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1.  Physical Activity Increases Gains in and Prevents Loss of Physical Function: Results From the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Pilot Study 
Physical activity (PA) appears to have a positive effect on physical function, however, studies have not examined multiple indices of physical function jointly nor have they conceptualized physical functioning as a state rather than a trait.
About 424 men and women aged 70–89 were randomly assigned to complete a PA or a successful aging (SA) education program. Balance, gait speed, chair stand performance, grip strength, and time to complete the 400-m walk were assessed at baseline and at 6 and 12 months. Using hidden Markov model, empiric states of physical functioning were derived based on these performance measures of balance, strength, and mobility. Rates of gain and loss in physical function were compared between PA and SA.
Eight states of disability were identified and condensed into four clinically relevant states. State 1 represented mild disability with physical functioning, states 2 and 3 were considered intermediate states of disability, and state 4 severe disability. About 30.1% of all participants changed states at 6 months, 24.1% at 12 months, and 11.0% at both time points. The PA group was more likely to regain or sustain functioning and less likely to lose functioning when compared with SA. For example, PA participants were 20% more likely than the SA participants to remain in state 1.
PA appears to have a favorable effect on the dynamics of physical functioning in older adults.
PMCID: PMC3593616  PMID: 22987794
Older adults; Physical activity; Randomized controlled trial; Physical functioning; Transitional states.
2.  The MAT-sf: Clinical Relevance and Validity 
The measurement of mobility is essential to both aging research and clinical practice. A newly developed self-report measure of mobility, the mobility assessment tool—short form (MAT-sf), uses video animations to improve measurement accuracy/precision. Using a large baseline data set, we recalibrated the items, evaluated the extent to which older patients’ self-efficacy (i.e., confidence) for walking was related to MAT-sf scores beyond their actual 400-m walk time, and assessed the relationship of the MAT-sf with body mass index and other clinical variables.
The analyses employed baseline data from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Study.
Item recalibration demonstrated that the MAT-sf scoring algorithm was robust. In an analysis with 400-m walk time and self-efficacy regressed on the MAT-sf, both variables shared unique variance with the MAT-sf (p < .001). The MAT-sf was inversely related to several comorbidities, most notably hypertension and arthritis (p < .001), and scores were lowest when body mass index ≥ 35kg/m2. Finally, MAT-sf scores were directly related to Short Physical Performance Battery scores, inversely related to difficulty with activities of daily living (p < .001) and higher for men than for women (p < .001).
The findings extend the validity and clinical utility of this innovative tool for assessing self-reported mobility in older adults. Longitudinal data on the MAT-sf from the Lifestyle Interventions and Independence for Elders Study will enable us to evaluate the relative contributions of self-report and performance-based measures of mobility on important health outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3814234  PMID: 23685766
Mobility; Geriatric assessment; Physical function; MAT-sf
3.  Older Adults’ Fears about Diabetes: Using Common Sense Models of Disease to Understand Fear Origins and Implications for Self-Management 
This study examines older adults’ fears of diabetes complications and their effects on self-management practices. Existing models of diabetes self-management posit that patients’ actions are grounded in disease beliefs and experience, but there is little supporting evidence. In-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with a community-based sample of 74 African American, American Indian, and white older adults with diabetes. Analysis uses Leventhal’s Common Sense Model of Diabetes to link fears to early experience and current self-management. Sixty-three identified fears focused on complications that could limit carrying out normal activities: amputation, blindness, low blood glucose and coma, and disease progression to insulin use and dialysis. Most focused self-management on actions to prevent specific complications, rather than on managing the disease as a whole. Early experiences focused attention on the inevitability of complications and the limited ability of patients to prevent them. Addressing older adults’ fears about diabetes may improve their diabetes self-management practices.
PMCID: PMC4212900  PMID: 25364096
Rural; qualitative methods; common sense model
4.  Are Medical Students Aware of Their Anti-Obesity Bias? 
Anti-obesity prejudices affect the quality of care obese individuals receive. The authors sought to determine the prevalence of weight-related biases among medical students and whether they were aware of their biases.
