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Current Epidemiology Reports

Carmen Messerlian, Audrey J Gaskins
PURPOSE: While considerable progress has been made since the advent of assisted reproductive technology (ART), the field remains a complex and challenging one for clinicians and researchers alike. This review discusses some of the most salient issues pertaining to the study of ART and whenever possible suggestions on how to address them. RECENT FINDINGS: More than 5 million babies have been born through ART to date, representing up to 4% of all births worldwide...
June 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Anissa I Vines, Julia B Ward, Evette Cordoba, Kristin Z Black
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Recent literature on racial or ethnic discrimination and mental health was reviewed to assess the current science and identify key areas of emphasis for social epidemiology. Objectives of this review were to: 1) Determine whether there have been advancements in the measurement and analysis of perceived discrimination; 2) Identify the use of theories and/or frameworks in perceived discrimination and mental health research; and 3) Assess the extent to which stress buffers are being considered and evaluated in the existing literature...
June 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Alexander J Millman, Noele P Nelson, Claudia Vellozzi
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review highlights key studies and recently published data, policies, and recommendations related to hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemiology, transmission, and treatment. RECENT FINDINGS: HCV is a leading cause of liver-related deaths, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Since 2011 and accelerating since 2013, new, safe, tolerable, and curative therapies have considerably altered clinical and public health frameworks related to the prevention, control and clinical management of HCV...
June 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Kelly K Ferguson, Helen B Chin
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Preterm birth is a significant worldwide health problem of uncertain origins. The extant body of literature examining environmental contaminant exposures in relation to preterm birth is extensive but results remain ambiguous for most organic pollutants, metals and metalloids, and air pollutants. In the present review we examine recent epidemiologic studies investigating these associations, and identify recent advances and the state of the science. Additionally, we highlight biological mechanisms of action in the pathway between chemical exposures and preterm birth, including inflammation, oxidative stress, and endocrine disruption, that deserve more attention in this context...
March 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Joseph M Braun, Carmen Messerlian, Russ Hauser
PURPOSE: Despite accumulating evidence from experimental animal studies showing that paternal environmental exposures induce genetic and epigenetic alterations in sperm which in turn increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in offspring, there is limited epidemiological data on the effects of human paternal preconception exposures on children's health. We summarize animal and human studies showing that paternal preconception environmental exposures influence offspring health. We discuss specific approaches and designs for human studies to investigate the health effects of paternal preconception exposures, the specific challenges these studies may face, and how we might address them...
March 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Alexis D Vick, Heather H Burris
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: African Americans disproportionately suffer from leading causes of morbidity and mortality including cardiovascular disease (CVD), cancer, and preterm birth. Disparities can arise from multiple social and environmental exposures, but how the human body responds to these exposures to result in pathophysiologic states is incompletely understood. RECENT FINDINGS: Epigenetic mechanisms, particularly DNA methylation, can be altered in response to exposures such as air pollution, psychosocial stress, and smoking...
March 2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Joanna Maselko
PURPOSE OF THE REVIEW: The vast majority of research on the social determinants of mental health has been generated from high-income country (HIC) populations, even as the greatest health disparities, and greatest disease burden, is observed in lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The goal of this review is to examine the evidence base on how key social epidemiology constructs relate to mental health in LMIC contexts. A special focus is on points of departure from the HIC knowledge base, gaps in overall understanding, and opportunities for social epidemiology to make a significant contribution...
2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
K S Joseph, Neda Razaz, Giulia M Muraca, Sarka Lisonkova
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Several prestigious agencies routinely rank countries based on crude perinatal and infant mortality rates, while more recently, international neonatal networks have begun comparing neonatal mortality and morbidity rates among very preterm and very low-birth-weight infants. We discuss the methodologic challenges that compromise such comparisons and potential remedies. RECENT FINDINGS: Crude perinatal mortality rates are biased by international variations in birth registration, especially at the borderline of viability...
2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Chirag J Patel
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Mixtures, or combinations and interactions between multiple environmental exposures, are hypothesized to be causally linked with disease and health-related phenotypes. Established and emerging molecular measurement technologies to assay the exposome, the comprehensive battery of exposures encountered from birth to death, promise a new way of identifying mixtures in disease in the epidemiological setting. In this opinion, we describe the analytic complexity and challenges in identifying mixtures associated with phenotype and disease...
2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Tyler M Sharp, Kay M Tomashek, Jennifer S Read, Harold S Margolis, Stephen H Waterman
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: By all measures, the morbidity and mortality due to dengue are continuing to worsen worldwide. Although both early and recent studies have demonstrated regional differences in how dengue affects local populations, these findings were to varying extents related to disparate surveillance approaches. RECENT FINDINGS: Recent studies have broadened the recognized spectrum of disease resulting from DENV infection, particularly in adults, and have also demonstrated new mechanisms of DENV spread both within and between populations...
2017: Current Epidemiology Reports
Jessie K Edwards, Laura L Hester, Mugdha Gokhale, Catherine R Lesko
Risk is an important parameter to describe the occurrence of health outcomes over time. However, many outcomes of interest in healthcare settings, such as disease incidence, treatment initiation, and cause-specific mortality, may be precluded from occurring by other events, often referred to as competing events. Here, we review straightforward approaches to estimate risk in the presence of competing events. We illustrate the application of these methods using timely examples in pharmacoepidemiologic research and compare results to those obtained using analytic simplifications commonly used to handle competing events...
