Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare
Recent publications
Background The capacity to use data linkage and artificial intelligence to estimate and predict health indicators varies across European countries. However, the estimation of health indicators from linked administrative data is challenging due to several reasons such as variability in data sources and data collection methods resulting in reduced interoperability at various levels and timeliness, availability of a large number of variables, lack of skills and capacity to link and analyze big data. The main objective of this study is to develop the methodological guidelines calculating population-based health indicators to guide European countries using linked data and/or machine learning (ML) techniques with new methods. Method We have performed the following step-wise approach systematically to develop the methodological guidelines: i. Scientific literature review, ii. Identification of inspiring examples from European countries, and iii. Developing the checklist of guidelines contents. Results We have developed the methodological guidelines, which provide a systematic approach for studies using linked data and/or ML-techniques to produce population-based health indicators. These guidelines include a detailed checklist of the following items: rationale and objective of the study (i.e., research question), study design, linked data sources, study population/sample size, study outcomes, data preparation, data analysis (i.e., statistical techniques, sensitivity analysis and potential issues during data analysis) and study limitations. Conclusions This is the first study to develop the methodological guidelines for studies focused on population health using linked data and/or machine learning techniques. These guidelines would support researchers to adopt and develop a systematic approach for high-quality research methods. There is a need for high-quality research methodologies using more linked data and ML-techniques to develop a structured cross-disciplinary approach for improving the population health information and thereby the population health.
Background Health-related data are collected from a variety of sources for different purposes, including secondary use for population health monitoring (HM) and health system performance assessment (HSPA). Most of these data sources are not included in databases of international organizations (e.g., WHO, OECD, Eurostat), limiting their use for research activities and policy making. This study aims at identifying and describing collection methods, quality assessment procedures, availability and accessibility of health data across EU Member States (MS) for HM and HSPA. Methods A structured questionnaire was developed and administered through an online platform to partners of the InfAct consortium form EU MS to investigate data collections applied in HM and HSPA projects, as well as their methods and procedures. A descriptive analysis of the questionnaire results was performed. Results Information on 91 projects from 18 EU MS was collected. In these projects, data were mainly collected through administrative sources, population health interview or health examination surveys and from electronic medical records. Tools and methods used for data collection were mostly mandatory reports, self-administered questionnaires, or record linkage of various data sources. One-third of the projects shared data with EU research networks and less than one-third performed quality assessment of their data collection procedures using international standardized criteria. Macrodata were accessible via open access and reusable in 22 projects. Microdata were accessible upon specific request and reusable in 15 projects based on data usage licenses. Metadata was available for the majority of the projects, but followed reporting standards only in 29 projects. Overall, compliance to FAIR Data principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) was not optimal across the EU projects. Conclusions Data collection and exchange procedures differ across EU MS and research data are not always available, accessible, comparable or reusable for further research and evidence-based policy making. There is a need for an EU-level health information infrastructure and governance to promote and facilitate sharing and dissemination of standardized and comparable health data, following FAIR Data principles, across the EU.
Background Research networks offer multidisciplinary expertise and promote information exchange between researchers across Europe. They are essential for the European Union’s (EU) health information system as providers of health information and data. The aim of this mapping exercise was to identify and analyze EU research networks in terms of health data collection methods, quality assessment, availability and accessibility procedures. Methods A web-based search was performed to identify EU research networks that are not part of international organizations (e.g., WHO-Europe, OECD) and are involved in collection of data for health monitoring or health system performance assessment. General characteristics of the research networks (e.g., data sources, representativeness), quality assessment procedures, availability and accessibility of health data were collected through an ad hoc extraction form. Results Fifty-seven research networks, representative at national, international or regional level, were identified. In these networks, data are mainly collected through administrative sources, health surveys and cohort studies. Over 70% of networks provide information on quality assessment of their data collection procedures. Most networks share macrodata through articles and reports, while microdata are available from ten networks. A request for data access is required by 14 networks, of which three apply a financial charge. Few networks share data with other research networks (8/49) or specify the metadata-reporting standards used for data description (9/49). Conclusions Improving health information and availability of high quality data is a priority in Europe. Research networks could play a major role in tackling health data and information inequalities by enhancing quality, availability, and accessibility of health data and data sharing across European networks.
