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1.  Prevalence of Hypertension and Associated Risk Factors in Western Alaska Native People: The Western Alaska Tribal Collaborative for Health (WATCH) Study 
Hypertension is a common chronic disease and a key risk factor in the development of cardiovascular disease. The Western Alaska Tribal Collaborative for Health Study consolidates baseline data from four major cohorts residing in the Norton Sound and Yukon-Kuskokwim regions of western Alaska. This consolidated cohort affords an opportunity for a systematic analysis of high blood pressure and its correlates in a unique population that has high stroke rates over a wide age range. While the prevalence of hypertension among western Alaska Native people (30%, age-standardized) is slightly less than that of the U.S. general population (33%), cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of mortality in this rural population. We found that improvement is needed in hypertension awareness as about two-thirds (64%) reported awareness and only 39% with hypertension were controlled on medication. Future analyses assessing risk and protective factors for incident hypertension in this population are indicated.
PMCID: PMC4523474  PMID: 25644577
2.  Guidelines for the Primary Prevention of Stroke 
The aim of this updated statement is to provide comprehensive and timely evidence-based recommendations on the prevention of stroke among individuals who have not previously experienced a stroke or transient ischemic attack. Evidence-based recommendations are included for the control of risk factors, interventional approaches to atherosclerotic disease of the cervicocephalic circulation, and antithrombotic treatments for preventing thrombotic and thromboembolic stroke. Further recommendations are provided for genetic and pharmacogenetic testing and for the prevention of stroke in a variety of other specific circumstances, including sickle cell disease and patent foramen ovale.
PMCID: PMC5020564  PMID: 25355838
AHA Scientific Statements; atrial fibrillation; diabetes mellitus; hyperlipidemias; hypertension; intracranial aneurysm; ischemia; prevention and control; smoking; stroke
3.  Discharge educational strategies for reduction of vascular events (DESERVE): design and methods 
International Journal of Stroke  2015;10(Suppl A100):151-154.
Stroke and vascular risk factors disproportionately affect minority populations, with Blacks and Hispanics experiencing a 2·5‐ and 2·0‐fold greater risk compared with whites, respectively. Patients with transient ischemic attacks and mild, nondisabling strokes tend to have short hospital stays, rapid discharges, and inaccurate perceptions of vascular risk.
The primary aim of the Discharge Educational Strategies for Reduction of Vascular Events (DESERVE) trial is to evaluate the efficacy of a novel community health worker‐based multilevel discharge intervention vs. standard discharge care on vascular risk reduction among racially/ethnically diverse transient ischemic attack/mild stroke patients at one‐year postdischarge. We hypothesize that those randomized to the discharge intervention will have reduced modifiable vascular risk factors as determined by systolic blood pressure compared with those receiving usual care.
Sample size estimates
Given 300 subjects per group and alpha of 0·05, the power to detect a 6 mmHg reduction in systolic blood pressure is 89%.
DESERVE trial is a prospective, randomized, multicenter clinical trial of a novel discharge behavioral intervention. Patients with transient ischemic attack/mild stroke are randomized during hospitalization or emergency room visit to intervention or usual care. Intervention begins prior to discharge and continues postdischarge.
Study outcomes
The primary outcome is difference in systolic blood pressure reduction between groups at 12 months. Secondary outcomes include between‐group differences in change in glycated hemoglobin, smoking rates, medication adherence, and recurrent stroke/transient ischemic attack at 12 months.
DESERVE will evaluate whether a novel discharge education strategy leads to improved risk factor control in a racially diverse population.
PMCID: PMC5015850  PMID: 26352164
discharge; health education; mild; stroke; TIA
4.  Race/ethnic Differences in Post-stroke Depression (PSD): Findings from the Stroke Warning Information and Faster Treatment (SWIFT) Study 
Ethnicity & Disease  null;26(1):1-8.
Post-stroke depression (PSD) is common and associated with poor stroke outcomes, but few studies have examined race/ethnic disparities in PSD. Given the paucity of work and inconsistent findings in this important area of research, our study aimed to examine race/ethnic differences in depression in a multi-ethnic cohort of stroke patients.
Prospective trial of a post-stroke educational intervention.
1,193 mild/moderate ischemic stroke/transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients.
Main Outcome Measures
We used the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CES-D) Scale to assess subthreshold (CES-D score 8-15) and full (CES-D score ≥ 16) depression at one month (“early”) and 12 months (“late”) following stroke. Multinomial logistic regression analyses examined the association between race/ethnicity and early and late PSD separately.
