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Carvalho M.A.,University of Lisbon | Baranowski T.,Baylor College of Medicine | Foster E.,Northumbria University | Santos O.,University of Lisbon | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics | Year: 2015

Background: Current methods for assessing children's dietary intake, such as interviewer-administered 24-h dietary recall (24-h DR), are time consuming and resource intensive. Self-administered instruments offer a low-cost diet assessment method for use with children. The present study assessed the validity of the Portuguese self-administered, computerised, 24-h DR (PAC24) against the observation of school lunch. Methods: Forty-one, 7-10-year-old children from two elementary schools, in Lisbon, were observed during school lunch followed by completion of the PAC24 the next day. Accuracy for reporting items was measured in terms of matches, intrusions and omissions; accuracy for reporting amounts was measured in terms of arithmetic and absolute differences for matches and amounts for omissions and intrusions; and accuracy for reporting items and amounts combined was measured in terms of total inaccuracy. The ratio of the estimated weight of food consumed with the actual weight consumed was calculated along with the limits of agreement using the method of Bland and Altman. Results: Comparison of PAC24 against observations at the food level resulted in values of 67.0% for matches, 11.5% for intrusions and 21.5% for omissions. The mean for total inaccuracy was 3.44 servings. For amounts, accuracy was high for matches (-0.17 and 0.23 servings for arithmetic and absolute differences, respectively) and lower for omissions (0.61 servings) and intrusions (0.55 servings). PAC24 was found to under-estimate the weight of food on average by 32% of actual intake. Conclusions: PAC24 is a lower-burden procedure for both respondents and researchers and, with slight modification, comprises a promising method for assessing diet among children. © 2015 The British Dietetic Association Ltd. Source

Divajeva D.,UK Health Forum | Marsh T.,UK Health Forum | Logstrup S.,A+ Network | Kestens M.,A+ Network | And 6 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2014

Background: The majority of chronic disease is caused by risk factors which are mostly preventable. Effective interventions to reduce these risks are known and proven to be applicable to a variety of settings. Chronic disease is generally developed long before the fatal outcome, meaning that a lot of people spend a number of years in poor health. Effective prevention measures can prolong lives of individuals and significantly improve their quality of life. However, the methods to measure cost-effectiveness are a subject to much debate. The Economics of Chronic Diseases project aims to establish the best possible methods of measuring cost-effectiveness as well as develop micro-simulation models apt at projecting future burden of chronic diseases, their costs and potential savings after implementation of cost-effective interventions. Method. This research project will involve eight European countries: Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom (UK). A literature review will be conducted to identify scientific articles which critically review the methods of cost-effectiveness. Contact will be made health economists to inform and enrich this review. This evidence will be used as a springboard for discussion at a meeting with key European stakeholders and experts with the aim of reaching a consensus on recommendations for cost-effectiveness methodology. Epidemiological data for coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be collected along with data on time trends in three major risk factors related to these diseases, specifically tobacco consumption, blood pressure and body mass index. Economic and epidemiological micro-simulation models will be developed to asses the future distributions of risks, disease outcomes, healthcare costs and the cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in Europe. Discussion. This work will help to establish the best methods of measuring cost-effectiveness of health interventions as well as test a variety of scenarios to reduce the risk factors associated with selected chronic diseases. The modelling projections could be used to inform decisions and policies that will implement the best course of action to curb the rising incidence of chronic diseases. © 2014 Divajeva et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Ravara S.B.,University of Beira Interior | Ravara S.B.,University Hospital | Castelo-Branco M.,University of Beira Interior | Castelo-Branco M.,University Hospital | And 3 more authors.
BMC Public Health | Year: 2014

Background: The crucial role of physicians in tobacco control (TC) is widely recognized. In 2008, Portugal implemented a non-comprehensive smoke-free policy (SFP). In 2009, a conference-survey was carried out to explore Portuguese physicians' engagement in tobacco control, by evaluating the following: 1) attendance at TC training and awareness of training needs; 2) participation in TC activities; 3) attitudes and beliefs regarding SFPs. Methods: Questionnaire-based cross-sectional study conducted during two major national medical conferences targeting GPs, hospitalists, and students/recent graduates. Descriptive analysis and logistic regression were performed. Results: Response rate was 63.7% (605/950). Of the 605 participants, 58.3% were GPs, 32.4% hospitalists, 9.3% others; 62.6% were female; mean age was 39.0 ± 12.9 years. Smoking prevalence was 29.2% (95% CI: 23.3-35.1) in males; 15.8% (95% CI: 12.1-19.5) in females, p < 0.001. While the overwhelming majority of physicians strongly agreed that second-hand smoke (SHS) endangers health, awareness of SFP benefits and TC law was limited, p < 0.001. A significant minority (35.5%) believed that SHS can be eliminated by ventilation systems. Most physicians lacked training; only a minority (9.0%) participated regularly in TC. Training was the most consistent predictor of participation in TC. General agreement with SFP was high; but significantly lower for indoor leisure settings, outdoors bans in healthcare/schools settings and smoking restrictions in the home/car, p < 0.001. Smoking behaviour strongly predicted support for smoking restrictions in restaurants and bars/discos, healthcare outdoors and private settings. Conclusions: The findings suggest that Portuguese physicians are not aware of their role in tobacco control. Poor engagement of physicians in TC may contribute to the current lack of comprehensive policies in Portugal and Europe and undermine social norm change. Medical and professional continuing education on tobacco control should be made top priorities. © 2014 Ravara et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Castanheira I.,National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge | Saraiva M.,National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge | Rego A.,National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge | Ollilainen V.,University of Helsinki
Food Chemistry | Year: 2015

Analytical methodology is a key factor in food composition databases and specific criteria, at the component level, is needed for comparison of analytical data from different sources. The aim of this work is to describe how EuroFIR guidelines for assessment of methods of analysis are created and made available to users. Comprehensive information for macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and trace elements addressing all aspects of analytical procedures was obtained from international standards, and scientific literature. Documentation was compiled in a confluence wiki format provided for each component: background information, description of reference methods of analysis and critical steps, available reference materials, proficiency testing schemes, other analytical methods and relevant references. The information for each nutrient was collated, edited and presented with hypertext links to additional pages where more detailed information can be accessed using full text searches. The wiki format is a useful tool for preparing information and disseminating to users. © 2015. Source

Costa A.M.,University of Minho | Costa A.M.,ICVS 3Bs PT Government Associate Laboratory | Pinto F.,University of Minho | Pinto F.,ICVS 3Bs PT Government Associate Laboratory | And 7 more authors.
Oncotarget | Year: 2015

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are proteolytic enzymes that degrade extracellular matrix (ECM), thus assisting invasion. Upregulation of MMPs, frequently reported in gliomas, is associated with aggressive behavior. WNK2 is a tumor suppressor gene expressed in normal brain, and silenced by promoter methylation in gliomas. Patients without WNK2 exhibited poor prognosis, and its downregulation was associated with increased glioma cell invasion. Here we showed that MMP2 expression and activity are increased in glioma cell lines that do not express WNK2. Also, WNK2 inhibited JNK, a process associated with decreasing levels of MMP2. Thus, WNK2 promoter methylation and silencing in gliomas is associated with increased JNK activation and MMP2 expression and activity, thus explaining in part tumor cell invasion potential. Source

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