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Ernst S.A.,Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and EpidemiologyBIPS | Schmitz R.,Robert Koch Institute | Thamm M.,Robert Koch Institute | Ellert U.,Robert Koch Institute
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health | Year: 2016

In industrialized countries atopic diseases have been reported to be less likely in children and adolescents with a migrant background compared to non-migrants. This paper aimed at both examining and comparing prevalence of asthma, allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and atopic dermatitis and allergic sensitization to specific IgE antibodies in children and adolescents with and without a migrant background. Using data of the population-based German Health Interview and Examination Survey for children and adolescents (KiGGS; n = 17,450; 0–17 years), lifetime and 12-month prevalence of atopic diseases and point prevalence of 20 common allergic sensitizations were investigated among migrants compared to non-migrants. Multiple regression models were used to estimate the association of atopic disease and allergic sensitization with migrant background. In multivariate analyses with substantial adjustment we found atopic dermatitis about one-third less often (OR 0.73, 0.57–0.93) in participants with a two-sided migrant background. Statistically significant associations between allergic sensitizations and a two-sided migrant background remained for birch (OR 0.73, 0.58–0.90), soybean (OR 0.72, 0.54–0.96), peanut (OR 0.69, 0.53–0.90), rice (OR 0.64, 0.48–0.87), potato (OR 0.64, 0.48–0.85), and horse dander (OR 0.58, 0.40–0.85). Environmental factors and living conditions might be responsible for the observed differences. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Douros A.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Bronder E.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Andersohn F.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | Klimpel A.,Charite - Medical University of Berlin | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences | Year: 2016

Herb-induced liver injury (HILI) has recently attracted attention due to increasing reports of hepatotoxicity associated with use of phytotherapeutics. Here, we present data on HILI from the Berlin Case-Control Surveillance Study. The study was initiated in 2000 to investigate the serious toxicity of drugs including herbal medicines. Potential cases of liver injury were ascertained in more than 180 Departments of all 51 Berlin hospitals from October 2002 to December 2011. Drug or herb intake was assessed through a standardized face-to-face interview. Drug or herbal aetiology was assessed based on the updated Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences scale. In ten of all 198 cases of hepatotoxicity included in the study, herbal aetiology was assessed as probable (once ayurvedic herb) or possible (Valeriana five times, Mentha piperita once, Pelargonium sidoides once, Hypericum perforatum once, Eucalyptus globulus once). Mean age was 56.4 ± 9.7 years, and the predominant pattern of liver injury was hepatocellular. No cases of acute liver failure or death were observed. This case series corroborates known risks for ayurvedic herbs, supports the suspected association between Valeriana use and liver injury, and indicates a hepatotoxic potential for herbs such as Pelargonium sidoides, Hypericum perforatum or Mentha piperita that were rarely associated with liver injury before. However, given that possible causality does not prove clinical significance, further studies in this field are needed. © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Sievers C.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Akmatov M.K.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Kreienbrock L.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | Hille K.,University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover | And 17 more authors.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz | Year: 2014

Methods: From August–November 2011, 435 participants between the ages of 20–69 completed the ID Screen. All subjects had been recruited via a random sample from the local residents’ registration offices by 4 of the 18 participating study centers. The questionnaire encompasses 77 variables in six sections assessing items such as 12-month prevalence of infections, cumulative prevalence of infectious diseases, visit of health care facilities and vaccination. The feasibility was amongst others evaluated by assessing the completeness and comprehensiveness of the questionnaire. To assess the questionnaires ability to measure “immune status” and “susceptibility to infections”, multivariate analysis was used.Results: The overall practicability was good and most items were well understood, demonstrated by < 2/33 missing questions per questionnaire and only three variables: vaccination for influenza and pneumococci and infection with chickenpox had a frequency > 5 % of missing values. However, direct comparison of the items 12-month prevalence and lifetime prevalence of nephritis/pyelitis showed poor agreement and thereby poor understanding by 80 % of the participants, illustrating the necessity for a clear, lay person appropriate description of rare diseases to increase comprehensibility. The questionnaire will be used to support the assessment of immune dysfunction and frequency of infection. An analysis of these constructs in an exploratory factor analysis revealed limited applicability due to low interitem correlation (Cronbach’s α < 0.5). This is corroborated by the extraction of more than one factor with a Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin measure of 0.6 instead of a unidimensional latent construct for “immune status”.Conclusion: All in all, the ID Screen is a good and reliable tool to measure infectious diseases as risk factors and outcome in general, but requires a better translation of infection specific terms into lay person terms. For the assessment of the overall immune status, the tool has strong limitations. Vaccinations status should also rather be assessed based on vaccination certificates than on participants’ recall.Background/objectives: The risk to die from an infectious disease in Germany has been continuously decreasing over the last century. Since infections are, however, not only causes of death but risk factors for diseases like cardiovascular diseases, it is essential to monitor and analyze their prevalence and frequency, especially in consideration of the increased life expectancy. To gain more knowledge about infectious diseases as risk factors and their implications on the condition and change of the immune status, the German National Cohort (GNC), a population-based prospective cohort study, will recruit 200,000 subjects between 2014 and 2017. In Pretest 1, a feasibility study for the GNC, we evaluated a self-administered and self-report questionnaire on infectious diseases and on the use of health care facilities (hereinafter called “ID Screen”) for feasibility and validity. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

