Print version ISSN 1415-790X
Rev. bras. epidemiol. vol.7 n.2 São Paulo Jun. 2004
José da Rocha Carvalheiro
This issue of Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia (RBE) has ten studies submitted to the usual procedure of confidential peer review conducted by the Associate Editors. The vast range of themes, methods and institutional diversity of authors from throughout Brazil are becoming regular characteristics of RBE. The Southeast Region is represented by six studies, three from São Paulo, two from Rio de Janeiro and one from Minas Gerais. The Central West has two studies, both from Mato Grosso, one of which in a partnership with a co-author from the State of Acre, in the North Region. One study is from Bahia, in the Northeast, and another from Santa Catarina, in the South. As in previous issues, the average of authors is three, and only one study has a single author. Also repeating an imbalance, twenty women and ten men comprise the team of authors, and only one study has a man as the first author.
One study, from Statistics teachers of UFMG (Minas Gerais Federal University), analyzes space-time patterns of lung cancer distribution in the "South of Brazil", including the three states of the South Region, and São Paulo, from the Southeast. They obtained data from the Mortality Information System of the Ministry of Health and used a Bayesian model to establish the patterns.
Three teachers from USP (São Paulo University) investigated the validation of epidemiological surveys in oral health. This is another feature that RBE is taking over: to be a means for promoting epidemiological work in this major area of Public Health. The authors used a method standardized by WHO for prevalence surveys of dental caries, and discussed the accuracy, reliability, sensitivity and specificity of the procedures used.
Two teachers from Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso (UNEMAT-Mato Grosso State University) and from the Universidade de Cuiabá (UNIC - Cuiabá University), associated with another author from ENSP/ FIOCRUZ (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation-National School of Public Health), from Rio de Janeiro, and with a consultant from WHO, compared the results of two methodological proposals for estimating the "hidden prevalence" of leprosy in the State of Mato Grosso.
In the study with the highest number of authors, all from Rio de Janeiro, five teachers from UERJ (Rio de Janeiro State University), there is only one epidemiologist and the others are biochemists, and it also received the collaboration of another teacher from the Instituto de Pesquisas Clínicas (IPEC/ FIOCRUZ- Institute of Clinical Research - Oswaldo Cruz Foundation). The authors analyzed mutations of a gene in breast cancer and the association with risk factors and characteristics of the tumor.
The serum levels of creatinine in a household sample of adults in the city of Salvador, Bahia, were studied in a survey model that associated interviews and examinations, in order to estimate the prevalence of hypercreatininemia. The author is a teacher from the Instituto de Saúde Coletiva da UFBA (Collective Health Institute of the Bahia State Federal University).
Weight gain and obesity are the themes of two studies, performed in different scenarios in distinct age groups and genders. One of papers, written by two teachers from Rio de Janeiro, is the result of a joint study carried out by the Departments of Nutrition and Diet of the UFRJ and the Department of Epidemiology of ENSP/ FIOCRUZ. It presents a literature review (LILACS and MEDLINE) on factors associated with weight gain and retention after delivery, considered one of the determining factors of obesity in women. The other study was carried out with children less than six years old, enrolled in public daycare centers in the city of Florianópolis, Santa Catarina. It was written by three teachers from the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC- Santa Catarina State Federal University), and relates the prevalence of overweight with site of household, adopted as a proxy for socioeconomic conditions.
Also involving pre-school children, an intervention study analyzed the reduction in the prevalence of anemia as a result of weekly iron supplementation. It was conducted by two teachers of Collective Health of the Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso (UFMT-Mato Grosso Federal University), in collaboration with another one from the Health Sciences Department of Universidade Federal do Acre (UFAC-Acre Federal University).
Lastly, two studies, both conducted in São Paulo, analyzed hospital admissions using data from the SUS Information System, through Hospital Admission Authorizations (AIHs). In one of them, two teachers from UNICAMP's (Campinas State University) Preventive Medicine and Social Department and another one from the Epidemiology Department of USP's School of Public Health analyze admissions due to respiratory causes in elderly patients for a period long enough to assess the influence of vaccination against influenza. In the other, two teachers from USP's School of Public Health and Nursing School, discuss the costs of violence in the area of health. Using AIHs, they estimate SUS expenditures with hospital admissions due to external causes.
These two latter studies enable us to go back to the discussion of two themes to which we have drawn the attention of authors, editors and ad hoc evaluators: the submission of studies to Research Ethics Committees (CEPs) and the statement of potential conflicts of interest. In the first one, an intervention represented by the influenza vaccination campaign for the elderly is the object of an observational study. The study uses public sources of data and in cases such as this one may question mandatory submission to a Research Ethics Committees. The issue is controversial and we intend to debate it in the coming issues of RBE. The other study concerns directly the Scientific Editor of RBE: a study that is the result of a project approved by FAPESP's Public Policies Program of which he is one of the coordinators. The solution was to assign the conduction of the evaluation process and confidentially to one of the Assistant Editors. In other cases, authors must pay attention, identify and express potential conflicts. In studies that evaluate health programs, for instance, it is convenient to make clear how authors relate to the sanitary authorities in charge.
Finally, we should draw the reader's attention to two special papers. One is the news of the "2004 Science and Culture Award", by Fundação Conrado Wessel, in the category Medicine, to Maria Inês Schmidt, Associate Editor of the Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia. Needless to say, we are very proud of this award. The other paper is meant to promote the 6th Brazilian Congress of Epidemiology that will be held this June in Recife, Pernambuco. RBE will be distributed in this event and will take the opportunity not only to collect papers among guest celebrities, speakers and debaters. It especially wishes to consolidate its regularity by encouraging potential authors attending the event: please submit your studies for publication by the RBE.
We wish you all a good month of June, enjoying reading the studies in this issue of RBE and the activities scheduled for the 6th Congress.