Author Interviews, FDA, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sanket Dhruva, MD, MHS, FACC Cardiology, VA Connecticut Healthcare System Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar Yale University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2012, Congress passed the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act, with the goal of increasing enrollment and availability of data in important patient groups such as the elderly, women, and racial and ethnic minorities. In 2014, as mandated by the legislation, the FDA released an Action Plan to address these issues. This Action Plan included the goal of increasing the transparency by posting demographic information of pivotal (or key) clinical trials used to support approval decisions. We examined how often these data were available in 2015 for all studies used to support approval of all original high-risk medical devices approved in the calendar year following the FDA Action Plan. Examples of these medical devices include stents, bone grafts, heart valves, and spinal cord stimulators. We wanted to understand if age, sex, and race and ethnicity data were available and if the results of clinical studies supporting these medical devices were analyzed to assess if there were differences in safety and effectiveness by these important demographic factors. Our main findings are that FDA Summaries publicly reported age for 65% of study populations, sex for 66%, and race and/or ethnicity for 51%. Analyses to assess if demographic factors may have impacted device safety and effectiveness were only conducted by age for 9%, by sex for 17%, and by race for 4% of clinical studies. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, CDC, Emory, Gender Differences, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 21.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: EmikoPetrosky MD M.P.H Science Officer, National Violent Death Reporting System at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Emory University Rollins School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Homicide is one of the leading causes of death for women aged 44 years and younger. In 2015, 3,519 girls and women died by homicide in the United States. It is the 5th leading cause of death for women under 45 years age (defining women as 18-44 years of age). The National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) links together data from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, and law enforcement reports, resulting in more information about the circumstances of death than what is available elsewhere. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Erica H. Anstey PhD Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Immunization Services Division National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants are breastfed exclusively for about the first 6 months and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, and thereafter for as long as mother and baby desire. Although breastfeeding initiation and duration rates have increased overall in the United States, breastfeeding rates vary by geographic location, socioeconomic, and race/ethnic groups. Breastfeeding initiation and duration have been historically and consistently lower among black infants compared with white and Hispanic infants. There are many factors that influence a woman’s decision to start and continue breastfeeding. These include knowledge about breastfeeding, cultural and social norms, family and social support, and work and childcare environments. Some barriers to breastfeeding are disproportionately experienced by black women, including earlier return to work, inadequate receipt of breastfeeding information from providers, and lack of access to professional breastfeeding support. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 11.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aurora Perez-Cornago, PhD Cancer Epidemiology Unit Nuffield Department of Population Health University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Greater height and adiposity have been suggested as possible prostate cancer risk factors, but these associations are not clear, probably because most previous studies have not looked separately at different tumour subtypes. For this reason, we wanted to look at these associations splitting tumours into subtypes according to tumour stage and histological grade, looking as well at death from prostate cancer. We found a marked difference in risks looking at low and high risk tumours. Taller men and men with greater adiposity had an elevated of high-grade prostate cancer and prostate cancer death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Norman Lee PhD Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology School of Medicine and Health Sciences George Washington University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are health disparities when it comes to prostate cancer. The African American population, in general, has a higher prostate cancer incidence and mortality rate compared to other racial groups such as European Americans. A major reason for this disparity is due to socioeconomic factors such as access to health care. There are also biological influences for the disparities, such as specific gene mutations and genetic polymorphisms that are found at a higher incidence in the African American population. My lab has been studying other potential contributing biological factors in prostate cancer disparities; namely, RNA splicing. RNA splicing is a cellular program that increases the diversity of expressed proteins by regulating which exons are included in an mRNA transcript, leading to mRNA variants encoding slightly different proteins (or isoforms) in different cells, organs, and individuals. One can think of RNA splicing as a form of genetic diversity. What we have found is that the repertoire of mRNA variants can differ in prostate cancer between African and European Americans. We also find that the mRNA variants in African American prostate cancer encode signal transduction proteins that are more oncogenic and resistant to targeted therapies, compared to the variants found in European American prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Environmental Risks, NEJM, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 29.