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1.  Serum anion gap, bicarbonate and biomarkers of inflammation in healthy individuals in a national survey 
In vitro data suggest that lower extracellular pH activates the immune system. We conducted a population-based study of the relation between serum acid–base status and inflammation.
We examined the serum anion gap and serum levels of bicarbonate and inflammatory biomarkers in 4525 healthy adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey during 1999–2006. We excluded participants who had chronic disease, recent infection and an estimated glomerular filtration rate of less than 60 mL/min per 1.73 m2.
The mean values of serum anion gap, bicarbonate level, leukocyte count and C-reactive protein level were all within normal limits. After adjustment for age, sex, ethnic background, body mass index, serum albumin level and other factors, we found that a higher anion gap and lower bicarbonate level were associated with a higher leukocyte count and higher C-reactive protein level. Compared with participants in the lowest quartile of anion gap, those in the highest quartile had a leukocyte count that was 1.0 × 09/L higher and a C-reactive protein level that was 10.9 nmol/L higher (p < 0.01). Compared with participants in the highest quartile of bicarbonate level, those in the lowest quartile had a leukocyte count that was 0.7 × 109/L higher and a C-reactive protein level that was 4.0 nmol/L higher (p ≤ 0.02). A higher anion gap and lower bicarbonate level were also associated with a higher platelet count, a larger mean platelet volume and a higher ferritin level.
A higher serum anion gap and lower bicarbonate level were associated with higher levels of inflammatory biomarkers in a healthy sample of the general population. Further studies are needed to elucidate the relation between acid–base status and inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2817320  PMID: 20008503
2.  The association between height and prostate cancer grade in the Early Stage Prostate Cancer Cohort Study 
Cancer causes & control : CCC  2011;22(10):1453-1459.
We examined the relationship between height and prostate cancer grade.
The Early Stage Prostate Cancer Cohort Study is an observational cohort of 1,037 men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, T0–3NxM0. High-grade prostate cancer was defined as a biopsy Gleason score ≥ 7 (4 + 3). Logistic regression models were created to calculate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the cross-sectional relationship between height and prostate cancer grade in the overall cohort and subpopulations.
We identified 939 participants with a biopsy Gleason score. High-grade prostate cancer was diagnosed in 138 participants. Overall, participants in the highest quartile of height were more than twice as likely to have a Gleason score ≥ 7 (4 + 3) than participants in the lowest quartile of height, OR 2.14 (95% CI 1.11, 4.14), after multivariate adjustment. Participants in the highest quartile of height were more likely to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer than participants in the lowest quartile of height among participants who were black, OR 8.00 (95% CI 1.99, 32.18), and participants who had diabetes mellitus, OR 5.09 (95% CI 1.30, 19.98).
Height is associated with increased risk of high-grade prostate cancer overall and perhaps among certain subpopulations.
PMCID: PMC4428304  PMID: 21773817
Prostatic neoplasms; Body height; Epidemiology
3.  Clinical Meaningfulness of the Changes in Muscle Performance and Physical Function Associated With Testosterone Administration in Older Men With Mobility Limitation 
Testosterone in Older Men with Mobility Limitations Trial determined the effects of testosterone on muscle performance and physical function in older men with mobility limitation. Trial’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board recommended enrollment cessation due to increased frequency of adverse events in testosterone arm. The changes in muscle performance and physical function were evaluated in relation to participant’s perception of change.
Men aged 65 years and older, with mobility limitation, total testosterone 100–350 ng/dL, or free testosterone less than 50 pg/mL, were randomized to placebo or 10 g testosterone gel daily for 6 months. Primary outcome was leg-press strength. Secondary outcomes included chest-press strength, stair-climb, 40-m walk, muscle mass, physical activity, self-reported function, and fatigue. Proportions of participants exceeding minimally important difference in study arms were compared.
