• Association of apolipoprotein E gene polymorphisms with blood lipids and their interaction with dietary factors

      Shatwan, Israa M.; Winther, Kristian H.; Ellahi, Basma; Elwood, Peter; Ben-Shlomo, Yoav; Givens, Ian; Rayman, Margaret P.; Lovegrove, Julie A.; Vimaleswaran, Karani S.; University of Reading; King Abdulaziz University; University Hospital Denmark; University of Chester; University Hospital of Wales; University of Bristol; University of Surrey (BioMed Central, 2018-04-30)
      Background: Several candidate genes have been identified in relation to lipid metabolism, and among these, lipoprotein lipase (LPL) and apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene polymorphisms are major sources of genetically determined variation in lipid concentrations. This study investigated the association of two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at LPL, seven tagging SNPs at the APOE gene, and a common APOE haplotype (two SNPs) with blood lipids, and examined the interaction of these SNPs with dietary factors. Methods: The population studied for this investigation included 660 individuals from the Prevention of Cancer by Intervention with Selenium (PRECISE) study who supplied baseline data. The findings of the PRECISE study were further replicated using 1238 individuals from the Caerphilly Prospective cohort (CaPS). Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in PRECISE and a validated semi-quantitative FFQ in the CaPS. Interaction analyses were performed by including the interaction term in the linear regression model adjusted for age, body mass index, sex and country. Results: There was no association between dietary factors and blood lipids after Bonferroni correction and adjustment for confounding factors in either cohort. In the PRECISE study, after correction for multiple testing, there was a statistically significant association of the APOE haplotype (rs7412 and rs429358; E2, E3, and E4) and APOE tagSNP rs445925 with total cholesterol (P = 4 × 10− 4 and P = 0.003, respectively). Carriers of the E2 allele had lower total cholesterol concentration (5.54 ± 0.97 mmol/L) than those with the E3 (5.98 ± 1.05 mmol/L) (P = 0.001) and E4 (6.09 ± 1.06 mmol/L) (P = 2 × 10− 4) alleles. The association of APOE haplotype (E2, E3, and E4) and APOE SNP rs445925 with total cholesterol (P = 2 × 10− 6 and P = 3 × 10− 4, respectively) was further replicated in the CaPS. Additionally, significant association was found between APOE haplotype and APOE SNP rs445925 with low density lipoprotein cholesterol in CaPS (P = 4 × 10− 4 and P = 0.001, respectively). After Bonferroni correction, none of the cohorts showed a statistically significant SNP-diet interaction on lipid outcomes. Conclusion: In summary, our findings from the two cohorts confirm that genetic variations at the APOE locus influence plasma total cholesterol concentrations, however, the gene-diet interactions on lipids require further investigation in larger cohorts.
    • The cost of severe haemophilia in Europe: the CHESS study

      O’Hara, Jamie; Hughes, David; Camp, Charlotte; Burke, Tom; Carroll, Liz; Diego, Daniel-Anibal G.; University of Chester; HCD Economics, Daresbury; The Haeomophelia Society, London; FedHemo, Madrid (BioMed Central, 2017-05-31)
      Background Severe haemophilia is associated with major psychological and economic burden for patients, caregivers, and the wider health care system. This burden has been quantified and documented for a number of European countries in recent years. However, few studies have taken a standardised methodology across multiple countries simultaneously, and sought to amalgamate all three levels of burden for severe disease. The overall aim of the ‘Cost of Haemophilia in Europe: a Socioeconomic Survey’ (CHESS) study was to capture the annualised economic and psychosocial burden of severe haemophilia in five European countries. A cross-section of haemophilia specialists (surveyed between January and April 2015) provided demographic and clinical information and 12-month ambulatory and secondary care activity for patients via an online survey. In turn, patients provided corresponding direct and indirect non-medical cost information, including work loss and out-of-pocket expenses, as well as information on quality of life and adherence. The direct and indirect costs for the patient sample were calculated and extrapolated to population level. Results Clinical reports for a total of 1,285 patients were received. Five hundred and fifty-two patients (43% of the sample) provided information on indirect costs and health-related quality of life via the PSC. The total annual cost of severe haemophilia across the five countries for 2014 was estimated at EUR 1.4 billion, or just under EUR 200,000 per patient. The highest per-patient costs were in Germany (mean EUR 319,024) and the lowest were in the United Kingdom (mean EUR 129,365), with a study average of EUR 199,541. As expected, consumption of clotting factor replacement therapy represented the vast majority of costs (up to 99%). Indirect costs are driven by patient and caregiver work loss. Conclusions The results of the CHESS study reflect previous research findings suggesting that costs of factor replacement therapy account for the vast majority of the cost burden in severe haemophilia. However, the importance of the indirect impact of haemophilia on the patient and family should not be overlooked. The CHESS study highlights the benefits of observational study methodologies in capturing a ‘snapshot’ of information for patients with rare diseases.
    • Health inequalities as a foundation for embodying knowledge within public health teaching: a qualitative study

