Journal: PLoS Med

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Abstract

Unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care in 35 low- and middle-income countries: A cross-sectional study of nationally representative surveys.

Marcus ME, Ebert C, Geldsetzer P, Theilmann M, ... Manne-Goehler J, Vollmer S
Background
As the prevalence of hypercholesterolemia is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), detailed evidence is urgently needed to guide the response of health systems to this epidemic. This study sought to quantify unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care among adults in 35 LMICs.
Methods and findings
We pooled individual-level data from 129,040 respondents aged 15 years and older from 35 nationally representative surveys conducted between 2009 and 2018. Hypercholesterolemia care was quantified using cascade of care analyses in the pooled sample and by region, country income group, and country. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as (i) total cholesterol (TC) ≥240 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use and, alternatively, as (ii) low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) ≥160 mg/dL or self-reported lipid-lowering medication use. Stages of the care cascade for hypercholesterolemia were defined as follows: screened (prior to the survey), aware of diagnosis, treated (lifestyle advice and/or medication), and controlled (TC <200 mg/dL or LDL-C <130 mg/dL). We further estimated how age, sex, education, body mass index (BMI), current smoking, having diabetes, and having hypertension are associated with cascade progression using modified Poisson regression models with survey fixed effects. High TC prevalence was 7.1% (95% CI: 6.8% to 7.4%), and high LDL-C prevalence was 7.5% (95% CI: 7.1% to 7.9%). The cascade analysis showed that 43% (95% CI: 40% to 45%) of study participants with high TC and 47% (95% CI: 44% to 50%) with high LDL-C ever had their cholesterol measured prior to the survey. About 31% (95% CI: 29% to 33%) and 36% (95% CI: 33% to 38%) were aware of their diagnosis; 29% (95% CI: 28% to 31%) and 33% (95% CI: 31% to 36%) were treated; 7% (95% CI: 6% to 9%) and 19% (95% CI: 18% to 21%) were controlled. We found substantial heterogeneity in cascade performance across countries and higher performances in upper-middle-income countries and the Eastern Mediterranean, Europe, and Americas. Lipid screening was significantly associated with older age, female sex, higher education, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Awareness of diagnosis was significantly associated with older age, higher BMI, comorbid diagnosis of diabetes, and comorbid diagnosis of hypertension. Lastly, treatment of hypercholesterolemia was significantly associated with comorbid hypertension and diabetes, and control of lipid measures with comorbid diabetes. The main limitations of this study are a potential recall bias in self-reported information on received health services as well as diminished comparability due to varying survey years and varying lipid guideline application across country and clinical settings.
Conclusions
Cascade performance was poor across all stages, indicating large unmet need for hypercholesterolemia care in this sample of LMICs-calling for greater policy and research attention toward this cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor and highlighting opportunities for improved prevention of CVD.



PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003841
Marcus ME, Ebert C, Geldsetzer P, Theilmann M, ... Manne-Goehler J, Vollmer S
PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003841 | PMID: 34695124
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Impact:
Abstract

Association of race and health insurance in treatment disparities of colon cancer: A retrospective analysis utilizing a national population database in the United States.

Hao S, Snyder RA, Irish W, Parikh AA
Background
Both health insurance status and race independently impact colon cancer (CC) care delivery and outcomes. The relative importance of these factors in explaining racial and insurance disparities is less clear, however. This study aimed to determine the association and interaction of race and insurance with CC treatment disparities.
Study setting
Retrospective cohort review of a prospective hospital-based database.
Methods and findings
In this cross-sectional study, patients diagnosed with stage I to III CC in the United States were identified from the National Cancer Database (NCDB; 2006 to 2016). Multivariable regression with generalized estimating equations (GEEs) were performed to evaluate the association of insurance and race/ethnicity with odds of receipt of surgery (stage I to III) and adjuvant chemotherapy (stage III), with an additional 2-way interaction term to evaluate for effect modification. Confounders included sex, age, median income, rurality, comorbidity, and nodes and margin status for the model for chemotherapy. Of 353,998 patients included, 73.8% (n = 261,349) were non-Hispanic White (NHW) and 11.7% (n = 41,511) were non-Hispanic Black (NHB). NHB patients were less likely to undergo resection [odds ratio (OR) 0.66, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.61 to 0.72, p < 0.001] or to receive adjuvant chemotherapy [OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.87, p < 0.001] compared to NHW patients. NHB patients with private or Medicare insurance were less likely to undergo resection [OR 0.76, 95% CI 0.63 to 0.91, p = 0.004 (private insurance); OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.66, p < 0.001 (Medicare)] and to receive adjuvant chemotherapy [0.77, 95% CI 0.68 to 0.87, p < 0.001 (private insurance); OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.80 to 0.91, p < 0.001 (Medicare)] compared to similarly insured NHW patients. Although Hispanic patients with private and Medicare insurance were also less likely to undergo surgical resection, this was not the case with adjuvant chemotherapy. This study is mainly limited by the retrospective nature and by the variables provided in the dataset; granular details such as continuity or disruption of insurance coverage or specific chemotherapy agents or dosing cannot be assessed within NCDB.
Conclusions
This study suggests that racial disparities in receipt of treatment for CC persist even among patients with similar health insurance coverage and that different disparities exist for different racial/ethnic groups. Changes in health policy must therefore recognize that provision of insurance alone may not eliminate cancer treatment racial disparities.



PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003842
Hao S, Snyder RA, Irish W, Parikh AA
PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003842 | PMID: 34695123
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Abstract

Evaluating the impact of DREAMS on HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women: A population-based cohort study in Kenya and South Africa.

Birdthistle I, Kwaro D, Shahmanesh M, Baisley K, ... Glynn J, Floyd S
Background
Through a multisectoral approach, the DREAMS Partnership aimed to reduce HIV incidence among adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) by 40% over 2 years in high-burden districts across sub-Saharan Africa. DREAMS promotes a combination package of evidence-based interventions to reduce individual, family, partner, and community-based drivers of young women\'s heightened HIV risk. We evaluated the impact of DREAMS on HIV incidence among AGYW and young men in 2 settings.
Methods and findings
We directly estimated HIV incidence rates among open population-based cohorts participating in demographic and HIV serological surveys from 2006 to 2018 annually in uMkhanyakude (KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) and over 6 rounds from 2010 to 2019 in Gem (Siaya, Kenya). We compared HIV incidence among AGYW aged 15 to 24 years before DREAMS and up to 3 years after DREAMS implementation began in 2016. We investigated the timing of any change in HIV incidence and whether the rate of any change accelerated during DREAMS implementation. Comparable analyses were also conducted for young men (20 to 29/34 years). In uMkhanyakude, between 5,000 and 6,000 AGYW were eligible for the serological survey each year, an average of 85% were contacted, and consent rates varied from 37% to 67%. During 26,395 person-years (py), HIV incidence was lower during DREAMS implementation (2016 to 2018) than in the previous 5-year period among 15- to 19-year-old females (4.5 new infections per 100 py as compared with 2.8; age-adjusted rate ratio (aRR) = 0.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.48 to 0.82), and lower among 20- to 24-year-olds (7.1/100 py as compared with 5.8; aRR = 0.82, 95% CI 0.65 to 1.04). Declines preceded DREAMS introduction, beginning from 2012 to 2013 among the younger and 2014 for the older women, with no evidence of more rapid decline during DREAMS implementation. In Gem, between 8,515 and 11,428 AGYW were eligible each survey round, an average of 34% were contacted and offered an HIV test, and consent rates ranged from 84% to 99%. During 10,382 py, declines in HIV incidence among 15- to 19-year-olds began before DREAMS and did not change after DREAMS introduction. Among 20- to 24-year-olds in Gem, HIV incidence estimates were lower during DREAMS implementation (0.64/100 py) compared with the pre-DREAMS period (0.94/100 py), with no statistical evidence of a decline (aRR = 0.69, 95% CI 0.53 to 2.18). Among young men, declines in HIV incidence were greater than those observed among AGYW and also began prior to DREAMS investments. Study limitations include low study power in Kenya and the introduction of other interventions such as universal treatment for HIV during the study period.
Conclusions
Substantial declines in HIV incidence among AGYW were observed, but most began before DREAMS introduction and did not accelerate in the first 3 years of DREAMS implementation. Like the declines observed among young men, they are likely driven by earlier and ongoing investments in HIV testing and treatment. Longer-term implementation and evaluation are needed to assess the impact of such a complex HIV prevention intervention and to help accelerate reductions in HIV incidence among young women.



PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003837
Birdthistle I, Kwaro D, Shahmanesh M, Baisley K, ... Glynn J, Floyd S
PLoS Med: 24 Oct 2021; 18:e1003837 | PMID: 34695112
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Abstract

Effectiveness of knowledge brokering and recommendation dissemination for influencing healthcare resource allocation decisions: A cluster randomised controlled implementation trial.

Sarkies MN, Robins LM, Jepson M, Williams CM, ... Long KM, Haines TP
Background
Implementing evidence into clinical practice is a key focus of healthcare improvements to reduce unwarranted variation. Dissemination of evidence-based recommendations and knowledge brokering have emerged as potential strategies to achieve evidence implementation by influencing resource allocation decisions. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of these 2 research implementation strategies to facilitate evidence-informed healthcare management decisions for the provision of inpatient weekend allied health services.
Methods and findings
This multicentre, single-blinded (data collection and analysis), 3-group parallel cluster randomised controlled trial with concealed allocation was conducted in Australian and New Zealand hospitals between February 2018 and January 2020. Clustering and randomisation took place at the organisation level where weekend allied health staffing decisions were made (e.g., network of hospitals or single hospital). Hospital wards were nested within these decision-making structures. Three conditions were compared over a 12-month period: (1) usual practice waitlist control; (2) dissemination of written evidence-based practice recommendations; and (3) access to a webinar-based knowledge broker in addition to the recommendations. The primary outcome was the alignment of weekend allied health provision with practice recommendations at the cluster and ward levels, addressing the adoption, penetration, and fidelity to the recommendations. The secondary outcome was mean hospital length of stay at the ward level. Outcomes were collected at baseline and 12 months later. A total of 45 clusters (n = 833 wards) were randomised to either control (n = 15), recommendation (n = 16), or knowledge broker (n = 14) conditions. Four (9%) did not provide follow-up data, and no adverse events were recorded. No significant effect was found with either implementation strategy for the primary outcome at the cluster level (recommendation versus control β 18.11 [95% CI -8,721.81 to 8,758.02] p = 0.997; knowledge broker versus control β 1.24 [95% CI -6,992.60 to 6,995.07] p = 1.000; recommendation versus knowledge broker β -9.12 [95% CI -3,878.39 to 3,860.16] p = 0.996) or ward level (recommendation versus control β 0.01 [95% CI 0.74 to 0.75] p = 0.983; knowledge broker versus control β -0.12 [95% CI -0.54 to 0.30] p = 0.581; recommendation versus knowledge broker β -0.19 [-1.04 to 0.65] p = 0.651). There was no significant effect between strategies for the secondary outcome at ward level (recommendation versus control β 2.19 [95% CI -1.36 to 5.74] p = 0.219; knowledge broker versus control β -0.55 [95% CI -1.16 to 0.06] p = 0.075; recommendation versus knowledge broker β -3.75 [95% CI -8.33 to 0.82] p = 0.102). None of the control or knowledge broker clusters transitioned to partial or full alignment with the recommendations. Three (20%) of the clusters who only received the written recommendations transitioned from nonalignment to partial alignment. Limitations include underpowering at the cluster level sample due to the grouping of multiple geographically distinct hospitals to avoid contamination.
Conclusions
Owing to a lack of power at the cluster level, this trial was unable to identify a difference between the knowledge broker strategy and dissemination of recommendations compared with usual practice for the promotion of evidence-informed resource allocation to inpatient weekend allied health services. Future research is needed to determine the interactions between different implementation strategies and healthcare contexts when translating evidence into healthcare practice.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTRN12618000029291.



PLoS Med: 21 Oct 2021; 18:e1003833
Sarkies MN, Robins LM, Jepson M, Williams CM, ... Long KM, Haines TP
PLoS Med: 21 Oct 2021; 18:e1003833 | PMID: 34679090
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Abstract

Cancer risk in individuals with intellectual disability in Sweden: A population-based cohort study.

Liu Q, Adami HO, Reichenberg A, Kolevzon A, Fang F, Sandin S
Background
A knowledge gap exists about the risk of cancer in individuals with intellectual disability (ID). The primary aim of this study was to estimate the cancer risk among individuals with ID compared to individuals without ID.
Methods and findings
We conducted a population-based cohort study of all children live-born in Sweden between 1974 and 2013 and whose mothers were born in a Nordic country. All individuals were followed from birth until cancer diagnosis, emigration, death, or 31 December 2016 (up to age 43 years), whichever came first. Incident cancers were identified from the Swedish Cancer Register. We fitted Cox regression models to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) as measures of cancer risk in relation to ID after adjusting for several potential confounders. We analyzed ID by severity, as well as idiopathic ID and syndromic ID separately. We performed a sibling comparison to investigate familial confounding. The study cohort included a total of 3,531,305 individuals, including 27,956 (0.8%) individuals diagnosed with ID. Compared with the reference group (individuals without ID and without a full sibling with ID), individuals with ID were in general more likely to be male. The median follow-up time was 8.9 and 23.0 years for individuals with ID and individuals without ID, respectively. A total of 188 cancer cases were identified among individuals with ID (incidence rate [IR], 62 per 1,000 person-years), and 24,960 among individuals in the reference group (IR, 31 per 1,000 person-years). A statistically significantly increased risk was observed for any cancer (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.35-1.82; P < 0.001), as well as for several cancer types, including cancers of the esophagus (HR 28.4, 95% CI 6.2-130.6; P < 0.001), stomach (HR 6.1, 95% CI 1.5-24.9; P = 0.013), small intestine (HR 12.0, 95% CI 2.9-50.1; P < 0.001), colon (HR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0-4.1; P = 0.045), pancreas (HR 6.0, 95% CI 1.5-24.8; P = 0.013), uterus (HR 11.7, 95% CI 1.5-90.7; P = 0.019), kidney (HR 4.4, 95% CI 2.0-9.8; P < 0.001), central nervous system (HR 2.7, 95% CI 2.0-3.7; P < 0.001), and other or unspecified sites (HR 4.8, 95% CI 1.8-12.9; P = 0.002), as well as acute lymphoid leukemia (HR 2.4, 95% CI 1.3-4.4; P = 0.003) and acute myeloid leukemia (HR 3.0, 95% CI 1.4-6.4; P = 0.004). Cancer risk was not modified by ID severity or sex but was higher for syndromic ID. The sibling comparison showed little support for familial confounding. The main study limitations were the limited statistical power for the analyses of specific cancer types, and the potential for underestimation of the studied associations (e.g., due to potential underdetection or delayed diagnosis of cancer among individuals with ID).
Conclusions
In this study, we found that individuals with ID showed an increased risk of any cancer, as well as of several specific cancer types. These findings suggest that extended surveillance and early intervention for cancer among individuals with ID are warranted.



PLoS Med: 20 Oct 2021; 18:e1003840
Liu Q, Adami HO, Reichenberg A, Kolevzon A, Fang F, Sandin S
PLoS Med: 20 Oct 2021; 18:e1003840 | PMID: 34673770
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Abstract

Offering ART refill through community health workers versus clinic-based follow-up after home-based same-day ART initiation in rural Lesotho: The VIBRA cluster-randomized clinical trial.

Amstutz A, Lejone TI, Khesa L, Kopo M, ... Glass TR, Labhardt ND
Background
Community-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) dispensing by lay workers is an important differentiated service delivery model in sub-Sahara Africa. However, patients new in care are generally excluded from such models. Home-based same-day ART initiation is becoming widespread practice, but linkage to the clinic is challenging. The pragmatic VIBRA (Village-Based Refill of ART) trial compared ART refill by existing lay village health workers (VHWs) versus clinic-based refill after home-based same-day ART initiation.
Methods and findings
The VIBRA trial is a cluster-randomized open-label clinical superiority trial conducted in 249 rural villages in the catchment areas of 20 health facilities in 2 districts (Butha-Buthe and Mokhotlong) in Lesotho. In villages (clusters) randomized to the intervention arm, individuals found to be HIV-positive during a door-to-door HIV testing campaign were offered same-day ART initiation with the option of refill by VHWs. The trained VHWs dispensed drugs and scheduled clinic visits for viral load measurement at 6 and 12 months. In villages randomized to the control arm, participants were offered same-day ART initiation with clinic-based ART refill. The primary outcome was 12-month viral suppression. Secondary endpoints included linkage and 12-month engagement in care. Analyses were intention-to-treat. The trial was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03630549). From 16 August 2018 until 28 May 2019, 118 individuals from 108 households in 57 clusters in the intervention arm, and 139 individuals from 130 households in 60 clusters in the control arm, were enrolled (150 [58%] female; median age 36 years [interquartile range 30-48]; 200 [78%] newly diagnosed). In the intervention arm, 48/118 (41%) opted for VHW refill. At 12 months, 46/118 (39%) participants in the intervention arm and 64/139 (46%) in the control arm achieved viral suppression (adjusted risk difference -0.07 [95% CI -0.20 to 0.06]; p = 0.256). Arms were similar in linkage (adjusted risk difference 0.03 [-0.10 to 0.16]; p = 0.630), but engagement in care was non-significantly lower in the intervention arm (adjusted risk difference -0.12 [-0.23 to 0.003]; p = 0.058). Seven and 0 deaths occurred in the intervention and control arm, respectively. Of the intervention participants who did not opt for drug refill from the VHW at enrollment, 41/70 (59%) mentioned trust or conflict issues as the primary reason. Study limitations include a rather small sample size, 9% missing viral load measurements in the primary endpoint window, the low uptake of the VHW refill option in the intervention arm, and substantial migration among the study population.
Conclusions
The offer of village-based ART refill after same-day initiation led to similar outcomes as clinic-based refill. The intervention did not amplify the effect of home-based same-day ART initiation alone. The findings raise concerns about acceptance and safety of ART delivered by lay health workers after initiation in the community.
Trial registration
Registered with Clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03630549).



PLoS Med: 20 Oct 2021; 18:e1003839
Amstutz A, Lejone TI, Khesa L, Kopo M, ... Glass TR, Labhardt ND
PLoS Med: 20 Oct 2021; 18:e1003839 | PMID: 34673765
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Abstract

Food biodiversity and total and cause-specific mortality in 9 European countries: An analysis of a prospective cohort study.

Hanley-Cook GT, Huybrechts I, Biessy C, Remans R, ... Jones AD, Lachat C
Background
Food biodiversity, encompassing the variety of plants, animals, and other organisms consumed as food and drink, has intrinsic potential to underpin diverse, nutritious diets and improve Earth system resilience. Dietary species richness (DSR), which is recommended as a crosscutting measure of food biodiversity, has been positively associated with the micronutrient adequacy of diets in women and young children in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, the relationships between DSR and major health outcomes have yet to be assessed in any population.
Methods and findings
We examined the associations between DSR and subsequent total and cause-specific mortality among 451,390 adults enrolled in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study (1992 to 2014, median follow-up: 17 years), free of cancer, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke at baseline. Usual dietary intakes were assessed at recruitment with country-specific dietary questionnaires (DQs). DSR of an individual\'s yearly diet was calculated based on the absolute number of unique biological species in each (composite) food and drink. Associations were assessed by fitting multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models. In the EPIC cohort, 2 crops (common wheat and potato) and 2 animal species (cow and pig) accounted for approximately 45% of self-reported total dietary energy intake [median (P10-P90): 68 (40 to 83) species consumed per year]. Overall, higher DSR was inversely associated with all-cause mortality rate. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) comparing total mortality in the second, third, fourth, and fifth (highest) quintiles (Qs) of DSR to the first (lowest) Q indicate significant inverse associations, after stratification by sex, age, and study center and adjustment for smoking status, educational level, marital status, physical activity, alcohol intake, and total energy intake, Mediterranean diet score, red and processed meat intake, and fiber intake [HR (95% CI): 0.91 (0.88 to 0.94), 0.80 (0.76 to 0.83), 0.69 (0.66 to 0.72), and 0.63 (0.59 to 0.66), respectively; PWald < 0.001 for trend]. Absolute death rates among participants in the highest and lowest fifth of DSR were 65.4 and 69.3 cases/10,000 person-years, respectively. Significant inverse associations were also observed between DSR and deaths due to cancer, heart disease, digestive disease, and respiratory disease. An important study limitation is that our findings were based on an observational cohort using self-reported dietary data obtained through single baseline food frequency questionnaires (FFQs); thus, exposure misclassification and residual confounding cannot be ruled out.
Conclusions
In this large Pan-European cohort, higher DSR was inversely associated with total and cause-specific mortality, independent of sociodemographic, lifestyle, and other known dietary risk factors. Our findings support the potential of food (species) biodiversity as a guiding principle of sustainable dietary recommendations and food-based dietary guidelines.



PLoS Med: 17 Oct 2021; 18:e1003834
Hanley-Cook GT, Huybrechts I, Biessy C, Remans R, ... Jones AD, Lachat C
PLoS Med: 17 Oct 2021; 18:e1003834 | PMID: 34662340
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Abstract

Modeling the epidemiological impact of the UNAIDS 2025 targets to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Stover J, Glaubius R, Teng Y, Kelly S, ... Benzaken AS, Ghys PD
Background
UNAIDS has established new program targets for 2025 to achieve the goal of eliminating AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. This study reports on efforts to use mathematical models to estimate the impact of achieving those targets.
Methods and findings
We simulated the impact of achieving the targets at country level using the Goals model, a mathematical simulation model of HIV epidemic dynamics that includes the impact of prevention and treatment interventions. For 77 high-burden countries, we fit the model to surveillance and survey data for 1970 to 2020 and then projected the impact of achieving the targets for the period 2019 to 2030. Results from these 77 countries were extrapolated to produce estimates for 96 others. Goals model results were checked by comparing against projections done with the Optima HIV model and the AIDS Epidemic Model (AEM) for selected countries. We included estimates of the impact of societal enablers (access to justice and law reform, stigma and discrimination elimination, and gender equality) and the impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Results show that achieving the 2025 targets would reduce new annual infections by 83% (71% to 86% across regions) and AIDS-related deaths by 78% (67% to 81% across regions) by 2025 compared to 2010. Lack of progress on societal enablers could endanger these achievements and result in as many as 2.6 million (44%) cumulative additional new HIV infections and 440,000 (54%) more AIDS-related deaths between 2020 and 2030 compared to full achievement of all targets. COVID-19-related disruptions could increase new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths by 10% in the next 2 years, but targets could still be achieved by 2025. Study limitations include the reliance on self-reports for most data on behaviors, the use of intervention effect sizes from published studies that may overstate intervention impacts outside of controlled study settings, and the use of proxy countries to estimate the impact in countries with fewer than 4,000 annual HIV infections.
Conclusions
The new targets for 2025 build on the progress made since 2010 and represent ambitious short-term goals. Achieving these targets would bring us close to the goals of reducing new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths by 90% between 2010 and 2030. By 2025, global new infections and AIDS deaths would drop to 4.4 and 3.9 per 100,000 population, and the number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) would be declining. There would be 32 million people on treatment, and they would need continuing support for their lifetime. Incidence for the total global population would be below 0.15% everywhere. The number of PLHIV would start declining by 2023.



PLoS Med: 17 Oct 2021; 18:e1003831
Stover J, Glaubius R, Teng Y, Kelly S, ... Benzaken AS, Ghys PD
PLoS Med: 17 Oct 2021; 18:e1003831 | PMID: 34662333
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Abstract

Clinical interventions for adults with comorbid alcohol use and depressive disorders: A systematic review and network meta-analysis.

Grant S, Azhar G, Han E, Booth M, ... Larkin J, Hempel S
Background
Uncertainty remains regarding the effectiveness of treatments for patients diagnosed with both an alcohol use disorder (AUD) and depressive disorder. This study aimed to compare the effectiveness of clinical interventions for improving symptoms of adults with co-occurring AUDs and depressive disorders.
Methods and findings
We searched CINAHL, ClinicalTrials.gov, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Excerpta Medica Database, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of Science from inception to December 2020. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating clinical interventions for adults with co-occurring AUDs and depressive disorders. Two independent reviewers extracted study-level information and outcome data. We assessed risk of bias using the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool, used frequentist random effects models for network meta-analyses, and rated our confidence in effect estimates using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) approach. Primary outcomes were remission from depression and alcohol use. Secondary outcomes were depressive symptoms, alcohol use, heavy drinking, health-related quality of life, functional status, and adverse events. We used standardized mean differences (SMDs) for continuous outcomes and odds ratios (ORs) for dichotomous outcomes to estimate intervention effects. Overall, 36 RCTs with 2,729 participants evaluated 14 pharmacological and 4 psychological interventions adjunctive to treatment as usual (TAU). Studies were published from 1971 to 2019, conducted in 13 countries, and had a median sample size of 50 participants (range: 14 to 350 participants). We have very low confidence in all estimates of intervention effects on our primary outcomes (i.e., remission from depression and remission from alcohol use). We have moderate confidence that cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs) demonstrated greater benefit than no additional treatment (SMD = -0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], -1.05 to -0.63; p < 0.001) for depressive symptoms and low confidence (SMD = -0.25; 95% CI, -0.47 to -0.04; p = 0.021) for alcohol use. We have low confidence that tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) demonstrated greater benefit than placebo (SMD = -0.37; 95% CI, -0.72 to -0.02, p = 0.038) for depressive symptoms. Compared with placebo, we have moderate confidence that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) demonstrated greater benefit for functional status (SMD = -0.92; 95% CI, -1.36 to -0.47, p < 0.001) and low confidence for alcohol use (SMD = -0.30; 95% CI, -0.59 to -0.02, p = 0.039). However, we have moderate confidence that patients receiving SSRIs also were more likely to experience an adverse event (OR = 2.20; 95% CI, 0.94 to 5.16, p = 0.07). We have very low confidence in all other effect estimates, and we did not have high confidence in any effect estimates. Limitations include the sparsity of evidence on intervention effects over the long term, risks of attrition bias, and heterogeneous definitions of adverse events in the evidence base.
Conclusions
We are very uncertain about the existence (or not) of any non-null effects for our primary outcomes of remission from depression and remission from alcohol use. The available evidence does suggest that CBTs likely reduced, and TCAs may have resulted in a slight reduction of depressive symptoms. SSRIs likely increased functional status, and SSRIs and CBTs may have resulted in a slight reduction of alcohol use. However, patients receiving SSRIs also likely had an increased risk of experiencing an adverse event. In addition, these conclusions only apply to postintervention and are not against active comparators, limiting the understanding of the efficacy of interventions in the long term as well as the comparative effectiveness of active treatments. As we did not have high confidence in any outcomes, additional studies are warranted to provide more conclusive evidence.



PLoS Med: 07 Oct 2021; 18:e1003822
Grant S, Azhar G, Han E, Booth M, ... Larkin J, Hempel S
PLoS Med: 07 Oct 2021; 18:e1003822 | PMID: 34624018
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Abstract

Associations between cesarean delivery and child mortality: A national record linkage longitudinal study of 17.8 million births in Brazil.

Paixao ES, Bottomley C, Pescarini JM, Wong KLM, ... Barreto ML, Campbell OMR
Background
There is an increasing use of cesarean delivery (CD) based on preference rather than on medical indication. However, the extent to which nonmedically indicated CD benefits or harms child survival remains unclear. Our hypothesis was that in groups with a low indication for CD, this procedure would be associated with higher child mortality and in groups with a clear medical indication CD would be associated with improved child survival chances.
Methods and findings
We conducted a population-based cohort study in Brazil by linking routine data on live births between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2018 and assessing mortality up to 5 years of age. Women with a live birth who contributed records during this period were classified into one of 10 Robson groups based on their pregnancy and delivery characteristics. We used propensity scores to match CD with vaginal deliveries (1:1) and prelabor CD with unscheduled CD (1:1) and estimated associations with child mortality using Cox regressions. A total of 17,838,115 live births were analyzed. After propensity score matching (PSM), we found that live births to women in groups with low expected frequencies of CD (Robson groups 1 to 4) had a higher death rate up to age 5 years if they were born via CD compared with vaginal deliveries (HR = 1.25, 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.28; p < 0.001). The relative rate was greatest in the neonatal period (HR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.34 to 1.45; p < 0.001). There was no difference in mortality rate when comparing offspring born by a prelabor CD to those born by unscheduled CD. For the live births to women with a CD in a prior pregnancy (Robson group 5), the relative rates for child mortality were similar for those born by CD compared with vaginal deliveries (HR = 1.05, 95% CI: 1.00 to 1.10; p = 0.024). In contrast, for live births to women in groups with high expected rates of CD (Robson groups 6 to 10), the child mortality rate was lower for CD than for vaginal deliveries (HR = 0.90, 95% CI: 0.89 to 0.91; p < 0.001), particularly in the neonatal period (HR = 0.84, 95% CI: 0.83 to 0.85; p < 0.001). Our results should be interpreted with caution in clinical practice, since relevant clinical data on CD indication were not available.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that in Robson groups with low expected frequencies of CD, this procedure was associated with a 25% increase in child mortality. However, in groups with high expected frequencies of CD, the findings suggest that clinically indicated CD is associated with a reduction in child mortality.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003791
Paixao ES, Bottomley C, Pescarini JM, Wong KLM, ... Barreto ML, Campbell OMR
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003791 | PMID: 34637451
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Impact:
Abstract

Impact of color-coded and warning nutrition labelling schemes: A systematic review and network meta-analysis.

Song J, Brown MK, Tan M, MacGregor GA, ... Cobb LK, He FJ
Background
Suboptimal diets are a leading risk factor for death and disability. Nutrition labelling is a potential method to encourage consumers to improve dietary behaviour. This systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) summarises evidence on the impact of colour-coded interpretive labels and warning labels on changing consumers\' purchasing behaviour.
Methods and findings
We conducted a literature review of peer-reviewed articles published between 1 January 1990 and 24 May 2021 in PubMed, Embase via Ovid, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and SCOPUS. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies were included for the primary outcomes (measures of changes in consumers\' purchasing and consuming behaviour). A frequentist NMA method was applied to pool the results. A total of 156 studies (including 101 RCTs and 55 non-RCTs) nested in 138 articles were incorporated into the systematic review, of which 134 studies in 120 articles were eligible for meta-analysis. We found that the traffic light labelling system (TLS), nutrient warning (NW), and health warning (HW) were associated with an increased probability of selecting more healthful products (odds ratios [ORs] and 95% confidence intervals [CIs]: TLS, 1.5 [1.2, 1.87]; NW, 3.61 [2.82, 4.63]; HW, 1.65 [1.32, 2.06]). Nutri-Score (NS) and warning labels appeared effective in reducing consumers\' probability of selecting less healthful products (NS, 0.66 [0.53, 0.82]; NW,0.65 [0.54, 0.77]; HW,0.64 [0.53, 0.76]). NS and NW were associated with an increased overall healthfulness (healthfulness ratings of products purchased using models such as FSAm-NPS/HCSP) by 7.9% and 26%, respectively. TLS, NS, and NW were associated with a reduced energy (total energy: TLS, -6.5%; NS, -6%; NW, -12.9%; energy per 100 g/ml: TLS, -3%; NS, -3.5%; NW, -3.8%), sodium (total sodium/salt: TLS, -6.4%; sodium/salt per 100 g/ml: NS: -7.8%), fat (total fat: NS, -15.7%; fat per 100 g/ml: TLS: -2.6%; NS: -3.2%), and total saturated fat (TLS, -12.9%; NS: -17.1%; NW: -16.3%) content of purchases. The impact of TLS, NS, and NW on purchasing behaviour could be explained by improved understanding of the nutrition information, which further elicits negative perception towards unhealthful products or positive attitudes towards healthful foods. Comparisons across label types suggested that colour-coded labels performed better in nudging consumers towards the purchase of more healthful products (NS versus NW: 1.51 [1.08, 2.11]), while warning labels have the advantage in discouraging unhealthful purchasing behaviour (NW versus TLS: 0.81 [0.67, 0.98]; HW versus TLS: 0.8 [0.63, 1]). Study limitations included high heterogeneity and inconsistency in the comparisons across different label types, limited number of real-world studies (95% were laboratory studies), and lack of long-term impact assessments.
Conclusions
Our systematic review provided comprehensive evidence for the impact of colour-coded labels and warnings in nudging consumers\' purchasing behaviour towards more healthful products and the underlying psychological mechanism of behavioural change. Each type of label had different attributes, which should be taken into consideration when making front-of-package nutrition labelling (FOPL) policies according to local contexts. Our study supported mandatory front-of-pack labelling policies in directing consumers\' choice and encouraging the food industry to reformulate their products.
Protocol registry
PROSPERO (CRD42020161877).



