Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (67)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
1.  Characteristics of Smoking Used Cigarettes among an Incarcerated Population 
Little is known about smoking behaviors involving shared and previously used cigarettes, which we refer to as “smoking used cigarettes.” Examples include: cigarette sharing with strangers, smoking discarded cigarettes (‘butts’), or remaking cigarettes from portions of discarded cigarettes. The current study focuses on the prevalence of and factors associated with smoking used cigarettes prior to incarceration among a US prison population. Questionnaires were administered to 244 male and female inmates at baseline. Prevalence of smoking used cigarettes was assessed using three questions; one about sharing cigarettes with strangers, one about smoking a “found” cigarette, and one about smoking previously used cigarettes. Factors associated with those who engaged in smoking used cigarettes were then compared to those who did not engage in smoking used cigarettes. A majority of participants (61.5%) endorsed engaging in at least one smoking used cigarette behavior in the past prior to incarceration. Those who engaged in these behaviors were more likely to have a higher degree of nicotine dependence, to have started smoking regularly at a younger age, and to have lived in an unstable living environment prior to incarceration. Our results indicate that a history of smoking used cigarettes is common among incarcerated persons in the US. Consistent with our hypothesis, engaging in smoking used cigarettes was found to be associated with a higher degree of nicotine dependence.
PMCID: PMC4345137  PMID: 25180554
smoking; smoking used cigarettes; inmates; nicotine dependence
2.  The Association Between Impulsivity and Alcohol/Drug Use Among Prison Inmates 
Addictive behaviors  2014;42:140-143.
Few studies have examined the relation between impulsivity and drug involvement with prison inmates, in spite of their heavy drug use. Among this small body of work, most studies look at clinically relevant drug dependence, rather than drug use specifically.
N=242 adult inmates (34.8% female, 52% White) with an average age of 35.58(SD=9.19) completed a modified version of the 15-item Barratt Impulsivity Scale (BIS) and measures assessing lifetime alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, cannabis, hallucinogens, and polysubstance use. Lifetime users also reported the frequency of use for the 30 days prior to incarceration.
Impulsivity was higher among lifetime users (versus never users) of all substances other than cannabis. Thirty day drug use frequency was only related to impulsivity for opiates and alcohol.
This study extends prior work, by showing that a lifetime history of nonclinical substance use is positively associated with impulsivity among prison inmates. Implications for drug interventions are considered for this population, which is characterized by high rates of substance use and elevated impulsivity.
PMCID: PMC4369910  PMID: 25462662
impulsivity; alcohol; drugs; prison; inmates; substance use
3.  Changes in Depression and Stress after Release from a Tobacco-Free Prison in the United States 
Prior research has found high levels of depression and stress among persons who are incarcerated in the United States (U.S.). However, little is known about changes in depression and stress levels among inmates post-incarceration. The aim of this study was to examine changes in levels of depression and stress during and after incarceration in a tobacco-free facility. Questionnaires that included valid and reliable measures of depression and stress were completed by 208 male and female inmates approximately eight weeks before and three weeks after release from a northeastern U.S. prison. Although most inmates improved after prison, 30.8% had a worsening in levels of depression between baseline and the three-week follow-up. In addition, 29.8% had a worsening in levels of stress after release than during incarceration. While it is not surprising that the majority of inmates reported lower levels of depression and stress post-incarceration, a sizable minority had an increase in symptoms, suggesting that environmental stressors may be worse in the community than in prison for some inmates. Further research is needed to address depression and stress levels during and after incarceration in order for inmates to have a healthier transition back into the community and to prevent repeat incarcerations.
