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2.  Novel MRI tests of orocecal transit time and whole gut transit time: studies in normal subjects 
Colonic transit tests are used to manage patients with Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Some tests used expose patients to ionizing radiation. The aim of this study was to compare novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests for measuring orocecal transit time (OCTT) and whole gut transit time (WGT), which also provide data on colonic volumes.
21 healthy volunteers participated. Study 1: OCTT was determined from the arrival of the head of a meal into the cecum using MRI and the Lactose Ureide breath test (LUBT), performed concurrently. Study 2: WGT was assessed using novel MRI marker capsules and radio-opaque markers (ROMs), taken on the same morning. Studies were repeated 1 week later.
Key Results
OCTT measured using MRI and LUBT was 225 min (IQR 180–270) and 225 min (IQR 165–278), respectively, correlation rs = 0.28 (ns). WGT measured using MRI marker capsules and ROMs was 28 h (IQR 4–50) and 31 h ± 3 (SEM), respectively, correlation rs = 0.85 (p < 0.0001). Repeatability assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) was 0.45 (p = 0.017) and 0.35 (p = 0.058) for MRI and LUBT OCTT tests. Better repeatability was observed for the WGT tests, ICC being 0.61 for the MRI marker capsules (p = 0.001) and 0.69 for the ROM method (p < 0.001) respectively.
Conclusions & Inferences
The MRI WGT method is simple, convenient, does not use X-ray and compares well with the widely used ROM method. Both OCTT measurements showed modest reproducibility and the MRI method showed modest inter-observer agreement.
PMCID: PMC4285997  PMID: 24165044
correlation; marker capsule; MRI; transit time
3.  Agreement between routine and research measurement of infant height and weight 
Archives of Disease in Childhood  2014;100(1):24-29.
In many countries, routine data relating to growth of infants are collected as a means of tracking health and illness up to school age. These have potential to be used in research. For health monitoring and research, data should be accurate and reliable. This study aimed to determine the agreement between length/height and weight measurements from routine infant records and researcher-collected data.
Height/length and weight at ages 6, 12 and 24 months from the longitudinal UK birth cohort (born in Bradford; n=836–1280) were compared with routine data collected by health visitors within 2 months of the research data (n=104–573 for different comparisons). Data were age adjusted and compared using Bland Altman plots.
There was agreement between data sources, albeit weaker for height than for weight. Routine data tended to underestimate length/height at 6 months (0.5 cm (95% CI −4.0 to 4.9)) and overestimate it at 12 (−0.3 cm (95% CI −0.5 to 4.0)) and 24 months (0.3 cm (95% CI −4.0 to 3.4)). Routine data slightly overestimated weight at all three ages (range −0.04 kg (95% CI −1.2 to 0.9) to −0.04 (95% CI −0.7 to 0.6)). Limits of agreement were wide, particularly for height. Differences were generally random, although routine data tended to underestimate length in taller infants and underestimate weight in lighter infants.
Routine data can provide an accurate and feasible method of data collection for research, though wide limits of agreement between data sources may be observed. Differences could be due to methodological issues; but may relate to variability in clinical practice. Continued provision of appropriate training and assessment is essential for health professionals responsible for collecting routine data.
PMCID: PMC4283671  PMID: 25266076
Growth; Monitoring; routine data; PCHR; research
Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency is a rare, autosomal-recessive neurological disorder caused by mutations in the DDC gene that leads to an inability to synthesize catecholamines and serotonin. As a result, patients suffer compromised development, particularly in motor function. A recent gene replacement clinical trial explored putaminal delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 2 vector encoding human AADC (AAV2-hAADC) in AADC-deficient children. Unfortunately, patients presented only modest amelioration of motor symptoms, which authors acknowledged could be due to insufficient transduction of putamen. We hypothesize that, with the development of a highly accurate MRI-guided cannula placement technology, a more effective approach might be to target the affected mid-brain neurons directly. Transduction of AADC-deficient dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area with locally infused AAV2-hAADC would be expected to lead to restoration of normal dopamine levels in affected children. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term safety and tolerability of bilateral AAV2-hAADC MRI-guided pressurized infusion into the mid-brain of non-human primates. Animals received either vehicle, low or high AAV2-hAADC vector dose and were euthanized 1, 3 or 9 months after surgery. Our data indicate that effective mid-brain transduction was achieved without untoward effects.
