[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To explore the consequences of translating the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) English core questionnaires on asthma, rhinitis and eczema symptoms into other languages.
ISAAC Phase III developed 49 language translations for adolescents and 42 for children following standardised guidelines, which included back-translating the questionnaires into English to check their accuracy and meaning. Language deviations were categorised and analysed with regard to influences on the reported symptom prevalence.
Category 1 deviations for one or more questions were found in seven translations (14%) for adolescents and in three translations (7%) for children. Data for these questions were excluded from the worldwide analyses. Category 2 deviations were identified in the publications, and Category 3 deviations were ignored.
Translations of questionnaires should follow a consistent protocol in global epidemiological research. Cultural norms need to be considered when evaluating back-translations into English, as disease labels are not available in every language, nor are they understood in the same way. Deviations from literal translations of English should be permitted if the intent of the original meaning is retained. A web-based tool of medical terminology would be useful for international research requiring the use of translations.
The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 10/2009; 13(9):1174-82. · 2.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have provided evidence that exposure to vehicular traffic increases the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and may exacerbate pre-existing asthma in children. Self-reported exposure to road traffic has been questioned as a reliable measurement of exposure to air pollutants. The aim of this study was to investigate whether there were specific effects of cars and trucks traffic on current asthma symptoms (i.e. wheezing) and cough or phlegm, and to examine the validity of self-reported traffic exposure.
The survey was conducted in 2002 in 12 centers in Northern, Center and Southern Italy, different in size, climate, latitude and level of urbanization. Standardized questionnaires filled in by parents were used to collect information on health outcomes and exposure to traffic among 33,632 6-7 and 13-14 years old children and adolescents. Three questions on traffic exposure were asked: the traffic in the zone of residence, the frequency of truck and of car traffic in the street of residence. The presence of a possible response bias for the self-reported traffic was evaluated using external validation (comparison with measurements of traffic flow in the city of Turin) and internal validations (matching by census block, in the cities of Turin, Milan and Rome).
Overall traffic density was weakly associated with asthma symptoms but there was a stronger association with cough or phlegm (high traffic density OR = 1.24; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.49). Car and truck traffic were independently associated with cough or phlegm. The results of the external validation did not support the existence of a reporting bias for the observed associations, for all the self-reported traffic indicators examined. The internal validations showed that the observed association between traffic density in the zone of residence and respiratory symptoms did not appear to be explained by an over reporting of traffic by parents of symptomatic subjects.
Children living in zones with intense traffic are at higher risk for respiratory effects. Since population characteristics are specific, the results of validation of studies on self-reported traffic exposure can not be generalized.
Environmental Health 07/2009; 8(1):27. DOI:10.1186/1476-069X-8-27 · 3.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies have documented large international variations in the prevalence of asthma, and 'westernization' seems to play an important role in the development of the disease. The aims of this study were to compare the prevalence of respiratory symptoms in migrant and nonmigrant children resident in Italy, and to examine the effect of length of time living in Italy.
Data were collected in a large cross-sectional study (SIDRIA-2) performed in 12 Italian centres, using standardized parental questionnaires. For the 29 305 subjects included in the analysis (6-7 and 13-14 years old), information about place of birth and parental nationality was available.
There were 1012 children (3%) born outside of Italy, mainly in East Europe. Lifetime asthma and current wheeze were generally significantly less common among children born abroad than among children born in Italy (lifetime asthma: 5.4% and 9.7% respectively, P < 0.001; current wheeze: 5.2% and 6.9%, respectively, P = 0.04). Lower risks for lifetime asthma (prevalence odds ratio, POR = 0.39; 95% CI: 0.23-0.66) and current wheeze (POR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.47-1.10) were found for children who had lived in Italy <5 years, while migrant children who had lived in Italy for 5 years or more had risks very similar to Italian children.
