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1.  Dialectical behavior therapy alters emotion regulation and amygdala activity in patients with borderline personality disorder 
Objective
Siever and Davis’ (1991) psychobiological framework of borderline personality disorder (BPD) identifies affective instability (AI) as a core dimension characterized by prolonged and intense emotional reactivity. Recently, deficient amygdala habituation, defined as a change in response to repeated relative to novel unpleasant pictures within a session, has emerged as a biological correlate of AI in BPD. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), an evidence-based treatment, targets AI by teaching emotion-regulation skills. This study tested the hypothesis that BPD patients would exhibit decreased amygdala activation and improved habituation, as well as improved emotion regulation with standard 12-month DBT.
Methods
Event-related fMRI was obtained pre- and post-12-months of standard-DBT in unmedicated BPD patients. Healthy controls (HCs) were studied as a benchmark for normal amygdala activity and change over time (n = 11 per diagnostic-group). During each scan, participants viewed an intermixed series of unpleasant, neutral and pleasant pictures presented twice (novel, repeat). Change in emotion regulation was measured with the Difficulty in Emotion Regulation (DERS) scale.
Results
fMRI results showed the predicted Group × Time interaction: compared with HCs, BPD patients exhibited decreased amygdala activation with treatment. This post-treatment amygdala reduction in BPD was observed for all three pictures types, but particularly marked in the left hemisphere and during repeated-emotional pictures. Emotion regulation measured with the DERS significantly improved with DBT in BPD patients. Improved amygdala habituation to repeated-unpleasant pictures in patients was associated with improved overall emotional regulation measured by the DERS (total score and emotion regulation strategy use subscale).
Conclusion
These findings have promising treatment implications and support the notion that DBT targets amygdala hyperactivity—part of the disturbed neural circuitry underlying emotional dysregulation in BPD. Future work includes examining how DBT-induced amygdala changes interact with frontal-lobe regions implicated in emotion regulation.
doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2014.06.020
PMCID: PMC4263347  PMID: 25038629
Borderline personality disorder; Emotion regulation; Amygdala; Habituation; fMRI
2.  Air concentrations of volatile compounds near oil and gas production: a community-based exploratory study 
Environmental Health  2014;13(1):82.
Background
Horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing, and other drilling and well stimulation technologies are now used widely in the United States and increasingly in other countries. They enable increases in oil and gas production, but there has been inadequate attention to human health impacts. Air quality near oil and gas operations is an underexplored human health concern for five reasons: (1) prior focus on threats to water quality; (2) an evolving understanding of contributions of certain oil and gas production processes to air quality; (3) limited state air quality monitoring networks; (4) significant variability in air emissions and concentrations; and (5) air quality research that misses impacts important to residents. Preliminary research suggests that volatile compounds, including hazardous air pollutants, are of potential concern. This study differs from prior research in its use of a community-based process to identify sampling locations. Through this approach, we determine concentrations of volatile compounds in air near operations that reflect community concerns and point to the need for more fine-grained and frequent monitoring at points along the production life cycle.
Methods
Grab and passive air samples were collected by trained volunteers at locations identified through systematic observation of industrial operations and air impacts over the course of resident daily routines. A total of 75 volatile organics were measured using EPA Method TO-15 or TO-3 by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. Formaldehyde levels were determined using UMEx 100 Passive Samplers.
Results
Levels of eight volatile chemicals exceeded federal guidelines under several operational circumstances. Benzene, formaldehyde, and hydrogen sulfide were the most common compounds to exceed acute and other health-based risk levels.
Conclusions
Air concentrations of potentially dangerous compounds and chemical mixtures are frequently present near oil and gas production sites. Community-based research can provide an important supplement to state air quality monitoring programs.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-82) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-13-82
PMCID: PMC4216869  PMID: 25355625
Benzene; Community monitoring; Formaldehyde; Grab and passive samples; Hydraulic fracturing; Hydrogen sulfide; Oil and gas