PMCID: PMC4730505  PMID: 26771622
depression; stress; prisoners; post-release; United States
4.  Quantifying Transient Interactions between Bacillus Phosphatidylinositol-Specific Phospholipase-C and Phosphatidylcholine-Rich Vesicles 
Bacillus thuringiensis secretes the virulence factor phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (BtPI-PLC), which specifically binds to phosphatidylcholine (PC) and cleaves GPI-anchored proteins off eukaryotic plasma membranes. To elucidate how BtPI-PLC searches for GPI-anchored proteins on the membrane surface, we measured residence times of single fluorescently labeled proteins on PC-rich small unilamellar vesicles (SUVs). BtPI-PLC interactions with the SUV surface are transient with a lifetime of 379 ± 49 ms. These data also suggest that BtPI-PLC does not directly sense curvature, but rather prefers to bind to the numerous lipid packing defects in SUVs. Despite this preference for defects, all-atom molecular dynamics simulations of BtPI-PLC interacting with PC-rich bilayers show that the protein is shallowly anchored with the deepest insertions ∼18 Å above the bilayer center. Membrane partitioning is mediated, on average, by 41 hydrophobic, 8 hydrogen-bonding, and 2 cation−π (between PC choline headgroups and Tyr residues) transient interactions with phospholipids. These results lead to a quantitative model for BtPI-PLC interactions with cell membranes where protein binding is mediated by lipid packing defects, possibly near GPI-anchored proteins, and the protein diffuses on the membrane for ∼100–380 ms, during which time it may cleave ∼10 GPI-anchored proteins before dissociating. This combination of short two-dimensional scoots followed by three-dimensional hops may be an efficient search strategy on two-dimensional surfaces with obstacles.
PMCID: PMC4304437  PMID: 25517221
5.  Avoidance of Autophagy Mediated by PlcA or ActA Is Required for Listeria monocytogenes Growth in Macrophages 
Infection and Immunity  2015;83(5):2175-2184.
Listeria monocytogenes is a facultative intracellular pathogen that escapes from phagosomes and grows in the cytosol of infected host cells. Most of the determinants that govern its intracellular life cycle are controlled by the transcription factor PrfA, including the pore-forming cytolysin listeriolysin O (LLO), two phospholipases C (PlcA and PlcB), and ActA. We constructed a strain that lacked PrfA but expressed LLO from a PrfA-independent promoter, thereby allowing the bacteria to gain access to the host cytosol. This strain did not grow efficiently in wild-type macrophages but grew normally in macrophages that lacked ATG5, a component of the autophagy LC3 conjugation system. This strain colocalized more with the autophagy marker LC3 (42% ± 7%) at 2 h postinfection, which constituted a 5-fold increase over the colocalization exhibited by the wild-type strain (8% ± 6%). While mutants lacking the PrfA-dependent virulence factor PlcA, PlcB, or ActA grew normally, a double mutant lacking both PlcA and ActA failed to grow in wild-type macrophages and colocalized more with LC3 (38% ± 5%). Coexpression of LLO and PlcA in a PrfA-negative strain was sufficient to restore intracellular growth and decrease the colocalization of the bacteria with LC3. In a cell-free assay, purified PlcA protein blocked LC3 lipidation, a key step in early autophagosome biogenesis, presumably by preventing the formation of phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P). The results of this study showed that avoidance of autophagy by L. monocytogenes primarily involves PlcA and ActA and that either one of these factors must be present for L. monocytogenes growth in macrophages.
