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Losing Ground - Swedish Life Expectancy in a Comparative Perspective
Sven Drefahl, Anders Ahlbom, Karin Modig
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088357
Abstract: Background In the beginning of the 1970s, Sweden was the country where both women and men enjoyed the world's longest life expectancy. While life expectancy continues to be high and increasing, Sweden has been losing ground in relation to other leading countries. Methods We look at life expectancy over the years 1970–2008 for men and women. To assess the relative contributions of age, causes of death, and smoking we decompose differences in life expectancy between Sweden and two leading countries, Japan and France. This study is the first to use this decomposition method to observe how smoking related deaths contribute to life expectancy differences between countries. Results Sweden has maintained very low mortality at young and working ages for both men and women compared to France and Japan. However, mortality at ages above 65 has become considerably higher in Sweden than in the other leading countries because the decrease has been faster in those countries. Different trends for circulatory diseases were the largest contributor to this development in both sexes but for women also cancer played a role. Mortality from neoplasms has been considerably low for Swedish men. Smoking attributable mortality plays a modest role for women, whereas it is substantially lower in Swedish men than in French and Japanese men. Conclusions Sweden is losing ground in relation to other leading countries with respect to life expectancy because mortality at high ages improves more slowly than in the leading countries, especially due to trends in cardiovascular disease mortality. Trends in smoking rates may provide a partial explanation for the trends in women; however, it is not possible to isolate one single explanatory factor for why Sweden is losing ground.
Does Improved Survival Lead to a More Fragile Population: Time Trends in Second and Third Hospital Admissions among Men and Women above the Age of 60 in Sweden
Korinna Karampampa, Tomas Andersson, Sven Drefahl, Anders Ahlbom, Karin Modig
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099034
Abstract: Background Life expectancy and time to first hospitalization have been prolonged, indicating that people live longer without needing hospital care. Life expectancy increased partially due to improved survival from severe diseases, which, however, could lead to a more fragile population. If so, time to a subsequent hospitalization could decrease. Alternatively, the overall trend of improved health could continue after the first hospitalization, prolonging also the time to subsequent hospitalizations. This study analyzes trends in subsequent hospitalizations among Swedish men and women above the age of 60, relating them to first hospitalization. It also looks at trends in the proportion of never hospitalized. Methods Individuals were followed in national registers for hospital admissions and deaths between 1972 and 2010. The proportion of never hospitalized individuals at given ages and time points, and the annual change in the risks of first and subsequent hospitalizations, were calculated. Findings An increase in the proportion of never hospitalized was seen over time. The risks of first as well as subsequent hospitalizations were reduced by almost 10% per decade for both men and women. Improvements were observed mainly for individuals below the ages of 90 and up to the year 2000. Conclusions The reduction in annual risk of both first and subsequent hospitalizations up to 90 years of age speaks in favor of a postponement of the overall morbidity among the elderly and provides no support for the hypothesis that the population becomes more fragile due to increased survival from severe diseases.
Expectations for Recovery Important in the Prognosis of Whiplash Injuries
Lena W Holm ,Linda J Carroll,J. David Cassidy,Eva Skillgate,Anders Ahlbom
PLOS Medicine , 2008, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050105
Abstract: Background Individuals' expectations on returning to work after an injury have been shown to predict the duration of time that a person with work-related low back pain will remain on benefits; individuals with lower recovery expectations received benefits for a longer time than those with higher expectations. The role of expectations in recovery from traumatic neck pain, in particular whiplash-associated disorders (WAD), has not been assessed to date to our knowledge. The aim of this study was to investigate if expectations for recovery are a prognostic factor after experiencing a WAD. Methods and Findings We used a prospective cohort study composed of insurance claimants in Sweden. The participants were car occupants who filed a neck injury claim (i.e., for WAD) to one of two insurance companies between 15 January 2004 and 12 January 2005 (n = 1,032). Postal questionnaires were completed shortly (average 23 d) after the collision and then again 6 mo later. Expectations for recovery were measured with a numerical rating scale (NRS) at baseline, where 0 corresponds to “unlikely to make a full recovery” and 10 to “very likely to make a full recovery.” The scale was reverse coded and trichotomised into NRS 0, 1–4, and 5–10. The main outcome measure was self-perceived disability at 6 mo postinjury, measured with the Pain Disability Index, and categorised into no/low, moderate, and high disability. Multivariable polytomous logistic regression was used for the analysis. There was a dose response relationship between recovery expectations and disability. After controlling for severity of physical and mental symptoms, individuals who stated that they were less likely to make a full recovery (NRS 5–10), were more likely to have a high disability compared to individuals who stated that they were very likely to make a full recovery (odds ratio [OR] 4.2 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1 to 8.5]. For the intermediate category (NRS 1–4), the OR was 2.1 (95% CI 1.2 to 3.2). Associations between expectations and disability were also found among individuals with moderate disability. Conclusions Individuals' expectations for recovery are important in prognosis, even after controlling for symptom severity. Interventions designed to increase patients' expectations may be beneficial and should be examined further in controlled studies.