3.  Global, regional, and national levels of neonatal, infant, and under-5 mortality during 1990–2013: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2013 
Wang, Haidong | Liddell, Chelsea A | Coates, Matthew M | Mooney, Meghan D | Levitz, Carly E | Schumacher, Austin E | Apfel, Henry | Iannarone, Marissa | Phillips, Bryan | Lofgren, Katherine T | Sandar, Logan | Dorrington, Rob E | Rakovac, Ivo | Jacobs, Troy A | Liang, Xiaofeng | Zhou, Maigeng | Zhu, Jun | Yang, Gonghuan | Wang, Yanping | Liu, Shiwei | Li, Yichong | Ozgoren, Ayse Abbasoglu | Abera, Semaw Ferede | Abubakar, Ibrahim | Achoki, Tom | Adelekan, Ademola | Ademi, Zanfina | Alemu, Zewdie Aderaw | Allen, Peter J | AlMazroa, Mohammad AbdulAziz | Alvarez, Elena | Amankwaa, Adansi A | Amare, Azmeraw T | Ammar, Walid | Anwari, Palwasha | Cunningham, Solveig Argeseanu | Asad, Majed Masoud | Assadi, Reza | Banerjee, Amitava | Basu, Sanjay | Bedi, Neeraj | Bekele, Tolesa | Bell, Michelle L | Bhutta, Zulfiqar | Blore, Jed | Basara, Berrak Bora | Boufous, Soufiane | Breitborde, Nicholas | Bruce, Nigel G | Bui, Linh Ngoc | Carapetis, Jonathan R | Cárdenas, Rosario | Carpenter, David O | Caso, Valeria | Castro, Ruben Estanislao | Catalá-Lopéz, Ferrán | Cavlin, Alanur | Che, Xuan | Chiang, Peggy Pei-Chia | Chowdhury, Rajiv | Christophi, Costas A | Chuang, Ting-Wu | Cirillo, Massimo | Leite, Iuri da Costa | Courville, Karen J | Dandona, Lalit | Dandona, Rakhi | Davis, Adrian | Dayama, Anand | Deribe, Kebede | Dharmaratne, Samath D | Dherani, Mukesh K | Dilmen, Uğur | Ding, Eric L | Edmond, Karen M | Ermakov, Sergei Petrovich | Farzadfar, Farshad | Fereshtehnejad, Seyed-Mohammad | Fijabi, Daniel Obadare | Foigt, Nataliya | Forouzanfar, Mohammad H | Garcia, Ana C | Geleijnse, Johanna M | Gessner, Bradford D | Goginashvili, Ketevan | Gona, Philimon | Goto, Atsushi | Gouda, Hebe N | Green, Mark A | Greenwell, Karen Fern | Gugnani, Harish Chander | Gupta, Rahul | Hamadeh, Randah Ribhi | Hammami, Mouhanad | Harb, Hilda L | Hay, Simon | Hedayati, Mohammad T | Hosgood, H Dean | Hoy, Damian G | Idrisov, Bulat T | Islami, Farhad | Ismayilova, Samaya | Jha, Vivekanand | Jiang, Guohong | Jonas, Jost B | Juel, Knud | Kabagambe, Edmond Kato | Kazi, Dhruv S | Kengne, Andre Pascal | Kereselidze, Maia | Khader, Yousef Saleh | Khalifa, Shams Eldin Ali Hassan | Khang, Young-Ho | Kim, Daniel | Kinfu, Yohannes | Kinge, Jonas M | Kokubo, Yoshihiro | Kosen, Soewarta | Defo, Barthelemy Kuate | Kumar, G Anil | Kumar, Kaushalendra | Kumar, Ravi B | Lai, Taavi | Lan, Qing | Larsson, Anders | Lee, Jong-Tae | Leinsalu, Mall | Lim, Stephen S | Lipshultz, Steven E | Logroscino, Giancarlo | Lotufo, Paulo A | Lunevicius, Raimundas | Lyons, Ronan Anthony | Ma, Stefan | Mahdi, Abbas Ali | Marzan, Melvin Barrientos | Mashal, Mohammad Taufiq | Mazorodze, Tasara T | McGrath, John J | Memish, Ziad A | Mendoza, Walter | Mensah, George A | Meretoja, Atte | Miller, Ted R | Mills, Edward J | Mohammad, Karzan Abdulmuhsin | Mokdad, Ali H | Monasta, Lorenzo | Montico, Marcella | Moore, Ami R | Moschandreas, Joanna | Msemburi, William T | Mueller, Ulrich O | Muszynska, Magdalena M | Naghavi, Mohsen | Naidoo, Kovin S | Narayan, KM Venkat | Nejjari, Chakib | Ng, Marie | Ngirabega, Jean de Dieu | Nieuwenhuijsen, Mark J | Nyakarahuka, Luke | Ohkubo, Takayoshi | Omer, Saad B | Caicedo, Angel J Paternina | Wyk, Victoria Pillay-van | Pope, Dan | Prabhakaran, Dorairaj | Rahman, Sajjad UR | Rana, Saleem M | Reilly, Robert Quentin | Rojas-Rueda, David | Ronfani, Luca | Rushton, Lesley | Saeedi, Mohammad Yahya | Salomon, Joshua | Sampson, Uchechukwu | Santos, Itamar S | Sawhney, Monika | Schmidt, Jürgen C | Nazarova, Marina Shakh | She, Jun | Sheikhbahaei, Sara | Shibuya, Kenji | Shin, Hwashin Hyun | Shishani, Kawkab | Shiue, Ivy | Sigfusdottir, Inga Dora | Singh, Jasvinder A | Skirbekk, Vegard | Sliwa, Karen | Soshnikov, Sergey S | Sposato, Luciano A | Stathopoulou, Vasiliki Kalliopi | Stroumpoulis, Konstantinos | Tabb, Karen M | Talongwa, Roberto Tchio | Teixeira, Carolina Maria | Terkawi, Abdullah Sulieman | Thomson, Alan J | Lyman, Andrew L Thorne | Toyoshima, Hideaki | Dimbuene, Zacharie Tsala | Uwaliraye, Parfait | Uzun, Selen Begüm | Vasankari, Tommi J | Vasconcelos, Ana Maria Nogales | Vlassov, Vasiliy Victorovich | Vollset, Stein Emil | Vos, Theo | Waller, Stephen | Wan, Xia | Weichenthal, Scott | Weiderpass, Elisabete | Weintraub, Robert G | Westerman, Ronny | Wilkinson, James D | Williams, Hywel C | Yang, Yang C | Yentur, Gokalp Kadri | Yip, Paul | Yonemoto, Naohiro | Younis, Mustafa | Yu, Chuanhua | Jin, Kim Yun | Zaki, Maysaa El Sayed | Zhu, Shankuan | Lopez, Alan D | Murray, Christopher J L
Lancet  2014;384(9947):957-979.
Summary
Background
Remarkable financial and political efforts have been focused on the reduction of child mortality during the past few decades. Timely measurements of levels and trends in under-5 mortality are important to assess progress towards the Millennium Development Goal 4 (MDG 4) target of reduction of child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015, and to identify models of success.