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2013-06-28)
      Introduction: Recent UK health policies identified nurses as key contributors to the social justice agenda of reducing health inequalities, on the assumption that all nurses understand and wish to contribute to public health. Following this policy shift, public health content within pre-registration nursing curricula increased. However, public health nurse educators (PHNEs) had various backgrounds, and some had limited formal public health training, or involvement in or understanding of policy required to contribute effectively to it. Their knowledge of this subject, their understanding and interpretation of how it could be taught, was not fully understood. Methodology This research aimed to understand how public health nurse educators’ professional knowledge could be conceptualised and to develop a substantive theory of their knowledge of teaching public health, using a qualitative data analysis approach. Qualitative in-depth semi-structured interviews (n=26) were conducted with eleven university-based PHNEs. Results Integrating public health into all aspects of life was seen as central to the knowing and teaching of public health; this was conceptualised as ‘embodying knowledge’. Participants identified the meaning of embodying knowledge for teaching public health as: (a) possessing a wider vision of health; (b) reflecting and learning from experience; and (c) engaging in appropriate pedagogical practices. Conclusion The concept of public health can mean different things to different people. The variations of meaning ascribed to public health reflect the various backgrounds from which the public health workforce is drawn. The analysis indicates that PHNEs are embodying knowledge for teaching through critical pedagogy, which involves them engaging in transformative, interpretive and integrative processes to refashion public health concepts; this requires PHNEs who possess a vision of what to teach, know how to teach, and are able to learn from experience. Their vision of public health is influenced by social justice principles in that health inequalities, socioeconomic determinants of health, epidemiology, and policy and politics are seen as essential areas of the public health curriculum. They believe in forms of teaching that achieve social transformation at individual, behavioural and societal levels, while also enabling learners to recognise their capacity to effect change.
    • The impact of severe haemophilia and the presence of target joints on health-related quality-of-life

      O’Hara, Jamie; Walsh, Shaun; Camp, Charlotte; Mazza, Giuseppe; Carroll, Liz; Hoxer, Christina; Wilkinson, Lars; University of Chester; HCD Economics; University College London; The Haemophilia Society; Novo Nordisk (BioMed Central, 2018-05-02)
      Background: Joint damage remains a major complication associated with haemophilia and is widely accepted as one of the most debilitating symptoms for persons with severe haemophilia. The aim of this study is to describe how complications of haemophilia such as target joints influence health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Methods: Data on hemophilia patients without inhibitors were drawn from the ‘Cost of Haemophilia across Europe – a Socioeconomic Survey’ (CHESS) study, a cost-of-illness assessment in severe haemophilia A and B across five European countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK). Physicians provided clinical and sociodemographic information for 1285 adult patients, 551 of whom completed corresponding questionnaires, including EQ-5D. A generalised linear model was developed to investigate the relationship between EQ-5D index score and target joint status (defined in the CHESS study as areas of chronic synovitis), adjusted for patient covariates including socio-demographic characteristics and comorbidities. Results: Five hundred and fifteen patients (42% of the sample) provided an EQ-5D response; a total of 692 target joints were recorded across the sample. Mean EQ-5D index score for patients with no target joints was 0.875 (standard deviation [SD] 0.179); for patients with one or more target joints, mean index score was 0.731 (SD 0.285). Compared to having no target joints, having one or more target joints was associated with lower index scores (average marginal effect (AME) -0.120; SD 0.0262; p < 0.000). Conclusions: This study found that the presence of chronic synovitis has a significant negative impact on HRQOL for adults with severe haemophilia. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of target joints should be an important consideration for clinicians and patients when managing haemophilia.
    • A mixed methods study to evaluate the feasibility of using the Adolescent Diabetes Needs Assessment Tool App in paediatric diabetes care in preparation for a longitudinal cohort study

