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1.  Participants’ Perceptions of a Group Based Program Incorporating Hands-On Meal Preparation and Pedometer-Based Self-Monitoring in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114620.
Background
Nutrition education (portion sizes, balanced meals) is a cornerstone of diabetes management; however, moving from information to behavior change is challenging. Through a single arm intervention study, we recently demonstrated that combining education with group-based meal preparation training has measureable effects on weight, eating behaviour, and glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. In the present study, we conducted an in-depth examination of participants’ perceptions of this strategy, through focus group discussion, to delineate effective elements of the strategy from participants’ perspectives.
Methods
Participants who had completed the nutrition education/meal preparation training program were invited to attend one of four focus group discussions. These were led by experienced facilitators and guided by questions addressing experiences during the intervention and their perceived impact. Audiotapes were transcribed and qualitative content analysis of transcripts was performed. We report herein themes that achieved saturation across the four discussions.
Results
Twenty-nine (80.6%, 29/36) attended a focus group discussion. The program elements perceived as effective by participants included the hands-on interactive learning approach to meal preparation, the grocery store tour, pedometer-based self-monitoring, experiencing the link between food consumption/physical activity and glucose changes during the program, and peer support. Discussants reported changes in eating and walking behaviour, greater confidence in ability to self-manage diabetes, reductions in glucose levels and/or need for glucose-lowering medications, and, in some cases, weight loss. Family members and friends were facilitators for some and barriers for others in terms of achieving health behavior changes.
Conclusions
Among adults with type 2 diabetes, a group based program that included hands-on meal preparation and pedometer-based self-monitoring was perceived as effective in conveying information, developing skills, building confidence, and changing health behaviors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114620
PMCID: PMC4275207  PMID: 25536068
2.  Sex-based disparities in cardioprotective medication use in adults with diabetes 
Objective
The identification of sex-based disparities in the use of effective medications in high-risk populations can lead to interventions to minimize disparities in health outcomes. The objective of this study was to determine sex-specific rates of cardioprotective medication use in a large population-level administrative-health database from a universal-payer environment.
Research design and methods
This observational, population-based cohort study used provincial administrative data to compare the utilization of cardioprotective medications between women and men in the first year following a diabetes diagnosis. Competing risks regression was used to calculate crude and adjusted sub-hazard ratios for time-to-first angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker, or statin dispensations.
Results
There were 15,120 (45.4%) women and 18,174 (54.6%) men with diabetes in the study cohort. Overall cardioprotective medication use was low for both primary and secondary prevention for both women and men. In the year following a diabetes diagnosis, women were less likely to use a statin relative to men (adjusted sub-hazard ratio [aSHR] 0.90, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.85 to 0.96), angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (aSHR 0.90, 95% CI 0.86 to 0.94), or any cardioprotective medication (aSHR 0.93, 95% CI 0.90 to 0.97).
Conclusions
Cardioprotective medication use was not optimal in women or men. We also identified a health care gap with cardioprotective medication use being lower in women with diabetes compared to men. Closing this gap has the potential to reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease in women with diabetes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1758-5996-6-117) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1758-5996-6-117
PMCID: PMC4240896  PMID: 25419242
3.  Estimating the Population Prevalence of Diagnosed and Undiagnosed Diabetes 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(10):3002-3008.
OBJECTIVE
Health administrative data are frequently used for diabetes surveillance, but validation studies are limited, and undiagnosed diabetes has not been considered in previous studies. We compared the test properties of an administrative definition with self-reported diabetes and estimated prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes by measuring glucose levels in mailed-in capillary blood samples.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
A stratified random sample of 6,247 individuals (Quebec province) was surveyed by telephone and asked to mail in fasting blood samples on filter paper to a central laboratory. An administrative definition was applied (two physician claims or one hospitalization for diabetes within a 2-year period) and compared with self-reported diabetes alone and with self-reported diabetes or elevated blood glucose level (≥7 mmol/L). Population-level prevalence was estimated with the use of the administrative definition corrected for its sensitivity and specificity.
RESULTS
Compared with self-reported diabetes, sensitivity and specificity were 84.3% (95% CI 79.3–88.5%) and 97.9% (97.4–98.4%), respectively. Compared with diabetes by self-report and/or glucose testing, sensitivity was lower at 58.2% (52.2–64.6%), whereas specificity was similar at 98.7% (98.0–99.3%). Adjusted for sampling weights, population-level prevalence of physician-diagnosed diabetes was 7.2% (6.3–8.0%). Prevalence of total diabetes (physician-diagnosed and undiagnosed) was 13.4% (11.7–15.0%), indicating that ∼40% of diabetes cases are undiagnosed.