PMCID: PMC4399067  PMID: 25776746
6.  Reduced glucose utilization underlies seizure protection with dietary therapy in epileptic EL mice 
Dietary therapy has been used to treat many individuals with epilepsy that are refractory to anti-epileptic drugs. The mechanisms for how dietary therapy confers seizure protection are currently not well understood. We evaluated the acute effects of glucose and β-hydroxybutyrate (the major circulating ketone body) in conferring seizure protection to the EL mouse, a model of multifactorial idiopathic generalized epilepsy. EL mice were fed either a standard diet unrestricted or a calorie-restricted standard diet to achieve a body weight reduction of 20–23%. D-glucose, 2-deoxy-D-glucose, and β-hydroxybutyrate were supplemented in the drinking water of calorie-restricted mice for 2.5 hours prior to seizure testing to simulate the effect of increased glucose availability, decreased glucose utilization, and increased ketone availability, respectively. Seizure susceptibility, body weight, plasma glucose and β-hydroxybutyrate were measured over a nine-week treatment period. Additionally, excitatory and inhibitory amino acids were measured in the brains of mice using 1H NMR. Glutamate decarboxylase activity was also measured to evaluate the connection between dietary therapy and brain metabolism. We found that lowering of glucose utilization is necessary to confer seizure protection with long-term (>4 weeks) calorie restriction, whereas increased ketone availability did not affect seizure susceptibility. In the absence of long-term calorie restriction, however, reduced glucose utilization and increased ketone availability did not affect seizure susceptibility. Brain excitatory and inhibitory amino acid content did not change with treatment, and glutamate decarboxylase activity was not associated with seizure susceptibility. We demonstrate that reduced glucose utilization is necessary to confer seizure protection under long-term calorie restriction in EL mice, while acute ketone supplementation did not confer seizure protection. Further studies are needed to uncover the mechanisms by which glucose utilization influences seizure susceptibility.
PMCID: PMC4252783  PMID: 25200525
calorie restriction; ketone bodies; epilepsy; 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG); ketogenic diet
Journal of glaucoma  2014;23(7):441-445.
To investigate presence of remnants of the tunica vasculosa lentis, a possible indication of anterior segment dysgenesis, in subjects with the long anterior zonule (LAZ) trait.
Retro-illumination photos of the pupil region had been collected in earlier study of the LAZ trait in African-Americans. Secondary image analysis was performed to assess the frequency of intact persistent pupillary membrane iris strands (PPMIS).
The analysis included 148 subjects, comprised of 74 LAZ subjects (median age=70 years, range=50–91 years; 64 females) and 74 controls (68 years, 50–83 years; 64 females). While controlling for age and gender, analysis showed that LAZ subjects were 3.1 times more likely than controls (OR=3.1; 95% CI =1.4 to 6.7; P=0.004) to exhibit PPMIS in at least one of their eyes.
The LAZ trait, which is being studied as a potential risk factor for glaucoma, was associated with presence of PPMIS in our study population.
PMCID: PMC3796137  PMID: 23708424
Angle-closure glaucoma; crystalline lens; iris; long anterior lens zonules; pigment dispersion; tunica vasculosa lentis
8.  Forced Smoking Abstinence 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(9):789-794.
Millions of Americans are forced to quit smoking as they enter tobacco-free prisons and jails, but most return to smoking within days of release. Interventions are needed to sustain tobacco abstinence after release from incarceration.
To evaluate the extent to which the WISE intervention (Working Inside for Smoking Elimination), based on motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), decreases relapse to smoking after release from a smoke-free prison.
Participants were recruited approximately 8 weeks prior to their release from a smoke-free prison and randomized to 6 weekly sessions of either education videos (control) or the WISE intervention.
A tobacco-free prison in the United States.
A total of 262 inmates (35% female).
Main Outcome Measure
Continued smoking absti nence was defined as 7-day point-prevalence abstinence validated by urine cotinine measurement.
At the 3-week follow-up, 25% of participants in the WISE intervention (31 of 122) and 7% of the control participants (9 of 125) continued to be tobacco abstinent (odds ratio [OR], 4.4; 95% CI, 2.0-9.7). In addition to the intervention, Hispanic ethnicity, a plan to remain abstinent, and being incarcerated for more than 6 months were all associated with increased likelihood of remaining abstinent. In the logistic regression analysis, participants randomized to the WISE intervention were 6.6 times more likely to remain tobacco abstinent at the 3-week follow up than those randomized to the control condition (95% CI, 2.5-17.0). Nonsmokers at the 3-week follow-up had an additional follow-up 3 months after release, and overall 12% of the participants in the WISE intervention (14 of 122) and 2% of the control participants (3 of 125) were tobacco free at 3 months, as confirmed by urine cotinine measurement (OR, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.4-23.8).
