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1.  Successful Aging in the United States: Prevalence Estimates From a National Sample of Older Adults 
To estimate the prevalence of successful aging in the United States, with the broad aim of contributing to the dialogue on Rowe and Kahn’s concept of successful aging.
Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, the prevalence of successful aging was calculated for adults aged 65 years and older at four time points: 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2004. Successful aging was operationalized in accordance with Rowe and Kahn’s definition, which encompasses disease and disability, cognitive and physical functioning, social connections, and productive activities.
No greater than 11.9% of older adults were aging “successfully” in any year. The adjusted odds of successful aging were generally lower for those of advanced age, male gender, and lower socioeconomic status. Between 1998 and 2004, the odds of successful aging declined by 25%, after accounting for demographic changes in the older population.
Few older adults meet the criteria put forth in Rowe and Kahn’s definition of successful aging, suggesting the need for modification if the concept is to be used for broad public health purposes. Disparities in successful aging were evident for socially defined subgroups, highlighting the importance of structural factors in enabling successful aging.
PMCID: PMC2981444  PMID: 20008481
Health disparities; Healthy aging; Prevalence; Successful aging
2.  Disclosing the disclosure: Factors associated with communicating the results of genetic susceptibility testing for Alzheimer’s disease 
Journal of health communication  2009;14(8):768-784.
This study explored the extent to which recipients of genetic susceptibility testing for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) communicated their results to others. It also examined demographic characteristics, along with beliefs about AD, associated with such communication. Participants (N = 271) in a randomized clinical trial involving genetic testing for Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene variants among first-degree relatives of AD patients reported their communication behaviors 6 weeks after the results disclosure. Information on beliefs about AD and genetic testing was collected at baseline. Eighty-two percent of participants receiving APOE genotype information shared their results with someone. Specifically, 64% shared with family members, 51% with spouse or significant others, 35% with friends, and 12% with health care professionals. Greater AD treatment optimism was associated with communicating results to family (OR=1.43), spouse (OR=1.62), friends (OR =1.81), and health care professionals (OR=2.20). Lower perceived risk (OR=0.98) and higher perceived importance of genetics in the development of AD (OR=1.93) were associated with results communication in general. Lower perceived drawbacks of AD genetic testing was associated with results communication to friends (OR=0.65). Beliefs about AD risks and causes, genetic testing, and development of treatments may partly determine the interpersonal communication patterns of genetic susceptibility test results.
PMCID: PMC2801901  PMID: 20029710
Susceptibility genetic testing; Alzheimer’s disease; APOE communication; disclosure
3.  Sperm competitiveness in frogs: slow and steady wins the race 
When sperm compete to fertilize available ova, selection is expected to favour ejaculate traits that contribute to a male's fertilization success. While there is much evidence to show that selection favours increased numbers of sperm, only a handful of empirical studies have examined how variation in sperm form and function contributes to competitive fertilization success. Here, we examine selection acting on sperm form and function in the externally fertilizing myobatrachid frog, Crinia georgiana. Using in vitro fertilization techniques and controlling for variation in the number of sperm contributed by males in competitive situations, we show that males with a greater proportion of motile sperm, and motile sperm with slower swimming velocities, have an advantage when competing for fertilizations. Sperm morphology and the degree of genetic similarity between putative sires and the female had no influence on competitive fertilization success. These unusual patterns of selection might explain why frog sperm typically exhibit relatively slow swimming speeds and sustained longevity.
PMCID: PMC2825793  PMID: 19710059
sperm competition; polyandry; genetic compatibility; sperm velocity; sperm length; frogs
4.  The Scientific Foundation for Personal Genomics: Recommendations from a National Institutes of Health–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Multidisciplinary Workshop 
The increasing availability of personal genomic tests has led to discussions about the validity and utility of such tests and the balance of benefits and harms. A multidisciplinary workshop was convened by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the scientific foundation for using personal genomics in risk assessment and disease prevention and to develop recommendations for targeted research. The clinical validity and utility of personal genomics is a moving target with rapidly developing discoveries but little translation research to close the gap between discoveries and health impact. Workshop participants made recommendations in five domains: (1) developing and applying scientific standards for assessing personal genomic tests; (2) developing and applying a multidisciplinary research agenda, including observational studies and clinical trials to fill knowledge gaps in clinical validity and utility; (3) enhancing credible knowledge synthesis and information dissemination to clinicians and consumers; (4) linking scientific findings to evidence-based recommendations for use of personal genomics; and (5) assessing how the concept of personal utility can affect health benefits, costs, and risks by developing appropriate metrics for evaluation. To fulfill the promise of personal genomics, a rigorous multidisciplinary research agenda is needed.
