• Exploring beyond clinical routine SARS-CoV-2 serology using MultiCoV-Ab to evaluate endemic coronavirus cross-reactivity.

      Becker, Matthias; Strengert, Monika; Junker, Daniel; Kaiser, Philipp D; Kerrinnes, Tobias; Traenkle, Bjoern; Dinter, Heiko; Häring, Julia; Ghozzi, Stéphane; Zeck, Anne; et al. (NPG, 2021-02-19)
      The humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is a benchmark for immunity and detailed analysis is required to understand the manifestation and progression of COVID-19, monitor seroconversion within the general population, and support vaccine development. The majority of currently available commercial serological assays only quantify the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response against individual antigens, limiting our understanding of the immune response. To overcome this, we have developed a multiplex immunoassay (MultiCoV-Ab) including spike and nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2 and the endemic human coronaviruses. Compared to three broadly used commercial in vitro diagnostic tests, our MultiCoV-Ab achieves a higher sensitivity and specificity when analyzing a well-characterized sample set of SARS-CoV-2 infected and uninfected individuals. We find a high response against endemic coronaviruses in our sample set, but no consistent cross-reactive IgG response patterns against SARS-CoV-2. Here we show a robust, high-content-enabled, antigen-saving multiplex assay suited to both monitoring vaccination studies and facilitating epidemiologic screenings for humoral immunity towards pandemic and endemic coronaviruses.
    • Development of the reproduction number from coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 case data in Germany and implications for political measures.

      Khailaie, Sahamoddin; Mitra, Tanmay; Bandyopadhyay, Arnab; Schips, Marta; Mascheroni, Pietro; Vanella, Patrizio; Lange, Berit; Binder, Sebastian C; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BioMedCentral, 2021-01-28)
      Background: SARS-CoV-2 has induced a worldwide pandemic and subsequent non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to control the spread of the virus. As in many countries, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Germany has led to a consecutive roll-out of different NPIs. As these NPIs have (largely unknown) adverse effects, targeting them precisely and monitoring their effectiveness are essential. We developed a compartmental infection dynamics model with specific features of SARS-CoV-2 that allows daily estimation of a time-varying reproduction number and published this information openly since the beginning of April 2020. Here, we present the transmission dynamics in Germany over time to understand the effect of NPIs and allow adaptive forecasts of the epidemic progression. Methods: We used a data-driven estimation of the evolution of the reproduction number for viral spreading in Germany as well as in all its federal states using our model. Using parameter estimates from literature and, alternatively, with parameters derived from a fit to the initial phase of COVID-19 spread in different regions of Italy, the model was optimized to fit data from the Robert Koch Institute. Results: The time-varying reproduction number (Rt) in Germany decreased to <1 in early April 2020, 2-3 weeks after the implementation of NPIs. Partial release of NPIs both nationally and on federal state level correlated with moderate increases in Rt until August 2020. Implications of state-specific Rt on other states and on national level are characterized. Retrospective evaluation of the model shows excellent agreement with the data and usage of inpatient facilities well within the healthcare limit. While short-term predictions may work for a few weeks, long-term projections are complicated by unpredictable structural changes. Conclusions: The estimated fraction of immunized population by August 2020 warns of a renewed outbreak upon release of measures. A low detection rate prolongs the delay reaching a low case incidence number upon release, showing the importance of an effective testing-quarantine strategy. We show that real-time monitoring of transmission dynamics is important to evaluate the extent of the outbreak, short-term projections for the burden on the healthcare system, and their response to policy changes.
    • The transplant cohort of the German center for infection research (DZIF Tx-Cohort): study design and baseline characteristics.

