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1.  A Novel Precision-Engineered Microfiltration Device for Capture and Characterization of Bladder Cancer Cells in Urine 
Sensitivity of standard urine cytology for detecting urothelial carcinoma of the bladder (UCB) is low, attributable largely to its inability to process entire samples, paucicellularity, and presence of background cells.
Evaluate performance and practical applicability of a novel portable microfiltration device for capture, enumeration, and characterization of exfoliated tumor cells in urine, and compare it with standard urine cytology for UCB detection.
A total of 54 urine and bladder wash samples from patients undergoing surveillance for UCB were prospectively evaluated by standard and microfilter-based urine cytology. Head-to-head comparison of quality and performance metrics, and cost effectiveness was conducted for both methodologies.
Five samples were paucicellular by standard cytology; no samples processed by microfilter cytology were paucicellular. Standard cytology had 33.3% more samples with background cells that limited evaluation (p<0.001). Microfilter cytology was more concordant (κ=50.4%) than standard cytology (κ=33.5%) with true UCB diagnosis. Sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy were higher for microfilter cytology compared to standard cytology (53.3%/100%/79.2%, versus 40%/95.8%/69.9%, respectively). Microfilter-captured cells were amenable to downstream on-chip molecular analyses. A 40ml sample was processed in under 4 minutes by microfilter cytology compared to 5.5 minutes by standard cytology. Median microfilter cytology processing and set-up costs were approximately 63% cheaper and 80 times lower than standard cytology, respectively.
The microfiltration device represents a novel non-invasive UCB detection system that is economical, rapid, versatile, and has potentially better quality and performance metrics than routine urine cytology, the current standard-of-care.
PMCID: PMC3787946  PMID: 23849827
Bladder cancer; Nanotechnology; Urine cytology; Screening; Surveillance
2.  Macromolecular crystallography beamline X25 at the NSLS 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2014;21(Pt 3):627-632.
A description of the upgraded beamline X25 at the NSLS, operated by the PXRR and the Photon Sciences Directorate serving the Macromolecular Crystallography community, is presented.
Beamline X25 at the NSLS is one of the five beamlines dedicated to macromolecular crystallography operated by the Brookhaven National Laboratory Macromolecular Crystallography Research Resource group. This mini-gap insertion-device beamline has seen constant upgrades for the last seven years in order to achieve mini-beam capability down to 20 µm × 20 µm. All major components beginning with the radiation source, and continuing along the beamline and its experimental hutch, have changed to produce a state-of-the-art facility for the scientific community.
PMCID: PMC3998817  PMID: 24763654
beamline; mini-κ; Pilatus 6M; PXRR; macromolecular crystallography; wBPM
3.  Combination of Molecular Alterations and Smoking Intensity Predicts Bladder Cancer Outcome: A Report from the Los Angeles Cancer Surveillance Program 
Cancer  2013;119(4):756-765.
Traditional single-marker and multimarker molecular profiling approaches in bladder cancer do not account for major risk factors and their influence on clinical outcome. This study examined the prognostic value of molecular alterations across all disease stages after accounting for clinicopathological factors and smoking, the most common risk factor for bladder cancer in the developed world, in a population-based cohort.
Primary bladder tumors from 212 cancer registry patients (median follow-up, 13.2 years) were immunohistochemically profiled for Bax, caspase-3, Apaf-1, Bcl-2, p53, p21, cyclooxygenase-2, vascular endothelial growth factor, and E-cadherin alterations. “Smoking intensity” quantified the impact of duration and daily frequency of smoking.
Age, pathological stage, surgical modality, and adjuvant therapy administration were significantly associated with survival. Increasing smoking intensity was independently associated with worse outcome (P<0.001). Apaf-1, E-cadherin and p53 were prognostic for outcome (P=0.005, 0.014 and 0.032, respectively); E-cadherin remained prognostic following multivariable analysis (P=0.040). Combined alterations in all nine biomarkers were prognostic by univariable (P<0.001) and multivariable (P=0.006) analysis. A multivariable model that included all nine biomarkers and smoking intensity had greater accuracy in predicting prognosis than models comprising of standard clinicopathological covariates without or with smoking intensity (P<0.001 and P=0.018, respectively).