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003765
Song J, Brown MK, Tan M, MacGregor GA, ... Cobb LK, He FJ
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003765 | PMID: 34610024
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Impact:
Abstract

COVID-19 vaccination in Sindh Province, Pakistan: A modelling study of health impact and cost-effectiveness.

Pearson CAB, Bozzani F, Procter SR, Davies NG, ... Vassall A, Jit M
Background
Multiple Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines appear to be safe and efficacious, but only high-income countries have the resources to procure sufficient vaccine doses for most of their eligible populations. The World Health Organization has published guidelines for vaccine prioritisation, but most vaccine impact projections have focused on high-income countries, and few incorporate economic considerations. To address this evidence gap, we projected the health and economic impact of different vaccination scenarios in Sindh Province, Pakistan (population: 48 million).
Methods and findings
We fitted a compartmental transmission model to COVID-19 cases and deaths in Sindh from 30 April to 15 September 2020. We then projected cases, deaths, and hospitalisation outcomes over 10 years under different vaccine scenarios. Finally, we combined these projections with a detailed economic model to estimate incremental costs (from healthcare and partial societal perspectives), disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for each scenario. We project that 1 year of vaccine distribution, at delivery rates consistent with COVAX projections, using an infection-blocking vaccine at $3/dose with 70% efficacy and 2.5-year duration of protection is likely to avert around 0.9 (95% credible interval (CrI): 0.9, 1.0) million cases, 10.1 (95% CrI: 10.1, 10.3) thousand deaths, and 70.1 (95% CrI: 69.9, 70.6) thousand DALYs, with an ICER of $27.9 per DALY averted from the health system perspective. Under a broad range of alternative scenarios, we find that initially prioritising the older (65+) population generally prevents more deaths. However, unprioritised distribution has almost the same cost-effectiveness when considering all outcomes, and both prioritised and unprioritised programmes can be cost-effective for low per-dose costs. High vaccine prices ($10/dose), however, may not be cost-effective, depending on the specifics of vaccine performance, distribution programme, and future pandemic trends. The principal drivers of the health outcomes are the fitted values for the overall transmission scaling parameter and disease natural history parameters from other studies, particularly age-specific probabilities of infection and symptomatic disease, as well as social contact rates. Other parameters are investigated in sensitivity analyses. This study is limited by model approximations, available data, and future uncertainty. Because the model is a single-population compartmental model, detailed impacts of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as household isolation cannot be practically represented or evaluated in combination with vaccine programmes. Similarly, the model cannot consider prioritising groups like healthcare or other essential workers. The model is only fitted to the reported case and death data, which are incomplete and not disaggregated by, e.g., age. Finally, because the future impact and implementation cost of NPIs are uncertain, how these would interact with vaccination remains an open question.
Conclusions
COVID-19 vaccination can have a considerable health impact and is likely to be cost-effective if more optimistic vaccine scenarios apply. Preventing severe disease is an important contributor to this impact. However, the advantage of prioritising older, high-risk populations is smaller in generally younger populations. This reduction is especially true in populations with more past transmission, and if the vaccine is likely to further impede transmission rather than just disease. Those conditions are typical of many low- and middle-income countries.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003815
Pearson CAB, Bozzani F, Procter SR, Davies NG, ... Vassall A, Jit M
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003815 | PMID: 34606520
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Impact:
Abstract

The effects of an evidence- and theory-informed feedback intervention on opioid prescribing for non-cancer pain in primary care: A controlled interrupted time series analysis.

Alderson SL, Farragher TM, Willis TA, Carder P, Johnson S, Foy R
Background
The rise in opioid prescribing in primary care represents a significant international public health challenge, associated with increased psychosocial problems, hospitalisations, and mortality. We evaluated the effects of a comparative feedback intervention with persuasive messaging and action planning on opioid prescribing in primary care.
Methods and findings
A quasi-experimental controlled interrupted time series analysis used anonymised, aggregated practice data from electronic health records and prescribing data from publicly available sources. The study included 316 intervention and 130 control primary care practices in the Yorkshire and Humber region, UK, serving 2.2 million and 1 million residents, respectively. We observed the number of adult patients prescribed opioid medication by practice between July 2013 and December 2017. We excluded adults with coded cancer or drug dependency. The intervention, the Campaign to Reduce Opioid Prescribing (CROP), entailed bimonthly, comparative, and practice-individualised feedback reports to practices, with persuasive messaging and suggested actions over 1 year. Outcomes comprised the number of adults per 1,000 adults per month prescribed any opioid (main outcome), prescribed strong opioids, prescribed opioids in high-risk groups, prescribed other analgesics, and referred to musculoskeletal services. The number of adults prescribed any opioid rose pre-intervention in both intervention and control practices, by 0.18 (95% CI 0.11, 0.25) and 0.36 (95% CI 0.27, 0.46) per 1,000 adults per month, respectively. During the intervention period, prescribing per 1,000 adults fell in intervention practices (change -0.11; 95% CI -0.30, -0.08) and continued rising in control practices (change 0.54; 95% CI 0.29, 0.78), with a difference of -0.65 per 1,000 patients (95% CI -0.96, -0.34), corresponding to 15,000 fewer patients prescribed opioids. These trends continued post-intervention, although at slower rates. Prescribing of strong opioids, total opioid prescriptions, and prescribing in high-risk patient groups also generally fell. Prescribing of other analgesics fell whilst musculoskeletal referrals did not rise. Effects were attenuated after feedback ceased. Study limitations include being limited to 1 region in the UK, possible coding errors in routine data, being unable to fully account for concurrent interventions, and uncertainties over how general practices actually used the feedback reports and whether reductions in prescribing were always clinically appropriate.
Conclusions
Repeated comparative feedback offers a promising and relatively efficient population-level approach to reduce opioid prescribing in primary care, including prescribing of strong opioids and prescribing in high-risk patient groups. Such feedback may also prompt clinicians to reconsider prescribing other medicines associated with chronic pain, without causing a rise in referrals to musculoskeletal clinics. Feedback may need to be sustained for maximum effect.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003796
Alderson SL, Farragher TM, Willis TA, Carder P, Johnson S, Foy R
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003796 | PMID: 34606504
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Impact:
Abstract

The EmpaTeach intervention for reducing physical violence from teachers to students in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp: A cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Fabbri C, Rodrigues K, Leurent B, Allen E, ... Tol W, Devries KM
Background
School-based violence prevention interventions offer enormous potential to reduce children\'s experience of violence perpetrated by teachers, but few have been rigorously evaluated globally and, to the best of our knowledge, none in humanitarian settings. We tested whether the EmpaTeach intervention could reduce physical violence from teachers to students in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp, Tanzania.
Methods and findings
We conducted a 2-arm cluster-randomised controlled trial with parallel assignment. A complete sample of all 27 primary and secondary schools in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp were approached and agreed to participate in the study. Eligible students and teachers participated in cross-sectional baseline, midline, and endline surveys in November/December 2018, May/June 2019, and January/February 2020, respectively. Fourteen schools were randomly assigned to receive a violence prevention intervention targeted at teachers implemented in January-March 2019; 13 formed a wait-list control group. The EmpaTeach intervention used empathy-building exercises and group work to equip teachers with self-regulation, alternative discipline techniques, and classroom management strategies. Allocation was not concealed due to the nature of the intervention. The primary outcome was students\' self-reported experience of physical violence from teachers, assessed at midline using a modified version of the ISPCAN Child Abuse Screening Tool-Child Institutional. Secondary outcomes included student reports of emotional violence, depressive symptoms, and school attendance. Analyses were by intention to treat, using generalised estimating equations adjusted for stratification factors. No schools left the study. In total, 1,493 of the 1,866 (80%) randomly sampled students approached for participation took part in the baseline survey; at baseline 54.1% of students reported past-week physical violence from school staff. In total, 1,619 of 1,978 students (81.9%) took part in the midline survey, and 1,617 of 2,032 students (79.6%) participated at endline. Prevalence of past-week violence at midline was not statistically different in intervention (408 of 839 students, 48.6%) and control schools (412 of 777 students, 53.0%; risk ratio = 0.91, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.02, p = 0.106). No effect was detected on secondary outcomes. A camp-wide educational policy change during intervention implementation resulted in 14.7% of teachers in the intervention arm receiving a compressed version of the intervention, but exploratory analyses showed no difference in our primary outcome by school-level adherence to the intervention. Main study limitations included the small number of schools in the camp, which limited statistical power to detect small differences between intervention and control groups. We also did not assess the test-retest reliability of our outcome measures, and interviewers were unmasked to intervention allocation.
Conclusions
There was no evidence that the EmpaTeach intervention effectively reduced physical violence from teachers towards primary or secondary school students in Nyarugusu Refugee Camp. Further research is needed to develop and test interventions to prevent teacher violence in humanitarian settings.
Trial registration
clinicaltrials.gov (NCT03745573).



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003808
Fabbri C, Rodrigues K, Leurent B, Allen E, ... Tol W, Devries KM
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003808 | PMID: 34606500
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Impact:
Abstract

Testing approaches to sharing trial results with participants: The Show RESPECT cluster randomised, factorial, mixed methods trial.

South A, Joharatnam-Hogan N, Purvis C, James EC, ... Bierer BE, Copas AJ
Background
Sharing trial results with participants is an ethical imperative but often does not happen. We tested an Enhanced Webpage versus a Basic Webpage, Mailed Printed Summary versus no Mailed Printed Summary, and Email List Invitation versus no Email List Invitation to see which approach resulted in the highest patient satisfaction with how the results were communicated.
Methods and findings
We carried out a cluster randomised, 2 by 2 by 2 factorial, nonblinded study within a trial, with semistructured qualitative interviews with some patients (ISRCTN96189403). Each cluster was a UK hospital participating in the ICON8 ovarian cancer trial. Interventions were shared with 384 ICON8 participants who were alive and considered well enough to be contacted, at 43 hospitals. Hospitals were allocated to share results with participants through one of the 8 intervention combinations based on random permutation within blocks of 8, stratified by number of participants. All interventions contained a written plain English summary of the results. The Enhanced Webpage also contained a short video. Both the Enhanced Webpage and Email contained links to further information and support. The Mailed Printed Summary was opt-out. Follow-up questionnaires were sent 1 month after patients had been offered the interventions. Patients\' reported satisfaction was measured using a 5-point scale, analysed by ordinal logistic regression estimating main effects for all 3 interventions, with random effects for site, restricted to those who reported receiving the results and assuming no interaction. Data collection took place in 2018 to 2019. Questionnaires were sent to 275/384 randomly selected participants and returned by 180: 90/142 allocated Basic Webpage, 90/133 Enhanced Webpage; 91/141 no Mailed Printed Summary, 89/134 Mailed Printed Summary; 82/129 no Email List Invitation, 98/146 Email List Invitation. Only 3 patients opted out of receiving the Mailed Printed Summary; no patients signed up to the email list. Patients\' satisfaction was greater at sites allocated the Mailed Printed Summary, where 65/81 (80%) were quite or very satisfied compared to sites with no Mailed Printed Summary 39/64 (61%), ordinal odds ratio (OR) = 3.15 (1.66 to 5.98, p < 0.001). We found no effect on patient satisfaction from the Enhanced Webpage, OR = 1.47 (0.78 to 2.76, p = 0.235) or Email List Invitation, OR = 1.38 (0.72 to 2.63, p = 0.327). Interviewees described the results as interesting, important, and disappointing (the ICON8 trial found no benefit). Finding out the results made some feel their trial participation had been more worthwhile. Regardless of allocated group, patients who received results generally reported that the information was easy to understand and find, were glad and did not regret finding out the results. The main limitation of our study is the 65% response rate.
Conclusions
Nearly all respondents wanted to know the results and were glad to receive them. Adding an opt-out Mailed Printed Summary alongside a webpage yielded the highest reported satisfaction. This study provides evidence on how to share results with other similar trial populations. Further research is needed to look at different results scenarios and patient populations.
Trial registration
ISRCTN: ISRCTN96189403.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003798
South A, Joharatnam-Hogan N, Purvis C, James EC, ... Bierer BE, Copas AJ
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003798 | PMID: 34606495
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Impact:
Abstract

Fatal opioid overdoses during and shortly after hospital admissions in England: A case-crossover study.

Lewer D, Eastwood B, White M, Brothers TD, ... Farrell M, Petersen I
Background
Hospital patients who use illicit opioids such as heroin may use drugs during an admission or leave the hospital in order to use drugs. There have been reports of patients found dead from drug poisoning on the hospital premises or shortly after leaving the hospital. This study examines whether hospital admission and discharge are associated with increased risk of opioid-related death.
Methods and findings
We conducted a case-crossover study of opioid-related deaths in England. Our study included 13,609 deaths between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2019 among individuals aged 18 to 64. For each death, we sampled 5 control days from the period 730 to 28 days before death. We used data from the national Hospital Episode Statistics database to determine the time proximity of deaths and control days to hospital admissions. We estimated the association between hospital admission and opioid-related death using conditional logistic regression, with a reference category of time neither admitted to the hospital nor within 14 days of discharge. A total of 236/13,609 deaths (1.7%) occurred following drug use while admitted to the hospital. The risk during hospital admissions was similar or lower than periods neither admitted to the hospital nor recently discharged, with odds ratios 1.03 (95% CI 0.87 to 1.21; p = 0.75) for the first 14 days of an admission and 0.41 (95% CI 0.30 to 0.56; p < 0.001) for days 15 onwards. 1,088/13,609 deaths (8.0%) occurred in the 14 days after discharge. The risk of opioid-related death increased in this period, with odds ratios of 4.39 (95% CI 3.75 to 5.14; p < 0.001) on days 1 to 2 after discharge and 2.09 (95% CI 1.92 to 2.28; p < 0.001) on days 3 to 14. 11,629/13,609 deaths (85.5%) did not occur close to a hospital admission, and the remaining 656/13,609 deaths (4.8%) occurred in hospital following admission due to drug poisoning. Risk was greater for patients discharged from psychiatric admissions, those who left the hospital against medical advice, and those leaving the hospital after admissions of 7 days or more. The main limitation of the method is that it does not control for time-varying health or drug use within individuals; therefore, hospital admissions coinciding with high-risk periods may in part explain the results.
Conclusions
Discharge from the hospital is associated with an acute increase in the risk of opioid-related death, and 1 in 14 opioid-related deaths in England happens in the 2 weeks after the hospital discharge. This supports interventions that prevent early discharge and improve linkage with community drug treatment and harm reduction services.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003759
Lewer D, Eastwood B, White M, Brothers TD, ... Farrell M, Petersen I
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003759 | PMID: 34610017
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Impact:
Abstract

Behavioural activation to prevent depression and loneliness among socially isolated older people with long-term conditions: The BASIL COVID-19 pilot randomised controlled trial.

Gilbody S, Littlewood E, McMillan D, Chew-Graham CA, ... Webster J, Ekers D
Background
Older adults, including those with long-term conditions (LTCs), are vulnerable to social isolation. They are likely to have become more socially isolated during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, often due to advice to \"shield\" to protect them from infection. This places them at particular risk of depression and loneliness. There is a need for brief scalable psychosocial interventions to mitigate the psychological impacts of social isolation. Behavioural activation (BA) is a credible candidate intervention, but a trial is needed.
Methods and findings
We undertook an external pilot parallel randomised trial (ISRCTN94091479) designed to test recruitment, retention and engagement with, and the acceptability and preliminary effects of the intervention. Participants aged ≥65 years with 2 or more LTCs were recruited in primary care and randomised by computer and with concealed allocation between June and October 2020. BA was offered to intervention participants (n = 47), and control participants received usual primary care (n = 49). Assessment of outcome was made blind to treatment allocation. The primary outcome was depression severity (measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 (PHQ-9)). We also measured health-related quality of life (measured by the Short Form (SF)-12v2 mental component scale (MCS) and physical component scale (PCS)), anxiety (measured by the Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7)), perceived social and emotional loneliness (measured by the De Jong Gierveld Scale: 11-item loneliness scale). Outcome was measured at 1 and 3 months. The mean age of participants was aged 74 years (standard deviation (SD) 5.5) and they were mostly White (n = 92, 95.8%), and approximately two-thirds of the sample were female (n = 59, 61.5%). Remote recruitment was possible, and 45/47 (95.7%) randomised to the intervention completed 1 or more sessions (median 6 sessions) out of 8. A total of 90 (93.8%) completed the 1-month follow-up, and 86 (89.6%) completed the 3-month follow-up, with similar rates for control (1 month: 45/49 and 3 months 44/49) and intervention (1 month: 45/47and 3 months: 42/47) follow-up. Between-group comparisons were made using a confidence interval (CI) approach, and by adjusting for the covariate of interest at baseline. At 1 month (the primary clinical outcome point), the median number of completed sessions for people receiving the BA intervention was 3, and almost all participants were still receiving the BA intervention. The between-group comparison for the primary clinical outcome at 1 month was an adjusted between-group mean difference of -0.50 PHQ-9 points (95% CI -2.01 to 1.01), but only a small number of participants had completed the intervention at this point. At 3 months, the PHQ-9 adjusted mean difference (AMD) was 0.19 (95% CI -1.36 to 1.75). When we examined loneliness, the adjusted between-group difference in the De Jong Gierveld Loneliness Scale at 1 month was 0.28 (95% CI -0.51 to 1.06) and at 3 months -0.87 (95% CI -1.56 to -0.18), suggesting evidence of benefit of the intervention at this time point. For anxiety, the GAD adjusted between-group difference at 1 month was 0.20 (-1.33, 1.73) and at 3 months 0.31 (-1.08, 1.70). For the SF-12 (physical component score), the adjusted between-group difference at 1 month was 0.34 (-4.17, 4.85) and at 3 months 0.11 (-4.46, 4.67). For the SF-12 (mental component score), the adjusted between-group difference at 1 month was 1.91 (-2.64, 5.15) and at 3 months 1.26 (-2.64, 5.15). Participants who withdrew had minimal depressive symptoms at entry. There were no adverse events. The Behavioural Activation in Social Isolation (BASIL) study had 2 main limitations. First, we found that the intervention was still being delivered at the prespecified primary outcome point, and this fed into the design of the main trial where a primary outcome of 3 months is now collected. Second, this was a pilot trial and was not designed to test between-group differences with high levels of statistical power. Type 2 errors are likely to have occurred, and a larger trial is now underway to test for robust effects and replicate signals of effectiveness in important secondary outcomes such as loneliness.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that BA is a credible intervention to mitigate the psychological impacts of COVID-19 isolation for older adults. We demonstrated that it is feasible to undertake a trial of BA. The intervention can be delivered remotely and at scale, but should be reserved for older adults with evidence of depressive symptoms. The significant reduction in loneliness is unlikely to be a chance finding, and replication will be explored in a fully powered randomised controlled trial (RCT).
Trial registration
ISRCTN94091479.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003779
Gilbody S, Littlewood E, McMillan D, Chew-Graham CA, ... Webster J, Ekers D
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003779 | PMID: 34637450
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Impact:
Abstract

Association of accelerometer-derived sleep measures with lifetime psychiatric diagnoses: A cross-sectional study of 89,205 participants from the UK Biobank.

Wainberg M, Jones SE, Beaupre LM, Hill SL, ... Ollila HM, Tripathy SJ
Background
Sleep problems are both symptoms of and modifiable risk factors for many psychiatric disorders. Wrist-worn accelerometers enable objective measurement of sleep at scale. Here, we aimed to examine the association of accelerometer-derived sleep measures with psychiatric diagnoses and polygenic risk scores in a large community-based cohort.
Methods and findings
In this post hoc cross-sectional analysis of the UK Biobank cohort, 10 interpretable sleep measures-bedtime, wake-up time, sleep duration, wake after sleep onset, sleep efficiency, number of awakenings, duration of longest sleep bout, number of naps, and variability in bedtime and sleep duration-were derived from 7-day accelerometry recordings across 89,205 participants (aged 43 to 79, 56% female, 97% self-reported white) taken between 2013 and 2015. These measures were examined for association with lifetime inpatient diagnoses of major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder/mania, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders from any time before the date of accelerometry, as well as polygenic risk scores for major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Covariates consisted of age and season at the time of the accelerometry recording, sex, Townsend deprivation index (an indicator of socioeconomic status), and the top 10 genotype principal components. We found that sleep pattern differences were ubiquitous across diagnoses: each diagnosis was associated with a median of 8.5 of the 10 accelerometer-derived sleep measures, with measures of sleep quality (for instance, sleep efficiency) generally more affected than mere sleep duration. Effect sizes were generally small: for instance, the largest magnitude effect size across the 4 diagnoses was β = -0.11 (95% confidence interval -0.13 to -0.10, p = 3 × 10-56, FDR = 6 × 10-55) for the association between lifetime inpatient major depressive disorder diagnosis and sleep efficiency. Associations largely replicated across ancestries and sexes, and accelerometry-derived measures were concordant with self-reported sleep properties. Limitations include the use of accelerometer-based sleep measurement and the time lag between psychiatric diagnoses and accelerometry.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that sleep pattern differences are a transdiagnostic feature of individuals with lifetime mental illness, suggesting that they should be considered regardless of diagnosis. Accelerometry provides a scalable way to objectively measure sleep properties in psychiatric clinical research and practice, even across tens of thousands of individuals.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003782
Wainberg M, Jones SE, Beaupre LM, Hill SL, ... Ollila HM, Tripathy SJ
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003782 | PMID: 34637446
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Impact:
Abstract

Transmission of community- and hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 in hospital settings in the UK: A cohort study.

Mo Y, Eyre DW, Lumley SF, Walker TM, ... Oxford COVID infection review team, Cooper BS
Background
Nosocomial spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been widely reported, but the transmission pathways among patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) are unclear. Identifying the risk factors and drivers for these nosocomial transmissions is critical for infection prevention and control interventions. The main aim of our study was to quantify the relative importance of different transmission pathways of SARS-CoV-2 in the hospital setting.
Methods and findings
This is an observational cohort study using data from 4 teaching hospitals in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, from January to October 2020. Associations between infectious SARS-CoV-2 individuals and infection risk were quantified using logistic, generalised additive and linear mixed models. Cases were classified as community- or hospital-acquired using likely incubation periods of 3 to 7 days. Of 66,184 patients who were hospitalised during the study period, 920 had a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test within the same period (1.4%). The mean age was 67.9 (±20.7) years, 49.2% were females, and 68.5% were from the white ethnic group. Out of these, 571 patients had their first positive PCR tests while hospitalised (62.1%), and 97 of these occurred at least 7 days after admission (10.5%). Among the 5,596 HCWs, 615 (11.0%) tested positive during the study period using PCR or serological tests. The mean age was 39.5 (±11.1) years, 78.9% were females, and 49.8% were nurses. For susceptible patients, 1 day in the same ward with another patient with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 was associated with an additional 7.5 infections per 1,000 susceptible patients (95% credible interval (CrI) 5.5 to 9.5/1,000 susceptible patients/day) per day. Exposure to an infectious patient with community-acquired Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or to an infectious HCW was associated with substantially lower infection risks (2.0/1,000 susceptible patients/day, 95% CrI 1.6 to 2.2). As for HCW infections, exposure to an infectious patient with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 or to an infectious HCW were both associated with an additional 0.8 infection per 1,000 susceptible HCWs per day (95% CrI 0.3 to 1.6 and 0.6 to 1.0, respectively). Exposure to an infectious patient with community-acquired SARS-CoV-2 was associated with less than half this risk (0.2/1,000 susceptible HCWs/day, 95% CrI 0.2 to 0.2). These assumptions were tested in sensitivity analysis, which showed broadly similar results. The main limitations were that the symptom onset dates and HCW absence days were not available.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that exposure to patients with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a substantial infection risk to both HCWs and other hospitalised patients. Infection control measures to limit nosocomial transmission must be optimised to protect both staff and patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003816
Mo Y, Eyre DW, Lumley SF, Walker TM, ... Oxford COVID infection review team, Cooper BS
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003816 | PMID: 34637439
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Abstract

Characterising the nationwide burden and predictors of unkept outpatient appointments in the National Health Service in England: A cohort study using a machine learning approach.

Philpott-Morgan S, Thakrar DB, Symons J, Ray D, Ashrafian H, Darzi A
Background
Unkept outpatient hospital appointments cost the National Health Service £1 billion each year. Given the associated costs and morbidity of unkept appointments, this is an issue requiring urgent attention. We aimed to determine rates of unkept outpatient clinic appointments across hospital trusts in the England. In addition, we aimed to examine the predictors of unkept outpatient clinic appointments across specialties at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT). Our final aim was to train machine learning models to determine the effectiveness of a potential intervention in reducing unkept appointments.
Methods and findings
UK Hospital Episode Statistics outpatient data from 2016 to 2018 were used for this study. Machine learning models were trained to determine predictors of unkept appointments and their relative importance. These models were gradient boosting machines. In 2017-2018 there were approximately 85 million outpatient appointments, with an unkept appointment rate of 5.7%. Within ICHT, there were almost 1 million appointments, with an unkept appointment rate of 11.2%. Hepatology had the highest rate of unkept appointments (17%), and medical oncology had the lowest (6%). The most important predictors of unkept appointments included the recency (25%) and frequency (13%) of previous unkept appointments and age at appointment (10%). A sensitivity of 0.287 was calculated overall for specialties with at least 10,000 appointments in 2016-2017 (after data cleaning). This suggests that 28.7% of patients who do miss their appointment would be successfully targeted if the top 10% least likely to attend received an intervention. As a result, an intervention targeting the top 10% of likely non-attenders, in the full population of patients, would be able to capture 28.7% of unkept appointments if successful. Study limitations include that some unkept appointments may have been missed from the analysis because recording of unkept appointments is not mandatory in England. Furthermore, results here are based on a single trust in England, hence may not be generalisable to other locations.
Conclusions
Unkept appointments remain an ongoing concern for healthcare systems internationally. Using machine learning, we can identify those most likely to miss their appointment and implement more targeted interventions to reduce unkept appointment rates.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003783
Philpott-Morgan S, Thakrar DB, Symons J, Ray D, Ashrafian H, Darzi A
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003783 | PMID: 34637437
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Abstract

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and COVID-19 mortality in Stockholm, Sweden: A registry-based cohort study.

Bergqvist R, Ahlqvist VH, Lundberg M, Hergens MP, ... Bell M, Magnusson C
Background
The relationship between statin treatment and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) mortality has been discussed due to the pleiotropic effects of statins on coagulation and immune mechanisms. However, available observational studies are hampered by study design flaws, resulting in substantial heterogeneity and ambiguities. Here, we aim to determine the relationship between statin treatment and COVID-19 mortality.
Methods and findings
This cohort study included all Stockholm residents aged 45 or older (N = 963,876), followed up from 1 March 2020 until 11 November 2020. The exposure was statin treatment initiated before the COVID-19-pandemic, defined as recorded statin dispensation in the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register between 1 March 2019 and 29 February 2020. COVID-19-specific mortality was ascertained from the Swedish Cause of Death Registry. Hazard ratios (HRs) were calculated using multivariable Cox regression models. We further performed a target trial emulation restricted to initiators of statins. In the cohort (51.6% female), 169,642 individuals (17.6%) were statin users. Statin users were older (71.0 versus 58.0 years), more likely to be male (53.3% versus 46.7%), more often diagnosed with comorbidities (for example, ischemic heart disease 23.3% versus 1.6%), more frequently on anticoagulant and antihypertensive treatments, less likely to have a university-level education (34.5% versus 45.4%), and more likely to have a low disposable income (20.6% versus 25.2%), but less likely to reside in crowded housing (6.1% versus 10.3%). A total of 2,545 individuals died from COVID-19 during follow-up, including 765 (0.5%) of the statin users and 1,780 (0.2%) of the nonusers. Statin treatment was associated with a lowered COVID-19 mortality (adjusted HR, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.97, P = 0.01), and this association did not vary appreciably across age groups, sexes, or COVID-19 risk groups. The confounder adjusted HR for statin treatment initiators was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.59 to 1.05, P = 0.10) in the emulated target trial. Limitations of this study include the observational design, reliance on dispensation data, and the inability to study specific drug regimens.
Conclusions
Statin treatment had a modest negative association with COVID-19 mortality. While this finding needs confirmation from randomized clinical trials, it supports the continued use of statin treatment for medical prevention according to current recommendations also during the COVID-19 pandemic.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003820
Bergqvist R, Ahlqvist VH, Lundberg M, Hergens MP, ... Bell M, Magnusson C
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003820 | PMID: 34648516
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Abstract

Evaluation of progress toward universal health coverage in Myanmar: A national and subnational analysis.

Nikoloski Z, McGuire A, Mossialos E
Background
Universal health coverage (UHC) encompasses 2 main components: access to essential healthcare services and protection from financial hardship when using healthcare. This study examines Myanmar\'s efforts to achieve UHC on a national and subnational level. It is a primer of studying the concept of UHC on a subnational level, and it also establishes a baseline for assessing future progress toward reaching UHC in Myanmar.
Methods and findings
The study uses the Demographic and Health Survey (2015) and the Myanmar Living Conditions Survey (MLCS; 2017) and adapts a previously developed UHC index to provide insights into the main barriers preventing the country\'s progress toward UHC. We find a negative correlation between the UHC index and the state/region poverty levels. The equity of access analysis reveals significant pro-rich inequity in access to all essential healthcare services. Socioeconomic status and limited availability of healthcare infrastructure are the main driving forces behind the unequal access to interventions that are crucial to achieving UHC by 2030. Finally, financial risk protection analysis shows that the poor are less likely to use healthcare services, and, once they do, they are at a greater risk of suffering financial catastrophe. Limitations of this study revolve around its correlational, rather than causal, nature.
Conclusions
We suggest a 2-pronged approach to help Myanmar achieve UHC: Government and state authorities should reduce the financial burden of seeking healthcare, and, coupled with this, significant investment in and expansion of health infrastructure and the health workforce should be made, particularly in the poorer and more remote states.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003811
Nikoloski Z, McGuire A, Mossialos E
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003811 | PMID: 34653183
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Abstract

Health and economic benefits of achieving hepatitis C virus elimination in Pakistan: A modelling study and economic analysis.