Background Non-Communicable diseases (NCD) are the main contributors to mortality and burden of disease. There is no infrastructure in Europe that could provide health information (HI) on Public Health monitoring and Health Systems Performance (HSP) for research and evidence-informed decision-making. Moreover, there was no EU and European Economic Area Member States (EU/EEA MSs) general consensus, on developing this initiative and guarantee its sustainability. The aim of this study is to analyze the integration of technical and political views made by the Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct; Information for Action) and the results obtained from those activities, in terms of advice and national and institutional support to develop an integrated and sustainable European Distributed Infrastructure on Population Health (DIPoH) for research and evidence-informed policy-making. Methods InfAct established two main boards, the Technical Dialogues (TDs) and the Assembly of Members (AoM), to provide a platform for discussion with EU/EEA MSs to establish a sustainable infrastructure for HI: 1) The TDs were composed by national technical experts (NTE) with the aim to discuss and provide feedback about scientific aspects, feasibility and EU-added value of the infrastructure proposed by InfAct. 2) The AoM gathered country representatives from Ministries of Health and Research at the highest political level, with the aim of providing policy-oriented advice for the future political acceptance, support, implementation, and development of InfAct’s outcomes including DIPoH. The documentation provided for the meetings consisted in Fact-Sheets, where the main results, new methods and proposals were clearly exposed for discussion and assessment; altogether with more extended information of the DIPoH. The documentation was provided to national representatives within one more before each TD and AoM meeting. The Agenda and methodological approaches for each TD and AoM meeting consisted in the presentations of the InfAct outcomes extending the information provided in the Fact-Sheets; followed by a non-structured interaction, exchange of information, discussion and suggestions by the MSs representatives. The outcomes of the non-structured discussions were collected in Minutes of the TD and AoM meetings, and the final version was obtained with the consensus of all participants. Additionally, structured letters of political support were provided to the AoM representatives, for them to consider providing their MS written support for DIPoH. Results NTE, within the TDs, considered that DIPoH was useful for technical mutual learning and cooperation among and within countries; although they considered that the technical feasibility to uptake InfAct deliverables at the national and EU level was complex. The AoM focused on political support, resources, and expected MSs returns. The AoM representatives agreed in the interest of setting up an integrated and sustainable HI infrastructure and they considered DIPoH to be well-articulated and defined; although, some of them, expressed some barriers for providing DIPoH political support. The AoM representatives stated that the AoM is the most suitable way to inform EU MSs/ACs about future advances of DIPoH. Both boards provided valuable feedback to develop this infrastructure. Eleven countries and sixteen institutions supported the proposal, either by letters of political support or by signing the Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) and three countries, additionally, provided expression of financial commitment, for DIPoH to be added to the ESFRI 2021 roadmap. Conclusions TDs and AoM were key forums to develop, advise, advocate and provide support for a sustainable European research infrastructure for Population Health.