Apaf-1, E-cadherin and p53 alterations individually predicted survival in bladder cancer patients. Increasing number of biomarker alterations was significantly associated with worsening survival, although markers comprising the panel were not necessarily prognostic individually. Predictive value of the nine-biomarker panel with smoking intensity was significantly higher than that of routine clinicopathological parameters alone.
PMCID: PMC3565093  PMID: 23319010
4.  Synchrotron X-ray-Induced Photoreduction of Ferric Myoglobin Nitrite Crystals Gives the Ferrous Derivative with Retention of the O-bonded Nitrite Ligand† 
Biochemistry  2010;49(29):5969-5971.
Exposure of a single crystal of the nitrite adduct of ferric myoglobin (Mb) at 100 K to high-intensity synchrotron X-ray radiation resulted in changes in the UV-vis spectrum that can be attributed to reduction of the ferric compound to the ferrous derivative. We employed correlated single-crystal spectroscopy with crystallography to further characterize this photoproduct. The 1.55 Å resolution crystal structure of the photoproduct reveals retention of the O-binding mode of nitrite to the iron center. The data are consistent with the cryogenic generation and trapping, at 100 K, of a ferrous d6 MbII(ONO)* complex by photoreduction of the ferric precursor crystals using high-intensity X-ray radiation.
PMCID: PMC2916933  PMID: 20568729
5.  Correlated single-crystal electronic absorption spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography at NSLS beamline X26-C 
Journal of Synchrotron Radiation  2011;18(Pt 3):358-366.
The instrumentation and methods available for collecting almost simultaneous single-crystal electronic absorption correlated with X-ray diffraction data at NSLS beamline X26-C are reviewed, as well as a very brief outline of its Raman spectroscopy capability.
The research philosophy and new capabilities installed at NSLS beamline X26-C to support electronic absorption and Raman spectroscopies coupled with X-ray diffraction are reviewed. This beamline is dedicated full time to multidisciplinary studies with goals that include revealing the relationship between the electronic and atomic structures in macromolecules. The beamline instrumentation has been fully integrated such that optical absorption spectra and X-ray diffraction images are interlaced. Therefore, optical changes induced by X-ray exposure can be correlated with X-ray diffraction data collection. The installation of Raman spectroscopy into the beamline is also briefly reviewed. Data are now routinely generated almost simultaneously from three complementary types of experiments from the same sample. The beamline is available now to the NSLS general user population.
PMCID: PMC3083912  PMID: 21525643
metalloenzymes; cofactors; electronic absorption spectroscopy; Raman spectroscopy
6.  Microdeletion 15q13.3: a locus with incomplete penetrance for autism, mental retardation, and psychiatric disorders 
Journal of medical genetics  2009;46(6):382-388.
Microdeletions within chromosome 15q13.3 are associated both with a recently recognised syndrome of mental retardation, seizures, and dysmorphic features, and with schizophrenia.
Methods and results
Based on routine diagnostic testing of ~8200 samples using array comparative genomic hybridisation, we identified 20 individuals (14 children and six parents in 12 families) with microdeletions of 15q13.3. Phenotypes in the children included developmental delay, mental retardation, or borderline IQ in most and autistic spectrum disorder (6/14), speech delay, aggressiveness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other behavioural problems. Both parents were available in seven families, and the deletion was de novo in one, inherited from an apparently normal parent in four, and inherited from a parent with learning disability and bipolar disorder in two families. Of the 14 children, six in five families were adopted, and DNA was available for only one of these 10 biological parents; the deletion was very likely inherited for one of these families with two affected children. Among the unavailable parents, two mothers were described as having mental retardation, another mother as having “mental illness”, and one father as having schizophrenia. We hypothesise that some of the unavailable parents have the deletion.
