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  • Well child care: a comprehensive strategy for cuban children and adolescents Policy & Practice

    Esquivel, Mercedes; Álvarez, Gisela; Izquierdo, María Elena; Martínez, Daisy; Tamayo, Vilma

    Abstract in English:

    The notable rise in survival rates of Cuban children has presented new challenges in the search for continued improvement of their welfare and quality of life. These advances can be achieved only to the extent that preventive care and health promotion are also improved. This article describes the design of a strategy for comprehensive care of children and adolescents based on better quality of well child visits, defining visit components, age-specific activities for each visit, and guidelines for followup based on visit findings. Complementary to the strategy, indicators and standards are identified for systematic evaluation of visit quality, enabling collection of objective and specific information about individual visits and assessment of trends over time, which in turn facilitates further improvements in this strategy over the long term.
  • Erratum Erratum

  • Cuba's human breast milk banks Feature

    Gorry, Conner
  • Anemia in children under five years old in Eastern Cuba, 2005-2011 Original Research

    Pita, Gisela M.; Jiménez, Santa; Basabe, Beatriz; García, René G.; Macías, Consuelo; Selva, Lisette; Hernández, Clarisa; Cruz, Margarita; Herrera, Roxana; O'Farrill, Regla; Calderius, Isabel; Paulí, Karelia; Leyva, Moraima; Arocha, Caridad; Herrera, Dania

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Anemia is the main nutritional problem in Cuban preschool children, prompting several interventions to prevent and control it. An enhanced national strategy was established in 2008, and particular attention paid to the eastern provinces, the region with greatest challenges in social determinants of health. OBJECTIVE Determine anemia prevalence in children aged 6-59 months in Cuba's five eastern provinces in three separate years within a decade, as well as association of anemia with epidemiological and nutritional factors, to assess impact of Cuba's Comprehensive Plan for Prevention and Control of Iron-Deficiency Anemia in Cuba. METHODS Cross-sectional studies of children aged 6-59 months (completed) were conducted in 2005, 2008 and 2011. Hemoglobin levels were measured to diagnose anemia (hemoglobin <110 g/L) and data were collected on independent variables such as age, sex, area of residence (urban or rural), daycare center enrollment, birth weight, breastfeeding history, and maternal anemia during pregnancy. Frequency distributions were created and comparisons tested with the chi square, and odds ratios calculated with 95% confidence intervals. RESULTS Anemia prevalence in the region fell from 31.8% in 2005 to 26% in 2011; most of cases were mild (hemoglobin: 100-109 g/L). Prevalence was higher in children aged 6-23 months than in those aged 24-59 months throughout. No significant differences were found in anemia prevalence between boys and girls. Prevalence was higher in rural than in urban areas in 2005 (p = 0.026) and 2011 (p = 0.012). Daycare enrollment emerged as a protective factor in all three years. Low birth weight was associated with anemia only in 2011 (OR 1.74, CI 1.04-2.92). Prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding for six months increased over the study period; lack of breastfeeding was found to be associated with anemia in 2005 (OR 1.57, CI 1.05-2.34). Maternal anemia at onset of and during pregnancy was a significant risk factor in 2005 (OR 1.98, CI 1.27-3.10) and 2011 (OR 1.43, CI 1.05-1.94). CONCLUSIONS Although anemia prevalence steadily decreased over the study period, it continues to be a public health problem in Cuba and anemia prevention and control measures should be maintained and strengthened: interventions for women of childbearing age, fostering exclusive breastfeeding of infants through their sixth month, and encouraging compliance with recommendations on complementary feeding per Cuba's nutritional guidelines for children aged <2 years. Further evaluation is needed to identify the causes of anemia in the population of preschool children.
  • Frailty, dependency and mortality predictors in a cohort of cuban older adults, 2003-2011 Original Research

