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PLoS Med [journal]
- Serum iron levels and the risk of Parkinson disease: a mendelian randomization study. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013 Jun; 10(6):e1001462.
Although levels of iron are known to be increased in the brains of patients with Parkinson disease (PD), epidemiological evidence on a possible effect of iron blood levels on PD risk is inconclusive, with effects reported in opposite directions. Epidemiological studies suffer from problems of confounding and reverse causation, and mendelian randomization (MR) represents an alternative approach to provide unconfounded estimates of the effects of biomarkers on disease. We performed a MR study where genes known to modify iron levels were used as instruments to estimate the effect of iron on PD risk, based on estimates of the genetic effects on both iron and PD obtained from the largest sample meta-analyzed to date.We used as instrumental variables three genetic variants influencing iron levels, HFE rs1800562, HFE rs1799945, and TMPRSS6 rs855791. Estimates of their effect on serum iron were based on a recent genome-wide meta-analysis of 21,567 individuals, while estimates of their effect on PD risk were obtained through meta-analysis of genome-wide and candidate gene studies with 20,809 PD cases and 88,892 controls. Separate MR estimates of the effect of iron on PD were obtained for each variant and pooled by meta-analysis. We investigated heterogeneity across the three estimates as an indication of possible pleiotropy and found no evidence of it. The combined MR estimate showed a statistically significant protective effect of iron, with a relative risk reduction for PD of 3% (95% CI 1%-6%; p = 0.001) per 10 µg/dl increase in serum iron.Our study suggests that increased iron levels are causally associated with a decreased risk of developing PD. Further studies are needed to understand the pathophysiological mechanism of action of serum iron on PD risk before recommendations can be made. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Patented drug extension strategies on healthcare spending: a cost-evaluation analysis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013 Jun; 10(6):e1001460.
Drug manufacturers have developed "evergreening" strategies to compete with generic medication after patent termination. These include marketing of slightly modified follow-on drugs. We aimed to estimate the financial impact of these drugs on overall healthcare costs and also to examine the impact of listing these drugs in hospital restrictive drug formularies (RDFs) on the healthcare system as a whole ("spillover effect").We used hospital and community pharmacy invoice office data in the Swiss canton of Geneva to calculate utilisation of eight follow-on drugs in defined daily doses between 2000 and 2008. "Extra costs" were calculated for three different scenarios assuming replacement with the corresponding generic equivalent for prescriptions of (1) all brand (i.e., initially patented) drugs, (2) all follow-on drugs, or (3) brand and follow-on drugs. To examine the financial spillover effect we calculated a monthly follow-on drug market share in defined daily doses for medications prescribed by hospital physicians but dispensed in community pharmacies, in comparison to drugs prescribed by non-hospital physicians in the community. Estimated "extra costs" over the study period were €15.9 (95% CI 15.5; 16.2) million for scenario 1, €14.4 (95% CI 14.1; 14.7) million for scenario 2, and €30.3 (95% CI 29.8; 30.8) million for scenario 3. The impact of strictly switching all patients using proton-pump inhibitors to esomeprazole at admission resulted in a spillover "extra cost" of €330,300 (95% CI 276,100; 383,800), whereas strictly switching to generic cetirizine resulted in savings of €7,700 (95% CI 4,100; 11,100). Overall we estimated that the RDF resulted in "extra costs" of €503,600 (95% CI 444,500; 563,100).Evergreening strategies have been successful in maintaining market share in Geneva, offsetting competition by generics and cost containment policies. Hospitals may be contributing to increased overall healthcare costs by listing follow-on drugs in their RDF. Therefore, healthcare providers and policy makers should be aware of the impact of evergreening strategies. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Household air pollution in low- and middle-income countries: health risks and research priorities. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013 Jun; 10(6):e1001455.
William Martin and colleagues report on their stakeholder meetings that reviewed the health risks of household air pollution and cookstoves, and identified research priorities in seven key areas. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Grand challenges: integrating mental health services into priority health care platforms. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013 May; 10(5):e1001448.
In the last article of a five-part series providing a global perspective on integrating mental health, Vikram Patel and colleagues discuss the competencies, operational innovation, and packages of care needed, and argue that integration will complement primary care system strengthening. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Irreconcilable conflict: the tobacco industry and the public health challenge of tobacco use. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001457.
Thomas Novotny reflects on new research by Stanton Glantz and colleagues and the implications of their findings for engaging the tobacco industry on tobacco product regulation.
- The paradox of mental health: over-treatment and under-recognition. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001456.
The PLOS Medicine editors discuss the paradox of mental health, where over-diagnosis and treatment of some mental health issues exists alongside profound under-recognition of mental health conditions in the developing world. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Comparative efficacy of seven psychotherapeutic interventions for patients with depression: a network meta-analysis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001454.
