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Mediating roles of preterm birth and restricted fetal growth in the relationship between maternal education and infant mortality: A Danish population-based cohort study

Ven, 14/06/2019 - 23:00

by Yongfu Yu, Zeyan Liew, Aolin Wang, Onyebuchi A. Arah, Jialiang Li, Jørn Olsen, Sven Cnattingius, Guoyou Qin, Carsten Obel, Bo Fu, Jiong Li

Background

Socioeconomic disparities in infant mortality have persisted for decades in high-income countries and may have become stronger in some populations. Therefore, new understandings of the mechanisms that underlie socioeconomic differences in infant deaths are essential for creating and implementing health initiatives to reduce these deaths. We aimed to explore whether and the extent to which preterm birth (PTB) and small for gestational age (SGA) at birth mediate the association between maternal education and infant mortality.

Methods and findings

We developed a population-based cohort study to include all 1,994,618 live singletons born in Denmark in 1981–2015. Infants were followed from birth until death, emigration, or the day before the first birthday, whichever came first. Maternal education at childbirth was categorized as low, medium, or high. An inverse probability weighting of marginal structural models was used to estimate the controlled direct effect (CDE) of maternal education on offspring infant mortality, further split into neonatal (0–27 days) and postneonatal (28–364 days) deaths, and portion eliminated (PE) by eliminating mediation by PTB and SGA. The proportion eliminated by eliminating mediation by PTB and SGA was reported if the mortality rate ratios (MRRs) of CDE and PE were in the same direction. The MRRs between maternal education and infant mortality were 1.63 (95% CI 1.48–1.80, P < 0.001) and 1.19 (95% CI 1.08–1.31, P < 0.001) for low and medium versus high education, respectively. The estimated proportions of these total associations eliminated by reducing PTB and SGA together were 55% (MRRPE = 1.27, 95% CI 1.15–1.40, P < 0.001) for low and 60% (MRRPE = 1.11, 95% CI 1.01–1.22, P = 0.037) for medium versus high education. The proportions eliminated by eliminating PTB and SGA separately were, respectively, 46% and 11% for low education (versus high education) and 48% and 13% for medium education (versus high education). PTB and SGA together contributed more to the association of maternal educational disparities with neonatal mortality (proportion eliminated: 75%–81%) than with postneonatal mortality (proportion eliminated: 21%–23%). Limitations of the study include the untestable assumption of no unmeasured confounders for the causal mediation analysis, and the limited generalizability of the findings to other countries with varying disparities in access and quality of perinatal healthcare.

Conclusions

PTB and SGA may play substantial roles in the relationship between low maternal education and infant mortality, especially for neonatal mortality. The mediating role of PTB appeared to be much stronger than that of SGA. Public health strategies aimed at reducing neonatal mortality in high-income countries may need to address socially related prenatal risk factors of PTB and impaired fetal growth. The substantial association of maternal education with postneonatal mortality not accounted for by PTB or SGA could reflect unaddressed educational disparities in infant care or other factors.

Evaluating the impact of community health volunteer home visits on child diarrhea and fever in the Volta Region, Ghana: A cluster-randomized controlled trial

Ven, 14/06/2019 - 23:00

by Yeunji Ma, Christopher R. Sudfeld, Heunghee Kim, Jaeeun Lee, Yinseo Cho, John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Joseph Kwami Degley, Seungman Cha

Background

Although there is mounting evidence demonstrating beneficial effects of community health workers (CHWs), few studies have examined the impact of CHW programs focused on preventing infectious diseases in children through behavior changes. We assessed the preventive effects of community health volunteers (CHVs), who receive no financial incentive, on child diarrhea and fever prevalence in Ghana.

Methods and findings

We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 40 communities in the Volta Region, Ghana. Twenty communities were randomly allocated to the intervention arm, and 20 to the control arm, using a computer-generated block randomization list. In the intervention arm, CHVs were deployed in their own community with the key task of conducting home visits for health education and community mobilization. The primary outcomes of the trial were diarrhea and fever prevalence at 6 and 12 months among under-5 children based on caregivers’ recall. Secondary outcomes included oral rehydration treatment and rapid diagnostic testing for malaria among under-5 children, and family planning practices of caregivers. Generalized estimating equations (GEEs) with a log link and exchangeable correlation matrix were used to determine the relative risk (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for diarrhea, fever, and secondary outcomes adjusted for clustering and stratification. Between April 18 and May 4, 2015, 1,956 children were recruited and followed up until September 20, 2016. At 6 and 12 months post-randomization, 1,660 (85%) and 1,609 (82%) participants, respectively, had outcomes assessed. CHVs’ home visits had no statistically significant effect on diarrhea or fever prevalence at either time point. After a follow-up of 12 months, the prevalence of diarrhea and fever was 7.0% (55/784) and 18.4% (144/784), respectively, in the control communities and 4.5% (37/825) and 14.7% (121/825), respectively, in the intervention communities (12-month RR adjusted for clustering and stratification: diarrhea, RR 0.73, 95% CI 0.37–1.45, p = 0.37; fever, RR 0.76, 95% CI 0.51–1.14, p = 0.20). However, the following were observed: improved hand hygiene practices, increased utilization of insecticide-treated bed nets, and greater participation in community outreach programs (p-values < 0.05) in the intervention group. In a post hoc subgroup analysis, the prevalence of diarrhea and fever at 6 months was 3.2% (2/62) and 17.7% (11/62), respectively, in the intervention communities with ≥70% coverage and a ≥30-minute visit duration, and 14.4% (116/806) and 30.2% (243/806) in the control communities (RR adjusted for clustering, stratification, baseline prevalence, and covariates: diarrhea, RR 0.23, 95% CI 0.09–0.60, p = 0.003; fever, RR 0.69, 95% CI 0.52–0.92, p = 0.01). The main limitations were the following: We were unable to investigate the longer-term effects of CHVs; the trial may have been underpowered to detect small to moderate effects due to the large decline in diarrheal and fever prevalence in both the intervention and control group; and caregivers’ practices were based on self-report, and the possibility of caregivers providing socially desirable responses cannot be excluded.