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Qian Di, M.S, Doctoral Student Department of Environmental Health and Francesca Dominici, Ph.D. Principal Investigator of this study Professor of Biostatistics co-Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Clean Air Act requires Environmental Protection Agency to set National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). Currently the annual NAAQS for PM2.5 is 12 microgram per cubic meter; and there is no annual or seasonal ozone standard. However, is current air quality standard stringent enough to protect human health? This is our main motivation. We conducted the largest attainable cohort study, including over 60 million Medicare participants, to investigate the association between long-term exposure to ozone/PM2.5 and all-cause mortality. We found significant harmful effect of PM2.5 even below current NAAQS. Each 10 microgram per cubic meter increase in PM2.5 is associated with 13.6% (95% CI: 13.1%~14.1%) increase in all-cause mortality. For ozone, 10 ppb increase in ozone exposure is associated with 1.1% (95% CI: 1.0%~1.2%) increase in mortality. Also, there is no appreciable level below which mortality risk tapered off. In other words, there is no “safe” level for PM2.5 and ozone. In other words, if we would reduce the annual average of PM2.5 by just 1 microgram per cubic meter nationwide, we should save 12,000 lives among elder Americans every year; 5 microgram --- 63,817 lives every year. Similarly, if we would reduce the annual summer average of ozone by just 1 ppb nationwide, we would save 1,900 lives every year; 5 ppb --- 9537 lives. Besides, we found black people, males and people of low SES are more vulnerable to air pollution. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stroke / 18.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: George Howard, Dr.PH PI of the REasons for Geographic And Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) Study Department of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Rural areas have been known to have a higher death rate than urban, and higher death from stroke in rural areas is a major contributor to this disparity. The goal of the research was to assess if the higher deaths from stroke was because rural people are more likely to have a stroke, or more likely to die from a stroke once it occurs. This distinction is critically important, since intervention to reduce stroke deaths in rural area would focus on stroke prevention if the former, but would focus on improving stroke care (after the stroke) if the latter. We found that the higher mortality from stroke appears to be almost completely due to more people having stroke. As such, we need to focus on efforts to reduce the risk of rural areas. While there are well-documented differences in stroke care between urban and rural areas, resolving these differences will not be likely reduce the rural excess death from stroke. It would seem that the higher risk of having a stroke could be due to the observation that those in rural areas are more likely to have major stroke risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes and cigarette smoking; however, the higher prevalence of these risk factors don’t seem to explain the higher risk. So what causes the higher risk remains a mystery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 12.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Strategic Director, Cancer Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Liver cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in the United States, accounting for nearly 29,000 deaths per year, with variations in occurrence by race/ethnicity and state. We examined trends in liver cancer incidence, survival, and mortality in the United States and provided liver cancer mortality rates by race/ethnicity at the national and state level. State-level statistics are particularly important as they can inform state cancer control and prevention planning. We also provided detailed information on prevalence and trends in major risk factors for liver cancer and interventions to prevent or reduce their burden, to make our article a comprehensive yet concise source of information on liver cancer statistics, risk factors, and interventions in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 09.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ayodele Odutayo MD MSc DPhil(pending) Centre For Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford Resident Physician (PGY1), Post-Doctoral Fellow, Applied Health Research Centre St. Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously published studies have reported increasing gaps in life expectancy among adults belonging to different socioeconomic strata and suggested that much of this gap was mediated through behavioural and metabolic risk factors. In this study, we found that from 1999-2014, there was an increasing gap in the control of cardiovascular risk factors between high income adults compared to adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. The proportion of adults at high cardiovascular risk (predicted risk of a cardiovascular event ≥20%), the mean systolic blood pressure and the percentage of current smokers decreased for high income adults but did not change for adults with incomes at or below the poverty line. Notably, the income disparity in these cardiovascular risk factors was not wholly explained by access to health insurance or educational attainment. Trends in the percentage of adults with diabetes and the average total cholesterol level did not vary by income. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 01.06.