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Selenium (Se) is an essential element for human health. However, our knowledge of the prevalence of Se deficiency is less than for other micronutrients of public health concern such as iodine, iron and zinc, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Studies of food systems in SSA, in particular in Malawi, have revealed that human Se deficiency risks are widespread and influenced strongly by geography. Direct evidence of Se deficiency risks includes nationally representative data of Se concentrations in blood plasma and urine as population biomarkers of Se status. Long-range geospatial variation in Se deficiency risks has been linked to soil characteristics and their effects on the Se concentration of food crops. Selenium deficiency risks are also linked to socio-economic status including access to animal source foods. This review highlights the need for geospatially-resolved data on the movement of Se and other micronutrients in food systems which span agriculture–nutrition–health disciplinary domains (defined as a GeoNutrition approach). Given that similar drivers of deficiency risks for Se, and other micronutrients, are likely to occur in other countries in SSA and elsewhere, micronutrient surveillance programmes should be designed accordingly.
Background Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is among the most common psychiatric disorders of childhood that often persists into adulthood and old age. Yet ADHD is currently underdiagnosed and undertreated in many European countries, leading to chronicity of symptoms and impairment, due to lack of, or ineffective treatment, and higher costs of illness.
Methods The European Network Adult ADHD and the Section for Neurodevelopmental Disorders Across the Lifespan (NDAL) of the European Psychiatric Association (EPA), aim to increase awareness and knowledge of adult ADHD in and outside Europe. This Updated European Consensus Statement aims to support clinicians with research evidence and clinical experience from 63 experts of European and other countries in which ADHD in adults is recognized and treated.
Results Besides reviewing the latest research on prevalence, persistence, genetics and neurobiology of ADHD, three major questions are addressed: (1) What is the clinical picture of ADHD in adults? (2) How should ADHD be properly diagnosed in adults? (3) How should adult ADHDbe effectively treated?
Conclusions ADHD often presents as a lifelong impairing condition. The stigma surrounding ADHD, mainly due to lack of knowledge, increases the suffering of patients. Education on the lifespan perspective, diagnostic assessment, and treatment of ADHD must increase for students of general and mental health, and for psychiatry professionals. Instruments for screening and diagnosis of ADHD in adults are available, as are effective evidence-based treatments for ADHD and its negative outcomes. More research is needed on gender differences, and in older adults with ADHD.
Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) regimes for HIV are associated with raised levels of circulating triglycerides (TGs) in western populations. However, there are limited data on the impact of ART on cardiometabolic risk in sub-Saharan African (SSA) populations.
Pooled analyses of 14 studies comprising 21 023 individuals, on whom relevant cardiometabolic risk factors (including TG), HIV and ART status were assessed between 2003 and 2014, in SSA. The association between ART and raised TG (>2.3 mmol/L) was analysed using regression models.
Among 10 615 individuals, ART was associated with a two-fold higher probability of raised TG (RR 2.05, 95% CI 1.51–2.77, I2 = 45.2%). The associations between ART and raised blood pressure, glucose, HbA1c, and other lipids were inconsistent across studies.
Evidence from this study confirms the association of ART with raised TG in SSA populations. Given the possible causal effect of raised TG on cardiovascular disease (CVD), the evidence highlights the need for prospective studies to clarify the impact of long term ART on CVD outcomes in SSA.
Integration of biomarker data with information on health and lifestyle provides a powerful tool to enhance the scientific value of health research. Existing health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSSs) present an opportunity to create novel biodata resources for this purpose, but data and biological sample collection often presents challenges. We outline some of the challenges in developing these resources and present the outcomes of a biomarker feasibility study embedded within the South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO) HDSS.
We assessed study-related records to determine the pace of data collection, response from potential participants, and feedback following data and sample collection. Overall and stratified measures of data and sample availability were summarised. Crude prevalence of key risk factors was examined.