CONCLUSIONS
A substantial proportion of diabetes cases are missed by surveillance methods that use health administrative databases. This finding is concerning because individuals with undiagnosed diabetes are likely to have a delay in treatment and, thus, a higher risk for diabetes-related complications.
doi:10.2337/dc12-2543
PMCID: PMC3781536  PMID: 23656982
4.  Group-based activities with on-site childcare and online support improve glucose tolerance in women within 5 years of gestational diabetes pregnancy 
Background
Women with gestational diabetes history are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. They face specific challenges for behavioural changes, including childcare responsibilities. The aim of this study is to test a tailored type 2 diabetes prevention intervention in women within 5 years of a pregnancy with gestational diabetes, in terms of effects on weight and cardiometabolic risk factors.
Methods
The 13-week intervention, designed based on focus group discussions, included four group sessions, two with spousal participation and all with on-site childcare. Web/telephone-based support was provided between sessions. We computed mean percentage change from baseline (95% confidence intervals, CI) for anthropometric measures, glucose tolerance (75 g Oral glucose tolerance test), insulin resistance/sensitivity, blood pressure, physical activity, dietary intake, and other cardiometabolic risk factors.
Results
Among the 36 enrolled, 27 completed final evaluations. Most attended ≥ 3 sessions (74%), used on-site childcare (88%), and logged onto the website (85%). Steps/day (733 steps, 95% CI 85, 1391) and fruit/vegetable intake (1.5 servings/day, 95% CI 0.3, 2.8) increased. Proportions decreased for convenience meal consumption (−30%, 95% CI −50, −9) and eating out (−22%, 95% CI −44, −0) ≥ 3 times/month. Body mass index and body composition were unchanged. Fasting (−4.9%, 95% CI −9.5, −0.3) and 2-hour postchallenge (−8.0%, 95% CI −15.6, −0.5) glucose declined. Insulin sensitivity increased (ISI 0,120 23.7%, 95% CI 9.1, 38.4; Matsuda index 37.5%, 95% CI 3.5, 72.4). Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR −9.4%, 95% CI −18.6, −0.1) and systolic blood pressure (−3.3%, 95% CI −5.8, −0.8) decreased.
Conclusions
A tailored group intervention appears to lead to improvements in health behaviours and cardiometabolic risk factors despite unchanged body mass index and body composition. This approach merits further study.
Clinical trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01814995).
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-104
PMCID: PMC4227099  PMID: 24981579
Gestational diabetes; Type 2 diabetes; Prevention; Insulin resistance; Diet; Exercise; Childcare; Spouse participation
5.  Spousal diabetes as a diabetes risk factor: A systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:12.
Background
Diabetes history in biologically-related individuals increases diabetes risk. We assessed diabetes concordance in spouses (that is, biologically unrelated family members) to gauge the importance of socioenvironmental factors.
Methods
We selected cross-sectional, case–control and cohort studies examining spousal association for diabetes and/or prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance), indexed in Medline, Embase or Scopus (1 January 1997 to 28 February 2013). Effect estimates (that is, odds ratios, incidence rate ratios, and so on) with body mass index (BMI) adjustment were pooled separately from those without BMI adjustment (random effects models) to distinguish BMI-dependent and independent concordance.
Results
Searches yielded 2,705 articles; six were retained (n = 75,498 couples) for systematic review and five for meta-analysis. Concordance was lowest in a study that relied on women’s reports of diabetes in themselves and their spouses (effect estimate 1.1, 95% CI 1.0 to 1.30) and highest in a study with systematic assessment of glucose tolerance (2.11, 95% CI 1.74 to 5.10). The random-effects pooled estimate adjusted for age and other covariates but not BMI was 1.26 (95% CI 1.08 to 1.45). The estimate with BMI adjustment was lower (1.18, 95% CI 0.97 to 1.40). Two studies assessing between-spouse associations of diabetes/prediabetes determined by glucose testing reported high concordance (OR 1.92, 95% CI 1.55 to 2.37 without BMI adjustment; 2.32, 95% CI 1.87 to 3.98 with BMI adjustment). Two studies did not distinguish type 1 and type 2 diabetes. However given that around 95% of adults is type 2, this is unlikely to have influenced the results.
