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1.  Cigarette smoking disparities among sexual minority cancer survivors 
Preventive Medicine Reports  2015;2:283-286.
Objective
Sexual minority (i.e., lesbian, gay, and bisexual) adults smoke cigarettes at higher rates than heterosexual adults. Smoking after receiving a cancer diagnosis is a major health concern, yet risk of continued smoking among sexual minority cancer survivors is as yet unknown. The current study examines current smoking among sexual minority vs. heterosexual adult cancer survivors.
Method
Data drawn from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in five states (Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Wisconsin) included items about sexual orientation, cancer diagnosis, and tobacco use. The analytic sample included 124 sexual minority and 248 propensity score matched heterosexual adult cancer survivors.
Results
Bivariate analysis showed that sexual minority cancer survivors had twice the odds of current smoking as their heterosexual counterparts (OR = 2.03, 95%CI:1.09–3.80). In exploratory analyses stratified by sex, sexual minority disparities in prevalence of smoking post-cancer showed a trend toward significance among females, not males.
Conclusion
The current study offers preliminary evidence that sexual minority status is one variable among many that must be taken into account when assessing health behaviors post-cancer diagnosis. Future research should identify mechanisms leading from sexual minority status to increased rates of smoking and develop tailored smoking cessation interventions.
Highlights
•We examine cigarette smoking in sexual minority vs. heterosexual cancer survivors in the BRFSS.•We use propensity score matching to control for confounding demographic variables.•Rates of continued smoking are higher in sexual minority survivors.•Analyses stratified by sex show disparities at a trend level among sexual minority females, not males.
doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.04.004
PMCID: PMC4430723  PMID: 25984441
Smoking; Neoplasms; Sexuality; Homosexuality; Female; Homosexuality; Male; Minority health
2.  Sexual-Orientation Disparities in Cigarette Smoking in a Longitudinal Cohort Study of Adolescents 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2012;15(1):213-222.
Introduction:
Youths with a minority sexual orientation (i.e., gay, lesbian, bisexual, and mostly heterosexual) are at high risk for cigarette smoking. We examined sexual-orientation disparities in smoking during adolescence and emerging adulthood and investigated the role of age at first smoking in contributing to smoking disparities.
Methods:
We used data from the Growing Up Today Study, a large longitudinal cohort of adolescents followed from ages 12 to 24 years (N = 13,913). Self-administered questionnaires filled out annually or biennially assessed age at first smoking, current smoking, frequency of smoking, number of cigarettes smoked daily, and nicotine dependence. Proportional hazards survival analysis and repeated measures regression estimated sexual-orientation differences in smoking.
Results:
Compared with completely heterosexuals, lesbian/gay, bisexual, and mostly heterosexual youths smoked their first cigarette at younger ages, were more likely to be current smokers, and had higher frequency of smoking. Among past-year smokers, sexual-minority females smoked more cigarettes daily and scored higher on nicotine dependence than completely heterosexual females. In some instances, gender and age modified relationships between sexual orientation and smoking, with relative risk accentuated in female sexual minorities and in sexual minorities during younger ages. Younger age of smoking onset contributed to elevated smoking in mostly heterosexuals and bisexuals, and to a lesser extent in lesbians, but not in gay males.
Conclusions:
Sexual-orientation minorities are at greater risk for smoking during adolescence and emerging adulthood than heterosexuals. Disparities are larger in females and evident in early adolescence. Prevention and cessation efforts should target this population, preferably beginning in early adolescence.
doi:10.1093/ntr/nts114
PMCID: PMC3524066  PMID: 22581940
3.  Robotic-Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery for Gynecologic and Urologic Oncology 
Executive Summary
Objective
An application was received to review the evidence on the ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ for the treatment of gynecologic malignancies (e.g. endometrial and cervical cancers). Limitations to the current standard of care include the lack of trained physicians on minimally invasive surgery and limited access to minimally invasive surgery for patients. The potential benefits of ‘The Da Vinci Surgical System’ include improved technical manipulation and physician uptake leading to increased surgeries, and treatment and management of these cancers.
The demand for robotic surgery for the treatment and management of prostate cancer has been increasing due to its alleged benefits of recovery of erectile function and urinary continence, two important factors of men’s health. The potential technical benefits of robotic surgery leading to improved patient functional outcomes are surgical precision and vision.
Clinical Need
Uterine and cervical cancers represent 5.4% (4,400 of 81,700) and 1.6% (1,300 of 81,700), respectively, of incident cases of cancer among female cancers in Canada. Uterine cancer, otherwise referred to as endometrial cancer is cancer of the lining of the uterus. The most common treatment option for endometrial cancer is removing the cancer through surgery. A surgical option is the removal of the uterus and cervix through a small incision in the abdomen using a laparoscope which is referred to as total laparoscopic hysterectomy. Risk factors that increase the risk of endometrial cancer include taking estrogen replacement therapy after menopause, being obese, early age at menarche, late age at menopause, being nulliparous, having had high-dose radiation to the pelvis, and use of tamoxifen.
Cervical cancer occurs at the lower narrow end of the uterus. There are more treatment options for cervical cancer compared to endometrial cancer, however total laparoscopic hysterectomy is also a treatment option. Risk factors that increase the risk for cervical cancer are multiple sexual partners, early sexual activity, infection with the human papillomavirus, and cigarette smoking, whereas barrier-type of contraception as a risk factor decreases the risk of cervical cancer.
Prostate cancer is ranked first in men in Canada in terms of the number of new cases among all male cancers (25,500 of 89,300 or 28.6%). The impact on men who develop prostate cancer is substantial given the potential for erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence. Prostate cancer arises within the prostate gland, which resides in the male reproductive system and near the bladder. Radical retropubic prostatectomy is the gold standard treatment for localized prostate cancer. Prostate cancer affects men above 60 years of age. Other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, being of African descent, being obese, consuming a diet high in fat, physical inactivity, and working with cadium.
The Da Vinci Surgical System
The Da Vinci Surgical System is a robotic device. There are four main components to the system: 1) the surgeon’s console, where the surgeon sits and views a magnified three-dimensional image of the surgical field; 2) patient side-cart, which sits beside the patient and consists of three instrument arms and one endoscope arm; 3) detachable instruments (endowrist instruments and intuitive masters), which simulate fine motor human movements. The hand movements of the surgeon’s hands at the surgeon’s console are translated into smaller ones by the robotic device and are acted out by the attached instruments; 4) three-dimensional vision system: the camera unit or endoscope arm. The main advantages of use of the robotic device are: 1) the precision of the instrument and improved dexterity due to the use of “wristed” instruments; 2) three-dimensional imaging, with improved ability to locate blood vessels, nerves and tissues; 3) the surgeon’s console, which reduces fatigue accompanied with conventional laparoscopy surgery and allows for tremor-free manipulation. The main disadvantages of use of the robotic device are the costs including instrument costs ($2.6 million in US dollars), cost per use ($200 per use), the costs associated with training surgeons and operating room personnel, and the lack of tactile feedback, with the trade-off being increased visual feedback.
Research Questions
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
1. What is the effectiveness of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
2. What are the incremental costs of the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopy and laparotomy for women undergoing any hysterectomy for the surgical treatment and management of their endometrial and cervical cancers?
For prostate cancer,
3. What is the effectiveness of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
4. What are the incremental costs of robotically-assisted radical prostatectomy using the Da Vinci Surgical System vs. laparoscopic radical prostatectomy and retropubic radical prostatectomy for the surgical treatment and management of prostate cancer?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on May 12, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, Wiley Cochrane, CINAHL, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment for studies published from January 1, 2000 until May 12, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Articles with unknown eligibility were reviewed with a second clinical epidemiologist, then a group of epidemiologists until consensus was established. The quality of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low or very low according to GRADE methodology.
Inclusion Criteria
English language articles (January 1, 2000-May 12, 2010)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a primary data source (e.g. obtained in a clinical setting)
Journal articles that report on the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness for the comparisons of interest using a secondary data source (e.g. hospital- or population-based registries)
Study design and methods must be clearly described
Health technology assessments, systematic reviews, randomized controlled trials, non-randomized controlled trials and/or cohort studies, case-case studies, regardless of sample size, cost-effectiveness studies
Exclusion Criteria
Duplicate publications (with the more recent publication on the same study population included)
Non-English papers
Animal or in-vitro studies
Case reports or case series without a referent or comparison group
Studies on long-term survival which may be affected by treatment
Studies that do not examine the cancers (e.g. advanced disease) or outcomes of interest
Outcomes of Interest
For endometrial and cervical cancers,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Number of complications*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of conversions to laparotomy*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
For prostate cancer,
Primary outcomes:
Morbidity factors
- Length of hospitalization
- Amount of morphine use/pain*
Peri-operative factors
- Operation time
- Amount of blood loss*
- Number of transfusions*
- Duration of catheterization
- Number of complications*
- Number of anastomotic strictures*
Number of lymph nodes recovered
Oncologic factors
- Proportion of positive surgical margins
Long-term outcomes
- Urinary continence
- Erectile function
Summary of Findings
Robotic use for gynecologic oncology compared to:
Laparotomy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
The beneficial effect of robotic surgery was shown in pooled analysis for complications, owing to increased sample size.
More work is needed to clarify the role of complications in terms of safety, including improved study designs, analysis and measurement.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization, less blood loss and fewer conversions to laparotomy likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations and blood loss is low.
Fewer conversions to laparotomy indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity.