Migrant children have a lower prevalence of asthma symptoms than children born in Italy. Prevalence increased with the number of years of living in Italy, suggesting that exposure to environmental factors may play an important role in the development of asthma in childhood.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We evaluated the occurrence of asthma attacks at school in a sample of 13,266 adolescents (13-14 year old) from 12 centers across Italy (SIDRIA-2 study). 23.8% of asthmatic subjects reported at least one wheezing attack at school in the previous 12 months. The attacks occurred in the gymnasium (55.4%), in the classroom (42.6%), outside (28.7%), in the bathroom (4.5%) and in other school environments (4%). During the attacks, self-administration of a bronchodilator was reported by 66% of the subjects. Educational programs and specific guidelines to deal with asthmatic schoolchildren are warranted.
Epidemiologia e prevenzione 01/2005; 29(2 Suppl):77-9. · 0.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the prevalences of asthma, allergic rhinitis (both to pollen and to other causes) and eczema in Italian children (6-7 yr old) and adolescents (13-14 yr old) in the second phase of SIDRIA (2002), aiming also to highlight geographical differences in the prevalence of the studied diseases. Prevalence of lifetime asthma is 9.3% in children and 10.3% in adolescents; lifetime prevalences of allergic rhinitis and eczema are 12.3% and 15.9% in children, 20.9% and 11.9% in adolescents. In both age groups, prevalence of lifetime asthma and lifetime and past 12 months wheezing was greater in central than in northern and southern areas. A similar situation was also seen for allergic rhinitis but not for eczema whose prevalence decreased between North to South of Italy. An excess in prevalence of lifetime asthma and rhinitis was found in metropolitan areas compared to other areas; prevalence of eczema did not show any difference by urbanization level. Prevalence of asthma and, only in children, prevalence of rhinitis symptoms was greater in males than in females. On the contrary, prevalence of eczema and, only in adolescents, prevalence of rhinitis symptoms was greater in females. Prevalence of childhood asthma, allergic rhinitis and eczema in Italy ranks intermediate with respect to other countries participating in ISAAC phase three.
Epidemiologia e prevenzione 01/2005; 29(2 Suppl):24-31. · 0.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The association between socio-economic status (SES) and respiratory and allergic disorders is controversial, and conflicting results are reported in literature. We examined this association using as indicators of SES parental education and occupation. Persistent cough resulted inversely associated with SES, while current wheezing and atopic dermatitis were directly associated with SES. The role of SES on frequency of respiratory and allergic conditions in Italy needs to be further investigated, although our results confirm a higher frequency of allergic dermatitis and a lower frequency of persistent cough in more advantaged families.
Epidemiologia e prevenzione 01/2005; 29(2 Suppl):32-5. · 0.78 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The effect of dietary factors on asthma is controversial. This study examined food consumption and the use of fats in relation to wheezing and allergic rhinitis in children. Baseline questionnaire data on individual and family characteristics were recorded by parents of 5,257 children aged 6-7 yrs living in central Italy participating in the International Study on Asthma and Allergies in Childhood study. A total of 4,104 children (78.1%) were reinvestigated after 1 yr using a second parental questionnaire to record occurrence of respiratory symptoms over the intervening 12 months. Consumption of foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, animal fats, and food containing omega-3 fatty acids were investigated using a food-frequency questionnaire. Frequency of use of fats was also evaluated. Wheezing, shortness of breath with wheeze, and symptoms of allergic rhinitis in the past 12 months were considered. Intake of cooked vegetables, tomatoes, and fruit were protective factors for any wheeze in the last 12 months and shortness of breath with wheeze. Consumption of citrus fruit had a protective role for shortness of breath with wheeze. Consumption of bread and margarine was associated with an increased risk of wheeze, while bread and butter was associated with shortness of breath with wheeze. Dietary antioxidants in vegetables may reduce wheezing symptoms in childhood, whereas both butter and margarine may increase the occurrence of such symptoms.
European Respiratory Journal 12/2003; 22(5):772-80. DOI:10.1183/09031936.03.00006703 · 7.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A study was performed to determine whether Pi heterozygotes exposed to smoking have a higher risk of reduced lung function than Pi M homozygotes.
