Non-communicable diseases

Short item Published on November 30, 2018

Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in the Cape Provinces of South Africa, 1978-2018

The prevalence of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) recorded on farms and in rural towns in the Western and Northern Cape is much higher than anywhere else in the world. FASD is generally agreed to be an outcome of women drinking when they are pregnant. Conceptions of FASD and interpretations of its consequences continue to be controversial.

Short item Published on June 15, 2016

The Cancer Stem Cell Paradigm and Mathematical Modelling – A Brief Summary

It is believed that most tumours are heterogeneous and many cancers contain small populations of highly tumorigenic and intrinsically drug resistant cancer stem cells (CSCs). Gaining deeper insights into the development of stem cells in general and CSCs in particular with the aim of interfering with the emerging CSC population for the purpose of bringing about its eradication poses challenges to biomedical research and engenders approaches from various viewpoints including by mathematical modelling. We used an ordinary differential equation formulation to study a nonlinear model that was based on normal and abnormal cells, including CSC, behaviour in the bone marrow and peripheral blood.

Published on June 17, 2014 by

The epidemiology of Kaposi sarcoma and Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus in the setting of the South African HIV epidemic

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is the most common tumour in HIV-infected individuals in Africa and is preceded by infection with Kaposi sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV). The influence of KS on response to ART is not well defined in resource-limited settings. Additionally, it is unclear if co-infection with oncogenic viruses such as KSHV places untreated HIV-infected patients at increased risk even without clinically apparent illness. The analysis presented here aimed to determine the effect of clinical disease due to KS and also to estimate the impact of co-infection with KSHV among HIV-1 infected adults receiving ART.

Published on June 12, 2013 by

PURE-ifying research on chronic non-communicable diseases in South Africa

Chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancers are a major public health problem. In an effort to increase awareness about the behavioural risk factors for NCDs a community-based project was implemented in Khayelitsha. Informed by the results of this study the School of Public Health at the University of the Western Cape joined the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study in January 2009. The study seeks to scientifically document the root-causes of the traditional risk factors for NCDs by following-up adults aged 30 to 75 years for 12 to 15 years and collecting individual-, household-, community- and national-level information. Responding effectively to the growing burden of NCDs incorporates addressing societal and biological pathways from environmental causes to primordial predispositions and adequately managing the primary risk factors.

Published on June 12, 2013 by

Rheumatoid arthritis disease progression in a South African cohort: Bayesian multistate chronic disease, dynamic modelling.

The primary goal of this article is to model the forces (rates) of recovery, relapse and mortality for patients started on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) standard treatment and the effect of adjusting for body functionality. A four state model inclusive of the absorbing state death was fit to these data. A consequence of an improved health is better body functionality, which was measured using a health assessment disability index (HAQ-DI). The modelling was done using a member of the generalised additive mixed models (GAMMs) which utilise nonparametric functions adjusting for over-dispersion and correlation. Based on the results we advocate that patients should be treated until the disease activity score is in remission or lowest possible to enable greater physical functionality whilst alleviating disability and mortality due to RA.