The prevalence of subthreshold and full PSD was 22.5% and 32.6% in the early period and 22.0% and 27.4% in the late period, respectively. Hispanics had 60% lower odds of early full PSD compared with non-Hispanic Whites after adjusting for other covariates (OR=.4, 95% CI: .2, .8). Race/ethnicity was not significantly associated with late PSD.
Hispanic stroke patients had half the odds of PSD in early period compared with Whites, but no difference was found in the later period. Further studies comparing trajectories of PSD between race/ethnic groups may further our understanding of race/ethnic disparities in PSD and help identify effective interventions.
PMCID: PMC4738846  PMID: 26843790
Stroke; Depression; Ethnicity; Disparities
5.  The Itemized NIHSS Scores Are Associated With Discharge Disposition in Patients With Minor Stroke 
The Neurohospitalist  2016;6(3):102-106.
Background and purpose:
The ability of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score to predict functional outcome in minor stroke is controversial. In this study, we examined the association of itemized NIHSS score with discharge outcome.
We included all patients with final diagnosis of stroke with an NIHSS score of 0 to 5 untreated with thrombolysis enrolled in the “Stroke Warning Information and Faster Treatment” trial. Individual components of the NIHSS score were the primary predictors. Poor outcome was defined as not being discharged home. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of outcome.
A total of 861 patients met the inclusion criteria; 162 (19%) were not discharged home. In multivariable regression, predictors of discharge other than home were age (odds ratio [OR] = 1.02 per year increase, P < .001) and total NIHSS score (OR per unit increase in the NIHSS = 1.51, P < .001). Motor (OR = 2.32, P < .001), level of consciousness (LOC; OR = 6.62, P = .004), and ataxia (OR = 3.10, P < .001) were also associated with not being discharged home. Motor (area under the curve [AUC] 0.623) appeared to be more predictive of poor outcome than ataxia (AUC 0.569) and LOC (AUC 0.517). The total NIHSS had a fair correlation with discharge outcome (AUC 0.683).
Total and itemized NIHSS components have a fair correlation with outcome in minor stroke highlighting the importance of other measures of stroke severity for clinical trials.
PMCID: PMC4906559  PMID: 27366292
minor stroke; outcome; NIHSS score subsets; NIHSS score; treatment; stroke; cerebrovascular disorders; ischemic attack; transient; outcomes; techniques
6.  Sleep Duration is Associated with White Matter Hyperintensity Volume in Older Adults: The Northern Manhattan Study 
Journal of sleep research  2014;23(5):524-530.
Self-reports of long or short sleep durations have indicated an association with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, but there are limited data evaluating their association with white matter hyperintensity volume (WMHV), a marker of cerebral small vessel disease. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of self-reported sleep duration to test for a correlation with white matter hyperintensities, measured by quantitative MRI in the Northern Manhattan Study. We used multivariable linear regression models to assess associations between both short (< 6 hours) and long (≥ 9 hours) sleep durations and log-transformed WMHV, adjusting for demographic, behavioral and vascular risk factors. A total of 1244 participants, mean age 70 ± 9 years, 61% women and 68% Hispanics were analyzed with magnetic resonance brain imaging and self-reported sleep duration. Short sleep was reported by 23% (n = 293), and long sleep by 10% (n=121) of the sample. Long sleep (β = 0.178; p = 0.035), but not short sleep (β = −0.053; p = 0.357), was associated with greater log-WMHV in fully adjusted models. We observed an interaction between sleep duration, diabetes mellitus, and log-WMHV (p = 0.07). In fully adjusted models, stratified analysis showed that long sleep duration was associated with greater WMHV only in those with diabetes (β = 0.78; p = 0.0314), but not in non-diabetics (β = 0.022; p = 0.2), whereas short sleep was not associated with white matter hyperintensities in those with diabetes or non-diabetics. In conclusion, long sleep duration was associated with a greater burden of white matter lesions in this stroke-free urban sample. The association was mainly seen among those with diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4177451  PMID: 25040435
Elderly; Multi-ethnic; Short sleep; Long sleep; White Matter Hyperintensities; Leukoaraiosis; Diabetes
7.  Methodology for a Community Based Stroke Preparedness Intervention: The ASPIRE Study 
Background and Purpose
Acute stroke education has focused on stroke symptom recognition. Lack of education about stroke preparedness and appropriate actions may prevent people from seeking immediate care. Few interventions have rigorously evaluated preparedness strategies in multiethnic community settings.
The Acute Stroke Program of Interventions Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities (ASPIRE) project is a multi-level program utilizing a community engaged approach to stroke preparedness targeted to underserved black communities in the District of Columbia (DC). This intervention aimed to decrease acute stroke presentation times and increase intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) utilization for acute ischemic stroke.