Between 2008 and 2011, the authors asked all third-year medical students at Wake Forest School of Medicine to complete the Weight Implicit Association Test (IAT), a validated measure of implicit preferences for “fat” or “thin” individuals. Students also answered a semantic differential item assessing their explicit weight-related preferences. The authors determined students’ awareness of their biases by examining the correlation between students’ explicit preferences and their IAT scores.
Of 354 medical students, 310 (88%) completed valid surveys and consented to participate. Overall, 33% (101/310) self-reported a significant (“moderate” or “strong”) explicit anti-fat bias. No students self-reported a significant explicit anti-thin bias. According to the IAT scores, over half of students had a significant implicit weight bias: 39% (121/310) had an anti-fat bias and 17% (52/310) an anti-thin bias. Two-thirds of students (67%, 81/121) were unaware of their implicit anti-fat bias. Only male gender predicted an explicit anti-fat bias (odds ratio 3.0, 95% confidence interval 1.8 – 5.3). No demographic factors were associated with an implicit anti-fat bias. Students’ explicit and implicit biases were not correlated (Pearson r = 0.03, P = .58).
Over one-third of medical students had a significant implicit anti-fat bias; few were aware of that bias. Accordingly, medical schools’ obesity curricula should address weight-related biases and their potential impact on care.
PMCID: PMC3930920  PMID: 23702519
5.  Physical Activity of Preschool-Aged Latino Children in Farmworker Families 
To describe time spent in sedentary and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) by children in Latino farmworker families; and delineate sources of variation in sedentary and MVPA.
Data were from mother-child dyads (N = 248) in Latino farmworker households in North Carolina. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometers; mothers described their children’s characteristics and their physical and social environments.
Children spent 6.2 hours/day sedentary (Median=369 minutes), and 6.0 minutes/day in MVPA. Children in Head Start spent more time sedentary, whereas children living where dogs roam freely were less sedentary. Children whose mothers limited screen time spent 2 more minutes in MVPA.
Preschool-aged Latino children in farmworker families are sedentary, engaging in very little MVPA.
PMCID: PMC4060153  PMID: 24933141
preschool-aged children; Latinos; farmworkers; physical activity
6.  Applicability of the Nonverbal Learning Disability Paradigm for Children With 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome 
Journal of learning disabilities  2012;47(2):153-166.
Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome (22q11DS) is the most common microdeletion in humans. Nonverbal learning disability (NLD) has been used to describe the strengths and deficits of children with 22q11DS, but the applicability of the label for this population has seldom been systematically evaluated. The goal of the current study was to address how well the NLD diagnosis characterizes children and adolescents with 22q11DS. A total of 74 children and adolescents with 22q11DS were given neurocognitive, socioemotional, and academic assessments to measure aspects of NLD. Of the cohort, 20% met at least 7 of 9 assessed criteria for NLD; 25% showed verbal skills exceeding their nonverbal skills as assessed by an IQ test; and 24% showed the good rote verbal capacity commonly associated with NLD. Hypothesizing that if the entire cohort did not show consistent NLD characteristics, the descriptor might be more accurate for a distinct subgroup, the authors used latent class analysis to divide participants into three subgroups. However, the lines along which the groups broke out were more related to general functioning level than to NLD criteria. All three groups showed a heightened risk for psychiatric illness, highlighting the importance of careful mental health monitoring for all children with 22q11DS.