Methods
We generated updated estimates of child mortality in early neonatal (age 0–6 days), late neonatal (7–28 days), postneonatal (29–364 days), childhood (1–4 years), and under-5 (0–4 years) age groups for 188 countries from 1970 to 2013, with more than 29 000 survey, census, vital registration, and sample registration datapoints. We used Gaussian process regression with adjustments for bias and non-sampling error to synthesise the data for under-5 mortality for each country, and a separate model to estimate mortality for more detailed age groups. We used explanatory mixed effects regression models to assess the association between under-5 mortality and income per person, maternal education, HIV child death rates, secular shifts, and other factors. To quantify the contribution of these different factors and birth numbers to the change in numbers of deaths in under-5 age groups from 1990 to 2013, we used Shapley decomposition. We used estimated rates of change between 2000 and 2013 to construct under-5 mortality rate scenarios out to 2030.
Findings
We estimated that 6·3 million (95% UI 6·0–6·6) children under-5 died in 2013, a 64% reduction from 17·6 million (17·1–18·1) in 1970. In 2013, child mortality rates ranged from 152·5 per 1000 livebirths (130·6–177·4) in Guinea-Bissau to 2·3 (1·8–2·9) per 1000 in Singapore. The annualised rates of change from 1990 to 2013 ranged from −6·8% to 0·1%. 99 of 188 countries, including 43 of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, had faster decreases in child mortality during 2000–13 than during 1990–2000. In 2013, neonatal deaths accounted for 41·6% of under-5 deaths compared with 37·4% in 1990. Compared with 1990, in 2013, rising numbers of births, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, led to 1·4 million more child deaths, and rising income per person and maternal education led to 0·9 million and 2·2 million fewer deaths, respectively. Changes in secular trends led to 4·2 million fewer deaths. Unexplained factors accounted for only −1% of the change in child deaths. In 30 developing countries, decreases since 2000 have been faster than predicted attributable to income, education, and secular shift alone.
Interpretation
Only 27 developing countries are expected to achieve MDG 4. Decreases since 2000 in under-5 mortality rates are accelerating in many developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The Millennium Declaration and increased development assistance for health might have been a factor in faster decreases in some developing countries. Without further accelerated progress, many countries in west and central Africa will still have high levels of under-5 mortality in 2030.
Funding
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US Agency for International Development.
doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)60497-9
PMCID: PMC4165626  PMID: 24797572
4.  Developmental Differences in Diffusion-Tensor Imaging Parameters in Borderline Personality Disorder 
Journal of psychiatric research  2013;47(8):1101-1109.
Background
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) often presents during adolescence. Early detection and intervention decreases its subsequent severity. However, little is known about early predictors and biological underpinnings of BPD. The observed abnormal functional connectivity among brain regions in BPD led to studies of white matter, as the neural substrate of connectivity. However, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies in adult BPD have been inconclusive, and, as yet, there are no published DTI studies in borderline adolescents.
Methods
We conducted DTI tractography in 38 BPD patients (14-adolescents,24-adults) and 32 healthy controls (13-adolescents,19-adults).
Results
We found bilateral tract-specific decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) in inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF) in BPD adolescents compared to adolescent controls. ILF FA was significantly higher in adolescent controls compared to BPD adolescents, BPD adults and adult controls (WilksF(3,57)=3.55, p<0.02). Follow-up voxelwise TBSS analysis demonstrated lower FA in BPD adolescents compared to adolescent controls also in uncinate and occipitofrontal fasciculi.
Discussion
FA generally develops along an inverted U-shape curve, increasing through adolescence, and slowly decreasing in adulthood. Our findings suggest that, in adolescent BPD, this normal developmental “peak” in FA, which is seen in healthy controls, is not achieved. This suggests a possible neural substrate for the previously reported OFC-amygdala disconnect in adults with BPD. It raises the possibility that a white matter tract abnormality in BPD present in adolescence may not be appreciable in adulthood, but a functional abnormality in the coordination among brain regions persists. Our finding represents a possible biological marker to identify those at risk for developing BPD.
doi:10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.03.021
PMCID: PMC3725738  PMID: 23628384
5.  Review of “Managed Care in a Public Setting” 
doi:10.3389/fpubh.2014.00092
PMCID: PMC4107966
community-based programs; managed care programs; health care delivery; health care reform; decentralized control
6.  Carnosine prevents necrotic and apoptotic death of rat thymocytes via ouabain sensitive Na/K-ATPase 
Cell biochemistry and function  2012;31(1):30-35.
It is known that ouabain, a selective inhibitor of Na/K-ATPase, can cause not only activation of signal cascades, which regulate the cell viability, but also can cause free radical accumulation, which can evoke the oxidative stress. We have shown that nanomolar concentrations of ouabain result in the temporary increase in the level of intracellular free radicals but the millimolar concentration of ouabain induces a stable intracellular accumulation of free radicals in rat thymocytes. The increasing level of free radicals resulting from both low and high concentrations of ouabain can be attenuated by the antioxidant, carnosine. Moreover the long-term incubation with ouabain leads to the cell death by necrosis and apoptosis. Ouabain-mediated apoptosis and necrosis were also abolished by carnosine.
doi:10.1002/cbf.2856
PMCID: PMC3481008  PMID: 22763713
Na/K-ATPase; free radicals; ouabain; carnosine; thymocytes
7.  Early life stress and macaque amygdala hypertrophy: preliminary evidence for a role for the serotonin transporter gene 
Background: Children exposed to early life stress (ELS) exhibit enlarged amygdala volume in comparison to controls. The primary goal of this study was to examine amygdala volumes in bonnet macaques subjected to maternal variable foraging demand (VFD) rearing, a well-established model of ELS. Preliminary analyses examined the interaction of ELS and the serotonin transporter gene on amygdala volume. Secondary analyses were conducted to examine the association between amygdala volume and other stress-related variables previously found to distinguish VFD and non-VFD reared animals.
