[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basic treatment for cow's milk allergy (CMA) is the elimination of all cow's milk proteins (CMP) from the diet. This study aimed at characterizing the diet of children with a diagnosis of CMA, to assess the degree of adherence to the elimination diet and to evaluate the factors associated with the adherence and age of recovery.
From a birth cohort study, food records of 267 children diagnosed with CMA were studied to define how strictly the elimination diet was adhered to. Subsequent food records were studied to assess the age at reintroduction of milk products in the child's diet.
The families adhered to the elimination diet of the child with extreme accuracy in 85% of the cases. Older and monosensitized children had more often small amounts of CMP in their diet, possibly because of the absence of nutritional information by a dietitian/nutritionist. Adherence to the diet was neither related to any other sociodemographic factor studied nor to the age at reintroduction of milk products into the diet.
The therapeutic elimination diet of children diagnosed with CMA was well adhered to. Low intakes of vitamin D, calcium, and riboflavin are of concern in children who follow or have followed a cow's milk-free diet.
European journal of clinical nutrition 10/2010; 64(10):1080-5. · 3.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In similarity to many other western countries, the burden of allergic diseases in Finland is high. Studies worldwide have shown that an environment rich in microbes in early life reduces the subsequent risk of developing allergic diseases. Along with urbanization, such exposure has dramatically reduced, both in terms of diversity and quantity. Continuous stimulation of the immune system by environmental saprophytes via the skin, respiratory tract and gut appears to be necessary for activation of the regulatory network including regulatory T-cells and dendritic cells. Substantial evidence now shows that the balance between allergy and tolerance is dependent on regulatory T-cells. Tolerance induced by allergen-specific regulatory T-cells appears to be the normal immunological response to allergens in non atopic healthy individuals. Healthy subjects have an intact functional allergen-specific regulatory T-cell response, which in allergic subjects is impaired. Evidence on this exists with respect to atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Restoration of impaired allergen-specific regulatory T-cell response and tolerance induction has furthermore been demonstrated during allergen-specific subcutaneous and sublingual immunotherapy and is crucial for good therapeutic outcome. However, tolerance can also be strengthened unspecifically by simple means, e.g. by consuming farm milk and spending time in nature. Results so far obtained from animal models indicate that it is possible to restore tolerance by administering the allergen in certain circumstances both locally and systemically. It has become increasingly clear that continuous exposure to microbial antigens as well as allergens in foodstuffs and the environment is decisive, and excessive antigen avoidance can be harmful and weaken or even prevent the development of regulatory mechanisms. Success in the Finnish Asthma Programme was an encouraging example of how it is possible to reduce both the costs and morbidity of asthma. The time, in the wake of the Asthma Programme, is now opportune for a national allergy programme, particularly as in the past few years, fundamentally more essential data on tolerance and its mechanisms have been published. In this review, the scientific rationale for the Finnish Allergy Programme 2008-2018 is outlined. The focus is on tolerance and how to endorse tolerance at the population level.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/emphysema occur frequently among middle-aged and elderly asthma patients who smoke.
To test how much this comorbidity increases the use and costs of health services in comparison with asthma alone.
A sample of 6000 adults with a clinical diagnosis of asthma was extracted from a nationwide health insurance register for a postal inquiry. Comorbidity and the use of health services were measured using a questionnaire. Data on medication expenses were obtained from the national prescription register.
Altogether 4956 individuals replied, of whom 3160 asthma patients aged > or =40 years (response rate 85%) were chosen for this investigation. Asthma patients with COPD/emphysema (12% of the series) accounted for 21% of all doctor consultations, 39% of the total number of hospital in-patient days and 27% of the total expenses, of which one third were medication costs. The mean annual gross expenditure on treatment services and anti-asthma medications was euro754 per patient for those with asthma alone and euro2107 for those with concurrent COPD/emphysema. Current smoking further increased costs among COPD patients.
To prevent pulmonary comorbidity and the related high costs, cessation of smoking should be an integral part of the treatment provided for asthma patients.
The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease: the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 12/2007; 11(12):1358-65. · 2.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A National Asthma Programme was undertaken in Finland from 1994 to 2004 to improve asthma care and prevent an increase in costs. The main goal was to lessen the burden of asthma to individuals and society.
The action programme focused on implementation of new knowledge, especially for primary care. The main premise underpinning the campaign was that asthma is an inflammatory disease and requires anti-inflammatory treatment from the outset. The key for implementation was an effective network of asthma-responsible professionals and development of a post hoc evaluation strategy. In 1997 Finnish pharmacies were included in the Pharmacy Programme and in 2002 a Childhood Asthma mini-Programme was launched.