PMCID: PMC4274790  PMID: 25541617
AAV2-hAADC; MRI-guided; pressurized infusion; AADC deficiency
5.  M180 Amelogenin Processed by MMP20 is Sufficient for Decussating Murine Enamel 
Journal of Dental Research  2013;92(12):1118-1122.
Amelogenin (AMELX) and matrix metalloproteinase-20 (MMP20) are essential for proper enamel development. Amelx and Mmp20 mutations cause amelogenesis imperfecta. MMP20, a protease secreted by ameloblasts, is responsible for processing enamel proteins, including AMELX, during the secretory stage of enamel formation. Of at least 16 different amelogenin splice products, the most abundant isoform found in murine ameloblasts and developing enamel is the M180 protein. To understand the role of MMP20 processing of M180 AMELX, we generated AmelxKO/Mmp20KO (DKO) mice with an amelogenin (M180Tg) transgene. We analyzed the enamel phenotype by SEM to determine enamel structure and thickness, µCT, and by nanoindentation to quantify enamel mechanical properties. M180Tg/DKO mouse enamel had 37% of the hardness of M180Tg/AmelxKO teeth and demonstrated a complete lack of normal prismatic architecture. Although molar enamel of M180Tg/AmelxKO mice was thinner than WT, it had similar mechanical properties and decussating enamel prisms, which were abolished by the loss of MMP20 in the M180Tg/DKO mice. Retention of the C-terminus or complete lack of this domain is unable to rescue amelogenin null enamel. We conclude that among amelogenins, M180 alone is sufficient for normal enamel mechanical properties and prism patterns, but that additional amelogenin splice products are required to restore enamel thickness.
PMCID: PMC3834654  PMID: 24072097
matrix metalloproteinase-20; knockout mouse; transgenic mouse; amelogenesis; imperfecta; ameloblasts; tooth calcification
6.  Amplification of human platelet activation by surface pannexin-1 channels 
Pannexin-1 (Panx1) forms an anion-selective channel with a permeability up to ∼1 kDa and represents a non-lytic, non-vesicular ATP release pathway in erythrocytes, leukocytes and neurons. Related connexin gap junction proteins have been reported in platelets; however, the expression and function of the pannexins remain unknown.
To determine the expression and function of pannexins in human plate-lets, using molecular, cellular and functional techniques.
Panx1 expression in human platelets was det-ermined using qPCR and antibody-based techniques. Contributions of Panx1 to agonist-evoked efflux of cytoplasmic calcein, Ca2+ influx, ATP release and aggregation were assessed in washed platelets under conditions where the P2X1 receptor response was preserved (0.32 U mL−1 apyrase). Thrombus formation in whole blood was assessed in vitro using a shear chamber assay. Two structurally unrelated and widely used Panx1 inhibitors, probenecid and carbenoxolone, were used throughout this study, at concentrations that do not affect connexin channels.
PANX1, but not PANX2 or PANX3, mRNA was detected in human platelets. Furthermore, Panx1 protein is glycosylated and present on the plasma membrane of platelets, and displays weak physical association with P2X1 receptors. Panx1 inhibition blocked thrombin-evoked efflux of calcein, and reduced Ca2+ influx, ATP release, platelet aggregation and thrombus formation under arterial shear rates in vitro. The Panx1-dependent contribution was not additive to that of P2X1 receptors.
Panx1 is expressed on human platelets and amplifies Ca2+ influx, ATP release and aggregation through the secondary activation of P2X1 receptors. We propose that Panx1 represents a novel target for the management of arterial thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC4238786  PMID: 24655807
ATP; calcium; collagen; P2X1 receptor; pannexin 1, human
7.  Evaluating Uncertainty to Strengthen Epidemiologic Data for Use in Human Health Risk Assessments 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2014;122(11):1160-1165.
Background: There is a recognized need to improve the application of epidemiologic data in human health risk assessment especially for understanding and characterizing risks from environmental and occupational exposures. Although there is uncertainty associated with the results of most epidemiologic studies, techniques exist to characterize uncertainty that can be applied to improve weight-of-evidence evaluations and risk characterization efforts.