PMCID: PMC4045450  PMID: 22572413
nonverbal learning disability; 22q11 deletion syndrome; velocardiofacial syndrome; latent class modeling
7.  Partially ordered mixed hidden Markov model for the disablement process of older adults 
At both the individual and societal levels, the health and economic burden of disability in older adults is enormous in developed countries, including the U.S. Recent studies have revealed that the disablement process in older adults often comprises episodic periods of impaired functioning and periods that are relatively free of disability, amid a secular and natural trend of decline in functioning. Rather than an irreversible, progressive event that is analogous to a chronic disease, disability is better conceptualized and mathematically modeled as states that do not necessarily follow a strict linear order of good-to-bad. Statistical tools, including Markov models, which allow bidirectional transition between states, and random effects models, which allow individual-specific rate of secular decline, are pertinent. In this paper, we propose a mixed effects, multivariate, hidden Markov model to handle partially ordered disability states. The model generalizes the continuation ratio model for ordinal data in the generalized linear model literature and provides a formal framework for testing the effects of risk factors and/or an intervention on the transitions between different disability states. Under a generalization of the proportional odds ratio assumption, the proposed model circumvents the problem of a potentially large number of parameters when the number of states and the number of covariates are substantial. We describe a maximum likelihood method for estimating the partially ordered, mixed effects model and show how the model can be applied to a longitudinal data set that consists of N = 2,903 older adults followed for 10 years in the Health Aging and Body Composition Study. We further statistically test the effects of various risk factors upon the probabilities of transition into various severe disability states. The result can be used to inform geriatric and public health science researchers who study the disablement process.
PMCID: PMC3777389  PMID: 24058222
Latent Markov model; continuation ratio model; EM algorithm; generalized linear model; Health ABC study
8.  Assessment of a Short Diabetes Knowledge Instrument for Older and Minority Adults 
The Diabetes educator  2013;40(1):68-76.
The purpose of the study was to assess the performance of a short diabetes knowledge instrument (SDKI) in a large multi-ethnic sample of older adults with diabetes and to identify possible modifications to improve its ability to document diabetes knowledge.
Research Design and Methods
A sample of 593 African American, American Indian, and white female and male adults 60 years and older, with diabetes diagnosed at least two years prior, was recruited from eight North Carolina counties. All completed an interview that included a 16-item questionnaire to assess diabetes knowledge. A subsample of 46 completed the questionnaire a second time at a subsequent interview. Item-response analysis was used to refine the instrument to well-performing items. The instrument consisting of the remaining items was subjected to analyses to assess validity and test-retest reliability.
Three items were removed after item-response analysis. Scores for the resulting instrument were lower among minority and older participants, as well as those with lower educational attainment and income. Scores for test-retest were highly correlated.
The SDKI (13 item questionnaire) appears to be a valid and reliable instrument to evaluate knowledge about diabetes. Assessment in a multi-ethnic sample of older adults suggests that this instrument can be used to measure diabetes knowledge in diverse populations. Further evaluation is needed to determine whether or not this instrument can detect changes in knowledge resulting from diabetes education or other interventions.
PMCID: PMC3946961  PMID: 24163359
9.  Neuroanatomical target theory as a predictive model for radiation-induced cognitive decline 
Neurology  2013;80(8):747-753.
In a retrospective review to assess neuroanatomical targets of radiation-induced cognitive decline, dose volume histogram (DVH) analyses of specific brain regions of interest (ROI) are correlated to neurocognitive performance in 57 primary brain tumor survivors.
Neurocognitive assessment at baseline included Trail Making Tests A/B, a modified Rey-Osterreith Complex Figure, California or Hopkins Verbal Learning Test, Digit Span, and Controlled Oral Word Association. DVH analysis was performed for multiple neuroanatomical targets considered to be involved in cognition. The %v10 (percent of ROI receiving 10 Gy), %v40, and %v60 were calculated for each ROI. Factor analysis was used to estimate global cognition based on a summary of performance on individual cognitive tests. Stepwise regression was used to determine which dose volume predicted performance on global factors and individual neurocognitive tests for each ROI.
Regions that predicted global cognitive outcomes at doses <60 Gy included the corpus callosum, left frontal white matter, right temporal lobe, bilateral hippocampi, subventricular zone, and cerebellum. Regions of adult neurogenesis primarily predicted cognition at %v40 except for the right hippocampus which predicted at %v10. Regions that did not predict global cognitive outcomes at any dose include total brain volume, frontal pole, anterior cingulate, right frontal white matter, and the right precentral gyrus.
