Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (60)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

more »
Year of Publication
more »
1.  Forced Smoking Abstinence 
JAMA internal medicine  2013;173(9):789-794.
Millions of Americans are forced to quit smoking as they enter tobacco-free prisons and jails, but most return to smoking within days of release. Interventions are needed to sustain tobacco abstinence after release from incarceration.
To evaluate the extent to which the WISE intervention (Working Inside for Smoking Elimination), based on motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), decreases relapse to smoking after release from a smoke-free prison.
Participants were recruited approximately 8 weeks prior to their release from a smoke-free prison and randomized to 6 weekly sessions of either education videos (control) or the WISE intervention.
A tobacco-free prison in the United States.
A total of 262 inmates (35% female).
Main Outcome Measure
Continued smoking absti nence was defined as 7-day point-prevalence abstinence validated by urine cotinine measurement.
At the 3-week follow-up, 25% of participants in the WISE intervention (31 of 122) and 7% of the control participants (9 of 125) continued to be tobacco abstinent (odds ratio [OR], 4.4; 95% CI, 2.0-9.7). In addition to the intervention, Hispanic ethnicity, a plan to remain abstinent, and being incarcerated for more than 6 months were all associated with increased likelihood of remaining abstinent. In the logistic regression analysis, participants randomized to the WISE intervention were 6.6 times more likely to remain tobacco abstinent at the 3-week follow up than those randomized to the control condition (95% CI, 2.5-17.0). Nonsmokers at the 3-week follow-up had an additional follow-up 3 months after release, and overall 12% of the participants in the WISE intervention (14 of 122) and 2% of the control participants (3 of 125) were tobacco free at 3 months, as confirmed by urine cotinine measurement (OR, 5.3; 95% CI, 1.4-23.8).
Conclusions and Relevance
Forced tobacco abstinence alone during incarceration has little impact on postrelease smoking status. A behavioral intervention provided prior to release greatly improves cotinine-confirmed smoking cessation in the community.
Trial Registration Identifier: NCT01122589
PMCID: PMC4438989  PMID: 23567902
2.  The Relation Between Smoking Status and Medical Conditions Among Incarcerated Adults 
Journal of addiction medicine  2014;8(2):90-95.
The rate of smoking among incarcerated adults is over three times that of the general population. Negative health consequences of smoking have prompted many correctional facilities to become tobacco-free. This presents a unique opportunity to examine health conditions associated with motivation to remain tobacco-free following release from prison. We examined this association among individuals who participated in the WISE randomized clinical trial.
247 participants completed a baseline questionnaire asking about illnesses (both smoking-related and non-smoking related), family history of smoking-related illnesses, demographics and smoking history. Smoking status was assessed 3 weeks post release.
38.1% of participants reported having an illness caused by or worsened by smoking and 53.0% reported having “moderate” to “a lot” of concern about their health due to smoking. 22.9% reported having asthma and 26.8% reported hypertension. The adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free at 3 weeks post-release from a tobacco-free prison was significant only for individuals with a family history of smoking-related illnesses (OR=0.28;95% CI: 0.12–0.68). For individuals with smoking-related conditions, the adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free was non-significant (OR=1.91;95% CI: 0.85–4.27). Similarly, the adjusted odds of remaining tobacco-free for participants with non-smoking related medical conditions was non-significant (OR=0.27;95% CI: 0.06–1.22)
These results offer a first look at understanding health conditions as a motivator to remain tobacco-free following release from prison. While these findings require additional investigation, these results suggest that providing treatment to prisoners with chronic disease and specifically targeting smoking related illnesses might be beneficial with regard to smoking cessation success.
PMCID: PMC4077401  PMID: 24503925
Smoking; Medical Conditions; Prisoners
3.  Is inflammatory chronic obstructive pulmonary disease a coronary heart disease risk equivalent? A longitudinal analysis of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), 1988–1994 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:195.
Evidence suggests that there is an association between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and coronary heart disease (CHD). An important etiological link between COPD and CHD may be an underlying systemic inflammatory process. Given that COPD patients are at greater risk of cardiovascular mortality, understanding the burden of CHD on COPD patients could permit future risk attenuation.
Longitudinal cohort analyses of the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1988–1994 were performed. 3,681 individuals ≥40 years of age with good quality spirometry data were included. Participants were divided into 5 groups: 1) no COPD, no CHD; 2) COPD without inflammation, no CHD; 3) COPD with inflammation, no CHD; 4) CHD only, and 5) CHD + COPD. A novel “inflammatory” COPD designation included those with COPD and clinical evidence of inflammation (i.e., CRP ≥95.24 nmol/L).
