[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smoking in pregnancy remains a public health challenge. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is effective for smoking cessation in non-pregnant people, but because women metabolise nicotine and cotinine much faster in pregnancy, it is unclear whether this will be effective for smoking cessation in pregnancy. The NHS Health Technology Assessment Programme (HTA)-funded smoking, nicotine and pregnancy (SNAP) trial will investigate whether or not nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is effective, cost-effective and safe when used for smoking cessation by pregnant women.
Over two years, in 5 trial centres, 1050 pregnant women who are between 12 and 24 weeks pregnant will be randomised as they attend hospital for ante-natal ultrasound scans. Women will receive either nicotine or placebo transdermal patches with behavioural support. The primary outcome measure is biochemically-validated, self-reported, prolonged and total abstinence from smoking between a quit date (defined before randomisation and set within two weeks of this) and delivery. At six months after childbirth self-reported maternal smoking status will be ascertained and two years after childbirth, self-reported maternal smoking status and the behaviour, cognitive development and respiratory symptoms of children born in the trial will be compared in both groups.
This trial is designed to ascertain whether or not standard doses of NRT (as transdermal patches) are effective and safe when used for smoking cessation during pregnancy.
BMC Health Services Research 02/2007; 7:2. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Geohelminth infection and poor hygiene may be protective against allergic sensitization.
To determine whether current helminth infection is associated with a reduced prevalence of allergen skin test sensitization in a Southeast Asian population of children with a high prevalence of hookworm infection.
A total of 1742 Vietnamese schoolchildren were invited to take part in a cross-sectional survey. Allergen skin sensitization to house dust mites (Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus and Dermatophagoides farinae) and American cockroach (Periplaneta americana) were measured and stool samples for qualitative and quantitative geohelminth estimation collected.
A total of 1601 children age 6 to 18 participated. Sensitization to dust mites was present in 14.4% and to cockroach in 27.6% of children. In a mutually adjusted model, the risk of sensitization to dust mites was reduced in those with higher hookworm burden (adjusted odds ratio [OR] for 350+ vs no eggs per gram, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.39-0.96) and with Ascaris infection (adjusted OR, 0.28; 0.10-0.78), and increased in those using flush toilets (adjusted OR for flush toilet vs none/bush/pit, 2.51; 1.00-6.28). In contrast, sensitization to cockroach was not independently related to geohelminth infection but was increased in those regularly drinking piped or well water rather than from a stream (adjusted OR, 1.33; 1.02-1.75).
Geohelminth infection, sanitation, and water supply influence the risk of allergic sensitization in Vietnamese children. This is consistent with a protective effect against allergy by geohelminth or other gastrointestinal infection.
If the inverse relationship between geohelminth infection, poor sanitation, and allergic sensitization proves to be causal, drugs derived from parasite products may help to alleviate clinical allergic disease.
Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2007; 118(6):1305-11. · 12.05 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meta-analyses of studies investigating the impact of maternal environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) on birth weight have not produced robust findings. Although, ante natal ETS exposure probably reduces infant's birth weights, the scale of this exposure remains unknown. We conducted a large, cohort study to assess the impact of ETS exposure on birth weight whilst adjusting for the many factors known to influence this.
Retrospective study using interview data from parents of 18,297 children born in 2000/2001 and living in the UK 9 months afterwards (the Millennium Cohort Survey). Comparison of birth weight, sex and gestational age specific (SGA) z score, birth before 37 weeks and birth weight < 2.5 Kg (LBW) in infants born to women exposed to: i) no tobacco smoke, ii) ETS only and iii) maternal smoking whilst pregnant.
13% of UK infants were exposed to ETS and 36% to maternal smoking ante natally. Compared to no ante natal tobacco smoke exposure, domestic ETS lowered infants' adjusted mean birth weights by 36 g (95% CI, 5 g to 67 g) and this effect showed a dose-response relationship. ETS exposure also caused non-significant increases in the adjusted risks of Low Birth Weight (<2.5 Kg) [OR 1.23 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.58) and premature birth [OR 1.21 (95% CI, 0.96 to 1.51)], whilst the impacts of maternal smoking were greater and statistically significant.
UK prevalences of domestic ETS exposure and maternal smoking in pregnancy remain high and ETS exposure lowers infants' birth weights.