Methods: This report derives from a Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) workshop held in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, to discuss the utility of using epidemiologic data in risk assessments, including the use of advanced analytic methods to address sources of uncertainty. Epidemiologists, toxicologists, and risk assessors from academia, government, and industry convened to discuss uncertainty, exposure assessment, and application of analytic methods to address these challenges.
Synthesis: Several recommendations emerged to help improve the utility of epidemiologic data in risk assessment. For example, improved characterization of uncertainty is needed to allow risk assessors to quantitatively assess potential sources of bias. Data are needed to facilitate this quantitative analysis, and interdisciplinary approaches will help ensure that sufficient information is collected for a thorough uncertainty evaluation. Advanced analytic methods and tools such as directed acyclic graphs (DAGs) and Bayesian statistical techniques can provide important insights and support interpretation of epidemiologic data.
Conclusions: The discussions and recommendations from this workshop demonstrate that there are practical steps that the scientific community can adopt to strengthen epidemiologic data for decision making.
Citation: Burns CJ, Wright JM, Pierson JB, Bateson TF, Burstyn I, Goldstein DA, Klaunig JE, Luben TJ, Mihlan G, Ritter L, Schnatter AR, Symons JM, Yi KD. 2014. Evaluating uncertainty to strengthen epidemiologic data for use in human health risk assessments. Environ Health Perspect 122:1160–1165;
PMCID: PMC4216166  PMID: 25079138
8.  Shear bond strength of dentin and deproteinized enamel of AI mouse incisors 
Pediatric dentistry  2014;36(5):130-136.
To investigate the adhesion through shear bond strength (SBS) testing of a resin composite bonded with a self-etching bonding system (SEB) to amelogenesis imperfecta (AI)-affected deproteinized mouse enamel or dentin; and to compare wild-type (WT), amelogenin null (AmelxKO) and matrix metalloproteinase-20 null (Mmp20KO) enamel and dentin phenotypes using microCT and nanoindentation.
Enamel incisor surfaces of WT, AmelxKO and Mmp20KO mice were treated with SEB with and without NaOCl and tested for SBS. Incisor dentin was also treated with SEB and tested for SBS. These surfaces were further examined by SEM. MicroCT and nanoindentation analyses were performed on mouse dentin and enamel. Data were analyzed for significance by ANOVA.
Deproteinization did not improve SBS of SEB to these AI-affected enamel surfaces. SBS of AmelxKO teeth was similar in dentin and enamel; however, it was higher in Mmp20KO dentin. The nanohardness of knockout enamel was significantly lower than WT, while knockout dentin nanohardness was not different from WT.
Using animal AI models, it was demonstrated that enamel NaOCl deproteinization of hypoplastic and hypoplastic-hypomaturation enamel did not increase shear bond strength while removal of the defective enamel allowed optimal dentin bonding.
PMCID: PMC4196710  PMID: 25303500
Amelogenesis imperfecta; dentin bonding; enamel
9.  AAV2 Gene Therapy Readministration in Three Adults with Congenital Blindness 
Science translational medicine  2012;4(120):120ra15.
Demonstration of safe and stable reversal of blindness after a single unilateral subretinal injection of a recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) carrying the RPE65 gene (AAV2-hRPE65v2) prompted us to determine whether it was possible to obtain additional benefit through a second administration of the AAV vector to the contralateral eye. Readministration of vector to the second eye was carried out in three adults with Leber congenital amaurosis due to mutations in the RPE65 gene 1.7 to 3.3 years after they had received their initial subretinal injection of AAV2-hRPE65v2. Results (through 6 months) including evaluations of immune response, retinal and visual function testing, and functional magnetic resonance imaging indicate that readministration is both safe and efficacious after previous exposure to AAV2-hRPE65v2.
PMCID: PMC4169122  PMID: 22323828
10.  A Randomised Controlled Trial of complete denture impression materials 
Journal of Dentistry  2014;42(8):895-901.
There is continuing demand for non-implant prosthodontic treatment and yet there is a paucity of high quality Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) evidence for best practice. The aim of this research was to provide evidence for best practice in prosthodontic impressions by comparing two impression materials in a double-blind, randomised, crossover, controlled, clinical trial.