Lim AG, Scott N, Walker JG, Hamid S, Hellard M, Vickerman P
Background
Modelling suggests that achieving the WHO incidence target for hepatitis C virus (HCV) elimination in Pakistan could cost US$3.87 billion over 2018 to 2030. However, the economic benefits from integrating services or improving productivity were not included.
Methods and findings
We adapt a HCV transmission model for Pakistan to estimate the impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness of achieving HCV elimination (reducing annual HCV incidence by 80% by 2030) with stand-alone service delivery, or partially integrating one-third of initial HCV testing into existing healthcare services. We estimate the net economic benefits by comparing the required investment in screening, treatment, and healthcare management to the economic productivity gains from reduced HCV-attributable absenteeism, presenteeism, and premature deaths. We also calculate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) averted for HCV elimination versus maintaining current levels of HCV treatment. This is compared to an opportunity cost-based willingness-to-pay threshold for Pakistan (US$148 to US$198/DALY). Compared to existing levels of treatment, scaling up screening and treatment to achieve HCV elimination in Pakistan averts 5.57 (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 3.80 to 8.22) million DALYs and 333,000 (219,000 to 509,000) HCV-related deaths over 2018 to 2030. If HCV testing is partially integrated, this scale-up requires an investment of US$1.45 (1.32 to 1.60) billion but will result in US$1.30 (0.94 to 1.72) billion in improved economic productivity over 2018 to 2030. This elimination strategy is highly cost-effective (ICER = US$29 per DALY averted) by 2030, with it becoming cost-saving by 2031 and having a net economic benefit of US$9.10 (95% UI 6.54 to 11.99) billion by 2050. Limitations include uncertainty around what level of integration is possible within existing primary healthcare services as well as a lack of Pakistan-specific data on disease-related healthcare management costs or productivity losses due to HCV.
Conclusions
Investment in HCV elimination can bring about substantial societal health and economic benefits for Pakistan.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003818
Lim AG, Scott N, Walker JG, Hamid S, Hellard M, Vickerman P
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003818 | PMID: 34665815
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Abstract

Recommended reporting items for epidemic forecasting and prediction research: The EPIFORGE 2020 guidelines.

Pollett S, Johansson MA, Reich NG, Brett-Major D, ... Brady O, Rivers C
Background
The importance of infectious disease epidemic forecasting and prediction research is underscored by decades of communicable disease outbreaks, including COVID-19. Unlike other fields of medical research, such as clinical trials and systematic reviews, no reporting guidelines exist for reporting epidemic forecasting and prediction research despite their utility. We therefore developed the EPIFORGE checklist, a guideline for standardized reporting of epidemic forecasting research.
Methods and findings
We developed this checklist using a best-practice process for development of reporting guidelines, involving a Delphi process and broad consultation with an international panel of infectious disease modelers and model end users. The objectives of these guidelines are to improve the consistency, reproducibility, comparability, and quality of epidemic forecasting reporting. The guidelines are not designed to advise scientists on how to perform epidemic forecasting and prediction research, but rather to serve as a standard for reporting critical methodological details of such studies.
Conclusions
These guidelines have been submitted to the EQUATOR network, in addition to hosting by other dedicated webpages to facilitate feedback and journal endorsement.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003793
Pollett S, Johansson MA, Reich NG, Brett-Major D, ... Brady O, Rivers C
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003793 | PMID: 34665805
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Abstract

Changes in the associations of race and rurality with SARS-CoV-2 infection, mortality, and case fatality in the United States from February 2020 to March 2021: A population-based cohort study.

Ioannou GN, Ferguson JM, O\'Hare AM, Bohnert ASB, ... Green P, Berry K
Background
We examined whether key sociodemographic and clinical risk factors for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and mortality changed over time in a population-based cohort study.
Methods and findings
In a cohort of 9,127,673 persons enrolled in the United States Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, we evaluated the independent associations of sociodemographic and clinical characteristics with SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 216,046), SARS-CoV-2-related mortality (n = 10,230), and case fatality at monthly intervals between February 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021. VA enrollees had a mean age of 61 years (SD 17.7) and were predominantly male (90.9%) and White (64.5%), with 14.6% of Black race and 6.3% of Hispanic ethnicity. Black (versus White) race was strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 5.10, [95% CI 4.65 to 5.59], p-value <0.001), mortality (AOR 3.85 [95% CI 3.30 to 4.50], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.56, 95% CI 2.23 to 2.93, p-value < 0.001) in February to March 2020, but these associations were attenuated and not statistically significant by November 2020 for infection (AOR 1.03 [95% CI 1.00 to 1.07] p-value = 0.05) and mortality (AOR 1.08 [95% CI 0.96 to 1.20], p-value = 0.21) and were reversed for case fatality (AOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.78 to 0.95, p-value = 0.005). American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN versus White) race was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in April and May 2020; this association declined over time and reversed by March 2021 (AOR 0.66 [95% CI 0.51 to 0.85] p-value = 0.004). Hispanic (versus non-Hispanic) ethnicity was associated with higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality during almost every time period, with no evidence of attenuation over time. Urban (versus rural) residence was associated with higher risk of infection (AOR 2.02, [95% CI 1.83 to 2.22], p-value < 0.001), mortality (AOR 2.48 [95% CI 2.08 to 2.96], p-value < 0.001), and case fatality (AOR 2.24, 95% CI 1.93 to 2.60, p-value < 0.001) in February to April 2020, but these associations attenuated over time and reversed by September 2020 (AOR 0.85, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.89, p-value < 0.001 for infection, AOR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.83, p-value < 0.001 for mortality and AOR 0.81, 95% CI 0.71 to 0.93, p-value = 0.006 for case fatality). Throughout the observation period, high comorbidity burden, younger age, and obesity were consistently associated with infection, while high comorbidity burden, older age, and male sex were consistently associated with mortality. Limitations of the study include that changes over time in the associations of some risk factors may be affected by changes in the likelihood of testing for SARS-CoV-2 according to those risk factors; also, study results apply directly to VA enrollees who are predominantly male and have comprehensive healthcare and need to be confirmed in other populations.
Conclusions
In this study, we found that strongly positive associations of Black and AI/AN (versus White) race and urban (versus rural) residence with SARS-CoV-2 infection, mortality, and case fatality observed early in the pandemic were ameliorated or reversed by March 2021.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003807
Ioannou GN, Ferguson JM, O'Hare AM, Bohnert ASB, ... Green P, Berry K
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003807 | PMID: 34673772
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Abstract

The estimated health impact of sodium reduction through food reformulation in Australia: A modeling study.

Trieu K, Coyle DH, Afshin A, Neal B, Marklund M, Wu JHY
Background
The Australian Government recently established sodium targets for packaged foods to encourage voluntary reformulation to reduce population sodium consumption and related diseases. We modeled the health impact of Australia\'s sodium reformulation targets and additional likely health gains if more ambitious, yet feasible sodium targets had been adopted instead.
Methods and findings
Using comparative risk assessment models, we estimated the averted deaths, incidence, and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) from cardiovascular disease (CVD), chronic kidney disease (CKD) and stomach cancer after implementation of (a) Australia\'s sodium targets (overall and by individual companies); (b) United Kingdom\'s targets (that covers more product categories); and (c) an optimistic scenario (sales-weighted 25th percentile sodium content for each food category included in the UK program). We used nationally representative data to estimate pre- and post-intervention sodium intake, and other key data sources from the Global Burden of Disease study. Full compliance with the Australian government\'s sodium targets could prevent approximately 510 deaths/year (95% UI, 335 to 757), corresponding to about 1% of CVD, CKD, and stomach cancer deaths, and prevent some 1,920 (1,274 to 2,600) new cases and 7,240 (5,138 to 10,008) DALYs/year attributable to these diseases. Over half (59%) of deaths prevented is attributed to reformulation by 5 market-dominant companies. Compliance with the UK and optimistic scenario could avert approximately an additional 660 (207 to 1,227) and 1,070 (511 to 1,856) deaths/year, respectively, compared to Australia\'s targets. The main limitation of this study (like other modeling studies) is that it does not prove that sodium reformulation programs will prevent deaths and disease events; rather, it provides the best quantitative estimates and the corresponding uncertainty of the potential effect of the different programs to guide the design of policies.
Conclusions
There is significant potential to strengthen Australia\'s sodium reformulation targets to improve its health impact. Promoting compliance by market-dominant food companies will be critical to achieving the potential health gains.



PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003806
Trieu K, Coyle DH, Afshin A, Neal B, Marklund M, Wu JHY
PLoS Med: 29 Sep 2021; 18:e1003806 | PMID: 34699528
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Abstract

Socioeconomic inequalities in prevalence and development of multimorbidity across adulthood: A longitudinal analysis of the MRC 1946 National Survey of Health and Development in the UK.

Khanolkar AR, Chaturvedi N, Kuan V, Davis D, ... Bann D, Patalay P
Background
We aimed to estimate multimorbidity trajectories and quantify socioeconomic inequalities based on childhood and adulthood socioeconomic position (SEP) in the risks and rates of multimorbidity accumulation across adulthood.
Methods and findings
Participants from the UK 1946 National Survey of Health and Development (NSHD) birth cohort study who attended the age 36 years assessment in 1982 and any one of the follow-up assessments at ages 43, 53, 63, and 69 years (N = 3,723, 51% males). Information on 18 health conditions was based on a combination of self-report, biomarkers, health records, and prescribed medications. We estimated multimorbidity trajectories and delineated socioeconomic inequalities (based on childhood and adulthood social class and highest education) in multimorbidity at each age and in longitudinal trajectories. Multimorbidity increased with age (0.7 conditions at 36 years to 3.7 at 69 years). Multimorbidity accumulation was nonlinear, accelerating with age at the rate of 0.08 conditions/year (95% CI 0.07 to 0.09, p < 0.001) at 36 to 43 years to 0.19 conditions/year (95% CI 0.18 to 0.20, p < 0.001) at 63 to 69 years. At all ages, the most socioeconomically disadvantaged had 1.2 to 1.4 times greater number of conditions on average compared to the most advantaged. The most disadvantaged by each socioeconomic indicator experienced an additional 0.39 conditions (childhood social class), 0.83 (adult social class), and 1.08 conditions (adult education) at age 69 years, independent of all other socioeconomic indicators. Adverse adulthood SEP was associated with more rapid accumulation of multimorbidity, resulting in 0.49 excess conditions in partly/unskilled compared to professional/intermediate individuals between 63 and 69 years. Disadvantaged childhood social class, independently of adulthood SEP, was associated with accelerated multimorbidity trajectories from age 53 years onwards. Study limitations include that the NSHD cohort is composed of individuals of white European heritage only, and findings may not be generalizable to the non-white British population of the same generation and did not account for other important dimensions of SEP such as income and wealth.
Conclusions
In this study, we found that socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals have earlier onset and more rapid accumulation of multimorbidity resulting in widening inequalities into old age, with independent contributions from both childhood and adulthood SEP.



PLoS Med: 13 Sep 2021; 18:e1003775
Khanolkar AR, Chaturvedi N, Kuan V, Davis D, ... Bann D, Patalay P
PLoS Med: 13 Sep 2021; 18:e1003775 | PMID: 34520470
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Abstract

Effect of scheduled antimicrobial and nicotinamide treatment on linear growth in children in rural Tanzania: A factorial randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.

DeBoer MD, Platts-Mills JA, Elwood SE, Scharf RJ, ... Houpt ER, Mduma E
Background
Stunting among children in low-resource settings is associated with enteric pathogen carriage and micronutrient deficiencies. Our goal was to test whether administration of scheduled antimicrobials and daily nicotinamide improved linear growth in a region with a high prevalence of stunting and enteric pathogen carriage.
Methods and findings
We performed a randomized, 2 × 2 factorial, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in the area around Haydom, Tanzania. Mother-child dyads were enrolled by age 14 days and followed with monthly home visits and every 3-month anthropometry assessments through 18 months. Those randomized to the antimicrobial arm received 2 medications (versus corresponding placebos): azithromycin (single dose of 20 mg/kg) at months 6, 9, 12, and 15 and nitazoxanide (3-day course of 100 mg twice daily) at months 12 and 15. Those randomized to nicotinamide arm received daily nicotinamide to the mother (250 mg pills months 0 to 6) and to the child (100 mg sachets months 6 to 18). Primary outcome was length-for-age z-score (LAZ) at 18 months in the modified intention-to-treat group. Between September 5, 2017 and August 31, 2018, 1,188 children were randomized, of whom 1,084 (n = 277 placebo/placebo, 273 antimicrobial/placebo, 274 placebo/nicotinamide, and 260 antimicrobial/nicotinamide) were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis. The study was suspended for a 3-month period by the Tanzanian National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) because of concerns related to the timing of laboratory testing and the total number of serious adverse events (SAEs); this resulted in some participants receiving their final study assessment late. There was a high prevalence of stunting overall (533/1,084, 49.2%). Mean 18-month LAZ did not differ between groups for either intervention (mean LAZ with 95% confidence interval [CI]: antimicrobial: -2.05 CI -2.13, -1.96, placebo: -2.05 CI -2.14, -1.97; mean difference: 0.01 CI -0.13, 0.11, p = 0.91; nicotinamide: -2.06 CI -2.13, -1.95, placebo: -2.04 CI -2.14, -1.98, mean difference 0.03 CI -0.15, 0.09, p = 0.66). There was no difference in LAZ for either intervention after adjusting for possible confounders (baseline LAZ, age in days at 18-month measurement, ward, hospital birth, birth month, years of maternal education, socioeconomic status (SES) quartile category, sex, whether the mother was a member of the Datoga tribe, and mother\'s height). Adverse events (AEs) and SAEs were overall similar between treatment groups for both the nicotinamide and antimicrobial interventions. Key limitations include the absence of laboratory measures of pathogen carriage and nicotinamide metabolism to provide context for the negative findings.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that neither scheduled administration of azithromycin and nitazoxanide nor daily provision of nicotinamide was associated with improved growth in this resource-poor setting with a high force of enteric infections. Further research remains critical to identify interventions toward improved early childhood growth in challenging conditions.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03268902.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003617
DeBoer MD, Platts-Mills JA, Elwood SE, Scharf RJ, ... Houpt ER, Mduma E
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003617 | PMID: 34582462
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Abstract

Drought and child vaccination coverage in 22 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: A retrospective analysis of national survey data from 2011 to 2019.

Nagata JM, Epstein A, Ganson KT, Benmarhnia T, Weiser SD
Background
Extreme weather events, including droughts, are expected to increase in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and are associated with a number of poor health outcomes; however, to the best of our knowledge, the link between drought and childhood vaccination remains unknown. The objective of this study was to evaluate the relationship between drought and vaccination coverage.
Methods and findings
We investigated the association between drought and vaccination coverage using a retrospective analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys data in 22 sub-Saharan African countries among 137,379 children (50.4% male) born from 2011 to 2019. Drought was defined as an established binary variable of annual rainfall less than or equal to the 15th percentile relative to the 29 previous years, using data from Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station (CHIRPS) data. We evaluated the association between drought at the date of birth and receipt of bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG), diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus (DPT), and polio vaccinations, and the association between drought at 12 months of age and receipt of measles vaccination. We specified logistic regression models with survey fixed effects and standard errors clustered at the enumeration area level, adjusting for child-, mother-, and household-level covariates and estimated marginal risk differences (RDs). The prevalence of drought at date of birth in the sample was 11.8%. Vaccination rates for each vaccination ranged from 70.6% (for 3 doses of the polio vaccine) to 86.0% (for BCG vaccination); however, only 57.6% of children 12 months and older received all recommended doses of BCG, DPT, polio, and measles vaccinations. In adjusted models, drought at date of birth was negatively associated with BCG vaccination (marginal RD = -1.5; 95% CI -2.2, -0.9), DPT vaccination (marginal RD = -1.4; 95% CI -2.2, -0.5), and polio vaccination (marginal RD = -1.3; 95% CI -2.3, -0.3). Drought at 12 months was negatively associated with measles vaccination (marginal RD = -1.9; 95% CI -2.8, -0.9). We found a dose-response relationship between drought and DPT and polio vaccinations, with the strongest associations closest to the timing of drought. Limitations include some heterogeneity in findings across countries.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that drought was associated with lower odds of completion of childhood BCG, DPT, and polio vaccinations. These findings indicate that drought may hinder vaccination coverage, one of the most important interventions to prevent infections among children. This work adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that health programs should consider impacts of severe weather in their programming.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003678
Nagata JM, Epstein A, Ganson KT, Benmarhnia T, Weiser SD
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003678 | PMID: 34582463
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Abstract

Maternal hypertensive disorder of pregnancy and offspring early-onset cardiovascular disease in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood: A national population-based cohort study.

Huang C, Li J, Qin G, Liew Z, ... Olsen J, Yu Y
Background
The prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been increasing in children, adolescents, and young adults in recent decades. Exposure to adverse intrauterine environment in fetal life may contribute to the elevated risk of early-onset CVD. Many studies have shown that maternal hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) are associated with increased risks of congenital heart disease, high blood pressure, increased BMI, and systemic vascular dysfunction in offspring. However, empirical evidence on the association between prenatal exposure to maternal HDP and early-onset CVD in childhood and adolescence remains limited.
Methods and findings
We conducted a population-based cohort study using Danish national health registers, including 2,491,340 individuals born in Denmark from 1977 to 2018. Follow-up started at birth and ended at the first diagnosis of CVD, emigration, death, or 31 December 2018, whichever came first. Exposure of maternal HDP was categorized as preeclampsia or eclampsia (n = 68,387), gestational hypertension (n = 18,603), and pregestational hypertension (n = 15,062). Outcome was the diagnosis of early-onset CVD from birth to young adulthood (up to 40 years old). We performed Cox proportional hazards regression to evaluate the associations and whether the association differed by maternal history of CVD or diabetes before childbirth. We further assessed the association by timing of onset and severity of preeclampsia. The median follow-up time was 18.37 years, and 51.3% of the participants were males. A total of 4,532 offspring in the exposed group (2.47 per 1,000 person-years) and 94,457 in the unexposed group (2.03 per 1,000 person-years) were diagnosed with CVD. We found that exposure to maternal HDP was associated with an increased risk of early-onset CVD (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.23; 95% CI = 1.19 to 1.26; P < 0.001). The HRs for preeclampsia or eclampsia, gestational hypertension, and pregestational hypertension were 1.22 (95% CI, 1.18 to 1.26; P < 0.001), 1.25 (95% CI, 1.17 to 1.34; P < 0.001), and 1.28 (95% CI, 1.15 to 1.42; P < 0.001), respectively. We also observed increased risks for type-specific CVDs, in particular for hypertensive disease (HR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.96 to 2.27; P < 0.001) and myocardial infarction (HR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.12 to 1.98; P = 0.007). Strong associations were found among offspring of mothers with CVD history (HR, 1.67; 95% CI, 1.41 to 1.98; P < 0.001) or comorbid diabetes (HR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.34 to 1.83; P < 0.001). When considering timing of onset and severity of preeclampsia on offspring CVD, the strongest association was observed for early-onset and severe preeclampsia (HR, 1.48, 95% CI, 1.30 to 1.67; P < 0.001). Study limitations include the lack of information on certain potential confounders (including smoking, physical activity, and alcohol consumption) and limited generalizability in other countries with varying disparities in healthcare.
Conclusions
Offspring born to mothers with HDP, especially mothers with CVD or diabetes history, were at increased risks of overall and certain type-specific early-onset CVDs in their first decades of life. Further research is warranted to better understand the mechanisms underlying the relationship between maternal HDP and early-onset CVD in offspring.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003805
Huang C, Li J, Qin G, Liew Z, ... Olsen J, Yu Y
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003805 | PMID: 34582464
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Impact:
Abstract

Impact of decreasing the proportion of higher energy foods and reducing portion sizes on food purchased in worksite cafeterias: A stepped-wedge randomised controlled trial.

Reynolds JP, Ventsel M, Kosīte D, Rigby Dames B, ... Hollands GJ, Marteau TM
Background
Overconsumption of energy from food is a major contributor to the high rates of overweight and obesity in many populations. There is growing evidence that interventions that target the food environment may be effective at reducing energy intake. The current study aimed to estimate the effect of decreasing the proportion of higher energy (kcal) foods, with and without reducing portion size, on energy purchased in worksite cafeterias.
Methods and findings
This stepped-wedge randomised controlled trial (RCT) evaluated 2 interventions: (i) availability: replacing higher energy products with lower energy products; and (ii) size: reducing the portion size of higher energy products. A total of 19 cafeterias were randomised to the order in which they introduced the 2 interventions. Availability was implemented first and maintained. Size was added to the availability intervention. Intervention categories included main meals, sides, cold drinks, snacks, and desserts. The study setting was worksite cafeterias located in distribution centres for a major United Kingdom supermarket and lasted for 25 weeks (May to November 2019). These cafeterias were used by 20,327 employees, mainly (96%) in manual occupations. The primary outcome was total energy (kcal) purchased from intervention categories per day. The secondary outcomes were energy (kcal) purchased from nonintervention categories per day, total energy purchased per day, and revenue. Regression models showed an overall reduction in energy purchased from intervention categories of -4.8% (95% CI -7.0% to -2.7%), p < 0.001 during the availability intervention period and a reduction of -11.5% (95% CI -13.7% to -9.3%), p < 0.001 during the availability plus size intervention period, relative to the baseline. There was a reduction in energy purchased of -6.6% (95% CI -7.9% to -5.4%), p < 0.001 during the availability plus size period, relative to availability alone. Study limitations include using energy purchased as the primary outcome (and not energy consumed) and the availability only of transaction-level sales data per site (and not individual-level data).
Conclusions
Decreasing the proportion of higher energy foods in cafeterias reduced the energy purchased. Decreasing portion sizes reduced this further. These interventions, particularly in combination, may be effective as part of broader strategies to reduce overconsumption of energy from food in out-of-home settings.
Trial registration
ISRCTN registry ISRCTN87225572.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003743
Reynolds JP, Ventsel M, Kosīte D, Rigby Dames B, ... Hollands GJ, Marteau TM
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003743 | PMID: 34520468
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Impact:
Abstract

Examining the relationships between early childhood experiences and adolescent and young adult health status in a resource-limited population: A cohort study.

Rasmussen ZA, Shah WH, Hansen CL, Azam SI, ... Sanitation, Health and Hygiene Interventions Project
Background
Adolescence is a critical point in the realization of human capital, as health and educational decisions with long-term impacts are made. We examined the role of early childhood experiences on health, cognitive abilities, and educational outcomes of adolescents followed up from a longitudinal cohort study in Pakistan, hypothesizing that early childhood experiences reflecting poverty would manifest in reduced health and development in adolescence.
Methods and findings
Adolescents/young adults previously followed as children aged under 5 years were interviewed. Childhood data were available on diarrhea, pneumonia, and parental/household characteristics. New data were collected on health, anthropometry, education, employment, and languages spoken; nonverbal reasoning was assessed. A multivariable Bayesian network was constructed to explore structural relationships between variables. Of 1,868 children originally enrolled, 1,463 (78.3%) were interviewed as adolescents (range 16.0-29.3 years, mean age 22.6 years); 945 (65%) lived in Oshikhandass. While 1,031 (70.5%) of their mothers and 440 (30.1%) of their fathers had received no formal education, adolescents reported a mean of 11.1 years of education. Childhood diarrhea (calculated as episodes/child-year) had no association with nonverbal reasoning score (an arc was supported in just 4.6% of bootstrap samples), health measures (with BMI, 1% of bootstrap samples; systolic and diastolic blood pressure, 0.1% and 1.6% of bootstrap samples, respectively), education (0.7% of bootstrap samples), or employment (0% of bootstrap samples). Relationships were found between nonverbal reasoning and adolescent height (arc supported in 63% of bootstrap samples), age (84%), educational attainment (100%), and speaking English (100%); speaking English was linked to the childhood home environment, mediated through maternal education and primary language. Speaking English (n = 390, 26.7% of adolescents) was associated with education (100% of bootstrap samples), self-reported child health (82%), current location (85%) and variables describing childhood socioeconomic status. The main limitations of this study were the lack of parental data to characterize the home setting (including parental mental and physical health, and female empowerment) and reliance on self-reporting of health status.
Conclusions
In this population, investments in education, especially for females, are associated with an increase in human capital. Against the backdrop of substantial societal change, with the exception of a small and indirect association between childhood malnutrition and cognitive scores, educational opportunities and cultural language groups have stronger associations with aspects of human capital than childhood morbidity.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003745
Rasmussen ZA, Shah WH, Hansen CL, Azam SI, ... Sanitation, Health and Hygiene Interventions Project
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003745 | PMID: 34582458
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Impact:
Abstract

Effectiveness and costs associated with a lay counselor-delivered, brief problem-solving mental health intervention for adolescents in urban, low-income schools in India: 12-month outcomes of a randomized controlled trial.

Malik K, Michelson D, Doyle AM, Weiss HA, ... Fairburn CG, Patel V
Background
Psychosocial interventions for adolescent mental health problems are effective, but evidence on their longer-term outcomes is scarce, especially in low-resource settings. We report on the 12-month sustained effectiveness and costs of scaling up a lay counselor-delivered, transdiagnostic problem-solving intervention for common adolescent mental health problems in low-income schools in New Delhi, India.
Methods and findings
Participants in the original trial were 250 school-going adolescents (mean [M] age = 15.61 years, standard deviation [SD] = 1.68), including 174 (69.6%) who identified as male. Participants were recruited from 6 government schools over a period of 4 months (August 20 to December 14, 2018) and were selected on the basis of elevated mental health symptoms and distress/functional impairment. A 2-arm, randomized controlled trial design was used to examine the effectiveness of a lay counselor-delivered, problem-solving intervention (4 to 5 sessions over 3 weeks) with supporting printed booklets (intervention arm) in comparison with problem solving delivered via printed booklets alone (control arm), at the original endpoints of 6 and 12 weeks. The protocol was modified, as per the recommendation of the Trial Steering Committee, to include a post hoc extension of the follow-up period to 12 months. Primary outcomes were adolescent-reported psychosocial problems (Youth Top Problems [YTP]) and mental health symptoms (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire [SDQ] Total Difficulties scale). Other self-reported outcomes included SDQ subscales, perceived stress, well-being, and remission. The sustained effects of the intervention were estimated at the 12-month endpoint and over 12 months (the latter assumed a constant effect across 3 follow-up points) using a linear mixed model for repeated measures and involving complete case analysis. Sensitivity analyses examined the effect of missing data using multiple imputations. Costs were estimated for delivering the intervention during the trial and from modeling a scale-up scenario, using a retrospective ingredients approach. Out of the 250 original trial participants, 176 (70.4%) adolescents participated in the 12-month follow-up assessment. One adverse event was identified during follow-up and deemed unrelated to the intervention. Evidence was found for intervention effects on both SDQ Total Difficulties and YTP at 12 months (YTP: adjusted mean difference [AMD] = -0.75, 95% confidence interval [CI] = -1.47, -0.03, p = 0.04; SDQ Total Difficulties: AMD = -1.73, 95% CI = -3.47, 0.02, p = 0.05), with stronger effects over 12 months (YTP: AMD = -0.98, 95% CI = -1.51, -0.45, p < 0.001; SDQ Total Difficulties: AMD = -1.23, 95% CI = -2.37, -0.09; p = 0.03). There was also evidence for intervention effects on internalizing symptoms, impairment, perceived stress, and well-being over 12 months. The intervention effect was stable for most outcomes on sensitivity analyses adjusting for missing data; however, for SDQ Total Difficulties and impairment, the effect was slightly attenuated. The per-student cost of delivering the intervention during the trial was $3 United States dollars (USD; or $158 USD per case) and for scaling up the intervention in the modeled scenario was $4 USD (or $23 USD per case). The scaling up cost accounted for 0.4% of the per-student school budget in New Delhi. The main limitations of the study\'s methodology were the lack of sample size calculations powered for 12-month follow-up and the absence of cost-effectiveness analyses using the primary outcomes.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that a lay counselor-delivered, brief transdiagnostic problem-solving intervention had sustained effects on psychosocial problems and mental health symptoms over the 12-month follow-up period. Scaling up this resource-efficient intervention is an affordable policy goal for improving adolescents\' access to mental health care in low-resource settings. The findings need to be interpreted with caution, as this study was a post hoc extension, and thus, the sample size calculations did not take into account the relatively high attrition rate observed during the long-term follow-up.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03630471.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003778
Malik K, Michelson D, Doyle AM, Weiss HA, ... Fairburn CG, Patel V
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003778 | PMID: 34582460
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Impact:
Abstract

Economic and modeling evidence for tuberculosis preventive therapy among people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Uppal A, Rahman S, Campbell JR, Oxlade O, Menzies D
Background
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the strongest known risk factor for tuberculosis (TB) through its impairment of T-cell immunity. Tuberculosis preventive treatment (TPT) is recommended for people living with HIV (PLHIV) by the World Health Organization, as it significantly reduces the risk of developing TB disease. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of modeling studies to summarize projected costs, risks, benefits, and impacts of TPT use among PLHIV on TB-related outcomes.
Methods and findings
We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science from inception until December 31, 2020. Two reviewers independently screened titles, abstracts, and full texts; extracted data; and assessed quality. Extracted data were summarized using descriptive analysis. We performed quantile regression and random effects meta-analysis to describe trends in cost, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness outcomes across studies and identified key determinants of these outcomes. Our search identified 6,615 titles; 61 full texts were included in the final review. Of the 61 included studies, 31 reported both cost and effectiveness outcomes. A total of 41 were set in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), while 12 were set in high-income countries (HICs); 2 were set in both. Most studies considered isoniazid (INH)-based regimens 6 to 2 months long (n = 45), or longer than 12 months (n = 11). Model parameters and assumptions varied widely between studies. Despite this, all studies found that providing TPT to PLHIV was predicted to be effective at averting TB disease. No TPT regimen was substantially more effective at averting TB disease than any other. The cost of providing TPT and subsequent downstream costs (e.g. post-TPT health systems costs) were estimated to be less than $1,500 (2020 USD) per person in 85% of studies that reported cost outcomes (n = 36), regardless of study setting. All cost-effectiveness analyses concluded that providing TPT to PLHIV was potentially cost-effective compared to not providing TPT. In quantitative analyses, country income classification, consideration of antiretroviral therapy (ART) use, and TPT regimen use significantly impacted cost-effectiveness. Studies evaluating TPT in HICs suggested that TPT may be more effective at preventing TB disease than studies evaluating TPT in LMICs; pooled incremental net monetary benefit, given a willingness-to-pay threshold of country-level per capita gross domestic product (GDP), was $271 in LMICs (95% confidence interval [CI] -$81 to $622, p = 0.12) and was $2,568 in HICs (-$32,115 to $37,251, p = 0.52). Similarly, TPT appeared to be more effective at averting TB disease in HICs; pooled percent reduction in active TB incidence was 20% (13% to 27%, p < 0.001) in LMICs and 37% (-34% to 100%, p = 0.13) in HICs. Key limitations of this review included the heterogeneity of input parameters and assumptions from included studies, which limited pooling of effect estimates, inconsistent reporting of model parameters, which limited sample sizes of quantitative analyses, and database bias toward English publications.
Conclusions
The body of literature related to modeling TPT among PLHIV is large and heterogeneous, making comparisons across studies difficult. Despite this variability, all studies in all settings concluded that providing TPT to PLHIV is potentially effective and cost-effective for preventing TB disease.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003712
Uppal A, Rahman S, Campbell JR, Oxlade O, Menzies D
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003712 | PMID: 34520463
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Abstract

Intrinsic capacity and its associations with incident dependence and mortality in 10/66 Dementia Research Group studies in Latin America, India, and China: A population-based cohort study.

