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BACKGROUND - Remarkable financial and political efforts have been focused on the reduction of child mortality during the past few decades. Timely measurements of levels and trends in under-5 mortality are important to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) target of reduction of child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015, and to identify models of success.
METHODS - We generated updated estimates of child mortality in early neonatal (age 0-6 days), late neonatal (7-28 days), postneonatal (29-364 days), childhood (1-4 years), and under-5 (0-4 years) age groups for 188 countries from 1970 to 2013, with more than 29,000 survey, census, vital registration, and sample registration datapoints. We used Gaussian process regression with adjustments for bias and non-sampling error to synthesise the data for under-5 mortality for each country, and a separate model to estimate mortality for more detailed age groups. We used explanatory mixed effects regression models to assess the association between under-5 mortality and income per person, maternal education, HIV child death rates, secular shifts, and other factors. To quantify the contribution of these different factors and birth numbers to the change in numbers of deaths in under-5 age groups from 1990 to 2013, we used Shapley decomposition. We used estimated rates of change between 2000 and 2013 to construct under-5 mortality rate scenarios out to 2030.
FINDINGS - We estimated that 6·3 million (95% UI 6·0-6·6) children under-5 died in 2013, a 64% reduction from 17·6 million (17·1-18·1) in 1970. In 2013, child mortality rates ranged from 152·5 per 1000 livebirths (130·6-177·4) in Guinea-Bissau to 2·3 (1·8-2·9) per 1000 in Singapore. The annualised rates of change from 1990 to 2013 ranged from -6·8% to 0·1%. 99 of 188 countries, including 43 of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, had faster decreases in child mortality during 2000-13 than during 1990-2000. In 2013, neonatal deaths accounted for 41·6% of under-5 deaths compared with 37·4% in 1990. Compared with 1990, in 2013, rising numbers of births, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, led to 1·4 million more child deaths, and rising income per person and maternal education led to 0·9 million and 2·2 million fewer deaths, respectively. Changes in secular trends led to 4·2 million fewer deaths. Unexplained factors accounted for only -1% of the change in child deaths. In 30 developing countries, decreases since 2000 have been faster than predicted attributable to income, education, and secular shift alone.
INTERPRETATION - Only 27 developing countries are expected to achieve MDG 4. Decreases since 2000 in under-5 mortality rates are accelerating in many developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The Millennium Declaration and increased development assistance for health might have been a factor in faster decreases in some developing countries. Without further accelerated progress, many countries in west and central Africa will still have high levels of under-5 mortality in 2030.
FUNDING - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US Agency for International Development.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
PURPOSE - Progestogen has been investigated as a preventive intervention among women with increased preterm birth risk. Our objective was to systematically review the effectiveness of intramuscular (IM), vaginal, and oral progestogens for preterm birth and neonatal death prevention.
METHODS - We included articles published from January 1966 to January 2013 and found 27 randomized trials with data for Bayesian meta-analysis.
RESULTS - Across all studies, only vaginal and oral routes were effective at reducing preterm births (IM risk ratio [RR] 0.95, 95 % Bayesian credible interval [BCI]: 0.88-1.03; vaginal RR 0.87, 95 % BCI: 0.80-0.94; oral RR 0.64, 95 % BCI: 0.49-0.85). However, when analyses were limited to only single births all routes were effective at reducing preterm birth (IM RR 0.77, 95 % BCI: 0.69-0.87; vaginal RR 0.80, 95 % BCI: 0.69-0.91; oral RR 0.66, 95 % BCI: 0.47-0.84). Only IM progestogen was effective at reducing neonatal deaths (IM RR 0.78, 95 % BCI: 0.56-0.99; vaginal RR 0.75, 95 % BCI: 0.45-1.09; oral RR 0.72, 95 % BCI: 0.09-1.74). Vaginal progestogen was effective in reducing neonatal deaths when limited to singletons births.
CONCLUSIONS - All progestogen routes reduce preterm births but not neonatal deaths. Future studies are needed that directly compare progestogen delivery routes.
BACKGROUND - Increased awareness of the adverse effects of cancer treatments has prompted the development of fertility preserving regimens for the growing population of cancer survivors who desire to have children of their own.