The incidence of asthma is still increasing, but the burden of asthma has decreased considerably. The number of hospital days has fallen by 54% from 110 000 in 1993 to 51 000 in 2003, 69% in relation to the number of asthmatics (n = 135 363 and 207 757, respectively), with the trend still downwards. In 1993, 7212 patients of working age (9% of 80 133 asthmatics) received a disability pension from the Social Insurance Institution compared with 1741 in 2003 (1.5% of 116 067 asthmatics). The absolute decrease was 76%, and 83% in relation to the number of asthmatics. The increase in the cost of asthma (compensation for disability, drugs, hospital care, and outpatient doctor visits) ended: in 1993 the costs were 218 million euro which had fallen to 213.5 million euro in 2003. Costs per patient per year have decreased 36% (from 1611 euro to 1031 euro).
It is possible to reduce the morbidity of asthma and its impact on individuals as well as on society. Improvements would have taken place without the programme, but not of this magnitude.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate whether the use of antimicrobials is associated with the risk of childhood type 1 diabetes.
The study population included all children born in Finland between 1996 and 2000 who were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes by the end of 2002. For each case (n=437), four matched controls were selected. Data on diabetes and the maternal use of antimicrobials was derived from nationwide registries.
Maternal use of phenoxymethyl penicillins (odds ratio [OR]=1.70, 95% CI 1.08-2.68, p=0.022) or quinolone antimicrobials (OR=2.43, 95% CI 1.16-5.10, p=0.019) before pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of type 1 diabetes in the child, whereas the use of other specific antimicrobials was not related to the risk. The risk was also higher among mother-child pairs where macrolides were used both by the mother before pregnancy and by the child, compared with pairs where neither used macrolides (OR=1.76, 95% CI 1.05-2.94, p=0.032). Maternal use of antimicrobials during pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk. The high use of antimicrobials by the child (more than seven vs seven or less purchases) was related to greater risk (OR=1.66, 95% CI 1.24-2.24, p=0.001).
Overall, the use of antimicrobials before pregnancy, during pregnancy or during childhood was not related to the risk of childhood type 1 diabetes. However, the use of some specific antimicrobials by the mother before pregnancy and by the child may be associated with an increased risk. Further studies are needed to confirm these associations and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cyclooxygenase 2-selective non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, coxibs) are recommended primarily for patients at high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, most of them being elderly. Our objective was to describe and analyse patient- and physician-related factors affecting the adoption of celecoxib and rofecoxib 2 years after their launch in Finland.
Retrospective analysis of the nationwide Prescription Register. Physicians who had issued at least 200 reimbursed prescriptions in 2002 (n = 12 033, 80% of working-age Finnish physicians) were involved in the analysis.
Excluding patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), almost one-fifth (18%) of NSAIDs prescriptions were for coxibs. In patients with RA the share was 25%. The share of coxib prescriptions of all NSAIDs increased with age of the patient. Over one half (58%) of coxib prescriptions were issued for patients under 65 years of age. Specialists in physical and rehabilitation medicine were the fastest adopters of coxibs: one-third of their NSAID prescriptions in 2002 were for coxibs. Primary care physicians were the most conservative both in adopting and favouring coxibs.
Coxibs have gained the status of standard prescription NSAIDs within a few years. Their use should be restricted to patients who could benefit most from the use. Routine prescribing of expensive new drugs increases the drug bill without additional health gain.
Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 05/2005; 30(2):145-52. · 2.10 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to investigate the characteristics of hospital admissions in two child populations receiving different types of drugs as their regular medication for steady-state asthma.
Annual data on children aged under 16 y treated for asthma, including consumption of regular medication for asthma, numbers of hospital periods, lengths of hospitalizations and annual proportions of readmissions, were collected using patient-specific medical records from 1995 to 1999. In the Kuopio province, on average, 35.6-36.7/1000 children were on maintenance for asthma, of which 23% were receiving cromones, 51% were taking inhaled steroids and 26% were treated with cromones plus intermittent steroids. In the Oulu province, the respective prevalence was 32.7-34.9/1000, and the respective proportions were 5%, 93% and 2%.