The occurrence of increased adoption, frequent autism, bipolar disorder, and lack of penetrance are noteworthy findings in individuals with deletion 15q13.3. A high rate of adoption may be related to the presence of the deletion in biological parents.
Unconfirmed histories of antisocial behaviours in unavailable biological parents raise the concern that future research may show that deletion 15q13.3 is associated with such behaviours.
PMCID: PMC2776649  PMID: 19289393
10.  Adverse Vascular Risk is Related to Cognitive Decline in Older Adults 
Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD  2015;44(4):1361-1373.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and related risk factors are associated with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This association is less well-defined in normal cognition (NC) or prodromal AD (mild cognitive impairment (MCI)).
Cross-sectionally and longitudinally relate a vascular risk index to cognitive outcomes among elders free of clinical dementia.
3117 MCI (74±8 years, 56% female) and 6603 NC participants (72±8 years, 68% female) were drawn from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center. A composite measure of vascular risk was defined using the Framingham Stroke Risk Profile (FSRP) score (i.e., age, systolic blood pressure, anti-hypertensive medication, diabetes, cigarette smoking, CVD history, atrial fibrillation). Ordinary linear regressions and generalized linear mixed models related baseline FSRP to cross-sectional and longitudinal cognitive outcomes, separately for NC and MCI, adjusting for age, sex, race, education, and follow-up time (in longitudinal models).
In NC participants, increasing FSRP was related to worse baseline global cognition, information processing speed, and sequencing abilities (p-values<0.0001) and a worse longitudinal trajectory on all cognitive measures (p-values<0.0001). In MCI, increasing FSRP correlated with worse longitudinal delayed memory (p=0.004). In secondary models using an age-excluded FSRP score, associations persisted in NC participants for global cognition, naming, information processing speed, and sequencing abilities.
An adverse vascular risk profile is associated with worse cognitive trajectory, especially global cognition, naming, and information processing speed, among NC elders. Future studies are needed to understand how effective management of CVD and related risk factors can modify cognitive decline to identify the ideal timeframe for primary prevention implementation.
PMCID: PMC4336578  PMID: 25471188
Blood pressure; diabetes mellitus; smoking; Framingham Stroke Risk Profile; stroke
11.  A New Kind of Inheritance 
Scientific American  2014;311(2):44-51.
Harmful chemicals, stress and other influences can permanently alter which genes are turned on without changing any of the genes’ code. Now, it appears, some of these “epigenetic” changes are passed down to—and may cause disease in—future generations
PMCID: PMC4330966  PMID: 25095468
12.  Total Synthesis of Thiaplakortone A: Derivatives as Metabolically Stable Leads for the Treatment of Malaria 
ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters  2013;5(2):178-182.
Thiaplakortone A (3a), an antimalarial natural product, was prepared by an operationally simple and scalable synthesis. In our efforts to deliver a lead compound with improved potency, metabolic stability, and selectivity, the synthesis was diverted to access a series of analogues. Compounds 3a–d showed nanomolar activity against the chloroquine-sensitive (3D7) Plasmodium falciparum line and were more active against the chloroquine- and mefloquine-resistant (Dd2) P. falciparum line. All compounds are “Rule-of-5” compliant, and we show that metabolic stability can be enhanced via modification at either the primary or pyrrole nitrogen. These promising results lay the foundation for the development of this structurally unprecedented natural product.
PMCID: PMC4027726  PMID: 24900794
Malaria; natural products; total synthesis
13.  Drinking in the Context of Life Stressors: A Multidimensional Coping Strategy among South African Women 
Substance use & misuse  2013;10.3109/10826084.2013.819365.