Robotic use for urologic oncology, specifically prostate cancer, compared to:
Retropubic surgery: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of shorter length of hospitalization and less blood loss/fewer individuals requiring transfusions. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of reduced morbidity and safety, respectively, in the context of study design limitations. There was a beneficial effect in terms of decreased positive surgical margins and erectile dysfunction. These results indicate clinical effectiveness in terms of improved cancer control and functional outcomes, respectively, in the context of study design limitations.
Surgeon skill had an impact on cancer control and functional outcomes.
The results for complications were inconsistent when measured as either total number of complications, pain management or anastomosis. There is some suggestion that robotic surgery is safe with respect to less post-operative pain management required compared to retropubic surgery, however improved study design and measurement of complications need to be further addressed.
Clinical significance of significant findings for length of hospitalizations is low.
Laparoscopy: benefits of robotic surgery in terms of less blood loss and fewer individuals requiring transfusions likely owing to the technical difficulty of conventional laparoscopy, in the context of study design limitations.
Clinical significance of significant findings for blood loss is low.
The potential link between less blood loss, improved visualization and improved functional outcomes is an important consideration for use of robotics.
All studies included were observational in nature and therefore the results must be interpreted cautiously.
Economic Analysis
The objective of this project was to assess the economic impact of robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) for endometrial, cervical, and prostate cancers in the province of Ontario.
A budget impact analysis was undertaken to report direct costs associated with open surgery (OS), endoscopic laparoscopy (EL) and robotic-assisted laparoscopy (RAL) based on clinical literature review outcomes, to report a budget impact in the province based on volumes and costs from administrative data sets, and to project a future impact of RAL in Ontario. A cost-effectiveness analysis was not conducted because of the low quality evidence from the clinical literature review.
Hospital costs were obtained from the Ontario Case Costing Initiative (OCCI) for the appropriate Canadian Classification of Health Intervention (CCI) codes restricted to selective ICD-10 diagnostic codes after consultation with experts in the field. Physician fees were obtained from the Ontario Schedule of Benefits (OSB) after consultation with experts in the field. Fees were costed based on operation times reported in the clinical literature for the procedures being investigated. Volumes of procedures were obtained from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC) administrative databases.
Direct costs associated with RAL, EL and OS included professional fees, hospital costs (including disposable instruments), radiotherapy costs associated with positive surgical margins in prostate cancer and conversion to OS in gynecological cancer. The total cost per case was higher for RAL than EL and OS for both gynecological and prostate cancers. There is also an acquisition cost associated with RAL. After conversation with the only supplier in Canada, hospitals are looking to spend an initial 3.6M to acquire the robotic surgical system
Previous volumes of OS and EL procedures were used to project volumes into Years 1-3 using a linear mathematical expression. Burden of OS and EL hysterectomies and prostatectomies was calculated by multiplying the number of cases for that year by the cost/case of the procedure.
The number of procedures is expected to increase in the next three years based on historical data. RAL is expected to capture this market by 65% after consultation with experts. If it’s assumed that RAL will capture the current market in Ontario by 65%, the net impact is expected to be by Year 3, 3.1M for hysterectomy and 6.7M for prostatectomy procedures respectively in the province.
RAL has diffused in the province with four surgical systems in place in Ontario, two in Toronto and two in London. RAL is a more expensive technology on a per case basis due to more expensive robot specific instrumentation and physician labour reflected by increased OR time reported in the clinical literature. There is also an upfront cost to acquire the machine and maintenance contract. RAL is expected to capture the market at 65% with project net impacts by Year 3 of 3.1M and 6.7M for hysterectomy and prostatectomy respectively.
PMCID: PMC3382308  PMID: 23074405
4.  Development of a Conceptual Framework for Understanding Shared Decision making Among African-American LGBT Patients and their Clinicians 
BACKGROUND
Enhancing patient-centered care and shared decision making (SDM) has become a national priority as a means of engaging patients in their care, improving treatment adherence, and enhancing health outcomes. Relatively little is known about the healthcare experiences or shared decision making among racial/ethnic minorities who also identify as being LGBT. The purpose of this paper is to understand how race, sexual orientation and gender identity can simultaneously influence SDM among African-American LGBT persons, and to propose a model of SDM between such patients and their healthcare providers.
METHODS
We reviewed key constructs necessary for understanding SDM among African-American LGBT persons, which guided our systematic literature review. Eligible studies for the review included English-language studies of adults (≥ 19 y/o) in North America, with a focus on LGBT persons who were African-American/black (i.e., > 50 % of the study population) or included sub-analyses by sexual orientation/gender identity and race. We searched PubMed, CINAHL, ProQuest Dissertations & Theses, PsycINFO, and Scopus databases using MESH terms and keywords related to shared decision making, communication quality (e.g., trust, bias), African-Americans, and LGBT persons. Additional references were identified by manual reviews of peer-reviewed journals’ tables of contents and key papers’ references.
RESULTS
We identified 2298 abstracts, three of which met the inclusion criteria. Of the included studies, one was cross-sectional and two were qualitative; one study involved transgender women (91 % minorities, 65 % of whom were African-Americans), and two involved African-American men who have sex with men (MSM). All of the studies focused on HIV infection. Sexual orientation and gender identity were patient-reported factors that negatively impacted patient/provider relationships and SDM. Engaging in SDM helped some patients overcome normative beliefs about clinical encounters. In this paper, we present a conceptual model for understanding SDM in African-American LGBT persons, wherein multiple systems of social stratification (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation) influence patient and provider perceptions, behaviors, and shared decision making.
DISCUSSION
Few studies exist that explore SDM among African-American LGBT persons, and no interventions were identified in our systematic review. Thus, we are unable to draw conclusions about the effect size of SDM among this population on health outcomes. Qualitative work suggests that race, sexual orientation and gender work collectively to enhance perceptions of discrimination and decrease SDM among African-American LGBT persons. More research is needed to obtain a comprehensive understanding of shared decision making and subsequent health outcomes among African-Americans along the entire spectrum of gender and sexual orientation.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11606-016-3616-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s11606-016-3616-3
PMCID: PMC4870421  PMID: 27008649
5.  Sexual and Behavioral Health Disparities Among Sexual Minority Hispanics/Latinos: Findings From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001–2014 
Introduction
Hispanics/Latinos (henceforth, Latinos) are the largest minority group in the U.S. With growing health disparities among this group, the highest burden remains among sexual and gender minority Latinos. Differences regarding sexual orientation have not been fully explored within this group using national representative samples. This study analyzed sexual and behavioral health disparities associated with sexual minority status among Latinos in the U.S.
Methods
The study included data from 5,598 Latino adults who participated in the 2001–2014 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Data analysis was conducted in 2016. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses examined the prevalence of HIV, sexually transmitted infections, mental health problems, cigarette smoking, and alcohol/illicit drug use among sexual minorities and heterosexual Latino adults. Sexual minorities were defined as “gay, lesbian, and bisexual” (GLB) and “other” non-heterosexual groups.
Results
GLB Latinos reported higher prevalence of mental health problems and cigarette smoking compared with heterosexuals. After adjusting for covariates, GLB Latinos had greater odds of testing positive for HIV, lifetime diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections, poor mental health outcomes, cigarette smoking (including lifetime and current smoking status), and illicit drug use than heterosexuals.
Conclusions
The disproportionate impact of health disparities among Latinos varies significantly by sexual orientation, with GLB individuals facing elevated prevalence. In particular, elevated odds for HIV/sexually transmitted infections, mental health problems, smoking, and illicit substance use were found. Further research, including longitudinal studies to understand the trajectories of risks, is needed to identify intervention opportunities in this population.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2017.01.037
PMCID: PMC5567737  PMID: 28284748
6.  Discrimination, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorders Among Sexual Minority Populations 
LGBT Health  2016;3(4):258-265.
Abstract
Purpose: Sexual minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual) populations have a higher prevalence of mental health and substance use disorders compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Such disparities have been attributed, in part, to minority stressors, including distal stressors such as discrimination. However, few studies have examined associations between discrimination, mental health, and substance use disorders by gender among sexual minority populations.
Methods: We analyzed data from 577 adult men and women who self-identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and participated in Wave 2 of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC). Six questions assessed discrimination due to sexual orientation. Weighted multivariable logistic regression examined associations between experiences of sexual orientation discrimination and both mental health and substance use disorders. Analyses were conducted separately for sexual minority men and women, adjusting for sociodemographic covariates.
Results: Sexual minority men who ever experienced discrimination (57.4%) reported higher odds of any lifetime drug use disorder and cannabis use disorder compared to sexual minority men who never experienced discrimination. Sexual minority women who ever experienced discrimination (42.9%) reported higher odds of any lifetime mood disorder and any lifetime anxiety disorder compared to sexual minority women who never experienced discrimination.
Conclusion: The findings suggest that discrimination is differentially associated with internalizing (mental health) and externalizing (substance use) disorders for sexual minority men and women. These findings indicate a need to consider how homophobia and heteronormative discrimination may contribute to distinct health outcomes for lesbian and bisexual women compared with gay and bisexual men.
doi:10.1089/lgbt.2015.0135
PMCID: PMC4976222  PMID: 27383512
discrimination; gender; mental health; sexual minorities; substance use
7.  Cigarette Smoking Disparities among Sexual Minority Cancer Survivors 
Preventive medicine reports  2015;2:283-286.