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, MS Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: About one-third of all women diagnosed with breast cancer undergo mastectomy. In recent years, owing to advancements in screening and treatment, life expectancy after being diagnosed with breast cancer has increased. Research has shown that for patients who undergo mastectomy, breast reconstruction offers many psychological benefits such as improved self-esteem, reduced sexual dysfunction, decreased anxiety, and overall improvement in quality of life. After the passage of the Women’s Health and Cancer Rights Act in 1998, the coverage of post-mastectomy breast reconstruction (PBR) by any type of health insurance became mandatory. However, there are large and widening racial and ethnic disparities in PBR, with White women having a higher rate of PBR than women from other racial and ethnic groups. In 2011, the State of New York enacted a law mandating that surgeons advise their patients undergoing mastectomy about available breast reconstruction options, insurance coverage, and referral to a plastic surgeon. We evaluated the effect of this law on racial/ethnic disparities in immediate PBR. Our results did not show any effect on the overall rate of immediate post-mastectomy breast reconstruction or on disparities between white and African-American women; however, we found that White-Hispanic and White-other racial/ethnic group disparities in immediate PBR were reduced by 9 and 13 percentage points, respectively. This is a substantial reduction in disparity within only a year after the passage of the law, which demonstrates the importance of physician-patient communication. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stacey Fedewa PhD Strategic Director, Risk Factors & Screening Surveillance American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Screening for colorectal cancer is effective in reducing incidence and mortality by detecting precancerous lesions or cancer at more curable stages. But colorectal cancers can still develop in screened populations, some are missed at the time of screening; others can develop between recommended screenings. Patterns of risk for interval colorectal cancer, defined as cancers that develop after a negative result on colonoscopy, by race/ethnicity are not well known. The risk for blacks was of interest to us because colorectal incidence and mortality rates in blacks are the highest among any race or ethnicity in the United States. We were also interested to see if quality of colonoscopy, measured by physician’s polyp detection rate, could account for differences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Gender Differences, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shakia Hardy, MPH, CPH. PhD Department of Epidemiology The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies characterizing blood pressure levels across the life course have relied on prevalence estimates at a given age. Our study was interested in identifying critical ages at which net transitions between levels of blood pressure occurred. We used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2007-2012) to estimate age-, race-, and sex-specific annual net transition probabilities between ideal blood pressure, prehypertension and hypertension. We found that African Americans and men were more likely to transition from ideal levels of blood pressure in childhood or early adulthood compared to white Americans and women, which puts them at increased risk of developing prehypertension and hypertension earlier in life. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amanda Leiter, MD MSCR Medical Resident, Internal Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Black women are more likely than White women to have breast cancer with poor prognostic features, which cannot be completely explained by differences in screening, treatment and established risk factors for breast cancer mortality. Black women have higher rates of obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia when compared to White women. Prior studies have shown a decreased risk of breast cancer recurrence and improved survival with statin use. As statins have an association with decreased breast cancer recurrence and potentially improved survival, disparities in statin use between Black and White women with breast cancer are important to investigate. We aimed to elucidate whether or not statin use differs between Black and White women with breast cancer and if racial disparities in breast cancer can be partially explained by differences in statin use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Yale / 16.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Prior work has demonstrated racial and socioeconomic disparities in breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. As the oncology field has progressed over the past decade, the use of genetic testing to guide treatment decisions is one of the most exciting new developments. Our team was concerned that these new gene tests, which can offer important benefits, may have the potential to exacerbate disparities further. That is, if there is unequal access to gene testing among patients for whom it is recommended, then our progress against cancer will not be equitably shared among people of all races and ethnicities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Transplantation / 10.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Lee Chung, MD, FAAD Associate Professor of Dermatology Director, Center for Transplant Patients Drexel University College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It’s long been recognized immunosuppressed organ transplant recipients are at significantly increased risk for skin cancer and other types of skin disease. But despite advances to improve skin cancer prevention for these patients, little is known about how skin conditions affect African-American, Asian and Hispanic transplant recipients. This is problematic given that, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than half of the 120,000 Americans on the waiting list for organs identify as nonwhite. We compared medical records of 412 organ transplant recipients — including 154 white patients and 258 nonwhite (black, Asian or Hispanic) — who were referred to the Drexel Dermatology Center for Transplant Patients between 2011 and 2016. As one of the only models of its kind in the country, the center provides post-transplant dermatological care to every patient who is transplanted by and/or followed by the Drexel University and Hahnemann University Hospital Transplant Programs. That means that every patient, regardless of race, is screened annually for skin cancer, which provided a unique dataset for us to analyze. Two hundred eighty-nine transplant recipients exhibited malignant, infectious or inflammatory conditions during their evaluation, but their primary acute diagnoses differed greatly by race. In 82 white patients, skin cancer was the most common