Approximately half (49.5%) of invited individuals consented to participate in this study, for a final sample size of 203 (161 adults and 42 children). Women were more likely to consent to participate compared with men, whereas children, young adults and individuals of Malay ethnicity were less likely to consent compared with older individuals or those of any other ethnicity. At least one biological sample (blood from all participants – finger-prick and venous [for serum, plasma and whole blood samples], hair or urine for adults only) was successfully collected from all participants, with blood test data available from over 90% of individuals. Among adults, urine samples were most commonly collected (97.5%), followed by any blood samples (91.9%) and hair samples (83.2%). Cardiometabolic risk factor burden was high (prevalence of elevated HbA1c among adults: 23.8%; of elevated triglycerides among adults: 38.1%; of elevated total cholesterol among children: 19.5%).
In this study, we show that it is feasible to create biodata resources using existing HDSS frameworks, and identify a potentially high burden of cardiometabolic risk factors that requires further evaluation in this population.
Introduction: Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) has been suggested as an initial investigation in the management of renal colic. Our objectives were: 1) to determine the accuracy of POCUS for the diagnosis of nephrolithiasis, and 2) to assess its prognostic value in the management of renal colic (PROSPERO: 42016035331). Methods: An electronic database search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PubMed was conducted utilizing subject headings, keywords, and synonyms that address our research question. Bibliographies of included studies and narrative reviews were manually examined. Studies of adult emergency department patients with renal colic symptoms were included. Any degree of hydronephrosis was considered a positive POCUS finding. Accepted criterion standards were CT evidence of renal stone or hydronephrosis, direct stone visualization, or surgical findings. Screening of abstracts, quality assessment with the QUADAS-2 instrument, and data extraction were performed by two reviewers, with discrepancies resolved by conference with a third reviewer.Test performance was assessed by pooled sensitivity and specificity, calculated likelihood ratios, and a summary receiver operator curve (SROC). The secondary outcome of prognostic value was reported as a narrative summary. Results: The electronic search yielded 627 unique titles. After relevance screening, 25 papers underwent full-text review, and 8 articles met all inclusion criteria. Of these, 5 high-quality studies (N=1773) were included in the meta-analysis for diagnostic accuracy, and three yielded data on prognostic value. The pooled results for sensitivity and specificity were 70.2% (95% CI=67.1% to 73.2%) and 75.4% (95% CI=72.5% to 78.2%), respectively. The calculated positive and negative likelihood ratios were 2.85 and 0.39. The SROC generated did not show evidence of a threshold effect.Three studies examining prognostic value noted a higher likelihood of a large stone or surgical intervention with positive POCUS findings. The largest randomized trial showed lower cumulative radiation exposure and no increase in adverse events in those who received POCUS investigation as the initial renal colic investigation. Conclusion: Point-of-care ultrasound is of modest accuracy for the diagnosis of nephrolithiasis. While positive POCUS findings are associated with larger stones and greater likelihood for intervention, the clinical importance of this is unclear.
Epstein Barr virus (EBV) infects 95% of the global population and is associated with up to 2% of cancers globally. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody levels to EBV have been shown to be heritable and associated with developing malignancies. We, therefore, performed a pilot genome-wide association analysis of anti-EBV IgG traits in an African population, using a combined approach including array genotyping, whole-genome sequencing and imputation to a panel with African sequence data. In 1562 Ugandans, we identify a variant in human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DQA1, rs9272371 (p = 2.6 × 10−17) associated with anti-EBV nuclear antigen-1 responses. Trans-ancestry meta-analysis and fine-mapping with European-ancestry individuals suggest the presence of distinct HLA class II variants driving associations in Uganda. In addition, we identify four putative, novel, very rare African-specific loci with preliminary evidence for association with anti-viral capsid antigen IgG responses which will require replication for validation. These findings reinforce the need for the expansion of such studies in African populations with relevant datasets to capture genetic diversity.