      Karch, André; Schindler, Daniela; Kühn-Steven, Andrea; Blaser, Rainer; Kuhn, Klaus A; Sandmann, Lisa; Sommerer, Claudia; Guba, Markus; Heemann, Uwe; Strohäker, Jens; et al. (Springer, 2021-01-25)
      Infectious complications are the major cause of morbidity and mortality after solid organ and stem cell transplantation. To better understand host and environmental factors associated with an increased risk of infection as well as the effect of infections on function and survival of transplanted organs, we established the DZIF Transplant Cohort, a multicentre prospective cohort study within the organizational structure of the German Center for Infection Research. At time of transplantation, heart-, kidney-, lung-, liver-, pancreas- and hematopoetic stem cell- transplanted patients are enrolled into the study. Follow-up visits are scheduled at 3, 6, 9, 12 months after transplantation, and annually thereafter; extracurricular visits are conducted in case of infectious complications. Comprehensive standard operating procedures, web-based data collection and monitoring tools as well as a state of the art biobanking concept for blood, purified PBMCs, urine, and faeces samples ensure high quality of data and biosample collection. By collecting detailed information on immunosuppressive medication, infectious complications, type of infectious agent and therapy, as well as by providing corresponding biosamples, the cohort will establish the foundation for a broad spectrum of studies in the field of infectious diseases and transplant medicine. By January 2020, baseline data and biosamples of about 1400 patients have been collected. We plan to recruit 3500 patients by 2023, and continue follow-up visits and the documentation of infectious events at least until 2025. Information about the DZIF Transplant Cohort is available at https://www.dzif.de/en/working-group/transplant-cohort .
    • Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions targeted at COVID-19 pandemic on influenza burden - a systematic review.

      Fricke, Lara Marleen; Glöckner, Stephan; Dreier, Maren; Lange, Berit; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-12-03)
      Objectives: To better understand the impact of comprehensive COVID-19 targeted non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) on influenza burden worldwide. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search in selected databases (PubMed, WHO COVID-19), preprint servers (medRxiv, bioRxiv) and websites of European Public Health institutes. Documents that compared influenza estimates in the 2019/2020 season with previous seasons were included. Information synthesis was qualitative due to a high heterogeneity in the number and periods of comparative seasons, outcome measures and statistical methods. Results: We included 23 records reporting from 15 countries/regions as well as 8 reports from European Public Health agencies. Estimates in the 2019/2020 season based on influenza virus tests (4 out of 7 countries/regions), defined influenza cases (8 out of 9), influenza positivity rate (7 out of 8), and severe complications (1 out of 2) were lower than in former seasons. Results from syndromic indicators, such as influenza-like-illness (ILI), were less clear or even raised (4 out of 7) after the influenza season indicating a misclassification with COVID-19 cases. Conclusions: Evidence synthesis suggests that NPIs targeted at SARS-CoV-2-transmission reduce influenza burden as well. Low threshold NPIs need to be more strongly emphasized in influenza prevention strategies. Keywords: COVID-19; Flu; Influenza; Non-pharmaceutical interventions; SARS-CoV-2; Surveillance; Systematic review.
    • EventEpi-A natural language processing framework for event-based surveillance.

      Abbood, Auss; Ullrich, Alexander; Busche, Rüdiger; Ghozzi, Stéphane; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2020-11-20)
      According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 60% of all outbreaks are detected using informal sources. In many public health institutes, including the WHO and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), dedicated groups of public health agents sift through numerous articles and newsletters to detect relevant events. This media screening is one important part of event-based surveillance (EBS). Reading the articles, discussing their relevance, and putting key information into a database is a time-consuming process. To support EBS, but also to gain insights into what makes an article and the event it describes relevant, we developed a natural language processing framework for automated information extraction and relevance scoring. First, we scraped relevant sources for EBS as done at the RKI (WHO Disease Outbreak News and ProMED) and automatically extracted the articles' key data: disease, country, date, and confirmed-case count. For this, we performed named entity recognition in two steps: EpiTator, an open-source epidemiological annotation tool, suggested many different possibilities for each. We extracted the key country and disease using a heuristic with good results. We trained a naive Bayes classifier to find the key date and confirmed-case count, using the RKI's EBS database as labels which performed modestly. Then, for relevance scoring, we defined two classes to which any article might belong: The article is relevant if it is in the EBS database and irrelevant otherwise. We compared the performance of different classifiers, using bag-of-words, document and word embeddings. The best classifier, a logistic regression, achieved a sensitivity of 0.82 and an index balanced accuracy of 0.61. Finally, we integrated these functionalities into a web application called EventEpi where relevant sources are automatically analyzed and put into a database. The user can also provide any URL or text, that will be analyzed in the same way and added to the database. Each of these steps could be improved, in particular with larger labeled datasets and fine-tuning of the learning algorithms. The overall framework, however, works already well and can be used in production, promising improvements in EBS. The source code and data are publicly available under open licenses.
    • Development and external validation of a clinical prediction model for MRSA carriage at hospital admission in Southeast Lower Saxony, Germany.