Prince MJ, Acosta D, Guerra M, Huang Y, ... Prina AM, Valhuerdi A
Background
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reframed health and healthcare for older people around achieving the goal of healthy ageing. The recent WHO Integrated Care for Older People (ICOPE) guidelines focus on maintaining intrinsic capacity, i.e., addressing declines in neuromusculoskeletal, vitality, sensory, cognitive, psychological, and continence domains, aiming to prevent or delay the onset of dependence. The target group with 1 or more declines in intrinsic capacity (DICs) is broad, and implementation may be challenging in less-resourced settings. We aimed to inform planning by assessing intrinsic capacity prevalence, by characterising the target group, and by validating the general approach-testing hypotheses that DIC was consistently associated with higher risks of incident dependence and death.
Methods and findings
We conducted population-based cohort studies (baseline, 2003-2007) in urban sites in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Venezuela, and rural and urban sites in Peru, Mexico, India, and China. Door-knocking identified eligible participants, aged 65 years and over and normally resident in each geographically defined catchment area. Sociodemographic, behaviour and lifestyle, health, and healthcare utilisation and cost questionnaires, and physical assessments were administered to all participants, with incident dependence and mortality ascertained 3 to 5 years later (2008-2010). In 12 sites in 8 countries, 17,031 participants were surveyed at baseline. Overall mean age was 74.2 years, range of means by site 71.3-76.3 years; 62.4% were female, range 53.4%-67.3%. At baseline, only 30% retained full capacity across all domains. The proportion retaining capacity fell sharply with increasing age, and declines affecting multiple domains were more common. Poverty, morbidity (particularly dementia, depression, and stroke), and disability were concentrated among those with DIC, although only 10% were frail, and a further 9% had needs for care. Hypertension and lifestyle risk factors for chronic disease, and healthcare utilisation and costs, were more evenly distributed in the population. In total, 15,901 participants were included in the mortality cohort (2,602 deaths/53,911 person-years of follow-up), and 12,939 participants in the dependence cohort (1,896 incident cases/38,320 person-years). One or more DICs strongly and independently predicted incident dependence (pooled adjusted subhazard ratio 1.91, 95% CI 1.69-2.17) and death (pooled adjusted hazard ratio 1.66, 95% CI 1.49-1.85). Relative risks were higher for those who were frail, but were also substantially elevated for the much larger sub-groups yet to become frail. Mortality was mainly concentrated in the frail and dependent sub-groups. The main limitations were potential for DIC exposure misclassification and attrition bias.
Conclusions
In this study we observed a high prevalence of DICs, particularly in older age groups. Those affected had substantially increased risks of dependence and death. Most needs for care arose in those with DIC yet to become frail. Our findings provide some support for the strategy of optimising intrinsic capacity in pursuit of healthy ageing. Implementation at scale requires community-based screening and assessment, and a stepped-care intervention approach, with redefined roles for community healthcare workers and efforts to engage, train, and support them in these tasks. ICOPE might be usefully integrated into community programmes for detecting and case managing chronic diseases including hypertension and diabetes.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003097
Prince MJ, Acosta D, Guerra M, Huang Y, ... Prina AM, Valhuerdi A
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003097 | PMID: 34520466
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Impact:
Abstract

Corporate political activity in the context of unhealthy food advertising restrictions across Transport for London: A qualitative case study.

Lauber K, Hunt D, Gilmore AB, Rutter H
Background
Diets with high proportions of foods high in fat, sugar, and/or salt (HFSS) contribute to malnutrition and rising rates of childhood obesity, with effects throughout the life course. Given compelling evidence on the detrimental impact HFSS advertising has on children\'s diets, the World Health Organization unequivocally supports the adoption of restrictions on HFSS marketing and advertising. In February 2019, the Greater London Authority introduced novel restrictions on HFSS advertising across Transport for London (TfL), one of the most valuable out-of-home advertising estates. In this study, we examined whether and how commercial actors attempted to influence the development of these advertising restrictions.
Methods and findings
Using requests under the Freedom of Information Act, we obtained industry responses to the London Food Strategy consultation, correspondence between officials and key industry actors, and information on meetings. We used an existing model of corporate political activity, the Policy Dystopia Model, to systematically analyse arguments and activities used to counter the policy. The majority of food and advertising industry consultation respondents opposed the proposed advertising restrictions, many promoting voluntary approaches instead. Industry actors who supported the policy were predominantly smaller businesses. To oppose the policy, industry respondents deployed a range of strategies. They exaggerated potential costs and underplayed potential benefits of the policy, for instance, warning of negative economic consequences and questioning the evidence underlying the proposal. Despite challenging the evidence for the policy, they offered little evidence in support of their own claims. Commercial actors had significant access to the policy process and officials through the consultation and numerous meetings, yet attempted to increase access, for example, in applying to join the London Child Obesity Taskforce and inviting its members to events. They also employed coalition management, engaging directly and through business associations to amplify their arguments. Some advertising industry actors also raised the potential of legal challenges. The key limitation of this study is that our data focused on industry-policymaker interactions; thus, our findings are unable to present a comprehensive picture of political activity.
Conclusions
In this study, we identified substantial opposition from food and advertising industry actors to the TfL advertising restrictions. We mapped arguments and activities used to oppose the policy, which might help other public authorities anticipate industry efforts to prevent similar restrictions in HFSS advertising. Given the potential consequences of commercial influence in these kinds of policy spaces, public bodies should consider how they engage with industry actors.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003695
Lauber K, Hunt D, Gilmore AB, Rutter H
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003695 | PMID: 34473694
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Impact:
Abstract

Changes in maternal risk factors and their association with changes in cesarean sections in Norway between 1999 and 2016: A descriptive population-based registry study.

Nedberg IH, Lazzerini M, Mariani I, Møllersen K, ... Anda EE, Skjeldestad FE
Background
Increases in the proportion of the population with increased likelihood of cesarean section (CS) have been postulated as a driving force behind the rise in CS rates worldwide. The aim of the study was to assess if changes in selected maternal risk factors for CS are associated with changes in CS births from 1999 to 2016 in Norway.
Methods and findings
This national population-based registry study utilizes data from 1,055,006 births registered in the Norwegian Medical Birth Registry from 1999 to 2016. The following maternal risk factors for CS were included: nulliparous/≥35 years, multiparous/≥35 years, pregestational diabetes, gestational diabetes, hypertensive disorders, previous CS, assisted reproductive technology, and multiple births. The proportion of CS births in 1999 was used to predict the number of CS births in 2016. The observed and predicted numbers of CS births were compared to determine the number of excess CS births, before and after considering the selected risk factors, for all births, and for births stratified by 0, 1, or >1 of the selected risk factors. The proportion of CS births increased from 12.9% to 16.1% (+24.8%) during the study period. The proportion of births with 1 selected risk factor increased from 21.3% to 26.3% (+23.5%), while the proportion with >1 risk factor increased from 4.5% to 8.8% (+95.6%). Stratification by the presence of selected risk factors reduced the number of excess CS births observed in 2016 compared to 1999 by 67.9%. Study limitations include lack of access to other important maternal risk factors and only comparing the first and the last year of the study period.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that after an initial increase, proportions of CS births remained stable from 2005 to 2016. Instead, both the size of the risk population and the mean number of risk factors per birth continued to increase. We observed a possible association between the increase in size of risk population and the additional CS births observed in 2016 compared to 1999. The increase in size of risk population and the stable CS rate from 2005 and onward may indicate consistent adherence to obstetric evidence-based practice in Norway.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003764
Nedberg IH, Lazzerini M, Mariani I, Møllersen K, ... Anda EE, Skjeldestad FE
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003764 | PMID: 34478464
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Abstract

The cardiovascular effects of amodiaquine and structurally related antimalarials: An individual patient data meta-analysis.

Chan XHS, Haeusler IL, Win YN, Pike J, ... Taylor WR, White NJ
Background
Amodiaquine is a 4-aminoquinoline antimalarial similar to chloroquine that is used extensively for the treatment and prevention of malaria. Data on the cardiovascular effects of amodiaquine are scarce, although transient effects on cardiac electrophysiology (electrocardiographic QT interval prolongation and sinus bradycardia) have been observed. We conducted an individual patient data meta-analysis to characterise the cardiovascular effects of amodiaquine and thereby support development of risk minimisation measures to improve the safety of this important antimalarial.
Methods and findings
Studies of amodiaquine for the treatment or prevention of malaria were identified from a systematic review. Heart rates and QT intervals with study-specific heart rate correction (QTcS) were compared within studies and individual patient data pooled for multivariable linear mixed effects regression. The meta-analysis included 2,681 patients from 4 randomised controlled trials evaluating artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) containing amodiaquine (n = 725), lumefantrine (n = 499), piperaquine (n = 716), and pyronaridine (n = 566), as well as monotherapy with chloroquine (n = 175) for uncomplicated malaria. Amodiaquine prolonged QTcS (mean = 16.9 ms, 95% CI: 15.0 to 18.8) less than chloroquine (21.9 ms, 18.3 to 25.6, p = 0.0069) and piperaquine (19.2 ms, 15.8 to 20.5, p = 0.0495), but more than lumefantrine (5.6 ms, 2.9 to 8.2, p < 0.001) and pyronaridine (-1.2 ms, -3.6 to +1.3, p < 0.001). In individuals aged ≥12 years, amodiaquine reduced heart rate (mean reduction = 15.2 beats per minute [bpm], 95% CI: 13.4 to 17.0) more than piperaquine (10.5 bpm, 7.7 to 13.3, p = 0.0013), lumefantrine (9.3 bpm, 6.4 to 12.2, p < 0.001), pyronaridine (6.6 bpm, 4.0 to 9.3, p < 0.001), and chloroquine (5.9 bpm, 3.2 to 8.5, p < 0.001) and was associated with a higher risk of potentially symptomatic sinus bradycardia (≤50 bpm) than lumefantrine (risk difference: 14.8%, 95% CI: 5.4 to 24.3, p = 0.0021) and chloroquine (risk difference: 8.0%, 95% CI: 4.0 to 12.0, p < 0.001). The effect of amodiaquine on the heart rate of children aged <12 years compared with other antimalarials was not clinically significant. Study limitations include the unavailability of individual patient-level adverse event data for most included participants, but no serious complications were documented.
Conclusions
While caution is advised in the use of amodiaquine in patients aged ≥12 years with concomitant use of heart rate-reducing medications, serious cardiac conduction disorders, or risk factors for torsade de pointes, there have been no serious cardiovascular events reported after amodiaquine in widespread use over 7 decades. Amodiaquine and structurally related antimalarials in the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended dose regimens alone or in ACTs are safe for the treatment and prevention of malaria.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003766
Chan XHS, Haeusler IL, Win YN, Pike J, ... Taylor WR, White NJ
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003766 | PMID: 34492005
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Impact:
Abstract

The latent tuberculosis cascade-of-care among people living with HIV: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Bastos ML, Melnychuk L, Campbell JR, Oxlade O, Menzies D
Background
Tuberculosis preventive therapy (TPT) reduces TB-related morbidity and mortality in people living with HIV (PLHIV). Cascade-of-care analyses help identify gaps and barriers in care and develop targeted solutions. A previous latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) cascade-of-care analysis showed only 18% of persons in at-risk populations complete TPT, but a similar analysis for TPT among PLHIV has not been completed. We conducted a meta-analysis to provide this evidence.
Methods and findings
We first screened potential articles from a LTBI cascade-of-care systematic review published in 2016. From this study, we included cohorts that reported a minimum of 25 PLHIV. To identify new cohorts, we used a similar search strategy restricted to PLHIV. The search was conducted in Medline, Embase, Health Star, and LILACS, from January 2014 to February 2021. Two authors independently screened titles and full text and assessed risk of bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for cohorts and Cochrane Risk of Bias for cluster randomized trials. We meta-analyzed the proportion of PLHIV completing each step of the LTBI cascade-of-care and estimated the cumulative proportion retained. These results were stratified based on cascades-of-care that used or did not use LTBI testing to determine eligibility for TPT. We also performed a narrative synthesis of enablers and barriers of the cascade-of-care identified at different steps of the cascade. A total of 71 cohorts were included, and 70 were meta-analyzed, comprising 94,011 PLHIV. Among the PLHIV included, 35.3% (33,139/94,011) were from the Americas and 29.2% (27,460/94,011) from Africa. Overall, 49.9% (46,903/94,011) from low- and middle-income countries, median age was 38.0 [interquartile range (IQR) 34.0;43.6], and 65.9% (46,328/70,297) were men, 43.6% (29,629/67,947) were treated with antiretroviral therapy (ART), and the median CD4 count was 390 cell/mm3 (IQR 312;458). Among the cohorts that did not use LTBI tests, the cumulative proportion of PLHIV starting and completing TPT were 40.9% (95% CI: 39.3% to 42.7%) and 33.2% (95% CI: 31.6% to 34.9%). Among cohorts that used LTBI tests, the cumulative proportions of PLHIV starting and completing TPT were 60.4% (95% CI: 58.1% to 62.6%) and 41.9% (95% CI:39.6% to 44.2%), respectively. Completion of TPT was not significantly different in high- compared to low- and middle-income countries. Regardless of LTBI test use, substantial losses in the cascade-of-care occurred before treatment initiation. The integration of HIV and TB care was considered an enabler of the cascade-of-care in multiple cohorts. Key limitations of this systematic review are the observational nature of the included studies, potential selection bias in the population selection, only 14 cohorts reported all steps of the cascade-of-care, and barriers/facilitators were not systematically reported in all cohorts.
Conclusions
Although substantial losses were seen in multiple stages of the cascade-of-care, the cumulative proportion of PLHIV completing TPT was higher than previously reported among other at-risk populations. The use of LTBI testing in PLHIV in low- and middle-income countries was associated with higher proportion of the cohorts initiating TPT and with similar rates of completion of TPT.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003703
Bastos ML, Melnychuk L, Campbell JR, Oxlade O, Menzies D
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003703 | PMID: 34492003
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Impact:
Abstract

Altering product placement to create a healthier layout in supermarkets: Outcomes on store sales, customer purchasing, and diet in a prospective matched controlled cluster study.

Vogel C, Crozier S, Penn-Newman D, Ball K, ... Cooper C, Baird J
Background
Previous product placement trials in supermarkets are limited in scope and outcome data collected. This study assessed the effects on store-level sales, household-level purchasing, and dietary behaviours of a healthier supermarket layout.
Methods and findings
This is a prospective matched controlled cluster trial with 2 intervention components: (i) new fresh fruit and vegetable sections near store entrances (replacing smaller displays at the back) and frozen vegetables repositioned to the entrance aisle, plus (ii) the removal of confectionery from checkouts and aisle ends opposite. In this pilot study, the intervention was implemented for 6 months in 3 discount supermarkets in England. Three control stores were matched on store sales and customer profiles and neighbourhood deprivation. Women customers aged 18 to 45 years, with loyalty cards, were assigned to the intervention (n = 62) or control group (n = 88) of their primary store. The trial registration number is NCT03518151. Interrupted time series analysis showed that increases in store-level sales of fruits and vegetables were greater in intervention stores than predicted at 3 (1.71 standard deviations (SDs) (95% CI 0.45, 2.96), P = 0.01) and 6 months follow-up (2.42 SDs (0.22, 4.62), P = 0.03), equivalent to approximately 6,170 and approximately 9,820 extra portions per store, per week, respectively. The proportion of purchasing fruits and vegetables per week rose among intervention participants at 3 and 6 months compared to control participants (0.2% versus -3.0%, P = 0.22; 1.7% versus -3.5%, P = 0.05, respectively). Store sales of confectionery were lower in intervention stores than predicted at 3 (-1.05 SDs (-1.98, -0.12), P = 0.03) and 6 months (-1.37 SDs (-2.95, 0.22), P = 0.09), equivalent to approximately 1,359 and approximately 1,575 fewer portions per store, per week, respectively; no differences were observed for confectionery purchasing. Changes in dietary variables were predominantly in the expected direction for health benefit. Intervention implementation was not within control of the research team, and stores could not be randomised. It is a pilot study, and, therefore, not powered to detect an effect.
Conclusions
Healthier supermarket layouts can improve the nutrition profile of store sales and likely improve household purchasing and dietary quality. Placing fruits and vegetables near store entrances should be considered alongside policies to limit prominent placement of unhealthy foods.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03518151 (pre-results).



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003729
Vogel C, Crozier S, Penn-Newman D, Ball K, ... Cooper C, Baird J
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003729 | PMID: 34491999
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Abstract

Cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes in children born after assisted reproductive technology: A population-based cohort study.

Norrman E, Petzold M, Gissler M, Spangmose AL, ... Wennerholm UB, Bergh C
Background
Some earlier studies have found indications of significant changes in cardiometabolic risk factors in children born after assisted reproductive technology (ART). Most of these studies are based on small cohorts with high risk of selection bias. In this study, we compared the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes between singleton children born after ART and singleton children born after spontaneous conception (SC).
Methods and findings
This was a large population-based cohort study of individuals born in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark between 1984 and 2015. Data were obtained from national ART and medical birth registers and cross-linked with data from national patient registers and other population-based registers in the respective countries. In total, 122,429 children born after ART and 7,574,685 children born after SC were included. Mean (SD) maternal age was 33.9 (4.3) years for ART and 29.7 (5.2) for SC, 67.7% versus 41.8% were primiparous, and 45.2% versus 32.1% had more than 12 years of education. Preterm birth (<37 weeks 0 days) occurred in 7.9% of children born after ART and 4.8% in children born after SC, and 5.7% versus 3.3% had a low birth weight (<2,500 g). Mean (SD) follow-up time was 8.6 (6.2) years for children born after ART and 14.0 (8.6) years for children born after SC. In total, 135 (0.11%), 645 (0.65%), and 18 (0.01%) children born after ART were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease (ischemic heart disease, cardiomyopathy, heart failure, or cerebrovascular disease), obesity or type 2 diabetes, respectively. The corresponding values were 10,702 (0.14%), 30,308 (0.74%), and 2,919 (0.04%) for children born after SC. In the unadjusted analysis, children born after ART had a significantly higher risk of any cardiovascular disease (hazard ratio [HR] 1.24; 95% CI 1.04-1.48; p = 0.02), obesity (HR 1.13; 95% CI 1.05-1.23; p = 0.002), and type 2 diabetes (HR 1.71; 95% CI 1.08-2.73; p = 0.02). After adjustment, there was no significant difference between children born after ART and children born after SC for any cardiovascular disease (adjusted HR [aHR]1.02; 95% CI 0.86-1.22; p = 0.80) or type 2 diabetes (aHR 1.31; 95% CI 0.82-2.09; p = 0.25). For any cardiovascular disease, the 95% CI was reasonably narrow, excluding effects of a substantial magnitude, while the 95% CI for type 2 diabetes was wide, not excluding clinically meaningful effects. For obesity, there was a small but significant increased risk among children born after ART (aHR 1.14; 95% CI 1.06-1.23; p = 0.001). Important limitations of the study were the relatively short follow-up time, the limited number of events for some outcomes, and that the outcome obesity is often not considered as a disease and therefore not caught by registers, likely leading to an underestimation of obesity in both children born after ART and children born after SC.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed no difference in the risk of cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes between children born after ART and children born after SC. For obesity, there was a small but significant increased risk for children born after ART.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN11780826.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003723
Norrman E, Petzold M, Gissler M, Spangmose AL, ... Wennerholm UB, Bergh C
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003723 | PMID: 34491995
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Abstract

Derivation and external validation of a risk score for predicting HIV-associated tuberculosis to support case finding and preventive therapy scale-up: A cohort study.

Auld AF, Kerkhoff AD, Hanifa Y, Wood R, ... Grant AD, Fielding K
Background
Among people living with HIV (PLHIV), more flexible and sensitive tuberculosis (TB) screening tools capable of detecting both symptomatic and subclinical active TB are needed to (1) reduce morbidity and mortality from undiagnosed TB; (2) facilitate scale-up of tuberculosis preventive therapy (TPT) while reducing inappropriate prescription of TPT to PLHIV with subclinical active TB; and (3) allow for differentiated HIV-TB care.
Methods and findings
We used Botswana XPRES trial data for adult HIV clinic enrollees collected during 2012 to 2015 to develop a parsimonious multivariable prognostic model for active prevalent TB using both logistic regression and random forest machine learning approaches. A clinical score was derived by rescaling final model coefficients. The clinical score was developed using southern Botswana XPRES data and its accuracy validated internally, using northern Botswana data, and externally using 3 diverse cohorts of antiretroviral therapy (ART)-naive and ART-experienced PLHIV enrolled in XPHACTOR, TB Fast Track (TBFT), and Gugulethu studies from South Africa (SA). Predictive accuracy of the clinical score was compared with the World Health Organization (WHO) 4-symptom TB screen. Among 5,418 XPRES enrollees, 2,771 were included in the derivation dataset; 67% were female, median age was 34 years, median CD4 was 240 cells/μL, 189 (7%) had undiagnosed prevalent TB, and characteristics were similar between internal derivation and validation datasets. Among XPHACTOR, TBFT, and Gugulethu cohorts, median CD4 was 400, 73, and 167 cells/μL, and prevalence of TB was 5%, 10%, and 18%, respectively. Factors predictive of TB in the derivation dataset and selected for the clinical score included male sex (1 point), ≥1 WHO TB symptom (7 points), smoking history (1 point), temperature >37.5°C (6 points), body mass index (BMI) <18.5kg/m2 (2 points), and severe anemia (hemoglobin <8g/dL) (3 points). Sensitivity using WHO 4-symptom TB screen was 73%, 80%, 94%, and 94% in XPRES, XPHACTOR, TBFT, and Gugulethu cohorts, respectively, but increased to 88%, 87%, 97%, and 97%, when a clinical score of ≥2 was used. Negative predictive value (NPV) also increased 1%, 0.3%, 1.6%, and 1.7% in XPRES, XPHACTOR, TBFT, and Gugulethu cohorts, respectively, when the clinical score of ≥2 replaced WHO 4-symptom TB screen. Categorizing risk scores into low (<2), moderate (2 to 10), and high-risk categories (>10) yielded TB prevalence of 1%, 1%, 2%, and 6% in the lowest risk group and 33%, 22%, 26%, and 32% in the highest risk group for XPRES, XPHACTOR, TBFT, and Gugulethu cohorts, respectively. At clinical score ≥2, the number needed to screen (NNS) ranged from 5.0 in Gugulethu to 11.0 in XPHACTOR. Limitations include that the risk score has not been validated in resource-rich settings and needs further evaluation and validation in contemporary cohorts in Africa and other resource-constrained settings.
Conclusions
The simple and feasible clinical score allowed for prioritization of sensitivity and NPV, which could facilitate reductions in mortality from undiagnosed TB and safer administration of TPT during proposed global scale-up efforts. Differentiation of risk by clinical score cutoff allows flexibility in designing differentiated HIV-TB care to maximize impact of available resources.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003739
Auld AF, Kerkhoff AD, Hanifa Y, Wood R, ... Grant AD, Fielding K
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003739 | PMID: 34491987
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Abstract

Effectiveness of seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) treatments when SMC is implemented at scale: Case-control studies in 5 countries.

Cairns M, Ceesay SJ, Sagara I, Zongo I, ... Ndiaye JL, Milligan P
Background
Seasonal malaria chemoprevention (SMC) has shown high protective efficacy against clinical malaria and severe malaria in a series of clinical trials. We evaluated the effectiveness of SMC treatments against clinical malaria when delivered at scale through national malaria control programmes in 2015 and 2016.
Methods and findings
Case-control studies were carried out in Mali and The Gambia in 2015, and in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Nigeria, and The Gambia in 2016. Children aged 3-59 months presenting at selected health facilities with microscopically confirmed clinical malaria were recruited as cases. Two controls per case were recruited concurrently (on or shortly after the day the case was detected) from the neighbourhood in which the case lived. The primary exposure was the time since the most recent course of SMC treatment, determined from SMC recipient cards, caregiver recall, and administrative records. Conditional logistic regression was used to estimate the odds ratio (OR) associated with receipt of SMC within the previous 28 days, and SMC 29 to 42 days ago, compared with no SMC in the past 42 days. These ORs, which are equivalent to incidence rate ratios, were used to calculate the percentage reduction in clinical malaria incidence in the corresponding time periods. Results from individual countries were pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis. In total, 2,126 cases and 4,252 controls were included in the analysis. Across the 7 studies, the mean age ranged from 1.7 to 2.4 years and from 2.1 to 2.8 years among controls and cases, respectively; 42.2%-50.9% and 38.9%-46.9% of controls and cases, respectively, were male. In all 7 individual case-control studies, a high degree of personal protection from SMC against clinical malaria was observed, ranging from 73% in Mali in 2016 to 98% in Mali in 2015. The overall OR for SMC within 28 days was 0.12 (95% CI: 0.06, 0.21; p < 0.001), indicating a protective effectiveness of 88% (95% CI: 79%, 94%). Effectiveness against clinical malaria for SMC 29-42 days ago was 61% (95% CI: 47%, 72%). Similar results were obtained when the analysis was restricted to cases with parasite density in excess of 5,000 parasites per microlitre: Protective effectiveness 90% (95% CI: 79%, 96%; P<0.001), and 59% (95% CI: 34%, 74%; P<0.001) for SMC 0-28 days and 29-42 days ago, respectively. Potential limitations include the possibility of residual confounding due to an association between exposure to malaria and access to SMC, or differences in access to SMC between patients attending a clinic and community controls; however, neighbourhood matching of cases and controls, and covariate adjustment, attempted to control for these aspects, and the observed decline in protection over time, consistent with expected trends, argues against a major bias from these sources.
Conclusions
SMC administered as part of routine national malaria control activities provided a very high level of personal protection against clinical malaria over 28 days post-treatment, similar to the efficacy observed in clinical trials. The case-control design used in this study can be used at intervals to ensure SMC treatments remain effective.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003727
Cairns M, Ceesay SJ, Sagara I, Zongo I, ... Ndiaye JL, Milligan P
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003727 | PMID: 34495978
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Abstract

Infections in temporal proximity to HPV vaccination and adverse effects following vaccination in Denmark: A nationwide register-based cohort study and case-crossover analysis.

Krogsgaard LW, Petersen I, Plana-Ripoll O, Bech BH, ... Thomsen RW, Rytter D
Background
Public trust in the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme has been challenged by reports of potential severe adverse effects. The reported adverse symptoms were heterogeneous and overlapping with those characterised as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and have been described as CFS-like symptoms. Evidence suggests that CFS is often precipitated by an infection. The aim of the study was to examine if an infection in temporal proximity to HPV vaccination is a risk factor for suspected adverse effects following HPV vaccination.
Methods and findings
The study was a nationwide register-based cohort study and case-crossover analysis. The study population consisted of all HPV vaccinated females living in Denmark, born between 1974 and 2006, and vaccinated between January 1, 2006 and December 31, 2017. The exposure was any infection in the period ± 1 month around time of first HPV vaccination and was defined as (1) hospital-treated infection; (2) redemption of anti-infective medication; or (3) having a rapid streptococcal test done at the general practitioner. The outcome was referral to a specialised hospital setting (5 national HPV centres opened June 1, 2015) due to suspected adverse effects following HPV vaccination. Multivariable logistic regression was used to estimate the association between infection and later HPV centre referral. The participants were 600,400 HPV-vaccinated females aged 11 to 44 years. Of these, 48,361 (9.7%) females had a hospital-treated infection, redeemed anti-infective medication, or had a rapid streptococcal test ± 1 month around time of first HPV vaccination. A total of 1,755 (0.3%) females were referred to an HPV centre. Having a hospital-treated infection in temporal proximity to vaccination was associated with significantly elevated risk of later referral to an HPV centre (odds ratio (OR) 2.75, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.72 to 4.40; P < 0.001). Increased risk was also observed among females who redeemed anti-infective medication (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.33 to 1.83; P < 0.001) or had a rapid streptococcal test (OR 1.45, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.93; P = 0.010). Results from a case-crossover analysis, which was performed to adjust for potential unmeasured confounding, supported the findings. A key limitation of the study is that the HPV centres did not open until June 1, 2015, which may have led to an underestimation of the risk of suspected adverse effects, but stratified analyses by year of vaccination yielded similar results.
Conclusions
Treated infection in temporal proximity to HPV vaccination is associated with increased risk for later referral with suspected adverse vaccine effects. Thus, the infection could potentially be a trigger of the CFS-like symptoms in a subset of the referred females. To our knowledge, the study is the first to investigate the role of infection in the development of suspected adverse effects after HPV vaccination and replication of these findings are needed in other studies.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003768
Krogsgaard LW, Petersen I, Plana-Ripoll O, Bech BH, ... Thomsen RW, Rytter D
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003768 | PMID: 34495975
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Abstract

Computer-aided X-ray screening for tuberculosis and HIV testing among adults with cough in Malawi (the PROSPECT study): A randomised trial and cost-effectiveness analysis.

MacPherson P, Webb EL, Kamchedzera W, Joekes E, ... Nliwasa M, Corbett EL
Background
Suboptimal tuberculosis (TB) diagnostics and HIV contribute to the high global burden of TB. We investigated costs and yield from systematic HIV-TB screening, including computer-aided digital chest X-ray (DCXR-CAD).
Methods and findings
In this open, three-arm randomised trial, adults (≥18 years) with cough attending acute primary services in Malawi were randomised (1:1:1) to standard of care (SOC); oral HIV testing (HIV screening) and linkage to care; or HIV testing and linkage to care plus DCXR-CAD with sputum Xpert for high CAD4TBv5 scores (HIV-TB screening). Participants and study staff were not blinded to intervention allocation, but investigator blinding was maintained until final analysis. The primary outcome was time to TB treatment. Secondary outcomes included proportion with same-day TB treatment; prevalence of undiagnosed/untreated bacteriologically confirmed TB on day 56; and undiagnosed/untreated HIV. Analysis was done on an intention-to-treat basis. Cost-effectiveness analysis used a health-provider perspective. Between 15 November 2018 and 27 November 2019, 8,236 were screened for eligibility, with 473, 492, and 497 randomly allocated to SOC, HIV, and HIV-TB screening arms; 53 (11%), 52 (9%), and 47 (9%) were lost to follow-up, respectively. At 56 days, TB treatment had been started in 5 (1.1%) SOC, 8 (1.6%) HIV screening, and 15 (3.0%) HIV-TB screening participants. Median (IQR) time to TB treatment was 11 (6.5 to 38), 6 (1 to 22), and 1 (0 to 3) days (hazard ratio for HIV-TB versus SOC: 2.86, 1.04 to 7.87), with same-day treatment of 0/5 (0%) SOC, 1/8 (12.5%) HIV, and 6/15 (40.0%) HIV-TB screening arm TB patients (p = 0.03). At day 56, 2 SOC (0.5%), 4 HIV (1.0%), and 2 HIV-TB (0.5%) participants had undiagnosed microbiologically confirmed TB. HIV screening reduced the proportion with undiagnosed or untreated HIV from 10 (2.7%) in the SOC arm to 2 (0.5%) in the HIV screening arm (risk ratio [RR]: 0.18, 0.04 to 0.83), and 1 (0.2%) in the HIV-TB screening arm (RR: 0.09, 0.01 to 0.71). Incremental costs were US$3.58 and US$19.92 per participant screened for HIV and HIV-TB; the probability of cost-effectiveness at a US$1,200/quality-adjusted life year (QALY) threshold was 83.9% and 0%. Main limitations were the lower than anticipated prevalence of TB and short participant follow-up period; cost and quality of life benefits of this screening approach may accrue over a longer time horizon.
Conclusions
DCXR-CAD with universal HIV screening significantly increased the timeliness and completeness of HIV and TB diagnosis. If implemented at scale, this has potential to rapidly and efficiently improve TB and HIV diagnosis and treatment.
Trial registration
clinicaltrials.gov NCT03519425.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003752
MacPherson P, Webb EL, Kamchedzera W, Joekes E, ... Nliwasa M, Corbett EL
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003752 | PMID: 34499665
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Abstract

Body muscle gain and markers of cardiovascular disease susceptibility in young adulthood: A cohort study.