      Cooper, Helen; Lancaster, Gillian A.; Gichuru, Phillip K.; Peak, Matthew; University of Chester; Keele University; Lancaster University; NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility; Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BioMed Central, 2017-07-06)
      An evaluation study was carried out to determine the feasibility of integrating the Adolescent Diabetes Needs Assessment Tool (ADNAT) App into UK paediatric diabetes care, to ascertain best practice standards and to determine methodological recommendations for a future cohort study. Methods A non-randomised, cohort, mixed methods study design was used to ensure equality of access to ADNAT for all participants at three sites in the North West of England. Following UK Medical Research Council guidance, the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness (potential and perceived), adoption, implementation, maintenance) framework was used to guide study objectives and feasibility outcomes. Patients who completed ADNAT (completers) were compared with those who failed to complete (non-completers). Patients’ glycaemic control (HbA1c) was accessed from their clinical data at baseline and at 6 months, alongside their ADNAT scores which were correlated with changes in HbA1c levels. The diabetes teams (respondents) completed a web-based survey and attended focus group interviews. Results Eighty-nine patients were recruited. Withdrawal rates were low at 4.5% (n = 4). Forty-four patients (49.4%) completed ADNAT, leaving 45 (50.6%) non-completers. There were large baseline differences in HbA1c and variable rates of change at 6 months. After adjusting for baseline HbA1C and site in an analysis of covariance, completers had a lower post-ADNAT mean HbA1C level than non-completers at 6 months (-5.42 mmol/mol, 95% CI −11.48, 0.64). Patients’ glycaemic control (HbA1c) at 6 months correlated reasonably well with their ADNAT scores (Spearman’s rho = 0.46). Survey and focus group data showed that ADNAT was judged to be an effective clinical tool by the diabetes teams. Value to patients was perceived by the teams to be linked to parental support, age and previous diabetes education. The combined data triangulated. It served to capture different dimensions which were used to define changes to achieve practice standards and methodological recommendations. Conclusions The combined data showed that ADNAT has the potential to be a clinically viable tool. It has demonstrated the need for a randomised design that is tailored for a ‘hard to reach’ adolescent population. A cluster randomised controlled trial that involves sequential but random rollout of ADNAT over multiple time periods may be the most appropriate and is currently being considered for the larger study.
    • A mixed methods study to evaluate the feasibility of using the Adolescent Diabetes Needs Assessment Tool App in paediatric diabetes care in preparation for a longitudinal cohort study

      Cooper, Helen; Lancaster, Gillian A.; Gichuru, Phillip K.; Peak, Matthew; University of Chester; University of Lancaster; Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust (BioMed Central, 2017-07-06)
      Background. An evaluation study to determine the feasibility of integrating the Adolescent Diabetes Needs Assessment Tool (ADNAT) App into UK paediatric diabetes care, to ascertain best practice standards, and to determine methodological recommendations for a future cohort study. Methods A non-randomised, cohort, mixed methods study design was used to ensure equality of access to ADNAT for all participants at three sites in the North West of England. Patients who completed ADNAT (completers) were compared with those who failed to complete (non-completers). Following UK Medical Research Council guidance, a logic model and the RE-AIM (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, maintenance) framework were used to define study objectives. Patients’ glycaemic control (HbA1c) was accessed from their clinical data at baseline and at 6 months, alongside their ADNAT scores which were correlated with changes in HbA1c levels. The diabetes teams (respondents) completed a web-based survey and attended focus group interviews. Results 89 patients were recruited. Withdrawal rates were low at 4.5% (n=4). Forty-four patients (49.4%) completed ADNAT, leaving 45 (50.6%) non-completers. There were large baseline differences in HbA1c and variable rates of change at 6 months. After adjusting for baseline HbA1C and site in an Analysis of Covariance, completers had a lower post-ADNAT mean HbA1C level than non-completers at 6 months, suggesting improvement for those using ADNAT (95% CI -11.48, 0.64). Patients’ glycaemic control (HbA1c) at 6 months correlated reasonably well with their ADNAT scores (Spearman’s rho=0.46). Survey and focus group data showed that ADNAT was judged to be an effective clinical tool by the diabetes teams. Value to patients was perceived to be linked to parental support, age and previous diabetes education. The combined data triangulated suggesting validity of the study. It served to capture different dimensions which were used to define best practice standards and methodological recommendations including the need for a team based approach to implementation, broader patient-based outcomes, and non-participant clinic observations. Conclusions The combined data showed that ADNAT was a clinically viable tool and that a future mixed methods, non-randomised, longitudinal cohort study would be feasible following MRC guidance for process evaluation of complex interventions, including use of the piloted logic model and the RE-AIM framework.
    • Public health nurse educators’ Conceptualisation of public health as a strategy to reduce health inequalities: A qualitative study