Mall S.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Mall S.,Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine | Akmatov M.K.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Akmatov M.K.,Center for Experimental and Clinical Research | And 8 more authors.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz | Year: 2014

Background: Incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI) and gastrointestinal infections (GII) are difficult to assess due to high frequency episodes, limited severity and short duration. Retrospective assessments therefore are particularly prone to recall bias, while prospective assessment with conventional questionnaires requires high discipline from participants which is difficult to maintain over longer time periods. Web-based questionnaires (WQ) allow integration of a recall system and thus carry the potential to prospectively capture acute infections. We investigated the feasibility of a weekly WQ assessing symptoms of ARI and GII among participants of the German National Cohort (GNC).Material and methods: In the study centres Hamburg and Bremen of the GNC participants of the Pretest 1 phase (September to November 2011) were invited to additionally take part in this feasibility study testing the WQ. Every Monday participants received an e-mail, containing a link to the WQ, asking for occurrence of ARI or GII symptoms during the past 7 days. The study took place from the beginning of February until mid-July 2012. We calculated the overall proportion of participation, weekly participation and the number of weekly reports per participant and we estimated incidences of ARI, ILI and GII.Results: Of 200 Pretest 1 participants 171 (86 %) reported having an email address and thus were eligible for the web-based study. A total of 167 (98 %) agreed to participate. Participants of the web-based study were younger and better educated than non-participants. Access to Internet decreased with increasing age. Of the 167 participants in the feasibility study, 144 (86 %) responded at least once during the study period of 23 weeks, 5 persons (3 %) had non-functioning email addresses and 18 (11 %) did not respond at all. The weekly response varied between 62 % and 81 %, the median was 74 % (IQR: 71–77 %). Weekly median reports per person were 20 (IQR: 14–22; range 1–23). More than 90 % of participants responded during the first 3 days. The following mean incidence rates were found: ARI, 12 %; ILI, 0.49 %; and GII, 3 %.Conclusion: Use of WQ in prospective studies seems well possible, as Internet access is frequent among study participants and major technical problems did not occur. We observed high participation during the study period of 6 months and low drop out numbers. Participants of the web-based study were slightly younger and better educated than non-participants, so selection bias is possible and must be kept in mind when discussing generalizability of the results. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

Schultze A.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Akmatov M.K.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | Akmatov M.K.,Hannover University of Applied Sciences | Andrzejak M.,Helmholtz Center for Infection Research | And 11 more authors.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt - Gesundheitsforschung - Gesundheitsschutz | Year: 2014

Background: For certain laboratory investigations it is necessary to obtain native stool samples and process them within a narrow time window at the point of contact or a nearby laboratory. However, it is not known whether it is feasible to obtain stool samples from asymptomatic individuals during an appointment in a study center (SC). We therefore compared participants’ preference, feasibility and acceptance of stool sample collection during the appointment at the study center (on-site sampling) to collection at home after the appointment.Methods: The study was conducted at two sites in Northern Germany (Bremen, n = 156; Hannover, n = 147) during the Pretest 2 phase of the German National Cohort (GNC), drawing upon a randomly selected population supplemented by a small convenience sample. In the study center, the participants were given the choice to provide a stool sample during the appointment or to collect a sample later at home and return it by mail.Results: In all, 303 of the 351 participants (86 %) of Pretest 2 at these sites participated in this feasibility study. Only 7.9 % (24/303) of the participants chose on-site collection, whereas 92 % (279/303) chose at-home collection. There were significant differences between the two study sites in that 14 % (21/147) of participants in Hannover and 2 % (3/156) of participants in Bremen chose on-site collection. Compliance was high in both groups, as 100 % (24/24) and 98 % (272/279) of participants in the on-site and at-home groups, respectively, provided complete samples. Both methods were highly accepted, as 92 % of the participants in each group (22/24 and 227/248) stated that stool collection at the respective site was acceptable.Conclusion: When given a choice, most participants in this population-based study preferred home collection of stool samples to collection in the study center. Thus, native stool samples for immediate processing in the study center may potentially be obtained only from a subpopulation of participants, which may lead to selection bias. Home collection, on the other hand, proved to be a highly feasible method for studies that do not require freshly collected native stool. © 2014, The Author(s). Source

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