      Raschpichler, Gabriele; Raupach-Rosin, Heike; Akmatov, Manas K; Castell, Stefanie; Rübsamen, Nicole; Feier, Birgit; Szkopek, Sebastian; Bautsch, Wilfried; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Karch, André; et al. (Nature publishing group (NPG), 2020-10-22)
      In countries with low endemic Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence, identification of risk groups at hospital admission is considered more cost-effective than universal MRSA screening. Predictive statistical models support the selection of suitable stratification factors for effective screening programs. Currently, there are no universal guidelines in Germany for MRSA screening. Instead, a list of criteria is available from the Commission for Hospital Hygiene and Infection Prevention (KRINKO) based on which local strategies should be adopted. We developed and externally validated a model for individual prediction of MRSA carriage at hospital admission in the region of Southeast Lower Saxony based on two prospective studies with universal screening in Braunschweig (n = 2065) and Wolfsburg (n = 461). Logistic regression was used for model development. The final model (simplified to an unweighted score) included history of MRSA carriage, care dependency and cancer treatment. In the external validation dataset, the score showed a sensitivity of 78.4% (95% CI: 64.7-88.7%), and a specificity of 70.3% (95% CI: 65.0-75.2%). Of all admitted patients, 25.4% had to be screened if the score was applied. A model based on KRINKO criteria showed similar sensitivity but lower specificity, leading to a considerably higher proportion of patients to be screened (49.5%).
    • The impact of implementing HIV prevention policies therapy and control strategy among HIV and AIDS incidence cases in Malaysia.

      Apenteng, Ofosuhene O; Osei, Prince P; Oduro, Bismark; Kwabla, Mavis Pearl; Ismail, Noor Azina (Elsevier, 2020-09-30)
      Malaysia is faced with a high HIV/AIDS burden that poses a public health threat. We constructed and applied a compartmental model to understand the spread and control of HIV/AIDS in Malaysia. A simple model for HIV and AIDS disease that incorporates condom and uncontaminated needle-syringes interventions and addresses the relative impact of given treatment therapy for infected HIV newborns on reducing HIV and AIDS incidence is presented. We demonstrated how treatment therapy for new-born babies and the use of condoms or uncontaminated needle-syringes impact the dynamics of HIV in Malaysia. The model was calibrated to HIV and AIDS incidence data from Malaysia from 1986 to 2011. The epidemiological parameters are estimated using Bayesian inference via Markov chain Monte Carlo simulation method. The reproduction number optimal for control of the HIV/AIDS disease obtained suggests that the disease-free equilibrium was unstable during the 25 years. However, the results indicated that the use of condoms and uncontaminated needle-syringes are pivotal intervention control strategies; a comprehensive adoption of the intervention may help stop the spread of HIV disease. Treatment therapy for newborn babies is also of high value; it reduces the epidemic peak. The combined effect of condom use or uncontaminated needle-syringe is more pronounced in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS.
    • Patient satisfaction & use of health care: a cross-sectional study of asylum seekers in the Freiburg initial reception centre.

      Bockey, Annabelle J; Janda, Aleš; Braun, Cornelia; Müller, Anne-Maria; Stete, Katarina; Kern, Winfried V; Rieg, Siegbert R; Lange, Berit; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2020-08-03)
      Background: In response to a high number of incoming asylum seekers and refugees (AS&R) in Germany, initial reception centres were established to provide immediate shelter, food and health support. This study evaluates the satisfaction with and use of the health care available at the Freiburg initial reception centre (FIRC) where an integrated health care facility (ICF) was set up in 2015. Methods: We assessed use and satisfaction with health services available to resident AS&R within and outside the FIRC in a cross-sectional design. Data were collected in 2017 using a questionnaire with both open and closed ended items. Results: The majority of 102 included participants were young (mean age 24.2; 95%CI 22.9-25.5, range 18-43) males (93%), from Sub-Saharan Africa (92%). High use frequencies were reported from returning patients of the ICF; with 56% fortnightly use and 19% daily use reported. The summary of satisfaction scores indicated that 84% (CI95 76-89%) of respondents were satisfied with the ICF. Multivariate analysis showed female gender and non-English speaking as risk factors for low satisfaction. Outside the FIRC, the satisfaction scores indicated that 60% of participants (95%CI 50-69%) were satisfied with the health care received. Conclusion: Our study shows that AS&R residing in the FIRC are generally satisfied with the services at the ICF, though strategies to enhance care for females and non-English speakers should be implemented. Satisfaction with health care outside of the FIRC was not as high, indicating the need to improve quality of care and linkage to regular health care services.
    • Seropositivity for pathogens associated with chronic infections is a risk factor for all-cause mortality in the elderly: findings from the Memory and Morbidity in Augsburg Elderly (MEMO) Study.