Objective
Sexual minority (i.e., lesbian, gay, and bisexual) adults smoke cigarettes at higher rates than heterosexual adults. Smoking after receiving a cancer diagnosis is a major health concern, yet risk of continued smoking among sexual minority cancer survivors is as yet unknown. The current study examines current smoking among sexual minority vs. heterosexual adult cancer survivors.
Method
Data drawn from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey in five states (Alaska, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Wisconsin) included items about sexual orientation, cancer diagnosis, and tobacco use. The analytic sample included 124 sexual minority and 248 propensity score matched heterosexual adult cancer survivors.
Results
Bivariate analysis showed that sexual minority cancer survivors had twice the odds of current smoking as their heterosexual counterparts (OR=2.03, 95%CI:1.09–3.80). In exploratory analyses stratified by sex, sexual minority disparities in prevalence of smoking post-cancer showed a trend toward significance among females, not males.
Conclusion
The current study offers preliminary evidence that sexual minority status is one variable among many that must be taken into account when assessing health behaviors post-cancer diagnosis. Future research should identify mechanisms leading from sexual minority status to increased rates of smoking and develop tailored smoking cessation interventions.
doi:10.1016/j.pmedr.2015.04.004
PMCID: PMC4430723  PMID: 25984441
Smoking; Neoplasms; Sexuality; Homosexuality; Female; Homosexuality; Male; Minority Health
8.  Measuring Sexual and Gender Minority Populations in Health Surveillance 
LGBT Health  2017;4(2):82-105.
Abstract
Purpose: Sexual and gender minorities (SGMs) are underrepresented and information about SGMs is difficult to locate in national health surveillance data, and this limits identification and resolution of SGM health disparities. It is also not known how measures of sexual orientation and transgender-inclusive gender identity in health surveillance compare with best practice recommendations. This article reviews and summarizes the publicly available, English language, large-scale, rigorously sampled, national, international, and regional data sources that include sexual orientation or transgender-inclusive gender identity and compares measures with best practice guidelines.
Methods: A systematic review was undertaken of national, international, state, and regional health surveillance data sources. Data sources that measured sexual orientation or transgender-inclusive gender identity and met seven inclusion criteria were included.
Results: Forty-three publicly accessible national, international, and regional data sources included measures of sexual orientation and transgender-inclusive gender identity and health. For each data source, sampling design, sample characteristics, study years, survey questions, contact persons, and data access links are provided. Few data sources met best practice recommendations for SGM measurement: 14% measured all three dimensions of sexual orientation (identity, behavior, attraction) as recommended by the Sexual Minority Assessment Research Team. No data sources measured transgender-inclusive gender identity according to the Gender Identity in U.S. Surveillance-recommended two-step method of measuring sex assigned at birth and current gender identity.
Conclusions: This article provides a much needed detailed summary of extant health surveillance data sources that can be used to inform research about health risks and disparities among SGM populations. Future recommendations are for more rigorous measurement and oversampling to advance what is known about SGM health disparities and guide development of interventions to reduce disparities.
doi:10.1089/lgbt.2016.0026
PMCID: PMC5404274  PMID: 28287877
gender identity; public health surveillance; population health; quantitative data sources; sexual orientation; transgender
9.  Associations between Intimate Partner Violence and Health among Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2014;11(3):e1001609.
Ana Maria Buller and colleagues review 19 studies and estimate the associations between the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviors among men who have sex with men.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV) among men who have sex with men (MSM) is a significant problem. Little is known about the association between IPV and health for MSM. We aimed to estimate the association between experience and perpetration of IPV, and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
Methods and Findings
We searched 13 electronic databases up to 23 October 2013 to identify research studies reporting the odds of health conditions or sexual risk behaviours for MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV. Nineteen studies with 13,797 participants were included in the review. Random effects meta-analyses were performed to estimate pooled odds ratios (ORs). Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.88, 95% CIOR 1.59–2.22, I2 = 46.9%, 95% CII2 0%–78%), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, 95% CIOR 1.26–1.69, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–62%), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, 95% CIOR 1.24–1.86, I2 = 9.9%, 95% CII2 0%–91%), and engagement in unprotected anal sex (OR = 1.72, 95% CIOR 1.44–2.05, I2 = 0.0%, 95% CII2 0%–68%). Perpetration of IPV was associated with increased odds of substance use (OR = 1.99, 95% CIOR 1.33–2.99, I2 = 73.1%). These results should be interpreted with caution because of methodological weaknesses such as the lack of validated tools to measure IPV in this population and the diversity of recall periods and key outcomes in the identified studies.
Conclusions
MSM who are victims of IPV are more likely to engage in substance use, suffer from depressive symptoms, be HIV positive, and engage in unprotected anal sex. MSM who perpetrate IPV are more likely to engage in substance use. Our results highlight the need for research into effective interventions to prevent IPV in MSM, as well as the importance of providing health care professionals with training in how to address issues of IPV among MSM and the need to raise awareness of local and national support services.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Intimate partner violence (IPV, also called domestic violence) is a common and widespread problem. Globally, nearly a third of women are affected by IPV at some time in their life, but the prevalence of IPV (the proportion of the population affected by IPV) varies widely between countries. In central sub-Saharan Africa, for example, nearly two-thirds of women experience IPV during their lifetime, whereas in East Asia only one-sixth of women are affected. IPV is defined as physical, sexual, or emotional harm that is perpetrated on an individual by a current or former partner or spouse. Physical violence includes hitting, kicking, and other types of physical force; sexual violence means forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent; and emotional abuse includes threatening a partner by, for example, stalking them or preventing them from seeing their family. The adverse effects of IPV for women include physical injury, depression and suicidal behaviour, and sexual and reproductive health problems such as HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies.
Why Was This Study Done?
IPV affects men as well as women. Men can be subjected to IPV either by a female partner or by a male partner in the case of men who have sex with men (MSM, a term that encompasses homosexual, bisexual, and transgender men, and heterosexual men who sometimes have sex with men). Recent reviews suggest that the prevalence of IPV in same-sex couples is as high as the prevalence of IPV for women in opposite-sex relationships: reported lifetime prevalences of IPV in homosexual male relationships range between 15.4% and 51%. Little is known, however, about the adverse health effects of IPV on MSM. It is important to understand how IPV affects the health of MSM so that appropriate services and interventions can be provided to support MSM who experience IPV. In this systematic review (a study that identifies all the research on a given topic using predefined criteria) and meta-analysis (a study that combines the results of several studies using statistical methods), the researchers investigate the associations between the experience and perpetration of IPV and various health conditions and sexual risk behaviours among MSM.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 19 studies that investigated associations between IPV and various health conditions or sexual risk behaviours (for example, unprotected anal sex, a risk factor for HIV infection) among MSM. The associations were expressed as odds ratios (ORs); an OR represents the odds (chances) that an outcome will occur given a particular exposure, compared to the odds of the outcome occurring in the absence of that exposure. The researchers estimated pooled ORs from the data in the individual studies using meta-analysis. The pooled lifetime prevalence of experiencing any IPV (which was measured in six studies) was 48%. Exposure to IPV as a victim was associated with an increased risk of substance (alcohol or drug) use (OR = 1.88, data from nine studies), reporting depressive symptoms (OR = 1.52, data from three studies), being HIV positive (OR = 1.46, data from ten studies), and engagement in unprotected sex (OR = 1.72, data from eight studies). Perpetration of IPV was associated with an increased risk of substance abuse (OR = 1.99, data from six studies).
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that MSM frequently experience IPV and that exposure to IPV is associated with several adverse health conditions and sexual risk behaviours. There were insufficient data to estimate the lifetime prevalence of IPV perpetration among MSM, but these findings also reveal an association between IPV perpetration and substance use. The accuracy of these findings is limited by heterogeneity (variability) between the studies included in the meta-analyses, by the design of these studies, and by the small number of studies. Despite these and other limitations, these findings highlight the need to undertake research to identify interventions to prevent IPV among MSM and to learn more about the health effects of IPV among MSM. They highlight the importance of health care professionals being aware that IPV is a problem for MSM and of training these professionals to assess MSM for IPV. Finally, these results highlight the need to improve the availability and effectiveness of support services to which health care professionals can refer MSM experiencing or perpetrating IPV.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609.
The World Health Organization provides detailed information on intimate partner violence
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information about IPV and a fact sheet on understanding IPV that includes links to further resources
The UK National Health Service Choices website has a webpage about domestic violence, which includes descriptions of personal experiences
The US National Domestic Violence Hotline provides confidential help and support to people experiencing IPV, including MSM; its website includes personal stories of IPV
The US Gay Men's Domestic Violence Project/GLBTQ Domestic Violence Project provides support and services to MSM experiencing IPV; its website includes some personal stories
The UK not-for-profit organization Respect runs two advice lines: the Men's Advice Line provides advice and support for men experiencing domestic violence and abuse and the Respect Phoneline provides advice for domestic violence perpetrators and for professionals who would like further information about services for those using violence/abuse in their intimate partner relationships
The UK not-for-profit organization ManKind Initiative also provides support for male victims of IPV
The UK not-for-profit organization Broken Rainbow UK provides help and support for lesbians and MSM experiencing IPV
MedlinePlus provides links to other resources about domestic violence (in English and Spanish)
The UK charity Galop gives advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence, or domestic abuse
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001609
PMCID: PMC3942318  PMID: 24594975
10.  Making the invisible visible: a systematic review of sexual minority women’s health in Southern Africa 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:307.
