Partner Bereavement and Risk of Herpes Zoster: Results from Two Population-Based Case-Control Studies in Denmark and the United Kingdom.
ABSTRACT: Psychological stress is commonly thought to increase the risk of herpes zoster by causing immunosuppression. However, epidemiological studies on the topic are sparse and inconsistent. We conducted 2 parallel case-control studies of the association between partner bereavement and risk of zoster using electronic healthcare data covering the entire Danish population and general practices in the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink.We included patients with a zoster diagnosis from the primary care or hospital-based setting in 1997-2013 in Denmark (n = 190671) and 2000-2013 in the United Kingdom (n = 150207). We matched up to 4 controls to each case patient by age, sex, and general practice (United Kingdom only) using risk-set sampling. The date of diagnosis was the index date for case patients and their controls. We computed adjusted odds ratios with 99% confidence intervals for previous bereavement among case patients versus controls using conditional logistic regression with results from the 2 settings pooled using random-effects meta-analysis.Overall, the adjusted odds ratios for the association between partner bereavement and zoster were 1.05 (99% confidence interval, 1.03-1.07) in Denmark and 1.01 (.98-1.05) in the United Kingdom. The pooled estimates were 0.72, 0.90, 1.10, 1.08, 1.02, 1.04, and 1.03 for bereavement within 0-7, 8-14, 15-30, 31-90, 91-365, 366-1095, and >1095 days before the index date, respectively.We found no consistent evidence of an increased risk of zoster after partner death. Initial fluctuations in estimates may be explained by delayed healthcare contact due to the loss.
Project description:We examined the association between mood disorders and risk of herpes zoster in two case-control studies using data from nationwide Danish registries and practices in the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink. We included incident zoster cases diagnosed in general practice (using systemic antivirals as a proxy in Denmark) or hospital during 1997-2013 in Denmark (n = 190,671) and during 2000-2013 in the United Kingdom (n = 177,361). We risk-set sampled 4 matched population controls per case. Conditional logistic regression analyses adjusting for zoster risk factors showed that the odds ratios for previous mood disorder among cases versus controls were 1.15 (99% confidence interval (CI): 1.12, 1.19; prevalence 7.1% vs. 6.0%) in Denmark and 1.12 (99% CI: 1.11, 1.14; prevalence 31.6% vs. 29.2%) in the United Kingdom. In Denmark, odds ratios were higher for anxiety (1.23; 99% CI: 1.17, 1.30) and severe stress and adjustment disorder (1.24; 99% CI: 1.18, 1.30) than for depression (1.11; 99% CI: 1.07, 1.14). In the United Kingdom, odds ratios for these conditions were similar: 1.12 (99% CI: 1.10, 1.13), 1.12 (99% CI: 1.10, 1.14), and 1.14 (99% CI: 1.10, 1.19) for depression, anxiety, and severe stress and adjustment disorder, respectively. In conclusion, mood disorders were associated with an increased risk of zoster.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Stress is commonly cited as a risk factor for psoriasis and atopic eczema, but such evidence is limited. OBJECTIVES:To investigate the association between partner bereavement (an extreme life stressor) and psoriasis or atopic eczema. METHODS:We conducted cohort studies using data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1997-2017) and Danish nationwide registries (1997-2016). The exposed cohort was partners who experienced partner bereavement. The comparison cohort was up to 10 nonbereaved partners, matched to each bereaved partner by age, sex, county of residence (Denmark) and general practice (U.K.). Outcomes were the first recorded diagnosis of psoriasis or atopic eczema. We estimated hazard ratios (HRs) and confidence intervals (CIs) using a stratified Cox proportional hazards model in both settings, which were then pooled in a meta-analysis. RESULTS:The pooled adjusted HR for the association between bereavement and psoriasis was 1·01 (95% CI 0·98-1·04) across the entire follow-up. Similar results were found in other shorter follow-up periods. Pooled adjusted HRs for the association between bereavement and atopic eczema were 0·97 (95% CI 0·84-1·12) across the entire follow-up, 1·09 (95% CI 0·86-1·38) within 0-30 days, 1·18 (95% CI 1·04-1·35) within 0-90 days, 1·14 (95% CI 1·06-1·22) within 0-365 days and 1·07 (95% CI 1·02-1·12) within 0-1095 days. CONCLUSIONS:We found a modest increase in the risk of atopic eczema within 3 years following bereavement, which peaked in the first 3 months. Acute stress may play a role in triggering onset of new atopic eczema or relapse of atopic eczema previously in remission. We observed no evidence for increased long-term risk of psoriasis and atopic eczema following bereavement.