Modeling of radiation-induced cognitive decline using neuroanatomical target theory appears to be feasible. A prospective trial is necessary to validate these data.
PMCID: PMC3589296  PMID: 23390169
10.  Predictors of posttraumatic growth in women with breast cancer 
Psycho-oncology  2013;22(12):10.1002/pon.3298.
Posttraumatic growth (PTG) is defined as ‘positive psychological change experienced as a result of a struggle with highly challenging life circumstances’. The current study examined change in PTG over 2 years following breast cancer diagnosis and variables associated with PTG over time.
Women recently diagnosed with breast cancer completed surveys within 8 months of diagnosis and 6, 12, and 18 months later. Linear mixed effects models were used to assess the longitudinal effects of demographic, medical, and psychosocial variables on PTG as measured by the Posttraumatic Growth Inventory (PTGI).
A total of 653 women were accrued (mean age = 54.9, SD = 12.6). Total PTGI score increased over time mostly within the first few months following diagnosis. In the longitudinal model, greater PTGI scores were associated with education level, longer time since diagnosis, greater baseline level of illness intrusiveness, and increases in social support, spirituality, use of active–adaptive coping strategies, and mental health. Findings for the PTGI domains were similar to those for the total score except for the Spiritual Change domain.
PTG develops relatively soon after a breast cancer diagnosis and is associated with baseline illness intrusiveness and increases in social support, spirituality, use of active–adaptive coping strategies, and mental health.
PMCID: PMC3884903  PMID: 24136875
11.  2009–2010 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Coverage Among College Students From 8 Universities in North Carolina 
We sought to describe the 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine coverage of college students.
4090 college students from eight North Carolina universities participated in a confidential, web-based survey in October-November 2009.
Associations between self-reported 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccination and demographic characteristics, campus activities, parental education, and email usage were assessed by bivariate analyses and by a mixed-effects model adjusting for clustering by university.
Overall, 20% of students (range 14%–30% by university) reported receiving 2009–2010 seasonal influenza vaccine. Being a freshman, attending a private university, having a college-educated parent, and participating in academic clubs/honor societies predicted receipt of influenza vaccine in the mixed-effects model.
The self-reported 2009–2010 influenza vaccine coverage was one-quarter of the 2020 Healthy People goal (80%) for healthy persons 18–64 years of age. College campuses have the opportunity to enhance influenza vaccine coverage among its diverse student populations.
PMCID: PMC3507424  PMID: 23157195
12.  Measuring Medical Student Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding Obese Patients 
Obesity bias has been shown to undermine the patient-doctor relationship and lead to substandard care. A valid and reliable instrument was developed to measure medical students’ attitudes and beliefs about obese patients.
The authors conducted a literature search to identify validated measures of obesity bias. Since no appropriate scale was located, the decision to design a novel survey instrument, titled the NEW (Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management) Attitudes Scale, was made. An expert panel generated items which were then discussed in focus groups of third year medical students. Experienced medical educators served as judges, weighting the items using a Thurstone scale. Second and fourth year medical students completed these items alongside two previously validated measures of obesity bias, the Anti-Fat Attitudes Questionnaire (AFA) and Beliefs About Obese Persons Scale (BAOP). Third year students completed the NEW scales before and after a simulated encounter with an obese standardized patient instructor.
Thirty one items comprised the final instrument. A sample of 201 judges rated the positivity of items. A sample of 111 second and fourth year medical students completed the survey (mean score 24.4, range −37 to 76 out of a possible −118 to 118); Pearson correlations between AFA and BAOP were −0.47 and 0.23, respectively. Test-retest reliability was 0.89. Students scored 27% higher after completing the standardized patient-instructor encounter (P<.001).