      Zeeb, Marius; Kerrinnes, Tobias; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Guzman, Carlos A; Puppe, Wolfram; Schulz, Thomas F; Peters, Annette; Berger, Klaus; Castell, Stefanie; Karch, André; et al. (Springer, 2020-07-09)
      Immunostimulation by chronic infection has been linked to an increased risk for different non-communicable diseases, which in turn are leading causes of death in high- and middle-income countries. Thus, we investigated if a positive serostatus for pathogens responsible for common chronic infections is individually or synergistically related to reduced overall survival in community dwelling elderly. We used data of 365 individuals from the German MEMO (Memory and Morbidity in Augsburg Elderly) cohort study with a median age of 73 years at baseline and a median follow-up of 14 years. We examined the effect of a positive serostatus at baseline for selected pathogens associated with chronic infections (Helicobacter pylori, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Toxoplasma gondii, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, herpes simplex virus 1/2, and human herpesvirus 6) on all-cause mortality with multivariable parametric survival models. We found a reduced survival time in individuals with a positive serostatus for Helicobacter pylori (accelerated failure time (AFT) - 15.92, 95% CI - 29.96; - 1.88), cytomegalovirus (AFT - 22.81, 95% CI - 36.41; - 9.22) and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (AFT - 25.25, 95% CI - 43.40; - 7.10), after adjusting for potential confounders. The number of infectious agents an individual was seropositive for had a linear effect on all-cause mortality (AFT per additional infection - 12.42 95% CI - 18.55; - 6.30). Our results suggest an effect of seropositivity for Helicobacter pylori, cytomegalovirus, and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato on all-cause mortality in older community dwelling individuals. Further research with larger cohorts and additional biomarkers is required, to assess mediators and molecular pathways of this effect.
    • Anosmia in COVID-19 patients.

      Hornuss, D; Lange, B; Schröter, N; Rieg, S; Kern, W V; Wagner, D; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-05-22)
      No abstract available.
    • Das gemeinsame Interesse von Gesundheit und Wirtschaft: Eine Szenarienrechnung zur Eindämmung der Corona Pandemie

      Dorn, Florian; et al.; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ifo Institut, 2020-05-12)
      [No Abstract available]
    • The Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS): Digital Health Global Goods Maturity Assessment.

      Tom-Aba, Daniel; Silenou, Bernard Chawo; Doerrbecker, Juliane; Fourie, Carl; Leitner, Carl; Wahnschaffe, Martin; Strysewske, Maté; Arinze, Chinedu Chukwujekwu; Krause, Gerard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (JMIR publications, 2020-04-29)
      Background: Digital health is a dynamic field that has been generating a large number of tools; many of these tools do not have the level of maturity required to function in a sustainable model. It is in this context that the concept of global goods maturity is gaining importance. Digital Square developed a global good maturity model (GGMM) for digital health tools, which engages the digital health community to identify areas of investment for global goods. The Surveillance Outbreak Response Management and Analysis System (SORMAS) is an open-source mobile and web application software that we developed to enable health workers to notify health departments about new cases of epidemic-prone diseases, detect outbreaks, and simultaneously manage outbreak response. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the maturity of SORMAS using Digital Square's GGMM and to describe the applicability of the GGMM on the use case of SORMAS and identify opportunities for system improvements. Methods: We evaluated SORMAS using the GGMM version 1.0 indicators to measure its development. SORMAS was scored based on all the GGMM indicator scores. We described how we used the GGMM to guide the development of SORMAS during the study period. GGMM contains 15 subindicators grouped into the following core indicators: (1) global utility, (2) community support, and (3) software maturity. Results: The assessment of SORMAS through the GGMM from November 2017 to October 2019 resulted in full completion of all subscores (10/30, (33%) in 2017; 21/30, (70%) in 2018; and 30/30, (100%) in 2019). SORMAS reached the full score of the GGMM for digital health software tools by accomplishing all 10 points for each of the 3 indicators on global utility, community support, and software maturity. Conclusions: To our knowledge, SORMAS is the first electronic health tool for disease surveillance, and also the first outbreak response management tool, that has achieved a 100% score. Although some conceptual changes would allow for further improvements to the system, the GGMM already has a robust supportive effect on developing software toward global goods maturity.
    • [Frequencies of musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders in the population-based German National Cohort (GNC)].

