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Genova, Italy

Lutge E.E.,Epidemiology
The Cochrane database of systematic reviews | Year: 2013

The use of cannabis (marijuana) or of its psychoactive ingredient delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as a medicine has been highly contested in many settings.There have been claims that smoked or ingested cannabis, either in its natural form or artificial form (pharmaceutically manufactured drug such as dronabinol), improves the appetites of people with AIDS, results in weight gain and lifts mood, thus improving the quality of life. The objectives of this review were to assess whether cannabis (in its natural or artificially produced form), either smoked or ingested, decreases the morbidity or mortality of patients infected with HIV. The search strategy was conducted to July 2012 and was based on that of the Cochrane HIV/AIDS Review Group. We searched the following databases: CENTRAL/CCTR, MEDLINE and EMBASE. In addition, searching was performed where necessary of journals, reference lists of articles, and conference proceedings. The review included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of any cannabis intervention, in any form, and administered by any route, in adults with HIV or AIDS, compared with placebo or with a known effective treatment, and conducted in a hospital, outpatient clinic, or home care setting. Quasi-randomised studies using any form of cannabis as an intervention in patients with HIV or AIDS were also included. Data from the eligible studies were extracted and coded independently by two researchers, using a standardised data extraction form. Data were then analysed using RevMan 5.0. No meta-analyses were performed. A total of seven relevant studies were included in the review, reported in eight publications. All were randomised controlled studies, with four utilising a parallel group design, two a within-subject randomisation and two a cross-over design. All of the studies were of a fairly short duration, ranging from 21 days to 84 days. In only four papers (in effect, three studies) were sequence generation and allocation concealment judged to be adequate. The use of cannabis and rapidly acting cannabinoids posed considerable challenges for blinding, as the psychoactive effects are expected to be quickly discernible to study participants, particularly those who have been previous users of such products. Dronabinol was expected to be more easily blinded. The outcomes measured were variable, including change in weight, change in body fat (measured as a percentage of total body weight), change in appetite (measured on a visual analogue scale), change in caloric intake (measured in kcals/kg/24hr), change in nausea and vomiting (measured on a visual analogue scale), change in performance (measured by Karnofsky performance score or specific tests for memory and dexterity) and change in mood (measured on a visual analogue scale).The evidence for substantial effects on morbidity and mortality is currently limited. Data from only one relatively small study (n=139, of which only 88 were evaluable), conducted in the period before access to highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), showed that patients administered dronabinol were twice as likely to gain 2kg or more in body weight (RR 2.09), but the confidence interval for this measure (95% CI 0.72 - 6.06) included unity. The mean weight gain in the dronabinol group was only 0.1kg, compared with a loss of 0.4kg in the placebo group. However, the quality of sequence generation and allocation concealment in this study, in which participants were randomised by centre, could not be assessed. Despite dronabinol being registered by at least some medicines regulatory authorities for the treatment of AIDS-associated anorexia, and some jurisdictions making allowances for the "medical" use of marijuana by patients with HIV/AIDS, evidence for the efficacy and safety of cannabis and cannabinoids in this setting is lacking. Such studies as have been performed have been of short duration, in small numbers of patients, and have focused on short-term measures of efficacy. Long-term data, showing a sustained effect on AIDS-related morbidity and mortality and safety in patients on effective antiretroviral therapy, has yet to be presented. Whether the available evidence is sufficient to justify a wide-ranging revisiting of medicines regulatory practice remains unclear.


Puhan M.A.,Epidemiology
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) | Year: 2011

