Evaluating frequency, diagnostic quality, and cost of Lyme borreliosis testing in Germany: a retrospective model analysis
Michael H. Freitag
Douglas E. Norris
- Background. Data on the economic impact of Lyme borreliosis (LB) on European health care systems is scarce. This project focused on the epidemiology and costs for laboratory testing in LB patients in Germany. Materials and Methods. We performed a sentinel analysis of epidemiological and medicoeconomic data for 2007 and 2008. Data was provided by a German statutory health insurance (DAK) company covering approx. 6.04 million members. In addition, the quality of diagnostic testing for LB in Germany was studied. Results. In 2007 and 2008, the incident diagnosis LB was coded on average for 15,742 out of 6.04 million insured members (0.26%). 20,986 EIAs and 12,558 immunoblots were ordered annually for these patients. For all insured members in the outpatient sector, a total of 174,820 EIAs and 52,280 immunoblots were reimbursed annually to health care providers (cost: 2,600,850€). For Germany, the overall expected cost is estimated at 51,215,105€. However, proficiency testing data questioned test quality and standardization of diagnostic assays used. Conclusion. Findings from this study suggest ongoing issues related to care for LB and may help to improve future LB disease management.
The influence of age, gender and socio-economic status on multimorbidity patterns in primary care : first results from the MultiCare Cohort study
Anne Maren Dahlhaus
Steffi Gerlinde Riedel-Heller
Wolfgang A. Blank
Olaf von dem Knesebeck
Hendrik van den Bussche
Multimorbidity is a phenomenon with high burden and high prevalence in the elderly. Our previous research has shown that multimorbidity can be divided into the multimorbidity patterns of 1) anxiety, depression, somatoform disorders (ADS) and pain, and 2) cardiovascular and metabolic disorders. However, it is not yet known, how these patterns are influenced by patient characteristics. The objective of this paper is to analyze the association of socio-demographic variables, and especially socio-economic status with multimorbidity in general and with each multimorbidity pattern.
The MultiCare Cohort Study is a multicentre, prospective, observational cohort study of 3.189 multimorbid patients aged 65+ randomly selected from 158 GP practices. Data were collected in GP interviews and comprehensive patient interviews. Missing values have been imputed by hot deck imputation based on Gower distance in morbidity and other variables. The association of patient characteristics with the number of chronic conditions is analysed by multilevel mixed-effects linear regression analyses.
Multimorbidity in general is associated with age (+0.07 chronic conditions per year), gender (-0.27 conditions for female), education (-0.26 conditions for medium and -0.29 conditions for high level vs. low level) and income (-0.27 conditions per logarithmic unit). The pattern of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders shows comparable associations with a higher coefficient for gender (-1.29 conditions for female), while multimorbidity within the pattern of ADS and pain correlates with gender (+0.79 conditions for female), but not with age or socioeconomic status.
Our study confirms that the morbidity load of multimorbid patients is associated with age, gender and the socioeconomic status of the patients, but there were no effects of living arrangements and marital status. We could also show that the influence of patient characteristics is dependent on the multimorbidity pattern concerned, i.e. there seem to be at least two types of elderly multimorbid patients. First, there are patients with mainly cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, who are more often male, have an older age and a lower socio-economic status. Second, there are patients mainly with ADS and pain-related morbidity, who are more often female and equally distributed across age and socio-economic groups.