      Schmidt, Carsten Oliver; Günther, Klaus-Peter; Goronzy, Jens; Albrecht, Katinka; Chenot, Jean-François; Callhoff, Johanna; Richter, Adrian; Kasch, Richard; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-18)
      Background: Musculoskeletal diseases and symptoms are very common in the general population. They lead to high healthcare costs and pose a significant burden to the national economy. Objectives: Based on data from the population-based German National Cohort (GNC), frequencies of musculoskeletal symptoms and diseases are reported, including back pain, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and arthritis. Materials and methods: Data were collected from March 2014 to March 2017 in adults aged 20-75 years during the first half of the baseline survey of the GNC. The sample comprised 101,779 interviewed subjects, including 9370 subjects who underwent clinical musculoskeletal examinations. The interview included questions about specific musculoskeletal disorders. A clinical examination of the hand provided information about palpable swollen joints and pressure-sensitive joints. Resting pain of the knees and hips was also assessed by a clinical examination. Frequencies were standardized to the German standard population of the year 2011. Results: Having ever been diagnosed with recurrent back pain (22.5%) or osteoarthritis (20.6%) were the most common complaints reported in the interview; osteoporosis (2.9%) and rheumatoid arthritis (1.9%) were stated more seldom. According to the hand examination, 6.0% of all participants experienced pain in at least one finger joint. Resting pain was present in at least one knee among 8.2% and in at least one hip among 5.1% of the participants as assessed during the clinical examination. Women were more likely to report musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms than men. The proportion of adults affected by musculoskeletal diseases increased strongly with age. Conclusion: Musculoskeletal disorders and symptoms occur frequently. The burden of complaints and diagnoses is comparable to previous population-based surveys.
    • [Self-reported cancer in the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): assessment methods and first results] / Selbstberichtete Krebserkrankungen in der NAKO Gesundheitsstudie: Erfassungsmethoden und erste Ergebnisse.

      Nimptsch, Katharina; Jaeschke, Lina; Chang-Claude, Jenny; Kaaks, Rudolf; Katzke, Verena; Michels, Karin B; Franzke, Claus-Werner; Obi, Nadia; Becher, Heiko; Kuß, Oliver; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-16)
      Background: In the German National Cohort (NAKO Gesundheitsstudie), the largest prospective cohort study in Germany, data on self-reported cancer diagnoses are now available for the first half of participants. Objectives: Description of the methods to assess self-reported cancer diagnoses and type of cancer in the NAKO and presentation of first results. Materials and methods: In a computer-assisted, standardized personal interview, 101,787 participants (54,526 women, 47,261 men) were asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with cancer (malignant tumors including in situ) by a physician and how many cancer diagnoses they had. The type of cancer was classified with a list. Absolute and relative frequencies of self-reported cancer diagnoses and types of cancer were calculated and compared with cancer registry data. Results: A physician-diagnosed cancer was reported by 9.4% of women and 7.0% of men. Of the participants who reported a cancer diagnosis, 88.3% reported to have had only one cancer diagnosis. In women, the most frequent malignancies were breast cancer, cervical cancer, and melanoma. In men, the most frequent malignancies were prostate cancer, melanoma, and colorectal cancer. Comparing the frequencies of cancer diagnoses reported by 45- to 74-year-old NAKO participants within the last five years to cancer registry-based 5‑year prevalences, most types of cancer were less frequent in the NAKO, with the exception of melanoma in men and women, cervical cancer and liver cancer in women, and bladder cancer and breast cancer in men. Conclusions: The NAKO is a rich data basis for future investigations of incident cancer.
    • [Blood pressure measurement in the NAKO German National Cohort (GNC) - differences in methods, distribution of blood pressure values, and awareness of hypertension compared to other population-based studies in Germany].