This study explored narratives of drinking as a coping strategy among female drinkers in a South African township. In 2010–11, we conducted qualitative in-depth interviews with 54 women recruited from 12 alcohol-serving venues. Most women drank heavily and linked their drinking to stressors. They were motivated to use drinking to manage their emotions, facilitate social engagement, and achieve a sense of empowerment, even while recognizing the limitations of this strategy. This study helps to contextualize heavy drinking behavior among women in this setting. Multifaceted interventions that help female drinkers to more effectively manage stressors may aid in reducing hazardous drinking.
PMCID: PMC4162844  PMID: 23905586
South Africa; Stressors; Coping; Drinking; Alcohol; Women; Qualitative
14.  Occurrence and persistence of future atmospheric stagnation events 
Nature climate change  2014;4:698-703.
Poor air quality causes an estimated 2.6 to 4.4 million premature deaths per year1–3. Hazardous conditions form when meteorological components allow the accumulation of pollutants in the near-surface atmosphere4–8. Global warming-driven changes to atmospheric circulation and the hydrological cycle9–13 are expected to alter the meteorological components that control pollutant build-up and dispersal5–8,14, but the magnitude, direction, geographic footprint, and public health impact of this alteration remain unclear7,8. We utilize an air stagnation index and an ensemble of bias-corrected climate model simulations to quantify the response of stagnation occurrence and persistence to global warming. Our analysis projects increases in stagnation occurrence that cover 55% of the current global population, with areas of increase affecting 10 times more people than areas of decrease. By the late-21st century, robust increases of up to 40 days per year are projected throughout the majority of the tropics and subtropics, as well as within isolated mid-latitude regions. Potential impacts over India, Mexico, and the western U.S. are particularly acute due to the intersection of large populations and increases in the persistence of stagnation events, including those of extreme duration. These results indicate that anthropogenic climate change is likely to alter the level of pollutant management required to meet future air quality targets.
PMCID: PMC4190845  PMID: 25309627
15.  RKIP Structure Drives Its Function: A Three-State Model for Regulation of RKIP 
Critical reviews in oncogenesis  2014;19(6):483-488.
Raf kinase inhibitory protein (RKIP) is a highly conserved regulator of many signaling networks whose loss or inactivation can lead to a variety of disease states. The multifaceted roles played by RKIP are enabled by an allosteric structure that is controlled through phosphorylation of RKIP and dynamics in the RKIP pocket loop. Perhaps the most striking feature of RKIP is that it can assume multiple functional states. Specifically, phosphorylation redirects RKIP from a state that binds and inhibits Raf-1 to a state that binds and inhibits GRK2. Recent evidence suggests the presence of a third functional state that facilitates RKIP phosphorylation. Here, we present a three-state model to explain the RKIP functional switch and discuss the role of the pocket loop in regulating RKIP activity.
PMCID: PMC4311871  PMID: 25597357
allostery; GRK2; NMR; protein kinase C; Raf; RKIP; structure
16.  3D-DIP-Chip: a microarray-based method to measure genomic DNA damage 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:7975.
Genotoxins cause DNA damage, which can result in genomic instability. The genetic changes induced have far-reaching consequences, often leading to diseases such as cancer. A wide range of genotoxins exists, including radiations and chemicals found naturally in the environment, and in man-made forms created by human activity across a variety of industries. Genomic technologies offer the possibility of unravelling the mechanisms of genotoxicity, including the repair of genetic damage, enhancing our ability to develop, test and safely use existing and novel materials. We have developed 3D-DIP-Chip, a microarray-based method to measure the prevalence of genomic genotoxin-induced DNA damage. We demonstrate the measurement of both physical and chemical induced DNA damage spectra, integrating the analysis of these with the associated changes in histone acetylation induced in the epigenome. We discuss the application of the method in the context of basic and translational sciences.
PMCID: PMC4302307  PMID: 25609656
17.  Taking Snapshots of Photosynthetic Water Oxidation Using Femtosecond X-ray Diffraction and Spectroscopy 
Nature communications  2014;5:4371.