The NEW Attitudes Scale had good validity and reliability and may be used in future studies to measure medical students’ attitudes towards obese patients.
PMCID: PMC3826984  PMID: 23269296
13.  The Association of Mental Conditions with Blood Glucose Levels in Older Adults with Diabetes 
Aging & mental health  2012;16(8):950-957.
People with diabetes must engage in several self-care activities to manage blood glucose; cognitive function and other affective disorders may affect self-care behaviors. We examined the executive function domain of cognition, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to determine which common mental conditions that can co-occur with diabetes are associated with blood glucose levels.
We conducted a cross-sectional in-person survey of 563 rural older adults (age 60 years or older) with diabetes that included African Americans, American Indians, and Whites from eight counties in south-central North Carolina. Hemoglobin A1C (A1C) was measured from a finger-stick blood sample to assess blood glucose control. Executive function, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of GAD were assessed using established measures and scoring procedures. Separate multivariate linear regression models were used to examine the association of executive function, depressive symptoms, and symptoms of GAD with A1C.
Adjusting for potential confounders including age, gender, education, ethnicity, marital status, history of stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes knowledge, and duration of diabetes, executive function was significantly associated with A1C levels: every one-unit increase in executive function was associated with a 0.23 lower A1C value (p = 0.02). Symptoms of depression and GAD were not associated with A1C levels.
Low executive function is potentially a barrier to self-care, the cornerstone of managing blood glucose levels. Training aids that compensate for cognitive impairments may be essential for achieving effective glucose control.
PMCID: PMC3434257  PMID: 22640032
A1C; cognitive function; depression; anxiety; aging
14.  Impact of a Randomized Campus/Community Trial to Prevent High-Risk Drinking among College Students 
High-risk drinking by college students continues to pose a significant threat to public health. Despite increasing evidence of the contribution of community-level and campus-level environmental factors to high risk drinking, there have been few rigorous tests of interventions that focus on changing these interlinked environments. The Study to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences (SPARC) assessed the efficacy of a comprehensive intervention using a community organizing approach to implement environmental strategies in and around college campuses. The goal of SPARC was to reduce high-risk drinking and alcohol-related consequences among college students.
Ten universities in North Carolina were randomized to an Intervention or Comparison condition. Each Intervention school was assigned a campus/community organizer. The organizer worked to form a campus-community coalition, which developed and implemented a strategic plan to use environmental strategies to reduce high-risk drinking and its consequences. The intervention was implemented over a period of 3 years. Primary outcome measures were assessed using a web-based survey of students. Measures of high-risk drinking included number of days alcohol was consumed, number of days of binge drinking, and greatest number of drinks consumed (all in the past 30 days); and number of days one gets drunk in a typical week. Measures of alcohol-related consequences included indices of moderate consequences due to one’s own drinking, severe consequences due to one’s own drinking, interpersonal consequences due to others’ drinking, and community consequences due to others’ drinking (all using a past 30-day timeframe). Measure of alcohol-related injuries included (1) experiencing alcohol-related injuries and (2) alcohol-related injuries caused to others.
We found significant decreases in the Intervention group compared to the Comparison group in severe consequences due to students’ own drinking and alcohol-related injuries caused to others. In secondary analyses, higher levels of implementation of the intervention were associated with reductions in interpersonal consequences due to others’ drinking and alcohol-related injuries caused to others.
A community organizing approach promoting implementation of environmental interventions can significantly affect high-risk drinking and its consequences among college students.
PMCID: PMC3752385  PMID: 22823091
15.  Cognitive function is a risk for health literacy in older adults with diabetes 
Cognitive impairment is common in older adults with diabetes, yet it is unclear to what extent cognitive function is associated with health literacy. We hypothesized that cognitive function, independent of education, is associated with health literacy.
The sample included 537 African American, American Indian, and White men and women 60 years or older. Measures of cognitive function included the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Verbal Fluency, Brief Attention, and Digit Span Backward tests. Health literacy was assessed using the S-TOFHLA.