      Schikowski, Tamara; Wigmann, Claudia; Fuks, Kateryna B; Schipf, Sabine; Heier, Margit; Neuhauser, Hannelore; Sarganas, Giselle; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-13)
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    • [Design and quality control of the oral health status examination in the German National Cohort (GNC)].

      Holtfreter, Birte; Samietz, Stefanie; Hertrampf, Katrin; Aarabi, Ghazal; Hagenfeld, Daniel; Kim, Ti-Sun; Kocher, Thomas; Koos, Bernd; Schmitter, Marc; Ahrens, Wolfgang; et al. (Dpringer, 2020-03-12)
      BACKGROUND: Caries and periodontitis are highly prevalent worldwide. Because detailed data on these oral diseases were collected within the framework of the German National Cohort (GNC), associations between oral and systemic diseases and conditions can be investigated. OBJECTIVES: The study protocol for the oral examination was designed to ensure a comprehensive collection of dental findings by trained non-dental staff within a limited examination time. At the mid-term of the GNC baseline examination, a first quality evaluation was performed to check the plausibility of results and to propose measures to improve the data quality. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A dental interview, saliva sampling and oral diagnostics were conducted. As part of the level‑1 examination, the number of teeth and prostheses were recorded. As part of the level‑2 examination, detailed periodontal, cariological and functional aspects were examined. All examinations were conducted by trained non-dental personnel. Parameters were checked for plausibility and variable distributions were descriptively analysed. RESULTS: Analyses included data of 57,967 interview participants, 56,913 level‑1 participants and 6295 level‑2 participants. Percentages of missing values for individual clinical parameters assessed in level 1 and level 2 ranged between 0.02 and 3.9%. Results showed a plausible distribution of the data; rarely, implausible values were observed, e.g. for measurements of horizontal and vertical overbite (overjet and overbite). Intra-class correlation coefficients indicated differences in individual parameters between regional clusters, study centres and across different examiners. CONCLUSIONS: The results confirm the feasibility of the study protocol by non-dental personnel and its successful integration into the GNC's overall assessment program. However, rigorous dental support of the study centres is required for quality management.
    • [Assessment of self-reported cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the German National Cohort (GNC, NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): methods and initial results].

      Jaeschke, Lina; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Greiser, Karin Halina; Dörr, Marcus; Buck, Thomas; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-10)
      BACKGROUND: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in both children and adults. Asthma first occurring in adulthood (adult-onset asthma, AOA) is associated with poorer prognosis compared to childhood-onset asthma (COA), which urgently calls for more research in this area. The aim of this work was to analyze the data on asthma collected in the German National Cohort and compare it with the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS), in particular regarding AOA. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Our analysis was based on the dataset of the main questionnaire at mid-term of the German National Cohort baseline examination, comprising 101,723 participants. Variables considered in the analyses were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, age at first diagnosis, asthma treatment in the past 12 months, age, and sex. RESULTS: In the midterm dataset, 8.7% of women and 7.0% of men in the German National Cohort reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Approximately one third of participants with asthma received their initial diagnosis before their 18th birthday. COA affected 2.2% of women and 2.8% of men, whereas AOA affected 6.5% of women and 4.2% of men. During the previous 12 months, 33% of COA cases and 60% of AOA cases were medically treated. CONCLUSION: The proportion of persons affected by asthma in the German National Cohort, as well as observed patterns regarding age and gender, corresponds to other data sources such as DEGS. However, in our analysis, the proportion of individuals with AOA was higher than described in the literature. The increase in cumulative asthma diagnoses with age is markedly steeper in younger participants, indicating a rising trend over time.
    • [Occurrence of bronchial asthma and age at initial asthma diagnosis-first results of the German National Cohort].

