IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques IMIM - Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques

Epidemiología y salud pública


Objetivos alcanzados, 2016

Scientific objectives

During 2016, researchers of the program have: 

  • Published 225 papers (2016) in scientific journals ranging from Lancet, Nature, JAMA Psychiatry to journals internationally recognized in the fields of molecular, clinical, and environmental epidemiology: such a broad integration of basic, clinical and epidemiologic knowledge is one of our signs of identity worldwide.

Investigators of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology & Genetics group and others have:

  • Analyzed the burden of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular risk factors and their trends at the population level.
  • Evaluated the relationship between lifestyles (diet, physical activity), environmental exposures (air pollution, noise) and cardiovascular risk factors and subclinical markers of atherosclerosis.
  • Analyzed differences in the management and the prognosis of myocardial infarction (MI) patients across Europe and have developed a valid standardized and adjusted benchmarking monitoring tool.
  • Developed and validated new cardiovascular risk functions and analyzed the predictive added value of new biomarkers.
  • Contributed to the knowledge of the genetic and epigenetic architectureof several cardiovascular traits such as myocardial infarction, venous thromboembolism, atrial fibrillation, stroke, lipids, smoking and hypertension.

Investigators of the Cardiovascular Risk & Nutrition group and others have:

  • Reported that inter-individual differences in cardiovascular risk and dietary response must be taken in account for further applications in personalized nutrition.
  • Studied that weight loss and other lifestyle recommendations during after bariatric surgery must be encouraged to avoid hypertension relapse and other risk factors.
  • Observed that the interventional weight loss program based on a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet is effective in reducing body weight and improvement of glycemic control with safety and good tolerance for T2DM patients.
  • Reported that metabolically healthy obese is a target group in whom to implement lifestyle modification initiatives to reduce the likelihood of transition to a metabolically unhealthy phenotype
  • Observed that higher monetary daily diet cost is associated with healthy eating in Spanish youth.

Investigators of the Clinical and Molecular Epidemiology of Cancer groupand others have:

  • Contributed to identify three new pancreatic cancer susceptibility signals on chromosomes 1q32.1, 5p15.33 and 8q24.21, that merit functional follow-up to identify target genes and explain the underlying biology.
  • Examined the influence of perinatal and childhood-related characteristics, socio-demographic and anthropometric variables on breast cancer risk, and showed the importance of hormones and growth factors in the early stages of life, when the mammary gland is in development.
  • Described the accumulation of mixtures of Persistent Toxic Pollutants at high concentrations in significant subgroups of the general population of USA.

Investigators of the Drug Abuse Epidemiology group and others have:

  • Described gender differences in the use of alcohol and prescription drugs in relation to job insecurity.
  • Evaluated the impact of smoke-free regulations on smoking prevalence trends in Spain
  • Have assessed gender disparities in excess mortality of heroin or cocaine users

Investigators of the Epidemiology and Evaluation group and others have: 

  • Estimated the cumulative risk of breast cancer screening outcomesaccording to the presence of previous benign breast disease and family history of breast cancer. 
  • Described risk of breast cancer according to the radiological characteristics of previous mammograms and biomarkers expression of previous benign breast disease.
  • Analysed colorectal cancer screening process in terms of participants' satisfaction and adherence to follow-up recommendations, and estimated the future demand of colonoscopies generated by the implementation of a population-based colorectal cancer screening program.
  • Estimated the average cost weights of APR-DRG for the Spanish NHS based on RECH (Spanish Hospital Cost Network) dataset, and calculated the incremental cost of nosocomial bacteremia caused by the most common organisms, classified by their antimicrobial susceptibility.
  • Established the impact of incident disclosure behaviors on medical malpractice claims

Investigators of the Health Services Research group and others have:

  • Meta-analyzed the value of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) as a general population screening tool for major depression.
  • Estimated the association of mental disorders with subsequent chronic physical conditions in 17 countries worldwide.
  • Estimated frequency and impact of mental disorders among college students in 21 countries . 
  • Very limited available evidence supports cost-effectiveness of new treatment modalities for localized prostate cancer over traditional procedures.
  • Shown than men with pretreatment lower urinary tract symptoms may experience benefit rather than harm from primary localized prostate cancer treatment.

