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1.  Weight, inflammation, cancer-related symptoms and health-related quality of life among breast cancer survivors 
Maintaining weight is important for better prognosis of breast cancer survivors. The associations between weight and cancer-related symptoms are not known. We examined associations among weight, weight change, inflammation, cancer-related symptoms, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in a cohort of stage 0-IIIA breast cancer survivors. Participants were recruited on average 6 months (2–12 months) after diagnosis. Height, weight, and c-reactive protein (CRP) were assessed at approximately 30 months post-diagnosis; cancer-related symptoms (chest wall and arm symptoms, vasomotor symptoms, urinary incontinence, vaginal symptoms, cognition/mood problems, sleep, sexual interest/function), and HRQOL (SF-36) were assessed at approximately 40 months post-diagnosis. Weight was measured at baseline in a subset. Data on 661 participants were evaluable for body mass index (BMI); 483 were evaluable for weight change. We assessed associations between BMI (<25.0, 25.0–29.9, ≥30.0 kg/m2), post-diagnosis weight change (lost ≥5%, weight change <5%, gained ≥5%), and CRP (tertile) with cancer-related symptoms and HRQOL using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). Higher symptoms scores indicate more frequent or severe symptoms. Higher HRQOL scores indicate better HRQOL. Compared with those with BMI<25kg/m2, women with BMI ≥30 kg/m2 had scores that were: increased for arm symptoms (+25.0%), urinary incontinence (+40.0%), tendency to nap (+18.9%) and poorer physical functioning (−15.6%, all p<0.05). Obese women had lower scores in trouble falling asleep (−9.9%; p<0.05). Compared with weight change <5%, participants with ≥5% weight gain had lower scores in physical functioning (−7.2%), role-physical (−15.5%) and vitality (−11.2%), and those with weight loss ≥5% had lower chest wall (−33.0%) and arm symptom scores (−35.5%, all p<0.05). Increasing CRP tertile was associated with worse scores for chest wall symptoms, urinary incontinence, physical functioning, role-physical, vitality and physical component summary scores (all Ptrend<0.05). Future studies should examine whether interventions to maintain a healthy weight and reduce inflammation could alleviate cancer-related symptoms and improve HRQOL.
PMCID: PMC3772666  PMID: 23797178
Breast cancer survivors; body weight; inflammation; cancer-related symptoms; quality of life
2.  Long-term physical activity trends in breast cancer survivors 
Physical activity is associated with reduced mortality and higher quality of life in breast cancer survivors; however, limited data on the prevalence of activity and long-term trends after diagnosis are available.
A multi-ethnic cohort of 631 women (18–64 years) with stage 0-IIIA breast cancer were followed for 10 years. Recreational aerobic activity (MET-hrs/week) was ascertained for the year before diagnosis (baseline), 24 months, 5 and 10 years after enrollment. Women were classified according to U.S. physical activity guidelines (≥150 mins/week moderate or ≥75 mins/week vigorous activity). The odds ratios (OR) for meeting guidelines at 5 and 10 years according to baseline factors was estimated using logistic regression. The change in MET-hrs/wk was predicted using linear regression.
Pre-diagnosis, 34% of women met physical activity guidelines; 34.0%, 39.5%, and 21.4% met guidelines at 24 months, 5 years, and 10 years post-enrollment, respectively. Fewer than 8% of survivors met guidelines at all follow-up periods. Over 10 years, recreational aerobic activity decreased by a mean(SD) 4.3(16.2) MET-hrs/wk.. Meeting guidelines pre-diagnosis was strongly associated with meeting guidelines at 5 years [OR (95% CI): 2.76 (1.85–4.1)] and 10 years [OR (95% CI): 3.35 (2.13–5.28)]. No other demographic or prognostic factors were significantly associated with the 10-year change in MET-hrs/wk.
The vast majority of early breast cancer survivors do not meet national exercise recommendations 10 years post-diagnosis.
Physical activity levels are low in breast cancer survivors across the 10 years post-diagnosis, yet the predictors of activity in this population remain poorly understood.
PMCID: PMC3688258  PMID: 23576689
exercise; women; cancer survivorship; lifestyle
3.  Independent and Combined Effects of Dietary Weight Loss and Exercise on Leukocyte Telomere Length in Postmenopausal Women 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(12):10.1002/oby.20509.
Investigate the effects of 12 months of dietary weight loss and/or aerobic exercise on leukocyte telomere length in postmenopausal women.
Design and Methods
439 overweight or obese women (50–75 y) were randomized to: i) dietary weight loss (N=118); ii) aerobic exercise (N=117), iii) diet + exercise (N=117), or iv) control (N=87). The diet intervention was a group-based program with a 10% weight loss goal. The exercise intervention was 45 mins/day, 5 days/week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity. Fasting blood samples were taken at baseline and 12 months. DNA was extracted from isolated leukocytes and telomere length was measured by quantitative-polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Mean changes were compared between groups (intent-to-treat) using generalized estimating equations.
Baseline telomere length was inversely associated with age (r=−0.12 p<0.01) and positively associated with maximal oxygen uptake (r=0.11, p=0.03), but not with BMI or %body fat. Change in telomere length was inversely correlated with baseline telomere length (r=−0.47, p<0.0001). No significant difference in leukocyte telomere length was detected in any intervention group compared to controls, nor was the magnitude of weight loss associated with telomere length at 12 months.
