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1.  The Relation Between Smoking Status and Medical Conditions Among Incarcerated Adults 
Journal of addiction medicine  2014;8(2):90-95.
The rate of smoking among incarcerated adults is over three times that of the general population. Negative health consequences of smoking have prompted many correctional facilities to become tobacco-free. This presents a unique opportunity to examine health conditions associated with motivation to remain tobacco-free following release from prison. We examined this association among individuals who participated in the WISE randomized clinical trial.
247 participants completed a baseline questionnaire asking about illnesses (both smoking-related and non-smoking related), family history of smoking-related illnesses, demographics and smoking history. Smoking status was assessed 3 weeks post release.
38.1% of participants reported having an illness caused by or worsened by smoking and 53.0% reported having “moderate” to “a lot” of concern about their health due to smoking. 22.9% reported having asthma and 26.8% reported hypertension. The adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free at 3 weeks post-release from a tobacco-free prison was significant only for individuals with a family history of smoking-related illnesses (OR=0.28;95% CI: 0.12–0.68). For individuals with smoking-related conditions, the adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free was non-significant (OR=1.91;95% CI: 0.85–4.27). Similarly, the adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free for participants with non-smoking related medical conditions was non-significant (OR=0.27;95% CI: 0.06–1.22)
These results offer a first look at understanding health conditions as a motivator to remain tobacco-free following release from prison. While these findings require additional investigation, these results suggest that providing treatment to prisoners with chronic disease and specifically targeting smoking related illnesses might be beneficial with regard to smoking cessation success.
PMCID: PMC4077401  PMID: 24503925
Smoking; Medical Conditions; Prisoners
2.  Acculturation and Cardiovascular Behaviors Among Latinos in California by Country/Region of Origin 
Despite generally lower socioeconomic status and worse access to healthcare, Latinos have better overall health outcomes and longer life expectancy than non-Latino Whites. This “Latino Health Paradox” has been partially attributed to healthier cardiovascular (CV) behaviors among Latinos. However, as Latinos become more acculturated, differences in some CV behaviors disappear. This study aimed to explore how associations between acculturation and CV behaviors among Latinos vary by country of origin. Combined weighted data from the 2005 and 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) were used to investigate associations between acculturation level and CV behaviors among Latinos by country of origin. Among all Latinos, increased acculturation was associated with more smoking, increased leisure-time physical activity, and greater consumption of fast foods, but no change in fruit/vegetable and less soda intake. These trends varied, however, by Latino sub-groups from different countries of origin. Country of origin appears to impact associations between acculturation and CV behaviors among Latinos in complex ways.
PMCID: PMC3564577  PMID: 21626297
Acculturation Cardiovascular behaviors Latinos Country of origin
3.  Is inflammatory chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a coronary heart disease risk equivalent? A longitudinal analysis of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988–1994 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:195.
Evidence suggests that there is an association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). An important etiological link between COPD and CHD may be an underlying systemic inflammatory process. Given that COPD patients are at greater risk of cardiovascular mortality, understanding the burden of CHD on COPD patients could permit future risk attenuation.
Longitudinal cohort analyses of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988–1994 were performed. 3,681 individuals ≥40 years of age with good quality spirometry data were included. Participants were divided into 5 groups: 1) no COPD, no CHD; 2) COPD without inflammation, no CHD; 3) COPD with inflammation, no CHD; 4) CHD only, and 5) CHD + COPD. A novel “inflammatory” COPD designation included those with COPD and clinical evidence of inflammation (i.e., CRP ≥95.24 nmol/L).
The risk for CHD mortality was significant only for the CHD group (HR 5.56, 95% CI 3.24-9.55) and the COPD + CHD group (HR 5.02, 95% CI 2.83-8.90). Similarly, the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality was significant only for the CHD group (HR 4.25, 95% CI 2.70-6.69) and the CHD + COPD group (HR 4.12, 95% CI 2.60-6.54) after adjusting for nonmodifiable CHD risk factors (age, gender, race/ethnicity, family history of CHD). After adjusting for modifiable CHD risk factors (diabetes, BMI, physical activity, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking), hazard ratios of the two groups remained similar but attenuated. For total mortality, the risk was significant for the four groups: the non-inflammatory COPD group; the COPD with inflammation group, the CHD group, and the COPD + CHD group.
Our study did not confirm that inflammatory COPD may be a CHD risk equivalent. However, due to the small size of the “inflammatory” COPD group, further prospective replication and validation is needed. Moreover, given that COPD results from inflammation, the systemic inflammation associated with COPD may have worsened comorbid conditions and may have lead to the increased total mortality found in the COPD with inflammation and COPD + CHD groups which requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4364093  PMID: 25480156
4.  Documentation and management of overweight and obesity in primary care 
We examine overweight/obesity management in primary care in relation to body mass index (BMI), documentation of weight status, and comorbidities.