The risk for CHD mortality was significant only for the CHD group (HR 5.56, 95% CI 3.24-9.55) and the COPD + CHD group (HR 5.02, 95% CI 2.83-8.90). Similarly, the risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality was significant only for the CHD group (HR 4.25, 95% CI 2.70-6.69) and the CHD + COPD group (HR 4.12, 95% CI 2.60-6.54) after adjusting for nonmodifiable CHD risk factors (age, gender, race/ethnicity, family history of CHD). After adjusting for modifiable CHD risk factors (diabetes, BMI, physical activity, systolic blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking), hazard ratios of the two groups remained similar but attenuated. For total mortality, the risk was significant for the four groups: the non-inflammatory COPD group; the COPD with inflammation group, the CHD group, and the COPD + CHD group.
Our study did not confirm that inflammatory COPD may be a CHD risk equivalent. However, due to the small size of the “inflammatory” COPD group, further prospective replication and validation is needed. Moreover, given that COPD results from inflammation, the systemic inflammation associated with COPD may have worsened comorbid conditions and may have lead to the increased total mortality found in the COPD with inflammation and COPD + CHD groups which requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC4364093  PMID: 25480156
4.  Developing an index for the orthodontic treatment need in paediatric patients with obstructive sleep apnoea: a protocol for a novel communication tool between physicians and orthodontists 
BMJ Open  2014;4(9):e005680.
Sleep disordered breathing in the paediatric population can manifest as an array of different systemic symptoms; among them is a distinct malocclusion and craniofacial phenotype. Emerging research suggests that the treatment of this malocclusion and/or craniofacial phenotype through orthodontic intervention may help with the symptoms of these patients. Selecting the patients who would benefit from orthodontic treatment can be a difficult task for the physician with minimal dental training. Therefore the aim of this study is to develop a simple index to be used by medical professionals to identify those paediatric patients with orthodontic treatment needs who may benefit their obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) symptoms.
Methods and analysis
The methodology in this project has been devised through the WHO's recommendations on developing an index, with modifications based on the specific needs of this study. Based on the available literature, a draft index will be produced and subjected to multiple iterative revisions based on the feedback from: the Index Development Group, a group of multidisciplinary and internationally acclaimed experts in the field; the External Review Group, a group of potential end users and interested parties and the Steering Committee. Once the index has been formalised, it will be subjected to a pair of reliability tests using physicians and orthodontists scored 2 weeks apart. Subsequently, the index will be validated using dichotomous responses from orthodontists on whether they would treat a patient for OSA symptoms, and comparing the responses to the score of the index on the same patient.
Ethics and dissemination
The index will be translated into French and will be presented in orthodontic and medical conferences, workshops, seminars, round table discussions, and free copies for download will be made available on the website of the University of Alberta Interdisciplinary Airway Research Clinic ( Furthermore, the index will be published in a peer-reviewed medical journal to further increase the exposure of the index.
PMCID: PMC4170206  PMID: 25234508
5.  Cellular Requirements for LARK in the Drosophila Circadian System 
Journal of biological rhythms  2012;27(3):183-195.
RNA-binding proteins mediate posttranscriptional functions in the circadian systems of multiple species. A conserved RNA recognition motif (RRM) protein encoded by the lark gene is postulated to serve circadian output and molecular oscillator functions in Drosophila and mammals, respectively. In no species, however, has LARK been eliminated, in vivo, to determine the consequences for circadian timing. The present study utilized RNA interference (RNAi) techniques in Drosophila to decrease LARK levels in clock neurons and other cell types in order to evaluate the circadian functions of the protein. Knockdown of LARK in timeless (TIM)– or pigment dispersing factor (PDF)–containing clock cells caused a significant number of flies to exhibit arrhythmic locomotor activity, demonstrating a requirement for the protein in pacemaker cells. There was no obvious effect on PER protein cycling in lark interference (RNAi) flies, but a knockdown within the PDF neurons was associated with increased PDF immunoreactivity at the dorsal termini of the small ventral lateral neuronal (s-LNv) projections, suggesting an effect on neuropeptide release. The expression of lark RNAi in multiple neurosecretory cell populations demonstrated that LARK is required within pacemaker and nonpacemaker cells for the manifestation of normal locomotor activity rhythms. Interestingly, decreased LARK function in the prothoracic gland (PG), a peripheral organ containing a clock required for the circadian control of eclosion, was associated with weak population eclosion rhythms or arrhythmicity.
