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1.  Determinants of Inflammatory Markers in a Bi-ethnic Population 
Ethnicity & disease  2011;21(2):142-149.
Background
Inflammation is a common pathophysiological pathway for a number of chronic diseases, and is strongly influenced by sociodemographic factors and lifestyle. Less is known about factors that may influence the inflammatory response in individuals of distinct ethnic backgrounds. Therefore, this study examined the relationship between ethnicity and blood levels of inflammatory markers in a sample of non-smoking church-goers.
Methods
In a cross-sectional investigation, 508 men and women (>35 years old, 62% White, 38% Black) participated in the Biopsy-chosocial Religion and Health substudy of the Adventist Health Study 2. The contribution of socioeconomic status (education level and difficulty meeting expenses for basic needs) and health covariates (exercise, vegetarian or other type of diet, body mass index, and presence of inflammatory conditions) toward serum levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) was assessed with linear regression models. Levels of interleukin-10 (IL-10), an anti-inflammatory marker, were also assessed.
Results
Blacks showed higher levels of CRP and IL-6 than Whites. Controlling for socio-demographic and health variables attenuated the ethnic difference in CRP while IL-6 levels remained higher in Blacks than in Whites (β=.118; 95% confidence interval=.014–.206; P=.025). Ethnic differences in IL-10 and TNF-α were not found. Vegetarian diet was associated with lower CRP levels while exercise frequency was associated with higher IL-10 levels.
Conclusion
Higher susceptibility of Blacks to inflammatory diseases may reflect higher IL-6, which could be important in assessing health disparities among Blacks and Whites. Vegetarian diet and exercise may counteract effects of disparities.
PMCID: PMC3427005  PMID: 21749016
Inflammatory Markers; Ethnicity; Health Behavior; Adventists
2.  Effect of Consumption of Dried California Mission Figs on Lipid Concentrations 
Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism  2011;58(3):232-238.
Background
Figs are a rich source of soluble fiber. We evaluated the effect of consuming dried California Mission figs on serum lipids in hyperlipidemic adults.
Methods
In a crossover trial men and women aged 30–75 years with elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (100–189 mg/dl) were randomized to add dried California Mission figs (120 g/day) to their usual diet for 5 weeks or eat their usual diet for 5 weeks, then crossed over to the other condition for another 5 weeks. Six 24-hour dietary recalls were obtained.
Results
Low- and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations did not differ between usual and figs-added diets (Bonferroni-corrected p > 0.017), while total cholesterol tended to increase with fig consumption (p = 0.02). Total cholesterol increased in participants (n = 41) randomized to usual followed by figs-added diet (p = 0.01), but remained unchanged in subjects (n = 42) who started with figs-added followed by usual diet (p = 0.4). During the figs-added diet, soluble fiber intake was 12.6 ± 3.7 versus 8.2 ± 4.1 g/day in the usual diet (p < 0.0001). Sugar intake increased from 23.4 ± 6.5 to 32.2 ± 6.3% of kcal in the figs-added diet (p < 0.0001). Body weight did not change (p = 0.08).
Conclusions
Daily consumption of figs did not reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Triglyceride concentrations were not significantly changed despite an increase in sugar intake.
doi:10.1159/000330112
PMCID: PMC3169356  PMID: 21811062
Figs; Dietary fiber; Hypercholesterolemia; Dietary intake; Lipids

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