Cognitive function was associated with health literacy, independent of education and other important confounders. Every unit increase in the MMSE, Digit Span Backward, Verbal Fluency or Brief Attention was associated with a 20% (p<.001), 34% (p<.001), 5% (p<.01), and 16% (p<.01) increase in the odds of having adequate health literacy, respectively.
These results suggest that cognitive function is associated with health literacy in older adults with diabetes. Because poor cognitive function may undermine health literacy, efforts to target older adults on improving health literacy should consider cognitive function as a risk factor.
PMCID: PMC3742688  PMID: 23806477
cognition; health literacy; diabetes
16.  Using graded response model for the prediction of prostate cancer risk 
Human genetics  2012;131(8):1327-1336.
Disease risk-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have the potential to be used for disease risk prediction. An important feature of these risk-associated SNPs is their weak individual effect but stronger cumulative effect on disease risk. To date, a stable summary estimate of the joint effect of genetic variants on disease risk prediction is not available. In this study, we propose to use the graded response model (GRM), which is based on the item response theory, for estimating the individual risk that is associated with a set of SNPs. We compare the GRM with a recently proposed risk prediction model called cumulative relative risk (CRR). Thirty-three prostate cancer risk-associated SNPs were originally discovered in GWAS by December 2009. These SNPs were used to evaluate the performance of GRM and CRR for predicting prostate cancer risk in three GWAS populations, including populations from Sweden, Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the National Cancer Institute Cancer Genetic Markers of Susceptibility study. Computational results show that the risk prediction estimates of GRM, compared to CRR, are less biased and more stable.
PMCID: PMC3734950  PMID: 22461065
17.  Design and implementation of the mobility assessment tool: software description 
In previous work, we described the development of an 81-item video-animated tool for assessing mobility. In response to criticism levied during a pilot study of this tool, we sought to develop a new version built upon a flexible framework for designing and administering the instrument.
Rather than constructing a self-contained software application with a hard-coded instrument, we designed an XML schema capable of describing a variety of psychometric instruments. The new version of our video-animated assessment tool was then defined fully within the context of a compliant XML document. Two software applications—one built in Java, the other in Objective-C for the Apple iPad—were then built that could present the instrument described in the XML document and collect participants’ responses. Separating the instrument’s definition from the software application implementing it allowed for rapid iteration and easy, reliable definition of variations.
Defining instruments in a software-independent XML document simplifies the process of defining instruments and variations and allows a single instrument to be deployed on as many platforms as there are software applications capable of interpreting the instrument, thereby broadening the potential target audience for the instrument. Continued work will be done to further specify and refine this type of instrument specification with a focus on spurring adoption by researchers in gerontology and geriatric medicine.
PMCID: PMC3729603  PMID: 23879716
18.  Performance of Health Literacy Tests Among Older Adults with Diabetes 
Knowing a patient’s health literacy can help clinicians and researchers anticipate a patient’s ability to understand complex health regimens and deliver better patient-centered instructions and information. Poor health literacy has been linked with lower ability to function adequately in health care systems.
We evaluated and compared three measures of health literacy and performance among older patients with diabetes.
Cross-sectional study utilizing in-person interviews conducted in participants’ homes.
A tri-ethnic sample (n = 563) of African American, American Indian, and white older adults with diabetes from eight counties in south-central North Carolina.
Participants completed interviews and health literacy assessments using the Short-Form Test of Functional Health Literacy in Adults (S-TOFHLA), the Rapid Estimates of Adult Literacy in Medicine Short-Form (REALM-SF), or the Newest Vital Signs (NVS). Scores for reading comprehension and numeracy were calculated.
Over 90% completed the S-TOFHLA numeracy and approximately 85% completed the S-TOFHLA reading and REALM-SF. Only 73% completed the NVS. The correlation of S-TOFHLA total scores with REALM-SF and NVS were 0.48 and 0.54, respectively. Age, gender, ethnic, educational and income differences in health literacy emerged for several instruments, but the pattern of results across the instruments was highly variable.
