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1.  Bias Due to Sample Selection in Propensity Score Matching for a Supportive Housing Program Evaluation in New York City 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109112.
Little is known about influences of sample selection on estimation in propensity score matching. The purpose of the study was to assess potential selection bias using one-to-one greedy matching versus optimal full matching as part of an evaluation of supportive housing in New York City (NYC).
Study Design and Settings
Data came from administrative data for 2 groups of applicants who were eligible for an NYC supportive housing program in 2007–09, including chronically homeless adults with a substance use disorder and young adults aging out of foster care. We evaluated the 2 matching methods in their ability to balance covariates and represent the original population, and in how those methods affected outcomes related to Medicaid expenditures.
In the population with a substance use disorder, only optimal full matching performed well in balancing covariates, whereas both methods created representative populations. In the young adult population, both methods balanced covariates effectively, but only optimal full matching created representative populations. In the young adult population, the impact of the program on Medicaid expenditures was attenuated when one-to-one greedy matching was used, compared with optimal full matching.
Given covariate balancing with both methods, attenuated program impacts in the young adult population indicated that one-to-one greedy matching introduced selection bias.
PMCID: PMC4195658  PMID: 25310449
2.  Severe Obesity Among Children in New York City Public Elementary and Middle Schools, School Years 2006–07 Through 2010–11 
Although studies have shown that childhood obesity overall is on the decline among New York City (NYC) public school children, the prevalence of severe childhood obesity has not been studied.
We used height and weight measurements of 947,765 NYC public school students aged 5 to 14 years in kindergarten through 8th grade (K–8), from school years 2006–07 through 2010–11. We used age- and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) percentiles according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts to define childhood obesity (BMI ≥ 95th percentile) and severe childhood obesity (BMI ≥120% of 95th percentile) and to identify biologically implausible values (BIV). Multivariable logistic models tested for trends in obesity and severe obesity prevalence. To evaluate misclassification, we recalculated prevalence estimates for the most recent school year (2010–11) including the student records identified as BIV who were also declared severely obese (BMI ≥ 120% of 95th percentile). We refer to this subgroup of BIVs as “high BIV.”
Severe obesity among NYC public school students in grades K–8 decreased 9.5% from the 2006–07 school year (6.3%) to the 2010–11 school year (5.7%), and obesity decreased 5.5% (from 21.9% to 20.7%). The prevalence of severe obesity and obesity was highest among minority, poor, and male children. Severe obesity declined in prevalence among every subgroup, with the greatest effect among white students and wealthy students. Severe obesity prevalence increased with age, and obesity prevalence peaked among those aged 7 to 10 years. For the 2010–11 school year, including high BIVs increased severe obesity prevalence from 5.7% to 6.6% and increased obesity prevalence from 20.7% to 21.5%.
Among all subgroups of NYC public school children in grades K–8, the reduction in severe obesity was greater than the reduction in overall obesity. Efforts to decrease obesity in NYC have affected the severely obese; however, monitoring of this specific subgroup should continue because of differences in trends and greater health risks.
PMCID: PMC4093976  PMID: 25011000
3.  Insulin, Insulin-like Growth Factor-I, Endogenous Estradiol, and Risk of Colorectal Cancer in Postmenopausal Women 
Cancer research  2008;68(1):329-337.
Obesity is a risk factor for colorectal cancer, and hyperinsulinemia, a common condition in obese patients, may underlie this relationship. Insulin, in addition to its metabolic effects, has promitotic and antiapoptotic activity that may be tumorigenic. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, a related hormone, shares sequence homology with insulin, and has even stronger mitogenic effects. However, few prospective colorectal cancer studies directly measured fasting insulin, and none evaluated free IGF-I, or endogenous estradiol, a potential cofactor in postmenopausal women. Therefore, we conducted a case-cohort investigation of colorectal cancer among nondiabetic subjects enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a prospective cohort of 93,676 postmenopausal women. Fasting baseline serum specimens from all incident colorectal cancer cases (n = 438) and a random subcohort (n = 816) of Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study subjects were tested for insulin, glucose, total IGF-I, free IGF-I, IGF binding protein-3, and estradiol. Comparing extreme quartiles, insulin [hazard ratio (HR)q4–q1, 1.73; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.16–2.57; ptrend = 0.005], waist circumference (HRq4–q1, 1.82; 95% CI, 1.22–2.70; ptrend = 0.001), and free IGF-I (HRq4–q1, 1.35; 95% CI, 0.92–1.98; Ptrend = 0.05) were each associated with colorectal cancer incidence in multivariate models. However, these associations each became nonsignificant when adjusted for one another. Endogenous estradiol levels, in contrast, were positively associated with risk of colorectal cancer (HR comparing high versus low levels, 1.53; 95% CI, 1.05–2.22), even after control for insulin, free IGF-I, and waist circumference. These data suggest the existence of at least two independent biological pathways that are related to colorectal cancer: one that involves endogenous estradiol, and a second pathway broadly associated with obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and free IGF-I.