Conclusions
Our pooled estimate suggests that a spousal history of diabetes is associated with a 26% diabetes risk increase. Recognizing shared risk between spouses may improve diabetes detection and motivate couples to increase collaborative efforts to optimize eating and physical activity habits.
doi:10.1186/1741-7015-12-12
PMCID: PMC3900990  PMID: 24460622
Diabetes mellitus; Prediabetes; Spouses concordance; Risk factor; Systematic review; Meta-analysis
6.  Step Monitoring to improve ARTERial health (SMARTER) through step count prescription in type 2 diabetes and hypertension: trial design and methods 
Background
With increasing numbers of type 2 diabetes (DM2) and hypertension patients, there is a pressing need for effective, time-efficient and sustainable strategies to help physicians support their patients to achieve higher physical activity levels. SMARTER will determine whether physician-delivered step count prescriptions reduce arterial stiffness over a one-year period, compared with usual care, in sedentary overweight/obese adults with DM2/hypertension.
Design
Randomized, allocation-concealed, assessor-blind, multisite clinical trial. The primary outcome is change in arterial stiffness over one year. The secondary outcomes include changes in physical activity, individual vascular risk factors, medication use, and anthropometric parameters. Assessments are at baseline and one year.
Methods
Participants are sedentary/low active adults with 25 ≤ BMI < 40 kg/m2 followed for DM2/hypertension by a collaborating physician. The active arm uses pedometers to track daily step counts and review logs with their physicians at 3 to 4-month intervals. A written step count prescription is provided at each visit, aiming to increase counts by ≥3,000 steps/day over one year, with an individualized rate increase. The control arm visits physicians at the same frequency and receives advice to engage in physical activity 30-60 minutes/day. SMARTER will enroll 364 individuals to detect a 10 ± 5% difference in arterial stiffness change between arms. Arterial stiffness is assessed noninvasively with carotid femoral pulse wave velocity using applanation tonometry.
Discussion
The importance of SMARTER lies not simply in the use of pedometer-based monitoring but also on its integration into a prescription-based intervention delivered by the treating physician. Equally important is the measurement of impact of this approach on a summative indicator of arterial health, arterial stiffness. If effectiveness is demonstrated, this strategy has strong potential for widespread uptake and implementation, given that it is well-aligned with the structure of current clinical practice.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT01475201)
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-7
PMCID: PMC3893520  PMID: 24393423
7.  Nutritional Education Through Internet-Delivered Menu Plans Among Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Pilot Study 
JMIR Research Protocols  2013;2(2):e41.
Background
A potential barrier to weight loss and vascular risk reduction is difficulty in operationalizing dietary education into a concrete plan. Although a variety of Internet-based software tools are now available to address this issue, there has been little formal evaluation of these tools.
Objective
The aim of this single-arm pilot study is to determine the effect of a 24-week Internet-based menu-planning program, by examining pre- to postintervention changes in the body weight, blood pressure, and glycemia, specifically among overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2), a clinical population at high risk for vascular diseases.
Methods
A total of 33 adults with DM2 were recruited by collaborating registered dietitians to a 24-week Internet-based menu-planning program. Individualized dietary prescriptions were operationalized into weekly Internet-delivered menu plans through an adapted version of a commercially available service. Adherence was defined as logging into the program at least once per week for a minimum of 18 of the 24 weeks. Multiple imputations were used for missing data. Using baseline and postintervention assessments, we calculated the weight changes (mean, 95% CI) and investigated the corresponding effects (linear regression models) on blood pressure (systolic, diastolic) and hemoglobin A1C (ie, glycemia).
Results
The mean age was 58 (SD 7) years and the mean baseline body mass index was 34.4 (SD 4.6) kg/m2. The results of this study showed that ≥5% weight reduction was achieved by 6/33 participants (18%) and by 5/18 adherent participants (28%). A mean weight change of −2.0% (95% CI −2.6 to −1.4) was observed, with changes occurring in the adherent (−3.6%, 95% CI −4.5 to −2.8) but not in the nonadherent (0%, 95% CI −0.6 to 0.7). It was found that each 1% reduction in body weight was associated with a −2.4 mmHg change in systolic (95% CI −3.5 to −1.2) and a −0.8 mmHg change in diastolic blood pressure (95% CI −1.4 to −0.2). Percent weight change was not found to be related to changes in A1C.
Conclusions
In adults with DM2, an Internet-based menu-planning program has the potential to lead to clinically important weight reductions in more than one quarter of those who adhere, with corresponding improvements in blood pressure.
doi:10.2196/resprot.2525
PMCID: PMC3806354  PMID: 24185033
weight loss; obesity; hemoglobin A1C; blood pressure; Internet; Web; type 2 diabetes mellitus; diet; menu
8.  Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Validation Studies on a Diabetes Case Definition from Health Administrative Records 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e75256.
Objectives
Health administrative data are frequently used for diabetes surveillance. We aimed to determine the sensitivity and specificity of a commonly-used diabetes case definition (two physician claims or one hospital discharge abstract record within a two-year period) and their potential effect on prevalence estimation.