A large segment of older adults is unable to complete short-form assessments of health literacy. Among those who were able to complete assessments, the REALM-SF and NVS performed comparably, but their relatively low convergence with the S-TOFHLA raises questions about instrument selection when studying health literacy of older adults.
PMCID: PMC3326106  PMID: 22095571
health literacy; older adults; diabetes
19.  Agency Collaboration in the Care of Children with Complex Chronic Conditions 
Academic Pediatrics  2012;12(3):189-197.
To describe the network of collaboration among agencies that serve children with complex chronic conditions (CCC) and identify gaps in the network.
We surveyed representatives from agencies that serve children with CCC in Forsyth County, North Carolina about their agencies’ existing and desired collaborations with other agencies in the network. We used Social Network Analytical methods to describe gaps in the network. Mean out- and in-degree centrality (number of collaborative ties extending from or directed towards an agency) and density (ratio of extant ties to all possible ties) were measured.
In this network with 3,658 possible collaborative ties, care-coordination agencies and pediatric practices reported the highest existing collaborations with other agencies (out-degree centrality: 32 and 30 respectively). Pediatric practices reported strong ties with subspecialty clinics (density: 73%), but weak ties with family support services (density: 3%). Pediatric practices and subspecialty clinics (in-degree: 26) received the highest collaborative ties from other agencies. Support services and durable medical equipment companies reported low ties with other agencies (out-degree: 7 and 10 respectively). Nursing agencies reported the highest desired collaborations (out-degree: 18). Support services, pediatric practices and care-coordination programs had the highest in-degree centrality (7, 6 and 6 respectively) for desired collaborations. Nursing agencies and support services had the greatest gaps in collaboration.
Although collaboration exists among agencies serving children with CCC, there are many gaps in the network. Future studies should explore barriers and facilitators to inter-agency collaborations and whether increased collaboration in the network improves patient-level outcomes.
PMCID: PMC3354334  PMID: 22583632
children; special needs; collaboration; health services research
20.  Screening and Brief Intervention for Tobacco Use by Student Health Providers on College Campuses 
This study assessed college students’ reports of tobacco screening and brief intervention by student health centers providers.
3800 students from eight universities in North Carolina participated.
Web-based survey of a stratified random sample of undergraduates.
53% reported ever visiting their student health center. Of those, 62% reported being screened for tobacco use. Logistic regression revealed screening was higher among females and smokers, compared to nonsmokers. Among students who were screened and who reported tobacco use, 50% reported being advised to quit or reduce use. Brief intervention was more likely among current daily smokers compared to current nondaily smokers, as well as at schools with higher smoking rates. Screening and brief intervention were more likely at schools with lower clinic caseloads.
Results highlight the need to encourage college health providers to screen every patient at every visit and to provide brief intervention for tobacco users.
PMCID: PMC3384718  PMID: 22171731
Tobacco; Smoking; Cessation
21.  Lifestyle Change and Mobility in Obese Adults with Type 2 Diabetes 
The New England Journal of Medicine  2012;366(13):1209-1217.
Adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus often have limitations in mobility that increase with age. An intensive lifestyle intervention that produces weight loss and improves fitness could slow the loss of mobility in such patients.
We randomly assigned 5145 overweight or obese adults between the ages of 45 and 74 years with type 2 diabetes to either an intensive lifestyle intervention or a diabetes support-and-education program; 5016 participants contributed data. We used hidden Markov models to characterize disability states and mixed-effects ordinal logistic regression to estimate the probability of functional decline. The primary outcome was self-reported limitation in mobility, with annual assessments for 4 years.
