108 e-Letters

published between 2005 and 2008

  • When is a review systematic? Comments on the Cook “systematic” review (JECH, 2008, 62: 668-676)
    Clare Bambra

    Dear Editor

    Whilst not disputing the originality of the review of community-based participatory research by Cook, and published in the August 2008 edition of JECH, it does raise questions about what the agreed minimum methodological requirements are for JECH to describe a review as “systematic”.[1]

    Specifically, the Cook review meets none of the criteria which are widely considered to differentiate systemati...

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  • Comments on “Children living in areas with more street trees have lower prevalence of asthma”
    Paul A Zandbergen

    Lovasi et al. [1]) document the relationship between the density of street trees and the prevalence of childhood asthma in New York City. Their findings suggest street trees are associated with a lower prevalence, although no causality was inferred. I would like to point out a number of methodological issues which should benefit future studies on this subject.

    Prevalence of asthma was determined for 4-year-old a...

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  • Research and political contexts of acknowledgement for social inequalities in health
    François J Briatte

    Daniel D Reidpath is slightly misguided to observe that social inequalities in health have "not yet been elevated to the status of having its own National Library of Medicine MeSH (medical subject) heading", and his remark hence calls for some additional precision.

    As a MeSH search for inequalit* will indicate, the National Library of Medicine lists "Inequality" and "Inequalities" as entry terms for its "Soc...

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  • Age specific fatality rates for H5N1avian influenza
    Joseph P. Dudley

    The recent JECH paper by Li et al. (2008) is a valuable contribution to the literature on the public health impacts and epidemiology of H5N1 avian influenza in humans.

    The authors note that both the H5N1 and the 1918 influenza virus affected young healthy adults more severely than the 1957/1968 pandemic viruses and inter-pandemic influenza viruses, which are tyically associated with higher mortality among infants...

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  • Prevention or Postponement
    Peter G Davies


    I enjoyed this well observed article. I wonder if there is a simpler distinction we could make.

    When we prevent a case of tetanus or polio or other infection then that illness never occurs.

    When we are talking about "preventing" the chronic degenerative illnesses such as IHD and stroke we are probably not preventing them entirely. We are usually postponing the onset of their ill effects so...

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  • A Novel Hypothesis to Explain Associations of Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide with Deaths from
    Peter M. Joseph

    “A Novel Hypothesis to Explain Associations of Carbon Monoxide and Nitrogen Dioxide with Deaths from Respiratory Disease”

    Dear Editor:

    I am writing to comment on the article[1] entitled “Atmospheric pollutants and mortalities in English local authority areas” by E. G. Knox. The paper analyzed a large body of epidemiologic data linking various forms of air pollution to the death rates from several dise...

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  • Should stroke patients be advised to increase their milk intake?
    Tina Khosla

    Dear Editor

    A recent article in your journal from Caerphilly study demonstrates that increasing consumption of milk helps control metabolic syndrome, a known risk factor for ischemic cerebro vascular accident (CVA) [1]. Previous studies have demonstrated that milk also helps control hypertension, another major risk factor for ischemic CVA [2].A long term Japanese study of men between ages of 55-68 years demonstr...

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  • Explaining the social gradient: The challenges of mediation
    Laust H Mortensen

    Dear Editor

    In this issue of the journal, a study by Christensen et al. reported on how the social gradient in long-term sickness was explained by a number of risk factors related to work environment and health behavior in a sample of Danish employees.[1]

    I agree with Christensen et al. that it is important to examine what mediates (or explains) social gradients in health: Not only from a scholarly inter...

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  • Roles for social epidemiologists in public health activism
    Julie G. Cwikel

    Dear Dr. van Lenthe,

    Thank you for your review of my recently published book "Social Epidemiology - Strategies for Public Health Activism". You raise the question of how social epidemiologists can find "strategies to put social epidemiological findings into practice". In Chapter 9, pages 273-309, readers of the book will find a comprehensive review entitled "Theories for Social Epidemiological Interventions"...

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  • Comments on the “Systematic review of the fetal effects of prenatal binge-drinking” paper by Henders
    María Luisa Martínez-Frías

    Dear Editor,

    It was with great interest that I read the recent article by Henderson et al.,[1] as my main interests are closely related to the potential effects of alcohol consumption (and that of other drugs) during pregnancy. However, although I agree that some of the issues they raise are relevant, there are several aspects of this article [1] that concern me, about which I would like to offer some reflection...

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