Eighty-five patients were recruited, using published eligibility criteria, to the trial at Leeds Dental Institute, UK. Each patient received two sets of dentures; made using either alginate or silicone impressions. Randomisations determined the order of assessment and order of impressions. The primary outcome was patient blinded preference for unadjusted dentures. Secondary outcomes were patient preference for the adjusted dentures, rating of comfort, stability and chewing efficiency, experience of each impression, and an OHIP-EDENT questionnaire.
Seventy-eight (91.8%) patients completed the primary assessment. 53(67.9%) patients preferred dentures made from silicone impressions while 14(17.9%) preferred alginate impressions. 4(5.1%) patients found both dentures equally satisfactory and 7 (9.0%) found both equally unsatisfactory. There was a 50% difference in preference rates (in favour of silicone) (95%CI 32.7–67.3%, p < 0.0001).
There is significant evidence that dentures made from silicone impressions were preferred by patients.
Clinical significance
Given the strength of the clinical findings within this paper, dentists should consider choosing silicone rather than alginate as their material of choice for secondary impressions for complete dentures.
Trial Registration: ISRCTN 01528038.

This article forms part of a project for which the author (TPH) won the Senior Clinical Unilever Hatton Award of the International Assocation for Dental Research, Capetown, South Africa, June 2014.
PMCID: PMC4119301  PMID: 24995473
Prosthodontics; Quality-of life; Patient outcomes; Impression materials; Edentulous; Removable prosthodontics
11.  Presence and Characterisation of Anaemia in Diabetic Foot Ulceration 
Anemia  2014;2014:104214.
Introduction. Diabetic foot ulceration (DFU) is the commonest cause of severe limb ischaemia in the western world. In diabetes mellitus, anaemia is frequently unrecognized, yet studies have shown that it is twice as common in diabetics compared with nondiabetics. We aimed to assess the incidence of anaemia and further classify the iron deficiency seen in a high-risk DFU patient group. Methods. An observational study was undertaken in a multidisciplinary diabetic foot clinic setting. All patients with DFU attending over a four-month period were included. Anaemia was defined as haemoglobin (Hb) levels <12 g/dL. Iron deficiency was classified according to definitions of AID (absolute iron deficiency) and FID (functional iron deficiency). Results. 27 patients had DFU; 14 (51.9%) were anaemic; two (7.41%) had severe anaemia (Hb < 10 g/dL). No patient had B12 or Folate deficiency. In patients with anaemia, there was significant spread of indices. Only one patient had “textbook” absolute iron deficiency (AID) defined as low Hb, MCV, MCH, and ferritin. Functional iron deficiency (FID) was seen in a further seven patients (25.5%). Conclusion. Anaemia and iron deficiency are a common problem in patients with DFU. With current clinical markers, it is incredibly difficult to determine causal relationships and further in-depth scientific study is required.
PMCID: PMC4134799  PMID: 25197565
12.  Differences in socioeconomic position, lifestyle and health-related pregnancy characteristics between Pakistani and White British women in the Born in Bradford prospective cohort study: the influence of the woman's, her partner's and their parents’ place of birth 
BMJ Open  2014;4(6):e004805.
To examine differences between Pakistani and White British women in relation to socioeconomic position, lifestyle and health-related pregnancy characteristics, and to determine whether these differences vary depending on the woman's, her partner's and both of their parents’ place of birth.
Prospective cohort study.
Bradford, UK
3656 Pakistani and 3503 White British women recruited to the Born in Bradford study.
Main outcome measures
Socioeconomic position (employment status; level of education; receipt of benefits; housing tenure), lifestyle characteristics (body mass index (BMI) at the start of pregnancy; smoking during pregnancy) and health-related pregnancy characteristics (hypertensive disorders of pregnancy; gestational diabetes; fasting glucose, postload glucose and fasting insulin at ∼27 weeks gestation).