PMCID: PMC4135585  PMID: 22653887
clock output; posttranscriptional; RNA binding; locomotor activity; eclosion
6.  Multiple clinically-relevant hormone therapy regimens fail to improve cognitive function in aged ovariectomized rhesus monkeys 
Neurobiology of aging  2013;34(7):1882-1890.
Preclinical studies in aged, surgically-menopausal rhesus monkeys have revealed powerful benefits of intermittent estrogen injections on prefrontal cortex-dependent working memory, together with corresponding effects on dendritic spine morphology in the prefrontal cortex. This contrasts with the inconsistent effects of hormone therapy (HT) reported in clinical studies in women. Factors contributing to this discrepancy could include differences in the formulation and sequence of HT regimens, resulting in different neurobiological outcomes. The current study evaluated, in aging surgically menopausal rhesus monkeys, the cognitive effects of four HT regimens modeled directly on human clinical practice, including continuous estrogen treatment opposed by progesterone. None of the regimens tested produced any cognitive effect, despite yielding physiologically relevant serum hormone levels, as intended. These findings have implications for the design of regimens that might optimize the benefits of hormone treatment for healthy aging, and suggest that common HT protocols used by women may fail to result in substantial cognitive benefit, at least via direct effects on the prefrontal cortex.
PMCID: PMC3622837  PMID: 23369546
ovarian hormones; aging; macaque; learning; memory; prefrontal; temporal
7.  Cation-π interactions as lipid specific anchors for phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase-C 
Amphitropic proteins, such as the virulence factor phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC) from Bacillus thuringiensis, often depend on lipid-specific recognition of target membranes. However, the recognition mechanisms for zwitterionic lipids such as phosphatidylcholine, which is enriched in the outer leaflet of eukaryotic cells, are not well understood. A 500 nanosecond long molecular dynamics simulation of PI-PLC at the surface of a lipid bilayer revealed a strikingly high number of interactions between tyrosines at the interfacial binding site and lipid choline groups with structures characteristic of cation-π interactions. Membrane affinities of PI-PLC tyrosine variants mostly tracked the simulation results, falling into two classes: (i) those with minor losses in affinity, Kd(mutant)/Kd(wildtype)≤5, and (ii) those where the apparent Kd was 50-200 times higher than wildtype. Estimating ΔΔG for these Tyr/PC interactions from the apparent Kd values reveals that the free energy associated with class I is ~1 kcal/mol, comparable to the value predicted by the Wimley-White hydrophobicity scale. In contrast, removal of class II tyrosines has a higher energy cost: ~2.5 kcal/mol towards pure PC vesicles. These higher energies correlate well with the occupancy of the cation-π adducts throughout the MD simulation. Together, these results strongly indicate that PI-PLC interacts with PC headgroups via cation-π interactions with tyrosine residues, and suggest that cation-π interactions at the interface may be a mechanism for specific lipid recognition by amphitropic and membrane proteins.
PMCID: PMC3797534  PMID: 23506313
amphitropic membrane proteins; cation-π; molecular dynamics simulations; fluorescence correlation spectroscopy; phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC)
9.  Documentation and management of overweight and obesity in primary care 
We examine overweight/obesity management in primary care in relation to body mass index (BMI), documentation of weight status, and comorbidities.
This analysis of baseline data from the Cholesterol Education and Research Trial included 2,330 overweight and obese adult primary care patients from southeastern New England. Data were obtained via a telephone interview and abstraction of subjects’ medical record. BMI (kg/m2) was calculated from measured height and weight. Management of overweight/obesity included advice to lose weight, physical activity recommendations, dietary recommendations, and referral for nutrition counseling.
Documentation of weight status was more common with increasing BMI (13% of overweight patients, 39% of mildly obese, and 77% of moderately/severely obese). Documentation of overweight/obesity was associated with increased behavioral treatment; the biggest increase was seen for advice to lose weight (ORs were 7.2 for overweight patients, 3.3 for patients with mild obesity, and 4.0 for moderate/severe obesity). While weight-related comorbidities were associated with increased overweight/obesity management at all BMIs, the biggest increase in odds was for patients with moderate/severe obesity.
Documentation of weight management was more common among patients with documented overweight/obesity and with weight-related comorbidities. These insights may help in designing new interventions in primary care setting for overweight and obese patients.
PMCID: PMC3967526  PMID: 19734401
10.  Prevalence and Predictors of Trichomonas Infection in Newly Incarcerated Women 
Sexually transmitted diseases  2012;39(12):10.1097/OLQ.0b013e31826e8847.