This analysis of baseline data from the Cholesterol Education and Research Trial included 2,330 overweight and obese adult primary care patients from southeastern New England. Data were obtained via a telephone interview and abstraction of subjects’ medical record. BMI (kg/m2) was calculated from measured height and weight. Management of overweight/obesity included advice to lose weight, physical activity recommendations, dietary recommendations, and referral for nutrition counseling.
Documentation of weight status was more common with increasing BMI (13% of overweight patients, 39% of mildly obese, and 77% of moderately/severely obese). Documentation of overweight/obesity was associated with increased behavioral treatment; the biggest increase was seen for advice to lose weight (ORs were 7.2 for overweight patients, 3.3 for patients with mild obesity, and 4.0 for moderate/severe obesity). While weight-related comorbidities were associated with increased overweight/obesity management at all BMIs, the biggest increase in odds was for patients with moderate/severe obesity.
Documentation of weight management was more common among patients with documented overweight/obesity and with weight-related comorbidities. These insights may help in designing new interventions in primary care setting for overweight and obese patients.
PMCID: PMC3967526  PMID: 19734401
5.  Social support and smoking abstinence among incarcerated adults in the United States: a longitudinal study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:859.
In the United States, tobacco use among prisoners is nearly three times that of the general population. While many American prisons and jails are now tobacco-free, nearly all inmates return to smoking as soon as they are released back into the community.
To better understand the role that personal relationships may play in enabling return to smoking, we enrolled former-smokers who were inmates in a tobacco-free prison. Baseline assessments were conducted six weeks prior to inmates’ scheduled release and included measures of smoking prior to incarceration, motivation, confidence and plans for remaining quit after release. We also assessed global social support (ISEL) and a measure of social support specific to quitting smoking (SSQ). Smoking status was assessed three weeks after prison release and included 7-day point-prevalence abstinence validated by urine cotinine, days to first cigarette and smoking rate.
A diverse sample comprised of 35% women, 20% Hispanic, and 29% racial minorities (average age 35.5 years) provided baseline data (n = 247). Over 90% of participants provided follow up data at 3-weeks post-release. Prior to incarceration participants had smoked an average of 21.5 (SD = 11.7) cigarettes per day. Only 29.2% had definite plans to remain smoking-abstinent after release. Approximately half of all participants reported that “most” or “all” of their family (42.2%) and friends (68%) smoked, and 58.8% reported their spouse or romantic partner smoked.
SSQ scores were not significantly predictive of smoking outcomes at three weeks, however, social support from family and friends were each significantly and positively correlated with motivation, confidence, and plans for remaining abstinent (all p values <0.05). These smoking-related attitudinal variables were significantly predictive of smoking outcomes (all p values <0.01). General social support (ISEL) was not associated with smoking-related attitudinal variables or smoking outcomes.
Inmates of smoke-free prisons have a head-start on being smoke-free for life. They have been abstinent well past the duration of nicotine withdrawal and have great financial incentive not to begin smoking again. However, this advantage may be offset by a lack of non-smoking role models among their family and friends, and perceived lack of support for remaining smoke-free.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT01684995
PMCID: PMC4015823  PMID: 24044880
Smoking abstinence; Tobacco; Prison; Incarceration; Social support
6.  Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Short-Term Maternal and Infant Medical Outcomes 
American journal of perinatology  2012;29(5):391-400.
Examine maternal and infant medical outcomes of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine (MA).
Study Design
Four hundred and twelve mother-infant pairs (204 MA-exposed and 208 unexposed matched comparisons) were enrolled in the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study. Exposure was determined by maternal self-report during this pregnancy and/or positive meconium toxicology. Maternal interviews assessed prenatal drug use, pregnancy course, and sociodemographic information. Medical chart reviews provided medical history, obstetric complications, infant outcomes, and discharge placement.
MA-using mothers were more likely to be poor, to have a psychiatric disorder/emotional illness and less prenatal care, and to be less likely to breast-feed their infant than comparison mothers. After adjusting for covariates, MA-exposed infants were more likely to exhibit poor suck, to have smaller head circumferences and length, to require neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, and to be referred to child protective services (CPS). Several outcomes previously reported from studies that lacked adequate control groups or adjustment for covariates were not significantly different in this study.
Prenatal MA exposure is associated with maternal psychiatric disorder/emotional illness, poor suck, NICU admission, and CPS involvement, and MA-exposed infants were less likely to be breast-fed; however, the absence of many serious complications, such as fetal distress, chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, placenta previa, abruptio placentae, and cardiac defects, suggests confounding variables influenced prior studies.