The dioxygen we breathe is formed from water by its light-induced oxidation in photosystem II. O2 formation takes place at a catalytic manganese cluster within milliseconds after the photosystem II reaction center is excited by three single-turnover flashes. Here we present combined X-ray emission spectra and diffraction data of 2 flash (2F) and 3 flash (3F) photosystem II samples, and of a transient 3F′ state (250 μs after the third flash), collected under functional conditions using an X-ray free electron laser. The spectra show that the initial O-O bond formation, coupled to Mn-reduction, does not yet occur within 250 μs after the third flash. Diffraction data of all states studied exhibit an anomalous scattering signal from Mn but show no significant structural changes at the present resolution of 4.5 Å. This study represents the initial frames in a molecular movie of the structural changes during the catalytic reaction in photosystem II.
PMCID: PMC4151126  PMID: 25006873
18.  Beliefs about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Among Men and Women at Alcohol Serving Establishments in South Africa 
South Africa has one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the world; however, little is known about what men and women, who attend alcohol serving establishments, believe about alcohol use during pregnancy and how these beliefs may be related to alcohol use.
To understand FASD beliefs and related behaviors among men and women attending alcohol-serving establishments.
We surveyed 1,047 men (n=565) and women (n=482) -including pregnant women and men with pregnant partners- attending alcohol serving establishments in a township located in Cape Town, South Africa. RESULTS: Among both pregnant (n=53) and non-pregnant (n=429) women, 54% reported drinking alcohol at least 2–4 times per month, and 57% reported having at least 3–4 alcohol drinks during a typical drinking session. Pregnant women were less likely to believe that they should not drink alcohol and that alcohol can harm a fetus when compared to non-pregnant women. Similar findings were observed between men with pregnant partners compared to men without pregnant partners. Among women, beliefs about how much alcohol pregnant women can safely drink were associated with self-reported alcohol use.
Efforts to address FASD need to focus on understanding how men and women perceive alcohol use during pregnancy and situational factors that contribute to alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending alcohol serving establishments. Structural and individual-level interventions targeting women at alcohol serving establishments should be prioritized to mitigate alcohol use during pregnancy.
PMCID: PMC4286322  PMID: 24588417
19.  Comparison of Vibratome and Compresstome sectioning of fresh primate lymphoid and genital tissues for in situ MHC-tetramer and immunofluorescence staining 
For decades, the Vibratome served as a standard laboratory resource for sectioning fresh and fixed tissues. In skilled hands, high quality and consistent fresh unfixed tissue sections can be produced using a Vibratome but the sectioning procedure is extremely time consuming. In this study, we conducted a systematic comparison between the Vibratome and a new approach to section fresh unfixed tissues using a Compresstome. We used a Vibratome and a Compresstome to cut fresh unfixed lymphoid and genital non-human primate tissues then used in situ tetramer staining to label virus-specific CD8 T cells and immunofluorescent counter-staining to label B and T cells. We compared the Vibratome and Compresstome in five different sectioning parameters: speed of cutting, chilling capability, specimen stabilization, size of section, and section/staining quality.
Overall, the Compresstome and Vibratome both produced high quality sections from unfixed spleen, lymph node, vagina, cervix, and uterus, and subsequent immunofluorescent staining was equivalent. The Compresstome however, offered distinct advantages; producing sections approximately 5 times faster than the Vibratome, cutting tissue sections more easily, and allowing production of larger sections.
A Compresstome can be used to generate fresh unfixed primate lymph node, spleen, vagina, cervix and uterus sections, and is superior to a Vibratome in cutting these fresh tissues.
PMCID: PMC4318225  PMID: 25657614
Compresstome; Vibratome; Unfixed fresh tissue sectioning; Vagina; Cervix; Uterus; Spleen; Lymph node; Immunohistochemistry; in situ tetramer staining
20.  Trends in Reported Syphilis and Gonorrhea Among HIV-Infected People in Arizona: Implications for Prevention and Control 
Public Health Reports  2014;129(Suppl 1):85-94.