Project description:BACKGROUND:In the UK, an estimated one third of people with dementia have not received a diagnosis. Good evidence suggests that dementia risk is increased among widowed individuals; however, it is not clear if they are being diagnosed in routine primary care. OBJECTIVE:This study aimed to investigate if bereavement influenced the probability of having received a dementia diagnosis. METHODS:A population-based cohort study using UK electronic health records, between 1997 and 2017, among 247,586 opposite-sex partners. Those experiencing partner bereavement were matched (age, sex, and date of bereavement) to a non-bereaved person living in a partnership. Multivariate cox regression was performed. RESULTS:Partner bereavement was associated with an increased risk of receiving a diagnosis of dementia in the first three months (hazard ratio (HR) 1.43, 95% CI 1.20-1.71) and first six months (HR 1.24, 95% CI 1.09-1.41), while there was a small reduced risk of getting a dementia diagnosis over all follow-up (HR 0.94, 95% CI 0.89-0.98). CONCLUSIONS:Partner bereavement appears to lead to a short-term increased risk of the surviving partner receiving a diagnosis of dementia, suggesting that bereavement unmasks existing undiagnosed dementia. Over the longer term, however, bereaved individuals are less likely to have a diagnosis of dementia in their health records than non-bereaved individuals.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Psychological stress is commonly cited as a risk factor for melanoma, but clinical evidence is limited. OBJECTIVES:This study aimed to evaluate the association between partner bereavement and (i) first-time melanoma diagnosis and (ii) mortality in patients with melanoma. METHODS:We conducted two cohort studies using data from the U.K. Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1997-2017) and Danish nationwide registries (1997-2016). In study 1, we compared the risk of first melanoma diagnosis in bereaved vs. matched nonbereaved people using stratified Cox regression. In study 2 we estimated hazard ratios (HRs) for death from melanoma in bereaved compared with nonbereaved individuals with melanoma using Cox regression. We estimated HRs separately for the U.K. and for Denmark, and then pooled the data to perform a random-effects meta-analysis. RESULTS:In study 1, the pooled adjusted HR for the association between partner bereavement and melanoma diagnosis was 0·88 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·84-0·92] across the entire follow-up period. In study 2, we observed increased melanoma-specific mortality in people experiencing partner bereavement across the entire follow-up period (HR 1·17, 95% CI 1·06-1·30), with the peak occurring during the first year of follow-up (HR 1·31, 95% CI 1·07-1·60). CONCLUSIONS:We found decreased risk of melanoma diagnosis, but increased mortality associated with partner bereavement. These findings may be partly explained by delayed detection resulting from the loss of a partner who could notice skin changes. Stress may play a role in melanoma progression. Our findings indicate the need for a low threshold for skin examination in individuals whose partners have died. What is already known about this topic? Psychological stress has been proposed as a risk factor for the development and progression of cancer, including melanoma, but evidence is conflicting. Clinical evidence is limited by small sample sizes, potential recall bias associated with self-report, and heterogeneous stress definitions. What does this study add? We found a decreased risk of melanoma diagnosis, but increased mortality associated with partner bereavement. While stress might play a role in the progression of melanoma, an alternative explanation is that bereaved people no longer have a close person to help notice skin changes, leading to delayed melanoma detection. Linked Comment: Talaganis et al. Br J Dermatol 2020; 183:607-608.
Project description:An increased risk of death in persons who have suffered spousal bereavement has been described in many populations. The impact of modifying factors, such as chronic disease and material circumstances, is less well understood. The authors followed 171,720 [corrected] couples 60 years of age or older in a United Kingdom primary care database between 2005 and 2010 for an average of 4 years. A total of 26,646 (15.5%) couples experienced bereavement, with mean follow up after bereavement of 2 years. In a model adjusted for age, sex, comorbid conditions at baseline, material deprivation based on area of residence, season, and smoking status, the hazard ratio for mortality in the first year after bereavement was 1.25 (95% confidence interval: 1.18, 1.33). Further adjustment for changes in comorbid conditions throughout follow up did not alter the hazard ratio for bereavement (hazard ratio = 1.27, 95% confidence interval: 1.19, 1.35). The association was strongest in individuals with no significant chronic comorbid conditions throughout follow up (hazard ratio = 1.50, 95% confidence interval: 1.28, 1.77) and in more affluent couples (P = 0.035). In the first year after bereavement, the association between bereavement and death is not primarily mediated through worsening or new onset of chronic disease. Good health and material circumstances do not protect individuals from increased mortality rates after bereavement.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Childhood cancer is a leading cause of child deaths in affluent countries, but little is known about its aetiology. Psychological stress has been suggested to be associated with cancer in adults; whether this is also seen in childhood cancer is largely unknown. We investigated the association between bereavement as an indicator of severe childhood stress exposure and childhood cancer, using data from Danish and Swedish national registers.<h4>Design</h4>Population-based cohort study.<h4>Setting</h4>Denmark and Sweden.<h4>Participants</h4>All live-born children born in Denmark between 1968 and 2007 (n=2 729 308) and in Sweden between 1973 and 2006 (n=3 395 166) were included in this study. Exposure was bereavement by the death of a close relative before 15 years of age. Follow-up started from birth and ended at the first of the following: date of a cancer diagnosis, death, emigration, day before their 15th birthday or end of follow-up (2007 in Denmark, 2006 in Sweden).