to 5.1%) for patients aged ≥65, whereas the increase was 0.2% (95% CI −0.2% to 0.6%) for patients aged <65 and 2.6% (95% CI 2.4% to 2.8%) for patients aged ≥65 in New Zealand. In Denmark 36 088 subjects were hospitalised with stroke, and 7518 subjects in New Zealand, both showing peaks during winter with peak-to-trough ratios of 1.22 and 1.27, respectively and a decreasing trend. The 30-day case fatality risk for stroke patients having AF is now (2000–2008) about 20% in both countries.
Conclusions
Although incidence rates of hospitalisation with stroke in patients with AF have decreased in recent years, stroke remains a common AF complication with a high case fatality risk. The marked winter peak in incidence rates of hospitalisation with stroke in AF patients suggests that there are opportunities to reduce this complication. Further studies are necessary to identify how to optimise treatment of AF and prevention of stroke.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001210
PMCID: PMC3432837  PMID: 22923628
Neurology; Stroke; Atrial fibrillation; Seasonal variation; Epidemiology; Internal Medicine; Cardiology; Poisson regression
2.  Self-rated health and mortality in individuals with diabetes mellitus: prospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000760.
Objectives
To investigate whether low self-rated health (SRH) is associated with increased mortality in individuals with diabetes.
Design
Population-based prospective cohort study.
Setting
Enrolment took place between 1992 and 2000 in four centres (Bilthoven, Heidelberg, Potsdam, Umeå) in a subcohort nested in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.
Participants
3257 individuals (mean ± SD age was 55.8±7.6 years and 42% women) with confirmed diagnosis of diabetes mellitus.
Primary outcome measure
The authors used Cox proportional hazards modelling to estimate HRs for total mortality controlling for age, centre, sex, educational level, body mass index, physical inactivity, smoking, insulin treatment, hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and history of myocardial infarction, stroke or cancer.
Results
During follow-up (mean follow-up ± SD was 8.6±2.3 years), 344 deaths (241 men/103 women) occurred. In a multivariate model, individuals with low SRH were at higher risk of mortality (HR 1.38, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.73) than those with high SRH. The association was mainly driven by increased 5-year mortality and was stronger among individuals with body mass index of <25 kg/m2 than among obese individuals. In sex-specific analyses, the association was statistically significant in men only. There was no indication of heterogeneity across centres.
Conclusions
Low SRH was associated with increased mortality in individuals with diabetes after controlling for established risk factors. In patients with diabetes with low SRH, the physician should consider a more detailed consultation and intensified support.
Article summary
Article focus
Is low self-rated health (SRH) associated with increased mortality in individuals with diabetes?
If so, is the association between SRH and mortality in individuals with diabetes moderated by socio-demographic and health-related variables?
Key messages
Low SRH was associated with increased mortality in individuals with diabetes after controlling for established risk factors. The association was homogeneous across the four European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition centres situated in three different European countries.
The association between low SRH and mortality was mainly driven by increased 5-year mortality in men and was stronger among individuals with body mass index <25 than among obese individuals.
Strengths and limitations of this study
To our knowledge, this is the first study that evaluates this research question in a population-based cohort of individuals with diabetes with long-term follow-up (up to a maximum of 14 years) in different European countries.
The association between SRH and mortality remained robust after controlling for potential confounders, including previous myocardial infarction, stroke or cancer, but we cannot rule out residual confounding from other comorbidity that was not assessed at baseline.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000760
PMCID: PMC3282291  PMID: 22337818

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