Conclusions

We found no effect of CHVs’ home visits on the prevalence of child diarrhea or fever. However, CHV programs with high community coverage and regular household contacts of effective duration may reduce childhood infectious disease prevalence.

Trial registration

International Standard Randomised Controlled Trial Registry, ISRCTN49236178.

Government policy interventions to reduce human antimicrobial use: A systematic review and evidence map

Mar, 11/06/2019 - 23:00

by Susan Rogers Van Katwyk, Jeremy M. Grimshaw, Miriam Nkangu, Ranjana Nagi, Marc Mendelson, Monica Taljaard, Steven J. Hoffman

Background

Growing political attention to antimicrobial resistance (AMR) offers a rare opportunity for achieving meaningful action. Many governments have developed national AMR action plans, but most have not yet implemented policy interventions to reduce antimicrobial overuse. A systematic evidence map can support governments in making evidence-informed decisions about implementing programs to reduce AMR, by identifying, describing, and assessing the full range of evaluated government policy options to reduce antimicrobial use in humans.

Methods and findings

Seven databases were searched from inception to January 28, 2019, (MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, PAIS Index, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, and PubMed). We identified studies that (1) clearly described a government policy intervention aimed at reducing human antimicrobial use, and (2) applied a quantitative design to measure the impact. We found 69 unique evaluations of government policy interventions carried out across 4 of the 6 WHO regions. These evaluations included randomized controlled trials (n = 4), non-randomized controlled trials (n = 3), controlled before-and-after designs (n = 7), interrupted time series designs (n = 25), uncontrolled before-and-after designs (n = 18), descriptive designs (n = 10), and cohort designs (n = 2). From these we identified 17 unique policy options for governments to reduce the human use of antimicrobials. Many studies evaluated public awareness campaigns (n = 17) and antimicrobial guidelines (n = 13); however, others offered different policy options such as professional regulation, restricted reimbursement, pay for performance, and prescription requirements. Identifying these policies can inform the development of future policies and evaluations in different contexts and health systems. Limitations of our study include the possible omission of unpublished initiatives, and that policies not evaluated with respect to antimicrobial use have not been captured in this review.

Conclusions

To our knowledge this is the first study to provide policy makers with synthesized evidence on specific government policy interventions addressing AMR. In the future, governments should ensure that AMR policy interventions are evaluated using rigorous study designs and that study results are published.

Protocol registration

PROSPERO CRD42017067514.

The association between maternal body mass index and child obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Mar, 11/06/2019 - 23:00

by Nicola Heslehurst, Rute Vieira, Zainab Akhter, Hayley Bailey, Emma Slack, Lem Ngongalah, Augustina Pemu, Judith Rankin

Background

There is a global obesity crisis, particularly among women and disadvantaged populations. Early-life intervention to prevent childhood obesity is a priority for public health, global health, and clinical practice. Understanding the association between childhood obesity and maternal pre-pregnancy weight status would inform policy and practice by allowing one to estimate the potential for offspring health gain through channelling resources into intervention. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to examine the dose–response association between maternal body mass index (BMI) and childhood obesity in the offspring.

Methods and findings

Searches in MEDLINE, Child Development & Adolescent Studies, CINAHL, Embase, and PsycInfo were carried out in August 2017 and updated in March 2019. Supplementary searches included hand-searching reference lists, performing citation searching, and contacting authors. Two researchers carried out independent screening, data extraction, and quality assessment. Observational studies published in English and reporting associations between continuous and/or categorical maternal and child BMI or z-score were included. Categorical outcomes were child obesity (≥95th percentile, primary outcome), overweight/obesity (≥85th percentile), and overweight (85th to 95th percentile). Linear and nonlinear dose–response meta-analyses were conducted using random effects models. Studies that could not be included in meta-analyses were summarised narratively. Seventy-nine of 41,301 studies identified met the inclusion criteria (n = 59 cohorts). Meta-analyses of child obesity included 20 studies (n = 88,872); child overweight/obesity, 22 studies (n = 181,800); and overweight, 10 studies (n = 53,238). Associations were nonlinear and there were significantly increased odds of child obesity with maternal obesity (odds ratio [OR] 3.64, 95% CI 2.68–4.95) and maternal overweight (OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.62–2.19). Significantly increased odds were observed for child overweight/obesity (OR 2.69, 95% CI 2.10–3.46) and for child overweight (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.25, 2.59) with maternal obesity. A limitation of this research is that the included studies did not always report the data in a format that enabled inclusion in this complex meta-analysis.

Conclusions

This research has identified a 264% increase in the odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception. This study provides substantial evidence for the need to develop interventions that commence prior to conception, to support women of childbearing age with weight management in order to halt intergenerational obesity.

