Ph.d. student, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University


Improving anti-tuberculous treatment outcome with protein-rich nutritional supplements

The fact that tuberculosis continues to be a major global health burden despite available efficient anti-tuberculous treatment, needs more attention. I conduct tuberculosis-related research at the health- and demographic surveillance site, the Bandim Health Project, located in the capital Bissau of the West-African country Guinea-Bissau. Guinea-Bissau is one of the poorest countries in the world, and has a very high prevalence of tuberculosis. My current research area focuses on the treatment of undernutrition of patients with tuberculosis. Undernutrition at the time of diagnosis of tuberculosis is a risk factor for increased mortality, and lack of weight gain during anti-tuberculous treatment has been linked to an increased relapse risk. Focus on the treatment of undernutrition is therefore an important step to improve treatment outcome and prevent relapse. I am currently testing the effect of a protein-rich nutritional supplement as a supplement to anti-tuberculous treatment. My work includes assessing dietary intake and identifying dietary deficiencies, as well as assessing health-related quality of life, of patients with tuberculosis. Other focus areas in our research group is the health status of people living together with patients with tuberculosis, and the identification and treatment of multidrug resistant tuberculosis.


Pilot randomized trial of nutritional supplementation in patients with tuberculosis and HIV-tuberculosis coinfection receiving directly observed short-course chemotherapy for tuberculosis.

Abstract: To investigate the effects of nutritional supplementation on the outcome and nutritional status of south Indian patients with tuberculosis (TB) with and without human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) coinfection on anti-tuberculous therapy.Randomized controlled trial on the effect of a locally prepared cereal-lentil mixture providing 930 kcal and a multivitamin micronutrient supplement during anti-tuberculous therapy in 81 newly diagnosed TB alone and 22 TB-HIV-coinfected patients, among whom 51 received and 52 did not receive the supplement. The primary outcome evaluated at completion of TB therapy was outcome of TB treatment, as classified by the national programme. Secondary outcomes were body composition, compliance and condition on follow-up 1 year after cessation of TB therapy and supplementation.There was no significant difference in TB outcomes at the end of treatment, but HIV-TB coinfected individuals had four times greater odds of poor outcome than those with TB alone. Among patients with TB, 1/35 (2.9%) supplemented and 5/42(12%) of those not supplemented had poor outcomes, while among TB-HIV-coinfected individuals, 4/13 (31%) supplemented and 3/7 (42.8%) non-supplemented patients had poor outcomes at the end of treatment, and the differences were more marked after 1 year of follow-up. Although there was some trend of benefit for both TB alone and TB-HIV coinfection, the results were not statistically significant at the end of TB treatment, possibly because of limited sample size.Nutritional supplements in patients are a potentially feasible, low-cost intervention, which could impact patients with TB and TB-HIV. The public health importance of these diseases in resource-limited settings suggests the need for large, multi-centre randomized control trials on nutritional supplementation.

Pub.: 23 Mar '11, Pinned: 03 Jul '17

Body composition studies in patients with wasting associated with tuberculosis.

Abstract: Wasting is a well-recognized manifestation of tuberculosis (TB), but little is known about the alterations in body composition that occur. Therefore, we measured regional and whole-body composition in patients with TB and wasting.Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry in 18 patients with newly diagnosed TB and wasting (10 coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus [HIV]) and 22 controls (10 coinfected with HIV).Patients with TB and wasting had significantly lower body weight (48.6 versus 62.0 kg), lean body mass (39.6 versus 45.6 kg), and fat mass (6.2 versus 12.6 kg) than did controls. Patients with TB had significantly reduced lean tissue in the limbs (15.2 versus 19.1 kg) and trunk (21.3 versus 23.2 kg) and significantly higher trunk-to-limb lean ratio (1.41 versus 1.22) compared with controls. Patients with TB had significantly reduced fat in the limbs (3.4 versus 6.1 kg) and trunk (2.1 versus 5.7 kg) and significantly lower trunk-to-limb fat ratio (0.52 versus 0.92) compared with controls. Body composition measurements were no different in patients with and without HIV coinfection.Wasting in TB is associated with depletion of whole-body lean and fat tissue in approximately equal proportions overall, but lean tissue depletion is greater in the limbs and fat tissue depletion is greater in the trunk. HIV coinfection does not affect the magnitude or distribution of the body composition changes.

Pub.: 28 Feb '06, Pinned: 03 Jul '17

Low nutrient intake among adult women and patients with severe tuberculosis disease in Uganda: a cross-sectional study.

