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1.  Validity of Recall of Tobacco Use in Two Prospective Cohorts 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2010;172(7):828-835.
This project studied the convergent validity of current recall of tobacco-related health behaviors, compared with prospective self-report collected earlier at two sites. Cohorts were from the Oregon Research Institute at Eugene (N = 346, collected 19.5 years earlier) and the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (N = 294, collected 3.9 years earlier). Current recall was examined through computer-assisted interviews with the Lifetime Tobacco Use Questionnaire from 2005 through 2008. Convergent validity estimates demonstrated variability. Validity estimates of some tobacco use measures were significant for Oregon subjects (age at first cigarette, number of cigarettes/day, quit attempts yes/no and number of attempts, and abstinence symptoms at quitting; all P < 0.03). Validity estimates of Pittsburgh subjects’ self-reports of tobacco use and abstinence symptoms were significant (P < 0.001) for all tobacco use and abstinence symptoms and for responses to initial use of tobacco. These findings support the utility of collecting recalled self-report information for reconstructing salient lifetime health behaviors and underscore the need for careful interpretation.
PMCID: PMC2945825  PMID: 20720099
data collection; mental recall; prospective studies; reproducibility of results; retrospective studies; tobacco use disorder
2.  Clinical trial participant characteristics and saliva and DNA metrics 
Clinical trial and epidemiological studies need high quality biospecimens from a representative sample of participants to investigate genetic influences on treatment response and disease. Obtaining blood biospecimens presents logistical and financial challenges. As a result, saliva biospecimen collection is becoming more frequent because of the ease of collection and lower cost. This article describes an assessment of saliva biospecimen samples collected through the mail, trial participant demographic and behavioral characteristics, and their association with saliva and DNA quantity and quality.
Saliva biospecimens were collected using the Oragene® DNA Self-Collection Kits from participants in a National Cancer Institute funded smoking cessation trial. Saliva biospecimens from 565 individuals were visually inspected for clarity prior to and after DNA extraction. DNA samples were then quantified by UV absorbance, PicoGreen®, and qPCR. Genotyping was performed on 11 SNPs using TaqMan® SNP assays and two VNTR assays. Univariate, correlation, and analysis of variance analyses were conducted to observe the relationship between saliva sample and participant characteristics.
The biospecimen kit return rate was 58.5% among those invited to participate (n = 967) and 47.1% among all possible COMPASS participants (n = 1202). Significant gender differences were observed with males providing larger saliva volume (4.7 vs. 4.5 ml, p = 0.019), samples that were more likely to be judged as cloudy (39.5% vs. 24.9%, p < 0.001), and samples with greater DNA yield as measured by UV (190.0 vs. 138.5, p = 0.002), but reduced % human DNA content (73.2 vs. 77.6 p = 0.005) than females. Other participant characteristics (age, self-identified ethnicity, baseline cigarettes per day) were associated with saliva clarity. Saliva volume and saliva and DNA clarity were positively correlated with total DNA yield by all three quantification measurements (all r > 0.21, P < 0.001), but negatively correlated with % human DNA content (saliva volume r = -0.148 and all P < 0.010). Genotyping completion rate was not influenced by saliva or DNA clarity.
Findings from this study show that demographic and behavioral characteristics of smoking cessation trial participants have significant associations with saliva and DNA metrics, but not with the performance of TaqMan® SNP or VNTR genotyping assays.
Trial registration
COMPASS; registered as NCT00301145 at
PMCID: PMC2776600  PMID: 19874586
3.  Test-Retest Reliability of Web-Based Retrospective Self-Report of Tobacco Exposure and Risk 
Retrospectively collected data about the development and maintenance of behaviors that impact health are a valuable source of information. Establishing the reliability of retrospective measures is a necessary step in determining the utility of that methodology and in studying behaviors in the context of risk and protective factors.
The goal of this study was to examine the reliability of self-report of a specific health-affecting behavior, tobacco use, and its associated risk and protective factors as examined with a Web-based questionnaire.
Core tobacco use and risk behavior questions in the Lifetime Tobacco Use Questionnaire—a closed, invitation-only, password-controlled, Web-based instrument—were administered at a 2-month test-retest interval to a convenience sample of 1229 respondents aged 18 to 78 years. Tobacco use items, which covered cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, and pipe tobacco, included frequency of use, amount used, first use, and a pack-years calculation. Risk-related questions included family history of tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure, alcohol use, and religiosity.
Analyses of test-retest reliability indicated modest (.30 to .49), moderate (.50 to .69), or high (.70 to 1.00) reliability across nearly all questions, with minimal reliability differences in analyses by sex, age, and income grouping. Most measures of tobacco use history showed moderate to high reliability, particularly for age of first use, age of first weekly and first daily smoking, and age at first or only quit attempt. Some measures of family tobacco use history, secondhand smoke exposure, alcohol use, and religiosity also had high test-retest reliability. Reliability was modest for subjective response to first use.
The findings reflect the stability of retrospective recall of tobacco use and risk factor self-report responses in a Web-questionnaire context. Questions that are designed and tested with psychometric scrutiny can yield reliable results in a Web setting.
PMCID: PMC2762856  PMID: 19674962
Tobacco smokers; retrospective studies; psychometrics
4.  Increased Virulence of a Fibronectin-Binding Protein Mutant of Staphylococcus aureus in a Rat Model of Pneumonia  
Infection and Immunity  2002;70(7):3865-3873.
Fibronectin-binding proteins mediate Staphylococcus aureus internalization into nonphagocytic cells in vitro. We have investigated whether fibronectin-binding proteins are virulence factors in the pathogenesis of pneumonia by using S. aureus strain 8325-4 and isogenic mutants in which fibronectin-binding proteins were either deleted (DU5883) or overexpressed [DU5883(pFnBPA4)]. We first demonstrated that fibronectin-binding proteins mediate S. aureus internalization into alveolar epithelial cells in vitro and that S. aureus internalization into alveolar epithelial cells requires actin rearrangement and protein kinase activity. Second, we established a rat model of S. aureus-induced pneumonia and measured lung injury and bacterial survival at 24 and 96 h postinoculation. S. aureus growth and the extent of lung injury were both increased in rats inoculated with the deletion mutant (DU5883) in comparison with rats inoculated with the wild-type (8325-4) and the fibronectin-binding protein-overexpressing strain DU5883(pFnBPA4) at 24 h postinfection. Morphological evaluation of infected lungs at the light and electron microscopic levels demonstrated that S. aureus was present within neutrophils from both 8325-4- and DU5883-inoculated lungs. Our data suggest that fibronectin-binding protein-mediated internalization into alveolar epithelial cells is not a virulence mechanism in a rat model of pneumonia. Instead, our data suggest that fibronectin-binding proteins decrease the virulence of S. aureus in pneumonia.
PMCID: PMC128079  PMID: 12065530
5.  Alpha-Toxin Damages the Air-Blood Barrier of the Lung in a Rat Model of Staphylococcus aureus-Induced Pneumonia 
Infection and Immunity  1999;67(10):5541-5544.
We have shown that injury to alveolar epithelial type I cells may account, in part, for damage to the air-blood barrier of the lung in a rat model of Staphylococcus aureus pneumonia. We have also shown that alpha-toxin is an important cause of damage to the air-blood barrier; however, our data suggest that the toxin is not acting directly on alveolar type I cells.
PMCID: PMC96922  PMID: 10496947

Results 1-5 (5)