Risk of Severe Knee and Hip Osteoarthritis in Relation to Level of Physical Exercise: A Prospective Cohort Study of Long-Distance Skiers in Sweden
Karl Micha?lsson,Liisa Byberg,Anders Ahlbom,H?kan Melhus,Bahman Y. Farahmand
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018339
Abstract: To complete long-distance ski races, regular physical exercise is required. This includes not only cross-country skiing but also endurance exercise during the snow-free seasons. The aim of this study was to determine whether the level of physical exercise is associated with future risk of severe osteoarthritis independent of previous diseases and injuries.
The effect of leisure-time physical activity on the risk of acute myocardial infarction depending on Body Mass Index: a population-based case-control study
Eleonor Fransson, Ulf de Faire, Anders Ahlbom, Christina Reuterwall, Johan Hallqvist, Lars Alfredsson
BMC Public Health , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-6-296
Abstract: Data from the SHEEP (Stockholm Heart Epidemiology Program) study were used. The SHEEP study is a large Swedish population-based case-control study, comprising 1204 male and 550 female cases, and 1538 male and 777 female controls, conducted in Stockholm County, Sweden, during the period 1992–1994. Odds ratios (OR), together with 95 % confidence intervals (95% CI), were calculated using unconditional logistic regression, as estimates of the relative risks.Regular leisure-time physical activity was associated with a decreased risk of myocardial infarction among lean, normal-weight and overweight subjects, but not among obese subjects. Obese (BMI ≥ 30) and physically active persons had an almost twofold risk of myocardial infarction, compared with normal-weight and sedentary persons (OR 1.85, 95% CI 1.07–3.18). The results were similar for men and women.While regular leisure-time physical activity seems to provide protection against myocardial infarction among lean, normal-weight and overweight subjects, this does not appear to be the case in obese subjects.Both excess body weight and lack of leisure-time physical activity have been identified as important risk factors for cardiovascular mortality, as well as coronary heart disease [1-13]. These two risk factors are also associated with each other [14,15].Regular physical activity seems to attenuate much of the increased risk associated with overweight or obesity, and furthermore, active obese persons seem to have lower all-cause mortality and CHD morbidity compared with those who are of normal weight but physically inactive [16]. However, this association needs to be further analyzed in various populations that include both men and women.In a previous study we have reported on the relation between various forms of physical activity and the risk of acute myocardial infarction [17].The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether the relationship between leisure-time physical activity and risk of acute myocardial inf
Cycling as Innovation in Norway and Sweden—A Narrative Study of the Acceptance of a Technical Novelty  [PDF]
Anders Gustavsson
Open Journal of Social Sciences (JSS) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/jss.2014.21009
Abstract: This paper deals with the acceptance of a technical novelty, in this case cycling, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Experiences and feelings are the focus. The analytical perspectives are: social status, economy, age, gender, work/leisure, safety/danger. The innovation process of cycling conducted by a contrast between two neighbouring countries of Norway and Sweden respectively. The oral source material is found in Norwegian and Swedish folklore archives. The earliest design of bicycle was called velocipede. The bicycles began to appear around 1900. The first owners of bicycles were mostly well-to-do people in both rural and urban areas. As long as there was a shortage of bicycles, a certain collegiality existed, which implied that several people could use the same
Swedish Belief Narratives on Afterlife Earlier and Today  [PDF]
Anders Gustavsson
Open Journal of Social Sciences (JSS) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/jss.2014.211026
Abstract: My aim is to examine afterlife beliefs in Sweden, partly from the late 1800s and the early 1900s, partly from the 2000s. It will be a contrastive study of two different periods and not a diachronic study of developments across a continuous stretch of time. Since this is a study of popular beliefs, ordinary people are in the center. My research questions are: What types of popular beliefs can be traced in the pre-industrial society? What types of beliefs are characteristic of the present-day society? Which differences and similarities can be found in belief narratives of these periods? How can scholars get information about belief in afterlife in older times and nowadays? In the 1800s this is documented through narratives in folklore archives and inscriptions on grave memorials, nowadays—by means of memorial websites on the Internet.