Primary care practice-based care management for chronically ill patients (PraCMan): study protocol for a cluster randomized controlled trial [ISRCTN56104508]
Ferdinand M. Gerlach
- Background: Care management programmes are an effective approach to care for high risk patients with complex care needs resulting from multiple co-occurring medical and non-medical conditions. These patients are likely to be hospitalized for a potentially "avoidable" cause. Nurse-led care management programmes for high risk elderly patients showed promising results. Care management programmes based on health care assistants (HCAs) targeting adult patients with a high risk of hospitalisation may be an innovative approach to deliver cost-efficient intensified care to patients most in need. Methods: PraCMan is a cluster randomized controlled trial with primary care practices as unit of randomisation. The study evaluates a complex primary care practice-based care management of patients at high risk for future hospitalizations. Eligible patients either suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic heart failure or any combination. Patients with a high likelihood of hospitalization within the following 12 months (based on insurance data) will be included in the trial. During 12 months of intervention patients of the care management group receive comprehensive assessment of medical and non-medical needs and resources as well as regular structured monitoring of symptoms. Assessment and monitoring will be performed by trained HCAs from the participating practices. Additionally, patients will receive written information, symptom diaries, action plans and a medication plan to improve self-management capabilities. This intervention is addition to usual care. Patients from the control group receive usual care. Primary outcome is the number of all-cause hospitalizations at 12 months follow-up, assessed by insurance claims data. Secondary outcomes are health-related quality of life (SF12, EQ5D), quality of chronic illness care (PACIC), health care utilisation and costs, medication adherence (MARS), depression status and severity (PHQ-9), self-management capabilities and clinical parameters. Data collection will be performed at baseline, 12 and 24 months (12 months post-intervention). Discussion: Practice-based care management for high risk individuals involving trained HCAs appears to be a promising approach to face the needs of an aging population with increasing care demands. Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN56104508
Development of a primary care-based complex care management intervention for chronically ill patients at high risk for hospitalization: a study protocol
Ferdinand M. Gerlach
- Background: Complex care management is seen as an approach to face the challenges of an ageing society with increasing numbers of patients with complex care needs. The Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom has proposed a framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions that will be used to develop and evaluate a primary care-based complex care management program for chronically ill patients at high risk for future hospitalization in Germany. Methods and design: We present a multi-method procedure to develop a complex care management program to implement interventions aimed at reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations for primary care patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic heart failure and a high likelihood of hospitalization. The procedure will start with reflection about underlying precipitating factors of hospitalizations and how they may be targeted by the planned intervention (pre-clinical phase). An intervention model will then be developed (phase I) based on theory, literature, and exploratory studies (phase II). Exploratory studies are planned that entail the recruitment of 200 patients from 10 general practices. Eligible patients will be identified using two ways of 'case finding': software based predictive modelling and physicians' proposal of patients based on clinical experience. The resulting subpopulations will be compared regarding healthcare utilization, care needs and resources using insurance claims data, a patient survey, and chart review. Qualitative studies with healthcare professionals and patients will be undertaken to identify potential barriers and enablers for optimal performance of the complex care management program. Discussion: This multi-method procedure will support the development of a primary care-based care management program enabling the implementation of interventions that will potentially reduce avoidable hospitalizations.
Endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibits glioma angiogenesis and normalizes tumor blood vessels by inducing PDGF-B expression
Cathrin J. Czupalla
Makoto M. Taketo
Karl H. Plate
- Endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling is necessary for angiogenesis of the central nervous system and blood–brain barrier (BBB) differentiation, but its relevance for glioma vascularization is unknown. In this study, we show that doxycycline-dependent Wnt1 expression in subcutaneous and intracranial mouse glioma models induced endothelial Wnt/β-catenin signaling and led to diminished tumor growth, reduced vascular density, and normalized vessels with increased mural cell attachment. These findings were corroborated in GL261 glioma cells intracranially transplanted in mice expressing dominant-active β-catenin specifically in the endothelium. Enforced endothelial β-catenin signaling restored BBB characteristics, whereas inhibition by Dkk1 (Dickkopf-1) had opposing effects. By overactivating the Wnt pathway, we induced the Wnt/β-catenin–Dll4/Notch signaling cascade in tumor endothelia, blocking an angiogenic and favoring a quiescent vascular phenotype, indicated by induction of stalk cell genes. We show that β-catenin transcriptional activity directly regulated endothelial expression of platelet-derived growth factor B (PDGF-B), leading to mural cell recruitment thereby contributing to vascular quiescence and barrier function. We propose that reinforced Wnt/β-catenin signaling leads to inhibition of angiogenesis with normalized and less permeable vessels, which might prove to be a valuable therapeutic target for antiangiogenic and edema glioma therapy.