Changes in rapid HIV treatment initiation after national “treat all” policy adoption in 6 sub-Saharan African countries: Regression discontinuity analysis

Lun, 10/06/2019 - 23:00

by Olga Tymejczyk, Ellen Brazier, Constantin T. Yiannoutsos, Michael Vinikoor, Monique van Lettow, Fred Nalugoda, Mark Urassa, Jean d’Amour Sinayobye, Peter F. Rebeiro, Kara Wools-Kaloustian, Mary-Ann Davies, Elizabeth Zaniewski, Nanina Anderegg, Grace Liu, Nathan Ford, Denis Nash, on behalf of the IeDEA consortium

Background

Most countries have formally adopted the World Health Organization’s 2015 recommendation of universal HIV treatment (“treat all”). However, there are few rigorous assessments of the real-world impact of treat all policies on antiretroviral treatment (ART) uptake across different contexts.

Methods and findings

We used longitudinal data for 814,603 patients enrolling in HIV care between 1 January 2004 and 10 July 2018 in 6 countries participating in the global International epidemiology Databases to Evaluate AIDS (IeDEA) consortium: Burundi (N = 11,176), Kenya (N = 179,941), Malawi (N = 84,558), Rwanda (N = 17,396), Uganda (N = 96,286), and Zambia (N = 425,246). Using a quasi-experimental regression discontinuity design, we assessed the change in the proportion initiating ART within 30 days of enrollment in HIV care (rapid ART initiation) after country-level adoption of the treat all policy. A modified Poisson model was used to identify factors associated with failure to initiate ART rapidly under treat all. In each of the 6 countries, over 60% of included patients were female, and median age at enrollment ranged from 32 to 36 years. In all countries studied, national adoption of treat all was associated with large increases in rapid ART initiation. Significant increases in rapid ART initiation immediately after treat all policy adoption were observed in Rwanda, from 44.4% to 78.9% of patients (34.5 percentage points [pp], 95% CI 27.2 to 41.7; p < 0.001), Kenya (25.7 pp, 95% CI 21.8 to 29.5; p < 0.001), Burundi (17.7 pp, 95% CI 6.5 to 28.9; p = 0.002), and Malawi (12.5 pp, 95% CI 7.5 to 17.5; p < 0.001), while no immediate increase was observed in Zambia (0.4 pp, 95% CI −2.9 to 3.8; p = 0.804) and Uganda (−4.2 pp, 95% CI −9.0 to 0.7; p = 0.090). The rate of rapid ART initiation accelerated sharply following treat all policy adoption in Malawi, Uganda, and Zambia; slowed in Kenya; and did not change in Rwanda and Burundi. In post hoc analyses restricted to patients enrolling under treat all, young adults (16–24 years) and men were at increased risk of not rapidly initiating ART (compared to older patients and women, respectively). However, rapid ART initiation following enrollment increased for all groups as more time elapsed since treat all policy adoption. Study limitations include incomplete data on potential ART eligibility criteria, such as clinical status, pregnancy, and enrollment CD4 count, which precluded the assessment of rapid ART initiation specifically among patients known to be eligible for ART before treat all.

Conclusions

Our analysis indicates that adoption of treat all policies had a strong effect on increasing rates of rapid ART initiation, and that these increases followed different trajectories across the 6 countries. Young adults and men still require additional attention to further improve rapid ART initiation.

Changes in resistance among coliform bacteraemia associated with a primary care antimicrobial stewardship intervention: A population-based interrupted time series study

Ven, 07/06/2019 - 23:00

by Virginia Hernandez-Santiago, Peter G. Davey, Dilip Nathwani, Charis A. Marwick, Bruce Guthrie

Background

Primary care antimicrobial stewardship interventions can improve antimicrobial prescribing, but there is less evidence that they reduce rates of resistant infection. This study examined changes in broad-spectrum antimicrobial prescribing in the community and resistance in people admitted to hospital with community-associated coliform bacteraemia associated with a primary care stewardship intervention.

Methods and findings

Segmented regression analysis of data on all patients registered with a general practitioner in the National Health Service (NHS) Tayside region in the east of Scotland, UK, from 1 January 2005 to 31 December 2015 was performed, examining associations between a primary care antimicrobial stewardship intervention in 2009 and primary care prescribing of fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, and co-amoxiclav and resistance to the same three antimicrobials/classes among community-associated coliform bacteraemia. Prescribing outcomes were the rate per 1,000 population prescribed each antimicrobial/class per quarter. Resistance outcomes were proportion of community-associated (first 2 days of hospital admission) coliform (Escherichia coli, Proteus spp., or Klebsiella spp.) bacteraemia among adult (18+ years) patients resistant to each antimicrobial/class. 11.4% of 3,442,205 oral antimicrobial prescriptions dispensed in primary care over the study period were for targeted antimicrobials. There were large, statistically significant reductions in prescribing at 1 year postintervention that were larger by 3 years postintervention when the relative reduction was −68.8% (95% CI −76.3 to −62.1) and the absolute reduction −6.3 (−7.6 to −5.2) people exposed per 1,000 population per quarter for fluoroquinolones; relative −74.0% (−80.3 to −67.9) and absolute reduction −6.1 (−7.2 to −5.2) for cephalosporins; and relative −62.3% (−66.9 to −58.1) and absolute reduction −6.8 (−7.7 to −6.0) for co-amoxiclav, all compared to their prior trends. There were 2,143 eligible bacteraemia episodes involving 2,004 patients over the study period (mean age 73.7 [SD 14.8] years; 51.4% women). There was no increase in community-associated coliform bacteraemia admissions associated with reduced community broad-spectrum antimicrobial use. Resistance to targeted antimicrobials reduced by 3.5 years postintervention compared to prior trends, but this was not statistically significant for co-amoxiclav. Relative and absolute changes were −34.7% (95% CI −52.3 to −10.6) and −63.5 (−131.8 to −12.8) resistant bacteraemia per 1,000 bacteraemia per quarter for fluoroquinolones; −48.3% (−62.7 to −32.3) and −153.1 (−255.7 to −77.0) for cephalosporins; and −17.8% (−47.1 to 20.8) and −63.6 (−206.4 to 42.4) for co-amoxiclav, respectively. Overall, there was reversal of a previously rising rate of fluoroquinolone resistance and flattening of previously rising rates of cephalosporin and co-amoxiclav resistance. The limitations of this study include that associations are not definitive evidence of causation and that potential effects of underlying secular trends in the postintervention period and/or of other interventions occurring simultaneously cannot be definitively excluded.