MATERIAL AND METHODS - We conducted a registry-based study to evaluate the risk of stillbirth, early death and neonatal morbidity among children of female cancer survivors (0-34 years at diagnosis) compared with children of female siblings. A total of 3501 and 16 908 children of female cancer patients and siblings, respectively, were linked to the national medical birth and cause-of-death registers.
RESULTS - The risk of stillbirth or early death was not significantly increased among offspring of cancer survivors as compared to offspring of siblings: the risk [Odds Ratio (OR)] of early neonatal death, i.e. mortality within the first week was 1.35, with a 95% confidence interval (CI) of 0.58-3.18, within 28 days 1.40, 95% CI 0.46-4.24 and within the first year of life 1.11, 95% CI 0.64-1.93 after adjustment for the main explanatory variables. All these risk estimates were reduced towards one after further adjustment for duration of pregnancy. Measures of serious neonatal morbidity were not significantly increased among the children of survivors. However, there was a significant increase in the monitoring of children of cancer survivors for neonatal conditions (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.35-1.80), which persisted even after correcting for duration of pregnancy, that might be related to parental cancer and its treatment or increased surveillance among the children.
CONCLUSION - Offspring of cancer survivors were more likely to require monitoring or care in a neonatal intensive care unit, but the risk of early death or stillbirth was not increased after adjustment for prematurity. Due to the rarity of the mortality outcomes studied, collaborative studies may be helpful in ruling out the possibility of an increased risk among offspring of cancer survivors.
Accommodating general patterns of confounding in sample size/power calculations for observational studies is extremely challenging, both technically and scientifically. While employing previously implemented sample size/power tools is appealing, they typically ignore important aspects of the design/data structure. In this paper, we show that sample size/power calculations that ignore confounding can be much more unreliable than is conventionally thought; using real data from the US state of North Carolina, naive calculations yield sample size estimates that are half those obtained when confounding is appropriately acknowledged. Unfortunately, eliciting realistic design parameters for confounding mechanisms is difficult. To overcome this, we propose a novel two-stage strategy for observational study design that can accommodate arbitrary patterns of confounding. At the first stage, researchers establish bounds for power that facilitate the decision of whether or not to initiate the study. At the second stage, internal pilot data are used to estimate key scientific inputs that can be used to obtain realistic sample size/power. Our results indicate that the strategy is effective at replicating gold standard calculations based on knowing the true confounding mechanism. Finally, we show that consideration of the nature of confounding is a crucial aspect of the elicitation process; depending on whether the confounder is positively or negatively associated with the exposure of interest and outcome, naive power calculations can either under or overestimate the required sample size. Throughout, simulation is advocated as the only general means to obtain realistic estimates of statistical power; we describe, and provide in an R package, a simple algorithm for estimating power for a case-control study.
PURPOSE - Preconception radiation and chemotherapy have the potential to produce germ cell mutations leading to genetic disease in the next generation. Dose-response relationships were evaluated between cancer treatments and untoward pregnancy outcomes.
PATIENTS AND METHODS - A case-cohort study was conducted involving 472 Danish survivors of childhood and adolescent cancer and their 1,037 pregnancies. Adverse outcomes included 159 congenital malformations, six chromosomal abnormalities, seven stillbirths, and nine neonatal deaths. Preconception radiation doses to the gonads, uterus, and pituitary gland and administered chemotherapy were quantified based on medical records and related to adverse outcomes using a generalized estimating equation model.
RESULTS - No statistically significant associations were found between genetic disease in children and parental treatment with alkylating drugs or preconception radiation doses to the testes in male and ovaries in female cancer survivors. Specifically, the risk of genetic disease was similar among the children of irradiated survivors when compared with nonirradiated survivors (relative risk [RR], 1.02; 95% CI, 0.59 to 1.44; P = .94). A statistically significant association between abdomino-pelvic irradiation and malformations, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths was not seen in the children of female survivors overall (P = .07) or in the children of mothers receiving high uterine doses (mean, 13.5 Gy; max, 100 Gy; RR, 2.3; 95% CI, 0.95 to 5.56).