BMC Public Health 01/2007; 7:81. · 2.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective To determine which factors predict default from subsequent treatment sessions after initial enrolment and attendance at a large, English smoking cessation service.Design Cross-sectional survey using data obtained at smokers' initial enrolment attendance to compare the characteristics of those who subsequently default with those who do not.Participants and setting 2516 smokers who attended at least one appointment with a smoking cessation service serving the Nottingham City area, UK, in a two year period starting from 1 October 2001.Results The 2516 smokers who consented for their data to be used in this analysis comprised 78.8 per cent of all smokers enrolled into the smoking cessation service during the study period. Of these, 73.9 per cent (1892) attended subsequent appointments, whilst 21.6 per cent defaulted (i.e. failed to re-attend for treatment after the initial appointment). Default from treatment was independently associated with younger age, heavier smoking, living alone or in a house with a smoker, and being less motivated to stop smoking, but was unrelated to smokers' routes of referral to the service.Conclusions Further work is required to explain why described factors are associated with default from smoking cessation treatment in this service and to determine whether similar factors influence this in other services. Our results suggest that, to minimize default, smoking cessation services should, at initial enrolment consultations, employ strategies to increase smokers' motivation to stop, combat nicotine addiction and the influence of other smokers at home.
Health Education Journal - HEALTH EDUC J. 01/2007; 66(1):32-43.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epidemiological studies suggest that a hookworm infection producing 50 eggs/gram of feces may protect against asthma. We conducted a dose-ranging study to identify the dose of hookworm larvae necessary to achieve 50 eggs/gram of feces for therapeutic trials of asthma. Ten healthy subjects without asthma or airway hyperresponsiveness to inhaled methacholine received 10, 25, 50, or 100 Necator americanus larvae administered double blind to an area of skin on the arm. Subjects were seen weekly for 12 weeks and were then treated with mebendazole. Skin itching at the entry site and gastrointestinal symptoms were common at higher doses. Lung function did not change. Levels of blood eosinophils and IgE increased transiently, and levels of IgG increased progressively. All doses resulted in at least 50 eggs/gram of feces in the eight subjects who completed the study. Infection with 10 N. americanus larvae is well tolerated, elicits a modest host eosinophil response, and is potentially suitable for use in preliminary clinical therapeutic trials.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 12/2006; 75(5):914-20. · 2.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare the pharmacokinetic profiles of beclometasone, budesonide, fluticasone and mometasone following inhalation in patients with asthma, and explore the relationship between lung function and plasma drug concentrations.
Thirty subjects with asthma and a forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1)) ranging from 36 to 138% predicted, inhaled 800 microg beclometasone, budesonide and mometasone and 1000 microg fluticasone in random order. Plasma drug concentrations were measured over 8 h and the relationship between the area under the plasma concentration-time curve (AUC(0-8)) and lung function was modelled using linear regression. Estimated AUC(0-8) values at 50 and 100% predicted FEV(1) were compared for each drug.
Pharmacokinetic profiles differed markedly between the drugs. Correlation coefficients for the relation between FEV(1)% predicted and AUC(0-8) values for beclometasone, budesonide, fluticasone and mometasone were 0.37 (P = 0.05), 0.33 (P = 0.08), 0.25 (P = 0.2) and 0.52 (P = 0.004), respectively, and estimated AUC(0-8) values were 1.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0, 1.8], 1.3 (95% CI 1.0, 1.8), 1.4 (95% CI 0.9, 2.2) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.3, 3.5) times higher for the four drugs, respectively, at 100 compared with 50% predicted FEV(1.)
The higher plasma concentrations of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with a higher FEV(1)% predicted suggests that, for any given dose, these patients will be at greater risk of developing adverse systemic effects with long-term use.
British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 11/2006; 62(4):412-9. · 3.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smoking is common in young people, particularly in disadvantaged groups, and continued smoking has a major impact on quality and quantity of life. Although many young smokers want to stop smoking, little is known about the design and effectiveness of cessation services for them.
To determine whether nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) when combined with counselling is effective in young smokers in a deprived area of Nottingham, UK.
We surveyed smoking prevalence and attitudes to smoking and quitting in young people accessing an open access youth project in a deprived area of Nottingham, and used the information gained to design a community based smoking cessation service incorporating a randomised controlled trial of nicotine patches against placebo given in association with individual behavioural support. We resurveyed smoking prevalence among project attendees after completing the pilot study.
Of 264 young people surveyed (median age 14 years, range 11-21), 49% were regular smokers. A total of 98 young people were recruited and randomised to receive either active nicotine patches on a six week reducing dose regimen (49 participants), or placebo (49 participants). Adherence to therapy was low, the median duration being one week, and 63 participants did not attend any follow up. At four weeks, five subjects receiving active NRT and two receiving placebo were abstinent, and at 13 weeks none were. Adverse effects were more common in the active group but none were serious. Smoking prevalence among 246 youth project attendees surveyed after the trial was 44%.