Bell JA, Wade KH, O\'Keeffe LM, Carslake D, ... Timpson NJ, Davey Smith G
Background
The potential benefits of gaining body muscle for cardiovascular disease (CVD) susceptibility, and how these compare with the potential harms of gaining body fat, are unknown. We compared associations of early life changes in body lean mass and handgrip strength versus body fat mass with atherogenic traits measured in young adulthood.
Methods and findings
Data were from 3,227 offspring of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (39% male; recruited in 1991-1992). Limb lean and total fat mass indices (kg/m2) were measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scans performed at age 10, 13, 18, and 25 y (across clinics occurring from 2001-2003 to 2015-2017). Handgrip strength was measured at 12 and 25 y, expressed as maximum grip (kg or lb/in2) and relative grip (maximum grip/weight in kilograms). Linear regression models were used to examine associations of change in standardised measures of these exposures across different stages of body development with 228 cardiometabolic traits measured at age 25 y including blood pressure, fasting insulin, and metabolomics-derived apolipoprotein B lipids. SD-unit gain in limb lean mass index from 10 to 25 y was positively associated with atherogenic traits including very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides. This pattern was limited to lean gain in legs, whereas lean gain in arms was inversely associated with traits including VLDL triglycerides, insulin, and glycoprotein acetyls, and was also positively associated with creatinine (a muscle product and positive control). Furthermore, this pattern for arm lean mass index was specific to SD-unit gains occurring between 13 and 18 y, e.g., -0.13 SD (95% CI -0.22, -0.04) for VLDL triglycerides. Changes in maximum and relative grip from 12 to 25 y were both positively associated with creatinine, but only change in relative grip was also inversely associated with atherogenic traits, e.g., -0.12 SD (95% CI -0.18, -0.06) for VLDL triglycerides per SD-unit gain. Change in fat mass index from 10 to 25 y was more strongly associated with atherogenic traits including VLDL triglycerides, at 0.45 SD (95% CI 0.39, 0.52); these estimates were directionally consistent across sub-periods, with larger effect sizes with more recent gains. Associations of lean, grip, and fat measures with traits were more pronounced among males. Study limitations include potential residual confounding of observational estimates, including by ectopic fat within muscle, and the absence of grip measures in adolescence for estimates of grip change over sub-periods.
Conclusions
In this study, we found that muscle strengthening, as indicated by grip strength gain, was weakly associated with lower atherogenic trait levels in young adulthood, at a smaller magnitude than unfavourable associations of fat mass gain. Associations of muscle mass gain with such traits appear to be smaller and limited to gains occurring in adolescence. These results suggest that body muscle is less robustly associated with markers of CVD susceptibility than body fat and may therefore be a lower-priority intervention target.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003751
Bell JA, Wade KH, O'Keeffe LM, Carslake D, ... Timpson NJ, Davey Smith G
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003751 | PMID: 34499663
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Abstract

Social Innovation For Health Research: Development of the SIFHR Checklist.

Kpokiri EE, Chen E, Li J, Payne S, ... Halpaap B, Tucker JD
Background
Social innovations in health are inclusive solutions to address the healthcare delivery gap that meet the needs of end users through a multi-stakeholder, community-engaged process. While social innovations for health have shown promise in closing the healthcare delivery gap, more research is needed to evaluate, scale up, and sustain social innovation. Research checklists can standardize and improve reporting of research findings, promote transparency, and increase replicability of study results and findings.
Methods and findings
The research checklist was developed through a 3-step community-engaged process, including a global open call for ideas, a scoping review, and a 3-round modified Delphi process. The call for entries solicited checklists and related items and was open between November 27, 2019 and February 1, 2020. In addition to the open call submissions and scoping review findings, a 17-item Social Innovation For Health Research (SIFHR) Checklist was developed based on the Template for Intervention Description and Replication (TIDieR) Checklist. The checklist was then refined during 3 rounds of Delphi surveys conducted between May and June 2020. The resulting checklist will facilitate more complete and transparent reporting, increase end-user engagement, and help assess social innovation projects. A limitation of the open call was requiring internet access, which likely discouraged participation of some subgroups.
Conclusions
The SIFHR Checklist will strengthen the reporting of social innovation for health research studies. More research is needed on social innovation for health.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003788
Kpokiri EE, Chen E, Li J, Payne S, ... Halpaap B, Tucker JD
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003788 | PMID: 34516565
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Abstract

The burden of traumatic brain injury from low-energy falls among patients from 18 countries in the CENTER-TBI Registry: A comparative cohort study.

Lecky FE, Otesile O, Marincowitz C, Majdan M, ... Maas AIR, CENTER-TBI Participants and Investigators
Background
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an important global public health burden, where those injured by high-energy transfer (e.g., road traffic collisions) are assumed to have more severe injury and are prioritised by emergency medical service trauma triage tools. However recent studies suggest an increasing TBI disease burden in older people injured through low-energy falls. We aimed to assess the prevalence of low-energy falls among patients presenting to hospital with TBI, and to compare their characteristics, care pathways, and outcomes to TBI caused by high-energy trauma.
Methods and findings
We conducted a comparative cohort study utilising the CENTER-TBI (Collaborative European NeuroTrauma Effectiveness Research in TBI) Registry, which recorded patient demographics, injury, care pathway, and acute care outcome data in 56 acute trauma receiving hospitals across 18 countries (17 countries in Europe and Israel). Patients presenting with TBI and indications for computed tomography (CT) brain scan between 2014 to 2018 were purposively sampled. The main study outcomes were (i) the prevalence of low-energy falls causing TBI within the overall cohort and (ii) comparisons of TBI patients injured by low-energy falls to TBI patients injured by high-energy transfer-in terms of demographic and injury characteristics, care pathways, and hospital mortality. In total, 22,782 eligible patients were enrolled, and study outcomes were analysed for 21,681 TBI patients with known injury mechanism; 40% (95% CI 39% to 41%) (8,622/21,681) of patients with TBI were injured by low-energy falls. Compared to 13,059 patients injured by high-energy transfer (HE cohort), the those injured through low-energy falls (LE cohort) were older (LE cohort, median 74 [IQR 56 to 84] years, versus HE cohort, median 42 [IQR 25 to 60] years; p < 0.001), more often female (LE cohort, 50% [95% CI 48% to 51%], versus HE cohort, 32% [95% CI 31% to 34%]; p < 0.001), more frequently taking pre-injury anticoagulants or/and platelet aggregation inhibitors (LE cohort, 44% [95% CI 42% to 45%], versus HE cohort, 13% [95% CI 11% to 14%]; p < 0.001), and less often presenting with moderately or severely impaired conscious level (LE cohort, 7.8% [95% CI 5.6% to 9.8%], versus HE cohort, 10% [95% CI 8.7% to 12%]; p < 0.001), but had similar in-hospital mortality (LE cohort, 6.3% [95% CI 4.2% to 8.3%], versus HE cohort, 7.0% [95% CI 5.3% to 8.6%]; p = 0.83). The CT brain scan traumatic abnormality rate was 3% lower in the LE cohort (LE cohort, 29% [95% CI 27% to 31%], versus HE cohort, 32% [95% CI 31% to 34%]; p < 0.001); individuals in the LE cohort were 50% less likely to receive critical care (LE cohort, 12% [95% CI 9.5% to 13%], versus HE cohort, 24% [95% CI 23% to 26%]; p < 0.001) or emergency interventions (LE cohort, 7.5% [95% CI 5.4% to 9.5%], versus HE cohort, 13% [95% CI 12% to 15%]; p < 0.001) than patients injured by high-energy transfer. The purposive sampling strategy and censorship of patient outcomes beyond hospital discharge are the main study limitations.
Conclusions
We observed that patients sustaining TBI from low-energy falls are an important component of the TBI disease burden and a distinct demographic cohort; further, our findings suggest that energy transfer may not predict intracranial injury or acute care mortality in patients with TBI presenting to hospital. This suggests that factors beyond energy transfer level may be more relevant to prehospital and emergency department TBI triage in older people. A specific focus to improve prevention and care for patients sustaining TBI from low-energy falls is required.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003761
Lecky FE, Otesile O, Marincowitz C, Majdan M, ... Maas AIR, CENTER-TBI Participants and Investigators
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003761 | PMID: 34520460
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Abstract

Tuberculosis preventive therapy for people living with HIV: A systematic review and network meta-analysis.

Yanes-Lane M, Ortiz-Brizuela E, Campbell JR, Benedetti A, ... Oxlade O, Menzies D
Background
Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy (TPT) is an essential component of care for people living with HIV (PLHIV). We compared efficacy, safety, completion, and drug-resistant TB risk for currently recommended TPT regimens through a systematic review and network meta-analysis (NMA) of randomized trials.
Methods and findings
We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Library from inception through June 9, 2020 for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing 2 or more TPT regimens (or placebo/no treatment) in PLHIV. Two independent reviewers evaluated eligibility, extracted data, and assessed the risk of bias. We grouped TPT strategies as follows: placebo/no treatment, 6 to 12 months of isoniazid, 24 to 72 months of isoniazid, and rifamycin-containing regimens. A frequentist NMA (using graph theory) was carried out for the outcomes of development of TB disease, all-cause mortality, and grade 3 or worse hepatotoxicity. For other outcomes, graphical descriptions or traditional pairwise meta-analyses were carried out as appropriate. The potential role of confounding variables for TB disease and all-cause mortality was assessed through stratified analyses. A total of 6,466 unique studies were screened, and 157 full texts were assessed for eligibility. Of these, 20 studies (reporting 16 randomized trials) were included. The median sample size was 616 (interquartile range [IQR], 317 to 1,892). Eight were conducted in Africa, 3 in Europe, 3 in the Americas, and 2 included sites in multiple continents. According to the NMA, 6 to 12 months of isoniazid were no more efficacious in preventing microbiologically confirmed TB than rifamycin-containing regimens (incidence rate ratio [IRR] 1.0, 95% CI 0.8 to 1.4, p = 0.8); however, 6 to 12 months of isoniazid were associated with a higher incidence of all-cause mortality (IRR 1.6, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.0, p = 0.02) and a higher risk of grade 3 or higher hepatotoxicity (risk difference [RD] 8.9, 95% CI 2.8 to 14.9, p = 0.004). Finally, shorter regimens were associated with higher completion rates relative to longer regimens, and we did not find statistically significant differences in the risk of drug-resistant TB between regimens. Study limitations include potential confounding due to differences in posttreatment follow-up time and TB incidence in the study setting on the estimates of incidence of TB or all-cause mortality, as well as an underrepresentation of pregnant women and children.
Conclusions
Rifamycin-containing regimens appear safer and at least as effective as isoniazid regimens in preventing TB and death and should be considered part of routine care in PLHIV. Knowledge gaps remain as to which specific rifamycin-containing regimen provides the optimal balance of efficacy, completion, and safety.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003738
Yanes-Lane M, Ortiz-Brizuela E, Campbell JR, Benedetti A, ... Oxlade O, Menzies D
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003738 | PMID: 34520459
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Abstract

Association of physical activity intensity and bout length with mortality: An observational study of 79,503 UK Biobank participants.

Millard LAC, Tilling K, Gaunt TR, Carslake D, Lawlor DA
Background
Spending more time active (and less sedentary) is associated with health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of all-cause mortality. It is unclear whether these associations differ depending on whether time spent sedentary or in moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is accumulated in long or short bouts. In this study, we used a novel method that accounts for substitution (i.e., more time in MVPA means less time sleeping, in light activity or sedentary) to examine whether length of sedentary and MVPA bouts associates with all-cause mortality.
Methods and findings
We used data on 79,503 adult participants from the population-based UK Biobank cohort, which recruited participants between 2006 and 2010 (mean age at accelerometer wear 62.1 years [SD = 7.9], 54.5% women; mean length of follow-up 5.1 years [SD = 0.73]). We derived (1) the total time participants spent in activity categories-sleep, sedentary, light activity, and MVPA-on average per day; (2) time spent in sedentary bouts of short (1 to 15 minutes), medium (16 to 40 minutes), and long (41+ minutes) duration; and (3) MVPA bouts of very short (1 to 9 minutes), short (10 to 15 minutes), medium (16 to 40 minutes), and long (41+ minutes) duration. We used Cox proportion hazards regression to estimate the association of spending 10 minutes more average daily time in one activity or bout length category, coupled with 10 minutes less time in another, with all-cause mortality. Those spending more time in MVPA had lower mortality risk, irrespective of whether this replaced time spent sleeping, sedentary, or in light activity, and these associations were of similar magnitude (e.g., hazard ratio [HR] 0.96 [95% CI: 0.94, 0.97; P < 0.001] per 10 minutes more MVPA, coupled with 10 minutes less light activity per day). Those spending more time sedentary had higher mortality risk if this replaced light activity (HR 1.02 [95% CI: 1.01, 1.02; P < 0.001] per 10 minutes more sedentary time, with 10 minutes less light activity per day) and an even higher risk if this replaced MVPA (HR 1.06 [95% CI: 1.05, 1.08; P < 0.001] per 10 minutes more sedentary time, with 10 minutes less MVPA per day). We found little evidence that mortality risk differed depending on the length of sedentary or MVPA bouts. Key limitations of our study are potential residual confounding, the limited length of follow-up, and use of a select sample of the United Kingdom population.
Conclusions
We have shown that time spent in MVPA was associated with lower mortality, irrespective of whether it replaced time spent sleeping, sedentary, or in light activity. Time spent sedentary was associated with higher mortality risk, particularly if it replaced MVPA. This emphasises the specific importance of MVPA. Our findings suggest that the impact of MVPA does not differ depending on whether it is obtained from several short bouts or fewer longer bouts, supporting the recent removal of the requirement that MVPA should be accumulated in bouts of 10 minutes or more from the UK and the United States policy. Further studies are needed to investigate causality and explore health outcomes beyond mortality.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003757
Millard LAC, Tilling K, Gaunt TR, Carslake D, Lawlor DA
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003757 | PMID: 34525088
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Abstract

Gram-negative neonatal sepsis in low- and lower-middle-income countries and WHO empirical antibiotic recommendations: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Wen SCH, Ezure Y, Rolley L, Spurling G, ... Paterson DL, Irwin AD
Background
Neonatal sepsis is a significant global health issue associated with marked regional disparities in mortality. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing concern in Gram-negative organisms, which increasingly predominate in neonatal sepsis, and existing WHO empirical antibiotic recommendations may no longer be appropriate. Previous systematic reviews have been limited to specific low- and middle-income countries. We therefore completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of available data from all low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs) since 2010, with a focus on regional differences in Gram-negative infections and AMR.
Methods and findings
All studies published from 1 January 2010 to 21 April 2021 about microbiologically confirmed bloodstream infections or meningitis in neonates and AMR in LLMICs were assessed for eligibility. Small case series, studies with a small number of Gram-negative isolates (<10), and studies with a majority of isolates prior to 2010 were excluded. Main outcomes were pooled proportions of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter and AMR. We included 88 studies (4 cohort studies, 3 randomised controlled studies, and 81 cross-sectional studies) comprising 10,458 Gram-negative isolates from 19 LLMICs. No studies were identified outside of Africa and Asia. The estimated pooled proportion of neonatal sepsis caused by Gram-negative organisms was 60% (95% CI 55% to 65%). Klebsiella spp. was the most common, with a pooled proportion of 38% of Gram-negative sepsis (95% CI 33% to 43%). Regional differences were observed, with higher proportions of Acinetobacter spp. in Asia and Klebsiella spp. in Africa. Resistance to aminoglycosides and third-generation cephalosporins ranged from 42% to 69% and from 59% to 84%, respectively. Study limitations include significant heterogeneity among included studies, exclusion of upper-middle-income countries, and potential sampling bias, with the majority of studies from tertiary hospital settings, which may overestimate the burden caused by Gram-negative bacteria.
Conclusions
Gram-negative bacteria are an important cause of neonatal sepsis in LLMICs and are associated with significant rates of resistance to WHO-recommended first- and second-line empirical antibiotics. AMR surveillance should underpin region-specific empirical treatment recommendations. Meanwhile, a significant global commitment to accessible and effective antimicrobials for neonates is required.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003787
Wen SCH, Ezure Y, Rolley L, Spurling G, ... Paterson DL, Irwin AD
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003787 | PMID: 34582466
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Abstract

Differences in outcomes of mandatory motorcycle helmet legislation by country income level: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Lepard JR, Spagiari R, Corley J, Barthélemy EJ, ... Mekary RA, Park KB
Background
The recent Lancet Commission on Legal Determinants of Global Health argues that governance can provide the framework for achieving sustainable development goals. Even though over 90% of fatal road traffic injuries occur in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) primarily affecting motorcyclists, the utility of helmet laws outside of high-income settings has not been well characterized. We sought to evaluate the differences in outcomes of mandatory motorcycle helmet legislation and determine whether these varied across country income levels.
Methods and findings
A systematic review and meta-analysis were completed using the PRISMA checklist. A search for relevant articles was conducted using the PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases from January 1, 1990 to August 8, 2021. Studies were included if they evaluated helmet usage, mortality from motorcycle crash, or traumatic brain injury (TBI) incidence, with and without enactment of a mandatory helmet law as the intervention. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS) was used to rate study quality and funnel plots, and Begg\'s and Egger\'s tests were used to assess for small study bias. Pooled odds ratios (ORs) and their 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were stratified by high-income countries (HICs) versus LMICs using the random-effects model. Twenty-five articles were included in the final analysis encompassing a total study population of 31,949,418 people. There were 17 retrospective cohort studies, 2 prospective cohort studies, 1 case-control study, and 5 pre-post design studies. There were 16 studies from HICs and 9 from LMICs. The median NOS score was 6 with a range of 4 to 9. All studies demonstrated higher odds of helmet usage after implementation of helmet law; however, the results were statistically significantly greater in HICs (OR: 53.5; 95% CI: 28.4; 100.7) than in LMICs (OR: 4.82; 95% CI: 3.58; 6.49), p-value comparing both strata < 0.0001. There were significantly lower odds of motorcycle fatalities after enactment of helmet legislation (OR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.61; 0.83) with no significant difference by income classification, p-value: 0.27. Odds of TBI were statistically significantly lower in HICs (OR: 0.61, 95% CI 0.54 to 0.69) than in LMICs (0.79, 95% CI 0.72 to 0.86) after enactment of law (p-value: 0.0001). Limitations of this study include variability in the methodologies and data sources in the studies included in the meta-analysis as well as the lack of available literature from the lowest income countries or from the African WHO region, in which helmet laws are least commonly present.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that mandatory helmet laws had substantial public health benefits in all income contexts, but some outcomes were diminished in LMIC settings where additional measures such as public education and law enforcement might play critical roles.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003795
Lepard JR, Spagiari R, Corley J, Barthélemy EJ, ... Mekary RA, Park KB
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003795 | PMID: 34534215
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Abstract

All-cause and cause-specific mortality during and following incarceration in Brazil: A retrospective cohort study.

Liu YE, Lemos EF, Gonçalves CCM, de Oliveira RD, ... Walter KS, Andrews JR
Background
Mortality during and after incarceration is poorly understood in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The need to address this knowledge gap is especially urgent in South America, which has the fastest growing prison population in the world. In Brazil, insufficient data have precluded our understanding of all-cause and cause-specific mortality during and after incarceration.
Methods and findings
We linked incarceration and mortality databases for the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul to obtain a retrospective cohort of 114,751 individuals with recent incarceration. Between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2018, we identified 3,127 deaths of individuals with recent incarceration (705 in detention and 2,422 following release). We analyzed age-standardized, all-cause, and cause-specific mortality rates among individuals detained in different facility types and following release, compared to non-incarcerated residents. We additionally modeled mortality rates over time during and after incarceration for all causes of death, violence, or suicide. Deaths in custody were 2.2 times the number reported by the national prison administration (n = 317). Incarcerated men and boys experienced elevated mortality, compared with the non-incarcerated population, due to increased risk of death from violence, suicide, and communicable diseases, with the highest standardized incidence rate ratio (IRR) in semi-open prisons (2.4; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.0 to 2.8), police stations (3.1; 95% CI: 2.5 to 3.9), and youth detention (8.1; 95% CI: 5.9 to 10.8). Incarcerated women experienced increased mortality from suicide (IRR = 6.0, 95% CI: 1.2 to 17.7) and communicable diseases (IRR = 2.5, 95% CI: 1.1 to 5.0). Following release from prison, mortality was markedly elevated for men (IRR = 3.0; 95% CI: 2.8 to 3.1) and women (IRR = 2.4; 95% CI: 2.1 to 2.9). The risk of violent death and suicide was highest immediately post-release and declined over time; however, all-cause mortality remained elevated 8 years post-release. The limitations of this study include inability to establish causality, uncertain reliability of data during incarceration, and underestimation of mortality rates due to imperfect database linkage.
Conclusions
Incarcerated individuals in Brazil experienced increased mortality from violence, suicide, and communicable diseases. Mortality was heightened following release for all leading causes of death, with particularly high risk of early violent death and elevated all-cause mortality up to 8 years post-release. These disparities may have been underrecognized in Brazil due to underreporting and insufficient data.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003789
Liu YE, Lemos EF, Gonçalves CCM, de Oliveira RD, ... Walter KS, Andrews JR
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003789 | PMID: 34534214
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Abstract

Community-facility linkage models and maternal and infant health outcomes in Malawi\'s PMTCT/ART program: A cohort study.

Herce ME, Chagomerana MB, Zalla LC, Carbone NB, ... Hosseinipour MC, Edwards JK
Background
In sub-Saharan Africa, 3 community-facility linkage (CFL) models-Expert Clients, Community Health Workers (CHWs), and Mentor Mothers-have been widely implemented to support pregnant and breastfeeding women (PBFW) living with HIV and their infants to access and sustain care for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), yet their comparative impact under real-world conditions is poorly understood.
Methods and findings
We sought to estimate the effects of CFL models on a primary outcome of maternal loss to follow-up (LTFU), and secondary outcomes of maternal longitudinal viral suppression and infant \"poor outcome\" (encompassing documented HIV-positive test result, LTFU, or death), in Malawi\'s PMTCT/ART program. We sampled 30 of 42 high-volume health facilities (\"sites\") in 5 Malawi districts for study inclusion. At each site, we reviewed medical records for all newly HIV-diagnosed PBFW entering the PMTCT program between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, and, for pregnancies resulting in live births, their HIV-exposed infants, yielding 2,589 potentially eligible mother-infant pairs. Of these, 2,049 (79.1%) had an available HIV treatment record and formed the study cohort. A randomly selected subset of 817 (40.0%) cohort members underwent a field survey, consisting of a questionnaire and HIV biomarker assessment. Survey responses and biomarker results were used to impute CFL model exposure, maternal viral load, and early infant diagnosis (EID) outcomes for those missing these measures to enrich data in the larger cohort. We applied sampling weights in all statistical analyses to account for the differing proportions of facilities sampled by district. Of the 2,049 mother-infant pairs analyzed, 62.2% enrolled in PMTCT at a primary health center, at which time 43.7% of PBFW were ≤24 years old, and 778 (38.0%) received the Expert Client model, 640 (31.2%) the CHW model, 345 (16.8%) the Mentor Mother model, 192 (9.4%) ≥2 models, and 94 (4.6%) no model. Maternal LTFU varied by model, with LTFU being more likely among Mentor Mother model recipients (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR]: 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.14, 1.84; p = 0.003) than Expert Client recipients. Over 2 years from HIV diagnosis, PBFW supported by CHWs spent 14.3% (95% CI: 2.6%, 26.1%; p = 0.02) more days in an optimal state of antiretroviral therapy (ART) retention with viral suppression than women supported by Expert Clients. Infants receiving the Mentor Mother model (aHR: 1.24, 95% CI: 1.01, 1.52; p = 0.04) and ≥2 models (aHR: 1.44, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.74; p < 0.001) were more likely to undergo EID testing by age 6 months than infants supported by Expert Clients. Infants receiving the CHW and Mentor Mother models were 1.15 (95% CI: 0.80, 1.67; p = 0.44) and 0.84 (95% CI: 0.50, 1.42; p = 0.51) times as likely, respectively, to experience a poor outcome by 1 year than those supported by Expert Clients, but not significantly so. Study limitations include possible residual confounding, which may lead to inaccurate conclusions about the impacts of CFL models, uncertain generalizability of findings to other settings, and missing infant medical record data that limited the precision of infant outcome measurement.
Conclusions
In this descriptive study, we observed widespread reach of CFL models in Malawi, with favorable maternal outcomes in the CHW model and greater infant EID testing uptake in the Mentor Mother model. Our findings point to important differences in maternal and infant HIV outcomes by CFL model along the PMTCT continuum and suggest future opportunities to identify key features of CFL models driving these outcome differences.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003780
Herce ME, Chagomerana MB, Zalla LC, Carbone NB, ... Hosseinipour MC, Edwards JK
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003780 | PMID: 34534213
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Abstract

Associations between women\'s empowerment and child development, growth, and nurturing care practices in sub-Saharan Africa: A cross-sectional analysis of demographic and health survey data.

Bliznashka L, Udo IE, Sudfeld CR, Fawzi WW, Yousafzai AK
Background
Approximately 40% of children 3 to 4 years of age in low- and middle-income countries have suboptimal development and growth. Women\'s empowerment may help provide inputs of nurturing care for early development and growth by building caregiver capacity and family support. We examined the associations between women\'s empowerment and child development, growth, early learning, and nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
Methods and findings
We pooled data on married women (15 to 49 years) and their children (36 to 59 months) from Demographic and Health Surveys that collected data on child development (2011 to 2018) in 9 SSA countries (N = 21,434): Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. We constructed a women\'s empowerment score using factor analysis and assigned women to country-specific quintile categories. The child outcomes included cognitive, socioemotional, literacy-numeracy, and physical development (Early Childhood Development Index), linear growth (height-for-age Z-score (HAZ) and stunting (HAZ <-2). Early learning outcomes were number of parental stimulation activities (range 0 to 6) and learning resources (range 0 to 4). The nutrition outcome was child dietary diversity score (DDS, range 0 to 7). We assessed the relationship between women\'s empowerment and child development, growth, early learning, and nutrition using multivariate generalized linear models. On average, households in our sample were large (8.5 ± 5.7 members) and primarily living in rural areas (71%). Women were 31 ± 6.6 years on average, 54% had no education, and 31% had completed primary education. Children were 47 ± 7 months old and 49% were female. About 23% of children had suboptimal cognitive development, 31% had suboptimal socioemotional development, and 90% had suboptimal literacy-numeracy development. Only 9% of children had suboptimal physical development, but 35% were stunted. Approximately 14% of mothers and 3% of fathers provided ≥4 stimulation activities. Relative to the lowest quintile category, children of women in the highest empowerment quintile category were less likely to have suboptimal cognitive development (relative risk (RR) 0.89; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.80, 0.99), had higher HAZ (mean difference (MD) 0.09; 95% CI 0.02, 0.16), lower risk of stunting (RR 0.93; 95% CI 0.87, 1.00), higher DDS (MD 0.17; 95% CI 0.06, 0.29), had 0.07 (95% CI 0.01, 0.13) additional learning resources, and received 0.16 (95% CI 0.06, 0.25) additional stimulation activities from their mothers and 0.23 (95% CI 0.17 to 0.29) additional activities from their fathers. We found no evidence that women\'s empowerment was associated with socioemotional, literacy-numeracy, or physical development. Study limitations include the possibility of reverse causality and suboptimal assessments of the outcomes and exposure.
Conclusions
Women\'s empowerment was positively associated with early child cognitive development, child growth, early learning, and nutrition outcomes in SSA. Efforts to improve child development and growth should consider women\'s empowerment as a potential strategy.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003781
Bliznashka L, Udo IE, Sudfeld CR, Fawzi WW, Yousafzai AK
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003781 | PMID: 34529666
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Abstract

The blood metabolome of incident kidney cancer: A case-control study nested within the MetKid consortium.

Guida F, Tan VY, Corbin LJ, Smith-Byrne K, ... Timpson NJ, Johansson M
Background
Excess bodyweight and related metabolic perturbations have been implicated in kidney cancer aetiology, but the specific molecular mechanisms underlying these relationships are poorly understood. In this study, we sought to identify circulating metabolites that predispose kidney cancer and to evaluate the extent to which they are influenced by body mass index (BMI).
Methods and findings
We assessed the association between circulating levels of 1,416 metabolites and incident kidney cancer using pre-diagnostic blood samples from up to 1,305 kidney cancer case-control pairs from 5 prospective cohort studies. Cases were diagnosed on average 8 years after blood collection. We found 25 metabolites robustly associated with kidney cancer risk. In particular, 14 glycerophospholipids (GPLs) were inversely associated with risk, including 8 phosphatidylcholines (PCs) and 2 plasmalogens. The PC with the strongest association was PC ae C34:3 with an odds ratio (OR) for 1 standard deviation (SD) increment of 0.75 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.68 to 0.83, p = 2.6 × 10-8). In contrast, 4 amino acids, including glutamate (OR for 1 SD = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.20 to 1.60, p = 1.6 × 10-5), were positively associated with risk. Adjusting for BMI partly attenuated the risk association for some-but not all-metabolites, whereas other known risk factors of kidney cancer, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, had minimal impact on the observed associations. A mendelian randomisation (MR) analysis of the influence of BMI on the blood metabolome highlighted that some metabolites associated with kidney cancer risk are influenced by BMI. Specifically, elevated BMI appeared to decrease levels of several GPLs that were also found inversely associated with kidney cancer risk (e.g., -0.17 SD change [ßBMI] in 1-(1-enyl-palmitoyl)-2-linoleoyl-GPC (P-16:0/18:2) levels per SD change in BMI, p = 3.4 × 10-5). BMI was also associated with increased levels of glutamate (ßBMI: 0.12, p = 1.5 × 10-3). While our results were robust across the participating studies, they were limited to study participants of European descent, and it will, therefore, be important to evaluate if our findings can be generalised to populations with different genetic backgrounds.
Conclusions
This study suggests a potentially important role of the blood metabolome in kidney cancer aetiology by highlighting a wide range of metabolites associated with the risk of developing kidney cancer and the extent to which changes in levels of these metabolites are driven by BMI-the principal modifiable risk factor of kidney cancer.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003786
Guida F, Tan VY, Corbin LJ, Smith-Byrne K, ... Timpson NJ, Johansson M
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003786 | PMID: 34543281
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Abstract

Effect of a patient-centered hypertension delivery strategy on all-cause mortality: Secondary analysis of SEARCH, a community-randomized trial in rural Kenya and Uganda.

Hickey MD, Ayieko J, Owaraganise A, Sim N, ... Petersen ML, Havlir DV
Background
Hypertension treatment reduces morbidity and mortality yet has not been broadly implemented in many low-resource settings, including sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). We hypothesized that a patient-centered integrated chronic disease model that included hypertension treatment and leveraged the HIV care system would reduce mortality among adults with uncontrolled hypertension in rural Kenya and Uganda.
Methods and findings
This is a secondary analysis of the SEARCH trial (NCT:01864603), in which 32 communities underwent baseline population-based multidisease testing, including hypertension screening, and were randomized to standard country-guided treatment or to a patient-centered integrated chronic care model including treatment for hypertension, diabetes, and HIV. Patient-centered care included on-site introduction to clinic staff at screening, nursing triage to expedite visits, reduced visit frequency, flexible clinic hours, and a welcoming clinic environment. The analytic population included nonpregnant adults (≥18 years) with baseline uncontrolled hypertension (blood pressure ≥140/90 mm Hg). The primary outcome was 3-year all-cause mortality with comprehensive population-level assessment. Secondary outcomes included hypertension control assessed at a population level at year 3 (defined per country guidelines as at least 1 blood pressure measure <140/90 mm Hg on 3 repeated measures). Between-arm comparisons used cluster-level targeted maximum likelihood estimation. Among 86,078 adults screened at study baseline (June 2013 to July 2014), 10,928 (13%) had uncontrolled hypertension. Median age was 53 years (25th to 75th percentile 40 to 66); 6,058 (55%) were female; 677 (6%) were HIV infected; and 477 (4%) had diabetes mellitus. Overall, 174 participants (3.2%) in the intervention group and 225 participants (4.1%) in the control group died during 3 years of follow-up (adjusted relative risk (aRR) 0.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.64 to 0.97, p = 0.028). Among those with baseline grade 3 hypertension (≥180/110 mm Hg), 22 (4.9%) in the intervention group and 42 (7.9%) in the control group died during 3 years of follow-up (aRR 0.62, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.97, p = 0.038). Estimated population-level hypertension control at year 3 was 53% in intervention and 44% in control communities (aRR 1.22, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.33, p < 0.001). Study limitations include inability to identify specific causes of death and control conditions that exceeded current standard hypertension care.
Conclusions
In this cluster randomized comparison where both arms received population-level hypertension screening, implementation of a patient-centered hypertension care model was associated with a 21% reduction in all-cause mortality and a 22% improvement in hypertension control compared to standard care among adults with baseline uncontrolled hypertension. Patient-centered chronic care programs for HIV can be leveraged to reduce the overall burden of cardiovascular mortality in SSA.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01864603.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003803
Hickey MD, Ayieko J, Owaraganise A, Sim N, ... Petersen ML, Havlir DV
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003803 | PMID: 34543267
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Abstract

Death of an offspring and parental risk of ischemic heart diseases: A population-based cohort study.