PMCID: PMC2936269  PMID: 19617843
behavioral sciences; epidemiologic methods; evidence-based medicine; genetics; genetic testing; genomics; medicine; public health
5.  Human Placental Adenosine Receptor Expression is Elevated in Preeclampsia and Hypoxia Increases Expression of the A2A Receptor 
Placenta  2009;30(5):434-442.
Placental hypoxia as a result of impaired trophoblast invasion is suggested to be involved in the pathophysiology of preeclampsia. Hypoxia is a potent stimulus for the release of adenosine, and the actions of adenosine are mediated through four adenosine receptors, A1, A2A, A2B and A3. We investigated the presence, distribution and expression of adenosine receptor subtypes in the human placenta, the expression of the adenosine receptors in placentas from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia, small for gestational age (SGA) infants and uncomplicated pregnancies, and the effect of hypoxia on placental adenosine receptor expression. Immunofluorescent microscopy localized A1, A2A, A2B and A3 adenosine receptors to the syncytiotrophoblast, endothelial cells and myo-/fibroblasts within the human placenta. Adenosine receptor protein and message expression levels were significantly higher in placentas from preeclamptic pregnancies with or without SGA infants, but not different in pregnancies with SGA infants alone. In vitro exposure of placental villous explants to hypoxia (2% oxygen) increased the expression of A2A adenosine receptor 50%. These data indicate that all four known adenosine receptors are expressed in the human placenta and adenosine receptor expression is significantly higher in pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that differences in placental adenosine receptors may contribute to alterations in placental function in preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC2674514  PMID: 19303140
6.  Some Listeria monocytogenes Outbreak Strains Demonstrate Significantly Reduced Invasion, inlA Transcript Levels, and Swarming Motility In Vitro▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2009;75(17):5647-5658.
Listeria monocytogenes can cause a severe invasive food-borne disease known as listeriosis, and large outbreaks of this disease occur occasionally. Based on molecular-subtype data, epidemic clone (EC) strains have been defined, including ECI and ECIa, which have caused listeriosis outbreaks on different continents. While a number of molecular-subtyping studies of outbreak strains have been reported, few comprehensive data sets of virulence-associated characteristics of these strains are available. We assembled a set of human clinical isolates from 15 outbreaks that occurred worldwide between 1975 and 2002. Initial characterization of these strains showed significant variation in the ability to invade human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells and HepG2 hepatic cells; four strains showed consistently reduced invasion in both cell lines. DNA sequencing of inlA, which encodes a protein required for efficient Caco-2 and HepG2 invasion, showed that none of the invasion-attenuated strains contained known virulence-attenuating mutations in inlA. Phylogenetic analyses of inlA sequences revealed a well-supported clade containing a fully invasive ECI strain and three invasion-attenuated ECI strains, along with a fully invasive ECIa strain and an invasion-attenuated ECIa strain. Of the four invasion-attenuated strains, one strain showed both reduced inlA transcript levels and impaired swarming, one strain showed reduced inlA transcript levels, and two strains showed reduced swarming. Overall, our data show that (i) L. monocytogenes strains from outbreaks vary significantly in invasion efficiency and (ii) different mechanisms may contribute to reduced invasion efficiency. Association between EC strains and listeriosis outbreaks may involve characteristics other than virulence phenotypes, including survival and growth in food-associated environments.
PMCID: PMC2737929  PMID: 19581477
7.  Disclosure of APOE Genotype for Risk of Alzheimer's Disease 
The New England journal of medicine  2009;361(3):245-254.
The apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype provides information on the risk of Alzheimer's disease, but the genotyping of patients and their family members has been discouraged. We examined the effect of genotype disclosure in a prospective, randomized, controlled trial.
We randomly assigned 162 asymptomatic adults who had a parent with Alzheimer's disease to receive the results of their own APOE genotyping (disclosure group) or not to receive such results (nondisclosure group). We measured symptoms of anxiety, depression, and test-related distress 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year after disclosure or nondisclosure.
There were no significant differences between the two groups in changes in time-averaged measures of anxiety (4.5 in the disclosure group and 4.4 in the nondisclosure group, P = 0.84), depression (8.8 and 8.7, respectively; P = 0.98), or test-related distress (6.9 and 7.5, respectively; P=0.61). Secondary comparisons between the non-disclosure group and a disclosure subgroup of subjects carrying the APOE ε4 allele (which is associated with increased risk) also revealed no significant differences. However, the ε4-negative subgroup had a significantly lower level of test-related distress than did the ε4-positive subgroup (P=0.01). Subjects with clinically meaningful changes in psychological outcomes were distributed evenly among the nondisclosure group and the ε4-positive and ε4-negative subgroups. Baseline scores for anxiety and depression were strongly associated with post-disclosure scores of these measures (P<0.001 for both comparisons).