This study suggests that NRT in this context is unlikely to be effective in young smokers, not least because of low adherence to therapy. It also suggests that young smokers want help with smoking cessation, but that establishing the efficacy of smoking cessation services for young people who need them most will be very difficult.
Tobacco control 11/2006; 15(5):373-6. · 3.85 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To identify the preferred design characteristics of smoking cessation services for school-age smokers, we conducted focus groups with teenage smokers motivated to stop smoking. We surveyed all pupils in years 9-11 (aged 13-16) in a random sample of 10 schools in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, to elicit details of smoking behavior, and conducted 25 focus groups in 6 schools with current smokers who wanted to stop smoking. Of 4,065 pupils surveyed, 888 (22%) were current smokers, and 438 (50% of smokers) wanted to quit smoking. We sampled 226 of these individuals for focus group studies, and 135 (60%) participated. These participants were motivated to quit, and almost all had tried to do so but had found it too difficult. Many were aware of smoking cessation methods but had low perceptions of their effectiveness based on their own or others' poor experiences of these interventions, and few were aware of the possibility of professional cessation support. Given clear, nondirective information about interventions, participants reported a preference for confidential, nonjudgmental services delivered during school time by a trained counselor, allowed the option to attend with friends, and offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). School-age smokers in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, who are motivated to stop smoking have low knowledge and opinions of smoking cessation interventions. Our findings indicate that young smokers would favor school-based services offering confidential professional counseling and NRT.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research 09/2006; 8(4):539-46. · 2.48 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smoking is strongly associated with disadvantage and is an important contributor to inequalities in health. Smoking cessation services have been implemented in the UK targeting disadvantaged smokers, but there is little evidence available on how to design services to attract this priority group.
We conducted focus groups with 39 smokers aged 21-75 from the most socio-economically deprived areas of Nottingham UK who had made an unsuccessful attempt to quit within the last year without using smoking cessation services, to identify specific barriers or motivators to gaining access to these services.
Barriers to use of existing services related to fear of being judged, fear of failure, a perceived lack of knowledge about existing services, a perception that available interventions--particularly Nicotine Replacement Therapy--are expensive and ineffective, and negative media publicity about bupropion. Participants expressed a preference for a personalized, non-judgemental approach combining counselling with affordable, accessible and effective pharmacological therapies; convenient and flexible timing of service delivery, and the possibility of subsidized complementary therapies.
We conclude that smokers from these deprived areas generally had low awareness of the services available to help them, and misconceptions about their availability and effectiveness. A more personalized approach to promoting services that are non-judgemental, and with free pharmacotherapy and flexible support may encourage more deprived smokers to quit smoking.
BMC Health Services Research 02/2006; 6:147. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exhaled carbon monoxide (eCO) is a potential non-invasive marker of airway inflammation. We have investigated the cross-sectional and longitudinal relationship between eCO and lung function and bronchial reactivity in 69 adults with atopic asthma, in the course of participation in a 6-week randomised placebo-controlled trial of vitamin E supplementation. At baseline, there was no cross-sectional association between absolute eCO levels and either forced expiratory volume (FEV(1)), forced vital capacity (FVC) or bronchial reactivity. However, in the longitudinal analysis within the placebo group, a rise in mean eCO was significantly associated with improvement in bronchial reactivity (change in eCO (parts per million) per natural log unit change in bronchial hyperreactivity 0.498, 95% confidence interval 0.071 to 0.924, P=0.024). These findings suggest that, contrary to previous data, there is no cross-sectional relationship between eCO and lung function or bronchial reactivity, but that there may be a longitudinal trend with bronchial reactivity that is worth further investigation.
Respiratory Medicine 11/2005; 99(10):1292-6. · 2.59 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Smoking in pregnancy is a public health problem and effective methods for reducing this are required. Although nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) is effective for smoking cessation in non-pregnant people, there is no direct evidence concerning its effectiveness in pregnancy. Despite this, clinical guidelines recommend the cautious use of NRT during pregnancy. Randomised controlled trials are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of NRT when used by pregnant women for smoking cessation, but the feasibility of recruiting women to such trials is unknown. Consequently, in this study we aimed to determine i) the feasibility of recruiting women to a RCT of NRT in pregnancy as they attend hospital antenatal ultrasound examinations, ii) the proportion of such women who are eligible for and interested in trial enrollment and iii) research staff perceptions of how one method of trial recruitment could be improved.