The effect of passive smoking on lung function was investigated in a cross sectional study of 997 primary and secondary schoolchildren aged 11-13 years categorised by Pi phenotype as either PiM homozygotes or Pi heterozygotes. Data on respiratory health and risk factors were collected by questionnaire, lung function was measured by spirometric tests, bronchial hyperresponsiveness was evaluated by methacholine test, atopic status was evaluated by skin prick testing, and a blood sample was collected to determine Pi phenotype. Urinary cotinine and creatinine concentrations were determined and assessment of exposure was made from questionnaire data and urinary cotinine concentrations. The results were analysed by multiple regression analysis.
Sixty one subjects (6.1%) were found to be Pi heterozygotes. Lung function did not differ between homozygotes and heterozygotes. There was a reduction in lung function in subjects exposed to parental smoking in the overall sample: FEV(1)/FVC ratio (-0.78%), FEF(25-75) (-0.11 litres), and FEF(75) (-0.13 litres). Interaction terms between parental smoking and Pi status were significant with regard to FEV(1)/FVC ratio (p=0.035) and FEF(50) (p=0.023). In subjects exposed to parental smoking the decrement in lung function in Pi heterozygotes tended to be greater (FEV(1)/FVC ratio = -2.57, FEF(25-75) = -0.30, FEF(50) = -0.43, and FEF(75) = -0.29) than in PiM homozygotes. These results did not change significantly when the urinary cotinine concentration was used as an exposure variable.
The detrimental effect of environmental tobacco smoke on lung function in schoolchildren is confirmed. This harmful effect is greater in Pi heterozygotes than in PiM homozygotes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our objective was to investigate the occurrence of snoring in a general population sample of children and to evaluate the association with anthropometric data and clinical findings of oropharynx and nasal airways.
A cross-sectional study was conducted with children from primary and secondary schools in Civitavecchia and Viterbo in the Latium region in central Italy. The total sample of the survey included 2439 schoolchildren. A total of 2209 children who were ages 10 to 15 years were selected (response rate: 90.5%) according to their snoring frequency during sleep: never, only with colds, occasionally apart from with colds, often. Children in the last category were defined as habitual snorers. Data were collected by means of questionnaires and clinical examination. A blood sample was collected to determine the concentration of hemoglobin in the blood. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals.
The prevalence of habitual snorers was 5.6%. Boys who were older than 15 years and had a body mass index greater than the 90th percentile were significantly more likely to be snorers. Habitual snoring was strongly associated with decreased nasal patency (rhinitis OR: 2.13; septal deviation OR: 2.75; nasal obstruction OR: 2.20). Children who had undergone adenoidectomy or had markedly enlarged tonsils were at greater risk of being habitual snorers (OR: 4.28 and 5.07, respectively). Last, habitual snorers had a significantly higher concentration of hemoglobin in the blood compared with other children.
Body weight and nasal and pharynx patency seem to be the main determinants of snoring. The finding of higher values of blood hemoglobin concentration in snorers than in nonsnorers suggests that these children could be experiencing oxyhemoglobin desaturation during sleep. Taking into consideration the relationship between these different risk factors could lead to a better clinical approach to the snoring child.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A study was undertaken to investigate the effect of gas cooking on the lung function of adolescents while considering serum IgE level as a possible effect modifier.
The cross sectional study was performed in 702 subjects aged 11-13 years from primary and secondary schools in Civitavecchia and Viterbo ( Latium region in Central Italy), categorised according to how often they were in the kitchen while the mother cooked (never, sometimes, often). Data were collected by questionnaire and lung function was measured by spirometric tests. Bronchial hyperresponsiveness was evaluated by the methacholine test, atopic status by a skin prick test, and a blood sample was collected to determine serum IgE levels. The results were analysed separately for boys and girls. Multiple regression analysis was performed, taking functional parameters (FEV(1), FEV(1)/FVC, FEF(25-75), FEF(50), FEF(75)) as the dependent variables and age, height, parental smoking, and father's education as independent variables.