Wei D, Janszky I, Fang F, Chen H, ... Li J, László KD
Background
The death of a child is an extreme life event with potentially long-term health consequences. Knowledge about its association with ischemic heart diseases (IHDs) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI), however, is very limited. We investigated whether the death of an offspring is associated with the risk of IHD and AMI.
Methods and findings
We studied parents of live-born children recorded in the Danish (1973 to 2016) and the Swedish (1973 to 2014) Medical Birth Registers (n = 6,711,952; mean age at baseline 31 years, 53% women). We retrieved information on exposure, outcomes, and covariates by linking individual-level information from several nationwide registers. We analyzed the abovementioned associations using Poisson regression. A total of 126,522 (1.9%) parents lost at least 1 child during the study period. Bereaved parents had a higher risk of IHD and AMI than the nonbereaved [incidence rate ratios (IRRs) (95% confidence intervals (CIs)): 1.20 (1.18 to 1.23), P < 0.001 and 1.21 (1.17 to 1.25), P < 0.001, respectively]. The association was present not only in case of losses due to CVD or other natural causes, but also in case of unnatural deaths. The AMI risk was highest in the first week after the loss [IRR (95% CI): 3.67 (2.08 to 6.46), P < 0.001], but a 20% to 40% increased risk was observed throughout the whole follow-up period. Study limitations include the possibility of residual confounding by socioeconomic, lifestyle, or health-related factors and the potentially limited generalizability of our findings outside Scandinavia.
Conclusions
The death of an offspring was associated with an increased risk of IHD and AMI. The finding that the association was present also in case of losses due to unnatural causes, which are less likely to be confounded by cardiovascular risk factors clustering in families, suggests that stress-related mechanisms may also contribute to the observed associations.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003790
Wei D, Janszky I, Fang F, Chen H, ... Li J, László KD
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003790 | PMID: 34587153
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Abstract

Evaluation of an mHealth-enabled hierarchical diabetes management intervention in primary care in China (ROADMAP): A cluster randomized trial.

Jia W, Zhang P, Zhu D, Duolikun N, ... Li X, ROADMAP Study Group
Background
Glycemic control remains suboptimal in developing countries due to critical system deficiencies. An innovative mobile health (mHealth)-enabled hierarchical diabetes management intervention was introduced and evaluated in China with the purpose of achieving better control of type 2 diabetes in primary care.
Methods and findings
A community-based cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted among registered patients with type 2 diabetes in primary care from June 2017 to July 2019. A total of 19,601 participants were recruited from 864 communities (clusters) across 25 provinces in China, and 19,546 completed baseline assessment. Moreover, 576 communities (13,037 participants) were centrally randomized to the intervention and 288 communities (6,509 participants) to usual care. The intervention was centered on a tiered care team-delivered mHealth-mediated service package, initiated by monthly blood glucose monitoring at each structured clinic visit. Capacity building and quarterly performance review strategies upheld the quality of delivered primary care. The primary outcome was control of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c; <7.0%), assessed at baseline and 12 months. The secondary outcomes include the individual/combined control rates of blood glucose, blood pressure (BP), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C); changes in levels of HbA1c, BP, LDL-C, fasting blood glucose (FBG), and body weight; and episodes of hypoglycemia. Data were analyzed using intention-to-treat (ITT) generalized estimating equation (GEE) models, accounting for clustering and baseline values of the analyzed outcomes. After 1-year follow-up, 17,554 participants (89.8%) completed the end-of-study (EOS) assessment, with 45.1% of them from economically developed areas, 49.9% from urban areas, 60.5 (standard deviation [SD] 8.4) years of age, 41.2% male, 6.0 years of median diabetes duration, HbA1c level of 7.87% (SD 1.92%), and 37.3% with HbA1c <7.0% at baseline. Compared with usual care, the intervention led to an absolute improvement in the HbA1c control rate of 7.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.0% to 10.0%) and a relative improvement of 18.6% (relative risk [RR] 1.186, 95% CI 1.105 to 1.267) and an absolute improvement in the composite ABC control (HbA1c <7.0%, BP <140/80 mm Hg, and LDL-C <2.6 mmol/L) rate of 1.9% (95% CI 0.5 to 3.5) and a relative improvement of 21.8% (RR 1.218, 95% CI 1.062 to 1.395). No difference was found on hypoglycemia episode and weight gain between groups. Study limitations include noncentralized laboratory tests except for HbA1c, and caution should be exercised when extrapolating the findings to patients not registered in primary care system.
Conclusions
The mHealth-enabled hierarchical diabetes management intervention effectively improved diabetes control in primary care and has the potential to be transferred to other chronic conditions management in similar contexts.
Trial registration
Chinese Clinical Trial Registry (ChiCTR) IOC-17011325.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003754
Jia W, Zhang P, Zhu D, Duolikun N, ... Li X, ROADMAP Study Group
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003754 | PMID: 34547030
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Abstract

Biomarkers of dairy fat intake, incident cardiovascular disease, and all-cause mortality: A cohort study, systematic review, and meta-analysis.

Trieu K, Bhat S, Dai Z, Leander K, ... Risérus U, Marklund M
Background
We aimed to investigate the association of serum pentadecanoic acid (15:0), a biomarker of dairy fat intake, with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD) and all-cause mortality in a Swedish cohort study. We also systematically reviewed studies of the association of dairy fat biomarkers (circulating or adipose tissue levels of 15:0, heptadecanoic acid [17:0], and trans-palmitoleic acid [t16:1n-7]) with CVD outcomes or all-cause mortality.
Methods and findings
We measured 15:0 in serum cholesterol esters at baseline in 4,150 Swedish adults (51% female, median age 60.5 years). During a median follow-up of 16.6 years, 578 incident CVD events and 676 deaths were identified using Swedish registers. In multivariable-adjusted models, higher 15:0 was associated with lower incident CVD risk in a linear dose-response manner (hazard ratio 0.75 per interquintile range; 95% confidence interval 0.61, 0.93, P = 0.009) and nonlinearly with all-cause mortality (P for nonlinearity = 0.03), with a nadir of mortality risk around median 15:0. In meta-analyses including our Swedish cohort and 17 cohort, case-cohort, or nested case-control studies, higher 15:0 and 17:0 but not t16:1n-7 were inversely associated with total CVD, with the relative risk of highest versus lowest tertile being 0.88 (0.78, 0.99), 0.86 (0.79, 0.93), and 1.01 (0.91, 1.12), respectively. Dairy fat biomarkers were not associated with all-cause mortality in meta-analyses, although there were ≤3 studies for each biomarker. Study limitations include the inability of the biomarkers to distinguish different types of dairy foods and that most studies in the meta-analyses (including our novel cohort study) only assessed biomarkers at baseline, which may increase the risk of misclassification of exposure levels.
Conclusions
In a meta-analysis of 18 observational studies including our new cohort study, higher levels of 15:0 and 17:0 were associated with lower CVD risk. Our findings support the need for clinical and experimental studies to elucidate the causality of these relationships and relevant biological mechanisms.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003763
Trieu K, Bhat S, Dai Z, Leander K, ... Risérus U, Marklund M
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003763 | PMID: 34547017
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Abstract

Prevalence and incidence of young onset dementia and associations with comorbidities: A study of data from the French national health data system.

Carcaillon-Bentata L, Quintin C, Boussac-Zarebska M, Elbaz A
Background
Dementia onset in those aged <65 years (young onset dementia, YOD) has dramatic individual and societal consequences. In the context of population aging, data on YOD are of major importance to anticipate needs for planning and allocation of health and social resources. Few studies have provided precise frequency estimates of YOD. The aim of this study is to provide YOD prevalence and incidence estimates in France and to study the contribution of comorbidities to YOD incidence.
Methods and findings
Using data from the French national health data system (Système National des Données de Santé, SNDS) for 76% of the French population aged 40 to 64 years in 2016 (n = 16,665,795), we identified all persons with dementia based on at least 1 of 3 criteria: anti-Alzheimer drugs claims, hospitalization with the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision (ICD-10) dementia codes (F00 to F03, G30, G31.0, G31.1, or F05.1), or registration for free healthcare for dementia. We estimated prevalence rate (PR) and incidence rate (IR) and estimated the association of comorbidities with incident YOD. Sex differences were investigated. We identified 18,466 (PRstandardized = 109.7/100,000) and 4,074 incident (IRstandardized = 24.4/100,000 person-years) persons with prevalent and incident YOD, respectively. PR and IR sharply increased with age. Age-adjusted PR and IR were 33% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 29 to 37) and 39% (95% CI = 31 to 48) higher in men than women (p < 0.001 both for PR and IR). Cardio- and cerebrovascular, neurological, psychiatric diseases, and traumatic brain injury prevalence were associated with incident YOD (age- and sex-adjusted p-values <0.001 for all comorbidities examined, except p = 0.109 for antihypertensive drug therapy). Adjustment for all comorbidities explained more than 55% of the sex difference in YOD incidence. The lack of information regarding dementia subtypes is the main limitation of this study.
Conclusions
We estimated that there were approximately 24,000 and approximately 5,300 persons with prevalent and incident YOD, respectively, in France in 2016. The higher YOD frequency in men may be partly explained by higher prevalence of cardiovascular and neurovascular diseases, substance abuse disorders, and traumatic brain injury and warrants further investigation.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003801
Carcaillon-Bentata L, Quintin C, Boussac-Zarebska M, Elbaz A
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003801 | PMID: 34555025
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Abstract

Relative risks of adverse events among older adults receiving opioids versus NSAIDs after hospital discharge: A nationwide cohort study.

Herzig SJ, Anderson TS, Jung Y, Ngo L, Kim DH, McCarthy EP
Background
Although analgesics are initiated on hospital discharge in millions of adults each year, studies quantifying the risks of opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) among older adults during this transition are limited. We sought to determine the incidence and risk of post-discharge adverse events among older adults with an opioid claim in the week after hospital discharge, compared to those with NSAID claims only.
Methods and findings
We performed a retrospective cohort study using a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older, hospitalized in United States hospitals in 2016. We excluded beneficiaries admitted from or discharged to a facility. We derived a propensity score that included over 100 factors potentially related to the choice of analgesic, including demographics, diagnoses, surgeries, and medication coadministrations. Using 3:1 propensity matching, beneficiaries with an opioid claim in the week after hospital discharge (with or without NSAID claims) were matched to beneficiaries with an NSAID claim only. Primary outcomes included death, healthcare utilization (emergency department [ED] visits and rehospitalization), and a composite of known adverse effects of opioids or NSAIDs (fall/fracture, delirium, nausea/vomiting, complications of slowed colonic motility, acute renal failure, and gastritis/duodenitis) within 30 days of discharge. After propensity matching, there were 13,385 beneficiaries in the opioid cohort and 4,677 in the NSAID cohort (mean age: 74 years, 57% female). Beneficiaries receiving opioids had a higher incidence of death (1.8% versus 1.1%; relative risk [RR] 1.7 [1.3 to 2.3], p < 0.001, number needed to harm [NNH] 125), healthcare utilization (19.0% versus 17.4%; RR 1.1 [1.02 to 1.2], p = 0.02, NNH 59), and any potential adverse effect (25.2% versus 21.3%; RR 1.2 [1.1 to 1.3], p < 0.001, NNH 26), compared to those with an NSAID claim only. Specifically, they had higher relative risk of fall/fracture (4.5% versus 3.4%; RR 1.3 [1.1 to 1.6], p = 0.002), nausea/vomiting (9.2% versus 7.3%; RR 1.3 [1.1 to 1.4], p < 0.001), and slowed colonic motility (8.0% versus 6.2%; RR 1.3 [1.1 to 1.4], p < 0.001). Risks of delirium, acute renal failure, and gastritis/duodenitis did not differ between groups. The main limitation of our study is the observational nature of the data and possibility of residual confounding.
Conclusions
Older adults filling an opioid prescription in the week after hospital discharge were at higher risk for mortality and other post-discharge adverse outcomes compared to those filling an NSAID prescription only.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003804
Herzig SJ, Anderson TS, Jung Y, Ngo L, Kim DH, McCarthy EP
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003804 | PMID: 34570810
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Abstract

Implications of armed conflict for maternal and child health: A regression analysis of data from 181 countries for 2000-2019.

Jawad M, Hone T, Vamos EP, Cetorelli V, Millett C
Background
Armed conflicts have major indirect health impacts in addition to the direct harms from violence. They create enduring political instability, destabilise health systems, and foster negative socioeconomic and environmental conditions-all of which constrain efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality. The detrimental impacts of conflict on global maternal and child health are not robustly quantified. This study assesses the association between conflict and maternal and child health globally.
Methods and findings
Data for 181 countries (2000-2019) from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program and World Bank were analysed using panel regression models. Primary outcomes were maternal, under-5, infant, and neonatal mortality rates. Secondary outcomes were delivery by a skilled birth attendant and diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus (DPT) and measles vaccination coverage. Models were adjusted for 10 confounders, country and year fixed effects, and conflict lagged by 1 year. Further lagged associations up to 10 years post-conflict were tested. The number of excess deaths due to conflict was estimated. Out of 3,718 country-year observations, 522 (14.0%) had minor conflicts and 148 (4.0%) had wars. In adjusted models, conflicts classified as wars were associated with an increase in maternal mortality of 36.9 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births (95% CI 1.9-72.0; 0.3 million excess deaths [95% CI 0.2 million-0.4 million] over the study period), an increase in infant mortality of 2.8 per 1,000 live births (95% CI 0.1-5.5; 2.0 million excess deaths [95% CI 1.6 million-2.5 million]), a decrease in DPT vaccination coverage of 4.9% (95% CI 1.5%-8.3%), and a decrease in measles vaccination coverage of 7.3% (95% CI 2.7%-11.8%). The long-term impacts of war were demonstrated by associated increases in maternal mortality observed for up to 7 years, in under-5 mortality for 3-5 years, in infant mortality for up to 8 years, in DPT vaccination coverage for up to 3 years, and in measles vaccination coverage for up to 2 years. No evidence of association between armed conflict and neonatal mortality or delivery by a skilled birth attendant was found. Study limitations include the ecological study design, which may mask sub-national variation in conflict intensity, and the quality of the underlying data.
Conclusions
Our analysis indicates that armed conflict is associated with substantial and persistent excess maternal and child deaths globally, and with reductions in key measures that indicate reduced availability of organised healthcare. These findings highlight the importance of protecting women and children from the indirect harms of conflict, including those relating to health system deterioration and worsening socioeconomic conditions.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003810
Jawad M, Hone T, Vamos EP, Cetorelli V, Millett C
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003810 | PMID: 34582455
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Abstract

Gender-equitable caregiver attitudes and education and safety of adolescent girls in South Kivu, DRC: A secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial.

Seff I, Falb K, Yu G, Landis D, Stark L
Background
Adolescent girls face myriad threats to their well-being and safety as a result of gender-inequitable attitudes and norms, and these risks are often exacerbated during humanitarian emergencies. While humanitarian actors have begun to address caregivers\' behaviors and gender attitudes as an approach to support and meet the needs of adolescent girls, best practices for working with caregivers to improve adolescent girls\' well-being in these settings have yet to be identified.
Methods and findings
This study uses panel data from a program evaluation to analyze associations between changes in gender-equitable attitudes among caregivers and changes in schooling and violence victimization for girls ages 10 to 14 years old in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Participants were recruited in May 2015 for baseline (May to July 2015) and endline (August to October 2016) data collection. Baseline and endline data for both caregivers and girls were available for 732 girls. The average ages of adolescents and caregivers were 12 and 40.7, respectively, and 92% of caregivers were female. The predictor of interest was the change in caregivers\' gender-equitable attitudes between the 2 points in time, where attitudes were measured using 10 underlying survey questions. The primary outcomes of interest were dichotomous and included improvement in schooling participation and declines in physical, sexual, and emotional violence and feeling uncared for. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between changes in caregivers\' attitudes and 5 outcomes of interest and revealed that an increase in a caregiver\'s gender-equitable attitude score was associated with significantly greater odds of a girl experiencing an improvement in schooling participation (aOR = 1.08, CI [1.005, 1.154], p = 0.036) and of a girl experiencing a marginal decline in physical violence victimization (aOR = 1.07, CI [0.989, 1.158], p = 0.092). Analyses also revealed that older girls had lower odds of experiencing an improvement in schooling participation (aOR = 0.77, CI [0.686, 0.861], p < 0.001), physical violence (aOR = 0.86, CI [0.757, 0.984], p = 0.028), sexual violence (aOR = 0.86, CI [0.743, 1.003], p = 0.055), or emotional violence (aOR = 0.98, CI [0.849, 1.105], p = 0.005). Important limitations in this study include the self-reported nature of outcomes, use of single questionnaire items to construct the outcome variables, and potential self-selection bias.
Conclusions
Results suggest that supporting caregivers to increase gender equitable attitudes may be associated with benefits in dual outcomes of education and safety for adolescent girls in eastern DRC. Further research is needed to better understand how to induce a shift in these attitudes in multisectoral programming.
Trial registration
NCT02384642.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003619
Seff I, Falb K, Yu G, Landis D, Stark L
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003619 | PMID: 34582454
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Abstract

The relationship between psychosocial circumstances and injuries in adolescents: An analysis of 87,269 individuals from 26 countries using the Global School-based Student Health Survey.

Ismail S, Odland ML, Malik A, Weldegiorgis M, ... Woodward M, Davies J
Background
Over a million adolescents die globally each year from preventable or treatable causes, with injuries (intentional and unintentional) being the leading cause of these deaths. To inform strategies to prevent these injuries, we aimed to assess psychosocial factors associated with serious injury occurrence, type, and mechanism in adolescents.
Methods and findings
We conducted a secondary analysis of cross-sectional survey data collected from the Global School-based Student Health Survey between 2009 and 2015. We used logistic regression to estimate associations between prevalence of serious injuries, injury type (effects of injury), and injury mechanism (cause of injury) and psychosocial factors (factors that relate to individuals socially, or their thoughts or behaviour, or the interrelation between these variables). Psychosocial factors were categorised, based on review of the literature, author knowledge, and discussion amongst authors. The categories were markers of risky behaviour (smoking, alcohol use, drug use, and physical activity), contextual factors (hunger, bullying, and loneliness), protective factors (number of friends and having a supportive family), and markers of poor mental health (planned or attempted suicide and being too worried to sleep). Models were adjusted for country factors (geographical area and income status, both using World Bank classification), demographic factors (age and sex), and factors to explain the survey design. A total of 87,269 adolescents living in 26 countries were included. The weighted majority were 14-15 years old (45.88%), male (50.70%), from a lower-middle-income country (81.93%), and from East Asia and the Pacific (66.83%). The weighted prevalence of a serious injury in the last 12 months was 36.33%, with the rate being higher in low-income countries compared to other countries (48.74% versus 36.14%) and amongst males compared to females (42.62% versus 29.87%). Psychosocial factors most strongly associated with serious injury were being bullied (odds ratio [OR] 2.45, 95% CI 1.93 to 3.13, p < 0.001), drug use (OR 2.08, 95% CI 1.73 to 2.49, p < 0.001), attempting suicide (OR 1.78, CI 1.55 to 2.04, p < 0.001), being too worried to sleep (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.54 to 2.10, p < 0.001), feeling lonely (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.37 to 1.89, p < 0.001), and going hungry (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.30 to 2.01, p < 0.001). Factors hypothesised to be protective were not associated with reduced odds of serious injury: Number of close friends was associated with an increased odds of injury (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.43, p = 0.007), as was having understanding parents or guardians (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.26, p = 0.036). Being bullied, using drugs, and attempting suicide were associated with most types of injury, and being bullied or too worried to sleep were associated with most mechanisms of injury; other psychosocial factors were variably associated with injury type and mechanism. Limitations include the cross-sectional study design, making it not possible to determine the directionality of the associations found, and the survey not capturing children who did not go to school.
Conclusions
We observed strong associations between serious injury and psychosocial factors, but we note the relationships are likely to be complex and our findings do not inform causality. Nevertheless, our findings suggest that multifactorial programmes to target psychosocial factors might reduce the number of serious injuries in adolescents, in particular programmes concentrating on reducing bullying and drug use and improving mental health.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003722
Ismail S, Odland ML, Malik A, Weldegiorgis M, ... Woodward M, Davies J
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003722 | PMID: 34582453
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Abstract

Neurocognitive outcomes in Malawian children exposed to malaria during pregnancy: An observational birth cohort study.

Weckman AM, Conroy AL, Madanitsa M, Gnaneswaran B, ... Kain KC, Gladstone M
Background
Annually 125 million pregnancies are at risk of malaria infection. However, the impact of exposure to malaria in pregnancy on neurodevelopment in children is not well understood. We hypothesized that malaria in pregnancy and associated maternal immune activation result in neurodevelopmental delay in exposed offspring.
Methods and findings
Between April 2014 and April 2015, we followed 421 Malawian mother-baby dyads (median [IQR] maternal age: 21 [19, 28] years) who were previously enrolled (median [IQR] gestational age at enrollment: 19.7 [17.9, 22.1] weeks) in a randomized controlled malaria prevention trial with 5 or 6 scheduled assessments of antenatal malaria infection by PCR. Children were evaluated at 12, 18, and/or 24 months of age with cognitive tests previously validated in Malawi: the Malawi Developmental Assessment Tool (MDAT) and the MacArthur-Bates Communicative Development Inventories (MCAB-CDI). We assessed the impact of antenatal malaria (n [%] positive: 240 [57.3]), placental malaria (n [%] positive: 112 [29.6]), and maternal immune activation on neurocognitive development in children. Linear mixed-effects analysis showed that children exposed to antenatal malaria between 33 and 37 weeks gestation had delayed language development across the 2-year follow-up, as measured by MCAB-CDI (adjusted beta estimate [95% CI], -7.53 [-13.04, -2.02], p = 0.008). Maternal immune activation, characterized by increased maternal sTNFRII concentration, between 33 and 37 weeks was associated with lower MCAB-CDI language score (adjusted beta estimate [95% CI], -8.57 [-13.09, -4.06], p < 0.001). Main limitations of this study include a relatively short length of follow-up and a potential for residual confounding that is characteristic of observational studies.
Conclusions
This mother-baby cohort presents evidence of a relationship between malaria in pregnancy and neurodevelopmental delay in offspring. Malaria in pregnancy may be a modifiable risk factor for neurodevelopmental injury independent of birth weight or prematurity. Successful interventions to prevent malaria during pregnancy may reduce the risk of neurocognitive delay in children.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003701
Weckman AM, Conroy AL, Madanitsa M, Gnaneswaran B, ... Kain KC, Gladstone M
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003701 | PMID: 34582452
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Abstract

A novel intervention combining supplementary food and infection control measures to improve birth outcomes in undernourished pregnant women in Sierra Leone: A randomized, controlled clinical effectiveness trial.

Hendrixson DT, Smith K, Lasowski P, Callaghan-Gillespie M, ... Koroma AS, Manary MJ
Background
Innovations for undernourished pregnant women that improve newborn survival and anthropometry are needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 3. This study tested the hypothesis that a combination of a nutritious supplementary food and several proven chemotherapeutic interventions to control common infections would increase newborn weight and length in undernourished pregnant women.
Methods and findings
This was a prospective, randomized, controlled clinical effectiveness trial of a ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) plus anti-infective therapies compared to standard therapy in undernourished pregnant women in rural Sierra Leone. Women with a mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) ≤23.0 cm presenting for antenatal care at one of 43 government health clinics in Western Rural Area and Pujehun districts were eligible for participation. Standard of care included a blended corn/soy flour and intermittent preventive treatment for malaria in pregnancy (IPTp). The intervention replaced the blended flour with RUSF and added azithromycin and testing and treatment for vaginal dysbiosis. Since the study involved different foods and testing procedures for the intervention and control groups, no one except the authors conducting the data analyses were blinded. The primary outcome was birth length. Secondary outcomes included maternal weight gain, birth weight, and neonatal survival. Follow-up continued until 6 months postpartum. Modified intention to treat analyses was undertaken. Participants were enrolled and followed up from February 2017 until February 2020. Of the 1,489 women enrolled, 752 were allocated to the intervention and 737 to the standard of care. The median age of these women was 19.5 years, of which 42% were primigravid. Twenty-nine women receiving the intervention and 42 women receiving the standard of care were lost to follow-up before pregnancy outcomes were obtained. There were 687 singleton live births in the intervention group and 657 in the standard of care group. Newborns receiving the intervention were 0.3 cm longer (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.09 to 0.6; p = 0.007) and weighed 70 g more (95% CI 20 to 120; p = 0.005) than those receiving the standard of care. Those women receiving the intervention had greater weekly weight gain (mean difference 40 g; 95% CI 9.70 to 71.0, p = 0.010) than those receiving the standard of care. There were fewer neonatal deaths in the intervention (n = 13; 1.9%) than in the standard of care (n = 28; 4.3%) group (difference 2.4%; 95% CI 0.3 to 4.4), (HR 0.62 95% CI 0.41 to 0.94, p = 0.026). No differences in adverse events or symptoms between the groups was found, and no serious adverse events occurred. Key limitations of the study are lack of gestational age estimates and unblinded administration of the intervention.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that the addition of RUSF, azithromycin, more frequent IPTp, and testing/treatment for vaginal dysbiosis in undernourished pregnant women resulted in modest improvements in anthropometric status of mother and child at birth, and a reduction in neonatal death. Implementation of this combined intervention in rural, equatorial Africa may well be an important, practical measure to reduce infant mortality in this context.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03079388.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003618
Hendrixson DT, Smith K, Lasowski P, Callaghan-Gillespie M, ... Koroma AS, Manary MJ
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003618 | PMID: 34582451
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Abstract

Severe bacterial neonatal infections in Madagascar, Senegal, and Cambodia: A multicentric community-based cohort study.

Huynh BT, Kermorvant-Duchemin E, Chheang R, Randrianirina F, ... Guillemot D, BIRDY study group
Background
Severe bacterial infections (SBIs) are a leading cause of neonatal deaths in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). However, most data came from hospitals, which do not include neonates who did not seek care or were treated outside the hospital. Studies from the community are scarce, and few among those available were conducted with high-quality microbiological techniques. The burden of SBI at the community level is therefore largely unknown. We aimed here to describe the incidence, etiology, risk factors, and antibiotic resistance profiles of community-acquired neonatal SBI in 3 LMICs.
Methods and findings
The BIRDY study is a prospective multicentric community-based mother and child cohort study and was conducted in both urban and rural areas in Madagascar (2012 to 2018), Cambodia (2014 to 2018), and Senegal (2014 to 2018). All pregnant women within a geographically defined population were identified and enrolled. Their neonates were actively followed from birth to 28 days to document all episodes of SBI. A total of 3,858 pregnant women (2,273 (58.9%) in Madagascar, 814 (21.1%) in Cambodia, and 771 (20.0%) in Senegal) were enrolled in the study, and, of these, 31.2% were primigravidae. Women enrolled in the urban sites represented 39.6% (900/2,273), 45.5% (370/814), and 61.9% (477/771), and those enrolled in the rural sites represented 60.4% (1,373/2,273), 54.5% (444/814), and 38.1% (294/771) of the total in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively. Among the 3,688 recruited newborns, 49.6% were male and 8.7% were low birth weight (LBW). The incidence of possible severe bacterial infection (pSBI; clinical diagnosis based on WHO guidelines of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness) was 196.3 [95% confidence interval (CI) 176.5 to 218.2], 110.1 [88.3 to 137.3], and 78.3 [59.5 to 103] per 1,000 live births in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively. The incidence of pSBI differed between urban and rural sites in all study countries. In Madagascar, we estimated an incidence of 161.0 pSBI per 1,000 live births [133.5 to 194] in the urban site and 219.0 [192.6 to 249.1] pSBI per 1,000 live births in the rural site (p = 0.008). In Cambodia, estimated incidences were 141.1 [105.4 to 189.0] and 85.3 [61.0 to 119.4] pSBI per 1,000 live births in urban and rural sites, respectively (p = 0.025), while in Senegal, we estimated 103.6 [76.0 to 141.2] pSBI and 41.5 [23.0 to 75.0] pSBI per 1,000 live births in urban and rural sites, respectively (p = 0.006). The incidences of culture-confirmed SBI were 15.2 [10.6 to 21.8], 6.5 [2.7 to 15.6], and 10.2 [4.8 to 21.3] per 1,000 live births in Madagascar, Cambodia, and Senegal, respectively, with no difference between urban and rural sites in each country. The great majority of early-onset infections occurred during the first 3 days of life (72.7%). The 3 main pathogens isolated were Klebsiella spp. (11/45, 24.4%), Escherichia coli (10/45, 22.2%), and Staphylococcus spp. (11/45, 24.4%). Among the 13 gram-positive isolates, 5 were resistant to gentamicin, and, among the 29 gram-negative isolates, 13 were resistant to gentamicin, with only 1 E. coli out of 10 sensitive to ampicillin. Almost one-third of the isolates were resistant to both first-line drugs recommended for the management of neonatal sepsis (ampicillin and gentamicin). Overall, 38 deaths occurred among neonates with SBI (possible and culture-confirmed SBI together). LBW and foul-smelling amniotic fluid at delivery were common risk factors for early pSBI in all 3 countries. A main limitation of the study was the lack of samples from a significant proportion of infants with pBSI including 35 neonatal deaths. Without these samples, bacterial infection and resistance profiles could not be confirmed.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed a high incidence of neonatal SBI, particularly in the first 3 days of life, in the community of 3 LMICs. The current treatment for the management of neonatal infection is hindered by antimicrobial resistance. Our findings suggest that microbiological diagnosis of SBI remains a challenge in these settings and support more research on causes of neonatal death and the implementation of early interventions (e.g., follow-up of at-risk newborns during the first days of life) to decrease the burden of neonatal SBI and associated mortality and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003681
Huynh BT, Kermorvant-Duchemin E, Chheang R, Randrianirina F, ... Guillemot D, BIRDY study group
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003681 | PMID: 34582450
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Abstract

Cost-effectiveness and economic returns of group-based parenting interventions to promote early childhood development: Results from a randomized controlled trial in rural Kenya.

