We investigated the association between anticipatory stress, also known as racism-related vigilance, and hypertension prevalence in Black, Hispanic, and White adults.
We used data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study, a population-representative sample of adults (n=3105) surveyed in 2001 to 2003, to regress hypertension prevalence on the interaction between race/ethnicity and vigilance in logit models.
Blacks reported the highest vigilance levels. For Blacks, each unit increase in vigilance (range=0–12) was associated with a 4% increase in the odds of hypertension (odds ratio [OR]=1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.00, 1.09). Hispanics showed a similar but nonsignificant association (OR=1.05; 95% CI=0.99, 1.12), and Whites showed no association (OR=0.95; 95% CI=0.87, 1.03).
Vigilance may represent an important and unique source of chronic stress that contributes to the well-documented higher prevalence of hypertension among Blacks than Whites; it is a possible contributor to hypertension among Hispanics but not Whites.
Insertion of light-gated channels into inner retina neurons restores neural light responses, light evoked potentials, visual optomotor responses and visually-guided maze behavior in mice blinded by retinal degeneration. This method of vision restoration bypasses damaged outer retina, providing stimulation directly to retinal ganglion cells in inner retina. The approach is similar to that of electronic visual protheses, but may offer some advantages, such as avoidance of complex surgery and direct targeting of many thousands of neurons. However, the promise of this technique for restoring human vision remains uncertain because rodent animal models, in which it has been largely developed, are not ideal for evaluating visual perception. On the other hand, psychophysical vision studies in macaque can be used to evaluate different approaches to vision restoration in humans. Furthermore, it has not been possible to test vision restoration in macaques, the optimal model for human-like vision, because there has been no macaque model of outer retina degeneration. In this study, we describe development of a macaque model of photoreceptor degeneration that can in future studies be used to test restoration of perception by visual prostheses. Our results show that perceptual deficits caused by focal light damage are restricted to locations at which photoreceptors are damaged, that optical coherence tomography (OCT) can be used to track such lesions, and that adaptive optics retinal imaging, which we recently used for in vivo recording of ganglion cell function, can be used in future studies to examine these lesions.
retina; light damage; ganglion cells; macaque; adaptive optics
Socioeconomic status is associated with health disparities, but underlying psychosocial mechanisms have not been fully identified. Dispositional optimism may be a psychosocial process linking socioeconomic status with health. We hypothesized that lower optimism would be associated with greater social disadvantage and poorer social mobility. We also investigated whether life satisfaction and positive affect showed similar patterns. Participants from the Midlife in the United States study self-reported their optimism, satisfaction, positive affect, and socioeconomic status (gender, race/ethnicity, education, occupational class and prestige, income). Social disparities in optimism were evident. Optimistic individuals tended to be white and highly educated, had an educated parent, belonged to higher occupational classes with more prestige, and had higher incomes. Findings were generally similar for satisfaction, but not positive affect. Greater optimism and satisfaction were also associated with educational achievement across generations. Optimism and life satisfaction are consistently linked with socioeconomic advantage and may be one conduit by which social disparities influence health.
Researchers have long speculated that exposure to discrimination may increase cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk but compared to other psychosocial risk factors, large-scale epidemiologic and community based studies examining associations between reports of discrimination and CVD risk have only emerged fairly recently. This review summarizes findings from studies of self-reported experiences of discrimination and CVD risk published between 2011–2013. We document the innovative advances in recent work, the notable heterogeneity in these studies, and the considerable need for additional work with objective clinical endpoints other than blood pressure. Implications for the study of racial disparities in CVD and clinical practice are also discussed.
Racial; Ethnic; Discrimination; Cardiovascular disease
Two-photon excitation microscopy (TPM) can image retinal molecular processes in vivo. Intrinsically fluorescent retinyl esters in sub-cellular structures called retinosomes are an integral part of the visual chromophore regeneration pathway. Fluorescent condensation products of all–trans–retinal accumulate in the eye with age and are also associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Here we report repetitive, dynamic imaging of these compounds in live mice, through the pupil of the eye. Leveraging advanced adaptive optics we developed a data acquisition algorithm that permitted the identification of retinosomes and condensation products in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) by their characteristic localization, spectral properties, and absence in genetically modified or drug-treated mice. This imaging approach has the potential to detect early molecular changes in retinoid metabolism that trigger light and AMD-induced retinal defects and to assess the effectiveness of treatments for these conditions.
Noninvasive two-photon imaging of a living mammalian eye can reveal details of molecular processes in the retina and RPE. Retinyl esters and all-trans-retinal condensation products are two types of retinoid fluorophores present in these tissues. We measured the content of these two types of retinoids in monkey and human eyes to validate the potential of two-photon imaging for monitoring retinoid changes in human eyes.
Two-photon microscopy (TPM) was used to visualize excised retina from monkey eyes. Retinoid composition and content in human and monkey eyes were quantified by HPLC and mass spectrometry (MS).
Clear images of inner and outer segments of rods and cones were obtained in primate eyes at different eccentricities. Fluorescence spectra from outer segments revealed a maximum emission at 480 nm indicative of retinols and their esters. In cynomolgus monkey and human retinal extracts, retinyl esters existed predominantly in the 11-cis configuration along with notable levels of 11-cis-retinol, a characteristic of cone-enriched retinas. Average amounts of di-retinoid-pyridinium-ethanolamine (A2E) in primate and human eyes were 160 and 225 pmol/eye, respectively.
These data show that human retina contains sufficient amounts of retinoids for two-photon excitation imaging. Greater amounts of 11-cis-retinyl esters relative to rodent retinas contribute to the fluorescence signal from both monkey and human eyes. These observations indicate that TPM imaging found effective in mice could detect early age- and disease-related changes in human retina.
Two-photon excitation tracks early changes in primate retina.
rod photoreceptors; cone photoreceptors; retinoid cycle; two-photon microscopy; primate retina
Asian Americans experience significant underuse of mental health treatment. Religious clergy and spiritual advisors play a critical role in delivering mental health care in the United States. Limited knowledge exists about their use among Asian Americans.
We describe mental health service use from a religious/spiritual advisor among Asian Americans.
We analyzed data from 2095 respondents in the 2002–2003 National Latino and Asian American Study.
Lifetime and 12-month prevalence of mental health service use from a religious/spiritual advisor (5.5% and 1% overall, respectively) was generally higher among U.S.-born Asians and those with a 12-month mental disorder (23.6% and 7.5%, respectively). Religious/spiritual advisors were seen by 35% of treatment-seeking Asian Americans with a lifetime mental disorder. They were seen as commonly as psychiatrists but less commonly than a mental health specialist or general medical provider. Approximately 70% of those seeking treatment had a mental disorder, significant proportions of whom sought treatment in the absence of a psychiatrist, a mental health specialist or even a healthcare provider. A significant majority with 12-month use perceived the care as helpful, felt accepted/understood and satisfied (71–86%). However, only 31% rated the care as excellent, 28% quit completing care, and referral rates for specialty mental health treatment were low, even among those with a mental disorder (9.5%).
Religious/spiritual advisors are a key source of treatment-seeking for Asian Americans with a mental disorder. Quality of care and low referral rates for specialty mental health treatment warrant further attention and need for increased collaboration with the mental health system.
Asian Americans; Religious and spiritual advisor; Mental health service use; Mental disorder; Ethnicity; Nativity
Assessment of cortisol concentrations in hair is one of the latest innovations for measuring long-term cortisol exposure. We performed a systematic review of correlates of cortisol in human hair to inform the design, analysis and interpretation of future epidemiologic studies. Relevant publications were identified through electronic searches on PubMed, WorldCat, and Web of Science using keywords, “cortisol” “hair” “confounders” “chronic” “stress” and “correlates.” Thirty-nine studies were included in this review. Notwithstanding scarce data and some inconsistencies, investigators have found hair cortisol concentrations to be associated with stress-related psychiatric symptoms and disorders (e.g., PTSD), medical conditions indicating chronic activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (e.g., Cushing´s syndrome) and other life situations associated with elevated risk of chronic stress (e.g., shiftwork). Results from some studies suggest that physical activity, adiposity, and substance abuse may be correlates of hair cortisol concentrations. In contrast to measures of short-term cortisol release (saliva, blood, and urine), cigarette smoking and use of oral contraceptives appear to not be associated with hair cortisol concentrations. Studies of pregnant women indicate increased hair cortisol concentrations across successive trimesters. The study of hair cortisol presents a unique opportunity to assess chronic alterations in cortisol concentrations in epidemiologic studies.
hair; cortisol; chronic stress; correlates; assessment; analysis; determinants; psychiatric disorders
Many retinal imaging instruments use infrared wavelengths to reduce the risk of light damage. However, we have discovered that exposure to infrared illumination causes a long-lasting reduction in infrared autofluorescence (IRAF). We have characterized the dependence of this effect on radiant exposure and investigated its origin.
A scanning laser ophthalmoscope was used to obtain IRAF images from two macaques before and after exposure to 790-nm light (15-450 J/cm2). Exposures were performed with either raster-scanning or uniform illumination. Infrared autofluorescence images also were obtained in two humans exposed to 790-nm light in a separate study. Humans were assessed with direct ophthalmoscopy, Goldmann visual fields, multifocal ERG, and photopic microperimetry to determine whether these measures revealed any effects in the exposed locations.
A significant decrease in IRAF after exposure to infrared light was seen in both monkeys and humans. In monkeys, the magnitude of this reduction increased with retinal radiant exposure. Partial recovery was seen at 1 month, with full recovery within 21 months. Consistent with a photochemical origin, IRAF decreases caused by either raster-scanning or uniform illumination were not significantly different. We were unable to detect any effect of the light exposure with any measure other than IRAF imaging. We cannot exclude the possibility that changes could be detected with more sensitive tests or longer follow-up.
This long-lasting effect of infrared illumination in both humans and monkeys occurs at exposure levels four to five times below current safety limits. The photochemical basis for this phenomenon remains unknown.
Exposure to infrared illumination at irradiances well below current safety limits can cause a long-lasting decrease in infrared autofluorescence from the retina. It is unclear whether this effect is benign or indicative of a subcellular change that could be cumulatively harmful.
retina; light damage; radiation damage; scanning laser ophthalmoscopy; retinal pigment epithelium
The fovea dominates primate vision, and its anatomy and perceptual abilities are well studied, but its physiology has been little explored because of limitations of current physiological methods. In this study, we adapted a novel in vivo imaging method, originally developed in mouse retina, to explore foveal physiology in the macaque, which permits the repeated imaging of the functional response of many retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) simultaneously. A genetically encoded calcium indicator, G-CaMP5, was inserted into foveal RGCs, followed by calcium imaging of the displacement of foveal RGCs from their receptive fields, and their intensity-response functions. The spatial offset of foveal RGCs from their cone inputs makes this method especially appropriate for fovea by permitting imaging of RGC responses without excessive light adaptation of cones. This new method will permit the tracking of visual development, progression of retinal disease, or therapeutic interventions, such as insertion of visual prostheses.
calcium imaging; in vivo adaptive optics imaging; intrinsic signal imaging; primate fovea; retinal ganglion cells
Despite a long history of discrimination and persisting racial disparities in smoking prevalence, little research exists on the relationship between discrimination and smoking in South Africa.
This analysis examined chronic (day to day) and acute (lifetime) experiences of racial and nonracial (e.g., age, gender, or physical appearance) discrimination and smoking status among respondents to the South Africa Stress and Health Study (SASH). Logistic regression models were constructed using SAS-Callable SUDAAN.
Both chronic racial discrimination (RR=1.45, 95%CI: 1.14–1.85) and chronic nonracial discrimination (RR=1.69, 95%CI: 1.37–2.08) predicted a higher risk of smoking, but neither type of acute discrimination did. Total (sum of racial and nonracial) chronic discrimination (RR=1.46, 95%CI: 1.20–1.78) and total acute discrimination (RR=1.28, 95%CI: 1.01–1.60) predicted a higher risk of current smoking.
Racial and nonracial discrimination may be related to South African adults’ smoking behavior, but this relationship likely varies by the timing and frequency of these experiences. Future research should use longitudinal data to identify the temporal ordering of the relationships studied, include areas outside of South Africa to increase generalizability, and consider the implications of these findings for smoking cessation approaches in South Africa.
discrimination; racism; smoking; bias; South Africa
Race consciousness (the frequency with which one thinks about his or her own race) is a measure that may be useful in assessing whether racial discrimination negatively impacts blood pressure (BP). However, the relation between race consciousness and BP has yet to be empirically tested, especially within the context of the patient–physician relationship and medication adherence.
Race-stratified generalized estimating equations were used to assess the relationship of race consciousness on BP, measures of the patient–physician relationship, and self-reported medication adherence, controlling for patients being nested within physicians and for patient age and sex.
The mean age of the patients was 61.3 years, 62% were black, and 65% were women. Black patients were more likely to ever think about race than were white patients (49% vs. 21%; P < 0.001). Race-conscious blacks had significantly higher diastolic BP (79.4 vs. 74.5mm Hg; P = 0.004) and somewhat higher systolic BP (138.8 vs. 134.7mm Hg; P = 0.13) than blacks who were not race conscious. Race-conscious whites were more likely to perceive respect from their physician (57.1% vs. 25.8%; P = 0.01) but had lower medication adherence (62.4% vs. 82.9%; P = 0.05) than whites who were not race-conscious.
Among blacks, race consciousness was associated with higher diastolic BP. In contrast, among whites, there was no association between race consciousness and BP, but race consciousness was associated with poor ratings of adherence, despite more favorable ratings of the patient–physician relationship. Future work should explore disparities in race consciousness and its impact on health and health-care disparities.
adherence; blood pressure; blood pressure discrimination; disparities; hypertension; perceived quality of care; race; racism.
To develop a conceptual framework for investigating the role of racial/ethnic residential segregation on health care disparities.
Data Sources and Settings
Review of the MEDLINE and the Web of Science databases for articles published from 1998 to 2011.
The extant research was evaluated to describe mechanisms that shape health care access, utilization, and quality of preventive, diagnostic, therapeutic, and end-of-life services across the life course.
The framework describes the influence of racial/ethnic segregation operating through neighborhood-, health care system-, provider-, and individual-level factors. Conceptual and methodological issues arising from limitations of the research and complex relationships between various levels were identified.
Increasing evidence indicates that racial/ethnic residential segregation is a key factor driving place-based health care inequalities. Closer attention to address research gaps has implications for advancing and strengthening the literature to better inform effective interventions and policy-based solutions.
Racial/ethnic residential segregation; health care disparities; health care access; social determinants of health
To illustrate the complex patterns that emerge when race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status (SES), and gender are considered simultaneously in health care disparities research and to outline the needed research to understand them by using disparities in lung cancer risks, treatment, and outcomes as an example.
SES, gender, and race/ethnicity are social categories that are robust predictors of variations in health and health services utilization. These are usually considered separately, but intersectionality theory indicates that the impact of each depends on the others. Each reflects historically and culturally contingent variations in social, economic, and political status. Distinct patterns of risk and resilience emerge at the intersections of multiple social categories and shape the experience of health, health care access, utilization, quality, and outcomes where these categories intersect. Intersectional approaches call for greater attention to understand social processes at multiple levels of society and require the collection of relevant data and utilization of appropriate analytic approaches to understand how multiple risk factors and resources combine to affect the distribution of disease and its management.
Understanding how race/ethnicity, gender, and SES are interactive, interdependent, and social identities can provide new knowledge to enhance our efforts to effectively address health disparities.
Health care disparities; smoking; lung cancer; race/ethnicity; socioeconomic status; gender
The relative importance of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies to dementia in Parkinson’s disease remains unclear. We have examined the combined associations of α-synuclein, tau and amyloid-β accumulation in 56 pathologically confirmed Parkinson’s disease cases, 29 of whom had developed dementia. Cortical and subcortical amyloid-β scores were obtained, while tau and α-synuclein pathologies were rated according to the respective Braak stages. Additionally, cortical Lewy body and Lewy neurite scores were determined and Lewy body densities were generated using morphometry. Non-parametric statistics, together with regression models, receiver-operating characteristic curves and survival analyses were applied. Cortical and striatal amyloid-β scores, Braak tau stages, cortical Lewy body, Lewy neurite scores and Lewy body densities, but not Braak α-synuclein stages, were all significantly greater in the Parkinson’s disease-dementia group (P < 0.05), with all the pathologies showing a significant positive correlation to each other (P < 0.05). A combination of pathologies [area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve = 0.95 (0.88–1.00); P < 0.0001] was a better predictor of dementia than the severity of any single pathology. Additionally, cortical amyloid-β scores (r = −0.62; P = 0.043) and Braak tau stages (r = −0.52; P = 0.028), but not Lewy body scores (r = −0.25; P = 0.41) or Braak α-synuclein stages (r = −0.44; P = 0.13), significantly correlated with mini-mental state examination scores in the subset of cases with this information available within the last year of life (n = 15). High cortical amyloid-β score (P = 0.017) along with an older age at onset (P = 0.001) were associated with a shorter time-to-dementia period. A combination of Lewy- and Alzheimer-type pathologies is a robust pathological correlate of dementia in Parkinson’s disease, with quantitative and semi-quantitative assessment of Lewy pathology being more informative than Braak α-synuclein stages. Cortical amyloid-β and age at disease onset seem to determine the rate to dementia.
lewy bodies; amyloid-β; tau; Parkinson’s disease; dementia
Year-to-year decreases in smoking in the US have been observed only sporadically in recent years, which suggest a need for intensified efforts to identify those at risk for persistent smoking. To address this need, we examined the association between a variety of psychosocial stressors and smoking persistence, cessation, and relapse over 9–10 years among adults in the United States (N=4938, ages 25–74).
Using information provided at baseline and follow-up, participants were categorized as non-smokers, persistent smokers, ex-smokers, and relapsed smokers. Stressors related to relationships, finances, work-family conflict, perceived inequality, neighborhood, discrimination, and past-year family problems were assessed at baseline and follow-up.
High stress at both assessments was associated with greater odds of persistent smoking for stressors related to relationships, finances, work, perceived inequality, past-year family problems, and a summary score. Among respondents who were smokers at baseline, high stress at both time-points for relationship stress, perceived inequality, and past-year family problems was associated with nearly double the odds of failure to quit.
Interventions to address psychosocial stress may be important components within smoking cessation efforts.
cigarette smoking; smoking cessation; smoking persistence; psychosocial stress; longitudinal; Midlife in the United States (MIDUS)
Supplemental Digital Content is available in the text.
Purpose of Review
The different parkinsonian conditions can be challenging to separate clinically. This review highlights the important clinical features that guide the diagnosis of Parkinson disease (PD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), multiple system atrophy (MSA), and corticobasal degeneration (CBD). Strategies for treatment and disease management are also discussed.
Over the past decade there has been an increasing recognition of the broad clinical presentations of the neurodegenerative forms of parkinsonism. Nonmotor symptoms in these diseases, including psychiatric, cognitive, autonomic, and gastrointestinal dysfunction, appear to have a major impact on quality of life and disability. PSP and CBD are now considered pathologic diagnoses, with several different and varied clinical phenotypes, that overlap and share features with PDand frontotemporal dementia syndromes. PD is distinguished by its excellent response to dopaminergic medications that is maintained over many years, in contrast to the response seen in patients with MSA and PSP. New diagnostic criteria have been proposed for CBD. No new therapeutic interventions have emerged for PSP, MSA, or CBD. Infusional therapies and deep brain stimulation surgery are established therapies for advanced PD.
The “parkinsonian syndromes” encompass a number of nosologic entities that are grouped together on the basis of their shared clinical features but are separated on the basis of their different pathologies. Overall, the consideration of clinical signs, mode of disease onset, and nature of disease progression are all important to make a timely and definitive diagnosis.
Researchers have posited that one potential explanation for the better-than-expected health outcomes observed among some Latino immigrants, vis-à-vis their U.S.-born counterparts, may be the strength of their social ties and social support among immigrants.
We examined the association between nativity status and social ties using data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study’s Latino subsample, which includes Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos. First, we used Ordinary Least Squares [OLS] regression methods to model the effect of nativity status on five outcomes: informal social integration; social network diversity; network size; instrumental support; and informational support. Using multilevel mixed effects regression models, we estimated the association between Latino/immigrant neighborhood composition on our outcomes, and whether these relationships varied by nativity status. Lastly, we examined the relationship between social ties and immigrants’ length of time in the United States.
After controlling for individual-level characteristics, immigrant Latinos had significantly lower levels of social ties than their U.S.-born counterparts for all our outcomes, except for informational support. Latino/immigrant neighborhood composition was positively associated with being socially integrated and having larger and more diverse social networks. The associations between two of our outcomes (informal social integration and network size) and living in a neighborhood with greater concentrations of Latinos and immigrants were stronger for U.S.-born Latinos than for immigrant Latinos. U.S.-born Latinos maintained a significant socialties advantage compared to immigrants—regardless of length of time in the United States—for informal social integration, network diversity, and network size.
At the individual level, our findings challenge the assumption that Latino immigrants would have larger networks and/or higher levels of support and social integration than their U.S.-born counterparts. Our study underscores the importance of understanding the contexts that promote the development of social ties. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding Latino and immigrant social ties and health outcomes.
Social support; Social networks; Latinos; Immigrants; Nativity; Immigrant Status; Length of Time in the United States; Ethnic Enclaves; Neighborhood Context; USA
Research conducted predominantly in the developed world suggests that there is an association between trauma exposure and suicidal behaviour. However, there are limited data available investigating whether specific traumas are uniquely predictive of suicidal behaviour, or the extent to which traumatic events predict the progression from suicide ideation to plans and attempts. A national survey was conducted with 4351 adult South Africans between 2002 and 2004 as part of the WHO World Mental Health Surveys. Data on trauma exposure and subsequent suicidal behaviour were collected. Bivariate and multivariate survival models tested the relationship between the type and number of traumatic events and lifetime suicidal behaviour. A range of traumatic events are associated with lifetime suicide ideation and attempt; however, after controlling for all traumatic events in a multivariate model, only sexual violence (OR=4.7, CI 2.3-9.4) and having witnessed violence (OR=1.8, 1.1-2.9) remained significant predictors of life-time suicide attempts. Disaggregation of the associations between traumatic events and suicide attempts indicates that they are largely due to traumatic events predicting suicide ideation rather than to the progression from suicide ideation to attempt. This paper highlights the importance of traumatic life events in the occurrence of suicidal thoughts and behaviours and provides important information about the nature of this association. Future research is needed to better understand how and why such experiences increase the risk of suicidal outcomes.
The objectives of this study were to: (1) calculate age-specific and age-adjusted cause-specific mortality rates for Arab Americans; and (2) compare these rates with those for blacks and whites. Mortality rates were estimated using Michigan death certificate data, an Arab surname and first name list, and 2000 U.S. Census data. Age-specific rates, age-adjusted all-cause and cause-specific rates were calculated. Arab Americans (75+) had higher mortality rates than whites and blacks. Among men, all-cause and cause-specific mortality rates for Arab Americans were in the range of whites and blacks. However, Arab American men had lower mortality rates from cancer and chronic lower respiratory disease compared to both whites and blacks. Among women, Arab Americans had lower mortality rates from heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes than whites and blacks. Arab Americans are growing in number. Future study should focus on designing rigorous separate analyses for this population.
Arab; Mortality rates; Surnames
Eye motion is a major impediment to the efficient acquisition of high resolution retinal images with the adaptive optics (AO) scanning light ophthalmoscope (AOSLO). Here we demonstrate a solution to this problem by implementing both optical stabilization and digital image registration in an AOSLO. We replaced the slow scanning mirror with a two-axis tip/tilt mirror for the dual functions of slow scanning and optical stabilization. Closed-loop optical stabilization reduced the amplitude of eye-movement related-image motion by a factor of 10–15. The residual RMS error after optical stabilization alone was on the order of the size of foveal cones: ~1.66–2.56 μm or ~0.34–0.53 arcmin with typical fixational eye motion for normal observers. The full implementation, with real-time digital image registration, corrected the residual eye motion after optical stabilization with an accuracy of ~0.20–0.25 μm or ~0.04–0.05 arcmin RMS, which to our knowledge is more accurate than any method previously reported.
(110.1080) Active or adaptive optics; (120.3890) Medical optics instrumentation; (170.3880) Medical and biological imaging; (170.4470) Ophthalmology; (330.2210) Vision - eye movements
Both mental and physical disorders can result in role limitation, such as ‘days out of role’, which have an important impact on national productivity losses. This paper analyses data from the South African Stress and Health Study (SASH) on the association of both mental and physical disorders with days out of role.
Face-to-face interviews were conducted with a representative sample of 4,351 adult South Africans. The World Health Organization’s Composite International Diagnostic Interview (WHO-CIDI) was used to assess the presence of 21 mental and physical disorders that were grouped into 10 disorder categories for the analysis: major depressive disorder, any anxiety disorders, any substance abuse disorders, headaches or migraine, arthritis, chronic pain, cardiovascular, respiratory, diabetes and digestive disorders. Multiple regression techniques were used to explore associations between individual disorders, comorbid conditions, and annual days spent out of role. The estimated societal effects of the disorders [population attributable risk proportion (PARP)] were obtained.
The majority of respondents who reported a mental or physical disorder also reported another disorder (62.98 %). The average number of disorders reported by respondents who had at least one disorder was 2.3. Overall 12.4 % of respondents reported any days out of role due to mental or physical disorder. Anxiety disorders and depression were associated with highest days out of role (28.2 and 27.2, respectively) followed closely by arthritis and pain (24.7 and 21.7, respectively). Any mental disorder was associated with 23.6 days out of role, while any physical disorder was associated with 15.5 days out of role. Of the mental disorders, anxiety disorders had the highest PARP in relation to days out of role (9.0 %) followed by depression (4.8 %) and substance disorder (3.3. %). More than one-third (37.6 %) of days out of role are attributable to physical disorders and 16.1 % to mental disorders.
Comorbidity is common in both mental and physical disorders, and both are associated with substantial days out of role in South Africa. These data indicate substantial social and economic loss associated with these conditions, and emphasize the need to integrate health services to include common mental disorders in all basic packages of care and to assess for and manage comorbid conditions.
Mental disorders; Physical disorders; South Africa; Days out of role; SASH
The objective of this study was to consider race differences in age-trends of autonomic nervous system functioning, using a national dataset with a broad age range.
Measures of baseline heart rate variability (HRV) and HRV reactivity were derived from electrocardiograph (ECG) recordings taken at rest and during cognitive stress tasks. Age-trends in HRV and HRV reactivity were compared among 204 African Americans and 833 Whites ages 34 to 83 years (M=53.7, SD=11.4), before and after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES).
For HRV-reactivity, age-trends were steeper among African Americans and lower-SES participants than Whites and higher-SES participants. For baseline HRV, age-trends varied by SES but not race.
Results relating to HRV-reactivity (but not baseline HRV) were consistent with hypotheses suggesting that African Americans are exposed to higher levels of stress and experience accelerated declines in health across the life span. The relevance of the findings to research on social stress and health disparities is discussed.
Health Disparities; African American; Heart Rate Variability; Stress Reactivity; Autonomic Nervous System
This article reviews the scientific research that indicates that despite marked declines in public support for negative racial attitudes in the United States, racism, in its multiple forms, remains embedded in American society. The focus of the article is on the review of empirical research that suggests that racism adversely affects the health of non-dominant racial populations in multiple ways. First, institutional racism developed policies and procedures that have reduced access to housing, neighborhood and educational quality, employment opportunities and other desirable resources in society. Second, cultural racism, at the societal and individual level, negatively affects economic status and health by creating a policy environment hostile to egalitarian policies, triggering negative stereotypes and discrimination that are pathogenic and fostering health damaging psychological responses such as stereotype threat and internalized racism. Finally, a large and growing body of evidence indicates that experiences of racial discrimination are an important type of psychosocial stressor that can lead to adverse changes in health status and altered behavioural patterns that increase health risks.
This article reviews the empirical evidence that suggests that there is a solid foundation for more systematic research attention to the ways in which interventions that seek to reduce the multiple dimensions of racism can improve health and reduce disparities in health. First, research reveals that policies and procedures that seek to reduce institutional racism by improving neighborhood and educational quality and enhancing access to additional income, employment opportunities and other desirable resources can improve health. Second, research is reviewed that shows that there is the potential to improve health through interventions that can reduce cultural racism at the societal and individual level. Finally, research is presented that suggests that the adverse consequences of racism on health can be reduced through policies that maximize the health-enhancing capacities of medical care, address the social factors that initiate and sustain risk behaviors and empower individuals and communities to take control of their lives and health. Directions for future research are outlined.