Methods
Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, we searched Medline (from 1950) and Embase (from 1980) databases for validation studies through August 2012 (keywords: “diabetes mellitus”; “administrative databases”; “validation studies”). Reviewers abstracted data with standardized forms and assessed quality using Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies (QUADAS) criteria. A generalized linear model approach to random-effects bivariate regression meta-analysis was used to pool sensitivity and specificity estimates. We applied correction factors derived from pooled sensitivity and specificity estimates to prevalence estimates from national surveillance reports and projected prevalence estimates over 10 years (to 2018).
Results
The search strategy identified 1423 abstracts among which 11 studies were deemed relevant and reviewed; 6 of these reported sensitivity and specificity allowing pooling in a meta-analysis. Compared to surveys or medical records, sensitivity was 82.3% (95%CI 75.8, 87.4) and specificity was 97.9% (95%CI 96.5, 98.8). The diabetes case definition underestimated prevalence when it was ≤10.6% and overestimated prevalence otherwise.
Conclusion
The diabetes case definition examined misses up to one fifth of diabetes cases and wrongly identifies diabetes in approximately 2% of the population. This may be sufficiently sensitive and specific for surveillance purposes, in particular monitoring prevalence trends. Applying correction factors to adjust prevalence estimates from this definition may be helpful to increase accuracy of estimates.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0075256
PMCID: PMC3793995  PMID: 24130696
9.  Strategies to Optimize Participation in Diabetes Prevention Programs following Gestational Diabetes: A Focus Group Study 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67878.
Objective
We performed a qualitative study among women within 5 years of Gestational Diabetes (GDM) diagnosis. Our aim was to identify the key elements that would enhance participation in a type 2 diabetes (DM2) prevention program.
Research Design and Methods
Potential participants received up to three invitation letters from their GDM physician. Four focus groups were held. Discussants were invited to comment on potential facilitators/barriers to participation and were probed on attitudes towards meal replacement and Internet/social media tools. Recurring themes were identified through qualitative content analysis of discussion transcripts.
Results
Among the 1,201 contacted and 79 eligible/interested, 29 women attended a focus group discussion. More than half of discussants were overweight/obese, and less than half were physically active. For DM2 prevention, a strong need for social support to achieve changes in dietary and physical activity habits was expressed. In this regard, face-to-face interactions with peers and professionals were preferred, with adjunctive roles for Internet/social media. Further, direct participation of partners/spouses in a DM2 prevention program was viewed as important to enhance support for behavioural change at home. Discussants highlighted work and child-related responsibilities as potential barriers to participation, and emphasized the importance of childcare support to allow attendance. Meal replacements were viewed with little interest, with concerns that their use would provide a poor example of eating behaviour to children.
Conclusions
Among women within 5 years of a GDM diagnosis who participated in a focus group discussion, participation in a DM2 prevention program would be enhanced by face-to-face interactions with professionals and peers, provision of childcare support, and inclusion of spouses/partners.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067878
PMCID: PMC3701629  PMID: 23861824
10.  Effects of meal preparation training on body weight, glycemia, and blood pressure: results of a phase 2 trial in type 2 diabetes 
Background
Modest reductions in weight and small increases in step- related activity (e.g., walking) can improve glycemic and blood pressure control in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2). We examined changes in these parameters following training in time- efficient preparation of balanced, low- energy meals combined with pedometer- based step count monitoring.
Methods
Seventy- two adults with DM2 were enrolled in a 24- week program (i.e., 15 three- hour group sessions). They prepared meals under a chef’s supervision, and discussed eating behaviours/nutrition with a registered dietitian. They maintained a record of pedometer- assessed step counts. We evaluated changes from baseline to 24 weeks in terms of weight, step counts, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c, glycemic control), blood pressure, and eating control ability (Weight Efficacy Lifestyle WEL Questionnaire). 53 participants (73.6%) completed assessments.
Results
There were improvements in eating control (11.2 point WEL score change, 95% CI 4.7 to 17.8), step counts (mean change 869 steps/day, 95% CI 198 to 1,540), weight (mean change −2.2%; 95% CI −3.6 to −0.8), and HbA1c (mean change −0.3% HbA1c, 95% CI −0.6 to −0.1), as well as suggestion of systolic blood pressure reduction (mean change −3.5 mm Hg, 95% CI −7.8 to 0.9). Findings were not attributable to medication changes. In linear regression models (adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, insulin use, season), a −2.5% weight change was associated with a −0.3% HbA1c change (95% CI −0.4 to −0.2) and a −3.5% systolic blood pressure change (95% CI −5.5 to −1.4).