At year 4, among 2514 adults in the lifestyle-intervention group, 517 (20.6%) had severe disability and 969 (38.5%) had good mobility; the numbers among 2502 participants in the support group were 656 (26.2%) and 798 (31.9%), respectively. The lifestyle-intervention group had a relative reduction of 48% in the risk of loss of mobility, as compared with the support group (odds ratio, 0.52; 95% confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.63; P<0.001). Both weight loss and improved fitness (as assessed on treadmill testing) were significant mediators of this effect (P<0.001 for both variables). Adverse events that were related to the lifestyle intervention included a slightly higher frequency of musculoskeletal symptoms at year 1.
Weight loss and improved fitness slowed the decline in mobility in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes. (Funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and others; number, NCT00017953.)
PMCID: PMC3339039  PMID: 22455415
22.  Comparing Two Questionnaires for Eliciting CAM Use in a Multi-Ethnic US Population of Older Adults 
The NAFKAM International CAM Questionnaire (I-CAM-Q) was designed to facilitate cross-study comparisons of CAM usage. This research presents the first empirical study of the I-CAM-Q’s performance.
Materials and Methods
Data were collected in two studies in a multi-ethnic (African American, American Indian, and white) population of older adults in the US. In 2010, 564 adults 60+ years were recruited. The I-CAM-Q was interviewer-administered. Data were compared to those collected in 2002 from a random sample of 701 Medicare recipients 65+ years. The 2002 survey included an extensive inventory of specific CAM therapies derived from local ethnographic research. Comparisons of the responses for 14 CAM modalities common to the two studies used logistic regression adjusted for demographics.
There were no significant differences between the 2002 and 2010 surveys in the proportions reporting 10 modalities, including use of chiropractors, homeopaths, acupuncturists, herbalists, spiritual healers, vitamins, minerals, homeopathic remedies, Qigong, visualization, and prayer for health. Significantly less use of physicians and more use of relaxation techniques were reported in 2010. Herb use and garlic, as a specific herb, were reported significantly less in 2010.
Overall, the I-CAM-Q obtained results similar to those produced by a population-specific questionnaire. Those differences observed appear to reflect differences in the studies’ inclusion criteria or secular trends in CAM. This study supports the intention of the I-CAM-Q to substitute for local and regional surveys in order to allow cross-study comparisons of CAM use. Further tests, preferably through contemporaneous data collection are needed in other populations.
PMCID: PMC3393104  PMID: 22792131
Complementary Medicine; Alternative Medicine; Diabetes; Elderly; African American; American Indian
23.  Older Adults’ Common Sense Models of Diabetes 
Investigate the importance of viewing belief systems about health maintenance holistically.
Qualitative (N=74) and quantitative data (N=95) were obtained from multi-ethnic rural-dwelling older adults with diabetes to characterize their Common Sense Models (CSMs) of diabetes.
There is a discrete number of CSMs held by older adults, each characterized by unique clusters of diabetes-related knowledge and beliefs. Individuals whose CSM was shaped by biomedical knowledge were better able to achieve glycemic control.
Viewing individuals’ health beliefs incrementally or in a piece-meal strategy may be less effective for health behavior change than focusing on beliefs holistically.
PMCID: PMC3119871  PMID: 21683021
Diabetes; common sense model; health beliefs; glycemic control; health behavior change
24.  Gibbs Ensembles for Nearly Compatible and Incompatible Conditional Models 
Gibbs sampler has been used exclusively for compatible conditionals that converge to a unique invariant joint distribution. However, conditional models are not always compatible. In this paper, a Gibbs sampling-based approach — Gibbs ensemble —is proposed to search for a joint distribution that deviates least from a prescribed set of conditional distributions. The algorithm can be easily scalable such that it can handle large data sets of high dimensionality. Using simulated data, we show that the proposed approach provides joint distributions that are less discrepant from the incompatible conditionals than those obtained by other methods discussed in the literature. The ensemble approach is also applied to a data set regarding geno-polymorphism and response to chemotherapy in patients with metastatic colorectal
PMCID: PMC3030131  PMID: 21286232
Gibbs sampler; Conditionally specified distribution; Linear programming; Ensemble method; Odds ratio

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