Methods: Twelve VFD-reared and nine normally reared monkeys completed MRI scans on a 3T system (mean age = 5.2 years).
Results: Left amygdala volume was larger in VFD vs. control macaques. Larger amygdala volume was associated with: “high” cerebrospinal fluid concentrations of corticotropin releasing-factor (CRF) determined when the animals were in adolescence (mean age = 2.7 years); reduced fractional anisotropy (FA) of the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) during young adulthood (mean age = 5.2 years) and timid anxiety-like responses to an intruder during full adulthood (mean age = 8.4 years). Right amygdala volume varied inversely with left hippocampal neurogenesis assessed in late adulthood (mean age = 8.7 years). Exploratory analyses also showed a gene-by-environment effect, with VFD-reared macaques with a single short allele of the serotonin transporter gene exhibiting larger amygdala volume compared to VFD-reared subjects with only the long allele and normally reared controls.
Conclusion: These data suggest that the left amygdala exhibits hypertrophy after ELS, particularly in association with the serotonin transporter gene, and that amygdala volume variation occurs in concert with other key stress-related behavioral and neurobiological parameters observed across the lifecycle. Future research is required to understand the mechanisms underlying these diverse and persistent changes associated with ELS and amygdala volume.
doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00342
PMCID: PMC4186477  PMID: 25339875
amygdala; early life stress; non-human primates; MRI; stress; serotonin transporter gene
8.  Analysis of the effects of exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls and chlorinated pesticides on serum lipid levels in residents of Anniston, Alabama 
Environmental Health  2013;12:108.
Background
Anniston, Alabama, is the site of a former Monsanto plant where polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were manufactured from 1929 until 1971. Residents of Anniston are known to have elevated levels of PCBs. The objective of the study was to test the hypothesis that levels of the various lipid components (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides) are differentially associated with concentrations of total PCBs and total pesticides, and further that different congeners, congener groups and different pesticides do not have identical associations in serum samples obtained from Anniston residents in a cross-sectional study.
Methods
Fasting serum samples were obtained from 575 residents of Anniston who were not on any lipid-lowering medication and were analyzed for 35 PCB congeners, nine chlorinated pesticides, total cholesterol, LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. Associations between toxicant concentrations and lipid levels were determined using multiple linear regression analysis.
Results
We observed that elevated serum concentrations of lipids were associated with elevated serum concentrations of ΣPCBs and summed pesticides in analyses adjusted for age, race, gender, BMI, alcohol consumption, smoking and exercising status. The strongest associations were seen for PCB congeners with three, four, or at least eight substituted chlorines. Mono-ortho substituted congeners 74 and 156, di-ortho congeners 172 and 194, and tri- and tetra-ortho congeners 199, 196–203, 206 and 209 each were significantly associated with total lipids, total cholesterol and triglycerides. Serum concentrations of HCB and chlordane also had strong associations with lipid components.
Conclusions
Increased concentrations of PCBs and organochlorine pesticides are associated with elevations in total serum lipids, total cholesterol and triglycerides, but the patterns are different for different groups of PCBs and different pesticides. These observations show selective effects of different organochlorines on serum concentrations of different groups of lipids. This elevation in concentrations of serum lipids may be the basis for the increased incidence of cardiovascular disease found in persons with elevated exposures to PCBs and chlorinated pesticides.
doi:10.1186/1476-069X-12-108
PMCID: PMC3893492  PMID: 24325314
Cholesterol; Triglycerides; Persistent organic pollutants; LDL cholesterol; HDL cholesterol; Hexachlorobenzene; DDT; PCBs
9.  Occupational Exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation and Risk of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer in a Multinational European Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e62359.
Background
Studies suggest that ambient sunlight plays an important role in the pathogenesis of non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC). However, there is ongoing controversy regarding the relevance of occupational exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation (UV) radiation.
Objectives
We investigated potential associations between natural and artificial UV radiation exposure at work with NMSC in a case-control study conducted in Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.
Methods
Occupational exposures were classified by expert assessment for 527 controls and 618 NMSC cases (515 basal cell carcinoma, BCC). Covariate information was collected via interview and multiple logistic regression models were used to assess associations between UV exposure and NMSC.
Results
Lifetime prevalence of occupational exposure in the participants was 13% for natural UV radiation and 7% for artificial UV radiation. Significant negative associations between occupational exposure to natural UV radiation and NMSC were detected for all who had ever been exposed (odds ratio (OR) 0.47, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.27–0.80); similar results were detected using a semi-quantitative metric of cumulative exposure. The effects were modified by skin complexion, with significantly decreased risks of BCC among participants with light skin complexion. No associations were observed in relation to occupational artificial UV radiation exposure.
Conclusions
The protective effect of occupational exposure to natural UV radiation was unexpected, but limited to light-skinned people, suggesting adequate sun-protection behaviors. Further investigations focusing on variations in the individual genetic susceptibility and potential interactions with environmental and other relevant factors are planned.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062359
PMCID: PMC3634731  PMID: 23638051
10.  Diffuse Disconnectivity in tBi: a resting state fMri anD Dti stuDy 
Translational neuroscience  2012;3(1):9-14.