Conclusions
In this ‘proof of concept’ study, persistence with the program led to improvements in eating and physical activity habits, glycemia reductions, and suggestion of blood pressure lowering effects. The strategy thus merits further study and development to expand the range of options for vascular risk reduction in DM2.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-125
PMCID: PMC3543247  PMID: 23075398
Body weight; Physical activity; Patient education; Risk factors; Type 2 diabetes
11.  Risk of bleeding associated with combined use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction 
Background:
Patients prescribed antiplatelet treatment to prevent recurrent acute myocardial infarction are often also given a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) to treat coexisting depression. Use of either treatment may increase the risk of bleeding. We assessed the risk of bleeding among patients taking both medications following acute myocardial infarction.
Methods:
We conducted a retrospective cohort study using hospital discharge abstracts, physician billing information, medication reimbursement claims and demographic data from provincial health services administrative databases. We included patients 50 years of age or older who were discharged from hospital with antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction between January 1998 and March 2007. Patients were followed until admission to hospital due to a bleeding episode, admission to hospital due to recurrent acute myocardial infarction, death or the end of the study period.
Results:
The 27 058 patients in the cohort received the following medications at discharge: acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) (n = 14 426); clopidogrel (n = 2467), ASA and clopidogrel (n = 9475); ASA and an SSRI (n = 406); ASA, clopidogrel and an SSRI (n = 239); or clopidogrel and an SSRI (n = 45). Compared with ASA use alone, the combined use of an SSRI with antiplatelet therapy was associated with an increased risk of bleeding (ASA and SSRI: hazard ratio [HR] 1.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–1.87; ASA, clopidogrel and SSRI: HR 2.35, 95% CI 1.61–3.42). Compared with dual antiplatelet therapy alone (ASA and clopidogrel), combined use of an SSRI and dual antiplatelet therapy was associated with an increased risk of bleeding (HR 1.57, 95% CI 1.07–2.32).
Interpretation:
Patients taking an SSRI together with ASA or dual antiplatelet therapy following acute myocardial infarction were at increased risk of bleeding.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.100912
PMCID: PMC3216455  PMID: 21948719
12.  Daily steps are low year-round and dip lower in fall/winter: findings from a longitudinal diabetes cohort 
Background
Higher walking levels lead to lower mortality in type 2 diabetes, but inclement weather may reduce walking. In this patient population, we conducted a longitudinal cohort study to objectively quantify seasonal variations both in walking and in two vascular risk factors associated with activity levels, hemoglobin A1C and blood pressure.
Methods
Between June 2006 and July 2009, volunteer type 2 diabetes patients in Montreal, Quebec, Canada underwent two weeks of pedometer measurement up to four times over a one year follow-up period (i.e. once/season). Pedometer viewing windows were concealed (snap-on cover and tamper proof seal). A1C, blood pressure, and anthropometric parameters were also assessed. Given similarities in measures for spring/summer and fall/winter, and because not all participants completed four assessments, spring and summer values were collapsed as were fall and winter values. Mean within-individual differences (95% confidence intervals) were computed for daily steps, A1C, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, by subtracting spring/summer values from fall/winter values.
Results
Among 201 participants, 166 (82.6%) underwent at least one fall/winter and one spring/summer evaluation. Approximately half were women, the mean age was 62.4 years (SD 10.8), and the mean BMI was 30.1 kg/m2 (SD 5.7). Step counts averaged at a sedentary level in fall/winter (mean 4,901 steps/day, SD 2,464) and at a low active level in spring/summer (mean 5,659 steps/day, SD 2,611). There was a -758 (95% CI: -1,037 to -479) mean fall/winter to spring/summer within-individual difference. There were no significant differences in A1C or in anthropometric parameters. Systolic blood pressure was higher in fall/winter (mean 137 mm Hg, SD 16) than spring/summer (133 mm Hg, SD 14) with a mean difference of 4.0 mm Hg (95% CI: 2.3 to 5.7).
Conclusions
Daily step counts in type 2 diabetes patients are low, dipping lower during fall/winter. In this medication-treated cohort, A1C was stable year-round but a fall/winter systolic blood pressure increase was detected. Our findings signal a need to develop strategies to help patients increase step counts year-round and prevent both reductions in step counts and increases in blood pressure during the fall and winter.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-9-81
PMCID: PMC3004821  PMID: 21118567
13.  Sex Differences in Step Count-Blood Pressure Association: A Preliminary Study in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e14086.