Abstract: Information regarding dietary nutrient intake during tuberculosis disease is lacking. We established the relationship between disease severity or wasting during pulmonary tuberculosis and nutrient intake.In a cross-sectional study of 131 adults with or without pulmonary tuberculosis were screened for human immune-deficiency virus (HIV), wasting, disease severity using 13 item validated clinical TBscore, and 24-hour dietary intake recall.Of the 131 participants, 61 were males and 70 females. Overall men and women had similar age. In average 24-hour nutrient intake, the following nutrients: energy, protein, total fat, carbohydrate, calcium, vitamin A, and folate were low among patients with severe tuberculosis disease. Patients with moderate-to-severe clinical TBscore had lower average energy intake than patients with mild TBscores (6.11 vs. 9.27 MJ, respectively) (p<0.05). The average 24-hour nutrient intakes between wasted and non-wasted tuberculosis patients were comparable. Nutrient intake among men was higher when compared to women regardless of wasting and severity of tuberculosis. Among those with wasting, men had higher average energy intake than women (8.87 vs. 5.81 MJ, respectively) (p<0.05). Among patients with mild disease, men had higher average energy intake than women with mild disease (12.83 vs. 7.49 kcal, respectively) (p<0.001).Findings suggest that severity of pulmonary tuberculosis and female gender had reduced nutrient intake. Early tuberculosis diagnosis and nutritional support may be important in management of tuberculosis patients.

Pub.: 12 Dec '12, Pinned: 03 Jul '17

The effect of energy-protein supplementation on weight, body composition and handgrip strength among pulmonary tuberculosis HIV-co-infected patients: randomised controlled trial in Mwanza, Tanzania.

Abstract: Undernutrition is common among smear-positive pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB+) patients. Micronutrient supplementation may improve treatment outcomes, but it is unclear whether additional energy-protein would be beneficial. The present study aimed to assess the effect of energy-protein supplementation on weight, body composition and handgrip strength against a background of high micronutrient intake during tuberculosis (TB) treatment. A total of 377 PTB+ patients co-infected with HIV were randomly allocated one or six biscuits daily for 60 d during TB treatment. Weight, arm fat area, arm muscle area and handgrip strength were assessed at baseline and 2 and 5 months. There were no effects on any outcome at 2 months, but energy-protein supplementation was associated with a 1·3 (95 % CI - 0·1, 2·8) kg marginally significant gain in handgrip strength at 5 months. However, after 2 months, energy-protein supplementation led to a weight gain of 1·9 (95 % CI 0·1, 3·7) kg among patients with cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) counts ≥ 350 cells/μl, but not among patients with low CD4 counts ( - 0·2 kg; 95 % CI - 1·3, 0·8, Pinteraction = 0·03). Similarly, at 5 months, energy-protein supplementation led to a 2·3 (95 % CI 0·6, 4·1) kg higher handgrip strength gain among patients with CD4 counts < 350 cells/μl, but not in those with high CD4 counts (Pinteraction = 0·04). In conclusion, energy-protein supplementation to PTB+ HIV-co-infected patients had no overall effects on weight and body composition, but was associated with marginally significant gain in handgrip strength. More research is needed to develop an effective supplement, before it is recommended to TB programmes.

Pub.: 07 Jul '11, Pinned: 30 Jun '17

Drivers of tuberculosis epidemics: the role of risk factors and social determinants.

Abstract: The main thrust of the World Health Organization's global tuberculosis (TB) control strategy is to ensure effective and equitable delivery of quality assured diagnosis and treatment of TB. Options for including preventive efforts have not yet been fully considered. This paper presents a narrative review of the historical and recent progress in TB control and the role of TB risk factors and social determinants. The review was conducted with a view to assess the prospects of effectively controlling TB under the current strategy, and the potential to increase epidemiological impact through additional preventive interventions. The review suggests that, while the current strategy is effective in curing patients and saving lives, the epidemiological impact has so far been less than predicted. In order to reach long-term epidemiological targets for global TB control, additional interventions to reduce peoples' vulnerability for TB may therefore be required. Risk factors that seem to be of importance at the population level include poor living and working conditions associated with high risk of TB transmission, and factors that impair the host's defence against TB infection and disease, such as HIV infection, malnutrition, smoking, diabetes, alcohol abuse, and indoor air pollution. Preventive interventions may target these factors directly or via their underlying social determinants. The identification of risk groups also helps to target strategies for early detection of people in need of TB treatment. More research is needed on the suitability, feasibility and cost-effectiveness of these intervention options.

Pub.: 28 Apr '09, Pinned: 30 Jun '17