Conclusions

In this population-based study in Scotland, compared to prior trends, there were very large reductions in community broad-spectrum antimicrobial use associated with the stewardship intervention. In contrast, changes in resistance among coliform bacteraemia were more modest. Prevention of resistance through judicious use of new antimicrobials may be more effective than trying to reverse resistance that has become established.

Treatment of latent infection to achieve tuberculosis elimination in low-incidence countries

Gio, 06/06/2019 - 23:00

by Jonathon R. Campbell, David Dowdy, Kevin Schwartzman

In a Perspective for the Tuberculosis Special Issue, Kevin Schwartzman and colleagues discuss the choices and implications for personal versus public health benefits when pursuing tuberculosis elimination in low-incidence countries.

Iron deficiency, elevated erythropoietin, fibroblast growth factor 23, and mortality in the general population of the Netherlands: A cohort study

Gio, 06/06/2019 - 23:00

by Michele F. Eisenga, Maarten A. De Jong, Peter Van der Meer, David E. Leaf, Gerwin Huls, Ilja M. Nolte, Carlo A. J. M. Gaillard, Stephan J. L. Bakker, Martin H. De Borst

Background

Emerging data in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients suggest that iron deficiency and higher circulating levels of erythropoietin (EPO) stimulate the expression and concomitant cleavage of the osteocyte-derived, phosphate-regulating hormone fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a risk factor for premature mortality. To date, clinical implications of iron deficiency and high EPO levels in the general population, and the potential downstream role of FGF23, are unclear. Therefore, we aimed to determine the associations between iron deficiency and higher EPO levels with mortality, and the potential mediating role of FGF23, in a cohort of community-dwelling subjects.

Methods and findings

We analyzed 6,544 community-dwelling subjects (age 53 ± 12 years; 50% males) who participated in the Prevention of Renal and Vascular End-Stage Disease (PREVEND) study—a prospective population-based cohort study, of which we used the second survey (2001–2003)—and follow-up was performed for a median of 8 years. We measured circulating parameters of iron status, EPO levels, and plasma total FGF23 levels. Our primary outcome was all-cause mortality. In multivariable linear regression analyses, ferritin (ß = –0.43), transferrin saturation (TSAT) (ß = −0.17), hepcidin (ß = −0.36), soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR; ß = 0.33), and EPO (ß = 0.28) were associated with FGF23 level, independent of potential confounders. During median (interquartile range [IQR]) follow-up of 8.2 (7.7–8.8) years, 379 (6%) subjects died. In multivariable Cox regression analyses, lower levels of TSAT (hazard ratio [HR] per 1 standard deviation [SD], 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75–0.95; P = 0.004) and higher levels of sTfR (HR, 1.15; 95% CI 1.03–1.28; P = 0.01), EPO (HR, 1.17; 95% CI 1.05–1.29; P = 0.004), and FGF23 (HR, 1.20; 95% CI 1.10–1.32; P < 0.001) were each significantly associated with an increased risk of death, independent of potential confounders. Adjustment for FGF23 levels markedly attenuated the associations of TSAT (HR, 0.89; 95% CI 0.78–1.01; P = 0.06), sTfR (HR, 1.08; 95% CI 0.96–1.20; P = 0.19), and EPO (HR, 1.10; 95% CI 0.99–1.22; P = 0.08) with mortality. FGF23 remained associated with mortality (HR, 1.15; 95% CI 1.04–1.27; P = 0.008) after adjustment for TSAT, sTfR, and EPO levels. Mediation analysis indicated that FGF23 explained 31% of the association between TSAT and mortality; similarly, FGF23 explained 32% of the association between sTfR and mortality and 48% of the association between EPO and mortality (indirect effect P < 0.05 for all analyses). The main limitations of this study were the observational study design and the absence of data on intact FGF23 (iFGF23), precluding us from discerning whether the current results are attributable to an increase in iFGF23 or in C-terminal FGF23 fragments.

Conclusions and relevance

In this study, we found that functional iron deficiency and higher EPO levels were each associated with an increased risk of death in the general population. Our findings suggest that FGF23 could be involved in the association between functional iron deficiency and increased EPO levels and death. Investigation of strategies aimed at correcting iron deficiency and reducing FGF23 levels is warranted.

Cancer therapy and risk of congenital malformations in children fathered by men treated for testicular germ-cell cancer: A nationwide register study

Mar, 04/06/2019 - 23:00

by Yahia Al-Jebari, Ingrid Glimelius, Carina Berglund Nord, Gabriella Cohn-Cedermark, Olof Ståhl, Torgrim Tandstad, Allan Jensen, Hege Sagstuen Haugnes, Gedske Daugaard, Lars Rylander, Aleksander Giwercman

Background

Because of the potential mutagenic effects of chemo- and radiotherapy, there is concern regarding increased risk of congenital malformations (CMs) among children of fathers with cancer. Previous register studies indicate increased CM risk among children conceived after paternal cancer but lack data on oncological treatment. Increased CM risk was recently reported in children born before paternal cancer. This study aims to investigate whether anti-neoplastic treatment for testicular germ-cell cancer (TGCC) implies additional CM risk.