There was no association between time spent in the kitchen and lung function level in boys, but a reduction in lung function was detected in girls which was statistically significant for FEF(75) (sometimes -10.3%, often -11.1%). After stratifying boys and girls into four groups on the basis of the IgE serum level (below and above the median value of IgE), the reduction in lung function was significant in girls with a high IgE value whereas no significant deleterious effects were evident in girls with a low IgE value or in boys with either a low or high IgE. The results remained substantially unchanged after excluding girls with a response to methacholine below the concentration of 4 mg/ml, asthmatic patients, and those with positive skin prick tests.
Gas cooking has a harmful effect on the lung function of girls with a high serum level of IgE. We do not know whether serum IgE, a marker of allergic susceptibility, is a simple indicator that an inflammatory process is in progress or whether it is involved in the pathogenesis of injury leading to bronchial obstruction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A beneficial effect of fresh fruit consumption on lung function has been observed in several studies. The epidemiological evidence of the effect on respiratory symptoms and asthma is limited. The consumption of fruit rich in vitamin C was examined in relation to wheezing and other respiratory symptoms in cross sectional and follow up studies of Italian children.
Standardised respiratory questionnaires were filled in by parents of 18 737 children aged 6-7 years living in eight areas of Northern and Central Italy. The winter intake of citrus fruit and kiwi fruit by the children was categorised as less than once per week, 1-2 per week, 3-4 per week, and 5-7 per week. A subset of 4104 children from two areas was reinvestigated after one year using a second parental questionnaire to record the occurrence of wheezing symptoms over the intervening period.
In the cross sectional analysis, after controlling for several confounders (sex, study area, paternal education, household density, maternal smoking, paternal smoking, dampness or mould in the child's bedroom, parental asthma), intake of citrus fruit or kiwi fruit was a highly significant protective factor for wheeze in the last 12 months (odds ratio (OR) = 0.66, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.55 to 0.78, for those eating fruit 5-7 times per week compared with less than once per week), shortness of breath with wheeze (OR = 0.68, 95% CI 0.56 to 0.84), severe wheeze (OR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.40 to 0.85), nocturnal cough (OR = 0.73, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.83), chronic cough (OR = 0.75, 95% CI 0.65 to 0.88), and non-coryzal rhinitis (OR = 0.72, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.83). In the follow up study fruit intake recorded at baseline was a strong and independent predictor of all symptoms investigated except non-coryzal rhinitis. In most cases the protective effect was evident even among children whose intake of fruit was only 1-2 times per week and no clear dose-response relationship was found. The effect was stronger (although not significantly so (p = 0.13)) in subjects with a history of asthma; those eating fresh fruit at least once a week experienced a lower one year occurrence of wheeze (29. 3%) than those eating fruit less than once per week (47.1%) (OR = 0. 46, 95% CI 0.27 to 0.81).
Although the effect of other dietary components cannot be excluded, it is concluded that the consumption of fruit rich in vitamin C, even at a low level of intake, may reduce wheezing symptoms in childhood, especially among already susceptible individuals.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Population groups with a lower socioeconomic status (SES) have a greater risk of disease and mortality. The aim of this study was to investigate the relation between SES and mortality in the metropolitan area of Rome during the six year period 1990-1995, and to examine variations in mortality differentials between 1990-92 and 1993-95.
Rome has a population of approximately 2,800,000, with 6100 census tracts (CTs). During the study period, 149,002 deaths occurred among residents. The cause-specific mortality rates were compared among four socioeconomic categories defined by a socioeconomic index, derived from characteristics of the CT of residence.
Among men, total mortality and mortality for the major causes of death showed an inverse association with SES. Among 15-44 year old men, the strong positive association between total mortality and low SES was attributable to AIDS and overdose mortality. Among women, a positive association with lower SES was observed for stomach cancer, uterus cancer and cardiovascular disease, whereas mortality for lung and breast cancers was higher in the groups with higher SES. Comparing the periods 1990-92 and 1993-95, differences in total mortality between socioeconomic groups widened in both sexes. Increasing differences were observed for tuberculosis and lung cancer among men, and for uterus cancer, traffic accidents, and overdose mortality among women.