Trichomonas vaginalis is the most prevalent curable sexually transmitted infection in the United States and may lead to pre-term delivery, infertility, and increased HIV transmission. Incarcerated women may be at especially high risk for infection, although few studies have examined routine screening for Trichomonas infection in this population.
Women older than 18 years entering the Rhode Island Department of Corrections between September 2009 and May 2011 were recruited to participate. All women submitted a self-collected vaginal swab for APTIMA transcription-mediated amplification testing. Each participant completed a survey addressing demographics, symptoms, sexual behavior, and substance use by audio computer-assisted self-interview. Data analysis was completed using multivariate logistic regression in SAS.
Data for 387 women were analyzed. The mean age was 30 years, 60% were white, 18% were Hispanic, 10% were black, and 12% had other race/ethnicity. Forty-four percent reported vaginal symptoms, and 77% reported illicit drug and/or heavy alcohol use in the 30 days before incarceration. The prevalence of Trichomonas was 14% by APTIMA. The strongest predictors of infection included black race (odds ratio [OR], 5.1; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9–13.4; P < 0.01), more than 1 year since last Papanicolaou test (OR, 2.5; 95% CI, 1.3–4.8; P < 0.01) and presence of vaginal symptoms (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.2–4.7; P = 0.02).
Trichomonas infection is common in incarcerated women, especially among black women, women with vaginal symptoms, and those not receiving routine gynecologic care. Screening for Trichomonas infection in high-risk populations, particularly if using highly sensitive methods such as transcription-mediated amplification, may lead to increased detection and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3878291  PMID: 23191953
11.  Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure, Home Environment, and Primary Caregiver Risk Factors Predict Child Behavioral Problems at 5 Years 
This study investigated the prospective association between prenatal methamphetamine (MA) exposure and child behavioral problems at 5 years while also examining the home environment at 30 months and several primary caregiver (PC) risk factors. Participants were 97 MA-exposed and 117 comparison children and their PCs enrolled in the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle Study. Hypotheses were that child behaviors would be adversely impacted by (a) prenatal MA exposure, (b) home environments that provided less developmental stimulation and emotional responsiveness to the child, and (c) the presence of PC psychological symptoms and other risk factors. Prenatal MA exposure was associated with child externalizing behavioral problems at 5 years. Home environments that were more conducive to meeting children’s developmental and emotional needs were associated with fewer internalizing and externalizing behavioral problems. Independent of prenatal MA exposure, PC parenting stress and psychological symptoms were associated with increased child behavioral problems. Findings suggest prenatal MA exposure may contribute to externalizing behavioral problems in early childhood and the importance of considering possible vulnerabilities related to prenatal MA exposure in the context of the child’s caregiving environment.
PMCID: PMC3721329  PMID: 23330624
infants; children; pregnant women; methamphetamine use; prenatal substance exposure; primary caregiver; caregiving environment; parenting stress
12.  Social support and smoking abstinence among incarcerated adults in the United States: a longitudinal study 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:859.
In the United States, tobacco use among prisoners is nearly three times that of the general population. While many American prisons and jails are now tobacco-free, nearly all inmates return to smoking as soon as they are released back into the community.
To better understand the role that personal relationships may play in enabling return to smoking, we enrolled former-smokers who were inmates in a tobacco-free prison. Baseline assessments were conducted six weeks prior to inmates’ scheduled release and included measures of smoking prior to incarceration, motivation, confidence and plans for remaining quit after release. We also assessed global social support (ISEL) and a measure of social support specific to quitting smoking (SSQ). Smoking status was assessed three weeks after prison release and included 7-day point-prevalence abstinence validated by urine cotinine, days to first cigarette and smoking rate.
A diverse sample comprised of 35% women, 20% Hispanic, and 29% racial minorities (average age 35.5 years) provided baseline data (n = 247). Over 90% of participants provided follow up data at 3-weeks post-release. Prior to incarceration participants had smoked an average of 21.5 (SD = 11.7) cigarettes per day. Only 29.2% had definite plans to remain smoking-abstinent after release. Approximately half of all participants reported that “most” or “all” of their family (42.2%) and friends (68%) smoked, and 58.8% reported their spouse or romantic partner smoked.
SSQ scores were not significantly predictive of smoking outcomes at three weeks, however, social support from family and friends were each significantly and positively correlated with motivation, confidence, and plans for remaining abstinent (all p values <0.05). These smoking-related attitudinal variables were significantly predictive of smoking outcomes (all p values <0.01). General social support (ISEL) was not associated with smoking-related attitudinal variables or smoking outcomes.