Methods and findings

In this nationwide register study, all singletons born in Sweden 1994–2014 (n = 2,027,997) were included. Paternal TGCC diagnoses (n = 2,380), anti-neoplastic treatment, and offspring CMs were gathered from the Swedish Norwegian Testicular Cancer Group (SWENOTECA) and the Swedish Medical Birth Register. Children were grouped based on +/- paternal TGCC; treatment regimen: surveillance (n = 1,340), chemotherapy (n = 2,533), or radiotherapy (n = 360); and according to time of conception: pre- (n = 2,770) or post-treatment (n = 1,437). Odds ratios (ORs) for CMs were calculated using logistic regression with adjustment for parental ages, maternal body mass index (BMI), and maternal smoking. Children conceived before a specific treatment acted as reference for children conceived after the same treatment. Among children fathered by men with TGCC (n = 4,207), 184 had a CM. The risk of malformations was higher among children of fathers with TGCC compared with children fathered by men without TGCC (OR 1.28, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.19–1.38, p = 0.001, 4.4% versus 3.5%). However, no additional risk increase was associated with oncological treatment when comparing post-treatment–to pretreatment-conceived children (chemotherapy, OR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.54–1.25, p = 0.37, 4.1% versus 4.6%; radiotherapy, OR = 1.01, 95% CI 0.25–4.12, p = 0.98, 3.2% versus 3.0%). Study limitations include lack of data on use of cryopreserved or donor sperm and on seminoma patients for the period 1995–2000—both tending to decrease the difference between the groups with TGCC and without TGCC. Furthermore, the power of analyses on chemotherapy intensity and radiotherapy was limited.

Conclusions

No additional increased risk of CMs was observed in children of men with TGCC treated with radio- or chemotherapy. However, paternal TGCC per se was associated with modestly increased risk for offspring malformations. Clinically, this information can reassure concerned patients.

Validation of IMPROD biparametric MRI in men with clinically suspected prostate cancer: A prospective multi-institutional trial

Lun, 03/06/2019 - 23:00

by Ivan Jambor, Janne Verho, Otto Ettala, Juha Knaapila, Pekka Taimen, Kari T. Syvänen, Aida Kiviniemi, Esa Kähkönen, Ileana Montoya Perez, Marjo Seppänen, Antti Rannikko, Outi Oksanen, Jarno Riikonen, Sanna Mari Vimpeli, Tommi Kauko, Harri Merisaari, Markku Kallajoki, Tuomas Mirtti, Tarja Lamminen, Jani Saunavaara, Hannu J. Aronen, Peter J. Boström

Background

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with targeted biopsy (TB) is increasingly used in men with clinically suspected prostate cancer (PCa), but the long acquisition times, high costs, and inter-center/reader variability of routine multiparametric prostate MRI limit its wider adoption.

Methods and findings

The aim was to validate a previously developed unique MRI acquisition and reporting protocol, IMPROD biparametric MRI (bpMRI) (NCT01864135), in men with a clinical suspicion of PCa in a multi-institutional trial (NCT02241122). IMPROD bpMRI has average acquisition time of 15 minutes (no endorectal coil, no intravenous contrast use) and consists of T2-weighted imaging and 3 separate diffusion-weighed imaging acquisitions. Between February 1, 2015, and March 31, 2017, 364 men with a clinical suspicion of PCa were enrolled at 4 institutions in Finland. Men with an equivocal to high suspicion (IMPROD bpMRI Likert score 3–5) of PCa had 2 TBs of up to 2 lesions followed by a systematic biopsy (SB). Men with a low to very low suspicion (IMPROD bpMRI Likert score 1–2) had only SB. All data and protocols are freely available. The primary outcome of the trial was diagnostic accuracy—including overall accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value (NPV), and positive predictive value—of IMPROD bpMRI for clinically significant PCa (SPCa), which was defined as a Gleason score ≥ 3 + 4 (Gleason grade group 2 or higher). In total, 338 (338/364, 93%) prospectively enrolled men completed the trial. The accuracy and NPV of IMPROD bpMRI for SPCa were 70% (113/161) and 95% (71/75) (95% CI 87%–98%), respectively. Restricting the biopsy to men with equivocal to highly suspicious IMPROD bpMRI findings would have resulted in a 22% (75/338) reduction in the number of men undergoing biopsy while missing 4 (3%, 4/146) men with SPCa. The main limitation is uncertainty about the true PCa prevalence in the study cohort, since some of the men may have PCa despite having negative biopsy findings.

Conclusions

IMPROD bpMRI demonstrated a high NPV for SPCa in men with a clinical suspicion of PCa in this prospective multi-institutional clinical trial.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02241122.

Effects of a large-scale distribution of water filters and natural draft rocket-style cookstoves on diarrhea and acute respiratory infection: A cluster-randomized controlled trial in Western Province, Rwanda

Lun, 03/06/2019 - 23:00

by Miles A. Kirby, Corey L. Nagel, Ghislaine Rosa, Laura D. Zambrano, Sanctus Musafiri, Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, Evan A. Thomas, Thomas Clasen

Background

Unsafe drinking water and household air pollution (HAP) are major causes of morbidity and mortality among children under 5 in low and middle-income countries. Household water filters and higher-efficiency biomass-burning cookstoves have been widely promoted to improve water quality and reduce fuel use, but there is limited evidence of their health effects when delivered programmatically at scale.