    Llibre, Juan de Jesús; López, Ana M.; Valhuerdi, Adolfo; Guerra, Milagros; Llibre-Guerra, Jorge J.; Sánchez, Y. Yvonne; Bosch, Rodolfo; Zayas, Tania; Moreno, Carmen

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Population aging translates into more people with chronic non-communicable diseases, disability, frailty and dependency. The study of frailty-a clinical syndrome associated with an increased risk of falls, disability, hospitalization, institutionalization and death-is important to improve clinical practice and population health indicators. OBJECTIVES In a cohort of older adults in Havana and Matanzas provinces, Cuba, estimate prevalence of frailty and its risk factors; determine incidence of dependency; estimate mortality risk and identify mortality predictors. METHODS A prospective longitudinal study was conducted door to door, from June 2003 through July 2011, in a cohort of 2813 adults aged ≥65 years living in selected municipalities of Havana and Matanzas provinces; mean followup time was 4.1 years. Independent variables included demographics, behavioral risk factors and socioeconomic indicators, chronic non-communicable diseases (hypertension, stroke, dementia, depression, diabetes, anemia), number of comorbidities, and APOE ε4 genotype. Dependent variables were frailty, dependency and mortality. Criteria for frailty were slow walking speed, exhaustion, weight loss, low physical activity and cognitive decline. Prevalence and frailty risk were estimated by Poisson regression, while dependency and mortality risks and their predictors were determined using Cox regression. RESULTS Frailty syndrome prevalence was 21.6% (CI 17.9%-23.8%) at baseline; it was positively associated with advanced age, anemia and presence of comorbidities (stroke, dementia, depression, three or more physically debilitating diseases). Male sex, higher educational level, married or partnered status, and more household amenities were inversely associated with frailty prevalence. In followup, dependency incidence was 33.1 per 1000 person-years (CI 29.1-37.6) and mortality was 55.1 per 1000 person-years. Advanced age, male sex, lower occupational status during productive years, dependency, frailty, dementia, depression, cerebrovascular disease and diabetes were all associated with higher risk of death. CONCLUSIONS Given the challenge for developing countries presented by demographic and epidemiologic transition; the high prevalence in older adults of frailty syndrome, dependency and chronic non-communicable diseases; and the association of all these with higher mortality, attention should be targeted to older adults as a risk group. This should include greater social protection, age-appropriate health services, and modification and control of cardiovascular risk factors.
  • P-Wave Dispersion: A possible warning sign of hypertension in children Original Research

    Chávez, Elibet; González, Emilio; Llanes, María del Carmen; Garí, Merlin; García, Yosvany; García, Julieta; Fernández, Elizabet

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Hypertension and obesity in adults have been linked to increased EKG P-wave dispersion; the association has been shown in relation to hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy and atrial enlargement. Though studies in children have linked P-wave dispersion to left ventricular hypertrophy, scant pediatric literature relates P-wave dispersion to hypertension and obesity. OBJECTIVE Assess the association of P-wave dispersion with blood pressure and nutritional status in a pediatric population. METHODS This cross-sectional study is part of the PROCDEC II project for pediatric hypertension diagnosis and control in Santa Clara, Cuba. Twelve-lead EKG and four blood pressure readings were conducted on a sample of 656 children aged 8-11 years. Blood pressure <90th percentile for age, sex and height was considered normal; 90th-95th percentile, prehypertension; and >95th percentile, hypertension. The main study variables were P-wave dispersion and systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressure (MAP). Secondary variables were sex, height, weight, and body mass index. Comparisons of means, analysis of variance and linear correlations were done. RESULTS Mean P-wave dispersion differed significantly (p ≤0.05) among normotensive (30.10 ms), prehypertensive (32.99 ms) and hypertensive children (39.14 ms), as did mean MAP (p <0.05). P-wave dispersion and MAP were significantly correlated in prehypertensive and hypertensive children. Most overweight and obese children with high P-wave dispersion were prehypertensive or hypertensive. CONCLUSIONS Associations observed between P-wave dispersion and MAP in normotensive, prehypertensive and hypertensive children suggest potential for early detection of EKG patterns showing vulnerability. Given the relationship between increased P-wave dispersion and hypertension already described in adults, use of P-wave dispersion could be a simple, economical and noninvasive method of predicting risk of hypertensive cardiomyopathy in prehypertensive and hypertensive children; this in turn could guide timely, effective treatment and secondary prevention. Similar studies on a larger sample are needed to corroborate these results.
  • Platelet serotonin concentration and clinical status in alcohol withdrawal syndrome, preliminary results Original Research