Fewer Pakistani women were employed (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.15 to 0.19), the difference being markedly less for UK born women. UK born Pakistani women were more likely, and South Asian born less likely, to be educated post 16 than White British women. Smoking was uncommon among Pakistani women, though the difference comparing UK born Pakistani women to White British women was less than for other groups. BMI was lower among Pakistani compared to White British women (adjusted mean difference −1.12, 95% CI −1.43 to −0.81), the difference being greatest when partners were UK born irrespective of the woman’s place of birth. Pakistani women had higher fasting and postload glucose (mean difference 0.20 mmol/L, 95% CI 0.17 to 0.24; 0.37, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.45), higher fasting insulin and were more likely to have gestational diabetes (GDM).
Our results suggest that some socioeconomic, lifestyle and pregnancy characteristics could be beginning to change in response to migration to the UK, with generally beneficial changes, that is, improving education and employment prospects, lower BMI and no evidence that being UK born has further increased the risk of GDM, but some negative, that is, slight increases in smoking.
PMCID: PMC4067825  PMID: 24948746
Epidemiology; Ethnicity; Lifestyle
13.  Chimeric Antigen Receptor–Modified T Cells for Acute Lymphoid Leukemia 
The New England journal of medicine  2013;368(16):1509-1518.
Chimeric antigen receptor–modified T cells with specificity for CD19 have shown promise in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). It remains to be established whether chimeric antigen receptor T cells have clinical activity in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Two children with relapsed and refractory pre–B-cell ALL received infusions of T cells transduced with anti-CD19 antibody and a T-cell signaling molecule (CTL019 chimeric antigen receptor T cells), at a dose of 1.4×106 to 1.2×107 CTL019 cells per kilogram of body weight. In both patients, CTL019 T cells expanded to a level that was more than 1000 times as high as the initial engraftment level, and the cells were identified in bone marrow. In addition, the chimeric antigen receptor T cells were observed in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), where they persisted at high levels for at least 6 months. Eight grade 3 or 4 adverse events were noted. The cytokine-release syndrome and B-cell aplasia developed in both patients. In one child, the cytokine-release syndrome was severe; cytokine blockade with etanercept and tocilizumab was effective in reversing the syndrome and did not prevent expansion of chimeric antigen receptor T cells or reduce anti-leukemic efficacy. Complete remission was observed in both patients and is ongoing in one patient at 11 months after treatment. The other patient had a relapse, with blast cells that no longer expressed CD19, approximately 2 months after treatment. Chimeric antigen receptor–modified T cells are capable of killing even aggressive, treatment-refractory acute leukemia cells in vivo. The emergence of tumor cells that no longer express the target indicates a need to target other molecules in addition to CD19 in some patients with ALL.
PMCID: PMC4058440  PMID: 23527958
14.  Three Year Follow-Up after Unilateral Subretinal Delivery of Adeno-Associated Virus in Patients with Leber Congenital Amaurosis Type 2 
Ophthalmology  2013;120(6):1283-1291.
The aim of the current study is to show the clinical data of long-term (3 year) follow-up of five patients affected by Leber Congenital Amaurosis type 2 (LCA2) treated with a single unilateral injection of AAV2-hRPE65v2.
clinical trial
five LCA2 patients with RPE65 gene mutations
After informed consent and confirmation of trial eligibility criteria, the eye with worse visual function was selected for subretinal delivery of Adeno-Associated Virus (AAV2-hRPE65v2). Subjects were evaluated before and after surgery at designated follow-up visits (1, 2, 3, 14, 30, 60, 90, 180, 270, 365 days, 1.5 years and 3 years) by complete ophthalmic examination. Efficacy for each subject was monitored with best corrected visual acuity, kinetic visual field, nystagmus testing and pupillary light reflex.
Main Outcome Measures
best corrected visual acuity, kinetic visual field, nystagmus testing and pupillary light reflex.
The data showed a statistically significant improvement of best corrected visual acuity between baseline and 3 years after treatment in the treated eye (p<0.001). In all patients we observed an enlargement of the areas of visual field, which remained stable till 3 years post injection (average values: baseline 1058 deg2 vs 3 years post treatment: 4630 deg2) and a reduction of the nystagmus frequency compared to baseline at the 3 year time-point. Furthermore, a statistically significant difference was observed in the pupillary constriction of the treated eye (p<0.05) compared to the untreated eye in three patients at 1 and 3-year time-points. No patients suffered serious adverse events related to the vector in the 3 year post-injection period.