PMCID: PMC4225702  PMID: 18172327
Journal of medical virology  2009;81(4):713-721.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) RNA levels may be a more sensitive early indicator of predisposition to carcinogenesis than DNA levels. We evaluated whether levels of HPV-16 and HPV-18 DNA and messenger RNA (mRNA) in newly detected infections are associated with cervical lesion development. Female university students were recruited from 1990-2004. Cervical samples for HPV DNA, HPV mRNA, and Papanicolaou testing were collected tri-annually, and women were referred for colposcopically-directed biopsy when indicated. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction of L1 and E7 DNA and E7 mRNA was performed on samples from women with HPV-16 and HPV-18 infections that were incidently detected by consensus PCR. Adjusting for other HPV types, increasing E7 cervical HPV-16 mRNA levels at the time of incident HPV-16 DNA detection were associated with an increased risk of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 to 3 (HR per 1 log10 increase in mRNA=6.36,95%CI=2.00-20.23). Increasing HPV-16 mRNA levels were also associated with an increased risk of cervical squamous intraepithelial lesions; the risk was highest at the incident positive visit and decreased over time. Neither HPV-16 E7 DNA levels nor HPV-18 E7 DNA nor mRNA levels were significantly associated with cervical lesion development. Report of >1 new partner in the past 8 months (relative to no new partners) was associated with increased HPV mRNA (viral level ratio [VLR]=10.05,95%CI=1.09-92.56) and increased HPV DNA (VLR=16.80,95%CI=1.46-193.01). In newly detected HPV-16 infections, increasing levels of E7 mRNA appear to be associated with an increased risk of developing cervical pre-cancer.
PMCID: PMC3984467  PMID: 19235870
HPV; viral load; mRNA; cervical pre-cancer
5.  Associations of Insulin-Like Growth Factor (IGF)–I and IGF-Binding Protein–3 with HIV Disease Progression in Women 
The Journal of infectious diseases  2008;197(2):319-327.
The insulin-like growth factor (IGF) axis has been hypothesized to influence the rate of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease progression. This premise is based largely on laboratory models showing that IGF-I stimulates thymic growth and increases lymphocyte numbers and that IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)–3 has an opposing effect, inhibiting hematopoietic stem cell development.
We studied 1422 HIV-infected women enrolled in a large cohort that entailed semiannual follow-up (initiated in 1994). Baseline serum samples were tested for IGF-I and IGFBP-3 to determine their associations with incident clinical acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and CD4+ T cell count decline prior to April 1996 (before the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy [HAART]).
Low IGF-I levels (Ptrend = .02) and high IGFBP-3 levels (Ptrend = .02) were associated with rapid CD4+ T cell count decline. Only IGFBP-3, however, was significantly associated with AIDS incidence (hazard ratio for highest vs. lowest quartile, 2.65 [95% confidence interval, 1.30–5.42]; Ptrend = .02) in multivariable models.
These findings suggest that serum levels of IGFBP-3 (and possibly IGF-I) are associated with the rate of HIV disease progression in women and, more broadly, that interindividual heterogeneity in the IGF axis may influence HIV pathogenesis. If correct, the IGF axis could be a target for interventions to slow HIV disease progression and extend the time before use of HAART becomes necessary.
PMCID: PMC3127259  PMID: 18177247
6.  A Prospective Evaluation of Insulin and Insulin-like Growth Factor-I as Risk Factors for Endometrial Cancer 
Obesity is a major risk factor for endometrial cancer, a relationship thought to be largely explained by the prevalence of high estrogen levels in obese women. Obesity is also associated with high levels of insulin, a known mitogen. However, no prospective studies have directly assessed whether insulin and/or insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), a related hormone, are associated with endometrial cancer while accounting for estrogen levels. We therefore conducted a case-cohort study of incident endometrial cancer in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a prospective cohort of 93,676 postmenopausal women. The study involved all 250 incident cases and a random subcohort of 465 subjects for comparison. Insulin, total IGF-I, free IGF-I, IGF-binding protein-3, glucose, and estradiol levels were measured in fasting baseline serum specimens. Cox models were used to estimate associations with endometrial cancer, particularly endometrioid adenocarcinomas, the main histologic type (n = 205). Our data showed that insulin levels were positively associated with endometrioid adenocarcinoma [hazard ratio contrasting highest versus lowest quartile (HRq4-q1), 2.33; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 1.13–4.82] among women not using hormone therapy after adjustment for age and estradiol. Free IGF-I was inversely associated with endometrioid adenocarcinoma (HRq4-q1, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.31–0.90) after adjustment for age, hormone therapy use, and estradiol. Both of these associations were stronger among overweight/obese women, especially the association between insulin and endometrioid adenocarcinoma (HRq4-q1, 4.30; 95% CI, 1.62–11.43). These data indicate that hyperinsulinemia may represent a risk factor for endometrioid adenocarcinoma that is independent of estradiol. Free IGF-I levels were inversely associated with endometrioid adenocarcinoma, consistent with prior cross-sectional data.
PMCID: PMC3090086  PMID: 18398032
7.  Specific HLA Class I and II Alleles Associated with Hepatitis C Virus Viremia 
Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.)  2010;51(5):1514-1522.