During a one month period, all women attending for antenatal ultrasound examination in an English teaching hospital were asked to complete a questionnaire which determined their eligibility to enroll in a proposed placebo controlled randomised trial investigating the effectiveness of NRT in pregnancy. Women who were eligible to participate were asked whether they would do so and those who accepted enrollment were offered an appointment with a smoking cessation advisor.
Over 99% (851/858) of women agreed to complete a questionnaire about smoking habits whilst waiting for ultrasound examinations. 10.3% (88/851) of women attending for antenatal ultrasound fitted eligibility criteria for a proposed RCT of NRT in pregnancy, but only 3.6% [(31/851), 95% CI, 2.4 to 4.9%] indicated on the questionnaire that they would like to take part in a study involving randomisation to placebo or active patches. Researchers offered trial enrollment to 26 of these 31 women and 96% (25) accepted. Staff recruiting women believed that trial recruitment would be maximised if women attending the ultrasound department knew about trial recruitment before attending and greater staff resources were made available for this. It was also perceived that women generally under-reported the amount they smoked on questionnaires completed whilst waiting in ultrasound department areas.
It is feasible to recruit women for a trial of NRT in pregnancy as they wait for antenatal ultrasound examinations. Using similar recruitment methods, researchers can expect to recruit between 24 and 49 women per 1000 approached.
BMC Health Services Research 12/2004; 4(1):29. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adolescent smokers tend to have peers who smoke, but it is unclear whether this arises from self-selection of smoking peers or whether this is a causal effect on the uptake of smoking (incident smoking). The authors used school tutor group current smoking prevalence, an unbiased measure of peer smoking in high schools in the United Kingdom, to estimate the independent effect of peer smoking on incident smoking among high school students. In a prospective cohort study of children aged 13-15 years (grades 9 and 10) in 10 high schools in Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom, smoking behavior was surveyed in 2,881 students in 2000, and the survey was repeated in 2,109 students (73%) in 2001. There were 267 incident smokers (15%) among the 1,766 nonsmokers in 2000. The adjusted odds of incident smoking were significantly higher in girls, in students with parents or siblings who smoke, and in relation to school tutor group current smoking prevalence in 2000 (relative odds for highest relative to the lowest quartile of prevalence = 1.78, 95% confidence interval: 1.20, 2.64). This tutor group effect was independent of having a best friend who smoked in the 2001 study. Incident smoking is therefore increased among students exposed to other students who smoke, and preventing smoking at school may reduce adolescent smoking.
American Journal of Epidemiology 02/2004; 159(2):127-32. · 4.78 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies based on recalled occupational histories have implicated metal and solvent exposure in the etiology of motor neuron disease (MND). We have used death certificates held in pension fund archives and linked unbiased historical occupational records to investigate the effects of occupational exposure to metals or solvents on the risk of death from MND in 22 cases and 206 controls from 22,526 past employees of a major UK engineering company. We found no evidence of increased risk of death from MND in individuals who had worked with either metals (adjusted odds ratio=0.88, 95% CI 0.35-2.22) or solvents (odds ratio=1.12, 95% CI 0.45-2.78), and no relation between disease risk and either duration or intensity of exposure. We conclude that metal and solvent exposures are unlikely to be involved in the etiology of MND.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We need a simple diagnostic test—but don't yet have one
Diseases represent extremes of continuously distributed characteristics, and defining exactly where and why in that distribution normality ends and disease begins may be difficult. The use of objective markers can be helpful, but these often force us to change our concept of a disease to accommodate the new information they provide—such as the identification of subclinical disease or adverse prognostic factors in otherwise healthy people. These conceptual changes are part of the natural evolution of disease definition and are justified if, in the long run, patients benefit.
Asthma has always been a clinical diagnosis, recognised on the basis of a characteristic history of variable wheezing, cough, and breathlessness and supported by objective, though non-standardised, evidence of variations in airflow. Many attempts have been made to define this diagnosis. Since 19581 all have highlighted the fundamental abnormality of variable airflow obstruction, and some have also invoked concepts such as airway hyperresponsiveness2 or airway pathology.3 None has yet provided objective criteria for the component parts of this process, and there remains no standardised definition of the …
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conclusions The prevalence of asthma is low in the Aral Sea area and appears to be unrelated to dust exposure. Exposure to dust did not explain the main variations in lung function between geographical regions but high levels of dust exposure during the summer may have an adverse effect on lung function.