Background Congenital anomalies are the leading cause of perinatal, neonatal and infant mortality in developed countries. Large long-term follow-up studies investigating survival beyond the first year of life in children with rare congenital anomalies are costly and sufficiently large standardized cohorts are difficult to obtain due to the rarity of some anomalies. This study aimed to investigate the survival up to 10 years of age of children born with a rare structural congenital anomaly in the period 1995–2014 in Western Europe. Methods Live births from thirteen EUROCAT (European network for the epidemiological surveillance of congenital anomalies) population-based registries were linked to mortality records. Survival for 12,685 live births with one of the 31 investigated rare structural congenital anomalies (CAs) was estimated at 1 week, 4 weeks and 1, 5 and 10 years of age within each registry and combined across Europe using random effects meta-analyses. Differences between registries were evaluated for the eight rare CAs with at least 500 live births. Results Amongst the investigated CAs, arhinencephaly/holoprosencephaly had the lowest survival at all ages (58.1%, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 44.3–76.2% at 1 week; 47.4%, CI: 36.4–61.6% at 1 year; 35.6%, CI: 22.2–56.9% at 10 years). Overall, children with rare CAs of the digestive system had the highest survival (> 95% at 1 week, > 84% at 10 years). Most deaths occurred within the first four weeks of life, resulting in a 10-year survival conditional on surviving 4 weeks of over 95% for 17 out of 31 rare CAs. A moderate variability in survival between participating registries was observed for the eight selected rare CAs. Conclusions Pooling standardised data across 13 European CA registries and the linkage to mortality data enabled reliable survival estimates to be obtained at five ages up to ten years. Such estimates are useful for clinical practice and parental counselling.
Background In Europe, data on population health is fragmented, difficult to access, project-based and prone to health information inequalities in terms of availability, accessibility and especially in quality between and within countries. This situation is further exacerbated and exposed by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. The Joint Action on Health Information (InfAct) that builds on previous works of the BRIDGE Health project, carried out collaborative action to set up a sustainable infrastructure for health information in the European Union (EU). The aim of this paper is to present InfAct’s proposal for a sustainable research infrastructure, the Distributed Infrastructure on Population Health (DIPoH), which includes the setup of a Health Information Portal on population health to be maintained beyond InfAct’s time span. Methods The strategy for the proposal was based on three components: scientific initiatives and proposals to improve Health Information Systems (HIS), exploration of technical acceptability and feasibility, and finally obtaining high-level political support.. The technical exploration (Technical Dialogues—TD) was assumed by technical experts proposed by the countries, and political guidance was provided by the Assembly of Members (AoM), which gathered representatives from Ministries of Health and Science of EU/EEA countries. The results from the AoM and the TD were integrated in the sustainability plan compiling all the major outputs of InfAct. Results The InfAct sustainability plan was organized in three main sections: a proposal of a new research infrastructure on population health (the DIPoH), new health information tools and innovative proposals for HIS, and a comprehensive capacity building programme. These activities were carried out in InfAct and are being further developed in the Population Health Information Research Infrastructure (PHIRI). PHIRI is a practical rollout of DIPoH facilitating and generating the best available evidence for research on health and wellbeing of populations as impacted by COVID-19. Conclusions The sustainability plan received wide support from Member States and was recognized to have an added value at EU level. Nevertheless, there were several aspects which still need to be considered for the near future such as: (i) a commitment of stable financial and political support by Member States (MSs), (ii) the availability of resources at regional, national and European level to deal with innovations, and (iii) a more direct involvement from EU and international institutions such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development OECD for providing support and sustainable contributions.
Background Burden of disease analyses quantify population health and provide comprehensive overviews of the health status of countries or specific population groups. The comparative risk assessment (CRA) methodology is commonly used to estimate the share of the burden attributable to risk factors. The aim of this paper is to identify and address some selected important challenges associated with CRA, illustrated by examples, and to discuss ways to handle them. Further, the main challenges are addressed and finally, similarities and differences between CRA and health impact assessments (HIA) are discussed, as these concepts are sometimes referred to synonymously but have distinctly different applications. Results CRAs are very data demanding. One key element is the exposure-response relationship described e.g. by a mathematical function. Combining estimates to arrive at coherent functions is challenging due to the large variability in risk exposure definitions and data quality. Also, the uncertainty attached to this data is difficult to account for. Another key issue along the CRA-steps is to define a theoretical minimal risk exposure level for each risk factor. In some cases, this level is evident and self-explanatory (e.g., zero smoking), but often more difficult to define and justify (e.g., ideal consumption of whole grains). CRA combine all relevant information and allow to estimate population attributable fractions (PAFs) quantifying the proportion of disease burden attributable to exposure. Among many available formulae for PAFs, it is important to use the one that allows consistency between definitions, units of the exposure data, and the exposure response functions. When combined effects of different risk factors are of interest, the non-additive nature of PAFs and possible mediation effects need to be reflected. Further, as attributable burden is typically calculated based on current exposure and current health outcomes, the time dimensions of risk and outcomes may become inconsistent. Finally, the evidence of the association between exposure and outcome can be heterogeneous which needs to be considered when interpreting CRA results. Conclusions The methodological challenges make transparent reporting of input and process data in CRA a necessary prerequisite. The evidence for causality between included risk-outcome pairs has to be well established to inform public health practice.
