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Sex differences in cobalamin (vitamin B12) opinions of Swedish physicians.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Biosciences, Clinical chemistry.
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2002 (English)In: Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, ISSN 0803-9488, E-ISSN 1502-4725, Vol. 56, no 4, 299-303 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the study was to elucidate possible sex differences in knowledge, competence and attitudes behind decision-making on cobalamin-associated problems (vitamin B(12)). The study was conducted by postal questionnaires to Swedish physicians in 1996-98. The participants were recruited by random sampling of general practitioners (1996, 1998), and a total sampling of geriatricians (1998). The overall response rate was 71%. The study group comprised 480 female physicians and 526 male physicians. The responses to 24 statements in the questionnaire were measured by means of visual analogue scales. Group differences were evaluated by medians and shapes of distributions. The female doctors appeared to value patient-related symptoms and signs more than male doctors. Conversely, male doctors relied on laboratory tests more than female doctors. As reflected by questionnaire answers, female doctors appeared to be more informed than male doctors on cobalamin-associated clinical problems. Group differences between the sexes were marginal from a numerical point of view. It is suggested that the statistical differences observed should be regarded as negligible until confirmed by further studies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2002. Vol. 56, no 4, 299-303 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-4358DOI: 10.1080/08039480260242804PubMedID: 12470322OAI: diva2:143409
Available from: 2005-01-18 Created: 2005-01-18 Last updated: 2016-03-03
In thesis
1. Cobalamin communication in Sweden 1990 – 2000: views, knowledge and practice among Swedish physicians
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Cobalamin communication in Sweden 1990 – 2000: views, knowledge and practice among Swedish physicians
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Cobalamin (vitamin B12) is one of several essential micronutrients needed by the human organism. Other important micronutritients, which interplay with vitamin B12, are folate and iron. During the last ten years, the attention has been drawn to different forms of neurological disorders supposed to be caused by vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 deficiency states are common among elderly patients in primary health care and sometimes in hospital care, especially in geriatric practice.

This is a study to define the cobalamin treatment traditions, among Swedish physicians in the period 1990 – 2000. The period was distinguished by an intense debate on the issue by the physicians, an increase of cobalamin consumption, and a shift from parenteral therapy towards oral high-dose therapy.

It had been known that symptoms of cobalamin deficiency could start in the nervous system. This knowledge was reinforced by the application of homocysteine and methyl-malonic acid (MMA) in deficiency diagnosis. Introduction of homocysteine and MMA in deficiency diagnosis changed the view on deficiency prevalence, by identifying persons at risk to develop B12 deficiency prior to established symptoms.

In this study, Swedish physicians are regarded mainly as receivers of communication about the markers homocysteine and MMA, and deficiency states of cobalamin and folate. The main senders were scientists from North America, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.

This study sets the senders and the receivers of cobalamin communication on a collegial level and quantifies and evaluates the feed-back from the receivers. The receivers, gen¬eral practitioners and geriatricians, appeared to be familiar with old knowledge and frontier concepts in the field. Thus, it is suggested that the increase of B12 prescriptions in Sweden 1990 – 2000 reflected an increased awareness of B12-associated clinical problems among the physicians managing the majority of deficiency patients, although a possible overconsumption of pharmaceutical drugs must be kept in mind.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Folkhälsa och klinisk medicin, 2005. 66 p.
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 940
Medicine, Cobalamin, folate, iron, homocysteine, MMA, vitamin B12 deficiency, therapy tradition, drug epidemiology, communication, receivers, senders, Medicin
National Category
Dermatology and Venereal Diseases
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-416 (URN)91-7305-803-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2005-01-28, 933, Byggnad 3a 9 trappor, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-01-18 Created: 2005-01-18 Last updated: 2009-11-25Bibliographically approved

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