Phase 1 included: 1) enhancement of EMS focus on acute stroke; 2) hospital collaborations to implement and/or enrich acute stroke protocols and transition DC hospitals toward Primary Stroke Center certification; and 3) pre-intervention acute stroke patient data collection in all 7 acute care DC hospitals. A community advisory committee, focus groups, and surveys identified perceptions of barriers to emergency stroke care. Phase 2 included a pilot intervention and subsequent citywide intervention rollout. A total of 531 community interventions were conducted with over 10,256 participants reached; 3289 intervention evaluations were performed, and 19,000 preparedness bracelets and 14,000 stroke warning magnets were distributed. Phase 3 included an evaluation of EMS and hospital processes for acute stroke care and a yearlong post-intervention acute stroke data collection period to assess changes in IV tPA utilization.
We report the methods, feasibility, and pre-intervention data collection efforts of the ASPIRE intervention.
PMCID: PMC4133149  PMID: 24876243
Stroke; Prevention; Community; Disparities
8.  Multiple metabolic risk factors and mammographic breast density 
Annals of epidemiology  2014;24(6):479-483.
We examined whether obesity and a history of diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol, individually and in combination, are associated with breast density, a strong risk factor for breast cancer.
We measured percent density and dense area using a computer-assisted method (n=191; age range=40-61 years). We used linear regression models to examine the associations of each metabolic condition and the number of metabolic conditions (0, 1, 2, and 3 or 4 conditions) with breast density.
Among individual metabolic conditions, only high blood cholesterol was inversely associated with percent density (β=-5.4, 95% CI: -8.5, -2.2) and dense area (β= -6.7, 95% CI=-11.1, -2.4). Having multiple metabolic conditions was also associated with lower breast density, with 2 conditions and 3 or 4 conditions vs. 0 conditions associated with 6.4% (95% CI:-11.2, -1.6) and 7.4% (95% CI:-12.9, -1.9) reduction in percent density and with 6.5 cm2 (95% CI: -13.1, -0.1) and 9.5 cm2 (95% CI: -17.1, -1.9) smaller dense area.
A history of high blood cholesterol and multiple metabolic conditions were associated with lower relative and absolute measures of breast density. The positive association between metabolic abnormalities and breast cancer risk may be driven by pathways unrelated to mammographic breast density.
PMCID: PMC4076948  PMID: 24698111
9.  Stroke Location and Association With Fatal Cardiac Outcomes 
Background and Purpose
Cardiac mortality after stroke is common, and small studies have suggested an association of short-term cardiac mortality with insular location of cerebral infarction. Few population-based studies with long-term follow-up have evaluated the effect of stroke location on the long-term risk of cardiac death or myocardial infarction (MI) after first ischemic stroke. We sought to determine the association between stroke location and cardiac death or MI in a multiethnic community-based cohort.
The Northern Manhattan Study is a population-based study designed to determine stroke incidence, risk factors, and prognosis in a multiethnic urban population. First ischemic stroke patients age 40 or older were prospectively followed up for cardiac death defined as fatal MI, fatal congestive heart failure, or sudden death/arrhythmia and for nonfatal MI. Primary brain anatomic site was determined by consensus of research neurologists. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were calculated by Cox proportional-hazards models and adjusted for vascular risk factors (age, sex, history of coronary disease, hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and smoking), stroke severity, infarct size, and stroke etiology.
The study population consisted of 655 patients whose mean age was 69.7 ± 12.7 years; 44.6% were men and 51.3% were Hispanic. During a median follow-up of 4.0 years, 44 patients (6.7%) had fatal cardiac events. Of these, fatal MI occurred in 38.6%, fatal congestive heart failure in 18.2%, and sudden death in 43.2%. In multivariate models, clinical diagnosis of left parietal lobe infarction was associated with cardiac death (adjusted HR = 4.45; 95% CI, 1.83 to 10.83) and cardiac death or MI (adjusted HR = 3.30; 95% CI, 1.45 to 7.51). When analysis of anatomic location was restricted to neuroimaging (computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or both [n = 447]), left parietal lobe infarction was associated with cardiac death (adjusted HR = 3.37; 95% CI, 1.26 to 8.97), and both left (adjusted HR = 3.49; 95% CI, 1.38 to 8.80) and right (adjusted HR = 3.13; 95% CI, 1.04 to 9.45) parietal lobe infarctions were associated with cardiac death or MI. We did not find an association between frontal, temporal, or insular stroke and fatal cardiac events, although the number of purely insular strokes was small.
Parietal lobe infarction is an independent predictor of long-term cardiac death or MI in this population. Further studies are needed to confirm whether parietal lobe infarction is an independent predictor of cardiac events and death. Surveillance for cardiac disease and implementation of cardioprotective therapies may reduce cardiac mortality in patients with parietal stroke.