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2015-02-03)
      Background Nurses have long been identified as key contributors to strategies to reduce health inequalities. However, health inequalities are increasing in the UK despite policy measures put in place to reduce them. This raises questions about: convergence between policy makers’ and nurses’ understanding of how inequalities in health are created and sustained and educational preparation for the role as contributors in reducing health inequalities. Aim The aim of this qualitative research project is to determine public health nurse educators’ understanding of public health as a strategy to reduce health inequalities. Method 26 semi-structured interviews were conducted with higher education institution-based public health nurse educators. Findings Public health nurse educators described health inequalities as the foundation on which a public health framework should be built. Two distinct views emerged of how health inequalities should be tackled: some proposed a population approach focusing on upstream preventive strategies, whilst others proposed behavioural approaches focusing on empowering vulnerable individuals to improve their own health. Conclusion Despite upstream interventions to reduce inequalities in health being proved to have more leverage than individual behavioural interventions in tackling the fundamental causes of health inequalities, some nurses have a better understanding of individual interventions than take population approaches.
    • A qualitative study exploring midlife women’s stages of change from domestic violence towards freedom

      Keeling, June J.; Smith, Debra; Fisher, Colleen; University of Chester; University of Central Lancashire; The University of Western Australia (BioMed Central, 2016-03-08)
      Background Domestic Violence (DV) remains a significant global health problem for women in contemporary society. Existing literature on midlife women’s experiences of domestic violence is limited and focuses on health implications. Leaving a violent relationship is a dynamic process that often requires multiple attempts and separations prior to final termination. The aim of this study was to explore the process of leaving a violent relationship for midlife women. Methods This qualitative study involved fifteen women aged between 40–55 who had accessed residential and non-residential community support services for domestic violence within the UK. Community-based support agencies provided these women with access to letters of invitation and participant information sheet explaining the study. The women notified agency staff who contacted the research team to arrange a mutually convenient time to meet within a safe place for both the women and researchers. It was stressed to all potential participants that no identifiable information would be shared with the agency staff. Women were considered survivors of DV if they defined themselves as such. Data were gathered through semi structured interviews, transcribed verbatim and thematically analysed. Results Midlife women appear to differ from younger women by transitioning quickly though the stages of change, moving rapidly through the breaking free onto the maintenance stage. This rapid transition is the resultant effect of living with long-term violence causing a shift in the women’s perception towards the violent partner, with an associated reclamation of power from within the violent relationship. A realisation that rapid departure from the violence may be critical in terms of personal safety, and the realisation that there was something ‘wrong’ within the relationship, a ‘day of dawning’ that had not been apparent previously appears to positively affect the trajectory of leaving. Conclusions Midlife women appeared to navigate through the stages of change in a rapid linear process, forging ahead and exiting the relationship with certainty and without considering options. Whilst these findings appear to differ from younger women’s process of leaving, further research is needed to explore and understand the optimum time for intervention and support to maximise midlife women’s opportunities to escape an abusive partner, before being reflected appropriately in policy and practice.
    • Social conditions of becoming homelessness: qualitative analysis of life stories of homeless peoples

      Mabhala, Mzwandile A.; Asmait, Yohannes; Griffith, Mariska; University of Chester; Mount Sanai Healthcare System, New York, University of Chester (BioMed Central, 2017-08-22)
      Background It is increasingly acknowledged that homelessness is a more complex social and public health phenomenon than the absence of a place to live. This view signifies a paradigm shift, from the definition of homelessness in terms of the absence of permanent accommodation, with its focus on pathways out of homelessness through the acquisition and maintenance of permanent housing, to understanding the social context of homelessness and social interventions to prevent it. However, despite evidence of the association between homelessness and social factors, there is very little research that examines the wider social context within which homelessness occurs from the perspective of homeless people themselves. This study aims to examine the stories of homeless people to gain understanding of the social conditions under which homelessness occurs, in order to propose a theoretical explanation for it. Method Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with homeless people in three centres for homeless people in Cheshire North West of England. Results The analysis revealed that becoming homeless is a process characterised by a progressive waning of resilience capacity to cope with life challenges created by series of adverse incidents in one’s life. The data show that final stage in the process of becoming homeless is complete collapse of relationships with those close to them. Most prominent pattern of behaviours participants often describe as main causes of breakdown of their relationships are: 1. engaging in maladaptive behavioural lifestyle including taking drugs and/or excessive alcohol drinking 2. Being in trouble with people in authorities. Conclusion Homeless people describe the immediate behavioural causes of homelessness, however, the analysis revealed the social and economic conditions within which homelessness occurred. The participants’ descriptions of the social conditions in which were raised and their references to maladaptive behaviours which led to them becoming homeless, led us to conclude that they believe that their social condition affected their life chances: that these conditions were responsible for their low quality of social connections, poor educational attainment, insecure employment and other reduced life opportunities available to them.