Investigators of the Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice group and others have: 

  • Started the analysis of the urban greening trajectories of 100 cities in the US, Canada, and Europe and assessed the extent to which they consider issues of health needs/priorities and equity in their plans and interventions.
  • Initiated the spatial and quantitative analysis of green gentrification trends in the US, Canada, and Europe through an extensive collection of demographic, real estate, and development data.
  • Initiated study in New York City and Barcelona on the effects of gentrification on health and on the mediating role of gentrification in the relationship between green space and improved health outcomes.
  • Worked in collaboration with the Ajuntament de Barcelona to assess the social impact of healthy cities interventions, such as the Superilles and others, on local residents.

Investigators of the Infertility/Barcelona group and others have: 

  • Evaluated the relationship between air pollution and sperm quality.
  • Contributed to the knowledge of the effects of assisted reproduction technology on the perinatal outcomes (pre-term delivery and birth weight).

Investigators of the Occupational & Environment Epidemiology group and others have:

  • Completed studies on exposome and water contaminants and showed numerous changes in metabolome and transcriptome, and perturbations in immune response, related to uptake of water disinfection byproducts
  • Finalized a large study on night shift workers doing rotating shifts evaluating hormonal levels, genetic variants and gene-expression within the same individual at different shifts
  • Promoted new studies in LMICs on both environmental and infectious agents, and showed a combined effect of Epstein-Barr virus and Plasmodium falciparum infections on endemic Burkitt lymphoma using a multiplex serological approach in a study in Malawi.

Investigators of the Nursing Care Research group and others have:

  • Started a quasi-experimental study to determine the effectiveness of a nurse intervention on epileptic patients and their perception of risk. 
  • Started a qualitative study to assess women’s satisfaction with childbirth in the hospital.

Investigators of the Respiratory Health, Air Pollution &Childhood Development group and others have: 

  • Described altered brain connectivity in school children exposed to high levels of traffic pollution.
  • Completed the field work of the Human Early-Life Exposome study(HELIX project) with more than 1,200 mother-child pairs evaluated.
  • Initiated a population based randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of a dietary intervention (four walnuts per day, ~1.5g of n-3 PUFA) in enhancing brain development in teenagers.

Investigators of the Social Epidemiology & Occupational Health group and others have:

  • Completed a Basic Working and Employment Questionnaire, providing nationally representative, comparable data on work and health status of workers in six Latin America and Caribbean countries.
  • Established an association between unstable labour market trajectories and early retirement due to permanent disability and mortality, based on analyses of the Spanish Continuous Working Life Sample.
  • Initiated a cluster randomised trial to reduce musculoskeletal morbidity and disability among health care workers.
  • Completed a survey on the role functioning at work and health in a large sample of health care workers.

Technological and translational objectives

  • 3 patents have been transferred to a biotechnology company, related to the prediction of cardiovascular and thromboembolic diseases risk. 
  • BiblioPRO, the online library of reference for Patient Reported Outcomes (PRO) in Spanish, has reached 5,000 monthly visits and 2,000 new users in 2016 (
  • The CASSANDRA model, an open access web application, is used to assess the impact of preventive interventions at the population level ( 
  • A standardized benchmarking tool was developed by EPISAP researchers to monitor hospitals coronary artery disease outcomes( 
  • A platform to study working conditions and workers health risks was developed from databases of the Social Security workforce based on the “Continuous Work History Sample”.
  • A basic questionnaire for the future Working Condition Survey in Latin America.
  • A mathematical model developed by EPISAP researchers is being used by the Director Plan of Oncology to predict future need of colonoscopies in Catalonia. 
  • EPISAP researchers have continued participating in national and international expert committees, such as: WHO, European Research Council, Expert Boards, European Medicines Agency (EMA), European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), Generalitat de Catalunya, and the Spanish Ministry of Health, among others.

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