PMCID: PMC4112463  PMID: 18635863
acute stroke; cardiac arrhythmia; epidemiology; sudden death
10.  Online Health Information Seeking Behaviors of Hispanics in New York City: A Community-Based Cross-Sectional Study 
The emergence of the Internet has increased access to health information and can facilitate active individual engagement in health care decision making. Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the United States and are also the most underserved in terms of access to online health information. A growing body of literature has examined correlates of online health information seeking behaviors (HISBs), but few studies have included Hispanics.
The specific aim of this descriptive, correlational study was to examine factors associated with HISBs of Hispanics.
The study sample (N=4070) was recruited from five postal zip codes in northern Manhattan for the Washington Heights Inwood Informatics Infrastructure for Comparative Effectiveness Research project. Survey data were collected via interview by bilingual community health workers in a community center, households, and other community settings. Data were analyzed using bivariate analyses and logistic regression.
Among individual respondents, online HISBs were significantly associated with higher education (OR 3.03, 95% CI 2.15-4.29, P<.001), worse health status (OR 0.42, 95% CI 0.31-0.57, P<.001), and having no hypertension (OR 0.60, 95% CI 0.43-0.84, P=.003). Online HISBs of other household members were significantly associated with respondent factors: female gender (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.22-2.10, P=.001), being younger (OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.62-0.90, P=.002), being married (OR 1.36, 95% CI 1.09-1.71, P=.007), having higher education (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.404-2.316, P<.001), being in worse health (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.46-0.77, P<.001), and having serious health problems increased the odds of their household members’ online HISBs (OR 1.83, 95% CI 1.29-2.60, P=.001).
This large-scale community survey identified factors associated with online HISBs among Hispanics that merit closer examination. To enhance online HISBs among Hispanics, health care providers and policy makers need to understand the cultural context of the Hispanic population. Results of this study can provide a foundation for the development of informatics-based interventions to improve the health of Hispanics in the United States.
PMCID: PMC4129127  PMID: 25092120
Internet; information seeking behavior; health behavior; consumer health information; hispanic Americans
11.  Poor Long-Term Blood Pressure Control after Intracerebral Hemorrhage 
Background and Purpose
Hypertension is the most important risk factor associated with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). We explored racial differences in blood pressure (BP) control after ICH and assessed predictors of BP control at presentation, 30 days, and 1 year in a prospective cohort study.
Subjects with spontaneous ICH were identified from the DiffErenCes in the Imaging of Primary Hemorrhage based on Ethnicity or Race (DECIPHER) Project. Blood pressure was compared by race at each time point. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine predictors of presenting mean arterial pressure (MAP), and longitudinal linear regression was used to assess predictors of MAP at follow-up.
A total of 162 patients were included (mean age 59, 53% male, 77% black). MAP at presentation was 9.6 mmHg higher in blacks than whites despite adjustment for confounders (p=0.065). Fewer than 20% of patients had normal blood pressure (<120/80 mmHg) at 30 days or 1 year. While there was no difference at 30 days (p=0.331), blacks were more likely than whites to have Stage I/II hypertension at one year (p=0.036). Factors associated with lower MAP at follow-up in multivariable analysis were being married at baseline (p=0.032) and living in a facility (versus personal residence) at the time of BP measurement (p=0.023).
Long-term blood pressure control is inadequate in patients following ICH, particularly in blacks. Further studies are needed to understand the role of social support and barriers to control to identify optimal approaches to improve blood pressure in this high-risk population.
PMCID: PMC3458127  PMID: 22903494
Intracerebral hemorrhage; hypertension; secondary prevention; racial differences
12.  Daytime Sleepiness and Risk of Stroke and Vascular Disease: Findings from the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) 
Recent studies have suggested poor quality and diminished quantity of sleep may be independently linked to vascular events, though prospective and multiethnic studies are limited. This study aimed to explore the relationship between daytime sleepiness and the risk of ischemic stroke and vascular events in an elderly, multi-ethnic prospective cohort.
Methods and Results
As part of the Northern Manhattan Study, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) was collected during the 2004 annual follow-up. Daytime sleepiness was trichotomized using previously reported cut points of “no dozing,” “some dozing,” and “significant dozing”. Subjects were followed annually for a mean of 5.1 years. Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) for stroke, MI and death outcomes. We obtained the ESS on 2088 community residents. The mean age was 73.5 ± 9.3 yrs; 64% were women; 17% white, 20% black, 60% Hispanic, and 3% other. Over 44% of the cohort reported no daytime dozing, 47% reported “some dozing” and 9% “significant daytime dozing.” Compared to those reporting no daytime dozing, individuals reporting significant dozing had an increased risk of ischemic stroke [HR=2.74 (95% CI 1.38-5.43)], all 6 stroke [3.00 (1.57-5.73)], the combination of ischemic stroke, MI and vascular death [2.38 (1.50-3.78)], and all vascular events [2.48 (1.57-3.91)], after adjusting for medical comorbidities.