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global public health threat. Emergence of AMR occurs naturally, but can also be selected for by antimicrobial exposure in clinical and veterinary medicine. Despite growing worldwide attention to AMR, there are substantial limitations in our understanding of the burden, distribution and determinants of AMR at the population level. We highlight the importance of population-based approaches to assess the association between antimicrobial use and AMR in humans and animals. Such approaches are needed to improve our understanding of the development and spread of AMR in order to inform strategies for the prevention, detection and management of AMR, and to support the sustainable use of antimicrobials in healthcare.
Many adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) remain undiagnosed. Specialist assessment clinics enable the detection of these cases, but such services are often overstretched. It has been proposed that unnecessary referrals to these services could be reduced by prioritizing individuals who score highly on the Autism-Spectrum Quotient (AQ), a self-report questionnaire measure of autistic traits. However, the ability of the AQ to predict who will go on to receive a diagnosis of ASD in adults is unclear.
We studied 476 adults, seen consecutively at a national ASD diagnostic referral service for suspected ASD. We tested AQ scores as predictors of ASD diagnosis made by expert clinicians according to International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 criteria, informed by the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Generic (ADOS-G) and Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) assessments.
Of the participants, 73% received a clinical diagnosis of ASD. Self-report AQ scores did not significantly predict receipt of a diagnosis. While AQ scores provided high sensitivity of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.72–0.82] and positive predictive value of 0.76 (95% CI 0.70–0.80), the specificity of 0.29 (95% CI 0.20–0.38) and negative predictive value of 0.36 (95% CI 0.22–0.40) were low. Thus, 64% of those who scored below the AQ cut-off were ‘false negatives’ who did in fact have ASD. Co-morbidity data revealed that generalized anxiety disorder may ‘mimic’ ASD and inflate AQ scores, leading to false positives.
The AQ's utility for screening referrals was limited in this sample. Recommendations supporting the AQ's role in the assessment of adult ASD, e.g. UK NICE guidelines, may need to be reconsidered.
The burden and aetiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and its microvascular complications may be influenced by varying behavioural and lifestyle environments as well as by genetic susceptibility. These aspects of the epidemiology of T2D have not been reliably clarified in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), highlighting the need for context-specific epidemiological studies with the statistical resolution to inform potential preventative and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, as part of the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) initiative, we designed a multi-site study comprising case collections and population-based surveys at 11 sites in eight countries across SSA. The goal is to recruit up to 6000 T2D participants and 6000 control participants. We will collect questionnaire data, biophysical measurements and biological samples for chronic disease traits, risk factors and genetic data on all study participants. Through integrating epidemiological and genomic techniques, the study provides a framework for assessing the burden, spectrum and environmental and genetic risk factors for T2D and its complications across SSA. With established mechanisms for fieldwork, data and sample collection and management, data-sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, the study will be a resource for future research studies, including longitudinal studies, prospective case ascertainment of incident disease and interventional studies.
With the changing distribution of infectious diseases, and an increase in the burden of non-communicable diseases, low- and middle-income countries, including those in Africa, will need to expand their health care capacities to effectively respond to these epidemiological transitions. The interrelated risk factors for chronic infectious and non-communicable diseases and the need for long-term disease management, argue for combined strategies to understand their underlying causes and to design strategies for effective prevention and long-term care. Through multidisciplinary research and implementation partnerships, we advocate an integrated approach for research and healthcare for chronic diseases in Africa.
The Durban Diabetes Study (DDS) is a population-based cross-sectional survey of an urban black population in the eThekwini Municipality (city of Durban) in South Africa. The survey combines health, lifestyle and socioeconomic questionnaire data with standardised biophysical measurements, biomarkers for non-communicable and infectious diseases, and genetic data. Data collection for the study is currently underway and the target sample size is 10 000 participants. The DDS has an established infrastructure for survey fieldwork, data collection and management, sample processing and storage, managed data sharing and consent for re-approaching participants, which can be utilised for further research studies. As such, the DDS represents a rich platform for investigating the distribution, interrelation and aetiology of chronic diseases and their risk factors, which is critical for developing health care policies for disease management and prevention. For data access enquiries please contact the African Partnership for Chronic Disease Research (APCDR) at email@example.com or the corresponding author.
