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1.  2007 Survey of Medical Toxicology Practice Improvement Activities 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2010;6(3):286-293.
To date, there appear to be no studies that assess Medical Toxicologists’ (MTs) practice improvement (PI) activities in their Medical Toxicology practice settings. The MT Assessment of Practice Performance (APP) Taskforce queried all MT diplomates about (1) activities currently available in their practice settings that potentially would meet the requirements of APP, (2) potential APP activities that best fit with current MT practice, and (3) the relationship between MT practice patterns and APP requirements. One hundred twenty-seven surveys were completed. Participation in MT practice improvement activities is not universal, with approximately a third of the survey participants reporting that they are not involved in any practice improvement activity. Few respondents reported that they collected performance improvement-related data. Most who did so participated in CME, case, or chart reviews. Peer reviews, self-improvement plans based on chart reviews, and population research were considered the most valid measures of MT practice improvement. Communication skills were considered important topics for patient surveys. Suggested outcomes for peer assessment included accuracy of information provided, understanding medical staff concerns, timeliness of feedback, and helpfulness. Most respondents rated all of the APP options as being somewhat very intrusive. Access to those with sufficient knowledge of the diplomate’s practice improvement program to verify APP could pose a challenge to a successful completion of APP requirements. Optimal settings for the APP program administration are hospitals and poison centers. While barriers to MT APP activities exist, studying current MT diplomates’ opinions and practices could inform the future development and administration of such programs.
PMCID: PMC3550487  PMID: 20237967
Board certification; Maintenance of certification; Practice performance assessment; Medical toxicology
2.  2007 Survey of Medical Toxicology Practice 
Journal of Medical Toxicology  2010;6(3):281-285.
To date, there appear to be no studies investigating the practice settings of all Medical Toxicology (MT) diplomates. The MT Assessment of Practice Performance Taskforce queried all MT diplomates about their current practice settings relative to the number of patients seen, the most common diagnoses, and the percent of time spent in their roles as medical toxicologists (MTs) and in their primary specialty. One hundred twenty-seven surveys were completed (44% response rate). Seventy-nine percent of respondents were affiliated with poison centers. Eighty-eight percent of participants were clinically active and reported seeing or consulting on behalf of at least ten patients over a 2-year period. Acetaminophen toxicity was the most common diagnosis encountered by respondents. Other common diagnoses included antidepressant toxicity, antipsychotic toxicity, mental status alteration, metal/environmental toxicity, envenomation, and pesticide toxicity. While respondents were likely to spend more time in direct patient care in their primary specialty, compared to consulting on behalf of patients, they were more likely to consult on behalf of patients in their role as MTs. Respondents spent more time in research, education, and population health in their role as an MT than in their primary specialty. Administrative activities were more commonly reported in association with the respondents’ primary specialty than in their role as MTs. Most MTs encounter certain diagnoses with significant frequency and see a substantial number of patients within these categories. The majority spends more time on direct patient care in their primary specialty but is actively engaged in MT education, research, population health, and administration. A longitudinal assessment of MT practice patterns could inform MT curricular development and practice performance evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3550496  PMID: 20354919
Board certification; Maintenance of certification; Practice performance assessment; Medical toxicology
3.  Sex Differences in Response to Citalopram: A STAR*D Report 
Journal of psychiatric research  2008;43(5):503-511.
Controversy exists as to whether women with depression respond better to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) than men. The purpose of this report was to determine whether men and women differ in their responses to treatment with the SSRI citalopram using a large sample of real world patients from primary and psychiatric specialty care settings.
As part of the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, 2876 participants were treated with citalopram for up to 12-14 weeks. Baseline demographic and clinical characteristics and outcomes were gathered and compared between men and women.
At baseline, women were younger, had more severe depressive symptoms and were more likely to have: early onset; previous suicide attempt(s); a family history of depression, alcohol abuse or drug abuse; atypical symptom features; and one or more of several concurrent psychiatric disorders. Despite greater baseline severity and more Axis I comorbidities, women were more likely to reach remission and response with citalopram than men.
Women have a better response to the SSRI citalopram than men, which may be due to sex-specific biological differences particularly in serotonergic systems.
PMCID: PMC2681489  PMID: 18752809
antidepressants; gender differences; estradiol; women's health; depression
4.  Influences of Hormone-Based Contraception on Depressive Symptoms in Premenopausal Women with Major Depression 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2007;32(7):843-853.
Hormone-based contraceptives affect mood in healthy women or in women with Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. No study has yet examined their association with mood in women with major depressive disorder (MDD). The purpose of this study was to determine whether estrogen-progestin combination or progestin-only contraceptives are associated with depression severity, function and quality of life, or general medical or psychiatric comorbidity in women with MDD.
This analysis focused on a large population of female outpatients less than 40 years of age with non-psychotic MDD who were treated in 18 primary and 23 psychiatric care settings across the United States, using data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study. Baseline demographic and clinical information was gathered and compared between three groups based on hormonal use: combination (estrogen-progestin)(N=232), progestin-only (N=58), and no hormone treatment (N=948).
Caucasians were significantly more likely to use combined hormone contraception. Women on progestin-only had significantly more general medical comorbidities; greater hypersomnia, weight gain and gastrointestinal symptoms; and worse physical functioning than women in either of the other groups. Those on combined hormone contraception were significantly less depressed than those with no hormone treatment by the 16-item Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology - Self-Rated. The combined hormone group also demonstrated better physical functioning and less obsessive-compulsive disorder comorbidity than either of the other groups.
Synthetic estrogen and progestins may influence depressive and physical symptoms in depressed women.
PMCID: PMC2100423  PMID: 17629629
Estradiol; Progesterone; Major Depression; Mood symptoms; Oral contraceptives; Norplant

Results 1-4 (4)