Background
Walking and cardiovascular mortality are inversely associated in type 2 diabetes, but few studies have objectively measured associations of walking with individual cardiovascular risk factors. Such information would be useful for “dosing” daily steps in clinical practice. This study aimed to quantify decrements in blood pressure and glycated hemoglobin (A1C) per 1,000 daily step increments.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Two hundred and one subjects with type 2 diabetes underwent assessments of step counts (pedometer-measured), blood pressure, A1C and anthropometric parameters. Due to missing data, the final analysis was conducted on 83 women and 102 men, with a mean age of 60 years. Associations of daily steps with blood pressure and A1C were evaluated using sex-specific multivariate linear regression models (adjusted for age, ethnicity, and BMI). Potential sex differences were confirmed in a combined model (women and men) with interaction terms. Mean values for daily steps, blood pressure, A1C and BMI were 5,357 steps/day; 137/80 mm Hg; 7.7% and 30.4 kg/m2 respectively. A 1,000 daily step increment among women was associated with a −2.6 (95% CI: −4.1 to −1.1) mm Hg change in systolic and a −1.4 (95% CI: −2.2 to −0.6) mm Hg change in diastolic blood pressure. Among men, corresponding changes were −0.7 (95% CI: −2.1 to 0.7) and −0.6 (95% CI: −1.4 to 0.3) mm Hg, respectively. Sex differences were confirmed in combined models. Step counts and A1C did not demonstrate clinically important associations.
Conclusions/Significance
A 1,000 steps/day increment is associated with important blood pressure decrements among women with type 2 diabetes but the data were inconclusive among men. Targeted “dose increments” of 1,000 steps/day in women may lead to measurable blood pressure reductions. This information may be of potential use in the titration or “dosing” of daily steps. No associations were found between step count increments and A1C.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0014086
PMCID: PMC2989914  PMID: 21124929
14.  Short-term mortality associated with failure to receive home care after hemiarthroplasty 
Background
Hemiarthroplasty is often the treatment of choice after hip fracture, particularly in frail elderly patients. Such patients may benefit from home care after discharge. We assessed factors associated with the receipt of home care and evaluated the risk of death within three months after discharge.
Methods
We obtained administrative data for patients 65 years or older in the province of Quebec who were discharged alive from hospital after hemiarthroplasty during the period 1997–2004. We evaluated destination after discharge and mortality within three months after discharge.
Results
Of 11 326 study patients, 5.6% were discharged home with home care, 29.9% home without home care, 2.0% to a rehabilitation centre, 24.2% to a nursing home and 38.3% to another hospital. Among patients who were discharged home, those who were older, had osteoarthritis, had an emergent admission and were admitted to a high-volume hospital were less likely to receive home care. Discharge with home care was most likely among patients admitted to teaching hospitals, those in hospital for more than seven days, those with atrial fibrillation and those with acute renal failure. Patients who received home care were at lower risk of death than those discharged home without care (hazard ratio 0.57, 95% confidence interval 0.39–0.85).
Interpretation
Less than 16% of the patients discharged home after hemiarthroplasty received home care. Those who received such care had a lower risk of death within three months after discharge.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.091209
PMCID: PMC2942914  PMID: 20713576
15.  Outcomes in a diabetic population of south Asians and whites following hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction: a retrospective cohort study 
Background
The aim of this study was to determine whether South Asian patients with diabetes have a worse prognosis following hospitalization for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) compared with their White counterparts. We measured the risk of developing a composite cardiovascular outcome of recurrent AMI, congestive heart failure (CHF) requiring hospitalization, or death, in these two groups.
Methods
Using hospital administrative data, we performed a retrospective cohort study of 41,615 patients with an incident AMI in British Columbia and the Calgary Health Region between April 1, 1995, and March 31, 2002. South Asian ethnicity was determined using validated surname analysis. Baseline demographic characteristics and co-morbidities were included in Cox proportional hazard models to compare time to reaching the composite outcome and its individual components.
Results
Among the AMI cohort, 29.7% of South Asian patients and 17.6% of White patients were identified as having diabetes (n = 7416). There was no significant difference in risk of developing the composite cardiovascular outcome (Hazard Ratio = 0.90, 95% CI = 0.80-1.01). However, South Asian patients had significantly lower mortality at long term follow-up (HR = 0.62, 95% CI = 0.51-0.74) compared to their White counterparts.
Conclusions
Following hospitalization for AMI, South Asian patients with diabetes do not have a significantly different long term risk of a composite cardiovascular outcome compared to White patients with diabetes. While previous research has suggested worse cardiovascular outcomes in the South Asian population, we found lower long-term mortality among South Asians with diabetes following AMI.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-9-4
PMCID: PMC2816974  PMID: 20096107
16.  Pancytopenia and atrial fibrillation associated with chronic hepatitis C infection and presumed hepatocellular carcinoma: a case report 
Introduction
Pancytopenia secondary to hepatitis viral infection is a rare but noted clinical entity. An acute aplastic crisis usually occurs shortly after viral infection, however, viral serologies are usually negative and the pancytopenia is often fatal if left untreated.