The use of an area-based indicator of SES limits the interpretations of the findings. However, despite the possible limitations, these results suggest that social class differences in mortality in Rome are increasing. Time changes in lifestyle and in the prevalence of risk behaviours may produce differences in disease incidence. Moreover, inequalities in the access to medical care and in the quality of care may contribute to an increasing differentials in mortality.
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 12/1999; 53(11):687-93. DOI:10.1136/jech.53.11.687 · 3.50 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the relation between traffic indicators in the area of residence and the occurrence of chronic respiratory disorders in children.
A population based survey was conducted in 10 areas of northern and central Italy (autumn 1994 to winter 1995) in two age groups (6-7 and 13-14 years). Information on several respiratory disorders and on traffic near residences was collected with a questionnaire given to children and to their parents. The sample analysed included 39,275 subjects (response rate 94.4%). Outcomes were: (a) early (first 2 years of life) respiratory diseases, and (b) current respiratory disorders (asthma, wheeze, cough, or phlegm in the past year). Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs), adjusted for several potential confounders, were estimated from logistic regression models. Main results were stratified by level of urbanisation (metropolitan areas, other centres).
In the metropolitan areas, high frequency of lorry traffic in the street of residence was associated with significantly increased risks for many adverse respiratory outcomes. Among early respiratory diseases, the strongest associations were found for recurrent bronchitis (OR 1.69, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.30), bronchiolitis (1.74, 1.09 to 2.77) and pneumonia (1.84, 1.27 to 2.65), although no association was detected for episodes of wheezing bronchitis. All the current respiratory disorders were positively and consistently associated with frequency of lorry traffic, particularly the most severe bronchitic and wheezing symptoms: persistent phelgm for > 2 months (1.68; 1.14 to 2.48), and severe wheeze limiting speech (1.86; 1.26 to 2.73). No or weaker associations with heavy vehicular traffic were detected in urban and rural areas and no increased risks were found in the whole sample with the reported traffic density in the zone of residence. After extensive evaluations, the potential of reporting bias seems unlikely.
Exposure to exhausts from heavy vehicular traffic may have several adverse effects on respiratory health of children living in metropolitan areas, increasing the occurrence of lower respiratory tract infections early in life and of wheezing and bronchitic symptoms at school age.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine 12/1998; 55(11):771-8. DOI:10.1136/oem.55.11.771 · 3.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the area of Malagrotta, a suburb of Rome (Italy), a large waste disposal site, a waste incinerator plant, and an oil refinery plant became operational in the early 1960s and have represented three major sources of air pollution. To evaluate the potential health risk due to airborne contamination around these point sources, a small area analysis of mortality was conducted. Cancer of the liver, larynx, lung, kidney, lymphatic, and haematopoietic systems were evaluated.
Sex and age specific mortality (1987-93) and population denominators (1991) were available for the census tracts of the metropolitan area of Rome. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) were computed separately for males and females in bands of increasing distance from the plants, up to a radius of 10 km. Stone's test for the decline in risk with distance was performed with increments in radius of 1 km; SMRs were also computed after adjusting for a four level index of socioeconomic status.
No overall excess or decline in risk with distance was found for liver, lung, and lymphohaematopoietic cancers in either sex. For laryngeal cancer, an increased but not significant risk was found at 0-3 km and at 3-8 km. A significant decline with distance in mortality from laryngeal cancer was found among men (p = 0.03); the trend remained after adjusting for the socioeconomic index (p = 0.06).