The long-term follow-up data (3 years) on the 5-patient Italian cohort involved in the LCA2 gene therapy clinical trial clearly showed a stability of improvement in visual and retinal function that had been achieved a few months after treatment. Longitudinal data analysis showed that the maximum improvement was achieved within six months after treatment, and the visual improvement was stable up to the last observed time-point.
PMCID: PMC3674112  PMID: 23474247
15.  Metformin inhibits growth and enhances radiation response of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) through ATM and AMPK 
British Journal of Cancer  2013;108(10):2021-2032.
We examined the potential of metformin (MET) to enhance non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) responses to ionising radiation (IR).
Human NSCLC cells, mouse embryonic fibroblasts from wild-type and AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) α1/2-subunit−/− embryos (AMPKα1/2−/−-MEFs) and NSCLC tumours grafted into Balb/c-nude mice were treated with IR and MET and subjected to proliferation, clonogenic, immunoblotting, cell cycle and apoptosis assays and immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Metformin (2.5 μℳ–5 mℳ) inhibited proliferation and radio-sensitised NSCLC cells. Metformin (i) activated the ataxia telengiectasia-mutated (ATM)–AMPK–p53/p21cip1 and inhibited the Akt–mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)–eIF4E-binding protein 1 (4EBP1) pathways, (ii) induced G1 cycle arrest and (iii) enhanced apoptosis. ATM inhibition blocked MET and IR activation of AMPK. Non-small cell lung cancer cells with inhibited AMPK and AMPKα1/2−/−-MEFs were resistant to the antiproliferative effects of MET and IR. Metformin or IR inhibited xenograft growth and combined treatment enhanced it further than each treatment alone. Ionising radiation and MET induced (i) sustained activation of ATM–AMPK–p53/p21cip1 and inhibition of Akt–mTOR–4EBP1 pathways in tumours, (ii) reduced expression of angiogenesis and (iii) enhanced expression of apoptosis markers.
Clinically achievable MET doses inhibit NSCLC cell and tumour growth and sensitise them to IR. Metformin and IR mediate their action through an ATM–AMPK-dependent pathway. Our results suggest that MET can be a clinically useful adjunct to radiotherapy in NSCLC.
PMCID: PMC3670487  PMID: 23632475
cell cycle; mTOR; Akt; γH2AX; 4EBP1
16.  Advancing Translational Research Through the NHLBI Gene Therapy Resource Program (GTRP) 
Translational research is a lengthy, complex, and necessary endeavor in order to bring basic science discoveries to clinical fruition. The NIH offers several programs to support translational research including an important resource established specifically for gene therapy researchers—the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Gene Therapy Resource Program (GTRP). This paper reviews the core components of the GTRP and describes how the GTRP provides researchers with resources that are critical to advancing investigational gene therapy products into clinical testing.
PMCID: PMC4003470  PMID: 23692378
17.  Joint Exposure to Chemical and Nonchemical Neurodevelopmental Stressors in U.S. Women of Reproductive Age in NHANES 
Lead (Pb) and methyl mercury (MeHg) are well established neurodevelopmental toxicants (NDTs), but joint exposure to chemical and nonchemical (e.g., maternal stress) stressors has rarely been considered. We characterized exposure to Pb, MeHg and a measure of physiological dysregulation associated with chronic stress and examined race/ethnicity as a predictor of joint NDT exposure. Using data from the 2003−2004 NHANES, potential chronic stress exposure was estimated using allostatic load (AL), a quantitative measure of physiological dysregulation. A Hazard Index was calculated for joint exposure to Pb and MeHg (HINDT). Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between an indicator of elevated joint NDT exposures (HINDT > 1) and race/ethnicity. The multivariate model was stratified by AL groups to examine effect measure modification. African American (adjusted odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval] = 2.2 [1.4, 3.3]) and Mexican American (1.4 [0.7, 2.6]) women were more likely to have an HINDT > 1 compared to Caucasian women. Chronic stress was identified as an effect measure modifier with the largest ORs among women with high AL scores (African Americans = 4.3 [2.0, 9.5]; Mexican Americans = 4.2 [1.3, 14.1]). Chronic stress was found to modify the association between elevated joint NDT exposure and race/ethnicity, highlighting the importance of evaluating chemical and nonchemical stressor exposures leading to a common endpoint.