Twelve-months of dietary weight loss and exercise did not change telomere length in postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3786031  PMID: 23640743
caloric restriction; physical activity; lifestyle; ageing; chromosomes
4.  Influence of diet, exercise and serum vitamin D on sarcopenia in post-menopausal women 
To investigate the effects of 12 months of dietary weight loss and/or aerobic exercise on lean mass and the measurements defining sarcopenia in postmenopausal women, and to examine the potential moderating effect of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and age.
439 overweight and obese postmenopausal women were randomized to: diet modification (N=118); exercise (N=117), diet+exercise (N=117), or control (N=87). The diet intervention was a group-based program with a 10% weight loss goal. The exercise intervention was 45 mins/day, 5 days/week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Total and appendicular lean mass were quantified by dual Xray absorptiometry (DXA) at baseline and 12 months. A skeletal muscle index (SMI=appendicular lean mass (kg)/m2) and the prevalence of sarcopenia (SMI<5.67 kg/m2) were calculated. Serum 25(OH)D was assayed using a competitive chemiluminescent immunoassay.
Dietary weight loss resulted in a significant decrease in lean mass, and a borderline significant decrease in appendicular lean mass and SMI compared to controls. In contrast, aerobic exercise significantly preserved appendicular lean mass and SMI. Diet + exercise attenuated the loss of appendicular lean mass and SMI compared to diet alone, and did not result in significant loss of total- or appendicular lean mass compared to controls. Neither serum 25(OH)D nor age were significant moderators of the intervention effects.
Aerobic exercise added to dietary weight loss can attenuate the loss of appendicular lean mass during weight loss, and may be effective for the prevention and treatment of sarcopenia among overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3594522  PMID: 23190588
caloric restriction; weight loss; 25-hydroxyvitamin D; ageing
5.  Injuries in Sedentary Individuals Enrolled in a 12-Month, Randomized, Controlled, Exercise Trial 
The risk of musculoskeletal injury with the introduction of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in sedentary adults is not well established. The purpose of this report is to examine the effect of a 12-month exercise intervention on musculoskeletal injury and bodily pain in predominately overweight, sedentary, men (n=102) and women (n=100), aged 40–75 years.
Participants were randomized to a moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise intervention (EX) (6 d/wk, 60 min/d, 60–85% max. heart rate) or usual lifestyle control (CON). Participants completed a self-report of musculoskeletal injury and body pain at baseline and 12-months.
The number of individuals reporting an injury (CON; 27% vs. EX; 28%, p= .95) did not differ by group. The most commonly injured site was lower leg/ankle/foot. The most common causes of injury were sports/physical activity, home maintenance or “other”. In the control group, bodily pain increased over the 12 months compared to the exercise group (CON −7.9, EX −1.4, p=.05). Baseline demographics and volume of exercise were not associated with injury risk.
Previously sedentary men and women randomized to a 12-month aerobic exercise intervention with a goal of 360 min/wk reported the same number of injuries as those in the control group and less bodily pain.
PMCID: PMC3960980  PMID: 22368219
musculoskeletal; physical activity; bodily pain; overweight
6.  Gene expression changes in adipose tissue with diet- and/or exercise-induced weight loss 
Adipose tissue plays a role in obesity-related cancers via increased production of inflammatory factors, steroid hormones, and altered adipokines. The impact of weight loss on adipose-tissue gene expression may provide insights into pathways linking obesity with cancer risk. We conducted an ancillary study within a randomized trial of diet, exercise, or combined diet+exercise vs. control among overweight/obese postmenopausal women. In 45 women, subcutaneous adipose-tissue biopsies were performed at baseline and after 6 months and changes in adipose-tissue gene expression were determined by microarray with an emphasis on pre-specified candidate pathways, as well as by unsupervised clustering of >37,000 transcripts (Illumina). Analyses were conducted first by randomization group, and then by degree of weight change at 6-months in all women combined. At 6 months, diet, exercise and diet+exercise participants lost a mean of 8.8 kg, 2.5 kg, and 7.9 kg (all p<0.05 vs. no change in controls). There was no significant change in candidate-gene expression by intervention group. In analysis by weight-change category, greater weight loss was associated a decrease in 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-1 (HSD17B1, p-trend<0.01) and leptin (LEP, p-trend<0.01) expression, and marginally significant increased expression of estrogen receptor-1 (ESR1, p-trend=0.08) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 (IGFBP3, p-trend=0.08). Unsupervised clustering revealed 83 transcripts with statistically significant changes. Multiple gene-expression changes correlated with changes in associated serum biomarkers. Weight-loss was associated with changes in adipose-tissue gene expression after 6 months, particularly in two pathways postulated to link obesity and cancer, i.e., steroid-hormone metabolism and IGF signaling.
PMCID: PMC3738189  PMID: 23341572
Adiposity; gene expression; obesity; weight-loss; exercise; diet; leptin; sex hormones; inflammation; adipokines; human; randomized-controlled trial
7.  Associations of insulin-like growth factor and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 with mortality in women with breast cancer 
Elevated circulating insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a breast epithelial cell mitogen, is associated with breast cancer development. However, its association with breast cancer survival is not established. Circulating concentrations of IGF-1 are controlled via binding proteins, including IGF Binding Protein-3 (IGFBP-3), that may modulate the association of IGF1 with breast-cancer outcomes.