Background
Over the past two decades research on sexual and gender minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender; LGBT) health has highlighted substantial health disparities based on sexual orientation and gender identity in many parts of the world. We systematically reviewed the literature on sexual minority women’s (SMW) health in Southern Africa, with the objective of identifying existing evidence and pointing out knowledge gaps around the health of this vulnerable group in this region.
Methods
A systematic review of publications in English, French, Portuguese or German, indexed in PubMed or MEDLINE between the years 2000 and 2015, following PRISMA guidelines. Additional studies were identified by searching bibliographies of identified studies. Search terms included (Lesbian OR bisexual OR “women who have sex with women”), (HIV OR depression OR “substance use” OR “substance abuse” OR “mental health” OR suicide OR anxiety OR cancer), and geographical specification. All empirical studies that used quantitative or qualitative methods, which contributed to evidence for SMW’s health in one, a few or all of the countries, were included. Theoretical and review articles were excluded. Data were extracted independently by 2 researchers using predefined data fields, which included a risk of bias/quality assessment.
Results
Of 315 hits, 9 articles were selected for review and a further 6 were identified through bibliography searches. Most studies were conducted with small sample sizes in South Africa and focused on sexual health. SMW included in the studies were racially and socio-economically heterogeneous. Studies focused predominately on young populations, and highlighted substance use and violence as key health issues for SMW in Southern Africa.
Conclusions
Although there are large gaps in the literature, the review highlighted substantial sexual-orientation-related health disparities among women in Southern Africa. The findings have important implications for public health policy and research, highlighting the lack of population-level evidence on the one hand, and the impact of criminalizing laws around homosexuality on the other hand.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2980-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/s12889-016-2980-6
PMCID: PMC4827176  PMID: 27066890
Sexual minority health; Women’s health; Southern Africa; Systematic review
11.  Associations of Discrimination and Violence With Smoking Among Emerging Adults: Differences by Gender and Sexual Orientation 
Nicotine & Tobacco Research  2011;13(12):1284-1295.
Introduction:
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (i.e., sexual minority) populations have higher smoking prevalence than their heterosexual peers, but there is a lack of empirical study into why such disparities exist. This secondary analysis of data sought to examine associations of discrimination and violence victimization with cigarette smoking within sexual orientation groups.
Methods:
Data from the Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 National College Health Assessments were truncated to respondents of 18–24 years of age (n = 92,470). Since heterosexuals comprised over 90% of respondents, a random 5% subsample of heterosexuals was drawn, creating a total analytic sample of 11,046. Smoking status (i.e., never-, ever-, and current smoker) was regressed on general (e.g., not sexual orientation–specific) measures of past-year victimization and discrimination. To examine within-group differences, two sets of multivariate ordered logistic regression analyses were conducted: one set of models stratified by sexual orientation and another set stratified by gender-by-sexual-orientation groups.
Results:
Sexual minorities indicated more experiences of violence victimization and discrimination when compared with their heterosexual counterparts and had nearly twice the current smoking prevalence of heterosexuals. After adjusting for age and race, lesbians/gays who were in physical fights or were physically assaulted had higher proportional odds of being current smokers when compared with their lesbian/gay counterparts who did not experience those stressors.
Conclusions:
When possible, lesbian/gay and bisexual groups should be analyzed separately, as analyses revealed that bisexuals had a higher risk profile than lesbians/gays. Further research is needed with more nuanced measures of smoking (e.g., intensity), as well as examining if victimization may interact with smoking cessation.
doi:10.1093/ntr/ntr183
PMCID: PMC3223581  PMID: 21994344
12.  Victimization and substance use disorders in a national sample of heterosexual and sexual minority women and men 
Addiction (Abingdon, England)  2010;105(12):2130-2140.
Context
There is consensus in the research literature that substance use disparities exist among sexual minority women and men; however, few studies have examined risk factors that may contribute to these disparities.
Aims
To compare reports of life-time victimization experiences in a US national sample of adult heterosexual and sexual minority women and men and to examine the relationships between victimization experiences and past-year substance use disorders.
Design, participants, measurements
The secondary data analyses used 2004–05 (wave 2) National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) data collected in structured diagnostic face-to-face interviews in the United States. Substance use disorders (SUDs) were defined according to DSM-IV criteria and included past-year alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, drug abuse and drug dependence. The sample consisted of 34 653 adults aged 20 years and older; approximately 2% of the respondents self-identified as sexual minority (lesbian, gay or bisexual).
Findings
Results showed strong associations between victimization and any past-year SUDs and confirmed findings from several previous studies indicating that, compared with heterosexuals, sexual minority women and men are at heightened risk for life-time victimization. However, prevalence of the seven victimization experiences and the degree of association between individual victimization experiences and SUDs varied substantially across sexual minority subgroups. The childhood victimization variables—especially childhood neglect—showed the strongest and most consistent associations with SUDs. Odds of SUDs were generally higher among both female and male respondents, regardless of sexual identity, who reported multiple (two or more) victimization experiences than among those who reported no life-time victimization, suggesting a possible cumulative effect of multiple victimization experiences.
Conclusions
Higher rates of life-time victimization, particularly victimization experienced in childhood, may help to explain higher rates of substance use disorders among sexual minorities. However, more research is needed to understand better the complex relationships among sexual orientation, victimization and substance use.
doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.03088.x
PMCID: PMC3006226  PMID: 20840174
DSM-IV substance use disorders; epidemiology; sexual identity; sexual orientation; victimization
13.  Is it getting better? An analytical method to test trends in health disparities, with tobacco use among sexual minority vs. heterosexual youth as an example 
Background
Previous studies have documented higher health risks for lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth compared to heterosexual youth. However, none has reported whether the sexual orientation-based gaps have widened, narrowed, or remained unchanged over time. The purpose of this study was to develop a way to test differences in trends between sexual minority and heterosexual youth cohorts in population-based studies, with cigarette smoking as an exemplar.
Methods
We analysed the Minnesota Student Survey of 1998–2010, a repeated, cross-sectional census of adolescent health in grades 9 and 12. Our sample was students with recent sexual experience (Ns = 17,376–19,617). Sexual orientation was measured by gender of sexual partners in the past 12 months: students with only opposite-gender partner(s) (OPPOS), students with both male and female partners (BOTH), students with only same-gender partner(s) (SAME). We used logistic regressions to examine trends in prevalence of past-month cigarette smoking from 1998 to 2010, separately for each orientation group. We then applied novel interaction analyses to test whether disparities in smoking prevalence between OPPOS and SAME/BOTH changed over time.
Results
Recent smoking rates decreased over time among all orientation groups. BOTH adolescents were more likely than OPPOS adolescents to report past 30-day smoking, but there were no significant differences between SAME adolescents and OPPOS adolescents. Year-by-orientation interactions indicated the gap between BOTH adolescents and OPPOS adolescents widened from 1998 to 2004, then persisted between 2004 and 2010. No significant interaction effects were observed between SAME adolescents and OPPOS adolescents.
Conclusions
All orientation groups had decreasing trends in recent cigarette smoking; however, disparities in smoking rates remain between heterosexual adolescents and bisexual adolescents. These results provide a new method of not just documenting trends within minority groups, but examining whether health equity is improving for them compared to dominant groups.
doi:10.1186/s12939-016-0371-3
PMCID: PMC4877985  PMID: 27215223
Sexual orientation; Adolescents; School surveys; Tobacco use; Cohort trends; Interaction analysis; Health disparities
14.  Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Tobacco smoking is the main risk factor for COPD. It is estimated that 50% of older smokers develop COPD and more than 80% of COPD-associated morbidity is attributed to tobacco smoking. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, 38.5% of Ontarians who smoke have COPD. In patients with a significant history of smoking, COPD is usually present with symptoms of progressive dyspnea (shortness of breath), cough, and sputum production. Patients with COPD who smoke have a particularly high level of nicotine dependence, and about 30.4% to 43% of patients with moderate to severe COPD continue to smoke. Despite the severe symptoms that COPD patients suffer, the majority of patients with COPD are unable to quit smoking on their own; each year only about 1% of smokers succeed in quitting on their own initiative.
Technology
Smoking cessation is the process of discontinuing the practice of inhaling a smoked substance. Smoking cessation can help to slow or halt the progression of COPD. Smoking cessation programs mainly target tobacco smoking, but may also encompass other substances that can be difficult to stop smoking due to the development of strong physical addictions or psychological dependencies resulting from their habitual use.
Smoking cessation strategies include both pharmacological and nonpharmacological (behavioural or psychosocial) approaches. The basic components of smoking cessation interventions include simple advice, written self-help materials, individual and group behavioural support, telephone quit lines, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), and antidepressants. As nicotine addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition that usually requires several attempts to overcome, cessation support is often tailored to individual needs, while recognizing that in general, the more intensive the support, the greater the chance of success. Success at quitting smoking decreases in relation to:
a lack of motivation to quit,
a history of smoking more than a pack of cigarettes a day for more than 10 years,
a lack of social support, such as from family and friends, and
the presence of mental health disorders (such as depression).
Research Question
What are the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions compared with usual care for patients with COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on June 24, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations (1950 to June Week 3 2010), EMBASE (1980 to 2010 Week 24), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination for studies published between 1950 and June 2010. A single reviewer reviewed the abstracts and obtained full-text articles for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search. Data were extracted using a standardized data abstraction form.