Daytime sleepiness is an independent risk factor for stroke and other vascular events. These findings suggest the importance of screening for sleep problems at the primary care level.
PMCID: PMC3723347  PMID: 22787063
Ischemic Stroke; Sleep; Epidemiology; Vascular Disease; race/ethnicity
13.  Identifying interdisciplinary research priorities to prevent and treat pediatric obesity in New York City 
It is well recognized that an interdisciplinary approach is essential in the development and implementation of solutions to address the current pediatric obesity epidemic. In two half-day meetings that included workshops and focus groups, faculty from diverse fields identified critically important research challenges and gaps to childhood obesity prevention. The purpose of this white paper is to describe the iterative, interdisciplinary process that unfolded in an academic health center setting with a specific focus on under-represented minority groups of Black and Hispanic communities, and to summarize the research challenges and gaps related to pediatric obesity which were identified in the process. Although the research challenges and gaps were developed in the context of an urban setting including high risk populations (the northern Manhattan communities of Washington Heights, Inwood, and Harlem), many of the issues raised are broadly applicable. The processes by which the group identified research gaps and methodological challenges that impede a better understanding of how to prevent and treat obesity in children has resulted in an increase in research and community outreach collaborations and interdisciplinary pursuit of funding opportunities across units within the academic health center and overall University.
PMCID: PMC3677023  PMID: 20718818
pediatric obesity prevention; interdisciplinary; research priorities
14.  Too good to treat? Outcomes in patients not receiving thrombolysis due to mild deficits or rapidly improving symptoms 
International Journal of Stroke  2011;7(3):202-206.
Among ischemic stroke patients arriving within the treatment window, rapidly improving symptoms or having a mild deficit (i.e. too good to treat)is a common reason for exclusion. Several studies have reported poor outcomes in this group. We addressed the question of early neurological deterioration in too good to treat patients in a larger prospective cohort study.
Admission and discharge information were collected prospectively in acute stroke patients who presented to the emergency room within three-hours from onset. The primary outcome measure was change in the NIHSS from baseline to discharge. Secondary outcomes were discharge NIHSS>4, not being discharged home, and discharge modified Rankin scale.
Of 355patients who presented within three-hours, 127 (35.8%) had too good to treat listed as the only reason for not receiving thrombolysis, with median admission NIHSS = 1 (range = 0 to 19). At discharge seven(5.5%) showed a worsening of NIHSS ≥1 and 9 (7.1 %) had an NIHSS > 4. When excluding prior stroke (remaining n= 97), discharge status was even more benign: only five (5.2%) had a discharge NIHSS > 4 and two (2.1%) patients were not discharged home.
We found that a small proportion of patients deemed too good to treat will have early neurological deterioration, in contrast to other studies. Decisions about whether to treat mild stroke patients depend on the outcome measure chosen, particularly when considering discharge disposition among patients who have had prior stroke. The decision to thrombolyze may ultimately rest on the nature of the presentation and deficit.
PMCID: PMC3296877  PMID: 22103880
15.  Safety of thrombolysis in patients over the age of 80 
The Neurologist  2012;18(2):99-101.
The safety of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) in patients with acute ischemic stroke over age 80 is unclear. We hypothesized that patients over age 80 can be safely treated with IVT.
Admission and discharge data were collected on all patients at a single tertiary care center presenting within 12 hours of onset. Collected data included treatment with IVT, demographics, pre-treatment National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, length of stay (LOS), mortality and discharge disposition. Analyses were restricted to patients over age 80, and the primary outcome was in-hospital mortality. Logistic regression was used to examine whether IVT was associated with mortality.
Between 1/1/05 and 6/30/10, 112 patients over age 80 presented within 3 hours of ischemic stroke onset, and 31 received IVT. There were 15 deaths. In multi-variable models adjusted for age, sex, race-ethnicity and NIHSS, treatment with IVT compared to no treatment, was not associated with in-hospital death (adjusted OR 1.2, 95% confidence interval 0.3 – 4.3).
Treating ischemic stroke patients over 80 with IVT was not associated with an increase in mortality in an urban tertiary care center.
PMCID: PMC3292776  PMID: 22367841
16.  A Mediterranean-Style Diet and White Matter Hyperintensity Volume: the Northern Manhattan Study 
Archives of Neurology  2012;69(2):251-256.