Consumer health organisations (CHOs) are non-profit or voluntary sector organisations that promote and represent the interests of patients and carers affected by particular conditions. The purpose of this study was to examine, among patients with chronic disease, what differentiates those who contact CHOs from those who do not and what stops people from making contact.
CHOs can enhance people’s capacity to manage chronic disease by providing information, education and psychosocial support, but are under-utilised. Little is known about barriers to access.
Data were from a baseline telephone survey conducted as part of a randomised trial of an intervention to improve access to CHOs. Participants constituted a consecutive sample of 276 adults with diagnosed chronic disease recruited via 18 general practitioners in Brisbane, Australia. Quantitative survey items examined participants’ use and perceptions of CHOs and a single open-ended question explored barriers to CHO use. Multiple logistic regression and thematic analysis were used.
Overall, 39% of participants had ever contacted a CHO for their health and 28% had contacted a CHO specifically focussed on their diagnosed chronic condition. Diabetes, poorer self-reported physical health and greater health system contact were significantly associated with CHO contact. The view that ‘my doctor does it all’ was prevalent and, together with a belief that their health problems were ‘not serious enough’, was the primary reason patients did not make contact.
Attitudinal and system-related barriers limit use of CHOs by those for whom they are designed. Developing referral pathways to CHOs and promoting awareness about what they offer is needed to improve access.
Changes in corpus callosum area and thickness have been reported in
bipolar disorder. Imaging and limited neuropathological data suggest
possible abnormalities in myelination and/or glial function.
To compare corpus callosum area, thickness and magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) T1 signal intensity in patients with bipolar disorder and
A total of 48 patients with euthymic bipolar disorder and 46 healthy
controls underwent MRI analysis of callosal midsagittal area, callosal
thickness and T1 signal intensity.
The bipolar group had smaller overall and subregional callosal areas and
correspondingly reduced callosal width than the control group. Age
correlated negatively with callosal area in the control group but not in
the bipolar group. Signal intensity was higher in women than in men in
both groups. Signal intensity was reduced in women, but not in men, in
the bipolar group.
Observed differences probably relate to diagnosis rather than mood state
and bipolar disorder appears to result in morphometric change that
overrides changes seen in normal ageing. Intensity changes are consistent
with possible altered myelination or glial function. A gender-dependent
factor appears to operate and to interact with diagnosis.
The objective of this study was to determine the genetic parameters of methane (CH4) emissions and their genetic correlations with key production traits. The trial measured the CH4 emissions, at 5-min intervals, from 1225 sheep placed in respiration chambers for 2 days, with repeat measurements 2 weeks later for another 2 days. They were fed in the chambers, based on live weight, a pelleted lucerne ration at 2.0 times estimated maintenance requirements. Methane outputs were calculated for g CH4/day and g CH4/kg dry matter intake (DMI) for each of the 4 days. Single trait models were used to obtain estimates of heritability and repeatability. Heritability of g CH4/day was 0.29 ± 0.05, and for g CH4/kg DMI 0.13 ± 0.03. Repeatability between measurements 14 days apart were 0.55 ± 0.02 and 0.26 ± 0.02, for the two traits. The genetic and phenotypic correlations of CH4 outputs with various production traits (weaning weight, live weight at 8 months of age, dag score, muscle depth and fleece weight at 12 months of age) measured in the first year of life, were estimated using bivariate models. With the exception of fleece weight, correlations were weak and not significantly different from zero for the g CH4/kg DMI trait. For fleece weight the phenotypic and genetic correlation estimates were −0.08 ± 0.03 and −0.32 ± 0.11 suggesting a low economically favourable relationship. These results indicate that there is genetic variation between animals for CH4 emission traits even after adjustment for feed intake and that these traits are repeatable. Current work includes the establishment of selection lines from these animals to investigate the physiological, microbial and anatomical changes, coupled with investigations into shorter and alternative CH4 emission measurement and breeding value estimation techniques; including genomic selection.