Inclusion Criteria
English-language, full reports from 1950 to week 3 of June, 2010;
either randomized controlled trials (RCTs), systematic reviews and meta-analyses, or non-RCTs with controls;
a proven diagnosis of COPD;
adult patients (≥ 18 years);
a smoking cessation intervention that comprised at least one of the treatment arms;
≥ 6 months’ abstinence as an outcome; and
patients followed for ≥ 6 months.
Exclusion Criteria
case reports
case series
Outcomes of Interest
≥ 6 months’ abstinence
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Nine RCTs were identified from the literature search. The sample sizes ranged from 74 to 5,887 participants. A total of 8,291 participants were included in the nine studies. The mean age of the patients in the studies ranged from 54 to 64 years. The majority of studies used the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD staging criteria to stage the disease in study subjects. Studies included patients with mild COPD (2 studies), mild-moderate COPD (3 studies), moderate–severe COPD (1 study) and severe–very severe COPD (1 study). One study included persons at risk of COPD in addition to those with mild, moderate, or severe COPD, and 1 study did not define the stages of COPD. The individual quality of the studies was high. Smoking cessation interventions varied across studies and included counselling or pharmacotherapy or a combination of both. Two studies were delivered in a hospital setting, whereas the remaining 7 studies were delivered in an outpatient setting. All studies reported a usual care group or a placebo-controlled group (for the drug-only trials). The follow-up periods ranged from 6 months to 5 years. Due to excessive clinical heterogeneity in the interventions, studies were first grouped into categories of similar interventions; statistical pooling was subsequently performed, where appropriate. When possible, pooled estimates using relative risks for abstinence rates with 95% confidence intervals were calculated. The remaining studies were reported separately.
Abstinence Rates
Table ES1 provides a summary of the pooled estimates for abstinence, at longest follow-up, from the trials included in this review. It also shows the respective GRADE qualities of evidence.
Summary of Results*
Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; NRT, nicotine replacement therapy.
Statistically significant (P < 0.05).
One trial used in this comparison had 2 treatment arms each examining a different antidepressant.
Conclusions
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, compared with usual care, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving intensive counselling or a combination of intensive counselling and NRT.
Based on limited and moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving NRT compared with placebo.
Based on a moderate quality of evidence, abstinence rates are significantly higher in COPD patients receiving the antidepressant bupropion compared to placebo.
PMCID: PMC3384371  PMID: 23074432
15.  Tobacco Product Use Among Sexual Minority Adults 
Introduction
A growing body of evidence reveals higher rates of tobacco use among sexual minority populations relative to non-minority (“straight”) populations. This study seeks to more fully characterize this disparity by examining tobacco use by distinct sexual identities and gender to better understand patterns of: (1) cigarette smoking and smoking history; and (2) use of other tobacco products including cigars, pipes, hookah, e-cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco.
Methods
Data from the 2012–2013 National Adult Tobacco Survey, a random-digit dialed landline and cellular telephone survey of U.S. adults aged ≥18 years, were analyzed in 2014. A sexual minority category was created by combining gay, lesbian, and bisexual responses, along with those who selected an option for other non-heterosexual identities.
Results
Smoking prevalence was higher among sexual minority adults (27.4%) than straight adults (17.3%). Cigarette smoking was particularly high among bisexual women (36.0%). Sexual minority women started smoking and transitioned to daily smoking earlier than their straight peers. Use of other tobacco products was higher among sexual minority women: prevalence of e-cigarette (12.4%), hookah (10.3%), and cigar use (7.2%) was more than triple that of their straight female peers (3.4%, 2.5%, and 1.3%, respectively). Likewise, prevalence of sexual minority men’s e-cigarette (7.9%) and hookah (12.8%) use exceeded that of straight men (4.7% and 4.5%, respectively).
Conclusions
Tobacco use is significantly higher among sexual minority than straight adults, particularly among sexual minority women. These findings underscore the importance of tobacco control efforts designed to reach sexual minorities and highlight the heterogeneity of tobacco use within this population.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2015.07.041
PMCID: PMC4803352  PMID: 26526162
16.  Health Disparities Among Sexual Minority Women Veterans 
Journal of Women's Health  2013;22(7):631-636.
Abstract
Background
Lesbian and bisexual (i.e., sexual minority) identity is more common among women veterans than among male veterans. Unique health issues have been identified among women veterans and among sexual minority women, but little is known about women who are both sexual minorities and veterans. This study aimed to compare demographic and health information from sexual minority women veterans with sexual minority women non-veterans and heterosexual women veterans.
Methods
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey data were pooled from ten U.S. states that elected to ask sexual identity during 2010. The analytic sample was comprised of women who identified both their sexual identity and veteran status (n=1,908). Mental health indicators were frequent mental distress, sleep problems, low social/emotional support, and low satisfaction with life. Health risk indicators included current smoking, overweight, and obesity. Physical health status was defined by three components: disability requiring assistive equipment, >14 days of poor physical health in the past 30 days, and activity limitations.
Results
Compared with heterosexual women veterans, sexual minority women veterans had higher odds of mental distress (odds ratio [OR]=3.03, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.61–5.70) and smoking (OR=2.31, 95%CI: 1.19–4.48). After adjusting for demographic correlates, sexual minority women veterans had three times the odds of poor physical health (OR=3.01, 95%CI: 1.51–5.99) than their sexual minority non-veteran peers.
Conclusions
Results suggest sexual minority women veterans may experience unique health disparities relevant to provision of care in both Veterans Affairs (VA) and non-VA healthcare systems. Future research requires availability of data that include sexual minority status.
doi:10.1089/jwh.2012.4214
PMCID: PMC3761433  PMID: 23746281
17.  Sexual orientation and smoking history: results from a community-based sample of youth in Shanghai, China 
Objective
Cigarette smoking has been found to be more prevalent among adults and youths with a minority sexual orientation (lesbian, gay, bisexual, LGB) than among the general population, while less is known about smoking among LGB youth in low- and middle-income countries. The goal of the study was to examine cigarette smoking in relation to sexual orientation in a community-based sample of youth in Shanghai, China.
Methods
A multi-center cross-sectional survey of 17,016 youth aged 15–24 years was conducted in rural and urban areas of Hanoi, Vietnam; Taipei, Taiwan; and Shanghai, China in 2006. In this article, analysis was restricted to the 6,299 respondents in Shanghai. Assessments included ever smoking, age at first smoking, frequency of smoking, and number of cigarettes smoked daily. Logistic regression was used to estimate the association between sexual orientation and cigarette smoking.
Results
Nine percent (594/6,299) of eligible participants considered themselves as LGB youths; 34.2 % ever smoked, 14.81 % initiated smoking before age 13, 15.9 % smoked in the past 30 days, and 14.1 % were moderate or heavy smokers. LGB identity predicted moderate or heavy smoking (OR 2.2, 95 % CI 1.3, 3.9). Male LGB youth smoked more cigarettes daily (OR 2.2, 95 % CI 1.3, 3.9) whilst female LGB youth reported less any prior cigarette use (OR 0.7, 95 % CI 0.5, 1.0).
Conclusions
Few meaningful disparities in cigarette smoking were related to sexual orientation, except male LGB youth consumed more cigarettes daily. Prevention and cessation should target this population, especially male LGB youth.
doi:10.1007/s12199-015-0444-8
PMCID: PMC4434233  PMID: 25648257
Sexual orientation; LGB; Smoking; Youth; China
18.  Prevalence, incidence and risk factors for anogenital warts in Sub Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta analysis 
Introduction
The quadrivalent HPV vaccine is highly effective in primary prevention of anogenital warts (AGWs). However, there is lack of systematic review in the literature of the epidemiology of AGWs in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
Objective
To review the prevalence, incidence and risk factors for AGWs in SSA prior to the introduction of HPV vaccination programs.
Methods
PubMed/MEDLINE, Africa Index Medicus and HINARI websites were searched for peer reviewed English language published medical literature on AGWs from January 1, 1984 to June 30, 2012. Relevant additional references cited in published papers were also evaluated for inclusion. For inclusion, the article had to meet the following criteria (1) original studies with estimated prevalence and/or incidence rates among men and/or women (2) detailed description of the study population (3) clinical or self-reported diagnosis of AGWs (4) HPV genotyping of histologically confirmed AGWs. The final analysis included 40 studies. Data across different studies were synthesized using descriptive statistics for various subgroups of females and males by geographical area. A meta - analysis of relative risk was conducted for studies that had data reported by HIV status.
Results
The prevalence rates of clinical AGWs among sex workers and women with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or at high risk of sexually transmitted infection (STIs) range from 3.3% - 10.7% in East, 2.4% - 14.0% in Central and South, and 3.5% - 10.5% in West African regions. Among pregnant women, the prevalence rates range from 0.4% - 3.0% in East, 0.2% - 7.3% in Central and South and 2.9% in West African regions. Among men, the prevalence rates range from 3.5% - 4.5% in East, 4.8% - 6.0% in Central and South and 4.1% to 7.0% in West African regions. In all regions, the prevalence rates were significantly higher among HIV+ than HIV- women with an overall summary relative risk of 1.62 (95% CI: 143–1.82).
The incidence rates range from 1.1 – 2.7 per 100 person-years among women and 1.4 per 100 person years among men. Incidence rate was higher among HIV+ (3.0 per 100 person years) and uncircumcised men (1.7 per 100 person-years) than circumcised men (1.3 per 100 person-years).
HIV positivity was a risk factor for AGWs among both men and women. Other risk factors in women include presence of abnormal cervical cytology, co-infection with HPV 52, concurrent bacteria vaginoses and genital ulceration. Among men, other risk factors include cigarette smoking and lack of circumcision.