We measured IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentrations in serum from 600 women enrolled in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, a multiethnic, prospective cohort study of women diagnosed with stage I-IIIA breast cancer. We evaluated the association between IGF-1 and IGFBP-3, and as a ratio, modeled using quintile cut-points, with risk of breast cancer-specific (n=42 deaths) and all-cause mortality (n=87 deaths) using Cox proportional hazards models. In models adjusted for body mass index, ethnicity, tamoxifen use at time of blood draw, treatment received at diagnosis, and IGFBP-3, women in the highest quintile of IGF-1 level had an increased risk of all-cause mortality (Hazard Ratio (HR)=3.10 95% CI 1.21-7.93, p=0.02), although no dose-response association was evident. The IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratio, an indicator of free IGF-I levels, was significantly associated with increasing risk of all-cause mortality (HR=2.83 95% CI 1.25-6.36 Ptrend=0.01, upper vs. lower quintile) in a fully adjusted model.
In conclusion, high serum levels of IGF-1 and the IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratio were associated with increased risk of all-cause mortality in women with breast cancer. These results need to be confirmed in larger breast cancer survivor cohorts.
PMCID: PMC3764990  PMID: 22847383
IGF-1; IGFBP-3; breast cancer survival; mortality
8.  Exercise adherence, cardiopulmonary fitness and anthropometric changes improve exercise self-efficacy and health-related quality of life 
Regular exercise increases exercise self-efficacy and health-related quality of life (HRQOL); however, the mechanisms are unknown. We examined the associations of exercise adherence and physiological improvements with changes in exercise self-efficacy and HRQOL.
Middle-aged adults (N=202) were randomized to 12 months aerobic exercise (360 minutes/week) or control. Weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, cardiopulmonary fitness, HRQOL (SF-36), and exercise self-efficacy were assessed at baseline and 12 months. Adherence was measured in minutes/day from activity logs.
Exercise adherence was associated with reduced bodily pain, improved general health and vitality, and reduced role-emotional scores (Ptrend≤0.05). Increased fitness was associated with improved physical functioning, bodily pain and general health scores (Ptrend≤0.04). Reduced weight and percent body fat were associated with improved physical functioning, general health, and bodily pain scores (Ptrend<0.05). Decreased waist circumference was associated with improved bodily pain and general health but with reduced role-emotional scores (Ptrend≤0.05). High exercise adherence, increased cardiopulmonary fitness and reduced weight, waist circumference and percent body fat were associated with increased exercise self-efficacy (Ptrend<0.02).
Monitoring adherence and tailoring exercise programs to induce changes in cardiopulmonary fitness and body composition may lead to greater improvements in HRQOL and self-efficacy that could promote exercise maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3923574  PMID: 23036856
physical activity; intervention study; aerobic; physical fitness
9.  Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Women Biopsied for Benign Breast Disease: A Nested Case-Control Study 
Cancer epidemiology  2010;34(1):34-39.
Women with a history of benign breast disease are at increased risk of subsequent breast cancer. However, few studies have examined whether established breast cancer risk factors other than histology are associated with an altered risk of breast cancer in women with benign breast disease. We used a nested case-control design within a large, multi-center cohort of women biopsied for benign breast disease (BBD) to estimate odds ratios for breast cancer in association with exposure to a range of personal and lifestyle factors.
Cases were women biopsied for BBD who subsequently developed breast cancer; controls were individually matched to cases on center and age at diagnosis and were women biopsied for BBD who did not develop breast cancer in the same follow-up interval as that for the cases. After excluding women with prevalent breast cancer, 1357 records (661 case records and 696 records) were available for analysis. We used conditional logistic regression to obtain crude and multivariable-adjusted estimates of the association between specific factors and risk of breast cancer.
In multivariable analyses age at first live birth, number of pregnancies, and postmenopausal status were inversely associated with risk of breast cancer. The odds ratio for women with age at first birth <25 years and >3 pregnancies, relative to nulliparous women, was 0.49, 95% confidence interval 0.13-0.79, and that for postmenopausal women relative to premenopausal women was 0.60, 95% 0.37-0.99.
Further study of personal factors influencing the risk of breast cancer in women with BBD may help to identify subgroups of the population at increased risk of invasive disease.
PMCID: PMC3889119  PMID: 20079704
benign breast disease; breast cancer; reproductive factors; hormone therapy
10.  History of weight cycling does not impede future weight loss or metabolic improvements in postmenopausal women 
Given that the repetitive loss and regain of body weight, termed weight cycling, is a prevalent phenomenon that has been associated with negative physiological and psychological outcomes, the purpose of this study was to investigate weight change and physiological outcomes in women with a lifetime history of weight cycling enrolled in a 12-month diet and/or exercise intervention.
439 overweight, inactive, postmenopausal women were randomized to: i) dietary weight loss with a 10% weight loss goal (N=118); ii) moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for 45 min/day, 5 days/week (n=117); ii) both dietary weight loss and exercise (n=117); or iv) control (n=87). Women were categorized as non-, moderate-(≥3 losses of ≥4.5 kg), or severe-cyclers (≥3 losses of ≥9.1 kg). Trend tests and linear regression were used to compare adherence and changes in weight, body composition, blood pressure, insulin, C-peptide, glucose, insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), C-reactive protein, leptin, adiponectin, and interleukin-6 between cyclers and non-cyclers.