Conclusions and Relevance
Forced tobacco abstinence alone during incarceration has little impact on postrelease smoking status. A behavioral intervention provided prior to release greatly improves cotinine-confirmed smoking cessation in the community.
Trial Registration Identifier: NCT01122589
PMCID: PMC4438989  PMID: 23567902
9.  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
10.  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
11.  Developing an index for the orthodontic treatment need in paediatric patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: a protocol for a novel communication tool between physicians and orthodontists 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e005680.
Sleep disordered breathing in the paediatric population can manifest as an array of different systemic symptoms; among them is a distinct malocclusion and craniofacial phenotype. Emerging research suggests that the treatment of this malocclusion and/or craniofacial phenotype through orthodontic intervention may help with the symptoms of these patients. Selecting the patients who would benefit from orthodontic treatment can be a difficult task for the physician with minimal dental training. Therefore the aim of this study is to develop a simple index to be used by medical professionals to identify those paediatric patients with orthodontic treatment needs who may benefit their obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) symptoms.
Methods and analysis
The methodology in this project has been devised through the WHO's recommendations on developing an index, with modifications based on the specific needs of this study. Based on the available literature, a draft index will be produced and subjected to multiple iterative revisions based on the feedback from: the Index Development Group, a group of multidisciplinary and internationally acclaimed experts in the field; the External Review Group, a group of potential end users and interested parties and the Steering Committee. Once the index has been formalised, it will be subjected to a pair of reliability tests using physicians and orthodontists scored 2 weeks apart. Subsequently, the index will be validated using dichotomous responses from orthodontists on whether they would treat a patient for OSA symptoms, and comparing the responses to the score of the index on the same patient.
Ethics and dissemination
The index will be translated into French and will be presented in orthodontic and medical conferences, workshops, seminars, round table discussions, and free copies for download will be made available on the website of the University of Alberta Interdisciplinary Airway Research Clinic ( Furthermore, the index will be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal to further increase the exposure of the index.
PMCID: PMC4170206  PMID: 25234508
12.  Cellular Requirements for LARK in the Drosophila Circadian System 
Journal of biological rhythms  2012;27(3):183-195.
RNA-binding proteins mediate posttranscriptional functions in the circadian systems of multiple species. A conserved RNA recognition motif (RRM) protein encoded by the lark gene is postulated to serve circadian output and molecular oscillator functions in Drosophila and mammals, respectively. In no species, however, has LARK been eliminated, in vivo, to determine the consequences for circadian timing. The present study utilized RNA interference (RNAi) techniques in Drosophila to decrease LARK levels in clock neurons and other cell types in order to evaluate the circadian functions of the protein. Knockdown of LARK in timeless (TIM)– or pigment dispersing factor (PDF)–containing clock cells caused a significant number of flies to exhibit arrhythmic locomotor activity, demonstrating a requirement for the protein in pacemaker cells. There was no obvious effect on PER protein cycling in lark interference (RNAi) flies, but a knockdown within the PDF neurons was associated with increased PDF immunoreactivity at the dorsal termini of the small ventral lateral neuronal (s-LNv) projections, suggesting an effect on neuropeptide release. The expression of lark RNAi in multiple neurosecretory cell populations demonstrated that LARK is required within pacemaker and nonpacemaker cells for the manifestation of normal locomotor activity rhythms. Interestingly, decreased LARK function in the prothoracic gland (PG), a peripheral organ containing a clock required for the circadian control of eclosion, was associated with weak population eclosion rhythms or arrhythmicity.
PMCID: PMC4135585  PMID: 22653887
clock output; posttranscriptional; RNA binding; locomotor activity; eclosion
13.  Multiple clinically-relevant hormone therapy regimens fail to improve cognitive function in aged ovariectomized rhesus monkeys 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;34(7):1882-1890.
