- The German MultiCare-study : patterns of multimorbidity in primary health care - protocol of a prospective cohort study (2009)
- Background Multimorbidity is a highly frequent condition in older people, but well designed longitudinal studies on the impact of multimorbidity on patients and the health care system have been remarkably scarce in numbers until today. Little is known about the long term impact of multimorbidity on the patients' life expectancy, functional status and quality of life as well as health care utilization over time. As a consequence, there is little help for GPs in adjusting care for these patients, even though studies suggest that adhering to present clinical practice guidelines in the care of patients with multimorbidity may have adverse effects. Methods The study is designed as a multicentre prospective, observational cohort study of 3.050 patients aged 65 to 85 at baseline with at least three different diagnoses out of a list of 29 illnesses and syndromes. The patients will be recruited in approx. 120 to 150 GP surgeries in 8 study centres distributed across Germany. Information about the patients' morbidity will be collected mainly in GP interviews and from chart reviews. Functional status, resources/risk factors, health care utilization and additional morbidity data will be assessed in patient interviews, in which a multitude of well established standardized questionnaires and tests will be performed. Discussion The main aim of the cohort study is to monitor the course of the illness process and to analyse for which reasons medical conditions are stable, deteriorating or only temporarily present. First, clusters of combinations of diseases/disorders (multimorbidity patterns) with a comparable impact (e.g. on quality of life and/or functional status) will be identified. Then the development of these clusters over time will be analysed, especially with regard to prognostic variables and the somatic, psychological and social consequences as well as the utilization of health care resources. The results will allow the development of an instrument for prediction of the deterioration of the illness process and point at possibilities of prevention. The practical consequences of the study results for primary care will be analysed in expert focus groups in order to develop strategies for the inclusion of the aspects of multimorbidity in primary care guidelines.
- TuLiPA: towards a multi-formalism parsing environment for grammar engineering (2008)
- In this paper, we present an open-source parsing environment (Tübingen Linguistic Parsing Architecture, TuLiPA) which uses Range Concatenation Grammar (RCG) as a pivot formalism, thus opening the way to the parsing of several mildly context-sensitive formalisms. This environment currently supports tree-based grammars (namely Tree-Adjoining Grammars (TAG) and Multi-Component Tree-Adjoining Grammars with Tree Tuples (TT-MCTAG)) and allows computation not only of syntactic structures, but also of the corresponding semantic representations. It is used for the development of a tree-based grammar for German.
- How to compare treebanks (2008)
- Recent years have seen an increasing interest in developing standards for linguistic annotation, with a focus on the interoperability of the resources. This effort, however, requires a profound knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of linguistic annotation schemes in order to avoid importing the flaws and weaknesses of existing encoding schemes into the new standards. This paper addresses the question how to compare syntactically annotated corpora and gain insights into the usefulness of specific design decisions. We present an exhaustive evaluation of two German treebanks with crucially different encoding schemes. We evaluate three different parsers trained on the two treebanks and compare results using EVALB, the Leaf-Ancestor metric, and a dependency-based evaluation. Furthermore, we present TePaCoC, a new testsuite for the evaluation of parsers on complex German grammatical constructions. The testsuite provides a well thought-out error classification, which enables us to compare parser output for parsers trained on treebanks with different encoding schemes and provides interesting insights into the impact of treebank annotation schemes on specific constructions like PP attachment or non-constituent coordination.
- Depressive mood mediates the influence of social support on health-related quality of life in elderly, multimorbid patients (2014)
- Background: It is not well established how psychosocial factors like social support and depression affect health-related quality of life in multimorbid and elderly patients. We investigated whether depressive mood mediates the influence of social support on health-related quality of life. Methods: Cross-sectional data of 3,189 multimorbid patients from the baseline assessment of the German MultiCare cohort study were used. Mediation was tested using the approach described by Baron and Kenny based on multiple linear regression, and controlling for socioeconomic variables and burden of multimorbidity. Results: Mediation analyses confirmed that depressive mood mediates the influence of social support on health-related quality of life (Sobel's p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression showed that the influence of depressive mood (beta = -0.341, p < 0.01) on health-related quality of life is greater than the influence of multimorbidity (beta = -0.234, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Social support influences health-related quality of life, but this association is strongly mediated by depressive mood. Depression should be taken into consideration in research on multimorbidity, and clinicians should be aware of its importance when caring for multimorbid patients.