Inmates of smoke-free prisons have a head-start on being smoke-free for life. They have been abstinent well past the duration of nicotine withdrawal and have great financial incentive not to begin smoking again. However, this advantage may be offset by a lack of non-smoking role models among their family and friends, and perceived lack of support for remaining smoke-free.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT01684995
PMCID: PMC4015823  PMID: 24044880
Smoking abstinence; Tobacco; Prison; Incarceration; Social support
13.  Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure and Short-Term Maternal and Infant Medical Outcomes 
American journal of perinatology  2012;29(5):391-400.
Examine maternal and infant medical outcomes of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine (MA).
Study Design
Four hundred and twelve mother-infant pairs (204 MA-exposed and 208 unexposed matched comparisons) were enrolled in the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study. Exposure was determined by maternal self-report during this pregnancy and/or positive meconium toxicology. Maternal interviews assessed prenatal drug use, pregnancy course, and sociodemographic information. Medical chart reviews provided medical history, obstetric complications, infant outcomes, and discharge placement.
MA-using mothers were more likely to be poor, to have a psychiatric disorder/emotional illness and less prenatal care, and to be less likely to breast-feed their infant than comparison mothers. After adjusting for covariates, MA-exposed infants were more likely to exhibit poor suck, to have smaller head circumferences and length, to require neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) admission, and to be referred to child protective services (CPS). Several outcomes previously reported from studies that lacked adequate control groups or adjustment for covariates were not significantly different in this study.
Prenatal MA exposure is associated with maternal psychiatric disorder/emotional illness, poor suck, NICU admission, and CPS involvement, and MA-exposed infants were less likely to be breast-fed; however, the absence of many serious complications, such as fetal distress, chronic hypertension, preeclampsia, placenta previa, abruptio placentae, and cardiac defects, suggests confounding variables influenced prior studies.
PMCID: PMC3717348  PMID: 22399214
amphetamine; methamphetamine; drug; antenatal; neonate
14.  Psychopathology and Special Education Enrollment in Children with Prenatal Cocaine Exposure 
This study evaluated how enrollment in special education services in 11 year old children relates to prenatal cocaine exposure, psychopathology, and other risk factors.
Participants were 498 children enrolled in The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a prospective, longitudinal, multisite study examining outcomes of children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure and psychopathology on enrollment in an individualized education plan (a designation specific to children with special education needs), with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure, an interaction of prenatal cocaine exposure and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, child Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parent-reported internalizing behaviors, and teacher-reported externalizing behaviors, predicted enrollment in an individualized education plan. Other statistically significant variables in the model were male gender, low birth weight, being small for gestational age, white race, caregiver change, low socio-economic status, low child intelligence quotient, caregiver depression, and prenatal marijuana exposure.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan with adjustment for covariates. Psychopathology also predicted this special education outcome, in combination with and independent of prenatal cocaine exposure.
PMCID: PMC3400535  PMID: 22487696
cocaine; special education; behavior; prenatal substance exposure
15.  The study design and rationale of the randomized controlled trial: translating COPD guidelines into primary care practice 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:56.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive, debilitating disease associated with significant clinical burden and is estimated to affect 15 million individuals in the US. Although a large number of individuals are diagnosed with COPD, many individuals still remain undiagnosed due to the slow progression of the disorder and lack of recognition of early symptoms. Not only is there under-diagnosis but there is also evidence of sub-optimal evidence-based treatment of those who have COPD. Despite the development of international COPD guidelines, many primary care physicians who care for the majority of patients with COPD are not translating this evidence into effective clinical practice.
This paper describes the design and rationale for a randomized, cluster design trial (RCT) aimed at translating the COPD evidence-based guidelines into clinical care in primary care practices. During Phase 1, a needs assessment evaluated barriers and facilitators to implementation of COPD guidelines into clinical practice through focus groups of primary care patients and providers. Using formative evaluation and feedback from focus groups, three tools were developed. These include a computerized patient activation tool (an interactive iPad with wireless data transfer to the spirometer); a web-based COPD guideline tool to be used by primary care providers as a decision support tool; and a COPD patient education toolkit to be used by the practice team. During phase II, an RCT will be performed with one year of intervention within 30 primary care practices. The effectiveness of the materials developed in Phase I are being tested in Phase II regarding physician performance of COPD guideline implementation and the improvement in the clinically relevant outcomes (appropriate diagnosis and management of COPD) compared to usual care. We will also examine the use of a patient activation tool - ‘MyLungAge’ - to prompt patients at risk for or who have COPD to request spirometry confirmation and to request support for smoking cessation if a smoker.
Using a multi-modal intervention of patient activation and a technology-supported health care provider team, we are testing the effectiveness of this intervention in activating patients and improving physician performance around COPD guideline implementation.