Moderate (n=103) and severe (n=77) cyclers were heavier and had less favorable metabolic profiles than non-cyclers at baseline. There were, however, no significant differences in adherence to the lifestyle interventions. Weight-cyclers (combined) had a greater improvement in HOMA-IR compared to non-cyclers participating in the exercise only intervention (p=0.03), but no differences were apparent in the other groups.
A history of weight cycling does not impede successful participation in lifestyle interventions or alter the benefits of diet and/or exercise on body composition and metabolic outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3514598  PMID: 22898251
lifestyle intervention; insulin resistance; inflammation; adipokines
11.  Diabetes Prevention in Hispanics: Report From a Randomized Controlled Trial 
Hispanics are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle interventions are effective in preventing diabetes and restoring glucose regulation.
We recruited Hispanic men and women (N = 320) who were residents of the Lower Yakima Valley, Washington, aged 18 years or older with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels higher than 6% to a parallel 2-arm randomized-controlled trial conducted from 2008 through 2012. The trial compared participants in the intervention arm, who received an immediate educational curriculum (n = 166), to participants in the control arm, who received a delayed educational curriculum (n = 154). The home-based curriculum consisted of 5 sessions led by community health workers and was designed to inform participants about diabetes, diabetes treatment, and healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors. Participants were randomly assigned to the intervention and control arms, and analysts were blinded as to participant arm. We evaluated intervention effects on HbA1c levels; frequency (times per week) of fruit and vegetable consumption; and frequency (times per week) of mild, moderate, and strenuous leisure-time physical activity. At baseline, 3 months, and 6 months after randomization, participants completed a questionnaire and provided a blood sample. Analysts were blinded to intervention arm.
The immediate intervention group (−0.64% [standard error (SE) 0.10]) showed a significant improvement in HbA1c scores (–37.5%, P = .04) compared with the delayed intervention group (–0.44%, P = .14). No significant changes were seen for dietary end points or changes in physical activity. We did observe a trend of greater increases in frequency of moderate and vigorous physical activity and a smaller increase in mild physical activity in the immediate intervention group than in the delayed intervention group.
This home-based intervention delivered by CHWs was associated with a clinically and statistically significant reduction in HbA1c levels in Hispanic adults with HbA1c levels higher than 6%.
PMCID: PMC3938962  PMID: 24576395
12.  Associations between null mutations in GSTT1 and GSTM1, the GSTP1 Ile105Val polymorphism, and mortality in breast cancer survivors 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:450.
Here we assessed associations between null mutations in glutathione-S-transferase (GST)T1 and GSTM1 genes, and the rs1695 polymorphism in GSTP1 (Ile105Val), and risk of breast cancer-specific (n=45) and all-cause (n=99) mortality in a multiethnic, prospective cohort of 533 women diagnosed with stage I-IIIA breast cancer in 1995–1999, enrolled in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study.
We measured the presence of the null mutation in GSTT1 and GSTM1, and the rs1695 polymorphism in GSTP1 by polymerase chain reaction. We assessed associations between breast-cancer specific and all-cause mortality using Cox proportional hazards models.
Participants with ER-negative tumors were more likely to be GSTT1 null (χ2=4.52; P=0.03), and African American women were more likely to be GSTM1 null (χ2=34.36; P<0.0001). Neither GSTM1 nor GSTT1 null mutations were associated with breast cancer-specific or all-cause mortality. In a model adjusted for body mass index, race/ethnicity, tumor stage and treatment received at diagnosis, the variant Val allele of rs1695 was associated with increased risk of all-cause (HR=1.81, 95% CI 1.16-2.82, P=0.008), but not breast cancer-specific mortality. The GSTT1 null mutation was associated with significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein.
GSTM1 and GSTT1 null genotypes had no effect on outcome; however the variant allele of rs1695 appears to confer increased risk for all-cause mortality in breast-cancer survivors.
Given the limited sample size of most studies examining associations between GST polymorphisms with breast cancer survival, and the lack of women undergoing more contemporary treatment protocols (treated prior to 1999), it may be helpful to re-examine this issue among larger samples of women diagnosed after the late 1990s, who all received some form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3786079  PMID: 24083102
Glutathione-S-transferases; GSTT1; GSTM1; GSTP1; Polymorphisms; Breast cancer survival; Mortality
13.  Self-Monitoring and Eating-Related Behaviors Associated with 12-Month Weight Loss in Postmenopausal Overweight-to-Obese Women 
Lifestyle-based interventions, which typically promote various behavioral modification strategies, can serve as a setting for evaluating specific behaviors and strategies thought to promote or hinder weight loss. The aim of this study was to test the associations of self-monitoring (self-weighing, food journal completion) and eating-related (dietary intake, diet-related weight-control strategies, and meal patterns) behaviors with weight loss in a sample of postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women enrolled in a 12-month dietary weight loss intervention. Changes in body weight and adoption of self-monitoring and eating-related behaviors were assessed in 123 participants. Generalized linear models tested associations of these behaviors with 12-month weight change after adjusting for potential confounders. Mean percent weight loss was 10.7%. In the final model, completing more food journals was associated with a greater % weight loss (interquartile range, 3.7% greater weight loss; p<0.0001) while skipping meals (4.3% lower weight loss; p<0.05) and eating out for lunch (at least once a week, 2.5% lower weight loss; p<0.01) were associated with a lower amount of weight loss. These findings suggest that a greater focus on dietary self-monitoring, home-prepared meals, and consuming meals at regular intervals may improve 12-month weight loss among postmenopausal women enrolled in a dietary weight loss intervention.