      Langer, Susan; Horn, Johannes; Kluttig, Alexander; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Karrasch, Stefan; Schulz, Holger; Wichmann, Heinz-Erich; Linseisen, Jakob; Jaeschke, Lina; Pischon, Tobias; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-03)
      BACKGROUND: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in both children and adults. Asthma first occurring in adulthood (adult-onset asthma, AOA) is associated with poorer prognosis compared to childhood-onset asthma (COA), which urgently calls for more research in this area. The aim of this work was to analyze the data on asthma collected in the German National Cohort and compare it with the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS), in particular regarding AOA. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Our analysis was based on the dataset of the main questionnaire at mid-term of the German National Cohort baseline examination, comprising 101,723 participants. Variables considered in the analyses were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, age at first diagnosis, asthma treatment in the past 12 months, age, and sex. RESULTS: In the midterm dataset, 8.7% of women and 7.0% of men in the German National Cohort reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Approximately one third of participants with asthma received their initial diagnosis before their 18th birthday. COA affected 2.2% of women and 2.8% of men, whereas AOA affected 6.5% of women and 4.2% of men. During the previous 12 months, 33% of COA cases and 60% of AOA cases were medically treated. CONCLUSION: The proportion of persons affected by asthma in the German National Cohort, as well as observed patterns regarding age and gender, corresponds to other data sources such as DEGS. However, in our analysis, the proportion of individuals with AOA was higher than described in the literature. The increase in cumulative asthma diagnoses with age is markedly steeper in younger participants, indicating a rising trend over time.
    • [Measuring physical fitness in the German National Cohort-methods, quality assurance, and first descriptive results].

      Kluttig, Alexander; Zschocke, Johannes; Haerting, Johannes; Schmermund, Axel; Gastell, Sylvia; Steindorf, Karen; Herbolsheimer, Florian; Hillreiner, Andrea; Jochem, Carmen; Baumeister, Sebastian; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-03-01)
      Physical fitness is defined as an individual's ability to be physically active. The main components are cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), muscle strength, and flexibility. Regardless of physical activity level, physical fitness is an important determinant of morbidity and mortality.The aim of the current study was to describe the physical fitness assessment methodology in the German National Cohort (NAKO) and to present initial descriptive results in a subsample of the cohort.In the NAKO, hand grip strength (GS) and CRF as physical fitness components were assessed at baseline using a hand dynamometer and a submaximal bicycle ergometer test, respectively. Maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) was estimated as a result of the bicycle ergometer test. The results of a total of 99,068 GS measurements and 3094 CRF measurements are based on a data set at halftime of the NAKO baseline survey (age 20-73 years, 47% men).Males showed higher values of physical fitness compared to women (males: GS = 47.8 kg, VO2max = 36.4 ml·min-1 · kg-1; females: GS = 29.9 kg, VO2max = 32.3 ml · min-1 · kg-1). GS declined from the age of 50 onwards, whereas VO2max levels decreased continuously between the age groups of 20-29 and ≥60 years. GS and VO2max showed a linear positive association after adjustment for body weight (males β = 0.21; females β = 0.35).These results indicate that the physical fitness measured in the NAKO are comparable to other population-based studies. Future analyses in this study will focus on examining the independent relations of GS and CRF with risk of morbidity and mortality.
    • [Lung function in the German National Cohort: methods and initial results].

      Karrasch, Stefan; Peters, Annette; Meisinger, Christa; Ferland, Maike; Jaeschke, Lina; Pischon, Tobias; Fricke, Julia; Keil, Thomas; Gastell, Sylvia; Schulze, Matthias; et al. (Springer Open choice, 2020-03-01)
      In the present dataset (n = 101,734), spirometry was available for 86,893 study participants and FeNO was available for 15,228 participants. The average (±SD) FEV1 Z score (according to GLI 2012) was -0.321 ± 1.047, the FVC Z score was -0.153 ± 0.941, and the FEV1/FVC Z score was -0.337 ± 0.901. The difference in FEV1/FVC between current smokers and never-smokers increased with age. The average FeNO was 14.2 ÷ 2.0 ppb. Current smoking reduced FeNO levels by 43%, whereas respiratory allergy increased FeNO levels by 16% in nonsmokers.