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1.  Explaining Behavior Change after Genetic Testing: The Problem of Collinearity between Test Results and Risk Estimates 
Genetic testing  2008;12(3):381-386.
This paper explores whether and how the behavioral impact of genotype disclosure can be disentangled from the impact of numerical risk estimates generated by genetic tests. Secondary data analyses are presented from a randomized controlled trial of 162 first-degree relatives of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Each participant received a lifetime risk estimate of AD. Control group estimates were based on age, gender, family history, and assumed ε4-negative apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype; intervention group estimates were based upon the first three variables plus true APOE genotype, which was also disclosed. AD-specific self-reported behavior change (diet, exercise, and medication use) was assessed at 12 months. Behavior change was significantly more likely with increasing risk estimates, and also more likely, but not significantly so, in ε4-positive intervention group participants (53% changed behavior) than in control group participants (31%). Intervention group participants receiving ε4-negative genotype feedback (24% changed behavior) and control group participants had similar rates of behavior change and risk estimates, the latter allowing assessment of the independent effects of genotype disclosure. However, collinearity between risk estimates and ε4-positive genotypes, which engender high-risk estimates, prevented assessment of the independent effect of the disclosure of an ε4 genotype. Novel study designs are proposed to determine whether genotype disclosure has an impact upon behavior beyond that of numerical risk estimates.
PMCID: PMC2925186  PMID: 18666860
2.  Use of Pressure Offloading Devices in Diabetic Foot Ulcers 
Diabetes Care  2008;31(11):2118-2119.
OBJECTIVE—Pressure mitigation is crucial for the healing of plantar diabetic foot ulcers. We therefore discuss characteristics and considerations associated with the use of offloading devices.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—A diabetic foot ulcer management survey was sent to foot clinics in all 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2005. A total of 901 geographically diverse centers responded. The survey recorded information regarding usage frequency and characteristics of assessment and treatment of diabetic foot ulcers in each center.
RESULTS—Of the 895 respondents who treat diabetic foot ulcers, shoe modifications (41.2%, P < 0.03) were the most common form of pressure mitigation, whereas total contact casts were used by only 1.7% of the centers.
CONCLUSIONS—This study reports the usage and characteristics of offloading devices in the care of diabetic foot ulcers in a broadly distributed geographic sample. Less than 2% of specialists use what has been termed the “gold standard” (total contact cast) for treating the majority of diabetic foot ulcers.
PMCID: PMC2571059  PMID: 18694976
5.  Low prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection in Canadian children: A cross-sectional analysis 
The incidence and prevalence rates of childhood Helicobacter pylori infection vary greatly by nation, with infection rates of 8.9% to 72.8% reported in developed and developing countries, respectively. To date, few studies have assessed the prevalence of H pylori in Canadian children, with studies limited to Aboriginal communities and single tertiary care centres from Ontario and Quebec.
To determine the prevalence of H pylori in consecutive children referred to three Canadian tertiary care academic centres for upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy due to upper GI symptoms, and to determine the sensitivity and specificity of the carbon-13-labelled urea breath test, the rapid urease test and the H pylori stool monoclonal antigen test.
Two hundred four patients were recruited. The prevalence of H pylori was 7.1%. Of the H pylori-positive patients, 41.7% were male, with a mean age of 10.3 years. Ethnic minorities accounted for 42% of the H pylori-positive patients. Consistent with previous observations, the sensitivity and specificity of the carbon-13-labelled urea breath test were 1.0 and 0.98, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the rapid urease test were 1.0 and 0.99, respectively. Stool samples were collected from 34 patients from one centre, with a sensitivity and specificity of 1.0 and 0.68, respectively. No defining symptoms of H pylori infection were evident and no peptic ulcer disease was demonstrated.
H pylori infection rates in Canadian children with upper GI symptoms are low, and are lower than those reported for other developed countries. Further studies are required in Canada to determine the prevalence in the general population and specifically in the populations at risk.