CONCLUSION - Mutagenic chemotherapy and radiotherapy doses to the gonads were not associated with genetic defects in children of cancer survivors. However, larger studies need to be conducted to further explore potential associations between high-dose pelvic irradiation and specific adverse pregnancy outcomes.
National datasets provide a unique opportunity to examine racial and ethnic disparities in health and mental health. In this article, the authors discuss some of the ways in which national datasets can facilitate our understanding of key pathways and mechanisms that explain racial and ethnic disparities and some of the conceptual and measurement issues that continue to hinder disparities research. Utilizing infant mortality and major depression as examples, the authors illustrate the complexity of studying racial and ethnic health and mental health disparities and argue that more thought and precision be utilized to study and explain these differences. Specifically, the authors argue that it is critical to disentangle population-level factors and individual-level characteristics to advance our understanding of disparities. The authors also contend that it is important for researchers to recognize the reciprocal relationship between the theoretical foundations and methodological innovations that must be integrated to effectively examine disparities. The authors conclude by discussing some of the benefits of researchers utilizing national databases that hold particular promise for addressing racial and ethnic disparities.
BACKGROUND - Rates of perinatal human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) transmission are higher among HIV-infected mothers with more advanced disease, but effects of maternal disease on HIV-uninfected offspring are unclear. We investigated the hypothesis that the severity of HIV disease and immune dysfunction among mothers is associated with increased morbidity and mortality among their uninfected infants.
METHODS - In a birth cohort of 620 HIV-uninfected infants born to HIV-infected mothers in Lusaka, Zambia, we investigated associations between markers of more advanced maternal HIV disease and child mortality, hospital admissions, and infant weight through 4 months of age.
RESULTS - Mortality in the cohort of uninfected infants was 4.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.8-6.3) through 4 months of age. Infants of mothers with CD4+ T cell counts of <350 cells/microL were more likely to die (hazard ratio [HR], 2.87; 95% CI, 1.03-8.03) and were more likely to be hospitalized (HR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.17-4.45), after adjusting for other factors, including maternal death and low birth weight. The most common cause of infant death and hospitalization was pneumonia and/or sepsis. A maternal viral load of >100,000 copies/mL was associated with significantly lower child weight through 4 months of age.
CONCLUSION - Children born to HIV-infected mothers with advanced disease who escaped perinatal or early breastfeeding-related HIV infection are nonetheless at high risk of mortality and morbidity during the first few months of life. HIV-related immunosuppression appears to have adverse consequences for the health of infants, in addition to risks of vertical transmission.
PURPOSE - Among newborns at 34 weeks or more with umbilical arterial pH<7.00, we endeavoured to determine the pH threshold and risk factors for neonatal organ injury within 72 hours of birth.
STUDY DESIGN - Retrospectively, all non-anomalous newborns delivered over 6 years near term with a low pH were identified. Each case of a newborn with injury was compared with the next four neonates with a pH below 7.00 and no injury. A receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve and unconditional logistic regression was used.
RESULTS - Of the 87 newborns with pathologic acidosis, 16% had neonatal organ system injury. Inspection of the ROC curve indicates that a pH of 6.92 is the threshold that identifies newborns who will have damage to organs. Unconditional logistic regression analysis indicates that the significant risk factors for morbidity were an Apgar score
CONCLUSIONS - Among newborns at >or=37 weeks, pH
The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to investigate the association between partner physical or emotional abuse during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes including perinatal death, low birthweight and preterm delivery. Women, aged 18-65, who attended one of two large primary care practices from 1997-98 were recruited for this study. Ever pregnant women were asked the frequency of abuse during each pregnancy and details of the pregnancy outcomes. Information regarding abuse during pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes was available for 755 women surveyed who reported a live birth or late fetal death, 14.7% indicated that an intimate partner was violent or abusive toward them during a pregnancy (274 of 1862 pregnancies). Abuse during pregnancy was significantly associated with an increased risk of perinatal death (adjusted relative risk [aRR] = 2.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3, 3.4) and, among live births, with preterm low birthweight (aRR = 2.4; 95% CI 1.5, 4.0) and term low birthweight (aRR = 1.9; 95% CI 1.0, 3.4). Greater abuse frequency was associated with increased risk. Abuse during pregnancy was associated with perinatal deaths and preterm low birthweight deliveries.