Total and first admissions, as well as hospital days were clearly less in the Oulu province. In the children aged > or = 6y, the average annual total admissions were 0.3/1000 (Oulu) vs 1.2/1000 (Kuopio) (p < 0.001). Similarly, the first admissions were 0.2/1000 vs 1.0/1000 (p < 0.001), proportions of readmissions 6.3% vs 19.3% (p < 0.05), and numbers of hospital days 0.7/1000 vs 3.8/1000 (p < 0.001). The differences were in the same direction, though less prominent, also among children 2-5 y of age.
Our results suggest that inhaled steroids are better than cromones in preventing admissions for asthma when two provinces with different practices for maintenance medication of steady-state asthma were compared.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This population-based cross-sectional survey assessed the prevalence of work-aggravated asthma symptoms and the effect of the work environment on the aggravation of symptoms of established asthma. A questionnaire was sent to 2,613 persons (aged 20-65 yrs) with asthma. The analyses were restricted to the 969 respondents who were currently employed. The effect of occupational exposure on the aggravation of asthma symptoms at work was assessed according to both self-reported and expert-evaluated exposure. Approximately 21% of the respondents reported work-aggravated asthma symptoms at least weekly during the past month. The prevalence of those with work-aggravated symptoms increased by age, self-reported occupational exposure to dusts, abnormal temperatures or poor indoor air quality, physically strenuous work, and chemicals, and expert-evaluated probability of daily occupational exposure to airborne dusts, gases or fumes. Aggravation of asthma symptoms at work is common among employed adults with asthma. Both self-reported and expert-evaluated exposure to dusts, abnormal temperatures or poor indoor air quality, physically strenuous work, and chemicals explained the significant worsening of symptoms. The findings suggest a marked role of the work environment in the aggravation of symptoms of established asthma.
European Respiratory Journal 09/2003; 22(2):305-9. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate the basic structures and processes of asthma care 6 years after the launch of the Finnish Asthma Programme. The evaluation will serve as the baseline for the implementation of the evidence-based guidelines for asthma published in 2000.
A descriptive type-2 evaluation (managerial monitoring of a policy implementation), based on operationalised statements of the Asthma Programme.
A co-ordinating doctor for asthma, usually a general practitioner (GP), was interviewed in 248 (91%) health centres; 83% of the health centres have at least one GP nominated as the local asthma co-ordinator and 94% have a nurse. Asthma education for the professionals had been organised in 71% of the health centres in the previous 2 years. First-line treatment consists of an inhaled corticosteroid. Guided self-management is used in 98% of the health centres, but its components were not clear to the doctors.
The basic structure of equipment and organisation for the diagnosis and treatment of asthma has been set up in the primary health care services.
The international journal of tuberculosis and lung disease: the official journal of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease 07/2003; 7(6):592-8. · 2.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nasal polyposis (NP) is a chronic inflammatory disease often found coexisting with asthma. As this disorder tends to cluster in families, a genetic predisposition has been suggested. Interleukin-1 (IL-1) has been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of NP.
We analysed the single G-to-T base exchange polymorphism in exon 5 at +4845 of the gene encoding IL-1alpha (IL1A) and the C-to-T base exchange polymorphism at -511 of the gene encoding IL-1beta (IL1B) in a population-based sample of adult asthma patients (n = 245). The data were assessed for correlation with data on history of NP and other phenotype-related characteristics.
The prevalence of NP in our study group was 14.3%. The distribution of the IL1A genotype differed significantly between asthmatics with and without NP (P = 0.005). The risk of NP was markedly increased in allele G homozygous subjects (OR = 2.73; 95%CI = 1.40-5.32). In the case of IL1B we found no significant associations. Asthmatics with NP had more symptoms than others, but lung function and blood eosinophil counts were similar.
Our study demonstrates an association of IL1A with NP inasthmatic patients and addresses the role of IL-1alpha as an inflammatory modulator in the pathogenesis of this disease.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IL-10 has several functional effects relevant to asthma. It can modulate IgE production and induce apoptosis in eosinophils. Polymorphisms of IL-10 gene have been shown to affect IL-10 production.
To establish whether IL-10 polymorphisms are associated with asthma and phenotype-related characteristics.
The frequency of three single base exchange polymorphisms (at positions - 1082, - 819 and - 592) and corresponding haplotypes of the IL-10 gene were analysed in 245 adult asthmatic subjects and 405 controls using PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP). The data were assessed for correlations with the eosinophil count, serum IgE and lung function.