The Detection of Surfactant Proteins A, B, C and D in the Human Brain and Their Regulation in Cerebral Infarction, Autoimmune Conditions and Infections of the CNS
- Surfactant proteins (SP) have been studied intensively in the respiratory system. Surfactant protein A and surfactant protein D are proteins belonging to the family of collectins each playing a major role in the innate immune system. The ability of surfactant protein A and surfactant protein D to bind various pathogens and facilitate their elimination has been described in a vast number of studies. Surfactant proteins are very important in modulating the host's inflammatory response and participate in the clearance of apoptotic cells. Surfactant protein B and surfactant protein C are proteins responsible for lowering the surface tension in the lungs. The aim of this study was an investigation of expression of surfactant proteins in the central nervous system to assess their specific distribution patterns. The second aim was to quantify surfactant proteins in cerebrospinal fluid of healthy subjects compared to patients suffering from different neuropathologies. The expression of mRNA for the surfactant proteins was analyzed with RT-PCR done with samples from different parts of the human brain. The production of the surfactant proteins in the brain was verified using immunohistochemistry and Western blot. The concentrations of the surfactant proteins in cerebrospinal fluid from healthy subjects and patients suffering from neuropathologic conditions were quantified using ELISA. Our results revealed that surfactant proteins are present in the central nervous system and that the concentrations of one or more surfactant proteins in healthy subjects differed significantly from those of patients affected by central autoimmune processes, CNS infections or cerebral infarction. Based on the localization of the surfactant proteins in the brain, their different levels in normal versus pathologic samples of cerebrospinal fluid and their well-known functions in the lungs, it appears that the surfactant proteins may play roles in host defense of the brain, facilitation of cerebrospinal fluid secretion and maintenance of the latter's rheological properties.
Nanoparticles and cars - analysis of potential sources
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- Urban health is potentially affected by particle emissions. The potential toxicity of nanoparticles is heavily debated and there is an enormous global increase in research activity in this field. In this respect, it is commonly accepted that nanoparticles may also be generated in processes occurring while driving vehicles. So far, a variety of studies addressed traffic-related particulate matter emissions, but only few studies focused on potential nanoparticles. Therefore, the present study analyzed the literature with regard to nanoparticles and cars. It can be stated that, to date, only a limited amount of research has been conducted in this area and more studies are needed to 1) address kind and sources of nanoparticles within automobiles and to 2) analyse whether there are health effects caused by these nanoparticles.
Reduced inclination of cervical spine in a novel notebook screen system - implications for rehabilitation
Michael Florian Spallek
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- BACKGROUND: Professional working at computer notebooks is associated with high requirements on the body posture in the seated position. By the high continuous static muscle stress resulting from this position at notebooks, professionals frequently working at notebooks for long hours are exposed to an increased risk of musculoskeletal complaints. Especially in subjects with back pain, new notebooks should be evaluated with a focus on rehabilitative issues.
METHODS: In a field study a new notebook design with adjustable screen was analyzed and compared to standard notebook position.
RESULTS: There are highly significant differences in the visual axis of individuals who are seated in the novel notebook position in comparison to the standard position. Also, differences are present between further alternative notebook positions. Testing of gender and glasses did not reveal influences.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that notebooks with adjustable screen may be used to improve the posture. Future studies may focus on patients with musculoskeletal diseases.
Bidirectional Assessment of Stress, job satisfaction and work ability of Educators in day care centres: a real-time observation study - the study protocol (BASE)
Michael Florian Spallek
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- Background: Occupational demands of educators are not very well researched. Nevertheless their work is subject to several requirements. Whether these demands have an effect on the work ability and the health status of employees has also not been examined. Furthermore it is unclear if the ownership type of day care centres have an influence on job satisfaction and work ability of the pedagogical staff and what kind of resources do exist. Previous studies were mainly based on questionnaire data. Objective data does not exist. Therefore the aim of this investigation is to collect precise data relating to work of educators.
Methods: Effects of different types of ownership of day care centres on job satisfaction and work ability of educators will be assessed with the help of objective real time studies in combination with multi-level psycho diagnostic measurements.
Discussion: The present study is the first of its kind. Up to now there are no computer-based real time studies on workflow of pedagogical staff with regard to assess their work-related stress. Following an exhaustive documentation of educators work processes the day-to-day task can be estimated and approaches for prevention can be developed. This can substantially contribute to an overall improvement of child care in Germany.
Scientometric analysis of the world-wide research efforts concerning Leishmaniasis
Jan David Alexander Groneberg
- Background: Leishmaniasis is a chronic disease that is found in various countries of the world. The aim of the current study was to investigate the impact of leishmaniasis on the world's research output. The present study assessed benchmarking of research output for the period between 1957 and 2006. Using large database analyses, research in the field of leishmaniasis was evaluated. Furthermore, cooperation between different countries was identified.
Results: The number of publications increased with time. Most publications came from Western countries such as the US, UK or Germany. Interestingly, countries like Brazil and India had a high research output. We found a substantial amount of cooperation between countries.
Conclusion: Although leishmaniasis is of limited geographic distribution it attracts a wide research interest. The central hub of research cooperation is the USA.