Trial registration, NCT01237561
PMCID: PMC3651367  PMID: 23641803
COPD; Guidelines; Randomized Clinical Trial; Primary care
16.  Structure of the S. aureus PI-specific phospholipase C reveals modulation of active site access by a titratable π-cation latched loop† 
Biochemistry  2012;51(12):2579-2587.
Staphylococcus aureus secretes a phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PIPLC) as a virulence factor that is unusual in exhibiting higher activity at acidic pH values than other enzymes in this class. We have determined the crystal structure of this enzyme at pH 4.6 and pH 7.5. Under slightly basic conditions, the S. aureus PI-PLC structure closely follows the conformation of other bacterial PI-PLCs. However, when crystallized under acidic conditions, a large section of mobile loop at the αβ-barrel rim in the vicinity of the active site shows ~10 Å shift. This loop displacement at acidic pH is the result of a titratable intramolecular π-cation interaction between His258 and Phe249. This was verified by a structure of the mutant protein H258Y crystallized at pH 4.6, which does not exhibit the large loop shift. The intramolecular π-cation interaction for S. aureus PI-PLC provides an explanation for the activity of the enzyme at acid pH and also suggests how phosphatidylcholine, as a competitor for Phe249, may kinetically activate this enzyme.
PMCID: PMC3332126  PMID: 22390775
17.  Acculturation and Cardiovascular Behaviors Among Latinos in California by Country/Region of Origin 
Despite generally lower socioeconomic status and worse access to healthcare, Latinos have better overall health outcomes and longer life expectancy than non-Latino Whites. This “Latino Health Paradox” has been partially attributed to healthier cardiovascular (CV) behaviors among Latinos. However, as Latinos become more acculturated, differences in some CV behaviors disappear. This study aimed to explore how associations between acculturation and CV behaviors among Latinos vary by country of origin. Combined weighted data from the 2005 and 2007 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) were used to investigate associations between acculturation level and CV behaviors among Latinos by country of origin. Among all Latinos, increased acculturation was associated with more smoking, increased leisure-time physical activity, and greater consumption of fast foods, but no change in fruit/vegetable and less soda intake. These trends varied, however, by Latino sub-groups from different countries of origin. Country of origin appears to impact associations between acculturation and CV behaviors among Latinos in complex ways.
PMCID: PMC3564577  PMID: 21626297
Acculturation Cardiovascular behaviors Latinos Country of origin
18.  Synaptic correlates of memory and menopause in the hippocampal dentate gyrus in rhesus monkeys 
Neurobiology of aging  2010;33(2):421.e17-421.e28.
Aged rhesus monkeys exhibit deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory, similar to aging humans. Here we explored the basis of cognitive decline by first testing young adult and aged monkeys on a standard recognition memory test (delayed nonmatching-to-sample test; DNMS). Next we quantified synaptic density and morphology in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) outer (OML) and inner molecular layer (IML). Consistent with previous findings, aged monkeys were slow to learn DNMS initially, and they performed significantly worse than young subjects when challenged with longer retention intervals. Although OML and IML synaptic parameters failed to differ across the young and aged groups, the density of perforated synapses in the OML was coupled with recognition memory accuracy. Independent of chronological age, monkeys classified on the basis of menses data as peri/post-menopausal scored worse on DNMS, and displayed lower OML perforated synapse density, than pre-menopausal monkeys. These results suggest that naturally occurring reproductive senescence potently influences synaptic connectivity in the DG OML, contributing to individual differences in the course of normal cognitive aging.
PMCID: PMC3031995  PMID: 21030115
delayed nonmatching-to-sample; disector method; estrogen; hippocampus; menopause; outer molecular layer; perforated synapse; post-synaptic density; recognition memory
19.  Itaconic acid is a mammalian metabolite induced during macrophage activation 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(41):16386-16389.
Itaconic acid, or methylenesuccinic acid, is not generally classified as a mammalian metabolite. Using NMR based metabolomics and 13C-labeling, we have detected itaconic acid in both macrophage-like VM-M3 and RAW 264.7 tumor cell lines as well as stimulated and unstimulated primary murine macrophages. Macrophage activation by addition of lipopolysaccharide and IFN-γ markedly increased itaconic acid production and secretion. Crude cell extracts synthesize itaconic acid via decarboxylation of cis-aconitate, indicative of a novel mammalian cis-aconitic decarboxylase activity. Our results highlight a previously unidentified biosynthetic pathway related to TCA cycle metabolism in mammalian cells and a novel metabolite that likely plays a role in macrophage-based immune response.