Preclinical studies in aged, surgically-menopausal rhesus monkeys have revealed powerful benefits of intermittent estrogen injections on prefrontal cortex-dependent working memory, together with corresponding effects on dendritic spine morphology in the prefrontal cortex. This contrasts with the inconsistent effects of hormone therapy (HT) reported in clinical studies in women. Factors contributing to this discrepancy could include differences in the formulation and sequence of HT regimens, resulting in different neurobiological outcomes. The current study evaluated, in aging surgically menopausal rhesus monkeys, the cognitive effects of four HT regimens modeled directly on human clinical practice, including continuous estrogen treatment opposed by progesterone. None of the regimens tested produced any cognitive effect, despite yielding physiologically relevant serum hormone levels, as intended. These findings have implications for the design of regimens that might optimize the benefits of hormone treatment for healthy aging, and suggest that common HT protocols used by women may fail to result in substantial cognitive benefit, at least via direct effects on the prefrontal cortex.
PMCID: PMC3622837  PMID: 23369546
ovarian hormones; aging; macaque; learning; memory; prefrontal; temporal
14.  Cation-π interactions as lipid specific anchors for phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase-C 
Amphitropic proteins, such as the virulence factor phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) from Bacillus thuringiensis, often depend on lipid-specific recognition of target membranes. However, the recognition mechanisms for zwitterionic lipids such as phosphatidylcholine, which is enriched in the outer leaflet of eukaryotic cells, are not well understood. A 500 nanosecond long molecular dynamics simulation of PI-PLC at the surface of a lipid bilayer revealed a strikingly high number of interactions between tyrosines at the interfacial binding site and lipid choline groups with structures characteristic of cation-π interactions. Membrane affinities of PI-PLC tyrosine variants mostly tracked the simulation results, falling into two classes: (i) those with minor losses in affinity, Kd(mutant)/Kd(wildtype)≤5, and (ii) those where the apparent Kd was 50-200 times higher than wildtype. Estimating ΔΔG for these Tyr/PC interactions from the apparent Kd values reveals that the free energy associated with class I is ~1 kcal/mol, comparable to the value predicted by the Wimley-White hydrophobicity scale. In contrast, removal of class II tyrosines has a higher energy cost: ~2.5 kcal/mol towards pure PC vesicles. These higher energies correlate well with the occupancy of the cation-π adducts throughout the MD simulation. Together, these results strongly indicate that PI-PLC interacts with PC headgroups via cation-π interactions with tyrosine residues, and suggest that cation-π interactions at the interface may be a mechanism for specific lipid recognition by amphitropic and membrane proteins.
PMCID: PMC3797534  PMID: 23506313
amphitropic membrane proteins; cation-π; molecular dynamics simulations; fluorescence correlation spectroscopy; phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC)
16.  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
17.  Prevalence and Predictors of Trichomonas Infection in Newly Incarcerated Women 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2012;39(12):10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31826e8847.
Trichomonas vaginalis is the most prevalent curable sexually transmitted infection in the United States and may lead to pre-term delivery, infertility, and increased HIV transmission. Incarcerated women may be at especially high risk for infection, although few studies have examined routine screening for Trichomonas infection in this population.
Women older than 18 years entering the Rhode Island Department of Corrections between September 2009 and May 2011 were recruited to participate. All women submitted a self-collected vaginal swab for APTIMA transcription-mediated amplification testing. Each participant completed a survey addressing demographics, symptoms, sexual behavior, and substance use by audio computer-assisted self-interview. Data analysis was completed using multivariate logistic regression in SAS.
Data for 387 women were analyzed. The mean age was 30 years, 60% were white, 18% were Hispanic, 10% were black, and 12% had other race/ethnicity. Forty-four percent reported vaginal symptoms, and 77% reported illicit drug and/or heavy alcohol use in the 30 days before incarceration. The prevalence of Trichomonas was 14% by APTIMA. The strongest predictors of infection included black race (odds ratio [OR], 5.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–13.4; P < 0.01), more than 1 year since last Papanicolaou test (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3–4.8; P < 0.01) and presence of vaginal symptoms (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2–4.7; P = 0.02).