HIV and sexually transmitted disease (STD) surveillance patterns in Arizona suggested the need for integrated data analyses to identify trends.
We compiled all HIV/AIDS cases diagnosed from 1998 to 2008 that were reported in Arizona and syphilis or gonorrhea cases diagnosed from 1998 to 2008 in Arizona. We used deterministic matching to identify individuals who were diagnosed with HIV and one or more STDs, and calculated time intervals between diagnoses.
Of 23,940 people with HIV/AIDS reported from 1998 to 2008, 1,899 (2.6%) had at least one syphilis or gonorrhea diagnosis from 1998 to 2008. Approximately 85% of these cases reported male-to-male sexual contact. Among males with syphilis, HIV coinfection increased from 0.5% in 1998 to 29.1% in 2008. Among males with gonorrhea, HIV coinfection increased from 2.0% in 1998 to 3.1% in 2008. Among HIV cases diagnosed from 2004 to 2008 and reported with at least one syphilis or gonorrhea diagnosis, the majority of syphilis cases (76.1%) were diagnosed at or after HIV diagnosis, whereas a majority of gonorrhea cases (54.9%) were diagnosed prior to HIV diagnosis.
Use of the deterministic matching method identified increases in STD infections among HIV-infected people. The routine performance of this cross-matching method may be a useful tool in identifying these high-risk individuals so that targeted partner services and appropriate care referrals may be used in a timely fashion.
PMCID: PMC3862994  PMID: 24385654
21.  Lysine Acetylation in Sexual Stage Malaria Parasites Is a Target for Antimalarial Small Molecules 
Therapies to prevent transmission of malaria parasites to the mosquito vector are a vital part of the global malaria elimination agenda. Primaquine is currently the only drug with such activity; however, its use is limited by side effects. The development of transmission-blocking strategies requires an understanding of sexual stage malaria parasite (gametocyte) biology and the identification of new drug leads. Lysine acetylation is an important posttranslational modification involved in regulating eukaryotic gene expression and other essential processes. Interfering with this process with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors is a validated strategy for cancer and other diseases, including asexual stage malaria parasites. Here we confirm the expression of at least one HDAC protein in Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes and show that histone and nonhistone protein acetylation occurs in this life cycle stage. The activity of the canonical HDAC inhibitors trichostatin A (TSA) and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA; Vorinostat) and a panel of novel HDAC inhibitors on early/late-stage gametocytes and on gamete formation was examined. Several compounds displayed early/late-stage gametocytocidal activity, with TSA being the most potent (50% inhibitory concentration, 70 to 90 nM). In contrast, no inhibitory activity was observed in P. falciparum gametocyte exflagellation experiments. Gametocytocidal HDAC inhibitors caused hyperacetylation of gametocyte histones, consistent with a mode of action targeting HDAC activity. Our data identify HDAC inhibitors as being among a limited number of compounds that target both asexual and sexual stage malaria parasites, making them a potential new starting point for gametocytocidal drug leads and valuable tools for dissecting gametocyte biology.
PMCID: PMC4068603  PMID: 24733477
22.  Environmental Epigenetics and Phytoestrogen/Phytochemical Exposures 
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology  2012;139:10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.12.011.
One of the most important environmental factors to promote epigenetic alterations in an individual is nutrition and exposure to plant compounds. Phytoestrogens and other phytochemicals have dramatic effects on cellular signaling events, so have the capacity to dramatically alter developmental and physiological events. Epigenetics provides one of the more critical molecular mechanisms for environmental factors such as phytoestrogens/phytochemicals to influence biology. In the event these epigenetic mechanisms become heritable through epigenetic transgenerational mechanisms the impacts on the health of future generations and areas such as evolutionary biology need to be considered. The current review focuses on available information on the environmental epigenetics of phytoestrogen/phytochemical exposures, with impacts on health, disease and evolutionary biology considered.