Case presentation
A 66-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with shortness of breath and palpitations. She was found to have pulmonary edema secondary to a newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation and was treated with rate control and anticoagulation. She was found to have an anemia that was reported to be longstanding and that was apparently being investigated by a hematologist, although no diagnosis had yet been achieved. Her blood work also revealed a mild leucopenia and pronounced thrombocytopenia. The patient was admitted to ensure appropriate rate control of her atrial fibrillation and for work-up of her pancytopenia. Review of the bone marrow biopsy performed by the hematologist revealed a normal marrow with no infiltrative process. The results of the patient's blood tests ruled out a hemolytic process. There was also no evidence of infection, toxin ingestion, or recent medication that could be associated with pancytopenia. An abdominal ultrasound was ordered to rule out enlargement of the spleen and a possible consumptive coagulopathy. The spleen was mildly enlarged with a diameter of 13 cm. The liver, however, was mildly cirrhotic and a small solitary liver lesion was seen. A magnetic resonance imaging scan of the liver confirmed a single solitary solid mass and the α-fetal protein level in the serum was elevated. The patient's preliminary viral serologies were positive for hepatitis C. The patient was diagnosed with presumed hepatocellular carcinoma and referred to a hepatic surgeon for evaluation of treatment options.
Conclusion
Hepatitis associated aplastic anemia is an acute condition while milder more chronic presentations, such as this case, likely result from increased portal pressure generated from the resulting cirrhosis, which leads to a relative hypersplenism.
doi:10.1186/1752-1947-2-264
PMCID: PMC2518155  PMID: 18694489
17.  Postdischarge thromboprophylaxis and mortality risk after hip-or knee-replacement surgery 
Background
Patients undergoing hip or knee replacement are at high risk of developing a postoperative venous thromboembolism even after discharge from hospital. We sought to identify hospital and patient characteristics associated with receiving thromboprophylaxis after discharge and to compare the risk of short-term mortality among those who did or did not receive thromboprophylaxis.
Methods
We conducted a retrospective cohort study using system-wide hospital discharge summary records, physician billing information, medication reimbursement claims and demographic records. We included patients aged 65 years and older who received a hip or knee replace ment and who were discharged home after surgery.
Results
In total we included 10 744 patients. Of these, 7058 patients who received a hip replacement and 3686 who received a knee replacement. The mean age was 75.4 (standard deviation [SD] 6.8) years and 38% of patients were men. In total, 2059 (19%) patients received thomboprophylaxis at discharge. Patients discharged from university teaching hospitals were less likely than those discharged from community hospitals to received thromboprophylaxis after discharge (odds ratio [OR] 0.89, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.80–1.00). Patients were less likely to receive thromboprophylaxis after discharge if they had a longer hospital stay (15–30 days v. 1–7 days, OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.59–0.81). Patients were more likely to receive thromboprophylaxis if they had hip (v. knee) replacement, osteoarthritis, heart failure, atrial fibrillation or hypertension, higher (v. lower) income or if they were treated at medium-volume hospitals (69–116 hip and knee replacements per year). In total, 223 patients (2%) died in the 3-month period after discharge. The risk of short-term mortality was lower among those who received thromboprophylaxis after discharge (hazard ratio [HR] 0.34, 95% CI 0.20–0.57).
Interpretation
Fewer than 1 in 5 elderly patients discharged home after a hip-or knee-replacement surgery received postdischarge thromboprophylaxis. Those prescribed these medications had a lower risk of short-term mortality. The benefits of and barriers to thromboprophylaxis therapy after discharge in this population requires further study.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.071388
PMCID: PMC2396368  PMID: 18519902
18.  A comprehensive view of sex-specific issues related to cardiovascular disease 
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of mortality in women. In fact, CVD is responsible for a third of all deaths of women worldwide and half of all deaths of women over 50 years of age in developing countries. The prevalence of CVD risk factor precursors is increasing in children. Retrospective analyses suggest that there are some clinically relevant differences between women and men in terms of prevalence, presentation, management and outcomes of the disease, but little is known about why CVD affects women and men differently. For instance, women with diabetes have a significantly higher CVD mortality rate than men with diabetes. Similarly, women with atrial fibrillation are at greater risk of stroke than men with atrial fibrillation. Historically, women have been underrepresented in clinical trials. The lack of good trial evidence concerning sex-specific outcomes has led to assumptions about CVD treatment in women, which in turn may have resulted in inadequate diagnoses and suboptimal management, greatly affecting outcomes. This knowledge gap may also explain why cardiovascular health in women is not improving as fast as that of men. Over the last decades, mortality rates in men have steadily declined, while those in women remained stable. It is also becoming increasingly evident that gender differences in cultural, behavioural, psychosocial and socioeconomic status are responsible, to various degrees, for the observed differences between women and men. However, the interaction between sex-and gender-related factors and CVD outcomes in women remains largely unknown.