Lopez Garcia I, Saya UY, Luoto JE
Background
Early childhood development (ECD) programs can help address disadvantages for the 43% of children under 5 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) experiencing compromised development. However, very few studies from LMIC settings include information on their program\'s cost-effectiveness or potential returns to investment. We estimated the cost-effectiveness, benefit-cost ratios (BCRs), and returns on investment (ROIs) for 2 effective group-based delivery models of an ECD parenting intervention that utilized Kenya\'s network of local community health volunteers (CHVs).
Methods and findings
Between October 1 and November 12, 2018, 1,152 mothers with children aged 6 to 24 months were surveyed from 60 villages in rural western Kenya. After baseline, villages were randomly assigned to one of 3 intervention arms: a group-only delivery model with 16 fortnightly sessions, a mixed-delivery model combining 12 group sessions with 4 home visits, and a control group. At endline (August 5 to October 31, 2019), 1,070 children were retained and assessed for primary outcomes including cognitive and receptive language development (with the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, Third Edition) and socioemotional development (with the Wolke scale). Children in the 2 intervention arms showed better developmental outcomes than children in the control arm, although the group-only delivery model generally had larger effects on children. Total program costs included provider\'s implementation costs collected during the intervention period using financial reports from the local nongovernmental organization (NGO) implementer, as well as societal costs such as opportunity costs to mothers and delivery agents. We combined program impacts with these total costs to estimate incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), as well as BCRs and the program\'s ROI for the government based on predictions of future lifetime wages and societal costs. Total costs per child were US$140 in the group-only arm and US$145 in the mixed-delivery arm. Because of higher intention-to-treat (ITT) impacts at marginally lower costs, the group-only model was the most cost-effective across all child outcomes. Focusing on child cognition in this arm, we estimated an ICER of a 0.37 standard deviation (SD) improvement in cognition per US$100 invested, a BCR of 15.5, and an ROI of 127%. A limitation of our study is that our estimated BCR and ROI necessarily make assumptions about the discount rate, income tax rates, and predictions of intervention impacts on future wages and schooling. We examine the sensitivity of our results to these assumptions.
Conclusions
To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first economic evaluation of an effective ECD parenting intervention targeted to young children in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the first to adopt a societal perspective in calculating cost-effectiveness that accounts for opportunity costs to delivery agents and program participants. Our cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost estimates are higher than most of the limited number of prior studies from LMIC settings providing information about costs. Our results represent a strong case for scaling similar interventions in impoverished rural settings, and, under reasonable assumptions about the future, demonstrate that the private and social returns of such investments are likely to largely outweigh their costs.
Trial registration
This trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03548558, June 7, 2018. American Economic Association RCT Registry trial AEARCTR-0002913.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003746
Lopez Garcia I, Saya UY, Luoto JE
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003746 | PMID: 34582449
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Impact:
Abstract

Effect of sunflower seed oil emollient therapy on newborn infant survival in Uttar Pradesh, India: A community-based, cluster randomized, open-label controlled trial.

Kumar A, Mishra S, Singh S, Ashraf S, ... Kumar V, Shivgarh Emollient Research Group
Background
Hospitalized preterm infants with compromised skin barrier function treated topically with sunflower seed oil (SSO) have shown reductions in sepsis and neonatal mortality rate (NMR). Mustard oil and products commonly used in high-mortality settings may possibly harm skin barrier integrity and enhance risk of infection and mortality in newborn infants. We hypothesized that SSO therapy may reduce NMR in such settings.
Methods and findings
This was a population-based, cluster randomized, controlled trial in 276 clusters in rural Uttar Pradesh, India. All newborn infants identified through population-based surveillance in the study clusters within 7 days of delivery were enrolled from November 2014 to October 2016. Exclusive, 3 times daily, gentle applications of 10 ml of SSO to newborn infants by families throughout the neonatal period were recommended in intervention clusters (n = 138 clusters); infants in comparison clusters (n = 138 clusters) received usual care, such as massage practice typically with mustard oil. Primary analysis was by intention-to-treat with NMR and post-24-hour NMR as the primary outcomes. Secondary analysis included per-protocol analysis and subgroup analyses for NMR. Regression analysis was adjusted for caste, first-visit weight, delivery attendant, gravidity, maternal age, maternal education, sex of the infant, and multiple births. We enrolled 13,478 (52.2% male, mean weight: 2,575.0 grams ± standard deviation [SD] 521.0) and 13,109 (52.0% male, mean weight: 2,607.0 grams ± SD 509.0) newborn infants in the intervention and comparison clusters, respectively. We found no overall difference in NMR in the intervention versus the comparison clusters [adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 0.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.84 to 1.11, p = 0.61]. Acceptance of SSO in the intervention arm was high at 89.3%, but adherence to exclusive applications of SSO was 30.4%. Per-protocol analysis showed a significant 58% (95% CI 42% to 69%, p < 0.01) reduction in mortality among infants in the intervention group who were treated exclusively with SSO as intended versus infants in the comparison group who received exclusive applications of mustard oil. A significant 52% (95% CI 12% to 74%, p = 0.02) reduction in NMR was observed in the subgroup of infants weighing ≤1,500 g (n = 589); there were no statistically significant differences in other prespecified subgroup comparisons by low birth weight (LBW), birthplace, and wealth. No severe adverse events (SAEs) were attributable to the intervention. The study was limited by inability to mask allocation to study workers or participants and by measurement of emollient use based on caregiver responses and not actual observation.
Conclusions
In this trial, we observed that promotion of SSO therapy universally for all newborn infants was not effective in reducing NMR. However, this result may not necessarily establish equivalence between SSO and mustard oil massage in light of our secondary findings. Mortality reduction in the subgroup of infants ≤1,500 g was consistent with previous hospital-based efficacy studies, potentially extending the applicability of emollient therapy in very low-birth-weight (VLBW) infants along the facility-community continuum. Further research is recommended to develop and evaluate therapeutic regimens and continuum of care delivery strategies for emollient therapy for newborn infants at highest risk of compromised skin barrier function.
Trial registration
ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN38965585 and Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI/2014/12/005282) with WHO UTN # U1111-1158-4665.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003680
Kumar A, Mishra S, Singh S, Ashraf S, ... Kumar V, Shivgarh Emollient Research Group
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003680 | PMID: 34582448
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Abstract

Effectiveness of cash-plus programmes on early childhood outcomes compared to cash transfers alone: A systematic review and meta-analysis in low- and middle-income countries.

Little MT, Roelen K, Lange BCL, Steinert JI, ... Cluver L, Humphreys DK
Background
To strengthen the impact of cash transfers, these interventions have begun to be packaged as cash-plus programmes, combining cash with additional transfers, interventions, or services. The intervention\'s complementary (\"plus\") components aim to improve cash transfer effectiveness by targeting mediating outcomes or the availability of supplies or services. This study examined whether cash-plus interventions for infants and children <5 are more effective than cash alone in improving health and well-being.
Methods and findings
Forty-two databases, donor agencies, grey literature sources, and trial registries were systematically searched, yielding 5,097 unique articles (as of 06 April 2021). Randomised and quasi-experimental studies were eligible for inclusion if the intervention package aimed to improve outcomes for children <5 in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) and combined a cash transfer with an intervention targeted to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (No Hunger), SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being), SDG4 (Education), or SDG16 (Violence Prevention), had at least one group receiving cash-only, examined outcomes related to child-focused SDGs, and was published in English. Risk of bias was appraised using Cochrane Risk of Bias and ROBINS-I Tools. Random effects meta-analyses were conducted for a cash-plus intervention category when there were at least 3 trials with the same outcome. The review was preregistered with PROSPERO (CRD42018108017). Seventeen studies were included in the review and 11 meta-analysed. Most interventions operated during the first 1,000 days of the child\'s life and were conducted in communities facing high rates of poverty and often, food insecurity. Evidence was found for 10 LMICs, where most researchers used randomised, longitudinal study designs (n = 14). Five intervention categories were identified, combining cash with nutrition behaviour change communication (BCC, n = 7), food transfers (n = 3), primary healthcare (n = 2), psychosocial stimulation (n = 7), and child protection (n = 4) interventions. Comparing cash-plus to cash alone, meta-analysis results suggest Cash + Food Transfers are more effective in improving height-for-age (d = 0.08 SD (0.03, 0.14), p = 0.02) with significantly reduced odds of stunting (OR = 0.82 (0.74, 0.92), p = 0.01), but had no added impact in improving weight-for-height (d = -0.13 (-0.42, 0.16), p = 0.24) or weight-for-age z-scores (d = -0.06 (-0.28, 0.15), p = 0.43). There was no added impact above cash alone from Cash + Nutrition BCC on anthropometrics; Cash + Psychosocial Stimulation on cognitive development; or Cash + Child Protection on parental use of violent discipline or exclusive positive parenting. Narrative synthesis evidence suggests that compared to cash alone, Cash + Primary Healthcare may have greater impacts in reducing mortality and Cash + Food Transfers in preventing acute malnutrition in crisis contexts. The main limitations of this review are the few numbers of studies that compared cash-plus interventions against cash alone and the potentially high heterogeneity between study findings.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that few cash-plus combinations were more effective than cash transfers alone. Cash combined with food transfers and primary healthcare show the greatest signs of added effectiveness. More research is needed on when and how cash-plus combinations are more effective than cash alone, and work in this field must ensure that these interventions improve outcomes among the most vulnerable children.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003698
Little MT, Roelen K, Lange BCL, Steinert JI, ... Cluver L, Humphreys DK
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003698 | PMID: 34582447
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Abstract

Factors associated with the prevalence of HIV, HSV-2, pregnancy, and reported sexual activity among adolescent girls in rural western Kenya: A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data in a cluster randomized controlled trial.

Zulaika G, Nyothach E, van Eijk AM, Obor D, ... Kwaro D, Phillips-Howard P
Background
Adolescence is a sensitive time for girls\' sexual and reproductive health (SRH), as biological changes occur concurrently with heightening pressures for sexual activity. In western Kenya, adolescent girls are vulnerable to acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), and to becoming pregnant prior to reaching adulthood. This study examines associations between individual, household, and partner-related risk factors and the prevalence of sex, adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and HSV-2.
Methods and findings
We report baseline findings among 4,138 girls attending secondary school who were enrolled between 2017 and 2018 in the Cups or Cash for Girls (CCG) cluster randomized controlled trial in Siaya County, rural western Kenya. Laboratory confirmed biomarkers and survey data were utilized to assess the effects of girls\' individual, household, and partner characteristics on the main outcome measures (adolescent reported sex, prior pregnancy, HIV, and HSV-2) through generalized linear model (GLM) analysis. Complete data were available for 3,998 girls (97%) with median age 17.1 years (interquartile range [IQR] 16.3 to 18.0 years); 17.2% were HSV-2 seropositive (n = 686) and 1.7% tested positive for HIV (n = 66). Sexual activity was reported by 27.3% girls (n = 1,090), of whom 12.2% had been pregnant (n = 133). After adjustment, orphanhood (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 2.81, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.18 to 6.71, p-value [p] = 0.020), low body mass index (BMI) (aRR 2.07; CI: 1.00 to 4.30, p = 0.051), and age (aRR 1.34, 1.18 to 1.53, p < 0.001) were all associated with HIV infection. Girls reporting light menstrual bleeding (aRR 2.42, 1.22 to 4.79, p = 0.012) for fewer than 3 days (aRR 2.81, 1.16 to 6.82, p = 0.023) were over twice as likely to have HIV. Early menarche (aRR 2.05, 1.33 to 3.17, p = 0.001) was associated with adolescent pregnancy and HSV-2-seropositive girls reported higher rates of pregnancy (aRR 1.62, CI: 1.16 to 2.27, p = 0.005). High BMI was associated with HSV-2 (aRR 1.24, 1.05 to 1.46, p = 0.010) and sexual activity (aRR 1.14, 1.02 to 1.28, p = 0.016). High levels of harassment were detected in the cohort (41.2%); being touched indecently conveyed the strongest association related to reported sexual activity (aRR 2.52, 2.26 to 2.81, p < 0.001). Study limitations include the cross-sectional design of the study, which informs on the SRH burdens found in this population but limits causal interpretation of associations, and the self-reported exposure ascertainment, which may have led to possible underreporting of risk factors, most notably prior sexual activity.
Conclusions
Our findings indicate that adolescent girls attending school in Kenya face frequent harassment for sex and are at high risk of pregnancy and HSV-2, with girls experiencing early menarche particularly vulnerable. Targeted interventions, such as earlier sexual education programs, are warranted to address their vulnerability to SRH harms.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03051789.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003756
Zulaika G, Nyothach E, van Eijk AM, Obor D, ... Kwaro D, Phillips-Howard P
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003756 | PMID: 34582445
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Abstract

Ambient and household PM2.5 pollution and adverse perinatal outcomes: A meta-regression and analysis of attributable global burden for 204 countries and territories.

Ghosh R, Causey K, Burkart K, Wozniak S, Cohen A, Brauer M
Background
Particulate matter <2.5 micrometer (PM2.5) is associated with adverse perinatal outcomes, but the impact on disease burden mediated by this pathway has not previously been included in the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), Mortality, Injuries, and Risk Factors studies. We estimated the global burden of low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PTB) and impacts on reduced birth weight and gestational age (GA), attributable to ambient and household PM2.5 pollution in 2019.
Methods and findings
We searched PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science for peer-reviewed articles in English. Study quality was assessed using 2 tools: (1) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality checklist; and (2) National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) risk of bias questions. We conducted a meta-regression (MR) to quantify the risk of PM2.5 on birth weight and GA. The MR, based on a systematic review (SR) of articles published through April 4, 2021, and resulting uncertainty intervals (UIs) accounted for unexplained between-study heterogeneity. Separate nonlinear relationships relating exposure to risk were generated for each outcome and applied in the burden estimation. The MR included 44, 40, and 40 birth weight, LBW, and PTB studies, respectively. Majority of the studies were of retrospective cohort design and primarily from North America, Europe, and Australia. A few recent studies were from China, India, sub-Saharan Africa, and South America. Pooled estimates indicated 22 grams (95% UI: 12, 32) lower birth weight, 11% greater risk of LBW (1.11, 95% UI: 1.07, 1.16), and 12% greater risk of PTB (1.12, 95% UI: 1.06, 1.19), per 10 μg/m3 increment in ambient PM2.5. We estimated a global population-weighted mean lowering of 89 grams (95% UI: 88, 89) of birth weight and 3.4 weeks (95% UI: 3.4, 3.4) of GA in 2019, attributable to total PM2.5. Globally, an estimated 15.6% (95% UI: 15.6, 15.7) of all LBW and 35.7% (95% UI: 35.6, 35.9) of all PTB infants were attributable to total PM2.5, equivalent to 2,761,720 (95% UI: 2,746,713 to 2,776,722) and 5,870,103 (95% UI: 5,848,046 to 5,892,166) infants in 2019, respectively. About one-third of the total PM2.5 burden for LBW and PTB could be attributable to ambient exposure, with household air pollution (HAP) dominating in low-income countries. The findings should be viewed in light of some limitations such as heterogeneity between studies including size, exposure levels, exposure assessment method, and adjustment for confounding. Furthermore, studies did not separate the direct effect of PM2.5 on birth weight from that mediated through GA. As a consequence, the pooled risk estimates in the MR and likewise the global burden may have been underestimated.
Conclusions
Ambient and household PM2.5 were associated with reduced birth weight and GA, which are, in turn, associated with neonatal and infant mortality, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003718
Ghosh R, Causey K, Burkart K, Wozniak S, Cohen A, Brauer M
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003718 | PMID: 34582444
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Abstract

Exposure to conflicts and the continuum of maternal healthcare: Analyses of pooled cross-sectional data for 452,192 women across 49 countries and 82 surveys.

Rammohan A, Mavisakalyan A, Vu L, Goli S
Background
Violent conflicts are observed in many parts of the world and have profound impacts on the lives of exposed individuals. The limited evidence available from specific country or region contexts suggest that conflict exposure may reduce health service utilization and have adverse affects on health. This study focused on identifying the association between conflict exposure and continuum of care (CoC) services that are crucial for achieving improvements in reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health and nutrition (RMNCHN).
Methods and findings
We combined data from 2 sources, the Demographic Health Surveys (DHS) and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program\'s (UCDP) Georeferenced Event Dataset, for a sample of 452,192 women across 49 countries observed over the period 1997 to 2018. We utilized 2 consistent measures of conflict-incidence and intensity-and analyzed their association with maternal CoC in 4 key components: (i) at least 1 antenatal care (ANC) visit; (ii) 4 or more ANC visits; (iii) 4 or more ANC visits and institutional delivery; and (iv) 4 or more ANC visits, institutional delivery, and receipt of postnatal care (PNC) either for the mother or the child within 48 hours after birth. To identify the association between conflict exposure and components of CoC, we estimated binary logistic regressions, controlling for a large set of individual and household-level characteristics and year-of-survey and country/province fixed-effects. This empirical setup allows us to draw comparisons among observationally similar women residing in the same locality, thereby mitigating the concerns over unobserved heterogeneity. Around 39.6% (95% CI: 39.5% to 39.7%) of the sample was exposed to some form of violent conflict at the time of their pregnancy during the study period (2003 to 2018). Although access to services decreased for each additional component of CoC in maternal healthcare for all women, the dropout rate was significantly higher among women who have been exposed to conflict, relative to those who have not had such exposure. From logistic regression estimates, we observed that relative to those without exposure to conflict, the odds of utilization of each of the components of CoC was lower among those women who were exposed to at least 1 violent conflict. We estimated odds ratios of 0.86 (95% CI: 0.82 to 0.91, p < 0.001) for at least 1 ANC; 0.95 (95% CI: 0.91 to 0.98, p < 0.005) for 4 or more ANC; and 0.92 (95% CI: 0.89 to 0.96, p < 0.001) for 4 or more ANC and institutional delivery. We showed that both the incidence of exposure to conflict as well as its intensity have profound negative implications for CoC. Study limitations include the following: (1) We could not extend the CoC scale beyond PNC due to inconsistent definitions and the lack of availability of data for all 49 countries across time. (2) The measure of conflict intensity used in this study is based on the number of deaths due to the absence of information on other types of conflict-related harms.
Conclusions
This study showed that conflict exposure is statistically significantly and negatively associated with utilization of maternal CoC services, in each component of the CoC scale. These findings have highlighted the challenges in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3 in conflict settings, and the need for more concerted efforts in ensuring CoC, to mitigate its negative implications on maternal and child health.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003690
Rammohan A, Mavisakalyan A, Vu L, Goli S
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003690 | PMID: 34582443
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Abstract

Regional differences in short stature in England between 2006 and 2019: A cross-sectional analysis from the National Child Measurement Programme.

Orr J, Freer J, Morris JK, Hancock C, ... Storr HL, Prendergast AJ
Background
Short stature, defined as height for age more than 2 standard deviations (SDs) below the population median, is an important indicator of child health. Short stature (often termed stunting) has been widely researched in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), but less is known about the extent and burden in high-income settings. We aimed to map the prevalence of short stature in children aged 4-5 years in England between 2006 and 2019.
Methods and findings
We used data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) for the school years 2006-2007 to 2018-2019. All children attending state-maintained primary schools in England are invited to participate in the NCMP, and heights from a total of 7,062,071 children aged 4-5 years were analysed. We assessed short stature, defined as a height-for-age standard deviation score (SDS) below -2 using the United Kingdom WHO references, by sex, index of multiple deprivation (IMD), ethnicity, and region. Geographic clustering of short stature was analysed using spatial analysis in SaTScan. The prevalence of short stature in England was 1.93% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.92-1.94). Ethnicity adjusted spatial analyses showed geographic heterogeneity of short stature, with high prevalence clusters more likely in the North and Midlands, leading to 4-fold variation between local authorities (LAs) with highest and lowest prevalence of short stature. Short stature was linearly associated with IMD, with almost 2-fold higher prevalence in the most compared with least deprived decile (2.56% (2.53-2.59) vs. 1.38% (1.35-1.41)). There was ethnic heterogeneity: Short stature prevalence was lowest in Black children (0.64% (0.61-0.67)) and highest in Indian children (2.52% (2.45-2.60)) and children in other ethnic categories (2.57% (2.51-2.64)). Girls were more likely to have short stature than boys (2.09% (2.07-2.10) vs. 1.77% (1.76-1.78), respectively). Short stature prevalence declined over time, from 2.03% (2.01-2.05) in 2006-2010 to 1.82% (1.80-1.84) in 2016-2019. Short stature declined at all levels of area deprivation, with faster declines in more deprived areas, but disparities by IMD quintile were persistent. This study was conducted cross-sectionally at an area level, and, therefore, we cannot make any inferences about the individual causes of short stature.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed a clear social gradient and striking regional variation in short stature across England, including a North-South divide. These findings provide impetus for further investigation into potential socioeconomic influences on height and the factors underlying regional variation.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003760
Orr J, Freer J, Morris JK, Hancock C, ... Storr HL, Prendergast AJ
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003760 | PMID: 34582440
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Abstract

Conditional cash transfer program and child mortality: A cross-sectional analysis nested within the 100 Million Brazilian Cohort.

Ramos D, da Silva NB, Ichihara MY, Fiaccone RL, ... Rodrigues LC, Barreto ML
Background
Brazil has made great progress in reducing child mortality over the past decades, and a parcel of this achievement has been credited to the Bolsa Família program (BFP). We examined the association between being a BFP beneficiary and child mortality (1-4 years of age), also examining how this association differs by maternal race/skin color, gestational age at birth (term versus preterm), municipality income level, and index of quality of BFP management.
Methods and findings
This is a cross-sectional analysis nested within the 100 Million Brazilian Cohort, a population-based cohort primarily built from Brazil\'s Unified Registry for Social Programs (Cadastro Único). We analyzed data from 6,309,366 children under 5 years of age whose families enrolled between 2006 and 2015. Through deterministic linkage with the BFP payroll datasets, and similarity linkage with the Brazilian Mortality Information System, 4,858,253 children were identified as beneficiaries (77%) and 1,451,113 (23%) were not. Our analysis consisted of a combination of kernel matching and weighted logistic regressions. After kernel matching, 5,308,989 (84.1%) children were included in the final weighted logistic analysis, with 4,107,920 (77.4%) of those being beneficiaries and 1,201,069 (22.6%) not, with a total of 14,897 linked deaths. Overall, BFP participation was associated with a reduction in child mortality (weighted odds ratio [OR] = 0.83; 95% CI: 0.79 to 0.88; p < 0.001). This association was stronger for preterm children (weighted OR = 0.78; 95% CI: 0.68 to 0.90; p < 0.001), children of Black mothers (weighted OR = 0.74; 95% CI: 0.57 to 0.97; p < 0.001), children living in municipalities in the lowest income quintile (first quintile of municipal income: weighted OR = 0.72; 95% CI: 0.62 to 0.82; p < 0.001), and municipalities with better index of BFP management (5th quintile of the Decentralized Management Index: weighted OR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.66 to 0.88; p < 0.001). The main limitation of our methodology is that our propensity score approach does not account for possible unmeasured confounders. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis showed that loss of nameless death records before linkage may have resulted in overestimation of the associations between BFP participation and mortality, with loss of statistical significance in municipalities with greater losses of data and change in the direction of the association in municipalities with no losses.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed a significant association between BFP participation and child mortality in children aged 1-4 years and found that this association was stronger for children living in municipalities in the lowest quintile of wealth, in municipalities with better index of program management, and also in preterm children and children of Black mothers. These findings reinforce the evidence that programs like BFP, already proven effective in poverty reduction, have a great potential to improve child health and survival. Subgroup analysis revealed heterogeneous results, useful for policy improvement and better targeting of BFP.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003509
Ramos D, da Silva NB, Ichihara MY, Fiaccone RL, ... Rodrigues LC, Barreto ML
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003509 | PMID: 34582433
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Abstract

Postmortem investigations and identification of multiple causes of child deaths: An analysis of findings from the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) network.

Breiman RF, Blau DM, Mutevedzi P, Akelo V, ... Whitney CG, CHAMPS Consortium
Background
The current burden of >5 million deaths yearly is the focus of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years old by 2030. To accelerate progression toward this goal, data are needed that accurately quantify the leading causes of death, so that interventions can target the common causes. By adding postmortem pathology and microbiology studies to other available data, the Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance (CHAMPS) network provides comprehensive evaluations of conditions leading to death, in contrast to standard methods that rely on data from medical records and verbal autopsy and report only a single underlying condition. We analyzed CHAMPS data to characterize the value of considering multiple causes of death.
Methods and findings
We examined deaths identified from December 2016 through November 2020 from 7 CHAMPS sites (in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, and South Africa), including 741 neonatal, 278 infant, and 241 child <5 years deaths for which results from Determination of Cause of Death (DeCoDe) panels were complete. DeCoDe panelists included all conditions in the causal chain according to the ICD-10 guidelines and assessed if prevention or effective management of the condition would have prevented the death. We analyzed the distribution of all conditions listed as causal, including underlying, antecedent, and immediate causes of death. Among 1,232 deaths with an underlying condition determined, we found a range of 0 to 6 (mean 1.5, IQR 0 to 2) additional conditions in the causal chain leading to death. While pathology provides very helpful clues, we cannot always be certain that conditions identified led to death or occurred in an agonal stage of death. For neonates, preterm birth complications (most commonly respiratory distress syndrome) were the most common underlying condition (n = 282, 38%); among those with preterm birth complications, 256 (91%) had additional conditions in causal chains, including 184 (65%) with a different preterm birth complication, 128 (45%) with neonatal sepsis, 69 (24%) with lower respiratory infection (LRI), 60 (21%) with meningitis, and 25 (9%) with perinatal asphyxia/hypoxia. Of the 278 infant deaths, 212 (79%) had ≥1 additional cause of death (CoD) beyond the underlying cause. The 2 most common underlying conditions in infants were malnutrition and congenital birth defects; LRI and sepsis were the most common additional conditions in causal chains, each accounting for approximately half of deaths with either underlying condition. Of the 241 child deaths, 178 (75%) had ≥1 additional condition. Among 46 child deaths with malnutrition as the underlying condition, all had ≥1 other condition in the causal chain, most commonly sepsis, followed by LRI, malaria, and diarrheal disease. Including all positions in the causal chain for neonatal deaths resulted in 19-fold and 11-fold increases in attributable roles for meningitis and LRI, respectively. For infant deaths, the proportion caused by meningitis and sepsis increased by 16-fold and 11-fold, respectively; for child deaths, sepsis and LRI are increased 12-fold and 10-fold, respectively. While comprehensive CoD determinations were done for a substantial number of deaths, there is potential for bias regarding which deaths in surveillance areas underwent minimally invasive tissue sampling (MITS), potentially reducing representativeness of findings.
Conclusions
Including conditions that appear anywhere in the causal chain, rather than considering underlying condition alone, markedly changed the proportion of deaths attributed to various diagnoses, especially LRI, sepsis, and meningitis. While CHAMPS methods cannot determine when 2 conditions cause death independently or may be synergistic, our findings suggest that considering the chain of events leading to death can better guide research and prevention priorities aimed at reducing child deaths.



PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003814
Breiman RF, Blau DM, Mutevedzi P, Akelo V, ... Whitney CG, CHAMPS Consortium
PLoS Med: 30 Aug 2021; 18:e1003814 | PMID: 34591862
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Abstract

Long-term cost-effectiveness of interventions for obesity: A mendelian randomisation study.

Harrison S, Dixon P, Jones HE, Davies AR, Howe LD, Davies NM
Background
The prevalence of obesity has increased in the United Kingdom, and reliably measuring the impact on quality of life and the total healthcare cost from obesity is key to informing the cost-effectiveness of interventions that target obesity, and determining healthcare funding. Current methods for estimating cost-effectiveness of interventions for obesity may be subject to confounding and reverse causation. The aim of this study is to apply a new approach using mendelian randomisation for estimating the cost-effectiveness of interventions that target body mass index (BMI), which may be less affected by confounding and reverse causation than previous approaches.
Methods and findings
We estimated health-related quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and both primary and secondary healthcare costs for 310,913 men and women of white British ancestry aged between 39 and 72 years in UK Biobank between recruitment (2006 to 2010) and 31 March 2017. We then estimated the causal effect of differences in BMI on QALYs and total healthcare costs using mendelian randomisation. For this, we used instrumental variable regression with a polygenic risk score (PRS) for BMI, derived using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of BMI, with age, sex, recruitment centre, and 40 genetic principal components as covariables to estimate the effect of a unit increase in BMI on QALYs and total healthcare costs. Finally, we used simulations to estimate the likely effect on BMI of policy relevant interventions for BMI, then used the mendelian randomisation estimates to estimate the cost-effectiveness of these interventions. A unit increase in BMI decreased QALYs by 0.65% of a QALY (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.49% to 0.81%) per year and increased annual total healthcare costs by £42.23 (95% CI: £32.95 to £51.51) per person. When considering only health conditions usually considered in previous cost-effectiveness modelling studies (cancer, cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes), we estimated that a unit increase in BMI decreased QALYs by only 0.16% of a QALY (95% CI: 0.10% to 0.22%) per year. We estimated that both laparoscopic bariatric surgery among individuals with BMI greater than 35 kg/m2, and restricting volume promotions for high fat, salt, and sugar products, would increase QALYs and decrease total healthcare costs, with net monetary benefits (at £20,000 per QALY) of £13,936 (95% CI: £8,112 to £20,658) per person over 20 years, and £546 million (95% CI: £435 million to £671 million) in total per year, respectively. The main limitations of this approach are that mendelian randomisation relies on assumptions that cannot be proven, including the absence of directional pleiotropy, and that genotypes are independent of confounders.
Conclusions
Mendelian randomisation can be used to estimate the impact of interventions on quality of life and healthcare costs. We observed that the effect of increasing BMI on health-related quality of life is much larger when accounting for 240 chronic health conditions, compared with only a limited selection. This means that previous cost-effectiveness studies have likely underestimated the effect of BMI on quality of life and, therefore, the potential cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce BMI.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003725
Harrison S, Dixon P, Jones HE, Davies AR, Howe LD, Davies NM
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003725 | PMID: 34449774
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Abstract

Levels of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine coverage and indirect protection against invasive pneumococcal disease and pneumonia hospitalisations in Australia: An observational study.

Chan J, Gidding HF, Blyth CC, Fathima P, ... Andrews R, Russell FM
Background
There is limited empiric evidence on the coverage of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCVs) required to generate substantial indirect protection. We investigate the association between population PCV coverage and indirect protection against invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) and pneumonia hospitalisations among undervaccinated Australian children.
Methods and findings
Birth and vaccination records, IPD notifications, and hospitalisations were individually linked for children aged <5 years, born between 2001 and 2012 in 2 Australian states (New South Wales and Western Australia; 1.37 million children). Using Poisson regression models, we examined the association between PCV coverage, in small geographical units, and the incidence of (1) 7-valent PCV (PCV7)-type IPD; (2) all-cause pneumonia; and (3) pneumococcal and lobar pneumonia hospitalisation in undervaccinated children. Undervaccinated children received <2 doses of PCV at <12 months of age and no doses at ≥12 months of age. Potential confounding variables were selected for adjustment a priori with the assistance of a directed acyclic graph. There were strong inverse associations between PCV coverage and the incidence of PCV7-type IPD (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 0.967, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.958 to 0.975, p-value < 0.001), and pneumonia hospitalisations (all-cause pneumonia: aIRR 0.991 95% CI 0.990 to 0.994, p-value < 0.001) among undervaccinated children. Subgroup analyses for children <4 months old, urban, rural, and Indigenous populations showed similar trends, although effects were smaller for rural and Indigenous populations. Approximately 50% coverage of PCV7 among children <5 years of age was estimated to prevent up to 72.5% (95% CI 51.6 to 84.4) of PCV7-type IPD among undervaccinated children, while 90% coverage was estimated to prevent 95.2% (95% CI 89.4 to 97.8). The main limitations of this study include the potential for differential loss to follow-up, geographical misclassification of children (based on residential address at birth only), and unmeasured confounders.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed substantial indirect protection at lower levels of PCV coverage than previously described-challenging assumptions that high levels of PCV coverage (i.e., greater than 90%) are required. Understanding the association between PCV coverage and indirect protection is a priority since the control of vaccine-type pneumococcal disease is a prerequisite for reducing the number of PCV doses (from 3 to 2). Reduced dose schedules have the potential to substantially reduce program costs while maintaining vaccine impact.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003733
Chan J, Gidding HF, Blyth CC, Fathima P, ... Andrews R, Russell FM
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003733 | PMID: 34343186
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Abstract

Conflict-related intentional injuries in Baghdad, Iraq, 2003-2014: A modeling study and proposed method for calculating burden of injury in conflict.