Purpose This study examines the relationship between birth order and length of hospitalization due to pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI). Methods We prospectively followed 59,469 Finnish newborns from 1987 until age 18 years. Data on first diagnosis of TBI was recorded within the 1987 Finnish Birth Cohort (FBC). Hospitalization period was divided into two categories: 2 days or less and more than 2 days. The latter was considered in this study as longer hospitalization. Results Compared with first born siblings, later born siblings had an increased risk of a longer hospitalization for TBI (12.7% of fourth or higher born birth children diagnosed with TBI were hospitalized for 2 or more days, 11.3% of first born, 10.4% of third born and 9.0% of second born). Fourth or higher born children were more likely to experience a repeat TBI; 13.4% of fourth or higher born children diagnosed with TBI had 2–3 TBIs during the study period compared to 9% of third born, 7.8% of second born and 8.8% of the first born. Injuries in the traffic environment and falls were the most common contributors to pediatric TBI and occurred most frequently in the fourth or higher birth category; 29.3% of TBIs among fourth or higher birth order were due to transport accidents and 21% were due to falls. Conclusions This study revealed a significant increase in risk for longer hospitalization due to TBI among later born children within the same sibling group. The study provides epidemiological evidence on birth order as it relates to TBI, and its potential to help to explain some of the statistical variability in pediatric TBI hospitalization over time in this population.
The mortality of elderly hip fracture patients is high. Eighty-five percent of all patients were followed until death. The three most protective factors for 1-year survival were ASA class; BMI; and age, and the four most protective factors for 14-year survival were age; BMI; ASA class; and subtrochanteric fracture type. Objective: Hip fractures are associated with increased mortality. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the protective preoperative factors regarding the survival of short-term (1 year) and long-term (14 years) follow-up in a hip fracture cohort in Finland. Methods: A total of 486 patients, operated on in 2005 and 2006, were retrospectively evaluated. Survival was analyzed using Bayesian multivariate analysis and relative survival with the life table method. All patients were followed for a minimum of 14 years. Results: We analyzed 330 women and 156 men, whose mean ages were 82.4 and 72.0 years, respectively. The overall mortality rate was 7% at 1 month, 22% at 12 months, and 87% at 14 years. Protective factors against mortality at 1 year were ASA class (1-3), BMI ≥ 20 kg/m2, age < 85 years, alcohol involvement, Alzheimer's disease, no comorbidities, certain operative methods, and female sex. Factors promoting survival at 14 years were age < 75 years, BMI ≥ 20 kg/m2, ASA class (1-2), subtrochanteric fracture, certain operative methods, alcohol involvement, and no comorbidities. Conclusions: Protective factors for 1-year survival in order of importance were ASA class, BMI, and age, and, correspondingly, for 14-year survival, age, certain operative methods, BMI, and ASA class. The relative survival of hip fracture patients was lower than that of the general population.