The study showed no association between proximity to the industrial sites and mortality for most of the several conditions considered. However, mortality from laryngeal cancer declined with distance from the sources of pollution. This result is interesting, as previous findings of an increased risk of laryngeal cancer near incinerators have been controversial.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine 10/1998; 55(9):611-5. DOI:10.1136/oem.55.9.611 · 3.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Asthma and allergic disorders have been on the increase in recent decades, especially among children living in affluent countries; some aspects of the "Western" way of life may explain this trend. We evaluated the relation of aeroallergen skin test reactivity with socioeconomic status, number of siblings, and respiratory infections in early life. We examined a total of 2,226 schoolchildren, ages 7-11 years, in three areas of Lazio, Italy. Skin prick tests were performed to assess atopic status, and self-administered questionnaires were completed by the parents. The prevalence of prick test positivity was greater among children whose fathers were in the highest educational level than among those in the lowest [prevalence ratio (PR) = 1.58; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.21-2.06]. There was also a lower prevalence of atopy among larger sibships (PR = 0.38 for subjects with four or more siblings vs those without siblings; 95% CI = 0.14-0.99). A history of bronchitis or bronchiolitis before age 2 years was weakly associated with an increased risk of atopy, whereas a history of pertussis or pneumonia was not. Both the effect of father's education and the influence of larger sibship size remained when we adjusted for several potential confounding factors, including respiratory infections in early life. We infer that higher socioeconomic status and lower sibling number are determinants of atopy in this Italian population. Protection arising from early severe respiratory infections does not explain this association, although we cannot exclude a role for other viral infections.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A retrospective mortality study of a cohort of 532 male subjects employed at two municipal plants for garbage recycling and incinerating has been conducted. All workers ever employed at the plants since 1962 were enrolled and followed up from January 1, 1965 to December 31, 1992. Standardized Mortality Ratios (SMRs) and 90% confidence intervals (90%CI) were calculated using regional population mortality rates. The study yielded a total of 8,585 person-years of observation. Mortality from all causes was significantly lower than expected (observed [obs] = 31; SMR = 0.71; 90%CI = 0.51-0.95). All cancer mortality was comparable with that of the general population (obs = 15; SMR = 0.95; 90%CI = 0.58-1.46). Mortality from lung cancer was reduced (obs = 3; SMR = 0.55; 90%CI = 0.15-1.42). Increased risk was found for gastric cancer (obs = 4; SMR = 2.79; 90%CI = 0.94-6.35). Analysis by latency indicated that the excess risk of gastric cancer was confined in the category with more than 10 years since first exposure. Our results for gastric and lung cancers indicate the need to further investigate the role on cancer of occupational exposure to organic dust and bacterial endotoxins in the waste management.
American Journal of Industrial Medicine 06/1997; 31(5):659-61. DOI:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0274(199705)31:53.3.CO;2-3 · 1.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective of this study was to assess the mortality experience of a cohort of chemical workers at a plant located in central Italy. Subjects employed for any time between 1954 and 1970 at the chemical plant were included in the cohort and followed up to June 1991. The workers were classified as having ever/never worked in one of the following work processes: organic chemicals, acid mixtures, cleansing agents and insecticides. Mortality experience of the cohort was compared with that of the regional population by computing SMRs (standardized mortality ratios) and 90% CI (confidence intervals). Vital status was ascertained for 96% of the 505 cohort members. All causes of mortality for the entire cohort were lower than expected (Obs: 176; SMR: 0.90; 90% CI: 0.79-1.03). Analysis by work process revealed an increased mortality for lymphatic and hematopoietic tissue neoplasm in the cleansing agents department (Obs: 3; SMR: 5.00; 90% CI: 1.36-12.9); peritoneum and retropertioneum neoplasm in the organic compounds production (Obs: 2; SMR: 13.33; 90% CI: 2.37-42.0), and bladder cancer in the insecticides process (Obs: 3; SMR: 3.53; 90% CI: 0.96-9.12). Although the study had a low statistical power, the increased cancer risks detected are consistent with previous observations and may be of etiologic interest.