<h4>Outcome measures</h4>Rates and HRs for all childhood cancers and specific childhood cancers.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 1 505 938 (24.5%) children experienced bereavement at some point during their childhood and 9823 were diagnosed with cancer before the age of 15 years. The exposed children had a small (10%) increased risk of childhood cancer (HR 1.10; 95% CI 1.04 to 1.17). For specific cancers, a significant association was seen only for central nervous system tumours (HR 1.14; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.28).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our data suggest that psychological stress in early life is associated with a small increased risk of childhood cancer.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Data on cancer prevalence and incidence in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are controversial. This study is aimed at estimating cancer risk in MS patients.<h4>Methods</h4>Nested case-control study using data collected between 01/01/1987 and 28/02/2016 from the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Cancer diagnoses after first MS code (index date) was counted in 10,204 MS patients and 39,448 controls matched by sex, age, general practitioner, and registration year. Cancer rates were compared using multivariable Cox regression models. Ethics approval was not required.<h4>Results</h4>Cancer was reported in 433 (4.41%) MS patients and 2014 (5.31%) controls after index date. Cancer risk was associated with gender (HR for female?=?0.88, 95% CI?=?0.81-0.96, p?=?0.004), age at index date (HR?=?1.06, 95% CI?=?1.06-1.07, p?<?0.001), and index year (HR?=?1.01, 95% CI?=?1.00-1.02, p?=?0.016), but not with MS status (HR?=?0.95, 95% CI?=?0.86-1.05, p?=?0.323). A significant interaction between MS status and index year was found (HR?=?1.02, 95% CI?=?1.00-1.04, p?=?0.022). Cancer risk was positively associated with index year among MS patients (HR?=?1.03, 95% CI?=?1.01-1.05; p?=?0.010), but not controls (HR?=?1.01, 95% CI?=?0.99-1.02; p?=?0.144). MS patients compared to controls had no increased risk for any specific cancer type.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Overall cancer risk was similar in multiple sclerosis patients and matched controls. The frequency of cancer diagnoses has increased over time among MS patients but not in controls.
Project description:Mycobacterium chimaera was present at high rates (>80%) in heater-cooler units (HCUs) from all 5 thoracic surgery departments in Denmark. Isolates were clonal to HCU-associated isolates from the United States (including some from patients) and United Kingdom. However, M. chimaera from 2 brands of HCU were genetically distinct.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The health of caregivers can be affected during end-of-life caregiving. Previous cross-sectional studies have indicated an association between poor health status and prolonged grief disorder, but prospective studies are lacking. AIM:To describe physical and mental health status in caregivers of patients at the end of life, and to investigate whether caregivers' health status during caregiving predict prolonged grief disorder. DESIGN:A population-based prospective survey was conducted. Health status was measured in caregivers during caregiving (SF-36), and prolonged grief disorder was assessed 6?months after bereavement (Prolonged Grief-13). We calculated mean scores of health status and explored the association with prolonged grief disorder using logistic regression adjusted for age, gender and education. SETTING/PARTICIPANTS:The health in caregivers of patients granted drug reimbursement due to terminal illness in Denmark in 2012 was assessed during caregiving and 6?months after bereavement (n?=?2125). RESULTS:The SF-36 subscale 'role-physical' concerning role limitations due to physical health, the 'mental health' component score, and all 'mental health' subscales showed significantly worse health in the participants than in the general population. Both poor physical health (adjusted OR: 1.05 (95% CI: 1.04-1.07)) and poor mental health (adjusted OR: 1.09 (95% CI: 1.07-1.11)) predicted prolonged grief disorder. CONCLUSION:Caregivers scored lower on one physical subscale and all mental health measures than the general population. Prolonged grief disorder was predicted by poor physical and mental health status before bereavement. Future research is needed on the use of health status in systematic assessment to identify caregivers in need of support.
Project description:AIMS:Inherited genetic factors may help partially explain variability of survival length amongst ovarian cancer patients. Of particular interest are genes involved in DNA repair, specifically those involved in mismatch repair (MMR). The aim of this study was to investigate the possible association between the common variants in MMR genes and invasive ovarian cancer overall survival. METHOD/RESULTS:We examined associations between 44 variants that tag the known common variants (minor allele frequency 0.05) in seven MMR genes (MLH1, MLH3, MSH2, MSH3, MSH6, PMS1 and PMS2) and survival of invasive ovarian cancer patients in three case-control studies from United Kingdom (UK), Denmark and California of United States of America (USA). DNA from up to 1495 women were genotyped. The genotypes of each polymorphism were tested for association with survival using Cox regression analysis stratified by study. A nominally significant association (P=0.04) between genotype and ovarian cancer survival was observed for rs2228006 in PMS2. The per-rare allele hazard ratio (HR 95%CI) was 0.84 (0.71-0.99), however, it was not significant after adjusting for multiple covariants (P=0.47). When the analyses were restricted to serous type ovarian cancer, two SNPs showed marginal significant associations; the per-rare allele HR was 1.3 (1.05-1.6) (P=0.02) for rs1799977 in MLH1 and 1.4 (1.03-1.9) (P=0.04) for rs6151662 in MSH3. Neither was significant after adjusting for multiple covariants. CONCLUSION:It is unlikely that common variants in the MMR pathways examined have moderate effects on survival after diagnosis with ovarian cancer. Much larger studies would be needed to exclude common variants with small effects.