Extrapyramidal (EP) symptoms such as tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia are common side effects of most antipsychotics, and may associate with impaired performance in neurocognitive testing. We studied EP symptoms in first-episode psychosis (FEP; n = 113). Cognitive testing and EP symptoms (three items of the Simpson-Angus Scale) were assessed at baseline and follow-up (mean follow-up time 12 months). Mild EP symptoms were present at treatment onset in 40% of the participants. EP symptoms were related with lower performance in neurocognitive testing at baseline and at follow-up, especially among those with nonaffective psychotic disorder, and especially in tasks requiring speed of processing. No associations between EP symptoms and social cognition were detected. In linear regression models, when positive and negative symptom levels and chlorpromazine equivalents were accounted for, baseline EP symptoms were associated with worse baseline global neurocognition and visuomotor performance. Baseline EP symptoms also longitudinally predicted global, verbal, and visuomotor cognition. However, there were no cross-sectional associations between EP symptoms and cognitive performance at follow-up. In sum, we found both cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between EP symptoms and neurocognitive task performance in the early course of psychosis. Those without EP symptoms at the start of treatment had higher baseline and follow-up neurocognitive performance. Even mild EP symptoms may represent early markers of long-term neurocognitive impairment.
Despite enormous efforts to improve therapeutic options, pancreatic cancer remains a fatal disease and is expected to become the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the next decade. Previous research identified lipid metabolic pathways to be highly enriched in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cells. Thereby, cholesterol uptake and synthesis promotes growth advantage to and chemotherapy resistance for PDAC tumor cells. Here, we demonstrate that high-density lipoprotein (HDL)–mediated efficient cholesterol removal from cancer cells results in PDAC cell growth reduction and induction of apoptosis in vitro. This effect is driven by an HDL particle composition–dependent interaction with SR-B1 and ABCA1 on cancer cells. AAV-mediated overexpression of APOA1 and rHDL injections decreased PDAC tumor development in vivo. Interestingly, plasma samples from pancreatic-cancer patients displayed a significantly reduced APOA1-to-SAA1 ratio and a reduced cholesterol efflux capacity compared with healthy donors. We conclude that efficient, HDL-mediated cholesterol depletion represents an interesting strategy to interfere with the aggressive growth characteristics of PDAC.
Aims/hypothesis Diabetic kidney disease (DKD) is the leading cause of kidney failure and has a substantial genetic component. Our aim was to identify novel genetic factors and genes contributing to DKD by performing meta-analysis of previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on DKD and by integrating the results with renal transcriptomics datasets. Methods We performed GWAS meta-analyses using ten phenotypic definitions of DKD, including nearly 27,000 individuals with diabetes. Meta-analysis results were integrated with estimated quantitative trait locus data from human glomerular (N=119) and tubular (N=121) samples to perform transcriptome-wide association study. We also performed gene aggregate tests to jointly test all available common genetic markers within a gene, and combined the results with various kidney omics datasets. Results The meta-analysis identified a novel intronic variant (rs72831309) in the TENM2 gene associated with a lower risk of the combined chronic kidney disease (eGFR<60 ml/min per 1.73 m²) and DKD (microalbuminuria or worse) phenotype (p=9.8×10⁻⁹; although not withstanding correction for multiple testing, p>9.3×10⁻⁹). Gene-level analysis identified ten genes associated with DKD (COL20A1, DCLK1, EIF4E, PTPRN–RESP18, GPR158, INIP–SNX30, LSM14A and MFF; p<2.7×10⁻⁶). Integration of GWAS with human glomerular and tubular expression data demonstrated higher tubular AKIRIN2 gene expression in individuals with vs without DKD (p=1.1×10⁻⁶). The lead SNPs within six loci significantly altered DNA methylation of a nearby CpG site in kidneys (p<1.5×10⁻¹¹). Expression of lead genes in kidney tubules or glomeruli correlated with relevant pathological phenotypes (e.g. TENM2 expression correlated positively with eGFR [p=1.6×10⁻⁸] and negatively with tubulointerstitial fibrosis [p=2.0×10⁻⁹], tubular DCLK1 expression correlated positively with fibrosis [p=7.4×10⁻¹⁶], and SNX30 expression correlated positively with eGFR [p=5.8×10⁻¹⁴] and negatively with fibrosis [p<2.0×10⁻¹⁶]). Conclusions/interpretation Altogether, the results point to novel genes contributing to the pathogenesis of DKD. Data availability The GWAS meta-analysis results can be accessed via the type 1 and type 2 diabetes (T1D and T2D, respectively) and Common Metabolic Diseases (CMD) Knowledge Portals, and downloaded on their respective download pages (;; Graphical abstract