Schur Complement Computations in Intel? Math Kernel Library PARDISO  [PDF]
Alexander Kalinkin, Anton Anders, Roman Anders
Applied Mathematics (AM) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/am.2015.62028
Abstract: This paper describes a method of calculating the Schur complement of a sparse positive definite matrix A. The main idea of this approach is to represent matrix A in the form of an elimination tree using a reordering algorithm like METIS and putting columns/rows for which the Schur complement is needed into the top node of the elimination tree. Any problem with a degenerate part of the initial matrix can be resolved with the help of iterative refinement. The proposed approach is close to the “multifrontal” one which was implemented by Ian Duff and others in 1980s. Schur complement computations described in this paper are available in Intel® Math Kernel Library (Intel® MKL). In this paper we present the algorithm for Schur complement computations, experiments that demonstrate a negligible increase in the number of elements in the factored matrix, and comparison with existing alternatives.
Intel® Math Kernel Library PARDISO* for Intel® Xeon PhiTM Manycore Coprocessor  [PDF]
Alexander Kalinkin, Anton Anders, Roman Anders
Applied Mathematics (AM) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/am.2015.68121
Abstract: The paper describes an efficient direct method to solve an equation Ax = b, where A is a sparse matrix, on the Intel® Xeon PhiTM coprocessor. The main challenge for such a system is how to engage all available threads (about 240) and how to reduce OpenMP* synchronization overhead, which is very expensive for hundreds of threads. The method consists of decomposing A into a product of lower-triangular, diagonal, and upper triangular matrices followed by solves of the resulting three subsystems. The main idea is based on the hybrid parallel algorithm used in the Intel® Math Kernel Library Parallel Direct Sparse Solver for Clusters [1]. Our implementation exploits a static scheduling algorithm during the factorization step to reduce OpenMP synchronization overhead. To effectively engage all available threads, a three-level approach of parallelization is used. Furthermore, we demonstrate that our implementation can perform up to 100 times better on factorization step and up to 65 times better in terms of overall performance on the 240 threads of the Intel® Xeon PhiTM coprocessor.
Criticise Your Working Conditions! —Focus Group Interviews on Sensitive Topics  [PDF]
Rasmus Antoft, Anders Petersen
Advances in Applied Sociology (AASoci) , 2014, DOI: 10.4236/aasoci.2014.43014

The aim of this article is, through two case studies, to demonstrate that focus group interviews constitute a particularly useful method with which to examine topics which may seem sensitive to the informants. The central point of the article is that focus group interviews can help to establish a safe setting for the informants in which, they can create shared meanings, interpretations and understandings in relation to the topic on which the researchers wish to collect a group’s accumulated statements, opinions and experiences. It is argued that this process possesses a politically democratic potential, as the framework for the focus group interview creates an arena in which critical statements may be made about the sphere of possibilities of working life. The focus group interview thereby becomes a free zone, which not only enables the sensitive issue to be subjected to the group’s reciprocal interpretation process, but also generates emancipatory processes.

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