doi:10.1503/cmaj.051455
PMCID: PMC1817670  PMID: 17353516
19.  Walking behaviour and glycemic control in type 2 diabetes: seasonal and gender differences-Study design and methods 
Background
The high glucose levels typically occurring among adults with type 2 diabetes contribute to blood vessel injury and complications such as blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke. Higher physical activity levels are associated with improved glycemic control, as measured by hemoglobin A1C. A 1% absolute increase in A1C is associated with an 18% increased risk for heart disease or stroke. Among Canadians with type 2 diabetes, we postulate that declines in walking associated with colder temperatures and inclement weather may contribute to annual post-winter increases in A1C levels.
Methods
During this prospective cohort study being conducted in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 100 men and 100 women with type 2 diabetes will undergo four assessments (once per season) over a one-year period of observation. These assessments include (1) use of a pedometer with a concealed viewing window for a two-week period to measure walking (2) a study centre visit during which venous blood is sampled for A1C, anthropometrics are assessed, and questionnaires are completed for measurement of other factors that may influence walking and/or A1C (e.g. food frequency, depressive symptomology, medications). The relationship between spring-fall A1C difference and winter-summer difference in steps/day will be examined through multivariate linear regression models adjusted for possible confounding. Interpretation of findings by researchers in conjunction with potential knowledge "users" (e.g. health professionals, patient groups) will guide knowledge translation efforts.
Discussion
Although we cannot alter weather patterns to favour active lifestyles, we can design treatment strategies that take seasonal and weather-related variations into account. For example, demonstration of seasonal variation of A1C levels among Canadian men and women with T2D and greater understanding of its determinants could lead to (1) targeting physical activity levels to remain at or exceed peak values achieved during more favourable weather conditions. Strategies may include shifting to indoor activities or adapting to less favourable conditions (e.g. appropriate outdoor garments, more frequent but shorter duration periods of activity) (2) increasing dose/number of glucose-lowering medications during the winter and reducing these during the summer, in anticipation of seasonal variations (3) examining the impact of bright light therapy on activity and A1C among T2D patients with an increase in depressive symptomology when sunlight hours decline.
doi:10.1186/1475-2840-6-1
PMCID: PMC1783642  PMID: 17224062
20.  Association between frequent use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and breast cancer 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:159.
Background
Eighty percent of all breast cancers and almost 90% of breast cancer deaths occur among post-menopausal women. We used a nested case control design to examine the association between nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use and breast cancer occurrence among women over 65 years of age. The cyclooxygenase (COX)-2 enzyme is expressed more in breast cancers than in normal breast tissue. COX-2 inhibition may have a role in breast cancer prevention.
Methods
In the Canadian province of Quebec, physician services are covered through a governmental insurance plan. Medication costs are covered for those ≥ 65 years of age and a publicly funded screening program for breast cancer targets all women 50 years of age or older. We obtained encrypted data from these insurance databases on all women ≥ 65 years of age who filled a prescription for COX-2 inhibitors, non-selective NSAIDs (ns-NSAIDs), aspirin, or acetaminophen between January 1998 and December 2002. Cases were defined as those women who have undergone mammography between April 2001 and June 2002 and had a diagnosis of breast cancer within six months following mammography. Controls included those who have undergone mammography between April 2001 and June 2002 without a diagnosis of any cancer during the six months following mammography. The exposure of interest, frequent NSAID use, was defined as use of ns-NSAIDs and/or COX-2 inhibitors for ≥ 90 days during the year prior to mammography. Frequent use served as a convenient proxy for long term chronic use.
Results
We identified 1,090 cases and 44,990 controls. Cases were older and more likely to have breast cancer risk factors. Logistic regression models adjusting for potential confounders showed that frequent use of ns-NSAIDs and/or COX-2 inhibitors was associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (OR: 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.64–0.89). Results were similar for COX-2 inhibitors (0.81, 0.68–0.97) and ns-NSAIDs (0.65, 0.43–0.99), when assessed separately. Frequent use of aspirin at doses > 100 mg/day in the year prior to mammography was also associated with a lower risk of breast cancer (0.75, 0.64–0.89). However, use of aspirin at doses ≤ 100 mg/day did not have any association with breast cancer (0.91, 0.71–1.16).
Conclusion
Women who use NSAIDs or doses of aspirin > 100 mg frequently may have a lower risk of breast cancer.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-5-159
PMCID: PMC1334211  PMID: 16343343

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