Diffuse axonal injury is a common pathological consequence of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Diffusion Tensor Imaging is an ideal technique to study white matter integrity using the Fractional Anisotropy (FA) index which is a measure of axonal integrity and coherence. There have been several reports showing reduced FA in individuals with TBI, which suggest demyelination or reduced fiber density in white matter tracts secondary to injury. Individuals with TBI are usually diagnosed with cognitive deficits such as reduced attention span, memory and executive function. In this study we sought to investigate correlations between brain functional networks, white matter integrity, and TBI severity in individuals with TBI ranging from mild to severe. A resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging protocol was used to study the default mode network in subjects at rest. FA values were decreased throughout all white matter tracts in the mild to severe TBI subjects. FA values were also negatively correlated with TBI injury severity ratings. The default mode network showed several brain regions in which connectivity measures were higher among individuals with TBI relative to control subjects. These findings suggest that, subsequent to TBI, the brain may undergo adaptation responses at the cellular level to compensate for functional impairment due to axonal injury.
doi:10.2478/s13380-012-0003-3
PMCID: PMC3583347  PMID: 23459252
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); DTI; Cognitive Function
11.  Community-based participatory research projects and policy engagement to protect environmental health on St Lawrence Island, Alaska 
International Journal of Circumpolar Health  2013;72:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21656.
Objectives
This article synthesizes discussion of collaborative research results, interventions and policy engagement for St Lawrence Island (SLI), Alaska, during the years 2000–2012.
Methods
As part of on-going community-based participatory research (CBPR) studies on SLI, 5 discrete exposure-assessment projects were conducted: (a) a biomonitoring study of human blood serum; (b–d) 3 investigations of levels of contaminants in environmental media at an abandoned military site at Northeast Cape – using sediment cores and plants, semi-permeable membrane devices and blackfish, respectively; and (e) a study of traditional foods.
Results
Blood serum in residents of SLI showed elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) with higher levels among those exposed to the military site at Northeast Cape, an important traditional subsistence-use area. Environmental studies at the military site demonstrated that the site is a continuing source of PCBs to a major watershed, and that clean-up operations at the military site generated PCB-contaminated dust on plants in the region. Important traditional foods eaten by the people of SLI showed elevated concentrations of PCBs, which are primarily derived from the long-range transport of persistent pollutants that are transported by atmospheric and marine currents from more southerly latitudes to the north.
Interventions
An important task for all CBPR projects is to conduct intervention strategies as needed in response to research results. Because of the findings of the CBPR projects on SLI, the CBPR team and the people of the Island are actively engaging in interventions to ensure cleanup of the formerly used military sites; reform chemicals policy on a national level; and eliminate persistent pollutants internationally. The goal is to make the Island and other northern/Arctic communities safe for themselves and future generations.
Conclusions
As part of the CBPR projects conducted from 2000 to 2012, a series of exposure assessments demonstrate that the leaders of SLI have reason to be concerned about the health of people due to the presence of carcinogenic chemicals as measured in biomonitoring and environmental samples and important traditional foods.
doi:10.3402/ijch.v72i0.21656
PMCID: PMC3751231  PMID: 23977641
community-based participatory research; Yupik; persistent organic pollutants; polychlorinated biphenyls; environmental health; military toxics
12.  Indigenous Peoples of North America: Environmental Exposures and Reproductive Justice 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(12):1645-1649.
Background: Indigenous American communities face disproportionate health burdens and environmental health risks compared with the average North American population. These health impacts are issues of both environmental and reproductive justice.
Objectives: In this commentary, we review five indigenous communities in various stages of environmental health research and discuss the intersection of environmental health and reproductive justice issues in these communities as well as the limitations of legal recourse.
Discussion: The health disparities impacting life expectancy and reproductive capabilities in indigenous communities are due to a combination of social, economic, and environmental factors. The system of federal environmental and Indian law is insufficient to protect indigenous communities from environmental contamination. Many communities are interested in developing appropriate research partnerships in order to discern the full impact of environmental contamination and prevent further damage.
Conclusions: Continued research involving collaborative partnerships among scientific researchers, community members, and health care providers is needed to determine the impacts of this contamination and to develop approaches for remediation and policy interventions.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1205422
PMCID: PMC3548285  PMID: 22899635
Alaska Natives; environmental justice; First Nations; Native Americans; reproductive justice
13.  Association between Residential Proximity to Fuel-Fired Power Plants and Hospitalization Rate for Respiratory Diseases 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2012;120(6):807-810.
Background: Air pollution is known to cause respiratory disease. Unlike motor vehicle sources, fuel-fired power plants are stationary.
Objective: Using hospitalization data, we examined whether living near a fuel-fired power plant increases the likelihood of hospitalization for respiratory disease.
Methods: Rates of hospitalization for asthma, acute respiratory infection (ARI), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) were estimated using hospitalization data for 1993–2008 from New York State in relation to data for residences near fuel-fired power plants. We also explored data for residential proximity to hazardous waste sites.
Results: After adjusting for age, sex, race, median household income, and rural/urban residence, there were significant 11%, 15%, and 17% increases in estimated rates of hospitalization for asthma, ARI, and COPD, respectively, among individuals > 10 years of age living in a ZIP code containing a fuel-fired power plant compared with one that had no power plant. Living in a ZIP code with a fuel-fired power plant was not significantly associated with hospitalization for asthma or ARI among children < 10 years of age. Living in a ZIP code with a hazardous waste site was associated with hospitalization for all outcomes in both age groups, and joint effect estimates were approximately additive for living in a ZIP code that contained a fuel-fired power plant and a hazardous waste site.
Conclusions: Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that exposure to air pollution from fuel-fired power plants and volatile compounds coming from hazardous waste sites increases the risk of hospitalization for respiratory diseases.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1104146
PMCID: PMC3385425  PMID: 22370087
asthma; COPD; particulates; respiratory infection; SO2
14.  Metals and Disease 
Journal of Toxicology  2012;2012:825354.
doi:10.1155/2012/825354
PMCID: PMC3321612  PMID: 22545046
15.  Patient-care time allocation by nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the intensive care unit 
Critical Care  2012;16(1):R27.