- Self-rated health in multimorbid older general practice patients: a cross-sectional study in Germany (2014)
- BACKGROUND: With increasing life expectancy the number of people affected by multimorbidity rises. Knowledge of factors associated with health-related quality of life in multimorbid people is scarce. We aimed to identify the factors that are associated with self-rated health (SRH) in aged multimorbid primary care patients. METHODS: Cross-sectional study with 3,189 multimorbid primary care patients aged from 65 to 85 years recruited in 158 general practices in 8 study centers in Germany. Information about morbidity, risk factors, resources, functional status and socio-economic data were collected in face-to-face interviews. Factors associated with SRH were identified by multivariable regression analyses. RESULTS: Depression, somatization, pain, limitations of instrumental activities (iADL), age, distress and Body Mass Index (BMI) were inversely related with SRH. Higher levels of physical activity, income and self-efficacy expectation had a positive association with SRH. The only chronic diseases remaining in the final model were Parkinson's disease and neuropathies. The final model accounted for 35% variance of SRH. Separate analyses for men and women detected some similarities; however, gender specific variation existed for several factors. CONCLUSION: In multimorbid patients symptoms and consequences of diseases such as pain and activity limitations, as well as depression, seem to be far stronger associated with SRH than the diseases themselves. High income and self-efficacy expectation are independently associated with better SRH and high BMI and age with low SRH.
- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- Memory Concerns, Memory Performance and Risk of Dementia in Patients with Mild Cognitive Impairment (2014)
- Background: Concerns about worsening memory (“memory concerns”; MC) and impairment in memory performance are both predictors of Alzheimer's dementia (AD). The relationship of both in dementia prediction at the pre-dementia disease stage, however, is not well explored. Refined understanding of the contribution of both MC and memory performance in dementia prediction is crucial for defining at-risk populations. We examined the risk of incident AD by MC and memory performance in patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Methods: We analyzed data of 417 MCI patients from a longitudinal multicenter observational study. Patients were classified based on presence (n = 305) vs. absence (n = 112) of MC. Risk of incident AD was estimated with Cox Proportional-Hazards regression models. Results: Risk of incident AD was increased by MC (HR = 2.55, 95%CI: 1.33–4.89), lower memory performance (HR = 0.63, 95%CI: 0.56–0.71) and ApoE4-genotype (HR = 1.89, 95%CI: 1.18–3.02). An interaction effect between MC and memory performance was observed. The predictive power of MC was greatest for patients with very mild memory impairment and decreased with increasing memory impairment. Conclusions: Our data suggest that the power of MC as a predictor of future dementia at the MCI stage varies with the patients' level of cognitive impairment. While MC are predictive at early stage MCI, their predictive value at more advanced stages of MCI is reduced. This suggests that loss of insight related to AD may occur at the late stage of MCI.
- Obesity and associated lifestyle in a large sample of multi-morbid german primary care attendees (2014)
- Background: Obesity and the accompanying increased morbidity and mortality risk is highly prevalent among older adults. As obese elderly might benefit from intentional weight reduction, it is necessary to determine associated and potentially modifiable factors on senior obesity. This cross-sectional study focuses on multi-morbid patients which make up the majority in primary care. It reports on the prevalence of senior obesity and its associations with lifestyle behaviors. Methods: A total of 3,189 non-demented, multi-morbid participants aged 65–85 years were recruited in primary care within the German MultiCare-study. Physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption and quantity and quality of nutritional intake were classified as relevant lifestyle factors. Body Mass Index (BMI, general obesity) and waist circumference (WC, abdominal obesity) were used as outcome measures and regression analyses were conducted. Results: About one third of all patients were classified as obese according to BMI. The prevalence of abdominal obesity was 73.5%. Adjusted for socio-demographic variables and objective and subjective disease burden, participants with low physical activity had a 1.6 kg/m2 higher BMI as well as a higher WC (4.9 cm, p<0.001). Current smoking and high alcohol consumption were associated with a lower BMI and WC. In multivariate logistic regression, using elevated WC and BMI as categorical outcomes, the same pattern in lifestyle factors was observed. Only for WC, not current but former smoking was associated with a higher probability for elevated WC. Dietary intake in quantity and quality was not associated with BMI or WC in either model. Conclusions: Further research is needed to clarify if the huge prevalence discrepancy between BMI and WC also reflects a difference in obesity-related morbidity and mortality. Yet, age-specific thresholds for the BMI are needed likewise. Encouraging and promoting physical activity in older adults might a starting point for weight reduction efforts.