Pulmonary rehabilitation has become a cornerstone in the management of patients with stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Systematic reviews have shown large and important clinical effects of pulmonary rehabilitation in these patients. However, in unstable COPD patients who have recently suffered an exacerbation, the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation are less established. To assess the effects of pulmonary rehabilitation after COPD exacerbations on future hospital admissions (primary outcome) and other patient-important outcomes (mortality, health-related quality of life and exercise capacity). Trials were identified from searches of CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PEDRO and the Cochrane Airways Group Register of Trials. Searches were current as of March 2010. Randomized controlled trials comparing pulmonary rehabilitation of any duration after exacerbation of COPD with conventional care. Pulmonary rehabilitation programmes needed to include at least physical exercise. Control groups received conventional community care without rehabilitation. We calculated pooled odds ratios and weighted mean differences (MD) using random-effects models. We requested missing data from the authors of the primary studies. We identified nine trials involving 432 patients. Pulmonary rehabilitation significantly reduced hospital admissions (pooled odds ratio 0.22 [95% CI 0.08 to 0.58], number needed to treat (NNT) 4 [95% CI 3 to 8], over 25 weeks) and mortality (OR 0.28; 95% CI 0.10 to 0.84), NNT 6 [95% CI 5 to 30] over 107 weeks). Effects of pulmonary rehabilitation on health-related quality of life were well above the minimal important difference when measured by the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (MD for dyspnea, fatigue, emotional function and mastery domains between 0.81 (fatigue; 95% CI 0.16 to 1.45) and 0.97 (dyspnea; 95% CI 0.35 to 1.58)) and the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire total score (MD -9.88; 95% CI -14.40 to -5.37); impacts domain (MD -13.94; 95% CI -20.37 to -7.51) and for activity limitation domain (MD -9.94; 95% CI -15.98 to -3.89)). The symptoms domain of the St. Georges Respiratory Questionnaire showed no significant improvement. Pulmonary rehabilitation significantly improved exercise capacity and the improvement was above the minimally important difference (six-minute walk test (MD 77.70 meters; 95% CI 12.21 to 143.20) and shuttle walk test (MD 64.35; 95% CI 41.28 to 87.43)). No adverse events were reported in three studies. Evidence from nine small studies of moderate methodological quality, suggests that pulmonary rehabilitation is a highly effective and safe intervention to reduce hospital admissions and mortality and to improve health-related quality of life in COPD patients who have recently suffered an exacerbation of COPD.


Koopman J.S.,Epidemiology
American Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2013

Polio eradication is on the cusp of success, with only a few regions still maintaining transmission. Improving our understanding of why some regions have been successful and others have not will help with both global eradication of polio and development of more effective vaccination strategies for other pathogens. To examine the past 25 years of eradication efforts, we constructed a transmission model for wild poliovirus that incorporates waning immunity (which affects both infection risk and transmissibility of any resulting infection), age-mediated vaccination rates, and transmission of oral polio vaccine. The model produces results consistent with the 4 country categories defined by the Global Polio Eradication Program: elimination with no subsequent outbreaks; elimination with subsequent transient outbreaks; elimination with subsequent outbreaks and transmission detected for more than 12 months; and endemic polio transmission. Analysis of waning immunity rates and oral polio vaccine transmissibility reveals that higher waning immunity rates make eradication more difficult because of increasing numbers of infectious adults, and that higher oral polio vaccine transmission rates make eradication easier as adults become reimmunized. Given these dynamic properties, attention should be given to intervention strategies that complement childhood vaccination. For example, improvement in sanitation can reduce the reproduction number in problematic regions, and adult vaccination can lower adult transmission. © 2013 © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.


Trock B.J.,Epidemiology
Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations | Year: 2011

The prostate has long been known to exhibit unique metabolite profiles. In the last decade, advances in nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and mass spectrometry have been applied toward identifying metabolic alterations in prostate cancer that may provide clinically useful biomarkers. As with genomics and proteomics, advances in technology and bioinformatics have led to the application of metabolomic profiling to prostate cancer-the high throughput evaluation of a large complement of metabolites in the prostate and how they are altered by disease perturbations. Recently, high profile publications have drawn attention to the potential of metabolomic analysis to identify biomarkers for early detection or disease progression from readily accessible body fluids as well as tissue specimens from biopsy and surgery. This review will examine applications of metabolomics to prostate cancer and highlight clinical associations and potential challenges. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Ricketts S.,Epidemiology | Schwalberg R.,Altarum Institute
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health | Year: 2014

Context: Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods are recommended for young women, but access is limited by cost and lack of knowledge among providers and consumers. The Colorado Family Planning Initiative (CFPI) sought to address these barriers by training providers, financing LARC method provision at Title X-funded clinics and increasing patient caseload. Methods: Beginning in 2009, 28 Title X-funded agencies in Colorado received private funding to support CFPI. Caseloads and clients' LARC use were assessed over the following two years. Fertility rates among low-income women aged 15-24 were compared with expected trends. Abortion rates and births among high-risk women were tracked, and the numbers of infants receiving services through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) were examined. Results: By 2011, caseloads had increased by 23%, and LARC use among 15-24-year-olds had grown from 5% to 19%. Cumulatively, one in 15 young, low-income women had received a LARC method, up from one in 170 in 2008. Compared with expected fertility rates in 2011, observed rates were 29% lower among low-income 15-19-year-olds and 14% lower among similar 20-24-year-olds. In CFPI counties, the proportion of births that were high-risk declined by 24% between 2009 and 2011; abortion rates fell 34% and 18%, respectively, among women aged 15-19 and 20-24. Statewide, infant enrollment in WIC declined 23% between 2010 and 2013. Conclusions: Programs that increase LARC use among young, low-income women may contribute to declines in fertility rates, abortion rates and births among high-risk women. © 2014 by the Guttmacher Institute.

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