To examine the association between a Mediterranean-style diet (MeDi) and brain MRI white matter hyperintensities (WMH). The MeDi has previously been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular morbidity, possibly including stroke. A greater understanding of modifiable risk factors for small vessel damage may facilitate the prevention of stroke and cognitive decline.
A cross-sectional analysis within a longitudinal population-based cohort study. A semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire was administered and a score (range 0-9) was calculated to reflect increasing similarity to the MeDi pattern.
The Northern Manhattan Study.
1,091 participants, of which 966 had dietary information (mean age 72, 59% women, 65% Hispanic, 16% White, 17% Black).
Main outcome measures
WMH volume was measured by quantitative brain MRI. Linear regression models were constructed to examine the relation between the MeDi score and the log-transformed WMH volume as a proportion of total cranial volume, controlling for sociodemographic and vascular risk factors.
On the MeDi scale, 12% scored 0-2, 16 scored 3, 23% scored 4, 23% scored 5, 26% scored 6-9. Each 1-point increase in MeDi score was associated with a lower log WMH volume (β=-0.04, p=0.02). The only MeDi score component that was an independent predictor of WMH volume was the ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat (β=-0.20, p=0.001).
A Mediterranean-style diet was associated with a lower WMH burden, a marker of small vessel damage in the brain. However, white matter hyperintensities are etiologically heterogenous and can include neurodegeneration. Replication by other population-based studies is needed.
PMCID: PMC3281550  PMID: 22332193
17.  The Metabolic Syndrome and Cognitive Performance: The Northern Manhattan Study 
Neuroepidemiology  2011;37(3-4):153-159.
The metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a risk factor for diabetes, stroke, myocardial infarction, and increased mortality, and has been associated with cognition in some populations. We hypothesized that MetS would be associated with lower Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores in a multi-ethnic population, and that MetS is a better predictor of cognition than its individual components or diabetes.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 3,150 stroke-free participants. MetS was defined by the modified National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATPIII) criteria. Linear regression and polytomous logistic regression estimated the association between MMSE score and MetS, its individual components, diabetes, and inflammatory biomarkers.
MetS was inversely associated with MMSE score (unadjusted β = −0.67; 95% CI −0.92, −0.41). Adjusting for potential confounders, MetS was associated with lower MMSE score (adjusted β = −0.24; 95% CI −0.47, −0.01), but its individual components and diabetes were not. Those with MetS were more likely to have an MMSE score of <18 than a score of ≥24 (adjusted OR = 1.94; 95% CI 1.26, 3.01). There was an interaction between MetS and race-ethnicity, such that MetS was associated with lower MMSE score among non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics but not non-Hispanic blacks.
MetS was associated with lower cognition in a multi-ethnic population. Further studies of the effect of MetS on cognition are warranted, and should account for demographic differences.
PMCID: PMC3214939  PMID: 22005335
Cognitive performance; Cognitive impairment; Vascular dementia; Vascular cognitive impairment; Cerebrovascular disorders; Metabolic syndrome
18.  Race-Ethnic Differences of Sleep Symptoms in an Elderly Multi-Ethnic Cohort: The Northern Manhattan Study 
Neuroepidemiology  2011;37(3-4):210-215.
Sleep disorders are associated with stroke and may vary among elderly Hispanics, Blacks and Whites. We evaluated differences in sleep symptoms by race-ethnicity in an elderly population-based urban community sample.
Snoring, daytime sleepiness and reported sleep duration were ascertained by standardized interviews as a part of the Northern Manhattan Study, a prospective cohort study of vascular risk factors and stroke risk in a multi-ethnic urban population. Sleep symptoms were compared amongst race-ethnic groups using logistic regression models.
A total of 1,964 stroke-free participants completed sleep questionnaires. The mean age was 75 ± 9 years, with 37% men, with 60% Hispanics, 21% Blacks and 19% Whites. In models adjusted for demographic and vascular risk factors, Hispanics had increased odds of frequent snoring (odds ratio, OR: 3.6, 95% confidence interval, CI: 2.3–5.8) and daytime sleepiness (OR: 2.8, 95% CI: 1.7–4.5) compared to White participants. Hispanics were more likely to report long sleep (≥9 h of sleep, OR: 1.8, 95% CI: 1.1–3.1). There was no difference in sleep symptoms between Black and White participants.
In this cross-sectional analysis among an elderly community cohort, snoring, sleepiness and long sleep duration were more common in Hispanics. Sleep symptoms may be surrogate markers for an underlying sleep disorder which may be associated with an elevated risk of stroke and may be modified by clinical intervention.