Trichomonas infection is common in incarcerated women, especially among black women, women with vaginal symptoms, and those not receiving routine gynecologic care. Screening for Trichomonas infection in high-risk populations, particularly if using highly sensitive methods such as transcription-mediated amplification, may lead to increased detection and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3878291  PMID: 23191953
18.  Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure, Home Environment, and Primary Caregiver Risk Factors Predict Child Behavioral Problems at 5 Years 
This study investigated the prospective association between prenatal methamphetamine (MA) exposure and child behavioral problems at 5 years while also examining the home environment at 30 months and several primary caregiver (PC) risk factors. Participants were 97 MA-exposed and 117 comparison children and their PCs enrolled in the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle Study. Hypotheses were that child behaviors would be adversely impacted by (a) prenatal MA exposure, (b) home environments that provided less developmental stimulation and emotional responsiveness to the child, and (c) the presence of PC psychological symptoms and other risk factors. Prenatal MA exposure was associated with child externalizing behavioral problems at 5 years. Home environments that were more conducive to meeting children’s developmental and emotional needs were associated with fewer internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems. Independent of prenatal MA exposure, PC parenting stress and psychological symptoms were associated with increased child behavioral problems. Findings suggest prenatal MA exposure may contribute to externalizing behavioral problems in early childhood and the importance of considering possible vulnerabilities related to prenatal MA exposure in the context of the child’s caregiving environment.
PMCID: PMC3721329  PMID: 23330624
infants; children; pregnant women; methamphetamine use; prenatal substance exposure; primary caregiver; caregiving environment; parenting stress
19.  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
20.  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
21.  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
22.  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
23.  Structure of the S. aureus PI-specific phospholipase C reveals modulation of active site access by a titratable π-cation latched loop† 
Biochemistry  2012;51(12):2579-2587.
Staphylococcus aureus secretes a phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PIPLC) as a virulence factor that is unusual in exhibiting higher activity at acidic pH values than other enzymes in this class. We have determined the crystal structure of this enzyme at pH 4.6 and pH 7.5. Under slightly basic conditions, the S. aureus PI-PLC structure closely follows the conformation of other bacterial PI-PLCs. However, when crystallized under acidic conditions, a large section of mobile loop at the αβ-barrel rim in the vicinity of the active site shows ~10 Å shift. This loop displacement at acidic pH is the result of a titratable intramolecular π-cation interaction between His258 and Phe249. This was verified by a structure of the mutant protein H258Y crystallized at pH 4.6, which does not exhibit the large loop shift. The intramolecular π-cation interaction for S. aureus PI-PLC provides an explanation for the activity of the enzyme at acid pH and also suggests how phosphatidylcholine, as a competitor for Phe249, may kinetically activate this enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3332126  PMID: 22390775
24.  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
25.  Synaptic correlates of memory and menopause in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in rhesus monkeys 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;33(2):421.e17-421.e28.
Aged rhesus monkeys exhibit deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory, similar to aging humans. Here we explored the basis of cognitive decline by first testing young adult and aged monkeys on a standard recognition memory test (delayed nonmatching-to-sample test; DNMS). Next we quantified synaptic density and morphology in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) outer (OML) and inner molecular layer (IML). Consistent with previous findings, aged monkeys were slow to learn DNMS initially, and they performed significantly worse than young subjects when challenged with longer retention intervals. Although OML and IML synaptic parameters failed to differ across the young and aged groups, the density of perforated synapses in the OML was coupled with recognition memory accuracy. Independent of chronological age, monkeys classified on the basis of menses data as peri/post-menopausal scored worse on DNMS, and displayed lower OML perforated synapse density, than pre-menopausal monkeys. These results suggest that naturally occurring reproductive senescence potently influences synaptic connectivity in the DG OML, contributing to individual differences in the course of normal cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3031995  PMID: 21030115
delayed nonmatching-to-sample; disector method; estrogen; hippocampus; menopause; outer molecular layer; perforated synapse; post-synaptic density; recognition memory

Results 1-25 (67)