PMCID: PMC2660803  PMID: 18478134
Helicobacter pylori; Pediatrics; Prevalence; UBT
7.  Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada: Comparison of wait times and consensus targets 
Monitoring wait times and defining targets for care have been advocated to improve health care delivery related to cancer, heart, diagnostic imaging, joint replacements and sight restoration. There are few data on access to care for digestive diseases, although they pose a greater economic burden than cancer or heart disease in Canada. The present study compared wait times for specialist gastroenterology care with recent, evidence-based, consensus-defined benchmark wait times for a range of digestive diseases.
Total wait times from primary care referral to investigation were measured for seven digestive disease indications by using the Practice Audit in Gastroenterology program, and were benchmarked against consensus recommendations.
Total wait times for 1903 patients who were undergoing investigation exceeded targets for those with probable cancer (median 26 days [25th to 75th percentiles eight to 56 days] versus target of two weeks); probable inflammatory bowel disease (101 days [35 to 209 days] versus two weeks); documented iron deficiency anemia (71 days [19 to 142 days] versus two months); positive fecal occult blood test (73 days [36 to 148 days] versus two months); dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (60 days [23 to 140 days] versus two months); refractory dyspepsia without alarm symptoms (126 days [42 to 225 days] versus two months); and chronic constipation and diarrhea (141 days [68 to 264 days] versus two months). A minority of patients were seen within target times: probable cancer (33% [95% CI 20% to 47%]); probable inflammatory bowel disease (12% [95% CI 1% to 23%]); iron deficiency anemia (46% [95% CI 37% to 55%]); positive occult blood test (41% [95% CI 28% to 54%]); dyspepsia with alarm symptoms (51% [95% CI 41% to 60%]); refractory dyspepsia without alarm symptoms (33% [95% CI 19% to 47%]); and chronic constipation and diarrhea (21% [95% CI 14% to 29%]).
Total wait times for the seven indications exceeded the consensus targets; 51% to 88% of patients were not seen within the target wait time. Multiple interventions, including adoption of evidence-based management guidelines and provision of economic and human resources, are needed to ensure appropriate access to digestive health care in Canada. Outcomes can be evaluated by the ‘point-of-care’, practice audit methodology used for the present study.
PMCID: PMC2659137  PMID: 18299735
Access; Benchmark; Digestive disease; Health care; Recommendation; Target; Wait time
8.  Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada: The Practice Audit in Gastroenterology (PAGE) Wait Times Program 
Canadian wait time data are available for the treatment of cancer and heart disease, as well as for joint replacement, cataract surgery and diagnostic imaging procedures. Wait times for gastroenterology consultation and procedures have not been studied, although digestive diseases pose a greater economic burden in Canada than cancer or heart disease.
Specialist physicians completed the practice audit if they provided digestive health care, accepted new patients and recorded referral dates. For patients seen for consultation or investigation over a one-week period, preprogrammed personal digital assistants were used to collect data including the main reason for referral, initial referral and consultation dates, procedure dates (if performed), personal and family history, and patient symptoms, signs and test results. Patient triaging, appropriateness of the referral and timeliness of care were noted.
Over 10 months, 199 physicians recorded details of 5559 referrals, including 1903 visits for procedures. The distribution of total wait times (from referral to procedure) nationally was highly skewed at 91/203 days (median/75th percentile), with substantial interprovincial variation: British Columbia, 66/185 days; Alberta, 134/284 days; Ontario, 110/208 days; Quebec, 71/149 days; New Brunswick, 104/234 days; and Nova Scotia, 42/84 days. The percentage of physicians by province offering average-risk screening colonoscopy varied from 29% to 100%.
Access to specialist gastroenterology care in Canada is limited by long wait times, which exceed clinically reasonable waits for specialist treatment. Although exhibiting some methodological limitations, this large practice audit sampling offers broadly generalized results, as well as a means to identify barriers to health care delivery and evaluate strategies to address these barriers, with the goals of expediting appropriate care for patients with digestive health disorders and ameliorating the personal and societal burdens imposed by digestive diseases.
PMCID: PMC2659136  PMID: 18299734
Access; Digestive diseases; Health care; Practice audit; Wait time

Results 1-10 (10)