Introduction
Use of nurse practitioners and physician assistants ("affiliates") is increasing significantly in the intensive care unit (ICU). Despite this, few data exist on how affiliates allocate their time in the ICU. The purpose of this study was to understand the allocation of affiliate time into patient-care and non-patient-care activity, further dividing the time devoted to patient care into billable service and equally important but nonbillable care.
Methods
We conducted a quasi experimental study in seven ICUs in an academic hospital and a hybrid academic/community hospital. After a period of self-reporting, a one-time monetary incentive of $2,500 was offered to 39 affiliates in each ICU in which every affiliate documented greater than 75% of their time devoted to patient care over a 6-month period in an effort to understand how affiliates allocated their time throughout a shift. Documentation included billable time (critical care, evaluation and management, procedures) and a new category ("zero charge time"), which facilitated record keeping of other patient-care activities.
Results
At baseline, no ICUs had documentation of 75% patient-care time by all of its affiliates. In the 6 months in which reporting was tied to a group incentive, six of seven ICUs had every affiliate document greater than 75% of their time. Individual time documentation increased from 53% to 84%. Zero-charge time accounted for an average of 21% of each shift. The most common reason was rounding, which accounted for nearly half of all zero-charge time. Sign out, chart review, and teaching were the next most common zero-charge activities. Documentation of time spent on billable activities also increased from 53% of an affiliate's shift to 63%. Time documentation was similar regardless of during which shift an affiliate worked.
Conclusions
Approximately two thirds of an affiliate's shift is spent providing billable services to patients. Greater than 20% of each shift is spent providing equally important but not reimbursable patient care. Understanding how affiliates spend their time and what proportion of time is spent in billable activities can be used to plan the financial impact of staffing ICUs with affiliates.
doi:10.1186/cc11195
PMCID: PMC3396272  PMID: 22336491
16.  Risks and Benefits of Consumption of Great Lakes Fish 
Background: Beneficial effects of fish consumption on early cognitive development and cardiovascular health have been attributed to the omega-3 fatty acids in fish and fish oils, but toxic chemicals in fish may adversely affect these health outcomes. Risk–benefit assessments of fish consumption have frequently focused on methylmercury and omega-3 fatty acids, not persistent pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, and none have evaluated Great Lakes fish consumption.
Objectives: The risks and benefits of fish consumption have been established primarily for marine fish. Here, we examine whether sufficient data are available to evaluate the risks and benefits of eating freshwater fish from the Great Lakes.
Methods: We used a scoping review to integrate information from multiple state, provincial, and federal agency sources regarding the contaminants and omega-3 fatty acids in Great Lakes fish and fish consumers, consumption rates and fish consumption advisories, and health effects of contaminants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Data synthesis: Great Lakes fish contain persistent contaminants—many of which have documented adverse health effects —that accumulate in humans consuming them. In contrast, data are sparse on omega-3 fatty acids in the fish and their consumers. Moreover, few studies have documented the social and cultural benefits of Great Lakes fish consumption, particularly for subsistence fishers and native communities. At this time, federal and state/provincial governments provide fish consumption advisories based solely on risk.
Conclusions: Our knowledge of Great Lakes fish has critical gaps, particularly regarding the benefits of consumption. A risk–benefit analysis requires more information than is currently available on the concentration of omega-3 fatty acids in Great Lakes fish and their absorption by fish eaters in addition to more information on the social, cultural, and health consequences of changes in the amount of fish consumed.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1003396
PMCID: PMC3261933  PMID: 21947562
dioxin; fish consumption; Great Lakes; methylmercury; omega-3 fatty acids; PCBs; risk assessment
17.  Increased Hospitalizations for Ischemic Stroke with Comorbid Diabetes and Residential Proximity to Sources of Organic Pollutants: A 12-Year Population-Based Study 
Neuroepidemiology  2010;35(3):196-201.
Background
Evidence is emerging that exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POP) is a risk factor for atherosclerosis-related diseases and for diabetes mellitus (DM). We hypothesized that residential proximity to sources of POP will be associated with an increase in hospitalization rates for ischemic stroke (IS) with comorbid DM (IS-DM).
Methods
We examined IS-DM hospitalization rates in the New York State (exclusive of New York City) during a 12-year period. POP exposure status was assessed based on residency in a zip code containing or abutting environmental sources of POP. Adjusted relative risks (RR) of IS-DM hospitalization were estimated by multivariate Poisson regression.
Results
A statistically significant 10% increase in IS-DM hospitalization rates was observed in populations environmentally exposed to POP (adjusted RR 1.10, 95% confidence interval, CI, 1.01–1.20; p = 0.031). IS-DM hospitalization rates were also higher in males (adjusted RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.30–1.39; p < 0.001), in blacks (adjusted RR 4.54, 95% CI 4.16–4.94; p < 0.001) and in older age groups (p for trend <0.001).
Conclusions
Residential proximity to sources of POP is associated with an increase in RR of IS-DM hospitalization. Our findings support the hypothesis of POP being a risk factor for IS. Further studies are warranted.
doi:10.1159/000316874
PMCID: PMC2945264  PMID: 20664210
Ischemic stroke, epidemiology; Risk factors; Diabetes mellitus; Environmental factors
18.  The role of early life stress in development of the anterior limb of the internal capsule in non-human primates 
Neuroscience letters  2010;480(2):93-96.