Jensen GW, Lafta R, Burnham G, Hagopian A, Simon N, Flaxman AD
Background
Previous research has focused on the mortality associated with armed conflict as the primary measure of the population health effects of war. However, mortality only demonstrates part of the burden placed on a population by conflict. Injuries and resultant disabilities also have long-term effects on a population and are not accounted for in estimates that focus solely on mortality. Our aim was to demonstrate a new method to describe the effects of both lives lost, and years of disability generated by a given conflict, with data from the US-led 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq.
Methods and findings
Our data come from interviews conducted in 2014 in 900 Baghdad households containing 5,148 persons. The average household size was 5.72 persons. The majority of the population (55.8%) were between the ages of 19 and 60. Household composition was evenly divided between males and females. Household sample collection was based on methodology previously designed for surveying households in war zones. Survey questions were answered by the head of household or senior adult present. The questions included year the injury occurred, the mechanism of injury, the body parts injured, whether injury resulted in disability and, if so, the length of disability. We present this modeling study to offer an innovative methodology for measuring \"years lived with disability\" (YLDs) and \"years of life lost\" (YLLs) attributable to conflict-related intentional injuries, using the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) approach. YLDs were calculated with disability weights, and YLLs were calculated by comparing the age at death to the GBD standard life table to calculate remaining life expectancy. Calculations were also performed using Iraq-specific life expectancy for comparison. We calculated a burden of injury of 5.6 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost due to conflict-related injuries in Baghdad from 2003 to 2014. The majority of DALYs lost were attributable to YLLs, rather than YLDs, 4.99 million YLLs lost (95% uncertainty interval (UI) 3.87 million to 6.13 million) versus 616,000 YLDs lost (95% UI 399,000 to 894,000). Cause-based analysis demonstrated that more DALYs were lost to due to gunshot wounds (57%) than any other cause. Our study has several limitations. Recall bias regarding the reporting and attribution of injuries is possible. Second, we have no data past the time of the interview, so we assumed individuals with ongoing disability at the end of data collection would not recover, possibly counting more disability for injuries occurring later. Additionally, incomplete data could have led to misclassification of deaths, resulting in an underestimation of the total burden of injury.
Conclusions
In this study, we propose a methodology to perform burden of disease calculations for conflict-related injuries (expressed in DALYs) in Baghdad from 2003 to 2014. We go beyond previous reports of simple mortality to assess long-term population health effects of conflict-related intentional injuries. Ongoing disability is, in cross section, a relatively small 10% of the total burden. Yet, this small proportion creates years of demands on the health system, persistent limitations in earning capacity, and continuing burdens of care provision on family members.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003673
Jensen GW, Lafta R, Burnham G, Hagopian A, Simon N, Flaxman AD
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003673 | PMID: 34351908
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Abstract

Menopausal hormone therapy and women\'s health: An umbrella review.

Zhang GQ, Chen JL, Luo Y, Mathur MB, ... Lee SH, Nwaru BI
Background
There remains uncertainty about the impact of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) on women\'s health. A systematic, comprehensive assessment of the effects on multiple outcomes is lacking. We conducted an umbrella review to comprehensively summarize evidence on the benefits and harms of MHT across diverse health outcomes.
Methods and findings
We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE, and 10 other databases from inception to November 26, 2017, updated on December 17, 2020, to identify systematic reviews or meta-analyses of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and observational studies investigating effects of MHT, including estrogen-alone therapy (ET) and estrogen plus progestin therapy (EPT), in perimenopausal or postmenopausal women in all countries and settings. All health outcomes in previous systematic reviews were included, including menopausal symptoms, surrogate endpoints, biomarkers, various morbidity outcomes, and mortality. Two investigators independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality of systematic reviews using the updated 16-item AMSTAR 2 instrument. Random-effects robust variance estimation was used to combine effect estimates, and 95% prediction intervals (PIs) were calculated whenever possible. We used the term MHT to encompass ET and EPT, and results are presented for MHT for each outcome, unless otherwise indicated. Sixty systematic reviews were included, involving 102 meta-analyses of RCTs and 38 of observational studies, with 102 unique outcomes. The overall quality of included systematic reviews was moderate to poor. In meta-analyses of RCTs, MHT was beneficial for vasomotor symptoms (frequency: 9 trials, 1,104 women, risk ratio [RR] 0.43, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.57, p < 0.001; severity: 7 trials, 503 women, RR 0.29, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.50, p = 0.002) and all fracture (30 trials, 43,188 women, RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.62 to 0.84, p = 0.002, 95% PI 0.58 to 0.87), as well as vaginal atrophy (intravaginal ET), sexual function, vertebral and nonvertebral fracture, diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular mortality (ET), and colorectal cancer (EPT), but harmful for stroke (17 trials, 37,272 women, RR 1.17, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.29, p = 0.027) and venous thromboembolism (23 trials, 42,292 women, RR 1.60, 95% CI 0.99 to 2.58, p = 0.052, 95% PI 1.03 to 2.99), as well as cardiovascular disease incidence and recurrence, cerebrovascular disease, nonfatal stroke, deep vein thrombosis, gallbladder disease requiring surgery, and lung cancer mortality (EPT). In meta-analyses of observational studies, MHT was associated with decreased risks of cataract, glioma, and esophageal, gastric, and colorectal cancer, but increased risks of pulmonary embolism, cholelithiasis, asthma, meningioma, and thyroid, breast, and ovarian cancer. ET and EPT had opposite effects for endometrial cancer, endometrial hyperplasia, and Alzheimer disease. The major limitations include the inability to address the varying effects of MHT by type, dose, formulation, duration of use, route of administration, and age of initiation and to take into account the quality of individual studies included in the systematic reviews. The study protocol is publicly available on PROSPERO (CRD42017083412).
Conclusions
MHT has a complex balance of benefits and harms on multiple health outcomes. Some effects differ qualitatively between ET and EPT. The quality of available evidence is only moderate to poor.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003731
Zhang GQ, Chen JL, Luo Y, Mathur MB, ... Lee SH, Nwaru BI
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003731 | PMID: 34339416
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Abstract

Cardiac risk stratification in cancer patients: A longitudinal patient-patient network analysis.

Hou Y, Zhou Y, Hussain M, Budd GT, ... Collier P, Cheng F
Background
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in general population and the second leading cause of mortality and morbidity in cancer survivors after recurrent malignancy in the United States. The growing awareness of cancer therapy-related cardiac dysfunction (CTRCD) has led to an emerging field of cardio-oncology; yet, there is limited knowledge on how to predict which patients will experience adverse cardiac outcomes. We aimed to perform unbiased cardiac risk stratification for cancer patients using our large-scale, institutional electronic medical records.
Methods and findings
We built a large longitudinal (up to 22 years\' follow-up from March 1997 to January 2019) cardio-oncology cohort having 4,632 cancer patients in Cleveland Clinic with 5 diagnosed cardiac outcomes: atrial fibrillation, coronary artery disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and stroke. The entire population includes 84% white Americans and 11% black Americans, and 59% females versus 41% males, with median age of 63 (interquartile range [IQR]: 54 to 71) years old. We utilized a topology-based K-means clustering approach for unbiased patient-patient network analyses of data from general demographics, echocardiogram (over 25,000), lab testing, and cardiac factors (cardiac). We performed hazard ratio (HR) and Kaplan-Meier analyses to identify clinically actionable variables. All confounding factors were adjusted by Cox regression models. We performed random-split and time-split training-test validation for our model. We identified 4 clinically relevant subgroups that are significantly correlated with incidence of cardiac outcomes and mortality. Among the 4 subgroups, subgroup I (n = 625) has the highest risk of de novo CTRCD (28%) with an HR of 3.05 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.51 to 3.72). Patients in subgroup IV (n = 1,250) had the worst survival probability (HR 4.32, 95% CI 3.82 to 4.88). From longitudinal patient-patient network analyses, the patients in subgroup I had a higher percentage of de novo CTRCD and a worse mortality within 5 years after the initiation of cancer therapies compared to long-time exposure (6 to 20 years). Using clinical variable network analyses, we identified that serum levels of NT-proB-type Natriuretic Peptide (NT-proBNP) and Troponin T are significantly correlated with patient\'s mortality (NT-proBNP > 900 pg/mL versus NT-proBNP = 0 to 125 pg/mL, HR = 2.95, 95% CI 2.28 to 3.82, p < 0.001; Troponin T > 0.05 μg/L versus Troponin T ≤ 0.01 μg/L, HR = 2.08, 95% CI 1.83 to 2.34, p < 0.001). Study limitations include lack of independent cardio-oncology cohorts from different healthcare systems to evaluate the generalizability of the models. Meanwhile, the confounding factors, such as multiple medication usages, may influence the findings.
Conclusions
In this study, we demonstrated that the patient-patient network clustering methodology is clinically intuitive, and it allows more rapid identification of cancer survivors that are at greater risk of cardiac dysfunction. We believed that this study holds great promise for identifying novel cardiac risk subgroups and clinically actionable variables for the development of precision cardio-oncology.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003736
Hou Y, Zhou Y, Hussain M, Budd GT, ... Collier P, Cheng F
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003736 | PMID: 34339408
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Abstract

Predictive values for different cancers and inflammatory bowel disease of 6 common abdominal symptoms among more than 1.9 million primary care patients in the UK: A cohort study.

Herbert A, Rafiq M, Pham TM, Renzi C, ... Petersen I, Lyratzopoulos G
Background
The diagnostic assessment of abdominal symptoms in primary care presents a challenge. Evidence is needed about the positive predictive values (PPVs) of abdominal symptoms for different cancers and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Methods and findings
Using data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN) in the United Kingdom (2000-2017), we estimated the PPVs for diagnosis of (i) cancer (overall and for different cancer sites); (ii) IBD; and (iii) either cancer or IBD in the year post-consultation with each of 6 abdominal symptoms: dysphagia (n = 86,193 patients), abdominal bloating/distension (n = 100,856), change in bowel habit (n = 106,715), rectal bleeding (n = 235,094), dyspepsia (n = 517,326), and abdominal pain (n = 890,490). The median age ranged from 54 (abdominal pain) to 63 years (dysphagia and change in bowel habit); the ratio of women/men ranged from 50%:50% (rectal bleeding) to 73%:27% (abdominal bloating/distension). Across all studied symptoms, the risk of diagnosis of cancer and the risk of diagnosis of IBD were of similar magnitude, particularly in women, and younger men. Estimated PPVs were greatest for change in bowel habit in men (4.64% cancer and 2.82% IBD) and for rectal bleeding in women (2.39% cancer and 2.57% IBD) and lowest for dyspepsia (for cancer: 1.41% men and 1.03% women; for IBD: 0.89% men and 1.00% women). Considering PPVs for specific cancers, change in bowel habit and rectal bleeding had the highest PPVs for colon and rectal cancer; dysphagia for esophageal cancer; and abdominal bloating/distension (in women) for ovarian cancer. The highest PPVs of abdominal pain (either sex) and abdominal bloating/distension (men only) were for non-abdominal cancer sites. For the composite outcome of diagnosis of either cancer or IBD, PPVs of rectal bleeding exceeded the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE)-recommended specialist referral threshold of 3% in all age-sex strata, as did PPVs of abdominal pain, change in bowel habit, and dyspepsia, in those aged 60 years and over. Study limitations include reliance on accuracy and completeness of coding of symptoms and disease outcomes.
Conclusions
Based on evidence from more than 1.9 million patients presenting in primary care, the findings provide estimated PPVs that could be used to guide specialist referral decisions, considering the PPVs of common abdominal symptoms for cancer alongside that for IBD and their composite outcome (cancer or IBD), taking into account the variable PPVs of different abdominal symptoms for different cancers sites. Jointly assessing the risk of cancer or IBD can better support decision-making and prompt diagnosis of both conditions, optimising specialist referrals or investigations, particularly in women.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003708
Herbert A, Rafiq M, Pham TM, Renzi C, ... Petersen I, Lyratzopoulos G
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003708 | PMID: 34339405
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Abstract

Development and validation of the Durham Risk Score for estimating suicide attempt risk: A prospective cohort analysis.

Kimbrel NA, Beckham JC, Calhoun PS, DeBeer BB, ... Morissette SB, Elbogen EB
Background
Worldwide, nearly 800,000 individuals die by suicide each year; however, longitudinal prediction of suicide attempts remains a major challenge within the field of psychiatry. The objective of the present research was to develop and evaluate an evidence-based suicide attempt risk checklist [i.e., the Durham Risk Score (DRS)] to aid clinicians in the identification of individuals at risk for attempting suicide in the future.
Methods and findings
Three prospective cohort studies, including a population-based study from the United States [i.e., the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) study] as well as 2 smaller US veteran cohorts [i.e., the Assessing and Reducing Post-Deployment Violence Risk (REHAB) and the Veterans After-Discharge Longitudinal Registry (VALOR) studies], were used to develop and validate the DRS. From a total sample size of 35,654 participants, 17,630 participants were selected to develop the checklist, whereas the remaining participants (N = 18,024) were used to validate it. The main outcome measure was future suicide attempts (i.e., actual suicide attempts that occurred after the baseline assessment during the 1- to 3-year follow-up period). Measure development began with a review of the extant literature to identify potential variables that had substantial empirical support as longitudinal predictors of suicide attempts and deaths. Next, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was utilized to identify variables from the literature review that uniquely contributed to the longitudinal prediction of suicide attempts in the development cohorts. We observed that the DRS was a robust prospective predictor of future suicide attempts in both the combined development (area under the curve [AUC] = 0.91) and validation (AUC = 0.92) cohorts. A concentration of risk analysis found that across all 35,654 participants, 82% of prospective suicide attempts occurred among individuals in the top 15% of DRS scores, whereas 27% occurred in the top 1%. The DRS also performed well among important subgroups, including women (AUC = 0.91), men (AUC = 0.93), Black (AUC = 0.92), White (AUC = 0.93), Hispanic (AUC = 0.89), veterans (AUC = 0.91), lower-income individuals (AUC = 0.90), younger adults (AUC = 0.88), and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) individuals (AUC = 0.88). The primary limitation of the present study was its its reliance on secondary data analyses to develop and validate the risk score.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that the DRS was a strong predictor of future suicide attempts in both the combined development (AUC = 0.91) and validation (AUC = 0.92) cohorts. It also demonstrated good utility in many important subgroups, including women, men, Black, White, Hispanic, veterans, lower-income individuals, younger adults, and LGBTQ individuals. We further observed that 82% of prospective suicide attempts occurred among individuals in the top 15% of DRS scores, whereas 27% occurred in the top 1%. Taken together, these findings suggest that the DRS represents a significant advancement in suicide risk prediction over traditional clinical assessment approaches. While more work is needed to independently validate the DRS in prospective studies and to identify the optimal methods to assess the constructs used to calculate the score, our findings suggest that the DRS is a promising new tool that has the potential to significantly enhance clinicians\' ability to identify individuals at risk for attempting suicide in the future.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003713
Kimbrel NA, Beckham JC, Calhoun PS, DeBeer BB, ... Morissette SB, Elbogen EB
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003713 | PMID: 34351894
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Abstract

Immunogenicity of an oral rotavirus vaccine administered with prenatal nutritional support in Niger: A cluster randomized clinical trial.

Isanaka S, Garba S, Plikaytis B, Malone McNeal M, ... Ciglenecki I, Grais RF
Background
Nutritional status may play a role in infant immune development. To identify potential boosters of immunogenicity in low-income countries where oral vaccine efficacy is low, we tested the effect of prenatal nutritional supplementation on immune response to 3 doses of a live oral rotavirus vaccine.
Methods and findings
We nested a cluster randomized trial within a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized efficacy trial to assess the effect of 3 prenatal nutritional supplements (lipid-based nutrient supplement [LNS], multiple micronutrient supplement [MMS], or iron-folic acid [IFA]) on infant immune response (n = 53 villages and 1,525 infants with valid serology results: 794 in the vaccine group and 731 in the placebo group). From September 2015 to February 2017, participating women received prenatal nutrient supplement during pregnancy. Eligible infants were then randomized to receive 3 doses of an oral rotavirus vaccine or placebo at 6-8 weeks of age (mean age: 6.3 weeks, 50% female). Infant sera (pre-Dose 1 and 28 days post-Dose 3) were analyzed for anti-rotavirus immunoglobulin A (IgA) using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The primary immunogenicity end point, seroconversion defined as ≥3-fold increase in IgA, was compared in vaccinated infants among the 3 supplement groups and between vaccine/placebo groups using mixed model analysis of variance procedures. Seroconversion did not differ by supplementation group (41.1% (94/229) with LNS vs. 39.1% (102/261) with multiple micronutrients (MMN) vs. 38.8% (118/304) with IFA, p = 0.91). Overall, 39.6% (n = 314/794) of infants who received vaccine seroconverted, compared to 29.0% (n = 212/731) of infants who received placebo (relative risk [RR]: 1.36; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.18, 1.57, p < 0.001). This study was conducted in a high rotavirus transmission setting. Study limitations include the absence of an immune correlate of protection for rotavirus vaccines, with the implications of using serum anti-rotavirus IgA for the assessment of immunogenicity and efficacy in low-income countries unclear.
Conclusions
This study showed no effect of the type of prenatal nutrient supplementation on immune response in this setting. Immune response varied depending on previous exposure to rotavirus, suggesting that alternative delivery modalities and schedules may be considered to improve vaccine performance in high transmission settings.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02145000.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003720
Isanaka S, Garba S, Plikaytis B, Malone McNeal M, ... Ciglenecki I, Grais RF
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003720 | PMID: 34375336
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Abstract

Awareness, treatment, and control of hypertension in adults aged 45 years and over and their spouses in India: A nationally representative cross-sectional study.

Mohanty SK, Pedgaonkar SP, Upadhyay AK, Kämpfen F, ... Maurer J, O\'Donnell O
Background
Lack of nationwide evidence on awareness, treatment, and control (ATC) of hypertension among older adults in India impeded targeted management of this condition. We aimed to estimate rates of hypertension ATC in the older population and to assess differences in these rates across sociodemographic groups and states in India.
Methods and findings
We used a nationally representative survey of individuals aged 45 years and over and their spouses in all Indian states (except one) in 2017 to 2018. We identified hypertension by blood pressure (BP) measurement ≥140/90 mm Hg or self-reported diagnosis if also taking medication or observing salt/diet restriction to control BP. We distinguished those who (i) reported diagnosis (\"aware\"); (ii) reported taking medication or being under salt/diet restriction to control BP (\"treated\"); and (iii) had measured systolic BP <140 and diastolic BP <90 (\"controlled\"). We estimated age-sex adjusted hypertension prevalence and rates of ATC by consumption quintile, education, age, sex, urban-rural, caste, religion, marital status, living arrangement, employment status, health insurance, and state. We used concentration indices to measure socioeconomic inequalities and multivariable logistic regression to estimate fully adjusted differences in these outcomes. Study limitations included reliance on BP measurement on a single occasion, missing measurements of BP for some participants, and lack of data on nonadherence to medication. The 64,427 participants in the analysis sample had a median age of 57 years: 58% were female, and 70% were rural dwellers. We estimated hypertension prevalence to be 41.9% (95% CI 41.0 to 42.9). Among those with hypertension, we estimated that 54.4% (95% CI 53.1 to 55.7), 50.8% (95% CI 49.5 to 52.0), and 28.8% (95% CI 27.4 to 30.1) were aware, treated, and controlled, respectively. Across states, adjusted rates of ATC ranged from 27.5% (95% CI 22.2 to 32.8) to 75.9% (95% CI 70.8 to 81.1), from 23.8% (95% CI 17.6 to 30.1) to 74.9% (95% CI 69.8 to 79.9), and from 4.6% (95% CI 1.1 to 8.1) to 41.9% (95% CI 36.8 to 46.9), respectively. Age-sex adjusted rates were lower (p < 0.001) in poorer, less educated, and socially disadvantaged groups, as well as for males, rural residents, and the employed. Among individuals with hypertension, the richest fifth were 8.5 percentage points (pp) (95% CI 5.3 to 11.7; p < 0.001), 8.9 pp (95% CI 5.7 to 12.0; p < 0.001), and 7.1 pp (95% CI 4.2 to 10.1; p < 0.001) more likely to be aware, treated, and controlled, respectively, than the poorest fifth.
Conclusions
Hypertension prevalence was high, and ATC of the condition were low among older adults in India. Inequalities in these indicators pointed to opportunities to target hypertension management more effectively and equitably on socially disadvantaged groups.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003740
Mohanty SK, Pedgaonkar SP, Upadhyay AK, Kämpfen F, ... Maurer J, O'Donnell O
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003740 | PMID: 34428221
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Abstract

Global surgery, obstetric, and anaesthesia indicator definitions and reporting: An Utstein consensus report.

Davies JI, Gelb AW, Gore-Booth J, Martin J, ... Watters D, Weiser TG
Background
Indicators to evaluate progress towards timely access to safe surgical, anaesthesia, and obstetric (SAO) care were proposed in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Global Surgery. These aimed to capture access to surgery, surgical workforce, surgical volume, perioperative mortality rate, and catastrophic and impoverishing financial consequences of surgery. Despite being rapidly taken up by practitioners, data points from which to derive the indicators were not defined, limiting comparability across time or settings. We convened global experts to evaluate and explicitly define-for the first time-the indicators to improve comparability and support achievement of 2030 goals to improve access to safe affordable surgical and anaesthesia care globally.
Methods and findings
The Utstein process for developing and reporting guidelines through a consensus building process was followed. In-person discussions at a 2-day meeting were followed by an iterative process conducted by email and virtual group meetings until consensus was reached. The meeting was held between June 16 to 18, 2019; discussions continued until August 2020. Participants consisted of experts in surgery, anaesthesia, and obstetric care, data science, and health indicators from high-, middle-, and low-income countries. Considering each of the 6 indicators in turn, we refined overarching descriptions and agreed upon data points needed for construction of each indicator at current time (basic data points), and as each evolves over 2 to 5 (intermediate) and >5 year (full) time frames. We removed one of the original 6 indicators (one of 2 financial risk protection indicators was eliminated) and refined descriptions and defined data points required to construct the 5 remaining indicators: geospatial access, workforce, surgical volume, perioperative mortality, and catastrophic expenditure. A strength of the process was the number of people from global institutes and multilateral agencies involved in the collection and reporting of global health metrics; a limitation was the limited number of participants from low- or middle-income countries-who only made up 21% of the total attendees.
Conclusions
To track global progress towards timely access to quality SAO care, these indicators-at the basic level-should be implemented universally as soon as possible. Intermediate and full indicator sets should be achieved by all countries over time. Meanwhile, these evolutions can assist in the short term in developing national surgical plans and collecting more detailed data for research studies.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003749
Davies JI, Gelb AW, Gore-Booth J, Martin J, ... Watters D, Weiser TG
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003749 | PMID: 34415914
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Abstract

The prevalence of mental disorders among homeless people in high-income countries: An updated systematic review and meta-regression analysis.

Gutwinski S, Schreiter S, Deutscher K, Fazel S
Background
Homelessness continues to be a pressing public health concern in many countries, and mental disorders in homeless persons contribute to their high rates of morbidity and mortality. Many primary studies have estimated prevalence rates for mental disorders in homeless individuals. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on the prevalence of any mental disorder and major psychiatric diagnoses in clearly defined homeless populations in any high-income country.
Methods and findings
We systematically searched for observational studies that estimated prevalence rates of mental disorders in samples of homeless individuals, using Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, and Google Scholar. We updated a previous systematic review and meta-analysis conducted in 2007, and searched until 1 April 2021. Studies were included if they sampled exclusively homeless persons, diagnosed mental disorders by standardized criteria using validated methods, provided point or up to 12-month prevalence rates, and were conducted in high-income countries. We identified 39 publications with a total of 8,049 participants. Study quality was assessed using the JBI critical appraisal tool for prevalence studies and a risk of bias tool. Random effects meta-analyses of prevalence rates were conducted, and heterogeneity was assessed by meta-regression analyses. The mean prevalence of any current mental disorder was estimated at 76.2% (95% CI 64.0% to 86.6%). The most common diagnostic categories were alcohol use disorders, at 36.7% (95% CI 27.7% to 46.2%), and drug use disorders, at 21.7% (95% CI 13.1% to 31.7%), followed by schizophrenia spectrum disorders (12.4% [95% CI 9.5% to 15.7%]) and major depression (12.6% [95% CI 8.0% to 18.2%]). We found substantial heterogeneity in prevalence rates between studies, which was partially explained by sampling method, study location, and the sex distribution of participants. Limitations included lack of information on certain subpopulations (e.g., women and immigrants) and unmet healthcare needs.
Conclusions
Public health and policy interventions to improve the health of homeless persons should consider the pattern and extent of psychiatric morbidity. Our findings suggest that the burden of psychiatric morbidity in homeless persons is substantial, and should lead to regular reviews of how healthcare services assess, treat, and follow up homeless people. The high burden of substance use disorders and schizophrenia spectrum disorders need particular attention in service development. This systematic review and meta-analysis has been registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018085216).
Trial registration
PROSPERO CRD42018085216.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003750
Gutwinski S, Schreiter S, Deutscher K, Fazel S
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003750 | PMID: 34424908
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Abstract

Organized primary human papillomavirus-based cervical screening: A randomized healthcare policy trial.

Elfström KM, Eklund C, Lamin H, Öhman D, ... Sundström K, Dillner J
Background
Clinical trials in the research setting have demonstrated that primary human papillomavirus (HPV)-based screening results in greater protection against cervical cancer compared with cytology, but evidence from real-life implementation was missing. To evaluate the effectiveness of HPV-based cervical screening within a real-life screening program, the organized, population-based cervical screening program in the capital region of Sweden offered either HPV- or cytology-based screening in a randomized manner through a randomized healthcare policy (RHP).
Methods and findings
A total of 395,725 women aged 30 to 64 years that were invited for their routine cervical screening visit were randomized without blinding to either cytology-based screening with HPV triage (n = 183,309) or HPV-based screening, with cytology triage (n = 212,416 women) between September 1, 2014 and September 30, 2016 and follow-up through June 30, 2017. The main outcome was non-inferior detection rate of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 or worse (CIN2+). Secondary outcomes included superiority in CIN2+ detection, screening attendance, and referral to histology. In total, 120,240 had a cervical screening sample on record in the study period in the HPV arm and 99,340 in the cytology arm and were followed for the outcomes of interest. In per-protocol (PP) analyses, the detection rate of CIN2+ was 1.03% (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.98 to 1.10) in the HPV arm and 0.93% (0.87 to 0.99) in the cytology arm (p for non-inferiority <0.0001; odds ratio (OR) 1.11 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.22)). There were 46 cervical cancers detected in the HPV arm (0.04% (0.03 to 0.06)) and 48 cancers detected in the cytology arm (0.05% (0.04 to 0.07)) (p for non-inferiority <0.0001; OR 0.79 (0.53 to 1.18)). Intention-to-screen (ITS) analyses found few differences. In the HPV arm, there was a modestly increased attendance after new invitations (68.56% (68.31 to 68.80) vs. 67.71% (67.43 to 67.98); OR 1.02 (1.00 to 1.03)) and increased rate of referral with completed biopsy (3.89% (3.79 to 4.00) vs. 3.53% (3.42 to 3.65); OR 1.10 (1.05 to 1.15)). The main limitations of this analysis are that only the baseline results are presented, and there was an imbalance in invitations between the study arms.
Conclusions
In this study, we observed that a real-life RHP of primary HPV-based screening was acceptable and effective when evaluated against cytology-based screening, as indicated by comparable participation, referral, and detection rates.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01511328.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003748
Elfström KM, Eklund C, Lamin H, Öhman D, ... Sundström K, Dillner J
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003748 | PMID: 34424907
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Abstract

Importance of attributes and willingness to pay for oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation in China: A discrete choice experiment.

Zhao J, Wang H, Li X, Hu Y, ... Tse HF, Chan EW
Background
Adherence to oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) in China is low. Patient preference, one of the main reasons for discontinuation of oral anticoagulant therapy, is an unfamiliar concept in China.
Methods and findings
A discrete choice experiment (DCE) was conducted to quantify patient preference on 7 attributes of oral anticoagulant therapy: antidote (yes/no), food-drug interaction (yes/no), frequency of blood monitoring (no need, every 6/3/1 month[s]), risk of nonfatal major bleeding (0.7/3.1/5.5/7.8[%]), risk of nonfatal stroke (ischemic/hemorrhagic) or systemic embolism (0.6/3.2/5.8/8.4[%]), risk of nonfatal acute myocardial infarction (AMI) (0.2/1.0/1.8/2.5[%]), and monthly out-of-pocket cost (0/120/240/360 RMB) (0 to 56 USD). A total of 16 scenarios were generated by using D-Efficient design and were randomly divided into 2 blocks. Eligible patients were recruited and interviewed from outpatient and inpatient settings of 2 public hospitals in Beijing and Shenzhen, respectively. Patients were presented with 8 scenarios and asked to select 1 of 3 options: 2 unlabeled hypothetical treatments and 1 opt-out option. Mixed logit regression model was used for estimating patients\' preferences of attributes of oral anticoagulants and willingness to pay (WTP) with adjustments for age, sex, education level, income level, city, self-evaluated health score, histories of cardiovascular disease/other vascular disease/any stroke/any bleeding, and use of anticoagulant/antiplatelet therapy. A total of 506 patients were recruited between May 2018 and December 2019 (mean age 70.3 years, 42.1% women). Patients were mainly concerned about the risks of AMI (β: -1.03; 95% CI: -1.31, -0.75; p < 0.001), stroke or systemic embolism (β: -0.81; 95% CI: -0.90, -0.73; p < 0.001), and major bleeding (β: -0.69; 95% CI: -0.78, -0.60; p < 0.001) and were willing to pay more, from up to 798 RMB to 536 RMB (124 to 83 USD) monthly. The least concerning attribute was frequency of blood monitoring (β: -0.31; 95% CI: -0.39, -0.24; p < 0.001). Patients had more concerns about food-drug interactions even exceeding preferences on the 3 risks, if they had a history of stroke or bleeding (β: -2.47; 95% CI: -3.92, -1.02; p < 0.001), recruited from Beijing (β: -1.82; 95% CI: -2.56, -1.07; p < 0.001), or men (β: -0.96; 95% CI: -1.36, -0.56; p < 0.001). Patients with lower educational attainment or lower income weighted all attributes lower, and their WTP for incremental efficacy and safety was minimal. Since the patients were recruited from 2 major hospitals from developed cities in China, further studies with better representative samples would be needed.
Conclusions
Patients with AF in China were mainly concerned about the safety and effectiveness of oral anticoagulant therapy. The preference weighting on food-drug interaction varied widely. Patients with lower educational attainment or income levels and less experience of bleeding or stroke had more reservations about paying for oral anticoagulant therapies with superior efficacy, safety, and convenience of use.



PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003730
Zhao J, Wang H, Li X, Hu Y, ... Tse HF, Chan EW
PLoS Med: 30 Jul 2021; 18:e1003730 | PMID: 34437553
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