PMCID: PMC3644519  PMID: 23274117
Epigenetics; Phytoestrogens; Phytochemicals; Transgenerational; Environmental Exposures; Review
23.  Childrearing Violence and Child Adjustment Following Exposure to Kenyan Post-election Violence 
Psychology of violence  2013;4(1):37-50.
This study examines parents' and children's exposure to short-term political violence and the relation between childrearing violence and child adjustment following widespread violence that erupted in Kisumu, Kenya after the disputed presidential election in December 2007.
Mothers of 100 Luo children (mean age = 8.46 years, 61% female) reported on their own use of childrearing violence at Time 1, approximately 4 months after the disputed election, and again at Times 2 (n = 95) and 3 (n = 95), approximately 12 and 24 months later, respectively. At Time 2, mothers reported about post-election violence directed at them and about their children's exposure to post-election violence. Children reported about their own externalizing behaviors at Times 1, 2, and 3.
Children's exposure to post-election violence was related to Time 2 externalizing behavior, and childrearing violence at Time 1 predicted child externalizing behavior at Time 2. Exposure to post-election violence was not directly related to either childrearing violence or children's externalizing behavior by Time 3, although children's externalizing at Time 2 predicted more childrearing violence at Time 3.
These results support earlier work that links childrearing violence and children's exposure to political violence with increases in child externalizing behavior, but examined these links in the under-studied area of short-term political violence. Even though sudden and severe political violence may subside significantly in weeks or months, increased attention to long-term effects on parenting and child adjustment is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3951834  PMID: 24639914
child adjustment; child externalizing behavior; corporal punishment; political violence; parenting; parenting violence; sectarian violence
24.  Pass the Popcorn: “Obesogenic” Behaviors and Stigma in Children’s Movies 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;22(7):1694-1700.
To determine the prevalence of obesity-related behaviors and attitudes in children’s movies.
Design and Methods
We performed a mixed-methods study of the top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies, 2006–2010 (4 per year). For each 10-minute movie segment the following were assessed: 1) prevalence of key nutrition and physical activity behaviors corresponding to the American Academy of Pediatrics obesity prevention recommendations for families; 2) prevalence of weight stigma; 3) assessment as healthy, unhealthy, or neutral; 3) free-text interpretations of stigma.
Agreement between coders was greater than 85% (Cohen’s kappa=0.7), good for binary responses. Segments with food depicted: exaggerated portion size (26%); unhealthy snacks (51%); sugar-sweetened beverages (19%). Screen time was also prevalent (40% of movies showed television; 35% computer; 20% video games). Unhealthy segments outnumbered healthy segments 2:1. Most (70%) of the movies included weight-related stigmatizing content (e.g. “That fat butt! Flabby arms! And this ridiculous belly!”).
These popular children’s movies had significant “obesogenic” content, and most contained weight-based stigma. They present a mixed message to children: promoting unhealthy behaviors while stigmatizing the behaviors’ possible effects. Further research is needed to determine the effects of such messages on children.
PMCID: PMC4004726  PMID: 24311390
Childhood obesity; children; stigma; weight-related teasing; movies
25.  Community-based mental health support for orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa: A triangulation study 
Community-based care is receiving increasing global attention as a way to support children who are orphaned or vulnerable due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Using both qualitative and quantitative methodology, this study assesses community-based responses to the well-being of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and compares these responses with the actual mental health of OVC in order to evaluate the South African government's approach of funding community-based organisations (CBOs) that support and care for OVC. The study results show that the activities of CBOs mainly extend government services and address poverty. Although this should not be seen as insignificant, the paper argues that CBOs give very little attention to the mental health of OVC.
PMCID: PMC4007579  PMID: 24799952

Results 1-25 (1308)