Aim The objective was to compare the summary statistics for fatal antidepressant and antipsychotic drug concentrations mined by different approaches from post-mortem (PM) toxicological data. Reference concentrations of drugs play a major part in the interpretation of PM toxicology results. However, PM drug concentrations are not necessarily the same as those at the time of death, and consequently standard tables of clinical plasma concentration data are of limited value. Compilations of PM concentrations collected from literature sources are often heterogeneous in terms of the sampling site, the analytical methods used, and the number of cases involved. However, there are also published summary statistics for drug concentrations in PM femoral venous blood, based on extensive databases from centralized laboratories with well-established and high-quality working practices. The present study establishes concentration distributions for a number of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs, specified as a principal finding in fatal poisoning (principal finding approach). These levels are then compared with those obtained using two previous approaches: according to the all-causes-of-death (Ketola RA, Drug Test Anal, 2019, 11, 1326–1337) or according to the grouped causes of death, aka “the Druid approach”, where the reference information is subdivided into poisonings by one specific substance only, multi-substance poisonings and non-poisoning controls (Reis M, J Anal Toxicol, 2007, 31, 254-264; Söderberg C, Forensic Sci Int, 2016, 266, 91-101). Method Summary statistics for fatal antidepressant and antipsychotic drug concentrations in PM femoral venous blood were generated according to the principal drug finding. In most cases, also other drugs were implicated in the cause of death. The data were mined between 2000–2020 from the national PM toxicology database, maintained by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, in which all results of the toxicological analyses in medico-legal investigations and information from the respective death certificates are collected. From this material, those antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs that had been quantitatively analysed at least 10 times were selected. Results Concentration percentiles (10th, 50th, 90th, 95th, 97.5th) were calculated for 16 different antidepressant (N = 1999) and for 7 different antipsychotic drugs (N = 1134), defined as principal findings of fatal poisoning by forensic pathologists. For instance, for the antidepressant amitriptyline the respective concentrations were 0.66, 2.0, 8.3, 13 and 25 mg/L, and for the antipsychotic levomepromazine (methotrimeprazine) 0.40, 1.5, 5.3, 10 and 16 mg/L. A comparison with other data mining approaches will be presented in visual form. A clear correspondence was found between, for example, the 90th percentile concentration level of the present principal finding approach and the 97.5th percentile concentration level of the all-causes-of-death approach. Similarly, a correspondence was found between, for example, the median concentration level of the present principal finding approach and the median concentration level of the multi-substance poisoning group in the Druid approach. Conclusion The novel data presented in this study followed by a systematic comparison with data from previous studies helps rationalize the use of reference concentrations from various sources in the interpretation of potential poisoning deaths. Further data mining for additional drugs will be markedly easier in the principal finding approach than in the Druid approach, provided that the principal findings are specified in advance in the database as is in our case. Despite the proven usefulness of reference concentrations, interpretation must always be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account e.g. background information, autopsy findings, and substance interactions. A forensic toxicologist must have the evidence-based PM concentration information at his or her disposal when assisting a forensic pathologist in determining the cause of death or being called to testify in court.
There is increasing knowledge that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on mental health of children and young people. However, the global evidence of mental health changes before compared to during the COVID-19 pandemic focusing on children and young people has not been systematically reviewed. This systematic review examined longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional studies comparing before and during COVID-19 pandemic data to determine whether the mental health of children and young people had changed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Web of Science, PubMed, Embase and PsycINFO databases were searched to identify peer-reviewed studies that had been published in English and focused on children and young people between 0 and 24 years of age. This identified 21 studies from 11 countries, covering more than 96,000 subjects from 3 to 24 years of age. Pre-pandemic and pandemic data were compared. Most studies reported longitudinal deterioration in the mental health of adolescents and young people, with increased depression, anxiety and psychological distress after the pandemic started. Other findings included deteriorated negative affect, mental well-being and increased loneliness. Comparing data for pandemic and pre-pandemic periods showed that the COVID-19 pandemic may negatively impact the mental health of children and young people. There is an urgent need for high-quality research to address the impact, risks and protective factors of the pandemic on their mental health, as this will provide a good foundation for dealing with future health emergencies and other crises.