Conclusions
AGWs are common among selected populations particularly HIV infected men and women. However, there is need for population-based studies that will guide policies on effective prevention, treatment and control of AGWs.
doi:10.1186/1750-9378-8-27
PMCID: PMC3712022  PMID: 23842471
Anogenital warts; Sub Saharan Africa; HIV; HPV vaccination
19.  Operational Definitions of Sexual Orientation and Estimates of Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors 
LGBT health  2013;1(1):42-49.
Purpose
Increasing attention to the health of lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations comes with requisite circumspection about measuring sexual orientation in surveys. However, operationalizing these variables also requires considerable thought. This research sought to document the consequences of different operational definitions of sexual orientation by examining variation in health risk behaviors.
Methods
Using Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, we examined how operational definitions of sexual behavior and sexual identity influenced differences among three health behaviors known to disparately affect LGB populations: smoking, suicide risk, and methamphetamine use. Sexual behavior and sexual identity were also examined together to explore if they captured unique sources of variability in behavior.
Results
Estimates of health disparities changed as a result of using either sexual behavior or sexual identity. Youth who reported their sexual identity as “not sure” also had increased odds of health risk behavior. Disaggregating bisexual identity and behavior from same-sex identity and behavior frequently resulted in the attenuation or elimination of health disparities that would have otherwise been attributable to exclusively same-sex sexual minorities. Finally, sexual behavior and sexual identity explained unique and significant sources of variability in all three health behaviors.
Conclusion
Researchers using different operational definitions of sexual orientation could draw different conclusions, even when analyzing the same data, depending upon how they chose to represent sexual orientation in analyses. We discuss implications that these manipulations have on data interpretation and provide specific recommendations for best-practices when analyzing sexual orientation data collected from adolescent populations.
PMCID: PMC4123795  PMID: 25110718
adolescents; data analysis; health behavior; measurement; sexual orientation
20.  RESEARCH ON ADOLESCENT SEXUAL ORIENTATION: DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH DISPARITIES, STIGMA AND RESILIENCE 
The decade between 1998 and 2008 saw rapid increases in research on adolescent sexual orientation development and related health issues, both in quantity and in quality of studies. While much of the research originated in North America, studies from other countries also contributed to emerging understanding of developmental trajectories and social influences on the health of sexual minority adolescents. This paper reviews the body of research from the past decade on adolescent sexual orientation, focused on issues of measurement, developmental trajectories, evidence related to health disparities, and the risks and protective factors that help explain the health and developmental challenges some lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents experience. Although many sexual minority adolescents face stigma and rejection within their families, their schools, or their communities, it should be noted that most successfully navigate the developmental tasks of adolescence, and attain similar levels of health and well-being as their heterosexual peers, often despite the stigma and discrimination they encounter. Further research is needed to understand population trends as well as individual patterns of development; cultural variations in both development and health disparities; the interplay of general and unique risk factors that contribute to various health disparities and protective factors that buffer those risks; and interventions to promote the healthy development of sexual minority adolescents.
doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2010.00727.x
PMCID: PMC4835230  PMID: 27099454 CAMSID: cams5450
21.  Current and Former Smoking and Risk for Venous Thromboembolism: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(9):e1001515.
In a meta-analysis of 32 observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 events, Suhua Wu and colleagues found that current, ever, and former smoking was associated with risk of venous thromboembolism.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Smoking is a well-established risk factor for atherosclerotic disease, but its role as an independent risk factor for venous thromboembolism (VTE) remains controversial. We conducted a meta-analysis to summarize all published prospective studies and case-control studies to update the risk for VTE in smokers and determine whether a dose–response relationship exists.
Methods and Findings
We performed a literature search using MEDLINE (source PubMed, January 1, 1966 to June 15, 2013) and EMBASE (January 1, 1980 to June 15, 2013) with no restrictions. Pooled effect estimates were obtained by using random-effects meta-analysis. Thirty-two observational studies involving 3,966,184 participants and 35,151 VTE events were identified. Compared with never smokers, the overall combined relative risks (RRs) for developing VTE were 1.17 (95% CI 1.09–1.25) for ever smokers, 1.23 (95% CI 1.14–1.33) for current smokers, and 1.10 (95% CI 1.03–1.17) for former smokers, respectively. The risk increased by 10.2% (95% CI 8.6%–11.8%) for every additional ten cigarettes per day smoked or by 6.1% (95% CI 3.8%–8.5%) for every additional ten pack-years. Analysis of 13 studies adjusted for body mass index (BMI) yielded a relatively higher RR (1.30; 95% CI 1.24–1.37) for current smokers. The population attributable fractions of VTE were 8.7% (95% CI 4.8%–12.3%) for ever smoking, 5.8% (95% CI 3.6%–8.2%) for current smoking, and 2.7% (95% CI 0.8%–4.5%) for former smoking. Smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 (95% CI 15.4–26.7) cases per 100,000 person-years.
Conclusions
Cigarette smoking is associated with a slightly increased risk for VTE. BMI appears to be a confounding factor in the risk estimates. The relationship between VTE and smoking has clinical relevance with respect to individual screening, risk factor modification, and the primary and secondary prevention of VTE.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Blood normally flows throughout the human body, supplying its organs and tissues with oxygen and nutrients. But, when an injury occurs, proteins called clotting factors make the blood gel (coagulate) at the injury site. The resultant clot (thrombus) plugs the wound and prevents blood loss. Occasionally, a thrombus forms inside an uninjured blood vessel and partly or completely blocks the blood flow. Clot formation inside one of the veins deep within the body, usually in a leg, is called deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and can cause pain, swelling, and redness in the affected limb. DVT can be treated with drugs that stop the blood clot from getting larger (anticoagulants) but, if left untreated, part of the clot can break off and travel to the lungs, where it can cause a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. DVT and pulmonary embolism are collectively known as venous thromboembolism (VTE). Risk factors for VTE include having an inherited blood clotting disorder, oral contraceptive use, prolonged inactivity (for example, during a long-haul plane flight), and having surgery. VTEs are present in about a third of all people who die in hospital and, in non-bedridden populations, about 10% of people die within 28 days of a first VTE event.
Why Was This Study Done?
Some but not all studies have reported that smoking is also a risk factor for VTE. A clear demonstration of a significant association (a relationship unlikely to have occurred by chance) between smoking and VTE might help to reduce the burden of VTE because smoking can potentially be reduced by encouraging individuals to quit smoking and through taxation policies and other measures designed to reduce tobacco consumption. In this systematic review and meta-analysis, the researchers examine the link between smoking and the risk of VTE in the general population and investigate whether heavy smokers have a higher risk of VTE than light smokers. A systematic review uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic; meta-analysis is a statistical method for combining the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 32 observational studies (investigations that record a population's baseline characteristics and subsequent disease development) that provided data on smoking and VTE. Together, the studies involved nearly 4 million participants and recorded 35,151 VTE events. Compared with never smokers, ever smokers (current and former smokers combined) had a relative risk (RR) of developing VTE of 1.17. That is, ever smokers were 17% more likely to develop VTE than never smokers. For current smokers and former smokers, RRs were 1.23 and 1.10, respectively. Analysis of only studies that adjusted for body mass index (a measure of body fat and a known risk factor for conditions that affect the heart and circulation) yielded a slightly higher RR (1.30) for current smokers compared with never smokers. For ever smokers, the population attributable fraction (the proportional reduction in VTE that would accrue in the population if no one smoked) was 8.7%. Notably, the risk of VTE increased by 10.2% for every additional ten cigarettes smoked per day and by 6.1% for every additional ten pack-years. Thus, an individual who smoked one pack of cigarettes per day for 40 years had a 26.7% higher risk of developing VTE than someone who had never smoked. Finally, smoking was associated with an absolute risk increase of 24.3 cases of VTE per 100,000 person-years.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that cigarette smoking is associated with a statistically significant, slightly increased risk for VTE among the general population and reveal a dose-relationship between smoking and VTE risk. They cannot prove that smoking causes VTE—people who smoke may share other unknown characteristics (confounding factors) that are actually responsible for their increased risk of VTE. Indeed, these findings identify body mass index as a potential confounding factor that might affect the accuracy of estimates of the association between smoking and VTE risk. Although the risk of VTE associated with smoking is smaller than the risk associated with some well-established VTE risk factors, smoking is more common (globally, there are 1.1 billion smokers) and may act synergistically with some of these risk factors. Thus, smoking behavior should be considered when screening individuals for VTE and in the prevention of first and subsequent VTE events.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001515.
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on deep vein thrombosis (including an animation about how DVT causes pulmonary embolism), and information on pulmonary embolism
The UK National Health Service Choices website has information on deep vein thrombosis, including personal stories, and on pulmonary embolism; SmokeFree is a website provided by the UK National Health Service that offers advice on quitting smoking
The non-profit organization US National Blood Clot Alliance provides detailed information about deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism for patients and professionals and includes a selection of personal stories about these conditions
The World Health Organization provides information about the dangers of tobacco (in several languages)
Smokefree.gov, from the US National Cancer Institute, offers online tools and resources to help people quit smoking
MedlinePlus has links to further information about deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, and the dangers of smoking (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001515
PMCID: PMC3775725  PMID: 24068896
22.  The effectiveness of interventions to change six health behaviours: a review of reviews 
BMC Public Health  2010;10:538.