Of 209 randomized participants, 165 had follow-up efficacy measures. Mean (SD) age was 74 (5.4) years and short physical performance battery score 7.7 (1.4). Testosterone arm exhibited greater improvements in leg-press strength, chest-press strength and power, and loaded stair-climb than placebo. Compared with placebo, significantly greater proportion of men receiving testosterone improved their leg-press and chest-press strengths (43% vs 18%, p = .01) and stair-climbing power (28% vs 10%, p = .03) more than minimally important difference. Increases in leg-press strength and stair-climbing power were associated with changes in testosterone levels and muscle mass. Physical activity, walking speed, self-reported function, and fatigue did not change.
Testosterone administration in older men with mobility limitation was associated with patient-important improvements in muscle strength and stair-climbing power. Improvements in muscle strength and only some physical function measures should be weighed against the risk of adverse events in this population.
PMCID: PMC3202898  PMID: 21697501
Testosterone; Minimally important difference; Mobility limitation; Older men; Function promoting therapies
4.  Adverse Events Associated with Testosterone Administration 
The New England journal of medicine  2010;363(2):109-122.
Testosterone supplementation has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength in healthy older men. The safety and efficacy of testosterone treatment in older men who have limitations in mobility have not been studied.
Community-dwelling men, 65 years of age or older, with limitations in mobility and a total serum testosterone level of 100 to 350 ng per deciliter (3.5 to 12.1 nmol per liter) or a free serum testosterone level of less than 50 pg per milliliter (173 pmol per liter) were randomly assigned to receive placebo gel or testosterone gel, to be applied daily for 6 months. Adverse events were categorized with the use of the Medical Dictionary for Regulatory Activities classification. The data and safety monitoring board recommended that the trial be discontinued early because there was a significantly higher rate of adverse cardiovascular events in the testosterone group than in the placebo group.
A total of 209 men (mean age, 74 years) were enrolled at the time the trial was terminated. At baseline, there was a high prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and obesity among the participants. During the course of the study, the testosterone group had higher rates of cardiac, respiratory, and dermatologic events than did the placebo group. A total of 23 subjects in the testosterone group, as compared with 5 in the placebo group, had cardiovascular-related adverse events. The relative risk of a cardiovascular-related adverse event remained constant throughout the 6-month treatment period. As compared with the placebo group, the testosterone group had significantly greater improvements in leg-press and chest-press strength and in stair climbing while carrying a load.
In this population of older men with limitations in mobility and a high prevalence of chronic disease, the application of a testosterone gel was associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular adverse events. The small size of the trial and the unique population prevent broader inferences from being made about the safety of testosterone therapy.
PMCID: PMC3440621  PMID: 20592293
5.  Evaluation of a generalizable approach to clinical information retrieval using the automated retrieval console (ARC) 
Reducing custom software development effort is an important goal in information retrieval (IR). This study evaluated a generalizable approach involving with no custom software or rules development. The study used documents “consistent with cancer” to evaluate system performance in the domains of colorectal (CRC), prostate (PC), and lung (LC) cancer. Using an end-user-supplied reference set, the automated retrieval console (ARC) iteratively calculated performance of combinations of natural language processing-derived features and supervised classification algorithms. Training and testing involved 10-fold cross-validation for three sets of 500 documents each. Performance metrics included recall, precision, and F-measure. Annotation time for five physicians was also measured. Top performing algorithms had recall, precision, and F-measure values as follows: for CRC, 0.90, 0.92, and 0.89, respectively; for PC, 0.97, 0.95, and 0.94; and for LC, 0.76, 0.80, and 0.75. In all but one case, conditional random fields outperformed maximum entropy-based classifiers. Algorithms had good performance without custom code or rules development, but performance varied by specific application.