Aims: The media can influence gambling policy formation and public opinion. Previous research has established that the tension between political or public interest in gambling revenue and gambling harm is fundamental for understanding gambling policy. There are two opposing gambling policy positions: (1) gambling revenue or the economic benefits of gambling, and (2) the harmful impacts of gambling. This study is the first study to estimate these gambling policy positions of newspapers on a common scale. The objective is to estimate how the gambling policy positions of major Finnish daily newspapers evolved between 2004 and 2020. This knowledge deepens our understanding about the changes in the relative balance between harm and revenue in gambling policy. Methods and data: The data consisted of newspaper editorials ( N = 58) on gambling policy from five major Finnish daily newspapers between 2004 and 2020. The data were analysed with the automated content analysis algorithm Wordfish. Results: The results show that there has been a clear shift in the gambling policy positions of the major Finnish newspapers towards increased acknowledgement of the importance of prevention and reduction of gambling harm. Conclusions: Due to the interplay between the media, politics, and the public, it is likely that the importance of prevention and reduction of gambling harm will be recognised and addressed to a larger extent when gambling policy is formulated in Finland in the future. More generally, if the gambling policy positions of media and other stakeholders change, this can facilitate a promotion of harm prevention policies.
Maternal pre-pregnancy obesity and/or higher body mass index (BMI) have been associated with neurodevelopmental and mental health adversities in children. While maternal metabolomic perturbations during pregnancy may underpin these associations, the existing evidence is limited to studying individual metabolites, not capturing metabolic variation specific to maternal BMI, and not accounting for the correlated nature of the metabolomic measures. By using multivariate supervised analytical methods, we first identified maternal early-pregnancy BMI-associated metabolomic component during pregnancy. We then examined whether this component was associated with mental and behavioral disorders in children, improved the prediction of the child outcomes over maternal BMI, and what proportion of the effect of maternal BMI on the child outcomes this component mediated. Early-pregnancy BMI of 425 mothers participating in the PREDO study was extracted from the national Medical Birth Register. During pregnancy, mothers donated up to three blood samples, from which a targeted panel of 68 metabolites were measured. Mental and behavioral disorders in children followed-up from birth until 8.4–12.8 years came from the Care Register for Health Care. Of the 68 metabolites averaged across the three sampling points, 43 associated significantly with maternal early-pregnancy BMI yielding a maternal early-pregnancy BMI-associated metabolomic component (total variance explained, 55.4%; predictive ability, 52.0%). This metabolomic component was significantly associated with higher hazard of any mental and behavioral disorder [HR 1.45, 95%CI(1.15, 1.84)] and relative risk of having a higher number of co-morbid disorders [RR 1.43, 95%CI(1.12, 1.69)] in children. It improved the goodness-of-model-fit over maternal BMI by 37.7–65.6%, and hence the predictive significance of the model, and mediated 60.8–75.8% of the effect of maternal BMI on the child outcomes. Maternal BMI-related metabolomic perturbations during pregnancy are associated with a higher risk of mental and behavioral disorders in children. These findings may allow identifying metabolomic targets for personalized interventions.