PMCID: PMC4024991  PMID: 24758893
allostatic load (AL); chronic stress; cumulative exposure assessment; cumulative risk assessment (CRA); hazard index (HI); nonchemical stressors; neurodevelopment; physiological dysregulation; susceptibility; vulnerability
18.  Effect of supervised aerobic exercise rehabilitation on physical fitness and quality-of-life in survivors of critical illness: an exploratory minimized controlled trial (PIX study) 
BJA: British Journal of Anaesthesia  2014;113(1):130-137.
Evidence is limited for the effectiveness of interventions for survivors of critical illness after hospital discharge. We explored the effect of an 8-week hospital-based exercise-training programme on physical fitness and quality-of-life.
In a parallel-group minimized controlled trial, patients were recruited before hospital discharge or in the intensive care follow-up clinic and enrolled 8–16 weeks after discharge. Each week, the intervention comprised two sessions of physiotherapist-led cycle ergometer exercise (30 min, moderate intensity) plus one equivalent unsupervised exercise session. The control group received usual care. The primary outcomes were the anaerobic threshold (in ml O2 kg−1 min−1) and physical function and mental health (SF-36 questionnaire v.2), measured at Weeks 9 (primary time point) and 26. Outcome assessors were blinded to group assignment.
Thirty patients were allocated to the control and 29 to the intervention. For the anaerobic threshold outcome at Week 9, data were available for 17 control vs 13 intervention participants. There was a small benefit (vs control) for the anaerobic threshold of 1.8 (95% confidence interval, 0.4–3.2) ml O2 kg−1 min−1. This advantage was not sustained at Week 26. There was evidence for a possible beneficial effect of the intervention on self-reported physical function at Week 9 (3.4; −1.4 to 8.2 units) and on mental health at Week 26 (4.4; −2.4 to 11.2 units). These potential benefits should be examined robustly in any subsequent definitive trial.
The intervention appeared to accelerate the natural recovery process and seems feasible, but the fitness benefit was only short term.
Clinical trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN65176374 (
PMCID: PMC4062299  PMID: 24607602
anaerobic threshold; cardiopulmonary exercise test; rehabilitation, exercise therapy
19.  Randomized Trial of a Family-based, Automated, Conversational Obesity Treatment Program for Underserved Populations 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2013;21(9):E369-E378.
To evaluate the acceptability and feasibility of a scalable obesity treatment program integrated with pediatric primary care and delivered using interactive voice technology (IVR) to families from underserved populations.
Design and Methods
Fifty parent-child dyads (child 9–12 yrs, BMI >95th percentile) were recruited from a pediatric primary care clinic and randomized to either an IVR or a wait-list control (WLC) group. The majority were lower-income, African-American (72%) families. Dyads received IVR calls for 12 weeks. Call content was informed by two evidenced-based interventions. Anthropometric and behavioral variables were assessed at baseline and 3 mo follow-up.
Forty-three dyads completed the study. IVR parents ate 1 cup more fruit than WLC (p < .05). No other groups differences were found. Children classified as high users of the IVR decreased weight, BMI and BMI z-score compared to low users (p<.05). Mean number of calls for parents and children were 9.1 (5.2 SD) and 9.0 (5.7 SD), respectively. Of those who made calls, >75% agreed that the calls were useful, made for people like them, credible, and helped them eat healthy foods.
An obesity treatment program delivered via IVR may be an acceptable and feasible resource for families from underserved populations.
PMCID: PMC3695059  PMID: 23512915
20.  Homozygous mutation of MTPAP causes cellular radiosensitivity and persistent DNA double-strand breaks 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(3):e1130-.