PMCID: PMC3432675  PMID: 22795495
Women; behavioral strategies; eating behaviors; weight loss
14.  Metabolic, hormonal and immunological associations with global DNA methylation among postmenopausal women 
Epigenetics  2012;7(9):1020-1028.
DNA methylation is an epigenetic modification essential for the regulation of gene expression that has been implicated in many diseases, including cancer. Few studies have investigated the wide range of potential predictors of global DNA methylation, including biomarkers. Here, we investigated associations between DNA methylation and dietary factors, sex-steroid hormones, metabolic, lipid, inflammation, immune and one-carbon biomarkers. Data and baseline biomarker measurements were obtained from 173 overweight/obese postmenopausal women. Global DNA methylation in lymphocyte DNA was measured using the pyrosequencing assay for LINE-1 repeats. We used correlations and linear regression analyses to investigate associations between continuous data and DNA methylation, while t-tests were used for categorical data. Secondary analyses stratified by serum folate levels and multivitamin use were also conducted. There was little variability in LINE-1 methylation (66.3–79.5%). Mean LINE-1 methylation was significantly higher among women with elevated glucose levels. Mean LINE-1 methylation was also higher among women with high CD4+/CD8+ ratio, and lower among women with elevated vitamin B6, but neither reached statistical significance. In analyses stratified by folate status, DNA methylation was negatively associated with sex hormone concentrations (estrone, estradiol, testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin) among women with low serum folate levels (n = 53). Conversely, among women with high serum folate levels (n = 53), DNA methylation was positively associated with several immune markers (CD4/CD8 ratio, NK1656/lymphocytes and IgA). Results from this screening suggest that global DNA methylation is generally stable, with differential associations for sex hormones and immune markers depending on one-carbon status.
PMCID: PMC3515011  PMID: 22869041
DNA methylation; epigenetics; epidemiology; folate; glucose; metabolic; immune function; inflammation; post-menopausal; sex hormones; women
15.  Recruiting underrepresented groups into the Carbohydrates and Related Biomarkers (CARB) cancer prevention feeding study 
Contemporary clinical trials  2012;33(4):641-646.
Using data from a randomized, controlled feeding study, which aimed to recruit 88 participants (including 22 Hispanics and 22 African Americans), we examined strategies for recruiting individuals from underrepresented groups into research trials. Study eligibility criteria included participants who 1) were 18–45 years old; 2) had a body mass index (BMI) >18 < 24.9 or BMI > 28.0 <40.0; 3); had no preexisting health conditions; 4) were non-smoking; 5) had normal fasting blood glucose level (< 100 mg/dL); and 6) spoke English. Participants were recruited using two overarching methods: media-based strategies (flyers and posters, email announcements, announcements in local and campus newspapers, and the Internet) and in-person strategies (presentations in university classes and community events). Participants were enrolled March 2006–March 2009. We present the numbers of individuals requesting study information, completing pre-enrollment screening questionnaires, and enrolling in the study. A total of 1036 individuals requested study information, and 396 completed a pre-enrollment screening questionnaire; 90 enrolled in the study (22 Hispanics and 18 African Americans). Among enrolled participants, in-person recruitment strategies were reported by 39% of African Americans, 73% of Hispanics, and 30% of non-Hispanic Whites (P <0.001). In-person recruitment strategies were successful among Hispanics. Mass media recruitment strategies were successful among non-Hispanic Whites but enlisted relatively few Hispanic participants. Both strategies recruited nearly equal percentages of African Americans. These data suggest that different strategies are needed to effectively recruit racial/ethnic population subgroups into intervention studies.
PMCID: PMC3516589  PMID: 22504222
Patient recruitment; carbohydrate metabolism; Hispanic American; African American
16.  Reduced-Calorie Dietary Weight Loss, Exercise, and Sex Hormones in Postmenopausal Women: Randomized Controlled Trial 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2012;30(19):2314-2326.
Estrogens and androgens are elevated in obesity and associated with increased postmenopausal breast cancer risk, but the effect of weight loss on these biomarkers is unknown. We evaluated the individual and combined effects of a reduced-calorie weight loss diet and exercise on serum sex hormones in overweight and obese postmenopausal women.
Patients and Methods
We conducted a single-blind, 12-month, randomized controlled trial from 2005 to 2009. Participants (age 50 to 75 years; body mass index > 25.0 kg/m2, exercising < 100 minutes/wk) were randomly assigned using a computer-generated sequence to (1) reduced-calorie weight loss diet (“diet”; n = 118), (2) moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (“exercise”; n = 117), (3) combined reduced-calorie weight loss diet and moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise (“diet + exercise”; n = 117), or (4) control (n = 87). Outcomes were estrone concentration (primary) and estradiol, free estradiol, total testosterone, free testosterone, androstenedione, and sex hormone–binding globulin (SHBG) concentrations (secondary).