PMCID: PMC3216473  PMID: 21919507
metabolomics; NMR; LC-MS; itaconic acid; tumor cells; macrophages
20.  Motivational Interviewing with computer assistance as an intervention to empower women to make contraceptive choices while incarcerated: study protocol for randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2012;13:101.
Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are important and costly public health problems in the United States resulting from unprotected sexual intercourse. Risk factors for unplanned pregnancies and STIs (poverty, low educational attainment, homelessness, substance abuse, lack of health insurance, history of an abusive environment, and practice of commercial sex work) are especially high among women with a history of incarceration. Project CARE (Contraceptive Awareness and Reproductive Education) is designed to evaluate an innovative intervention, Motivational Interviewing with Computer Assistance (MICA), aimed at enhancing contraceptive initiation and maintenance among incarcerated women who do not want a pregnancy within the next year and who are anticipated to be released back to the community. This study aims to: (1) increase the initiation of highly effective contraceptives while incarcerated; (2) increase the continuation of highly effective contraceptive use at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after release; and (3) decrease unsafe sexual activity.
This randomized controlled trial will recruit 400 women from the Rhode Island Department of Corrections (RI DOC) women’s jail at risk for an unplanned pregnancy (that is, sexually active with men and not planning/wanting to become pregnant in the next year). They will be randomized to two interventions: a control group who receive two educational videos (on contraception, STIs, and pre-conception counseling) or a treatment group who receive two sessions of personalized MICA. MICA is based on the principles of the Transtheoretical Model (TTM) and on Motivational Interviewing (MI), an empirically supported counseling technique designed to enhance readiness to change targeted behaviors. Women will be followed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months post release and assessed for STIs, pregnancy, and reported condom use.
Results from this study are expected to enhance our understanding of the efficacy of MICA to enhance contraceptive initiation and maintenance and reduce sexual risk-taking behaviors among incarcerated women who have re-entered the community.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3487955  PMID: 22747705
21.  Social isolation, C-reactive protein, and coronary heart disease mortality among community-dwelling adults 
Social science & medicine (1982)  2011;72(9):1482-1488.
Social isolation confers increased risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) events and mortality. In two recent studies, low levels of social integration among older adults were related to higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, suggesting a possible biological link between social isolation and CHD. The current study examined relationships among social isolation, CRP, and 15-year CHD death in a community sample of US adults aged 40 years and older without a prior history of myocardial infarction. A nested case-cohort study was conducted from a parent cohort of community-dwelling adults from the southeastern New England region of the United States (N = 2,321) who were interviewed in 1989 and 1990. CRP levels were measured from stored sera provided by the nested case-cohort (n = 370), which included all cases of CHD death observed through 2005 (n = 48), and a random sample of non-cases. We found that the most socially isolated individuals had two-and-a-half times the odds of elevated CRP levels compared to the most socially integrated. In separate logistic regression models, both social isolation and CRP predicted later CHD death. The most socially isolated continued to have more than twice the odds of CHD death compared to the most socially integrated in a model adjusting for CRP and more traditional CHD risk factors. The current findings support social isolation as an independent risk factor of both high levels of CRP and CHD death in middle-aged adults without a prior history of myocardial infarction. Prospective study of inflammatory pathways related to social isolation and mortality are needed to fully delineate whether and how CRP or other inflammatory markers contribute to mechanisms linking social isolation to CVD health.
PMCID: PMC3090468  PMID: 21492978
USA; social isolation; social integration; social support; inflammation; C-reactive protein; coronary heart disease; mortality
22.  Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Childhood Obesity at Nine Years 
Neurotoxicology and teratology  2010;33(2):188-197.
Little is known about the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and obesity. We tested whether prenatal cocaine exposure increases the likelihood of obesity in 561 9-year-old term children from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS). Overall, 21.6% of children met criterion for obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 95th percentile, age and sex-specific). While there was no overall cocaine effect on obesity, multivariate logistic analysis revealed that children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol were 4 times more likely to be obese (OR 4.11, CI 2.04–9.76) than children not exposed to either drug. No increase in obesity prevalence was found in children exposed to alcohol but not cocaine (OR 1.08, CI .59–1.93) or both (OR 1.21, CI 0.66–2.22). Alcohol exposure may attenuate the effect of cocaine exposure on obesity. Increased obesity associated with cocaine but not alcohol exposure was first observed at 7 years. BMI was also elevated from 3 to 9 years in children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol, due to increasing weight but normal height. Prenatal exposure to cocaine may alter the neuroendocrine system and metabolic processes resulting in increased weight gain and childhood obesity.