Methods and findings

In a large-scale program in Western Province, Rwanda, water filters and portable biomass-burning natural draft rocket-style cookstoves were distributed between September and December 2014 and promoted to over 101,000 households in the poorest economic quartile in 72 (of 96) randomly selected sectors in Western Province. To assess the effects of the intervention, between August and December, 2014, we enrolled 1,582 households that included a child under 4 years from 174 randomly selected village-sized clusters, half from intervention sectors and half from nonintervention sectors. At baseline, 76% of households relied primarily on an improved source for drinking water (piped, borehole, protected spring/well, or rainwater) and over 99% cooked primarily on traditional biomass-burning stoves. We conducted follow-up at 3 time-points between February 2015 and March 2016 to assess reported diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARIs) among children <5 years in the preceding 7 days (primary outcomes) and patterns of intervention use, drinking water quality, and air quality. The intervention reduced the prevalence of reported child diarrhea by 29% (prevalence ratio [PR] 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.59–0.87, p = 0.001) and reported child ARI by 25% (PR 0.75, 95% CI 0.60–0.93, p = 0.009). Overall, more than 62% of households were observed to have water in their filters at follow-up, while 65% reported using the intervention stove every day, and 55% reported using it primarily outdoors. Use of both the intervention filter and intervention stove decreased throughout follow-up, while reported traditional stove use increased. The intervention reduced the prevalence of households with detectable fecal contamination in drinking water samples by 38% (PR 0.62, 95% CI 0.57–0.68, p < 0.0001) but had no significant impact on 48-hour personal exposure to log-transformed fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations among cooks (β = −0.089, p = 0.486) or children (β = −0.228, p = 0.127). The main limitations of this trial include the unblinded nature of the intervention, limited PM2.5 exposure measurement, and a reliance on reported intervention use and reported health outcomes.

Conclusions

Our findings indicate that the intervention improved household drinking water quality and reduced caregiver-reported diarrhea among children <5 years. It also reduced caregiver-reported ARI despite no evidence of improved air quality. Further research is necessary to ascertain longer-term intervention use and benefits and to explore the potential synergistic effects between diarrhea and ARI.

Trial registration

Clinical Trials.gov NCT02239250.

Correction: Evaluation of a social protection policy on tuberculosis treatment outcomes: A prospective cohort study

Ven, 31/05/2019 - 23:00

by Karen Klein, Maria Paula Bernachea, Sarah Iribarren, Luz Gibbons, Cristina Chirico, Fernando Rubinstein

Retention and viral suppression in a cohort of HIV patients on antiretroviral therapy in Zambia: Regionally representative estimates using a multistage-sampling-based approach

Ven, 31/05/2019 - 23:00

by Izukanji Sikazwe, Ingrid Eshun-Wilson, Kombatende Sikombe, Nancy Czaicki, Paul Somwe, Aaloke Mody, Sandra Simbeza, David V. Glidden, Elizabeth Chizema, Lloyd B. Mulenga, Nancy Padian, Chris J. Duncombe, Carolyn Bolton-Moore, Laura K. Beres, Charles B. Holmes, Elvin Geng

Background

Although the success of HIV treatment programs depends on retention and viral suppression, routine program monitoring of these outcomes may be incomplete. We used data from the national electronic medical record (EMR) system in Zambia to enumerate a large and regionally representative cohort of patients on treatment. We traced a random sample with unknown outcomes (lost to follow-up) to document true care status and HIV RNA levels.

Methods and findings

On 31 July 2015, we selected facilities from 4 provinces in 12 joint strata defined by facility type and province with probability proportional to size. In each facility, we enumerated adults with at least 1 clinical encounter after treatment initiation in the previous 24 months. From this cohort, we identified lost-to-follow-up patients (defined as 90 or more days late for their last appointment), selected a random sample, and intensively reviewed their records and traced them via phone calls and in-person visits in the community. In 1 of 4 provinces, we also collected dried blood spots (DBSs) for plasma HIV RNA testing. We used inverse probability weights to incorporate sampling outcomes into Aalen–Johansen and Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate retention and viremia. We used a bias analysis approach to correct for the known inaccuracy of plasma HIV RNA levels obtained from DBSs. From a total of 64 facilities with 165,464 adults on ART, we selected 32 facilities with 104,966 patients, of whom 17,602 (17%) were lost to follow-up: Those lost to follow-up had median age 36 years, 60% were female (N = 11,241), they had median enrollment CD4 count of 220 cells/μl, and 38% had WHO stage 1 clinical disease (N = 10,690). We traced 2,892 (16%) and found updated outcomes for 2,163 (75%): 412 (19%) had died, 836 (39%) were alive and in care at their original clinic, 457 (21%) had transferred to a new clinic, 255 (12%) were alive and out of care, and 203 (9%) were alive but we were unable to determine care status. Estimates using data from the EMR only suggested that 42.7% (95% CI 38.0%–47.1%) of new ART starters and 72.3% (95% CI 71.8%–73.0%) of all ART users were retained at 2 years. After incorporating updated data through tracing, we found that 77.3% (95% CI 70.5%–84.0%) of new initiates and 91.2% (95% CI 90.5%–91.8%) of all ART users were retained (at original clinic or transferred), indicating that routine program data underestimated retention in care markedly. In Lusaka Province, HIV RNA levels greater than or equal to 1,000 copies/ml were present in 18.1% (95% CI 14.0%–22.3%) of patients in care, 71.3% (95% CI 58.2%–84.4%) of lost patients, and 24.7% (95% CI 21.0%–29.3%). The main study limitations were imperfect response rates and the use of self-reported care status.