PMCID: PMC3713549  PMID: 22123526
Sleep symptoms; Snoring; Sleepiness; Sleep duration; Race; Ethnicity
19.  Perception of Recurrent Stroke Risk among Black, White and Hispanic Ischemic Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack Survivors: The SWIFT Study 
Neuroepidemiology  2011;37(2):83-87.
Risk modification through behavior change is critical for primary and secondary stroke prevention. Theories of health behavior identify perceived risk as an important component to facilitate behavior change; however, little is known about perceived risk of vascular events among stroke survivors.
The SWIFT (Stroke Warning Information and Faster Treatment) study includes a prospective population-based ethnically diverse cohort of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack survivors. We investigate the baseline relationship between demographics, health beliefs, and knowledge on risk perception. Regression models examined predictors of inaccurate perception.
Only 20% accurately estimated risk, 10% of the participants underestimated risk, and 70% of the 817 study participants significantly overestimated their risk for a recurrent stroke. The mean perceived likelihood of recurrent ischemic stroke in the next 10 years was 51 ± 7%. We found no significant differences by race-ethnicity with regard to accurate estimation of risk. Inaccurate estimation of risk was associated with attitudes and beliefs [worry (p < 0.04), fatalism (p < 0.07)] and memory problems (p < 0.01), but not history or knowledge of vascular risk factors.
This paper provides a unique perspective on how factors such as belief systems influence risk perception in a diverse population at high stroke risk. There is a need for future research on how risk perception can inform primary and secondary stroke prevention.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel
PMCID: PMC3186718  PMID: 21894045
Risk perception; Stroke knowledge; Health beliefs
20.  PERIODONTAL BACTERIA AND HYPERTENSION: The Oral Infections and Vascular Disease Epidemiology Study (INVEST) 
Journal of Hypertension  2010;28(7):1413-1421.
Chronic infections, including periodontal infections, may predispose to cardiovascular disease. We investigated the relationship between periodontal microbiota and hypertension. Methods and Results: 653 dentate men and women with no history of stroke or myocardial infarction were enrolled in INVEST. We collected 4533 subgingival plaque samples (average of 7 samples/subject). These were quantitatively assessed for 11 periodontal bacteria using DNA-DNA checkerboard hybridization. Cardiovascular risk factor measurements were obtained. Blood pressure and hypertension (systolic blood pressure≥140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure≥90 mmHg or taking antihypertensive medication, or self-reported history) were each regressed on the level of bacteria: (1) considered causative of periodontal disease (etiologic bacterial burden); (2) associated with periodontal disease (putative bacterial burden); (3) associated with periodontal health (health associated bacterial burden). All analyses were adjusted for age, race/ethnicity, gender, education, body mass index, smoking, diabetes, LDL and HDL cholesterol. Etiologic bacterial burden was positively associated with both blood pressure and prevalent hypertension. Comparing the highest vs. lowest tertiles of etiologic bacterial burden, SBP was 9 mmHg higher, DBP was 5 mmHg higher (p for linear trend <0.001 in each case), and the odds ratio for prevalent hypertension was 3.05 (95%CI:1.60,5.82) after multivariable adjustment.
Our data provide evidence of a direct relationship between the levels of subgingival periodontal bacteria and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as hypertension prevalence.
PMCID: PMC3403746  PMID: 20453665
infection; inflammation; hypertension; blood pressure; epidemiology; periodontitis
21.  Predictors of Health Information-Seeking Behaviors in Hispanics 
The objective of this study was to examine factors predicting use of the Internet to seek health information among Hispanics in the Washington Heights and Inwood areas of New York City. Data were collected by community health workers through the Washington Heights/Inwood Informatics Infrastructure for Community-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research (WICER) community survey and a random sample of 100 surveys was selected for analysis. Binary logistic regression (N=100) was used to examine predictors of online health information-seeking behaviors (HISBs) of respondent and household members (dependent variables). Younger age, better health status, and higher education level significantly predicted respondents’ HISBs. Respondents’ health status and education level also significantly predicted household members’ HISBs.
PMCID: PMC3799171  PMID: 24199094
22.  Using the LOINC Semantic Structure to Integrate Community-based Survey Items into a Concept-based Enterprise Data Dictionary to Support Comparative Effectiveness Research 
In designing informatics infrastructure to support comparative effectiveness research (CER), it is necessary to implement approaches for integrating heterogeneous data sources such as clinical data typically stored in clinical data warehouses and those that are normally stored in separate research databases. One strategy to support this integration is the use of a concept-oriented data dictionary with a set of semantic terminology models. The aim of this paper is to illustrate the use of the semantic structure of Clinical LOINC (Logical Observation Identifiers, Names, and Codes) in integrating community-based survey items into the Medical Entities Dictionary (MED) to support the integration of survey data with clinical data for CER studies.
