Seasonal variation in the patient diagnosis of primary biliary cirrhosis: Further evidence for an environmental component to etiology

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid


The etiology of primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC) is far from clear. Both genetic and environmental factors are likely to be involved. We have previously reported evidence of space-time clustering, suggesting that a transient environmental agent may be involved in etiology. To further examine whether a seasonally varying environmental agent may contribute to the etiology of PBC, we have analyzed seasonal variation with respect to month of diagnosis using population-based data from northeast England over a defined period (1987-2003). Date of diagnosis was defined as the earliest date at which the patient was found to have fulfilled any two of three diagnostic criteria (i.e., antimitochondrial antibody–positive titer ≥1 in 40, cholestatic liver blood tests, diagnostic or compatible liver histology). Monthly expected (E) numbers of cases were calculated under an assumption of a uniform distribution throughout the year. Observed counts (O) were compared with the expected numbers. The chi-squared heterogeneity test was used to test for overall nonuniform variation and also for individual months. Poisson regression analysis was used to fit a sinusoidal (i.e., harmonic) model to the data, using month of diagnosis as a covariate in the model. There was a marked peak for diagnoses in the month of June (O = 115, E = 84.7, O/E = 1.36;P= 0.001). Furthermore, there was evidence of a sinusoidal pattern with a June peak (P= 0.012).


These highly novel results provide further evidence for the involvement of a seasonally varying environmental agent in the etiology of PBC. (Hepatology 2011)

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles