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1.  Spatiotemporal Discordance in Five Common Measures of Rurality for US Counties and Applications for Health Disparities Research in Older Adults 
Rural populations face numerous barriers to health, including poorer health care infrastructure, access to care, and other sociodemographic factors largely associated with rurality. Multiple measures of rurality used in the biomedical and public health literature can help assess rural–urban health disparities and may impact the observed associations between rurality and health. Furthermore, understanding what makes a place truly “rural” versus “urban” may vary from region to region in the US.
The objectives of this study are to compare and contrast five common measures of rurality and determine how well-correlated these measures are at the national, regional, and divisional level, as well as to assess patterns in the correlations between the prevalence of obesity in the population aged 60+ and each of the five measures of rurality at the regional and divisional level.
Five measures of rurality were abstracted from the US Census and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to characterize US counties. Obesity data in the population aged 60+ were abstracted from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). Spearman’s rank correlations were used to quantify the associations among the five rurality measurements at the national, regional, and divisional level, as defined by the US Census Bureau. Geographic information systems were used to visually illustrate temporal, spatial, and regional variability.
Overall, Spearman’s rank correlations among the five measures ranged from 0.521 (percent urban–urban influence code) to 0.917 (rural–urban continuum code–urban influence code). Notable discrepancies existed in these associations by Census region and by division. The associations between measures of rurality and obesity in the 60+ population varied by rurality measure used and by region.
This study is among the first to systematically assess the spatial, temporal, and regional differences and similarities among five commonly used measures of rurality in the US. There are important, quantifiable distinctions in defining what it means to be a rural county depending on both the geographic region and the measurement used. These findings highlight the importance of developing and selecting an appropriate rurality metric in health research.
PMCID: PMC4658471  PMID: 26636064
rural health; obesity; methods development; elderly population; comparison of methods
2.  Sodium thiosulfate for the treatment of warfarin-induced calciphylaxis in a nondialysis patient 
Calciphylaxis or uremic arteriolopathy is a complex process typically seen in patients with end-stage renal disease, but has also been reported in patients with normal renal function. However, therapies for calciphylaxis are based on reports of traditional patients (i.e., end-stage renal disease). A mainstay of therapy, sodium thiosulfate (STS), has been shown to be effective for the treatment of calciphylaxis. Without a standardized therapy reported for nondialysis patients there is a need for evidence-based therapy. Here, we report a case of a 63-year-old woman with an acute injury on chronic kidney disease (CrClBaseline = 48 mL/min, CrClAKI = 36 mL/min), not requiring dialysis, with warfarin-induced calciphylaxis. After 4 weeks of therapy with STS, sevelamer, alendronate, and enzymatic debridement the patient subjectively reported slight improvement of the necrotic ulcers but developed cellulitis on her nonaffected limb. Additionally, after 12 weeks of therapy she was readmitted for renal failure and subsequently required dialysis.
PMCID: PMC4714392  PMID: 26816477
Calciphylaxis; chronic kidney disease; nondialysis; sodium thiosulfate; warfarin-induced
3.  Psychosocial factors of caregiver burden in child caregivers: results from the new national study of caregiving 
Over 50 million informal caregivers in the United States provide care to an aging adult, saving the economy hundreds of billions of dollars annually from costly hospitalization or institutionalization. Despite the benefits associated with caregiving, caregiver stress can lead to negative physical and mental health consequences, or “caregiver burden”. Given these potential negative consequences of caregiver burden, it is important not only to understand the multidimensional components of burden but to also understand the experience from the perspective of the caregiver themselves. Therefore, the objectives of our study are to use exploratory factor analysis to obtain a set of latent factors among a subset of caregiver burden questions identified in previous studies and assess their reliability.
All data was obtained from the 2011 National Study of Caregiving (NSOC). Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was performed to identify a set of latent factors assessing four domains of caregiver burden in “child caregivers”: those informal caregivers who provide care to a parent or stepparent. Sensitivity analysis was also conducted by repeating the EFA on demographic subsets of caregivers.
After multiple factor analyses, four consistent caregiver burden factors emerged from the 23 questions analyzed: Negative emotional, positive emotional, social, and financial. Reliability of each factor varied, and was strongest for the positive emotional domain for caregiver burden. These domains were generally consistent across demographic subsets of informal caregivers.
These results provide researchers a more comprehensive understanding of caregiver burden to target interventions to protect caregiver health and maintain this vital component of the US health care system.
PMCID: PMC4527125  PMID: 26246132
4.  Pathways to Improve Student Pharmacists’ Experience in Research 
Objective. To describe the implementation of a student research program and to provide outcomes from the initial 4 years’ experience.
Design. Students conducted individual research projects in a 4-year longitudinal program (known as Pathway), with faculty member advising and peer mentoring. A prospective assessment compared perceptions of those who completed the Pathway program with those of students who did not. Descriptive statistics, t tests, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) were used.
Assessment. The class of 2013 was the first to complete the Pathway program. In the Pathway assessment project, 59% (n=47) of students who responded reached self-set goals. Pathway students agreed that this research experience improved their ability to work/think independently, evaluate literature, and distinguish themselves from other students.
Conclusion. The Pathway program helped students understand the research process and reach other self-set goals.
PMCID: PMC4469024  PMID: 26089567
capstone; student research experience; faculty student advising; longitudinal
5.  p38 MAPK Activation, JNK Inhibition, Neoplastic Growth Inhibition and Increased Gap Junction Communication in Human Lung Carcinoma and Ras-Transformed Cells by 4-Phenyl-3-Butenoic Acid 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2012;113(1):269-281.
Human lung neoplasms frequently express mutations that down-regulate expression of various tumor suppressor molecules, including mitogen-activated protein kinases such as p38 MAPK. Conversely, activation of p38 MAPK in tumor cells results in cancer cell cycle inhibition or apoptosis initiated by chemotherapeutic agents such as retinoids or cisplatin, and is therefore an attractive approach for experimental anti-tumor therapies. We now report that 4-phenyl-3-butenoic acid (PBA), an experimental compound that reverses the transformed phenotype at non-cytotoxic concentrations, activates p38 MAPK in tumorigenic cells at concentrations and treatment times that correlate with decreased cell growth and increased cell-cell communication. H2009 human lung carcinoma cells and ras-transformed liver epithelial cells treated with PBA showed increased activation of p38 MAPK and its downstream effectors which occurred after 4 h and lasted beyond 48 h. Untransformed plasmid control cells showed low activation of p38 MAPK compared to ras-transformed and H2009 carcinoma cells, which correlates with the reduced effect of PBA on untransformed cell growth. The p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, negated PBA’s activation of p38 MAPK downstream effectors. PBA also increased cell-cell communication and connexin 43 phosphorylation in ras-transformed cells, which were prevented by SB203580. In addition, PBA decreased activation of JNK, which is upregulated in many cancers. Taken together, these results suggest that PBA exerts its growth regulatory effect in tumorigenic cells by concomitant up-regulation of p38 MAPK activity, altered connexin 43 expression, and down-regulation of JNK activity. PBA may therefore be an effective therapeutic agent in human cancers that exhibit down-regulated p38 MAPK activity and/or activated JNK and altered cell-cell communication.
PMCID: PMC3893766  PMID: 21898549
p38 MAPK; connexin; JNK; SB203580
6.  A clinical pathway for community-acquired pneumonia: an observational cohort study 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2011;11:188.
Six hospitals instituted a voluntary, system-wide, pathway for community acquired pneumonia (CAP). We proposed this study to determine the impact of pathway antibiotics on patient survival, hospital length of stay (LOS), and total hospital cost.
Data were collected for adults from six U.S. hospitals with a principal CAP discharge diagnosis code, a chest infiltrate, and medical notes indicative of CAP from 2005-2007. Pathway and non-pathway cohorts were assigned according to antibiotics received within 48 hours of admission. Pathway antibiotics included levofloxacin 750 mg monotherapy or ceftriaxone 1000 mg plus azithromycin 500 mg daily. Multivariable regression models assessed 90-day mortality, hospital LOS, total hospital cost, and total pharmacy cost.
Overall, 792 patients met study criteria. Of these, 505 (64%) received pathway antibiotics and 287 (36%) received non-pathway antibiotics. Adjusted means and p-values were derived from Least Squares regression models that included Pneumonia Severity Index risk class, patient age, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and admitting hospital as covariates. After adjustment, patients who received pathway antibiotics experienced lower adjusted 90-day mortality (p = 0.02), shorter mean hospital LOS (3.9 vs. 5.0 days, p < 0.01), lower mean hospital costs ($2,485 vs. $3,281, p = 0.02), and similar mean pharmacy costs ($356 vs. $442, p = 0.11).
Pathway antibiotics were associated with improved patient survival, hospital LOS, and total hospital cost for patients admitted to the hospital with CAP.
PMCID: PMC3142517  PMID: 21733161
7.  Pharmacy Students' Participation in a Research Experience Culminating in Journal Publication 
To examine factors that influenced doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students to collaborate with faculty members, preceptors, or others on scholarly activities that resulted in publication of an article in a pharmacy journal, and whether this experience influenced their consideration of a career in academic pharmacy.
A 17-question survey instrument was e-mailed to student authors of papers published between 2004 and 2008 in 6 pharmacy journals. Responses were analyzed to determine factors influencing student participation in research and whether the experience led them to consider a career in academic pharmacy.
Factors about their participation in the scholarly activity that respondents found valuable included personal fulfillment and making a contribution to the literature. Respondents indicated they were more interested in a career in academic pharmacy after their participation in the scholarly experience (p < 0.001).
Participation in scholarly activities and student authorship of a peer-reviewed journal manuscript during pharmacy school may lead to increased interest in a career in academic pharmacy.
PMCID: PMC2865413  PMID: 20498740
pharmacy student; publication; scholarship; faculty recruitment; journal

Results 1-8 (8)