December 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
M Elizabeth Halloran, Michael G Hudgens
One hundred years ago Sir Ronald Ross published his treatise on a general Theory of Happenings. Dependent happenings are those in which the frequency depends on the number already affected. When there is dependency of events, interventions can have different types of effects. Interventions such as vaccination can have direct protective effects for the person receiving the treatment, as well as indirect/spillover effects for others in the population. Causal inference is a framework for carefully defining the causal effect of a treatment, exposure, or policy, and then determining conditions under which such effects can be estimated from the observed data...
December 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Kevin D Shield, D Maxwell Parkin, David C Whiteman, Jürgen Rehm, Vivian Viallon, Claire Marant Micallef, Paolo Vineis, Lesley Rushton, Freddie Bray, Isabelle Soerjomataram
The proportions of new cancer cases and deaths that are caused by exposure to risk factors and that could be prevented are key statistics for public health policy and planning. This paper summarizes the methodologies for estimating, challenges in the analysis of, and utility of, population attributable and preventable fractions for cancers caused by major risk factors such as tobacco smoking, dietary factors, high body fat, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, infectious agents, occupational exposure, air pollution, sun exposure, and insufficient breastfeeding...
September 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Antonia M Calafat
In environmental epidemiology, use of biomonitoring (i.e., trace-level measurement of environmental chemicals or their metabolites in biospecimens) for exposure assessment has increased considerably in past decades. Although exposure biomarkers should reflect a person's exposure to the target chemicals (or their precursors) within a specific timeframe, timing, duration, and intensity of exposures are normally unknown and likely vary within the study period. Therefore, evaluating exposure beyond a single time point may require collecting more than one biospecimen...
June 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Tamarra M James-Todd, Yu-Han Chiu, Ami R Zota
Disparities in women's reproductive health outcomes across the life course have been well-documented. Endocrine disrupting chemicals may be one factor driving disparities, as studies suggest exposure to certain environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as certain phthalates, bisphenol A, parabens and polybrominated diphenyl ethers are higher in non-whites. Yet, a limited amount of research has focused on these chemical exposures as a potential mediator of racial/ethnic differences in women's reproductive health outcomes, such as pubertal development, fibroids, infertility, and pregnancy complications...
June 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
David S Fink, Katherine M Keyes, Magdalena Cerdá
Population distributions of health emerge from the complex interplay of health-related factors at multiple levels, from the biological to the societal level. Individuals are aggregated within social networks, affected by their locations, and influenced differently across time. From aggregations of individuals, group properties can emerge, including some exposures that are ubiquitous within populations but variant across populations. By combining a focus on social determinants of health with a conceptual framework for understanding how genetics, biology, behavior, psychology, society, and environment interact, a systems science approach can inform our understanding of the underlying causes of the unequal distribution of health across generations and populations, and can help us identify promising approaches to reduce such inequalities...
March 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
David H Rehkopf, M Maria Glymour, Theresa L Osypuk
The assumption that exposures as measured in observational settings have clear and specific definitions underpins epidemiologic research and allows us to use observational data to predict outcomes in interventions. This leap between exposures as measured and exposures as intervened upon is typically supported by the consistency assumption. The consistency assumption has received extensive attention in risk factor epidemiology but relatively little emphasis in social epidemiology. However, violations of the consistency assumption may be especially important to consider when understanding how social and economic exposures influence health...
March 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Claire Margerison-Zilko, Sidra Goldman-Mellor, April Falconi, Janelle Downing
The severity, sudden onset, and multipronged nature of the Great Recession (2007-2009) provided a unique opportunity to examine the health impacts of macroeconomic downturn. We comprehensively review empirical literature examining the relationship between the Recession and mental and physical health outcomes in developed nations. Overall, studies reported detrimental impacts of the Recession on health, particularly mental health. Macro- and individual-level employment- and housing-related sequelae of the Recession were associated with declining fertility and self-rated health, and increasing morbidity, psychological distress, and suicide, although traffic fatalities and population-level alcohol consumption declined...
March 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Janne Boone-Heinonen, Lynne Messer, Kate Andrade, Erin Takemoto
In this review, we considered how disparities in obesity emerge between birth, when socially disadvantaged infants tend to be small, and later in childhood, when socially disadvantaged groups have high risk of obesity. We reviewed epidemiologic evidence of socioeconomic and racial/ethnic differences in growth from infancy to pre-adolescence. Minority race/ethnicity and lower socioeconomic status was associated with rapid weight gain in infancy but not in older age groups, and social differences in linear growth and relative weight were unclear...
March 1, 2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
Catherine E Oldenburg, Ellen Moscoe, Till Bärnighausen
Regression discontinuity analyses can generate estimates of the causal effects of an exposure when a continuously measured variable is used to assign the exposure to individuals based on a threshold rule. Individuals just above the threshold are expected to be similar in their distribution of measured and unmeasured baseline covariates to individuals just below the threshold, resulting in exchangeability. At the threshold exchangeability is guaranteed if there is random variation in the continuous assignment variable, e...
2016: Current Epidemiology Reports
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