PMCID: PMC3717348  PMID: 22399214
amphetamine; methamphetamine; drug; antenatal; neonate
7.  Psychopathology and Special Education Enrollment in Children with Prenatal Cocaine Exposure 
This study evaluated how enrollment in special education services in 11 year old children relates to prenatal cocaine exposure, psychopathology, and other risk factors.
Participants were 498 children enrolled in The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a prospective, longitudinal, multisite study examining outcomes of children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure and psychopathology on enrollment in an individualized education plan (a designation specific to children with special education needs), with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure, an interaction of prenatal cocaine exposure and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, child Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parent-reported internalizing behaviors, and teacher-reported externalizing behaviors, predicted enrollment in an individualized education plan. Other statistically significant variables in the model were male gender, low birth weight, being small for gestational age, white race, caregiver change, low socio-economic status, low child intelligence quotient, caregiver depression, and prenatal marijuana exposure.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan with adjustment for covariates. Psychopathology also predicted this special education outcome, in combination with and independent of prenatal cocaine exposure.
PMCID: PMC3400535  PMID: 22487696
cocaine; special education; behavior; prenatal substance exposure
8.  The study design and rationale of the randomized controlled trial: translating COPD guidelines into primary care practice 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:56.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive, debilitating disease associated with significant clinical burden and is estimated to affect 15 million individuals in the US. Although a large number of individuals are diagnosed with COPD, many individuals still remain undiagnosed due to the slow progression of the disorder and lack of recognition of early symptoms. Not only is there under-diagnosis but there is also evidence of sub-optimal evidence-based treatment of those who have COPD. Despite the development of international COPD guidelines, many primary care physicians who care for the majority of patients with COPD are not translating this evidence into effective clinical practice.
This paper describes the design and rationale for a randomized, cluster design trial (RCT) aimed at translating the COPD evidence-based guidelines into clinical care in primary care practices. During Phase 1, a needs assessment evaluated barriers and facilitators to implementation of COPD guidelines into clinical practice through focus groups of primary care patients and providers. Using formative evaluation and feedback from focus groups, three tools were developed. These include a computerized patient activation tool (an interactive iPad with wireless data transfer to the spirometer); a web-based COPD guideline tool to be used by primary care providers as a decision support tool; and a COPD patient education toolkit to be used by the practice team. During phase II, an RCT will be performed with one year of intervention within 30 primary care practices. The effectiveness of the materials developed in Phase I are being tested in Phase II regarding physician performance of COPD guideline implementation and the improvement in the clinically relevant outcomes (appropriate diagnosis and management of COPD) compared to usual care. We will also examine the use of a patient activation tool - ‘MyLungAge’ - to prompt patients at risk for or who have COPD to request spirometry confirmation and to request support for smoking cessation if a smoker.
Using a multi-modal intervention of patient activation and a technology-supported health care provider team, we are testing the effectiveness of this intervention in activating patients and improving physician performance around COPD guideline implementation.
Trial registration, NCT01237561
PMCID: PMC3651367  PMID: 23641803
COPD; Guidelines; Randomized Clinical Trial; Primary care
9.  Motivational Interviewing with computer assistance as an intervention to empower women to make contraceptive choices while incarcerated: study protocol for randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:101.
Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important and costly public health problems in the United States resulting from unprotected sexual intercourse. Risk factors for unplanned pregnancies and STIs (poverty, low educational attainment, homelessness, substance abuse, lack of health insurance, history of an abusive environment, and practice of commercial sex work) are especially high among women with a history of incarceration. Project CARE (Contraceptive Awareness and Reproductive Education) is designed to evaluate an innovative intervention, Motivational Interviewing with Computer Assistance (MICA), aimed at enhancing contraceptive initiation and maintenance among incarcerated women who do not want a pregnancy within the next year and who are anticipated to be released back to the community. This study aims to: (1) increase the initiation of highly effective contraceptives while incarcerated; (2) increase the continuation of highly effective contraceptive use at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after release; and (3) decrease unsafe sexual activity.
This randomized controlled trial will recruit 400 women from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RI DOC) women’s jail at risk for an unplanned pregnancy (that is, sexually active with men and not planning/wanting to become pregnant in the next year). They will be randomized to two interventions: a control group who receive two educational videos (on contraception, STIs, and pre-conception counseling) or a treatment group who receive two sessions of personalized MICA. MICA is based on the principles of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) and on Motivational Interviewing (MI), an empirically supported counseling technique designed to enhance readiness to change targeted behaviors. Women will be followed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months post release and assessed for STIs, pregnancy, and reported condom use.