Mean age and body mass index were 58 years and 30.9 kg/m2, respectively. Compared with controls, estrone decreased 9.6% (P = .001) with diet, 5.5% (P = .01) with exercise, and 11.1% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Estradiol decreased 16.2% (P < .001) with diet, 4.9% (P = .10) with exercise, and 20.3% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. SHBG increased 22.4% (P < .001) with diet and 25.8% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Free estradiol decreased 21.4% (P < .001) with diet and 26.0% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Free testosterone decreased 10.0% (P < .001) with diet and 15.6% (P < .001) with diet + exercise. Greater weight loss produced stronger effects on estrogens and SHBG.
Weight loss significantly lowered serum estrogens and free testosterone, supporting weight loss for risk reduction through lowering exposure to breast cancer biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC3675691  PMID: 22614972
17.  Effects of a caloric restriction weight loss diet and exercise on inflammatory biomarkers in overweight/obese postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial 
Cancer Research  2012;72(9):2314-2326.
Obese and sedentary persons have increased risk for cancer; inflammation is a hypothesized mechanism. We examined the effects of a caloric restriction weight loss diet and exercise on inflammatory biomarkers in 439 women. Overweight and obese postmenopausal women were randomized to 1-year: caloric restriction diet (goal of 10% weight loss, N=118), aerobic exercise (225 minutes/week of moderate-to-vigorous activity, N=117), combined diet+exercise (N=117) or control (N=87). Baseline and 1-year high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), serum amyloid A (SAA), interleukin-6 (IL-6), leukocyte and neutrophil levels were measured by investigators blind to group. Inflammatory biomarker changes were compared using generalized estimating equations. Models were adjusted for baseline body mass index (BMI), race/ethnicity and age. 438 (N=1 in diet+exercise group was excluded) were analyzed. Relative to controls, hs-CRP decreased by geometric mean (95% confidence interval, p-value) 0.92mg/L (0.53–1.31, P<0.001) in the diet and 0.87mg/L (0.51–1.23, P<0.0001) in the diet+exercise groups. IL-6 decreased by 0.34pg/ml (0.13–0.55, P=0.001) in the diet and 0.32pg/ml (0.15–0.49, P<0.001) in the diet+exercise groups. Neutrophil counts decreased by 0.31×109/L (0.09–0.54, P=0.006) in the diet and 0.30×109/L (0.09–0.50, P=0.005) in the diet+exercise groups. Diet and diet+exercise participants with ≥5% weight loss reduced inflammatory biomarkers (hs-CRP, SAA, and IL-6) compared to controls. The diet and diet+exercise groups reduced hs-CRP in all subgroups of baseline BMI, waist circumference, CRP level, and fasting glucose. Our findings indicate that a caloric restriction weight loss diet with or without exercise reduces biomarkers of inflammation in postmenopausal women, with potential clinical significance for cancer risk reduction.
PMCID: PMC3342840  PMID: 22549948
inflammation; postmenopausal women; obesity; exercise; dietary weight loss
18.  Adoption of diet-related self-monitoring behaviors varies by race/ethnicity, education, and baseline binge eating score among overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women in a 12-month dietary weight loss intervention 
Recent research has identified self-monitoring behaviors as important strategies for both initial weight loss and weight loss maintenance, but relatively little is known about adopters and non-adopters of these behaviors. To test our hypothesis that key characteristics distinguish adopters from non-adopters, we examined the demographic characteristics and eating behaviors (e.g. restrained, uncontrolled, emotional and binge eating) associated with more frequent compared to less frequent use of these behaviors. Baseline demographic characteristics and eating behaviors, as well as, 12-month self-monitoring behaviors (i.e. self-weighing, food journaling, calorie counting) were assessed in 123 postmenopausal women enrolled in a dietary weight-loss intervention. Logistic regression models were used to test associations of self-monitoring use with demographic characteristics and eating behaviors. Non-Whites, compared to non-Hispanic Whites, were less likely to count calories regularly (adjusted OR: 0.36–95% CI: 0.13–0.97, p<0.05), controlling for intervention arm and baseline BMI. Participants with a college degree or higher education were less likely to self-weigh daily (adjusted OR: 0.30, 95% CI: 0.13–0.67, p≤0.01) compared to individuals who attended some college or less. Those with higher baseline binge eating scores were less likely to count calories (adjusted OR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.73–0.97, p≤0.01) compared to participants with lower binge eating scores. In summary, use of diet-related self-monitoring behaviors varied by race/ethnicity, education, and binge eating score in postmenopausal women who completed a year-long dietary weight loss intervention. Improved recognition of groups less likely to self monitor may be helpful in promoting these behaviors in future interventions.
PMCID: PMC3350640  PMID: 22575038
Weight loss; postmenopausal; women; demographic; psychosocial; behaviors; diet
19.  A 12-Month Moderate-Intensity Exercise Intervention Does Not Alter Serum Prolactin Concentrations 
Cancer epidemiology  2011;35(6):569-573.