PMCID: PMC3799173  PMID: 24199059
23.  Race-ethnic differences in the relationship between lipid profile components and risk of myocardial infarction: the Northern Manhattan Study 
American heart journal  2011;161(5):886-892.
To explore race-ethnic differences in the relationship between plasma lipid components and risk of incident myocardial infarction (MI).
As part of the Northern Manhattan Study, 2738 community residents without cardiovascular disease were prospectively evaluated. Baseline fasting blood samples were collected and lipid panel components were analyzed as continuous and categorical variables. Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for incident MI after adjusting for demographic and cardiovascular risk factors.
The mean age was 68.8±10.4 years; 36.7% men, 19.9% non-Hispanic white, 24.9% non-Hispanic black, and 52.8% Hispanic (over 80% from the Caribbean). Hispanics had lower mean HDL-C, and higher TG/HDL-C. During a mean 8.9 years of follow-up there were 163 incident MIs. In the whole cohort all lipid profile components were associated with risk of MI in the expected directions. However, HDL-C (adjusted HR per 10 mg/dl increase 0.93, 95%CI 0.76–1.12) and TG/HDL-C>2 (adjusted HR 0.89, 95%CI 0.51–1.55) were not predictive of MI among Hispanics, but were predictive among non-Hispanic blacks and whites. TG/HDL-C per unit increase was associated with an 8% higher risk of MI among Hispanics (adjusted HR 1.08, 95%CI 1.04–1.12).
In Hispanics, low HDL-C and TG/HDL-C>2 were not associated with MI risk. Our data suggests that a different TG/HDL ratio cutoff may be needed among Hispanics to predict MI risk.
PMCID: PMC3095911  PMID: 21570518
24.  Association between Social Isolation and Left Ventricular Mass 
The American journal of medicine  2011;124(2):164-170.
Social isolation is associated with progression of cardiovascular disease with the most socially isolated patients being at increased risk. Increased left ventricular mass is a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. It is not yet clear whether social isolation is a determinant of increased left ventricular mass.
We performed a cross-sectional study of Northern Manhattan Study participants who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease, had obtained transthoracic echocardiograms (n=2021) and a baseline questionnaire on social habits. Social isolation was defined as the lack of friendship networks (knowing fewer than 3 people well enough to visit within their homes). Echocardiographic left ventricular mass was indexed to height2.7, analyzed as a continuous variable and compared between exposure groups.
The prevalence of social isolation was 13.5%. The average left ventricular mass was significantly higher (50.2 gm/m2.7) in those who were, as compared to those who were not (47.6 gm/m2.7), socially isolated (p<0.05). Higher prevalence of social isolation was found among those less educated, uninsured or unemployed.There were no significant race-ethnic differences in the prevalence of social isolation. In multivariate analysis, there was a trend toward an association between social isolation and increased left ventricular mass in the total cohort (p=0.09). Among Hispanics, social isolation was significantly associated with greater left ventricular mass. Hispanics who were socially isolated averaged 3.9 gm/ht2.7 higher left ventricular mass compared to those not socially isolated (p=0.002). This relationship was not present among non-Hispanic blacks or whites.
In this urban tri-ethnic cohort, social isolation was prevalent and associated with indices of low socioeconomic status. Hispanics who were socially isolated had a greater risk for increased left ventricular mass.
PMCID: PMC3064505  PMID: 21295196
social isolation; left ventricular mass; Hispanics; psychosocial factors
25.  Social determinants of physical inactivity in the Northern Manhattan Study (NOMAS) 
Journal of community health  2010;35(6):602-608.
Physical inactivity is an important and modifiable cardiovascular disease risk factor. Little is known about the social determinants of physical inactivity in older, urban-dwelling populations.
We collected socio-demographic and medical risk factor information and physical activity questionnaires in the Northern Manhattan Study. Logistic regression models were constructed to examine whether measures of social isolation, race-ethnicity, and sex were associated with physical inactivity.
Physical inactivity was present in 40.5% of the cohort. In multivariable models adjusted for medical comorbidities, Hispanic race-ethnicity (compared to non-Hispanic white) was associated with higher odds of physical inactivity (OR 2.18, 95% CI 1.78, 2.67), while women were more likely to be inactive than men (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.15, 1.54). Having Medicaid/being uninsured (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.02, 1.42), and having fewer than 3 friends (1.41, 95% CI 1.15, 1.72) were also associated with physical inactivity.
Physical inactivity is common, particularly in Hispanics, women, and those who are socially isolated. Public health interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in these more sedentary groups are required.
PMCID: PMC2946979  PMID: 20574777

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