The study of rare human syndromes characterized by radiosensitivity has been instrumental in identifying novel proteins and pathways involved in DNA damage responses to ionizing radiation. In the present study, a mutation in mitochondrial poly-A-polymerase (MTPAP), not previously recognized for its role in the DNA damage response, was identified by exome sequencing and subsequently associated with cellular radiosensitivity. Cell lines derived from two patients with the homozygous MTPAP missense mutation were radiosensitive, and this radiosensitivity could be abrogated by transfection of wild-type mtPAP cDNA into mtPAP-deficient cell lines. Further analysis of the cellular phenotype revealed delayed DNA repair, increased levels of DNA double-strand breaks, increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), and increased cell death after irradiation (IR). Pre-IR treatment of cells with the potent anti-oxidants, α-lipoic acid and n-acetylcysteine, was sufficient to abrogate the DNA repair and clonogenic survival defects. Our results firmly establish that mutation of the MTPAP gene results in a cellular phenotype of increased DNA damage, reduced repair kinetics, increased cell death by apoptosis, and reduced clonogenic survival after exposure to ionizing radiation, suggesting a pathogenesis that involves the disruption of ROS homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3973239  PMID: 24651433
radiosensitivity; MTPAP; DNA repair; sequencing; reactive oxygen species; DNA damage
21.  Influence of health insurance, hospital factors and physician volume on receipt of immediate post-mastectomy reconstruction in women with invasive and non-invasive breast cancer 
For women with breast cancer who undergo mastectomy, immediate breast reconstruction (IR) offers a cosmetic and psychological advantage. We evaluated the association between demographic, hospital, surgeon and insurance factors and receipt of IR. We conducted a retrospective hospital-based analysis with the Perspective database. Women who underwent a mastectomy for invasive breast cancer (IBC) and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) from 2000 to 2010 were included. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine factors predictive of IR. Analyses were stratified by age (<50 vs. ≥50) and IBC versus DCIS. Of the 108,992 women with IBC who underwent mastectomy, 30,859 (28.3 %) underwent IR, as compared to 6,501 (44.2 %) of the 14,710 women with DCIS who underwent mastectomy underwent IR. In a multivariable model for IBC, increasing age, black race, being married, rural location, and increased comorbidities were associated with decreased IR. Odds ratios (OR) of IR increased with commercial insurance (OR 3.38) and Medicare (OR 1.66) insurance (vs. self-pay), high surgeon-volume (OR 1.19), high hospital-volume (OR 2.24), and large hospital size (OR 1.20). The results were identical for DCIS, and by age category. The absolute difference between the proportion of patients who received IR with commercial insurance compared to other insurance, increased over time. Immediate in-hospital complication rates were higher for flap reconstruction compared to implant or no reconstruction (15.2, 4.0, and 6.1 %, respectively, P <.0001). IR has increased significantly over time; however, modifiable factors such as insurance status, hospital size, hospital location, and physician volume strongly predict IR. Public policy should ensure that access to reconstructive surgery is universally available.
PMCID: PMC3651032  PMID: 23053659
Breast reconstruction; Insurance; Hospital volume
22.  A randomized phase II of gemcitabine and sorafenib versus sorafenib alone in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer 
Investigational new drugs  2011;30(3):1175-1183.
Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have limited therapeutic options. The role of the Ras-Raf-MAPK pathway and of vascular endothelial growth factor in pancreatic carcinogenesis provided the rational to evaluate the efficacy of sorafenib with or without gemcitabine in a randomized phase II study.
Patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer were randomized to sorafenib alone (arm A) or sorafenib with gemcitabine (arm B).
Arm A was closed to accrual at interim analysis due to the lack of objective response. Median PFS and OS were 2.3 and 4.3 months respectively. There was one partial response among the 37 patients in arm B. Median PFS and OS were 2.9 and 6.5 months respectively. There were more grade 3 and 4 toxicities in arm B with the most common being neutropenia (17%), thrombocytopenia (8%), alkaline phosphatase elevation (14%), venous thromboembolism (8%), diarrhea, hypokalemia and ALT elevation (5%) each. Several associations were noted between single nucleotide polymorphisms in ribonucleotide reductase, Cox-2, vascular endothelial growth factor and survival in patients treated with gemcitabine and sorafenib.
Neither sorafenib alone or sorafenib in combination with gemcitabine manifested promising activity in metastatic pancreatic cancer.
PMCID: PMC3745766  PMID: 21424698
Pancreatic cancer; Sorafenib; Gemcitabine; Ribonulceotide reductase

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