Studies of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) alleles and their relation with hepatitis C virus (HCV) viremia have had conflicting results. However, these studies have varied in size and methods, and few large studies assessed HLA class I alleles. Only one study conducted high resolution class I genotyping. The current investigation therefore involved high-resolution HLA class I and II genotyping of a large multi-racial cohort of US women with high prevalence of HCV and HIV. Our primary analyses evaluated associations between twelve HLA alleles identified through a critical review of the literature and HCV viremia in 758 HCV-seropositive women. Other alleles with >5% prevalence were also assessed; previously unreported associations were corrected for multiple comparisons. DRB1*0101 (prevalence ratio [PR] = 1.7; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.1–2.6), B*5701 (PR=2.0; 95% CI = 1.0–3.1), B*5703 (PR = 1.7; 95% CI = 1.0–2.5), and Cw*0102 (PR = 1.9; 95% CI = 1.0–3.0) were associated with the absence of HCV RNA (i.e., HCV clearance), while DRB1*0301 (PR = 0.4; 95% CI = 0.2–0.7) was associated with HCV RNA positivity. DQB1*0301 was also associated with the absence of HCV RNA but only among HIV-seronegative women (PR = 3.4; 95% CI = 1.2–11.8). Each of these associations was among those predicted. We additionally studied the relation of HLA alleles with HCV infection (serostatus) in women at high risk of HCV from injection drug use (IDU; N=838), but no significant relationships were observed.
HLA genotype influences host capacity to clear HCV viremia. The specific HLA associations observed in the current study are unlikely to be due to chance since they were a priori hypothesized.
PMCID: PMC2946382  PMID: 20169624
human leukocyte antigen; HIV; injection drug user; multiple comparisons; killer immunoglobulin-like receptor
8.  Depot-medroxyprogesterone Acetate and Combined Oral Contraceptive Use and Cervical Neoplasia among Women with Oncogenic Human Papillomavirus Infection 
Examine the relationship of depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and combined oral contraceptive (COC) use with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN).
Study Design
Two case-control studies of women who presented for gynecological care and underwent cytologic and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing were performed. The first included oncogenic HPV-positive women grouped based on histology: negative(n=152), CIN1(n=133), and ≥CIN2-3(n=173). For the second, two groups were identified: negative HPV/negative histology(n=107) and positive oncogenic HPV/negative histology(n=152).
Among oncogenic HPV-positive women, DMPA use was inversely associated with ≥CIN2-3 (adjusted odds ratio[ORadj]=0.4;95% confidence interval[CI]=0.2–1.1) and CIN1 (ORadj=0.1;95% CI=0.01–0.6); COC use was not associated with either. Among histologically negative women, DMPA use was associated with oncogenic HPV (ORadj=4.7;95% CI=1.4–15.8).
Among women with oncogenic HPV, hormonal contraceptive use was not associated with an increased risk of ≥CIN2-3. Longer-term DMPA use may attenuate the colposcopic and histologic features of CIN as women reporting such use were more likely than others to have cervical oncogenic HPV without evidence of CIN.
PMCID: PMC2713031  PMID: 19375566
CIN; hormonal contraception; DMPA; Oncogenic HPV infection
9.  Insulin, Insulin-Like Growth Factor-I, and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women 
The positive association between obesity and postmenopausal breast cancer has been attributed, in part, to the fact that estrogen, a risk factor for breast cancer, is synthesized in adipose tissue. Obesity is also associated with high levels of insulin, a known mitogen. However, no prospective studies have directly assessed associations between circulating levels of insulin and/or insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, a related hormone, and the risk of breast cancer independent of estrogen level.
We conducted a case–cohort study of incident breast cancer among nondiabetic women who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study (WHI-OS), a prospective cohort of 93 676 postmenopausal women. Fasting serum samples obtained at study entry from 835 incident breast cancer case subjects and from a subcohort of 816 randomly chosen WHI-OS subjects were tested for levels of insulin, glucose, total IGF-I, free IGF-I, insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3, and estradiol. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate associations between levels of the serologic factors and baseline characteristics (including body mass index [BMI]) and the risk of breast cancer. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Insulin levels were positively associated with the risk of breast cancer (hazard ratio [HR] for highest vs lowest quartile of insulin level = 1.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.00 to 2.13, Ptrend = .02); however, the association with insulin level varied by hormone therapy (HT) use (Pinteraction = .01). In a model that controlled for multiple breast cancer risk factors including estradiol, insulin level was associated with breast cancer only among nonusers of HT (HR for highest vs lowest quartile of insulin level = 2.40, 95% CI = 1.30 to 4.41, Ptrend < .001). Obesity (BMI ≥30 kg/m2) was also associated with the risk of breast cancer among nonusers of HT (HR for BMI ≥30 kg/m2 vs 18.5 to <25 kg/m2 = 2.12, 95% CI = 1.26 to 3.58, Ptrend = .003); however, this association was attenuated by adjustment for insulin (Ptrend = .40).
These data suggest that hyperinsulinemia is an independent risk factor for breast cancer and may have a substantial role in explaining the obesity–breast cancer relationship.
PMCID: PMC2639294  PMID: 19116382

Results 1-9 (9)