PMCID: PMC2995644  PMID: 20595303
Natural language processing; information retrieval; machine learning; prostate cancer; lung cancer; colorectal cancer
6.  Lack of Cholesterol Awareness among Physicians Who Smoke 
Cigarette use is a known risk factor for the development of coronary artery disease (CAD) as it adversely affects HDL cholesterol levels and promotes thrombogenesis. Smoking may also be associated with behavioral characteristics that potentiate the risk of CAD. A lack of cholesterol knowledge would indicate an aversion to a prevention-oriented lifestyle. Thus, our goal was to determine the association between tobacco use and knowledge of self-reported cholesterol among male physicians. Using the 1982 and follow-up questionnaires from the physician health study, we report the changes in the frequencies of awareness of self-reported total cholesterol and cardiovascular risk factors among the 22,067 participants. We classified physicians as being aware of their cholesterol if they reported a cholesterol level and unaware if the question was left unanswered. In 1997, 207 physicians were excluded, as the recorded cholesterol was not interpretable, leaving 21,860 for our follow up analyses. Using unadjusted logistic models, we determined the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of not reporting a cholesterol level in either 1982 or 1997 for each specified risk factor. We then evaluated whether the lack of cholesterol awareness at both time points was associated with the use of tobacco throughout the study. After 14-years of follow up, cholesterol awareness increased from 35.9 to 58.6 percent. During this period, the frequency of hypertension and hyperlipidemia treatment increased (13.5 to 40.5% and 0.57% to 19.6% respectively), as did the diagnosis of diabetes (2.40 to 7.79%). Behavioral characteristics such as a sedentary lifestyle and obesity also increased (27.8 to 42% and 43.5 to 53.5%, respectively), however the proportion of current smokers deceased from 11.1 to 4.05%. The percentages of individuals being unaware of their cholesterol decreased in all risk factor groups. However, individuals were likely to be unaware of their cholesterol at both time points if they were current smokers (1982 OR 1.44, CI 1.4–1.7; 1997 OR 1.71, CI 1.48–1.97), past smokers (1982 OR 1.12, CI 1.05–1.18; 1997 OR 1.13, CI 1.06–1.20), overweight (BMI 25 kg/m2) or sedentary. In addition, physicians who never quit smoking were likely to be unaware of their cholesterol throughout the study (OR 1.42, CI 1.21–1.67). Cholesterol awareness in general and among those with CAD risk factors improved after 14-years of follow-up. However, the likelihood of being unaware was greater among smokers at both time points. Therefore, smokers do not appear to take advantage of other preventive strategies that would minimize their risk of developing CAD.
PMCID: PMC2672367  PMID: 19440406
Disease prevention; cholesterol; lifestyle behavior; tobacco smoking
7.  Weight Gain and New Onset Diabetes Associated with Olanzapine and Risperidone 
Journal of General Internal Medicine  2004;19(12):1200-1205.
To assess whether newer antipsychotic medications are associated with weight gain and development of diabetes.
Retrospective cohort study.
Data from a comprehensive electronic medical record serving an urban public hospital and a citywide network of mental health clinics.
Three thousand one hundred fifteen patients at least 18 years old who were prescribed a single antipsychotic drug for at least 1 year.
We identified independent predictors of significant weight gain (≥7%) and new onset of diabetes mellitus in the first year of antipsychotic drug treatment, using logistic regression adjusted for demographic characteristics, obesity, preexisting psychiatric diagnoses, alcohol and drug abuse, number of primary care, psychiatric clinic, and emergency department visits, and pretreatment weight.
Twenty-five percent of patients taking older phenothiazines developed significant weight gain in the first year of treatment compared to 40% of the patients taking olanzapine (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 2.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7 to 4.6; P < .0001) and 37% of patients taking risperidone (adjusted OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.5 to 3.4; P < .0001). New diabetes developed in 3% of patients taking older phenothiazines was new onset diabetes compared to 8.0% of patients taking olanzapine (adjusted OR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1 to 3.3; P= .03) and 3.5% of patients taking risperidone (adjusted OR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4 to 1.4; P= .3). No association was found between significant weight gain and developing diabetes (adjusted OR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.4 to 1.4; P= .4).
Olanzapine and risperidone use was associated with gaining weight in the first year, but only olanzapine was associated with developing diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC1492596  PMID: 15610330
olanzapine; risperidone; diabetes; weight gain; schizophrenia

Results 1-7 (7)