Conclusions

In this region of Zambia, routine program data underestimated retention, and the point prevalence of unsuppressed HIV RNA was high when lost patients were accounted for. Viremia was prevalent among patients who unofficially transferred: Sustained engagement remains a challenge among HIV patients in Zambia, and targeted sampling is an effective strategy to identify such gaps in the care cascade and monitor programmatic progress.

The missed potential of CD4 and viral load testing to improve clinical outcomes for people living with HIV in lower-resource settings

Mer, 29/05/2019 - 23:00

by Peter D. Ehrenkranz, Solange L. Baptiste, Helen Bygrave, Tom Ellman, Naoko Doi, Anna Grimsrud, Andreas Jahn, Thokozani Kalua, Rose Kolola Nyirenda, Michael O. Odo, Pascale Ondoa, Lara Vojnov, Charles B. Holmes

In a Policy Forum, Peter Ehrenkranz and colleagues discuss the contribution of CD4 and viral load testing to outcomes for people with HIV in low- and middle-income countries.

Malaria morbidity and mortality following introduction of a universal policy of artemisinin-based treatment for malaria in Papua, Indonesia: A longitudinal surveillance study

Mer, 29/05/2019 - 23:00

by Enny Kenangalem, Jeanne Rini Poespoprodjo, Nicholas M. Douglas, Faustina Helena Burdam, Ketut Gdeumana, Ferry Chalfein, Prayoga, Franciscus Thio, Angela Devine, Jutta Marfurt, Govert Waramori, Shunmay Yeung, Rintis Noviyanti, Pasi Penttinen, Michael J. Bangs, Paulus Sugiarto, Julie A. Simpson, Yati Soenarto, Nicholas M. Anstey, Ric N. Price

Background

Malaria control activities can have a disproportionately greater impact on Plasmodium falciparum than on P. vivax in areas where both species are coendemic. We investigated temporal trends in malaria-related morbidity and mortality in Papua, Indonesia, before and after introduction of a universal, artemisinin-based antimalarial treatment strategy for all Plasmodium species.

Methods and findings

A prospective, district-wide malariometric surveillance system was established in April 2004 to record all cases of malaria at community clinics and the regional hospital and maintained until December 2013. In March 2006, antimalarial treatment policy was changed to artemisinin combination therapy for uncomplicated malaria and intravenous artesunate for severe malaria due to any Plasmodium species. Over the study period, a total of 418,238 patients presented to the surveillance facilities with malaria. The proportion of patients with malaria requiring admission to hospital fell from 26.9% (7,745/28,789) in the pre–policy change period (April 2004 to March 2006) to 14.0% (4,786/34,117) in the late transition period (April 2008 to December 2009), a difference of −12.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] −13.5% to −12.2%). There was a significant fall in the mortality of patients presenting to the hospital with P. falciparum malaria (0.53% [100/18,965] versus 0.32% [57/17,691]; difference = −0.21% [95% CI −0.34 to −0.07]) but not in patients with P. vivax malaria (0.28% [21/7,545] versus 0.23% [28/12,397]; difference = −0.05% [95% CI −0.20 to 0.09]). Between the same periods, the overall proportion of malaria due to P. vivax rose from 44.1% (30,444/69,098) to 53.3% (29,934/56,125) in the community clinics and from 32.4% (9,325/28,789) to 44.1% (15,035/34,117) at the hospital. After controlling for population growth and changes in treatment-seeking behaviour, the incidence of P. falciparum malaria fell from 511 to 249 per 1,000 person-years (py) (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 0.49 [95% CI 0.48–0.49]), whereas the incidence of P. vivax malaria fell from 331 to 239 per 1,000 py (IRR = 0.72 [95% CI 0.71–0.73]). The main limitations of our study were possible confounding from changes in healthcare provision, a growing population, and significant shifts in treatment-seeking behaviour following implementation of a new antimalarial policy.

Conclusions

In this area with high levels of antimalarial drug resistance, adoption of a universal policy of efficacious artemisinin-based therapy for malaria infections due to any Plasmodium species was associated with a significant reduction in total malaria-attributable morbidity and mortality. The burden of P. falciparum malaria was reduced to a greater extent than that of P. vivax malaria. In coendemic regions, the timely elimination of malaria will require that safe and effective radical cure of both the blood and liver stages of the parasite is widely available for all patients at risk of malaria.

Diagnosing growth in low-grade gliomas with and without longitudinal volume measurements: A retrospective observational study

Mar, 28/05/2019 - 23:00

by Hassan M. Fathallah-Shaykh, Andrew DeAtkine, Elizabeth Coffee, Elias Khayat, Asim K. Bag, Xiaosi Han, Paula Province Warren, Markus Bredel, John Fiveash, James Markert, Nidhal Bouaynaya, Louis B. Nabors

Background

Low-grade gliomas cause significant neurological morbidity by brain invasion. There is no universally accepted objective technique available for detection of enlargement of low-grade gliomas in the clinical setting; subjective evaluation by clinicians using visual comparison of longitudinal radiological studies is the gold standard. The aim of this study is to determine whether a computer-assisted diagnosis (CAD) method helps physicians detect earlier growth of low-grade gliomas.