Background Obesity is associated with incident heart failure (HF), but the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Methods We performed a nested case-control study within the Swedish-Obese-Subjects study, by identifying 411 cases who developed HF and matched them with respect to age, sex, weight-loss-surgery and length of follow-up with 410 controls who did not develop HF. In analyses corrected for multiple testing, we studied 182 plasma proteins known to be related to cardiovascular disease to investigate whether they could add to the understanding of the processes underlying obesity-related HF. Results A total of 821 subjects were followed for 16 ± 6 years. Multivariable analysis adjusted for matching variables revealed that 32 proteins were significantly associated with HF. Twelve proteins were related to HF ≥ 80% of the time using a bootstrap resampling approach (false-discovery-rate [FDR] < 0.05): 11 were associated with increased HF-risk: TNFRSF10A*, ST6GAL1, PRCP, MMP12, TIMP1, CCL3, QPCT, ANG, C1QTNF1, SERPINA5 and GAL-9; and one was related to reduced HF-risk: LPL. An further 20 proteins were associated with onset of HF 50–80% of the time using bootstrap resampling (FDR < 0.05). A pathway analysis including all significant 32 proteins suggested that these biomarkers were related to inflammation, matrix remodeling, cardiometabolic hormones and hemostasis. Three proteins, C1QTNF1, FGF-21 and CST3, reflecting dyslipidemia and kidney disease, displayed a higher association with HF in patients who did not undergo weight-loss-surgery and maintained with obesity. Conclusion Pathways associated with HF in obesity include inflammation, matrix remodeling, cardiometabolic hormones and hemostasis; three protein biomarkers predicting HF appeared to be obesity-specific.
Mental disorders may for various reasons impair educational attainment, and with far-reaching consequences given the impact of education on subsequent employment, social life, life choices and even health and mortality. This register-based study addresses trends in educational attainment among Finnish adolescents aged 13–17 with mental disorders severe enough to necessitate inpatient treatment between 1980 and 2010. Our subjects ( N = 14,435), followed up until the end of 2014, were at greater risk of discontinuing education beyond compulsory comprehensive school or of lower educational attainment than their age-peers in general population. Only 50.0% had completed any post-comprehensive education compared to 84.9% in same-aged general population. Those at highest risk were males and those with organic, intellectual disabilities and developmental, externalizing disorders or schizophrenia group diagnoses. Despite improvements in adolescent psychiatric care, school welfare services and pedagogical support, risks have remained high. Greater effort in psychiatric treatment, school welfare and pedagogy are needed to combat this severe inequality.
Introduction Health care professionals working in primary and specialized care typically search for medical information from Internet sources. In Finland, Physician’s Databases are online portals aimed at professionals seeking medical information. As dosage errors may occur when prescribing medication to children, professionals’ need for reliable medical information has increased in public health care centers and hospitals. Influenza continues to be a public health threat, with young children at risk of developing severe illness and easily transmitting the virus. Oseltamivir is used to treat children with influenza. The objective of this study was to compare searches for children’s oseltamivir and influenza diagnoses in primary and specialized care, and to determine if the searches could aid detection of influenza outbreaks. Methods We compared searches in Physician’s Databases for children’s oral suspension of oseltamivir (6 mg/mL) for influenza diagnoses of children under 7 years and laboratory findings of influenza A and B from the National Infectious Disease Register. Searches and diagnoses were assessed in primary and specialized care across Finland by season from 2012–2016. The Moving Epidemic Method (MEM) calculated seasonal starts and ends, and paired differences in the mean compared two indicators. Correlation was tested to compare seasons. Results We found that searches and diagnoses in primary and specialized care showed visually similar patterns annually. The MEM-calculated starting weeks in searches appeared mainly in the same week. Oseltamivir searches in primary care preceded diagnoses by −1.0 weeks (95% CI: −3.0, −0.3; p = 0.132) with very high correlation (τ = 0.913). Specialized care oseltamivir searches and diagnoses correlated moderately (τ = 0.667). Conclusion Health care professionals’ searches for children’s oseltamivir in online databases linked with the registers of children’s influenza diagnoses in primary and specialized care. Therefore, database searches should be considered as supplementary information in disease surveillance when detecting influenza epidemics.
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439 members
Haider Al-Hello
  • Department of Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control
Henrik Dobewall
  • Social sustainability
Otto Hänninen
  • Department of Health Protection
Helsinki, Finland