Background
Several World Health Organisation reports over recent years have highlighted the high incidence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and cancer. Contributory factors include unhealthy diets, alcohol and tobacco use and sedentary lifestyles. This paper reports the findings of a review of reviews of behavioural change interventions to reduce unhealthy behaviours or promote healthy behaviours. We included six different health-related behaviours in the review: healthy eating, physical exercise, smoking, alcohol misuse, sexual risk taking (in young people) and illicit drug use. We excluded reviews which focussed on pharmacological treatments or those which required intensive treatments (e.g. for drug or alcohol dependency).
Methods
The Cochrane Library, Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effectiveness (DARE) and several Ovid databases were searched for systematic reviews of interventions for the six behaviours (updated search 2008). Two reviewers applied the inclusion criteria, extracted data and assessed the quality of the reviews. The results were discussed in a narrative synthesis.
Results
We included 103 reviews published between 1995 and 2008. The focus of interventions varied, but those targeting specific individuals were generally designed to change an existing behaviour (e.g. cigarette smoking, alcohol misuse), whilst those aimed at the general population or groups such as school children were designed to promote positive behaviours (e.g. healthy eating). Almost 50% (n = 48) of the reviews focussed on smoking (either prevention or cessation). Interventions that were most effective across a range of health behaviours included physician advice or individual counselling, and workplace- and school-based activities. Mass media campaigns and legislative interventions also showed small to moderate effects in changing health behaviours.
Generally, the evidence related to short-term effects rather than sustained/longer-term impact and there was a relative lack of evidence on how best to address inequalities.
Conclusions
Despite limitations of the review of reviews approach, it is encouraging that there are interventions that are effective in achieving behavioural change. Further emphasis in both primary studies and secondary analysis (e.g. systematic reviews) should be placed on assessing the differential effectiveness of interventions across different population subgroups to ensure that health inequalities are addressed.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-10-538
PMCID: PMC2944371  PMID: 20825660
23.  A Review of Tobacco Use Treatments in U.S. Ethnic Minority Populations 
Background
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Among racial and ethnic minorities, disparities in tobacco use, knowledge of health risks and treatment resources, access to and utilization of treatment contribute to a disproportionate disease burden from tobacco use. Furthermore, racial and ethnic minorities have been under-represented within tobacco treatment studies.
Purpose/Objective
This paper provides a review of published studies examining tobacco treatment interventions among ethnic and minority populations in the United States.
Study Design/Methods
Literature searches were used to identify smoking cessation interventions involving racial/ethnic minority populations. Identified studies were published between 1985 and 2009 involving African American, Latino, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander smokers. Studies included in the review a) targeted one or more ethnic minority group or had at least 10 percent of study participants from ethnic minority groups and b) reported abstinence outcomes.
Results
Sixty-four studies were included in this review. Of studies meeting inclusion criteria, 28 included a primary focus on African Americans, 10 focused on Latinos, 4 focused on Native Americans, and 3 focused on Asian American smokers. An additional 19 studies reported samples including participants from more than one minority group. Sample inclusion criteria, intervention content and duration, follow-up, abstinence assessment, and limitations of these studies were reviewed.
Conclusions
Individuals from racial and ethnic minority populations are interested in stopping smoking and willing to participate in treatment research. Variations in the content of treatment intervention and study design produced a range of abstinence outcomes across studies. Additional research is needed for all groups, including African American smokers, and special attention is warranted for Latino, Native American, and Asian groups given the paucity of published studies. While there were limited evaluations of pharmacotherapy, the existing data support use of pharmacotherapy in addition to counseling for enhancing abstinence outcomes. Further attention to level of individual smoking, variability in smoking patterns, and use of other tobacco products is needed, given known variation within and between racial and ethnic groups. Overall, findings are consistent with recommendations from the 2008 Clinical Practice Guidelines calling for increased research devoted to evaluating and enhancing tobacco use treatment interventions among racial and ethnic minority populations.
doi:10.4278/ajhp.100610-LIT-177
PMCID: PMC4494679  PMID: 21510783
24.  Reciprocal relationships over time between descriptive norms and alcohol use in young adult sexual minority women 
Objective
Young adulthood, roughly ages 18–25, is a period of great risk for excessive consumption of alcohol, especially among sexual minority women. Despite the substantial literature examining the relationships between social norms and behavior in general, little attention has been given to the role of descriptive norms on the drinking behaviors of sexual minorities. The present study had three aims: to compare both typical woman descriptive norms and sexual minority-specific descriptive normative perceptions among a sample of sexual minority women, examine reciprocal associations between sexual minority-specific descriptive norms and alcohol consumption over time, and to examine whether these reciprocal associations were moderated by sexual orientation (i.e. whether one identifies as lesbian or bisexual).
Method
A national sample of 1,057 lesbian and bisexual women between the ages of 18–25 were enrolled in this study. Participants completed an online survey at four time-points that assessed the constructs of interest.
Results
Results indicated that sexual minority women consistently perceived that sexual minority women drank more than their non-sexual minority peers; sexual minority women-specific descriptive drinking norms and alcohol consumption influenced one another over time in a reciprocal, feed-forward fashion; and these associations were not moderated by sexual orientation.
Conclusions
These findings highlight the importance of considering sexual minority women-specific norms as an important factor predicting alcohol consumption in sexual minority women. Results further support the development and testing of normative interventions for high risk drinking among sexual minority women.
doi:10.1037/adb0000122
PMCID: PMC4701630  PMID: 26478944
alcohol; sexual minority women; descriptive norms; longitudinal
25.  Utilization of DXA Bone Mineral Densitometry in Ontario 
Executive Summary
Issue
Systematic reviews and analyses of administrative data were performed to determine the appropriate use of bone mineral density (BMD) assessments using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and the associated trends in wrist and hip fractures in Ontario.
Background
Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry Bone Mineral Density Assessment
Dual energy x-ray absorptiometry bone densitometers measure bone density based on differential absorption of 2 x-ray beams by bone and soft tissues. It is the gold standard for detecting and diagnosing osteoporosis, a systemic disease characterized by low bone density and altered bone structure, resulting in low bone strength and increased risk of fractures. The test is fast (approximately 10 minutes) and accurate (exceeds 90% at the hip), with low radiation (1/3 to 1/5 of that from a chest x-ray). DXA densitometers are licensed as Class 3 medical devices in Canada. The World Health Organization has established criteria for osteoporosis and osteopenia based on DXA BMD measurements: osteoporosis is defined as a BMD that is >2.5 standard deviations below the mean BMD for normal young adults (i.e. T-score <–2.5), while osteopenia is defined as BMD that is more than 1 standard deviation but less than 2.5 standard deviation below the mean for normal young adults (i.e. T-score< –1 & ≥–2.5). DXA densitometry is presently an insured health service in Ontario.
Clinical Need
 
Burden of Disease
The Canadian Multicenter Osteoporosis Study (CaMos) found that 16% of Canadian women and 6.6% of Canadian men have osteoporosis based on the WHO criteria, with prevalence increasing with age. Osteopenia was found in 49.6% of Canadian women and 39% of Canadian men. In Ontario, it is estimated that nearly 530,000 Ontarians have some degrees of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis-related fragility fractures occur most often in the wrist, femur and pelvis. These fractures, particularly those in the hip, are associated with increased mortality, and decreased functional capacity and quality of life. A Canadian study showed that at 1 year after a hip fracture, the mortality rate was 20%. Another 20% required institutional care, 40% were unable to walk independently, and there was lower health-related quality of life due to attributes such as pain, decreased mobility and decreased ability to self-care. The cost of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in Canada was estimated to be $1.3 billion in 1993.
Guidelines for Bone Mineral Density Testing
With 2 exceptions, almost all guidelines address only women. None of the guidelines recommend blanket population-based BMD testing. Instead, all guidelines recommend BMD testing in people at risk of osteoporosis, predominantly women aged 65 years or older. For women under 65 years of age, BMD testing is recommended only if one major or two minor risk factors for osteoporosis exist. Osteoporosis Canada did not restrict its recommendations to women, and thus their guidelines apply to both sexes. Major risk factors are age greater than or equal to 65 years, a history of previous fractures, family history (especially parental history) of fracture, and medication or disease conditions that affect bone metabolism (such as long-term glucocorticoid therapy). Minor risk factors include low body mass index, low calcium intake, alcohol consumption, and smoking.
Current Funding for Bone Mineral Density Testing
The Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) Schedule presently reimburses DXA BMD at the hip and spine. Measurements at both sites are required if feasible. Patients at low risk of accelerated bone loss are limited to one BMD test within any 24-month period, but there are no restrictions on people at high risk. The total fee including the professional and technical components for a test involving 2 or more sites is $106.00 (Cdn).
Method of Review
This review consisted of 2 parts. The first part was an analysis of Ontario administrative data relating to DXA BMD, wrist and hip fractures, and use of antiresorptive drugs in people aged 65 years and older. The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences extracted data from the OHIP claims database, the Canadian Institute for Health Information hospital discharge abstract database, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System, and the Ontario Drug Benefit database using OHIP and ICD-10 codes. The data was analyzed to examine the trends in DXA BMD use from 1992 to 2005, and to identify areas requiring improvement.
The second part included systematic reviews and analyses of evidence relating to issues identified in the analyses of utilization data. Altogether, 8 reviews and qualitative syntheses were performed, consisting of 28 published systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses, 34 randomized controlled trials, and 63 observational studies.