Previous meta-analyses comparing the efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions for depression were clouded by a limited number of within-study treatment comparisons. This study used network meta-analysis, a novel methodological approach that integrates direct and indirect evidence from randomised controlled studies, to re-examine the comparative efficacy of seven psychotherapeutic interventions for adult depression.We conducted systematic literature searches in PubMed, PsycINFO, and Embase up to November 2012, and identified additional studies through earlier meta-analyses and the references of included studies. We identified 198 studies, including 15,118 adult patients with depression, and coded moderator variables. Each of the seven psychotherapeutic interventions was superior to a waitlist control condition with moderate to large effects (range d = -0.62 to d = -0.92). Relative effects of different psychotherapeutic interventions on depressive symptoms were absent to small (range d = 0.01 to d = -0.30). Interpersonal therapy was significantly more effective than supportive therapy (d = -0.30, 95% credibility interval [CrI] [-0.54 to -0.05]). Moderator analysis showed that patient characteristics had no influence on treatment effects, but identified aspects of study quality and sample size as effect modifiers. Smaller effects were found in studies of at least moderate (Δd = 0.29 [-0.01 to 0.58]; p = 0.063) and large size (Δd = 0.33 [0.08 to 0.61]; p = 0.012) and those that had adequate outcome assessment (Δd = 0.38 [-0.06 to 0.87]; p = 0.100). Stepwise restriction of analyses by sample size showed robust effects for cognitive-behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, and problem-solving therapy (all d>0.46) compared to waitlist. Empirical evidence from large studies was unavailable or limited for other psychotherapeutic interventions.Overall our results are consistent with the notion that different psychotherapeutic interventions for depression have comparable benefits. However, the robustness of the evidence varies considerably between different psychotherapeutic treatments. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Domestic violence and perinatal mental disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001452.
Domestic violence in the perinatal period is associated with adverse obstetric outcomes, but evidence is limited on its association with perinatal mental disorders. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with antenatal and postnatal mental disorders (depression and anxiety disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], eating disorders, and psychoses).We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis (PROSPERO reference CRD42012002048). Data sources included searches of electronic databases (to 15 February 2013), hand searches, citation tracking, update of a review on victimisation and mental disorder, and expert recommendations. Included studies were peer-reviewed experimental or observational studies that reported on women aged 16 y or older, that assessed the prevalence and/or odds of having experienced domestic violence, and that assessed symptoms of perinatal mental disorder using a validated instrument. Two reviewers screened 1,125 full-text papers, extracted data, and independently appraised study quality. Odds ratios were pooled using meta-analysis. Sixty-seven papers were included. Pooled estimates from longitudinal studies suggest a 3-fold increase in the odds of high levels of depressive symptoms in the postnatal period after having experienced partner violence during pregnancy (odds ratio 3.1, 95% CI 2.7-3.6). Increased odds of having experienced domestic violence among women with high levels of depressive, anxiety, and PTSD symptoms in the antenatal and postnatal periods were consistently reported in cross-sectional studies. No studies were identified on eating disorders or puerperal psychosis. Analyses were limited because of study heterogeneity and lack of data on baseline symptoms, preventing clear findings on causal directionality.High levels of symptoms of perinatal depression, anxiety, and PTSD are significantly associated with having experienced domestic violence. High-quality evidence is now needed on how maternity and mental health services should address domestic violence and improve health outcomes for women and their infants in the perinatal period. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Tobacco Company Efforts to Influence the Food and Drug Administration-Commissioned Institute of Medicine Report Clearing the Smoke: An Analysis of Documents Released through Litigation. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001450.
Spurred by the creation of potential modified risk tobacco products, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioned the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to assess the science base for tobacco "harm reduction," leading to the 2001 IOM report Clearing the Smoke. The objective of this study was to determine how the tobacco industry organized to try to influence the IOM committee that prepared the report.We analyzed previously secret tobacco industry documents in the University of California, San Francisco Legacy Tobacco Documents Library, and IOM public access files. (A limitation of this method includes the fact that the tobacco companies have withheld some possibly relevant documents.) Tobacco companies considered the IOM report to have high-stakes regulatory implications. They developed and implemented strategies with consulting and legal firms to access the IOM proceedings. When the IOM study staff invited the companies to provide information on exposure and disease markers, clinical trial design for safety and efficacy, and implications for initiation and cessation, tobacco company lawyers, consultants, and in-house regulatory staff shaped presentations from company scientists. Although the available evidence does not permit drawing cause-and-effect conclusions, and the IOM may have come to the same conclusions without the influence of the tobacco industry, the companies were pleased with the final report, particularly the recommendations for a tiered claims system (with separate tiers for exposure and risk, which they believed would ease the process of qualifying for a claim) and license to sell products comparable to existing conventional cigarettes ("substantial equivalence") without prior regulatory approval. Some principles from the IOM report, including elements of the substantial equivalence recommendation, appear in the 2009 Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.Tobacco companies strategically interacted with the IOM to win several favored scientific and regulatory recommendations. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.
- Integrating global and national knowledge to select medicines for children: the ghana national drugs programme. [Journal Article]
- PLoS Med 2013; 10(5):e1001449.
David Sinclair and colleagues discuss their experience at the Ghana National Drugs Programme reviewing the international evidence base for five priority pediatric medicines and report that applying the global recommendations to Ghana was not straightforward for any of the five medicines. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.