European Journal of Epidemiology 05/1997; 13(3):281-5. DOI:10.1023/A:1007355519112 · 5.34 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigated the effects of occasional exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on lung function in children. A total of 317 healthy 12- to 15-yr-old nonsmoking children and adolescents, living in households in which none of the adults were active smokers, were selected for the present analysis. The urinary cotinine:creatinine ratio (CCR) was taken as the biologic indicator of exposure, and children were classified according to CCR quartiles. The ratio between FEV1 and FVC (FEV1/FVC) and both early (peak expiratory flow [PEF]) and midexpiratory flow rates (FEF25-75) were lower in children with higher CCR values. In percent terms, the decrease in adjusted lung function for children belonging to the second, third, and fourth quartiles in comparison with those in the first quartile was -1.37, -2.12, and -1.94 for FEV1/FVC (p for trend = 0.012); 0.98, -3.31, and -4.54 for PEF (p for trend = 0.024); and -0.05, -4.85, and -6.13 for FEF25-75 (p for trend = 0.022), respectively. The effects remained significant when possible confounding by father's education and urinary creatinine level had been taken into account, and when children whose parents' smoking status may have been misclassified were excluded. This study suggests an adverse effect on lung function from even low-level exposure to ETS among nonsmoking children living with reportedly nonsmoking parents.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 10/1996; 154(3 Pt 1):695-700. DOI:10.1164/ajrccm.154.3.8810607 · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A longitudinal study was done to evaluate the determinants of bronchial responsiveness (BR) to methacholine in children and adolescents. A cohort of 892 7- to 11-yr-old schoolchildren was restudied after a 3.5-yr interval. The same protocol for methacholine challenge (up to 64.0 mg/ml) and skin prick testing was employed at both the baseline survey and follow-up. An overall decline in the level of BR was observed, the geometric mean slope (percent decline in FEV1 per mg/ml of methacholine) decreasing from 0.68 (95% CI=0.61 to 0.75) to 0.51 (95% CI=0.46 to 0.57) (p<0.001). At both surveys, the strongest determinants of slope were baseline pulmonary function level (FEF25-75) and degree of atopic status. After adjusting for log FEF25-75, no gender difference was found in the first survey, whereas girls had greater BR than boys at follow-up. Longitudinal changes in skin prick test reactivity were associated with the BR level. Subjects in whom an initially positive skin prick test became negative (5.3%) had an increased slope at baseline but a follow-up slope similar to that of never skin-reactors. Conversely, those whose skin prick test converted from negative to positive (13.0%) had a slope similar to that of never-reactors at baseline but became stronger responders to methacholine than never-reactors at follow-up. Finally, responsiveness was highest in the presence of persistently positive skin prick testing (13.5%). In conclusion, BR declines from childhood to adolescence, paralleling the increase in lung function during this period; the decline is less pronounced in females. Changes in atopic status are associated with modifications in the BR level.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 03/1996; 153(3):1098-104. DOI:10.1164/ajrccm.153.3.8630551 · 13.00 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The study examines the role of several potential predictors of urinary cotinine levels in a cross-sectional sample of 1,072 nonsmoking children and adolescents in Latium, Italy, during 1990-1991. As expected, there was a strong relation between passive exposure to smoking and the amount of maternal and paternal self-reported smoking. The urinary cotinine level increased with a decreasing level of paternal education and with an increasing index of household crowding; self-report of recent exposure to smoking outside the home was a strong predictor of the biologic marker. The analysis was then restricted to 346 subjects whose parents claimed that they were nonsmokers and that there were no smokers at home. In this group, however, 57 children reported some active smoking at home by their parents. Those with parents suspected to be "deceivers" had higher level of urinary cotinine than did those truly not exposed. In addition, urinary cotinine in this group was clearly associated with duration of exposure to smoking outside home. The study indicates that both factors related to family circumstances and exposure outside the household setting are strong determinants of urinary cotinine levels. The finding may be considered a direct confirmation that passive smoking among children should be viewed as a specific community responsibility.
American Journal of Epidemiology 09/1995; 142(4):419-27. · 5.23 Impact Factor