    Llinás, Sergio G.; Caballero, Antonio J.; Peñalver, Julio C.; Valdés, Rodolfo

    Abstract in English:

    INTRODUCTION Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is an important problem for management of alcoholism. It is known that alcohol alters the function of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, but our review found no studies associating serotonin concentration changes with patient clinical status during detoxification. The authors hypothesized that total platelet serotonin concentration should significantly increase during alcohol detoxification. OBJECTIVE Assess possible association between total (endogenous and captured) platelet serotonin concentration and clinical status of patients with alcohol withdrawal syndrome, at beginning and end of detoxification with clomethiazole. METHODS Thirty-one alcohol-dependent patients, diagnosed with alcohol withdrawal syndrome according to DSM-IV and classified in three clinical groups (18-20, 21-22 and 23-26 points) per the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment for Alcohol Scale, were included in a prospective case series from May 2009 through May 2011 at the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical-Surgical Teaching Hospital in Cuba. Patients were predominantly male (87%), ranging in age from 22 to 57 years; 40% were white, 40% mestizo and 20% black. All had been hospitalized for detoxification in the hospital's psychiatry service. Blood samples taken were mixed with 1% EDTA and centrifuged for isolating platelets. Serotonin concentrations (endogenous and captured) were measured within 2 hours of blood collection and mean values at treatment days 1 and 12 compared by t test (p <0.05). RESULTS Total serotonin concentration mean values (µg of serotonin per mg of total platelet protein) were statistically different between days 1 and 12 of treatment (1.329±0.916 µg/mg vs. 2.573±1.224 µg/mg; p <0.001). There was a direct association between total serotonin concentration and patient clinical classification both initially and at day 12. At day 1, the 29 patients in the group with 18-20 points had mean serotonin of 1.358±0.0.94 µg/mg; one patient with 21 points had serotonin of 1.25 µg/mg; and one patient with 24 points had serotonin of 0.740 µg/mg. At day 12, 26 patients had 0-1 points, with mean serotonin 2.688±1.244 µg/mg; and 5 patients had 2-8 points, with mean serotonin 1.244±0.596 µg/mg. No patient had >8 points at day 12. CONCLUSIONS Serotonin is a potential biomarker for initial clinical classification and outcome monitoring and could be useful to psychiatrists working with patients in this area of medical practice and research. Further studies including more patients and variables are necessary to support these preliminary results.
  • Implementation of chronic disease risk factor surveillance in 12 cuban municipalities Lessons from the Field

    Varona, Patricia; Bonet, Mariano; García, René; Chang, Martha; Suárez, Ramón

    Abstract in English:

    Chronic non-communicable diseases have been called the pandemic of the 21st century and constitute a high-priority public health challenge; hence growing interest in chronic disease risk factor surveillance. Cuba is implementing decentralized risk factor surveillance in each of its municipalities as part of a strategy to address non-communicable diseases. Decentralized surveillance with this level of detail and explicitly designed to inform municipal and provincial decisionmaking is unprecedented in Cuba. We describe the methodology for planning and implementing measurement of major risk factors in 12 municipalities in 10 provinces, as part of Cuba's National Surveillance System. The results have facilitated timely use of information and evidence-based decisionmaking at the local level.
  • Exercise: The first prescription for cubans of all ages Viewpoint

    García, Osvaldo
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
E-mail: editors@medicc.org