Many studies have investigated the immediate impact of physical activity on prolactin concentrations; however, it is currently unclear what impact exercise may have on prolactin concentrations in the long-term, particularly among women. Understanding the role of exercise on prolactin is important because epidemiologic studies have reported increased risks of breast cancer in association with high prolactin concentrations. We investigated whether exercise alters serum prolactin concentrations at two time points within a one-year exercise intervention.
Out of 96 women aged 40-75 years, 47 were randomized to a 12-month regimen of moderate-intensity physical activity and 49 were randomized to the control group. Participants in the exercise group (exercisers) took part in exercise at gym facilities 3 times per week and 3 times per week on their own. Serum prolactin was collected from participants at baseline, 3 and 12 months. Using generalized linear models, we compared the percent change in prolactin concentrations from baseline to the two follow-up time points in the exercisers versus the control group.
While we observed the suggestion of differences in the change in serum prolactin concentrations in some subgroups, overall there was no difference in the change in prolactin concentrations between exercisers and controls at 3 months (P=0.84) or 12 months (P=0.19).
Our study does not support the hypothesis that long-term exercise influences serum prolactin concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3142302  PMID: 21315678
adherence; biomarker; exercise trial; randomized control trial
20.  Associations between snacking and weight loss and nutrient intake among postmenopausal overweight-to-obese women in a dietary weight loss intervention 
Snacking may play a role in weight control. The associations of timing and frequency of snacking with observed weight change and nutrient intake were assessed in an ancillary study to a 12-month randomized controlled trial in Seattle, WA. Overweight-to-obese postmenopausal women (n=123) enrolled in the two dietary weight loss arms from 2007–2008 with complete data at 12-months were included in these analyses. Generalized linear models were used to test the associations between snacking and weight loss (%) and nutrient intake at the 12-month time point. Participants were on average 58 years old and mainly non-Hispanic White (84%). Ninety-seven percent reported ≥ 1 snack/day. Weight loss (%) was significantly lower among mid-morning (10:30am–11:29am) snackers (7.0%, 95% CI 4.3, 9.7) compared to non-mid-morning snackers (11.4%, 95% CI 10.2, 12.6; p value: 0.004). A higher proportion of mid-morning snackers reported more than 1 snack/day (95.7%), compared to afternoon (82.8%) and evening (80.6%) snackers, though differences were not statistically significant. Women who reported ≥2 snacks/day vs. ≤ 1 snack/day had higher fiber intake (p=0.027). Afternoon snackers had higher fruit and vegetable intake compared to non-afternoon-snackers (p=0.035). These results suggest that snack meals can be a source for additional fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich foods; however, snacking patterns might also reflect unhealthy eating habits and impede weight loss progress. Future dietary weight loss interventions should evaluate the effects of timing, frequency, and quality of snacks on weight loss.
PMCID: PMC3242470  PMID: 22117666
snacking; weight loss; women; nutrient intake
21.  Dietary Weight-Loss and Exercise Effects on Insulin Resistance in Postmenopausal Women 
Comprehensive lifestyle interventions are effective in preventing diabetes and restoring glucose regulation; however, the key stimulus for change has not been identified and effects in older individuals are not established. The aim of the study was to investigate the independent and combined effects of dietary weight-loss and exercise on insulin sensitivity and restoration of normal fasting glucose in mid-aged and older women.
Four-arm RCT, conducted between 2005 and 2009 and data analyzed in 2010.
439 inactive, overweight/obese postmenopausal women. Interventions: Women were assigned to: dietary weight loss (n=118), exercise (n=117), exercise+diet (n=117), or control (n=87). The diet intervention was a group-based reduced-calorie program with a 10% weight-loss goal. The exercise intervention was 45 min/day, 5 days/week of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic activity.
Main outcome measures
12-month change in serum insulin, C-peptide, fasting glucose, and whole body insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).
A significant improvement in HOMA-IR was detected in the diet (−24%, p<0.001) and exercise+ diet (−26%, p<0.001) groups, but not in the exercise (−9%, p=0.22) group compared to controls (−2%); these effects were similar in middle-aged (50–60 years) and older women (aged 60–75 years). Among those with impaired fasting glucose (5.6–6.9 mmol/L) at baseline (n=143; 33%), the odds (95% CI) of regressing to normal fasting glucose after adjusting for weight loss and baseline levels were: 2.5 (0.8, 8.4), 2.76 (0.8, 10.0), and 3.1 (1.0, 9.9) in the diet, exercise+diet, and exercise group, respectively, compared to controls.
Dietary weight loss, with or without exercise, significantly improved insulin resistance. Older women derived as much benefit as did the younger postmenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3185302  PMID: 21961463
22.  Use of a General Level Framework to Facilitate Performance Improvement in Hospital Pharmacists in Singapore 
Objective. To evaluate the acceptability and validity of an adapted version of the General Level Framework (GLF) as a tool to facilitate and evaluate performance development in general pharmacist practitioners (those with less than 3 years of experience) in a Singapore hospital.
Method. Observational evaluations during daily clinical activities were prospectively recorded for 35 pharmacists using the GLF at 2 time points over an average of 9 months. Feedback was provided to the pharmacists and then individualized learning plans were formulated.