The IL-10 haplotype frequencies were similar in asthmatics and controls. Eosinophil count median was 2.0- to 3.2-fold higher among asthmatics with rare ATA/ATA genotype than in asthmatics with other genotypes. No such difference was seen in the control group. When analysed by IL-10 haplotype carrier state and gender, male asthmatics with ATA haplotype had 2.8-fold higher serum IgE than those without ATA. A converse association was found in male controls with ATA haplotype, who had 1.9-fold lower serum IgE than their ATA-negative counterparts. The high IL-10-producing GCC haplotype was associated with impaired lung function in smoking male controls while in asthmatics no clear effect on lung function was found with any of the haplotypes studied.
These results suggest that the eosinophil counts and serum IgE are differently regulated by IL-10 genotype in asthmatic and in normal subjects. However, IL-10 polymorphism is not related to susceptibility in asthma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess the level of and changes in the use of psychotropics among the home-dwelling elderly in the 1990s.
A descriptive analysis based on data from two cross-sectional interview and health examination surveys of elderly persons aged 64 years or over conducted in Lieto, a typical semi-rural Finnish municipality, in 1990-91 and 1998-99. National prescription data were utilized to compare the use of psychotropics in the late 1990s by all Finnish home-dwelling elderly and the elderly in Lieto. In Lieto drug information was obtained from 1131 persons in 1990-91 and from 1197 in 1998-99, and the mean age of the informants was 73 years in both surveys. The brand names of the prescription drugs (both irregular and regular medication) taken by each interviewee during seven days prior to the interview were recorded and categorized by the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical (ATC) classification system.
Every fourth person was taking at least one psychotropic drug in both surveys. Most users were on regular psychotropic medication. The use of hypnotics and antidepressants increased most during the study period. Polypharmacy and the use of psychotropics were most prevalent among those aged 85 years or over, with women predominating. Concomitant use of two or more psychotropics increased statistically significantly from 7% to 10% between the surveys. The young elderly, aged 64-71 years, used cyclic antidepressants equally commonly in both surveys. None of the young elderly used new atypical antipsychotics in 1998-99.
Psychotropics tend to be overprescribed and overused among the elderly, a group at the highest risk of adverse drug reactions. The tendency of prescribing for the elderly is not going in a better direction. New-generation psychotropics were not used. The need for long-standing use of psychotropics should be assessed regularly.
International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry 10/2002; 17(9):874-83. · 2.98 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prevalence of childhood asthma has increased during the past 20 yrs in eastern Finland. The use of regular medication for asthma has, consequently, also risen at the same time. The aim of the present study was to assess how these factors have influenced hospitalization for asthma in children. Data concerning the annual number of children aged <16 yrs treated for asthma, their number of hospital periods, and length of hospitalization were collected using patient-specific medical records for the years 1988-1997. Admissions for asthma more than doubled (from 1.2 in 1,000 to 2.7 in 1,000) (p<0.001), whereas re-admissions decreased from 28.1% to 8.7% (p<0.001) during the study period. The greatest increase was seen among children aged <2 yrs, whereas during recent years the admission rate among children aged >2 yrs has declined by one-third. Despite the increased prevalence of asthma, the decline in admissions seen in all but the youngest children may, at least partly, be attributed to the decrease in re-admissions, resulting from the early onset and increased use of inhaled steroids.
European Respiratory Journal 06/2002; 19(6):1035-9. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The incidence and risk of asthma among female cleaners employed in different industries was explored. An increased risk of asthma has been associated with the cleaning profession, in some but not all studies. All Finnish females employed as cleaners and all those employed in administrative work were followed for asthma incidence through a record linkage in 1986-1998. An individual was defined as an "incident case of asthma" if they received rights for special reimbursement of asthma medication from the national health insurance or were recognized as having occupational asthma. Age-adjusted relative risks (RR) were estimated for cleaners in comparison with those employed in administrative work. There were 2,414 and 5,235 cases of asthma among the cleaners and administrative workers, respectively. The RR was 1.50 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.43-1.57) in cleaners. The risk was increased in cleaners working in nearly all major sectors of economic activity, but cleaners employed by companies concerned with the manufacture of basic metals (RR 2.47; 95% CI 1.68-3.64) and food products (RR 2.19; 95% CI 1.69-2.85) had the highest risk. Only 25 of the "cases of asthma" among cleaners had been recognized as being occupational asthma. It could be concluded that cleaners have an increased risk of persistent adult-onset asthma. Factors inherent to the environment where cleaning is performed or differences in the cleaning agents used may explain the observed differences between industries.
European Respiratory Journal 02/2002; 19(1):90-5. · 6.36 Impact Factor