The disclosure of APOE genotyping results to adult children of patients with Alzheimer's disease did not result in significant short-term psychological risks. Test-related distress was reduced among those who learned that they were APOE ε4–negative. Persons with high levels of emotional distress before undergoing genetic testing were more likely to have emotional difficulties after disclosure. ( number, NCT00571025.)
PMCID: PMC2778270  PMID: 19605829
8.  A New Scale Measuring Psychological Impact of Genetic Susceptibility Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease 
This paper describes the development and psychometric properties of a new scale for assessing the psychological impact of genetic susceptibility testing for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The new instrument, The REVEAL Impact of Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s disease (IGT-AD) was designed to examine the unique nature of genetic information and the disease course of AD. The scale was tested as a part of a multicenter clinical trial designed to evaluate the impact of AD risk assessment and data was collected from 276 participants in the study. Using an iterative process of Principal Component Analysis and Cronbach’s alpha, the final 16 item IGT-AD was found to have a two factor structure with excellent internal reliability. Construct validity was established by patterns of correlation with other standardized self-reported measures. This scale should be useful in the identification of patients who maybe susceptible to the negative effects of receiving genetic information, monitoring of patients who have received genetic information, and as a tool for researchers who wish to study the effects of genetic susceptibility testing for AD.
PMCID: PMC2743905  PMID: 19266699
Alzheimer’s disease genetics; genetic testing; Alzheimer’s disease risk assessment
9.  Using television shows to teach communication skills in internal medicine residency 
To address evidence-based effective communication skills in the formal academic half day curriculum of our core internal medicine residency program, we designed and delivered an interactive session using excerpts taken from medically-themed television shows.
We selected two excerpts from the television show House, and one from Gray's Anatomy and featured them in conjunction with a brief didactic presentation of the Kalamazoo consensus statement on doctor-patient communication. To assess the efficacy of this approach a set of standardized questions were given to our residents once at the beginning and once at the completion of the session.
Our residents indicated that their understanding of an evidence-based model of effective communication such as the Kalamazoo model, and their comfort levels in applying such model in clinical practice increased significantly. Furthermore, residents' understanding levels of the seven essential competencies listed in the Kalamazoo model also improved significantly. Finally, the residents reported that their comfort levels in three challenging clinical scenarios presented to them improved significantly.
We used popular television shows to teach residents in our core internal medicine residency program about effective communication skills with a focus on the Kalamazoo's model. The results of the subjective assessment of this approach indicated that it was successful in accomplishing our objectives.
PMCID: PMC2642813  PMID: 19187563
10.  Improvement in duration of erection following phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor therapy with vardenafil in men with erectile dysfunction: the ENDURANCE study 
The ENDURANCE study evaluated the efficacy of vardenafil, a phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitor, in men with erectile dysfunction (ED), by measuring the duration of erection leading to successful intercourse using a stopwatch as the assessment instrument.
This was a randomised, multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study consisting of a 4-week treatment-free run-in phase after which patients were randomised to either fixed-dose vardenafil 10 mg or placebo (to be administered 60 min prior to intercourse) and entered the first of the two 4-week double-blind treatment periods, separated by a 1-week washout. The primary efficacy end-point was the stopwatch-assessed duration of erection, which was defined as the time from erection perceived hard enough for penetration until withdrawal from the partner’s vagina leading to successful intercourse as measured by Sexual Encounter Profile Question 3 (SEP-3). Secondary efficacy end-points included SEP-2 and SEP-3 success rates, the erectile function domain of the International Index of Erectile Function, global assessment questionnaire, change from baseline in duration of erection and duration of erection not leading to successful intercourse. Safety was assessed by adverse events (AEs), laboratory samples, vital signs and ECGs.
Of the 191 men included in the safety population, 40% had moderate ED and 33% had severe ED at baseline. The duration of erection (least squares mean ± SE) leading to successful intercourse was longer with vardenafil than with placebo (12.81 ± 1.00 min vs. 5.45 ± 1.00 min; p < 0.001). The differences recorded for all secondary end-points were statistically significant in favour of vardenafil compared with placebo (p < 0.001), with the exception of duration of erection not leading to successful intercourse. Vardenafil was well tolerated in this study; the majority of AEs being mild-to-moderate in intensity.
Vardenafil 10-mg therapy provided a statistically superior duration of erection leading to successful intercourse in men with ED compared with placebo.
PMCID: PMC2705823  PMID: 19125990

Results 1-10 (10)