Methods and findings

We reviewed 165 patients diagnosed with grade 2 gliomas, seen at the University of Alabama at Birmingham clinics from 1 July 2017 to 14 May 2018. MRI scans were collected during the spring and summer of 2018. Fifty-six gliomas met the inclusion criteria, including 19 oligodendrogliomas, 26 astrocytomas, and 11 mixed gliomas in 30 males and 26 females with a mean age of 48 years and a range of follow-up of 150.2 months (difference between highest and lowest values). None received radiation therapy. We also studied 7 patients with an imaging abnormality without pathological diagnosis, who were clinically stable at the time of retrospective review (14 May 2018). This study compared growth detection by 7 physicians aided by the CAD method with retrospective clinical reports. The tumors of 63 patients (56 + 7) in 627 MRI scans were digitized, including 34 grade 2 gliomas with radiological progression and 22 radiologically stable grade 2 gliomas. The CAD method consisted of tumor segmentation, computing volumes, and pointing to growth by the online abrupt change-of-point method, which considers only past measurements. Independent scientists have evaluated the segmentation method. In 29 of the 34 patients with progression, the median time to growth detection was only 14 months for CAD compared to 44 months for current standard of care radiological evaluation (p < 0.001). Using CAD, accurate detection of tumor enlargement was possible with a median of only 57% change in the tumor volume as compared to a median of 174% change of volume necessary to diagnose tumor growth using standard of care clinical methods (p < 0.001). In the radiologically stable group, CAD facilitated growth detection in 13 out of 22 patients. CAD did not detect growth in the imaging abnormality group. The main limitation of this study was its retrospective design; nevertheless, the results depict the current state of a gold standard in clinical practice that allowed a significant increase in tumor volumes from baseline before detection. Such large increases in tumor volume would not be permitted in a prospective design. The number of glioma patients (n = 56) is a limitation; however, it is equivalent to the number of patients in phase II clinical trials.

Conclusions

The current practice of visual comparison of longitudinal MRI scans is associated with significant delays in detecting growth of low-grade gliomas. Our findings support the idea that physicians aided by CAD detect growth at significantly smaller volumes than physicians using visual comparison alone. This study does not answer the questions whether to treat or not and which treatment modality is optimal. Nonetheless, early growth detection sets the stage for future clinical studies that address these questions and whether early therapeutic interventions prolong survival and improve quality of life.

Predicting progression to active tuberculosis: A rate-limiting step on the path to elimination

Ven, 24/05/2019 - 23:00

by Ajit Lalvani, Luis C. Berrocal-Almanza, Alice Halliday

In a Perspective, Ajit Lalvani and colleagues discuss new approaches to predicting progression to active tuberculosis.

Evaluation of RESPOND, a patient-centred program to prevent falls in older people presenting to the emergency department with a fall: A randomised controlled trial

Ven, 24/05/2019 - 23:00

by Anna Barker, Peter Cameron, Leon Flicker, Glenn Arendts, Caroline Brand, Christopher Etherton-Beer, Andrew Forbes, Terry Haines, Anne-Marie Hill, Peter Hunter, Judy Lowthian, Samuel R. Nyman, Julie Redfern, De Villiers Smit, Nicholas Waldron, Eileen Boyle, Ellen MacDonald, Darshini Ayton, Renata Morello, Keith Hill

Background

Falls are a leading reason for older people presenting to the emergency department (ED), and many experience further falls. Little evidence exists to guide secondary prevention in this population. This randomised controlled trial (RCT) investigated whether a 6-month telephone-based patient-centred program—RESPOND—had an effect on falls and fall injuries in older people presenting to the ED after a fall.

Methods and findings

Community-dwelling people aged 60–90 years presenting to the ED with a fall and planned for discharge home within 72 hours were recruited from two EDs in Australia. Participants were enrolled if they could walk without hands-on assistance, use a telephone, and were free of cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination > 23). Recruitment occurred between 1 April 2014 and 29 June 2015. Participants were randomised to receive either RESPOND (intervention) or usual care (control). RESPOND comprised (1) home-based risk assessment; (2) 6 months telephone-based education, coaching, goal setting, and support for evidence-based risk factor management; and (3) linkages to existing services. Primary outcomes were falls and fall injuries in the 12-month follow-up. Secondary outcomes included ED presentations, hospital admissions, fractures, death, falls risk, falls efficacy, and quality of life. Assessors blind to group allocation collected outcome data via postal calendars, telephone follow-up, and hospital records. There were 430 people in the primary outcome analysis—217 randomised to RESPOND and 213 to control. The mean age of participants was 73 years; 55% were female. Falls per person-year were 1.15 in the RESPOND group and 1.83 in the control (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 0.65 [95% CI 0.43–0.99]; P = 0.042). There was no significant difference in fall injuries (IRR 0.81 [0.51–1.29]; P = 0.374). The rate of fractures was significantly lower in the RESPOND group compared with the control (0.05 versus 0.12; IRR 0.37 [95% CI 0.15–0.91]; P = 0.03), but there were no significant differences in other secondary outcomes between groups: ED presentations, hospitalisations or falls risk, falls efficacy, and quality of life. There were two deaths in the RESPOND group and one in the control group. No adverse events or unintended harm were reported. Limitations of this study were the high number of dropouts (n = 93); possible underreporting of falls, fall injuries, and hospitalisations across both groups; and the relatively small number of fracture events.

Conclusions

In this study, providing a telephone-based, patient-centred falls prevention program reduced falls but not fall injuries, in older people presenting to the ED with a fall. Among secondary outcomes, only fractures reduced. Adopting patient-centred strategies into routine clinical practice for falls prevention could offer an opportunity to improve outcomes and reduce falls in patients attending the ED.

Trial registration

Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12614000336684).

Research to improve differentiated HIV service delivery interventions: Learning to learn as we do

Mar, 21/05/2019 - 23:00

by Elvin H. Geng, Charles B. Holmes

In a Perspective, Elvin Geng and Charles Holmes discuss research on differentiated service delivery in HIV care.