Results. Pharmacists’ mean competency cluster scores improved in all 3 clusters, and significant improvement was seen in all but 8 of the 63 behavioral descriptors (p ≤ 0.05). Nonsignificant improvements were attributed to the highest level of performance having been attained upon initial evaluation. Feedback indicated that the GLF process was a positive experience, prompting reflection on practice and culminating in needs-based learning and ultimately improved patient care.
Conclusions. The General Level Framework was an acceptable tool for the facilitation and evaluation of performance development in general pharmacist practitioners in a Singapore hospital.
PMCID: PMC3425922  PMID: 22919083
competency; pharmacist; General Level Framework; Singapore; hospital pharmacy; professional development; assessment
23.  Cervical cancer screening and adherence to follow-up among Hispanic women study protocol: a randomized controlled trial to increase the uptake of cervical cancer screening in Hispanic women 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:170.
In the US, Hispanic women have a higher incidence of, and mortality from, cervical cancer than non-Hispanic white women. The reason for this disparity may be attributable to both low rates of screening and poor adherence to recommended diagnostic follow-up after an abnormal Pap test. The 'Cervical Cancer Screening and Adherence to Follow-up Among Hispanic Women' study is a collaboration between a research institution and community partners made up of members from community based organizations, the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic and the Breast, Cervical, and Colon Health Program of the Yakima District . The study will assess the efficacy of two culturally-appropriate, tailored educational programs designed to increase cervical cancer screening among Hispanic women, based in the Yakima Valley, Washington, US.
A parallel randomized-controlled trial of 600 Hispanic women aged 21–64, who are non-compliant with Papanicolau (Pap) test screening guidelines. Participants will be randomized using block randomization to (1) a control arm (usual care); (2) a low-intensity information program, consisting of a Spanish-language video that educates women on the importance of cervical cancer screening; or (3) a high-intensity program consisting of the video plus a ‘promotora’ or lay-community health educator-led, home based intervention to encourage cervical cancer screening. Participants who attend cervical cancer screening, and receive a diagnosis of an abnormal Pap test will be assigned to a patient navigator who will provide support and information to promote adherence to follow-up tests, and any necessary surgery or treatment. Primary endpoint: Participants will be tracked via medical record review at community-based clinics, to identify women who have had a Pap test within 7 months of baseline assessment. Medical record reviewers will be blinded to randomization arm. Secondary endpoint: An evaluation of the patient navigator program as a method to improve adherence and reduce time to follow-up among participants who receive an abnormal Pap test result. An additional secondary endpoint is the cost-effectiveness of the two different intensity intervention programs.
This culturally sensitive intervention aims to increase compliance and adherence to cervical screening in a Hispanic population. If effective, such interventions may reduce incidence of cervical cancer.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3407514  PMID: 22559251
Hispanic women; Pap test; Cervical cancer screening; Cancer disparities
24.  Effects of 12-month exercise on health-related quality of life: a randomized controlled trial 
Preventive medicine  2011;52(5):344-351.
We investigated exercise effects on health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and exercise self-efficacy, and tested effect modification by baseline body mass index (BMI) and gender.
Middle-aged women (n=100) and men (n=102) were randomly assigned to either exercise (360 minutes/week of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise) or control in Seattle, WA from 2001–2004. Demographics, anthropometrics, exercise self-efficacy (5-item self-efficacy questionnaire) and HRQOL (SF-36) were assessed at baseline and 12 months. Analysis of covariance adjusting for baseline scores was used to compare HRQOL and exercise self-efficacy scores between the exercise and control groups.
At 12 months, exercisers demonstrated higher exercise self-efficacy than controls (percent change from baseline: −6.5% vs. −15.0%, p<0.01), without differences in HRQOL. Baseline BMI category and gender did not modify these effects. In exploratory analyses comparing exercisers and controls within subgroups defined by gender and BMI, 12-month HRQOL scores [(role-physical (+7.0% vs. −13.1%), vitality (+15.6% vs. −4.2%), social functioning (+10.0% vs. −3.5%), and mental health (+6.8% vs. −2.9%)] were higher only among overweight male exercisers (p<0.05, vs. control).
360 minutes/week of exercise, recommended for weight maintenance, did not have negative effects on exercise self-efficacy or HRQOL. This level of exercise may increase HRQOL among overweight men.
PMCID: PMC3086667  PMID: 21371498
25.  Individualized Education and Competency Development of Croatian Community Pharmacists Using the General Level Framework 
Objectives. To measure Croatian community pharmacists’ progress in competency development using the General Level Framework (GLF) as an educational tool in a longitudinal study.
Methods. Patient care competencies of 100 community pharmacists were evaluated twice, in 2009 and in 2010 in a prospective cohort study. During this 12-month period, tailored educational programs based on the GLF were organized and conducted, new services and standard operating procedures were implemented, and documentation of contributions to patient care in the pharmacist’s portfolio became mandatory.
Results. Pharmacists’ development of all GLF patient care competencies was significant with the greatest improvements seen in the following competencies: patient consultation, monitoring drug therapy, medicine information and patient education, and evaluation of outcomes.
Conclusions. This study, which retested the effectiveness of an evidence-based competency framework, confirmed that GLF is a valid educational tool for pharmacist development.
PMCID: PMC3305932  PMID: 22438595
competency development; pharmacist; general level framework; continuing education; continuing professional development; community pharmacy

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