PMCID: PMC3058125  PMID: 21109003
Prenatal cocaine exposure; prenatal alcohol exposure; childhood obesity; growth; fetal origins
23.  Reflections on the journey: six short stories 
One of the goals of the 2011 International Year of Chemistry is to celebrate the contributions of women to science. A question that has been frequently asked in this regard is... Why is it necessary to highlight women in the "age of equality"? The reasons are varied but the facts are that many women scientists worked in obscurity throughout the 19th and even well into the 20th century, sometimes publishing anonymously to be heard. This celebration of Women in Science is one way to recognize both the resiliency and passion of these women. As part of this celebration, Chemistry Central Journal's Thematic Series of "Women in Chemistry" includes this article describing the path several women took as they pursued chemistry careers spanning the latter part of the 20th century and into the early 21st century. Sharon Haynie, Nancy Jones, Cheryl Martin, Paula Olsiewski, Mary Roberts and Amber Hinkle each have unique story of their personal journey from childhood to adulthood. As you read these stories, listen generously, and feel free to share your own stories, comments and thoughts.
PMCID: PMC3231872  PMID: 22059695
24.  Understanding the stereospecific interactions of 3-deoxyphosphatidylinositol derivatives with the PTEN phosphatase domain 
PTEN is an important control element of PI3K/AKT signaling involved in controlling the processes of embryonic development, cell migration and apoptosis. While its dysfunction is implicated in a large fraction of cancers, PTEN activity in the same pathway may also contribute to metabolic syndromes such as diabetes. In those cases, selective inhibitors of PTEN may be useful. A new class of chiral PTEN inhibitors based on the 3-deoxy-phosphatidylinositol derivatives was recently identified [Wang et al. (2008) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 130, 7746]. However, lack of detailed understanding of protein-ligand interactions has hampered efforts to develop effective agonists or antagonists of PTEN. Here, we use computational modeling to characterize the interactions of the diverse 3-deoxyphosphatidylinositol inhibitors with the PTEN protein. We show that, while each of the compounds binds with the inositol headgroup inserting into the proposed active site of the PTEN phosphatase domain, hydrogen bonding restrictions lead to distinct binding geometries for ligand pairs of opposite chirality. We furthermore demonstrate that the binding modes differ primarily in the orientation of acyl tails of the ligands and that the activity of the compounds is primarily controlled by the effectiveness of tail-protein contacts. These findings are confirmed by binding affinity calculations which are in good agreement with experiment. Finally, we show that while more potent D-series ligands bind in a manner similar to that of the native substrate, an alternate hydrophobic pocket suitable for binding the opposite chirality L-series inhibitors exists, offering the possibility of designing highly selective PTEN- targeting compounds.
PMCID: PMC3072415  PMID: 20538496
PTEN; apoptosis; PI3K/AKT; molecular dynamics; cancer; phosphatidylinositol
25.  Small for Gestational Age and Higher Birth Weight Predict Childhood Obesity in Preterm Infants 
American journal of perinatology  2010;27(9):721-730.
We sought to determine the association between small for gestational age (SGA), birth weight, and childhood obesity within preterm polysubstance exposed children. We sampled 312 preterm children with 11-year body mass index (BMI; age- and sex-specific) data from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (51% girls, 21.5% SGA, 46% prenatal cocaine, and 55% tobacco exposed). Multinomial regression analyzed the association between 11-year obesity (OBE) and overweight (OW) and SGA, birth weight, first-year growth velocity, diet, and physical activity variables. Overall, 24% were OBE (BMI for age ≥95th percentile) and 16.7% were OW (BMI ≥85th and <95th percentiles). In adjusted analyses, SGA was associated with OW (odds ratio [OR]=3.4, confidence interval [CI] 1.5 to 7.5). Higher birth weight was associated with OBE (OR = 1.8, CI 1.3 to 2.4) and OW (OR=1.4, CI 1.1 to 2.0). Growth velocity was associated with OBE (OR=2.7, CI 1.8 to 4.0) and OW (OR=1.6, CI 1.1 to 2.4). Low exercise was associated with OBE (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.4) and OW (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.5). There was no effect of substance exposure on obesity outcomes. Many (41%) of these high-risk preterm 11-year-olds were obese/overweight. Multiple growth-related processes may be involved in obesity risk for preterm children, including fetal programming as indicated by the SGA effect.
PMCID: PMC2949419  PMID: 20408111
Childhood obesity; premature birth; infant SGA; birth weight; exercise; prenatal drug exposure

Results 1-25 (60)