Results from this study are expected to enhance our understanding of the efficacy of MICA to enhance contraceptive initiation and maintenance and reduce sexual risk-taking behaviors among incarcerated women who have re-entered the community.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3487955  PMID: 22747705
10.  Social isolation, C-reactive protein, and coronary heart disease mortality among community-dwelling adults 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2011;72(9):1482-1488.
Social isolation confers increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) events and mortality. In two recent studies, low levels of social integration among older adults were related to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, suggesting a possible biological link between social isolation and CHD. The current study examined relationships among social isolation, CRP, and 15-year CHD death in a community sample of US adults aged 40 years and older without a prior history of myocardial infarction. A nested case-cohort study was conducted from a parent cohort of community-dwelling adults from the southeastern New England region of the United States (N = 2,321) who were interviewed in 1989 and 1990. CRP levels were measured from stored sera provided by the nested case-cohort (n = 370), which included all cases of CHD death observed through 2005 (n = 48), and a random sample of non-cases. We found that the most socially isolated individuals had two-and-a-half times the odds of elevated CRP levels compared to the most socially integrated. In separate logistic regression models, both social isolation and CRP predicted later CHD death. The most socially isolated continued to have more than twice the odds of CHD death compared to the most socially integrated in a model adjusting for CRP and more traditional CHD risk factors. The current findings support social isolation as an independent risk factor of both high levels of CRP and CHD death in middle-aged adults without a prior history of myocardial infarction. Prospective study of inflammatory pathways related to social isolation and mortality are needed to fully delineate whether and how CRP or other inflammatory markers contribute to mechanisms linking social isolation to CVD health.
PMCID: PMC3090468  PMID: 21492978
USA; social isolation; social integration; social support; inflammation; C-reactive protein; coronary heart disease; mortality
11.  Effect of Language on Colorectal Cancer Screening Among Latinos and Non-Latinos 
Language barriers among some Latinos may contribute to the lower rates of colorectal cancer (CRC) screening between Latinos and non-Latino Whites. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between language and receipt of colorectal cancer screening tests among Latinos and non-Latinos using a geographically diverse, population-based sample of adults.
Cross-sectional analysis of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. Analysis included adults 50 years of age and older, who completed the 2006 BRFSS in a state that recorded data from English and Spanish-speaking participants.
The primary outcome measure was receipt of colorectal screening tests (fecal occult blood testing within prior 12 months and/or lower endoscopy within 10 years). Of the 99,895 respondents included in the study populations, 33% of Latinos responding-in-Spanish reported having had CRC testing, while 51% of Latinos responding-in-English and 62% of English-speaking non-Latinos reported test receipt. In multivariable analysis, compared to non-Latinos, Latinos responding-in-English were 16% less likely (OR,0.84, 95 % CI, 0.73-0.98), and Latinos responding-in-Spanish were 43% less likely to have received colorectal cancer testing (OR,0.57, 95% CI, 0.44-0.74). Additionally, compared to Latinos responding-in-English, Latinos responding-in-Spanish were 36% less likely to have received CRC testing (OR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.48-0.84)
Latinos responding to the 2006 BRFSS survey in Spanish had a significantly lower likelihood of receiving CRC screening tests compared to non-Latinos and to Latinos responding-in-English. Based on this analysis, Spanish language use is negatively associated with CRC screening and may contribute to disparities in CRC screening.
PMCID: PMC2568081  PMID: 18708410
Colorectal cancer; Screening; Latino/Hispanic; Language; BRFSS
12.  Gender Differences in Comorbid Disorders among Offenders in Prison Substance Abuse Treatment Programs 
Behavioral sciences & the law  2008;26(4):403-412.
This study examined gender differences in a range of lifetime psychiatric disorders in a sample of 272 offenders newly admitted to a prison substance abuse program. Although these men and women did not differ in severity of substance use in the six months prior to incarceration, women were significantly more likely than men to report a lifetime psychiatric disorder and a lifetime severe disorder. Furthermore, gender differences emerged in the pattern of lifetime psychiatric comorbidity. Women reported greater lifetime major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorder, and borderline personality disorder; men were more likely than women to meet criteria for antisocial personality disorder. Additionally, female offenders were found to have a higher degree of internalizing disorders than male offenders, but there were no gender differences in degree of externalizing disorders. The study concluded that women offenders newly admitted to a prison substance abuse program present with a greater psychiatric vulnerability and a different pattern of psychiatric comorbidity than their male counterparts.
PMCID: PMC2648970  PMID: 18683199

Results 1-12 (12)