Findings of Utilization Analysis
Analysis of administrative data showed a 10-fold increase in the number of BMD tests in Ontario between 1993 and 2005.
OHIP claims for BMD tests are presently increasing at a rate of 6 to 7% per year. Approximately 500,000 tests were performed in 2005/06 with an age-adjusted rate of 8,600 tests per 100,000 population.
Women accounted for 90 % of all BMD tests performed in the province.
In 2005/06, there was a 2-fold variation in the rate of DXA BMD tests across local integrated health networks, but a 10-fold variation between the county with the highest rate (Toronto) and that with the lowest rate (Kenora). The analysis also showed that:
With the increased use of BMD, there was a concomitant increase in the use of antiresorptive drugs (as shown in people 65 years and older) and a decrease in the rate of hip fractures in people age 50 years and older.
Repeat BMD made up approximately 41% of all tests. Most of the people (>90%) who had annual BMD tests in a 2-year or 3-year period were coded as being at high risk for osteoporosis.
18% (20,865) of the people who had a repeat BMD within a 24-month period and 34% (98,058) of the people who had one BMD test in a 3-year period were under 65 years, had no fracture in the year, and coded as low-risk.
Only 19% of people age greater than 65 years underwent BMD testing and 41% received osteoporosis treatment during the year following a fracture.
Men accounted for 24% of all hip fractures and 21 % of all wrist fractures, but only 10% of BMD tests. The rates of BMD tests and treatment in men after a fracture were only half of those in women.
In both men and women, the rate of hip and wrist fractures mainly increased after age 65 with the sharpest increase occurring after age 80 years.
Findings of Systematic Review and Analysis
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing for People Not Receiving Osteoporosis Treatment
A systematic review showed that the mean rate of bone loss in people not receiving osteoporosis treatment (including postmenopausal women) is generally less than 1% per year. Higher rates of bone loss were reported for people with disease conditions or on medications that affect bone metabolism. In order to be considered a genuine biological change, the change in BMD between serial measurements must exceed the least significant change (variability) of the testing, ranging from 2.77% to 8% for precisions ranging from 1% to 3% respectively. Progression in BMD was analyzed, using different rates of baseline BMD values, rates of bone loss, precision, and BMD value for initiating treatment. The analyses showed that serial BMD measurements every 24 months (as per OHIP policy for low-risk individuals) is not necessary for people with no major risk factors for osteoporosis, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score ≥ –1), and the rate of bone loss is less than or equal to 1% per year. The analyses showed that for someone with a normal baseline BMD and a rate of bone loss of less than 1% per year, the change in BMD is not likely to exceed least significant change (even for a 1% precision) in less than 3 years after the baseline test, and is not likely to drop to a BMD level that requires initiation of treatment in less than 16 years after the baseline test.
Serial Bone Mineral Density Testing in People Receiving Osteoporosis Therapy
Seven published meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and 2 recent RCTs on BMD monitoring during osteoporosis therapy showed that although higher increases in BMD were generally associated with reduced risk of fracture, the change in BMD only explained a small percentage of the fracture risk reduction.
Studies showed that some people with small or no increase in BMD during treatment experienced significant fracture risk reduction, indicating that other factors such as improved bone microarchitecture might have contributed to fracture risk reduction.
There is conflicting evidence relating to the role of BMD testing in improving patient compliance with osteoporosis therapy.
Even though BMD may not be a perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk when monitoring responses to osteoporosis therapy, experts advised that it is still the only reliable test available for this purpose.
A systematic review conducted by the Medical Advisory Secretariat showed that the magnitude of increases in BMD during osteoporosis drug therapy varied among medications. Although most of the studies yielded mean percentage increases in BMD from baseline that did not exceed the least significant change for a 2% precision after 1 year of treatment, there were some exceptions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing and Treatment After a Fragility Fracture
A review of 3 published pooled analyses of observational studies and 12 prospective population-based observational studies showed that the presence of any prevalent fracture increases the relative risk for future fractures by approximately 2-fold or more. A review of 10 systematic reviews of RCTs and 3 additional RCTs showed that therapy with antiresorptive drugs significantly reduced the risk of vertebral fractures by 40 to 50% in postmenopausal osteoporotic women and osteoporotic men, and 2 antiresorptive drugs also reduced the risk of nonvertebral fractures by 30 to 50%. Evidence from observational studies in Canada and other jurisdictions suggests that patients who had undergone BMD measurements, particularly if a diagnosis of osteoporosis is made, were more likely to be given pharmacologic bone-sparing therapy. Despite these findings, the rate of BMD investigation and osteoporosis treatment after a fracture remained low (<20%) in Ontario as well as in other jurisdictions.
Bone Mineral Density Testing in Men
There are presently no specific Canadian guidelines for BMD screening in men. A review of the literature suggests that risk factors for fracture and the rate of vertebral deformity are similar for men and women, but the mortality rate after a hip fracture is higher in men compared with women. Two bisphosphonates had been shown to reduce the risk of vertebral and hip fractures in men. However, BMD testing and osteoporosis treatment were proportionately low in Ontario men in general, and particularly after a fracture, even though men accounted for 25% of the hip and wrist fractures. The Ontario data also showed that the rates of wrist fracture and hip fracture in men rose sharply in the 75- to 80-year age group.
Ontario-Based Economic Analysis
The economic analysis focused on analyzing the economic impact of decreasing future hip fractures by increasing the rate of BMD testing in men and women age greater than or equal to 65 years following a hip or wrist fracture. A decision analysis showed the above strategy, especially when enhanced by improved reporting of BMD tests, to be cost-effective, resulting in a cost-effectiveness ratio ranging from $2,285 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (worst-case scenario) to $1,981 (Cdn) per fracture avoided (best-case scenario). A budget impact analysis estimated that shifting utilization of BMD testing from the low risk population to high risk populations within Ontario would result in a saving of $0.85 million to $1.5 million (Cdn) to the health system. The potential net saving was estimated at $1.2 million to $5 million (Cdn) when the downstream cost-avoidance due to prevention of future hip fractures was factored into the analysis.
Other Factors for Consideration
There is a lack of standardization for BMD testing in Ontario. Two different standards are presently being used and experts suggest that variability in results from different facilities may lead to unnecessary testing. There is also no requirement for standardized equipment, procedure or reporting format. The current reimbursement policy for BMD testing encourages serial testing in people at low risk of accelerated bone loss. This review showed that biannual testing is not necessary for all cases. The lack of a database to collect clinical data on BMD testing makes it difficult to evaluate the clinical profiles of patients tested and outcomes of the BMD tests. There are ministry initiatives in progress under the Osteoporosis Program to address the development of a mandatory standardized requisition form for BMD tests to facilitate data collection and clinical decision-making. Work is also underway for developing guidelines for BMD testing in men and in perimenopausal women.
Conclusion
Increased use of BMD in Ontario since 1996 appears to be associated with increased use of antiresorptive medication and a decrease in hip and wrist fractures.
Data suggest that as many as 20% (98,000) of the DXA BMD tests in Ontario in 2005/06 were performed in people aged less than 65 years, with no fracture in the current year, and coded as being at low risk for accelerated bone loss; this is not consistent with current guidelines. Even though some of these people might have been incorrectly coded as low-risk, the number of tests in people truly at low risk could still be substantial.
Approximately 4% (21,000) of the DXA BMD tests in 2005/06 were repeat BMDs in low-risk individuals within a 24-month period. Even though this is in compliance with current OHIP reimbursement policies, evidence showed that biannual serial BMD testing is not necessary in individuals without major risk factors for fractures, provided that the baseline BMD is normal (T-score < –1). In this population, BMD measurements may be repeated in 3 to 5 years after the baseline test to establish the rate of bone loss, and further serial BMD tests may not be necessary for another 7 to 10 years if the rate of bone loss is no more than 1% per year. Precision of the test needs to be considered when interpreting serial BMD results.
Although changes in BMD may not be the perfect surrogate for reduction in fracture risk as a measure of response to osteoporosis treatment, experts advised that it is presently the only reliable test for monitoring response to treatment and to help motivate patients to continue treatment. Patients should not discontinue treatment if there is no increase in BMD after the first year of treatment. Lack of response or bone loss during treatment should prompt the physician to examine whether the patient is taking the medication appropriately.
Men and women who have had a fragility fracture at the hip, spine, wrist or shoulder are at increased risk of having a future fracture, but this population is presently under investigated and under treated. Additional efforts have to be made to communicate to physicians (particularly orthopaedic surgeons and family physicians) and the public about the need for a BMD test after fracture, and for initiating treatment if low BMD is found.
Men had a disproportionately low rate of BMD tests and osteoporosis treatment, especially after a fracture. Evidence and fracture data showed that the risk of hip and wrist fractures in men rises sharply at age 70 years.
Some counties had BMD utilization rates that were only 10% of that of the county with the highest utilization. The reasons for low utilization need to be explored and addressed.
Initiatives such as aligning reimbursement policy with current guidelines, developing specific guidelines for BMD testing in men and perimenopausal women, improving BMD reports to assist in clinical decision making, developing a registry to track BMD tests, improving access to BMD tests in remote/rural counties, establishing mechanisms to alert family physicians of fractures, and educating physicians and the public, will improve the appropriate utilization of BMD tests, and further decrease the rate of fractures in Ontario. Some of these initiatives such as developing guidelines for perimenopausal women and men, and developing a standardized requisition form for BMD testing, are currently in progress under the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy.
PMCID: PMC3379167  PMID: 23074491

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