Background
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior limb of the internal capsule (ALIC) may be effective in treating depression. Parental verbal abuse has been linked to decreased fractional anisotropy (FA) of white matter and reduced FA correlated with depression and anxiety scores. Utilizing a nonhuman primate model of mood and anxiety disorders following disrupted mother-infant attachment, we examined whether adverse rearing conditions lead to white matter impairment of the ALIC.
Methods
We examined white matter integrity using Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) on a 3T-MRI. Twenty-one adult male Bonnet macaques participated in this study: 12 were reared under adverse [variable foraging demand (VFD)] conditions whereas 9 were reared under normative conditions. We examined ALIC, posterior limb of the internal capsule (PLIC) and occipital white matter.
Results
VFD rearing was associated with significant reductions in FA in the ALIC with no changes evident in the PLIC or occipital cortex white matter.
Conclusion
Adverse rearing in monkeys persistently impaired frontal white matter tract integrity, a novel substrate for understanding affective susceptibility.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.06.012
PMCID: PMC2951885  PMID: 20541590
Diffusion tensor imaging; fractional anisotropy; white matter integrity; variable foraging demand
19.  Recognizing and Preventing Overexposure to Methylmercury from Fish and Seafood Consumption: Information for Physicians 
Journal of Toxicology  2011;2011:983072.
Fish is a valuable source of nutrition, and many people would benefit from eating fish regularly. But some people eat a lot of fish, every day or several meals per week, and thus can run a significant risk of overexposure to methylmercury. Current advice regarding methylmercury from fish consumption is targeted to protect the developing brain and nervous system but adverse health effects are increasingly associated with adult chronic low-level methylmercury exposure. Manifestations of methylmercury poisoning are variable and may be difficult to detect unless one considers this specific diagnosis and does an appropriate test (blood or hair analysis). We provide information to physicians to recognize and prevent overexposure to methylmercury from fish and seafood consumption. Physicians are urged to ask patients if they eat fish: how often, how much, and what kinds. People who eat fish frequently (once a week or more often) and pregnant women are advised to choose low mercury fish.
doi:10.1155/2011/983072
PMCID: PMC3139210  PMID: 21785592
20.  Occupational Solvent Exposure and Brain Function: An fMRI Study 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(7):908-913.
Background: Deficits in cognitive function have been demonstrated among workers chronically exposed to solvents, but the neural basis for these deficits has not been shown.
Objectives: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare pathophysiological changes in brain function between solvent-exposed and control workers.
Methods: Painters, drywall tapers, and carpenters were recruited from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, District Council 9 in New York City and District Council 21 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and from the Carpenters Union in New Jersey. Twenty-seven solvent-exposed and 27 control subjects of similar age, education, and occupational status completed the N-Back working memory test during fMRI. After controlling for confounders (age; lifetime marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol use; blood lead; symptoms of depression; verbal intelligence), voxelwise group analysis and regional activation levels were compared and then correlated with an index of lifetime solvent exposure.
Results: Solvent-exposed workers’ performance on the N-Back was significantly worse than that of controls. Activation of the anterior cingulate, prefrontal, and parietal cortices—areas serving working memory function and attention—was also significantly lower for solvent-exposed workers relative to controls. After controlling for confounders, we observed a negative correlation between lifetime solvent exposure and activation in these same regions among the solvent-exposed workers.
Conclusions: This study is one of the few to document neural structures affected by exposure to solvents. Our findings provide a biological mechanism for the neurobehavioral deficits in working memory and attention that have previously been reported by other groups studying the effects of chronic exposure to solvents. These imaging markers, which are consistent with the neurobehavioral measures in our subject population, are consistent with altered brain pathology caused by prolonged exposure to solvent mixtures during construction work.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1002529
PMCID: PMC3222975  PMID: 21296712
brain function; fMRI; solvent exposure
21.  Cytotoxicity of Environmentally Relevant Concentrations of Aluminum in Murine Thymocytes and Lymphocytes 
Journal of Toxicology  2011;2011:796719.
The effects of low concentrations of aluminum chloride on thymocytes and lymphocytes acutely dissociated from young mice were studied using flow cytometry with a DNA-binding dye. We demonstrate a rapid and dose-dependent injury in murine thymocytes and lymphocytes resulting from exposure to aluminum, as indicated by an increase in the entry into the cell of the DNA-binding dye, propidium iodine. A 60-minute exposure to 10 μM AlCl3 caused damage of about 5% of thymocytes, while 50% were injured after 10 minutes at 20 μM. Nearly all thymocytes showed evidence of damage at 30 μM AlCl3 after only 5 minutes of incubation. In lymphocytes, injury was observed at 15 μM AlCl3 and less than 50% of cells were injured after a 60-minute exposure to 20 μM. Injury only rarely proceeded to rapid cell death and was associated with cell swelling. These results suggest that aluminum has cytotoxic effects on cells of the immune system.
doi:10.1155/2011/796719
PMCID: PMC3135276  PMID: 21776265
22.  Exposure to Persistent Organic Pollutants Increases Hospitalization Rates for Myocardial Infarction with Comorbid Hypertension 
Studies suggest that environmental exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) may be an emerging risk factor for ischemic heart disease, including acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, some studies indicate that exposure to POPs may also be a risk factor for hypertension, a well-established risk factor for AMI. To investigate effect of POPs on the environmental burden of cardiovascular disease, a study of AMI with comorbid hypertension in populations environmentally exposed to persistent organic pollutants, based on the zip code of residence, was conducted. Data on hospital discharges for AMI with comorbid hypertension were obtained from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System for 1993–2004. Patients residing in zip codes containing or abutting POPs contaminated sites were considered environmentally exposed. Relative risks (RR) — with corresponding 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) — of hospitalization for AMI with comorbid hypertension were estimated by Poisson regression, adjusting for known confounders. Adjusted hospitalization rates for AMI with comorbid hypertension were 12.4% higher in populations residing in proximity to a POPs site (adjusted RR = 1.124, 95% CI 1.025–1.233, p < 0.05), compared to not in proximity to a POPs site. Also, hospitalization rates for AMI with comorbid hypertension were higher in males than in females (adjusted RR = 2.157, 95% CI 2.100–2.215, p < 0.05), in African Americans than in Caucasians (adjusted RR = 1.631, 95% CI 1.483–1.794, p < 0.05), and in older age groups (p for trend <0.05). These findings are consistent with the established effects of non-modifiable risk factors and serve as indirect quality indicators for our model. In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that environmental exposure to POPs increases the burden of cardiovascular disease in exposed populations.
doi:10.4137/PPRI.S4332
PMCID: PMC3090223  PMID: 21562627
myocardial infarction; hypertension; hazardous waste; persistent organic pollutants
23.  Blood Pressure in Relation to Concentrations of PCB Congeners and Chlorinated Pesticides 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2010;119(3):319-325.
Background
Residents of Anniston, Alabama, live near a Monsanto plant that manufactured polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from 1929 to 1971 and are relatively heavily exposed.
Objectives
The goal of this study was to determine the relationship, if any, between blood pressure and levels of total serum PCBs, several PCB groups with common actions or structure, 35 individual PCB congeners, and nine chlorinated pesticides.
Methods
Linear regression analysis was used to determine the relationships between blood pressure and serum levels of the various contaminants after adjustment for age, body mass index, sex, race, smoking, and exercise in 394 Anniston residents who were not taking antihypertensive medication.
Results
Other than age, total serum PCB concentration was the strongest determinant of blood pressure of the covariates studied. We found the strongest associations for those PCB congeners that had multiple ortho chlorines. We found the associations over the full range of blood pressure as well as in those subjects whose blood pressure was in the normal range. The chlorinated pesticides showed no consistent relationship to blood pressure.
Conclusions
In this cross-sectional study, serum concentrations of PCBs, especially those congeners with multiple ortho chlorines, were strongly associated with both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
doi:10.1289/ehp.1002830
PMCID: PMC3059993  PMID: 21362590
Ah receptor; Anniston; Alabama; body mass index; hypertension; linear regression
24.  Increase in Metabolic Syndrome-Related Hospitalizations in Relation to Environmental Sources of Persistent Organic Pollutants 
Evidence from cell studies indicates that persistent organic pollutants (POP) can induce insulin resistance, an essential component of the metabolic syndrome (MetS). We hypothesized that residential proximity to environmental sources of POP would be associated with the MetS in the population. The present study examined the association between residency in a zip code containing or abutting environmental sources of POP and MetS-related hospitalization rates. Hospitalization data were obtained from the New York Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System. Relative risks (RR) were calculated as hospitalization rate ratios. Adjusted RR and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated by multivariable Poisson regression. A higher proportion of African Americans resided in POP zip codes compared to Caucasians (25.9% and 24.3%, respectively, p < 0.01). Residence in POP zip codes was associated with a statistically significant 39.2% increase in MetS-related hospitalization rates, adjusted for race, gender, and age (adjusted RR = 1.392, 95% CI: 1.032–1.879, p = 0.030). Increase in age was independently associated with higher MetS-related hospitalization rates (p for trend < 0.001). Our findings contribute to the body of evidence supporting the hypothesis of POP constituting an environmental risk factor for the MetS. Further studies investigating exposure to POP and insulin resistance are warranted.
doi:10.3390/ijerph8030762
PMCID: PMC3083668  PMID: 21556177
persistent organic pollutants; metabolic syndrome; hazardous waste sites; residential proximity
25.  Levels of Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and Three Organochlorine Pesticides in Fish from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(8):e12396.
Background
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chlorinated pesticides, have been shown to have many adverse human health effects. These contaminants therefore may pose a risk to Alaska Natives that follow a traditional diet high in marine mammals and fish, in which POPs bioaccumulate.
Methods and Findings
This study examined the levels of PCBs and three pesticides [p, p′-DDE, mirex, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB)] in muscle tissue from nine fish species from several locations around the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The highest median PCB level was found in rock sole (Lepidopsetta bilineata, 285 ppb, wet weight), while the lowest level was found in rock greenling (Hexagrammos lagocephalus, 104 ppb, wet weight). Lipid adjusted PCB values were also calculated and significant interspecies differences were found. Again, rock sole had the highest level (68,536 ppb, lipid weight). Concerning the PCB congener patterns, the more highly chlorinated congeners were most common as would be expected due to their greater persistence. Among the pesticides, p, p′-DDE generally dominated, and the highest level was found in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka, 6.9 ppb, wet weight). The methodology developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) was used to calculate risk-based consumption limits for the analyzed fish species. For cancer health endpoints for PCBs, all species would trigger strict advisories of between two and six meals per year, depending upon species. For noncancer effects by PCBs, advisories of between seven and twenty-two meals per year were triggered. None of the pesticides triggered consumption limits.
Conclusion
The fish analyzed, mainly from Adak, contain significant concentrations of POPs, in particular PCBs, which raises the question whether these fish are safe to eat, particularly for sensitive populations. However when assessing any risk of the traditional diet, one must also consider the many health and cultural benefits from eating fish.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012396
PMCID: PMC2928280  PMID: 20811633

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