acute problem requiring attention at first visit. Black and Hispanic patients, by contrast, were most often diagnosed with inflammatory or infectious processes, such as fungal infections, warts, eczema, psoriasis, and rashes that required immediate medical attention. Overall, squamous cell carcinoma in situ was the most common type of skin cancer diagnosed in each racial or ethnic group. But the location of the cancerous lesions again depended on the race of the patient. Most lesions in white and Asian patients occurred in sun-exposed areas of the body, like the scalp, neck, chest and back. For black patients, the lesions were primarily found in the groin. Moreover, six of the nine lesions found on black patients tested positive for high-risk HPV strains, suggesting an association between the virus and skin cancer for African Americans. We also provided questionnaires to 66 organ transplant recipients to find out more about the patients’ awareness of skin cancer prevention. Seventy-seven percent of white patients were aware their skin cancer risk was increased, compared to 68 percent of nonwhites. Only 11 percent of nonwhite patients reported having regular dermatologic examinations, compared to 36 percent of whites. Finally, 45 percent of white patients but only 25 percent of nonwhite reported knowing the signs of skin cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Genetic Research, Kidney Disease, Nature, Race/Ethnic Diversity, University of Pennsylvania / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katalin Susztak MD, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies showed an association between genetic variants in the APOL1 gene and kidney disease development, but it has not been confidently shown that this genetic variant is actually causal for kidney disease. For this reason we developed a mouse model that recapitulates the human phenotype. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Yale / 06.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dowin Boatright, MD, MBA Department of Emergency Medicine Yale School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program Veterans Affairs Scholar MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Studies have demonstrated racial and ethnic inequities in medicine, including disparities in the receipt of awards, research funding, and promotions. Yet few studies have examined the link between race and ethnicity and opportunities for medical school students. Our results show that black and Asian medical school students are less likely to be selected for membership in a prestigious medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha (AΩA), than white medical school students. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Lifestyle & Health, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lu Qi, MD, PhD, FAHA HCA Regents Distinguished Chair and Professor Director, Tulane University Obesity Research Center Department of Epidemiology Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine New Orleans, LA 70112 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Adherence to healthy lifestyle (high physical activity, less smoking, moderate alcohol consumption, healthy diet, and low adiposity) has been related to substantially reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases in large cohorts from the US and Europe, however, similar evidence in Asians such as Chinese is lacking. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Wistar / 28.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen E. Murphy, Ph.D. Professor and Program Leader, Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program Associate Vice President for Faculty Affairs Associate Director for Education and Career Development The Wistar Institute Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Murphy group discovered a coding-region variant of the p53 tumor suppressor gene, called Pro47Ser, that exists in individuals of African descent. In previous studies this group reported that this amino acid change reduces the ability of p53 to function as a tumor suppressor. In this study, African American women from two different large cohorts were assessed for the incidence of the Pro47Ser variant in pre-menopausal breast cancer. A modest but statistically significant association was found between Pro47Ser and pre-menopausal breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, Stroke / 26.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew D. Holtkamp, D.O. CPT, MC, USA Medical Director, Intrepid Spirit, Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic Staff Neurologist, Department of Medicine Teaching Fellow, Uniformed Services University Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center Fort Hood, Texas 76544 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Racial and Socioeconomic disparities in the outcomes of stroke patients is well documented in the US Civilian Healthcare system. That Healthcare system has wide variations in access to care and in the levels of available care. In contrast, the Military Healthcare system is a single payer system meaning that every member has the same healthcare benefits. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Microbiome, Nutrition, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Akira Sekikawa, Ph.D. Associate professor of epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We found that Japanese men who are able to produce equol—a substance made by some types of “good” gut bacteria when they metabolize isoflavones (micronutrients found in dietary soy)—have lower levels of a risk factor for heart disease than their counterparts who cannot produce it. All monkeys can produce equol, as can 50 to 70 percent of people in Asian countries. However, only 20 to 30 percent of people in Western countries can. Scientists have known for some time that isoflavones protect against the buildup of plaque in arteries, known as atherosclerosis, in monkeys, and are associated with lower rates of heart disease in people in Asian countries. It was surprising when a large trial of isoflavones in the U.S. didn’t show the beneficial effects on atherosclerosis. My colleagues and I recruited 272 Japanese men aged 40 to 49 and performed blood tests to find out if they were producing equol. After adjusting for other heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking and obesity as well as dietary intake of isoflavones, we found that the equol-producers had 90-percent lower odds of coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease, than the equol non-producers. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 16.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:: Margaret Q. Rosenzweig PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN Acute and Tertiary Care Department University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A significant survival disparity still exists between African American and non-Hispanic white women diagnosed with breast cancer. There is evidence that symptom incidence, associated distress, and overall cancer-related distress may be unexplored, important contributing factors. The current study was a secondary, exploratory aim from the Attitudes, Communication, Treatment, and Support (ACTS) Intervention to Reduce Breast Cancer Treatment Disparity study, which is a randomized controlled trial of a psychoeducational intervention to encourage acceptance and adherence to chemotherapy compared with usual care for African American women with breast cancer. The purpose of the current study was to: 1) describe and compare the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and associated distress among AA women with breast cancer over the course of chemotherapy at 3 time points (at baseline before initiating chemotherapy, midpoint, and at the completion of chemotherapy); and 2) to describe the relationship between the number of chemotherapy-related symptoms and overall cancer distress compared with the ability to receive at least 85% of the prescribed chemotherapy within the prescribed timeframe. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 09.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Donna Hubbard McCree, PhD MPH, RPh Association Director for Health Equity/Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: HIV diagnosis rates among women declined 40% between 2005 and 2014 with the largest decline, 42%, occurring in black women. However, in 2015 black women represented 61% of HIV diagnoses among women. Our goal in this analysis was to determine whether the decline resulted in a decrease in the disparities among African American, Hispanic and white women between 2010 and 2014. There is currently not a standard method for measuring HIV-related disparity. However, for this analysis we used three different measures – the absolute rate difference (the difference between the group with the lowest rate and the group with the highest rate); 2) the diagnosis disparity ratio (the ratio of the difference between the group rate and the overall population rate to the overall rate); and 3) the Index of Disparity (the average of the differences between rates for specific groups and the total rate divided by the total rate, expressed as a percentage). The absolute rate difference between black women and white women decreased annually, from 36.9 in 2010 to 28.3 in 2014. The diagnosis disparity ratio for black women compared to the total population decreased from 1.7 in 2010 to 1.2 in 2014. The Index of Disparity increased during 2010–2011, and then decreased each year during 2012–2014. Although disparities still exist, these findings indicate improvement. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 08.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elina Jerschow, M.D., M.Sc., FAAAAI, FACAAI Associate Professor of Medicine, Allergy/ Immunology Division Director, Drug Allergy Center Montefiore Medical Center The University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine Bronx, New York 10461 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Asthma prevalence varies across and within countries, and markedly increased rates of asthma have been observed in recent decades. Recent time-trends may be attributed to increased urbanization and dissemination of a Western lifestyle. In the US, asthma disproportionally affects African-Americans and Hispanics/Latinos living in urban areas. Among Hispanics/Latinos, asthma prevalence varies from 5.7 % for Mexicans/Mexican-Americans to 16.5% for Puerto Ricans. Besides national background, US nativity, longer duration of US residence, and having one or two parents born in the US have been previously reported as acculturation-related risk factors for asthma in foreign born children. Asthma prevalence was also higher in foreign-born Latinos who relocated to the US as children. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Genetic Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 07.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary E. Lacy, MPH Department of Epidemiology Brown University School of Public Health Providence, RI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hemoglobin A1c (A1C) is a blood test that is used to screen for and monitor diabetes. It measures average blood sugar control over the past 2-3 months. A person with sickle cell trait is a carrier for sickle cell disease but often doesn’t have any clinical symptoms. African Americans are more likely than Whites to have diabetes and are more likely to have sickle cell trait. In this article we examined if A1C can be interpreted in the same way in people with and without sickle cell trait. We found that, despite similar results on other measures of blood sugar control, people with sickle cell trait had lower A1C results than people without sickle cell trait. This means that A1C may underestimate diabetes risk in people with sickle cell trait. We also found that, when using standard A1C cutoffs to screen for disease prevalence, we identified 40% fewer cases of prediabetes and 48% fewer cases of diabetes in individuals with sickle cell trait than in those without sickle cell trait. To me, this finding really underscores the potential clinical impact that the observed underestimation of A1C in those with sickle cell trait could have. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 01.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sheila F. Dunn, MD, MSc Scientist, Women's College Research Institute Director, Family Practice Health Centre Staff Physician, Department of Family and Community Medicine Women's College Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite organized cervical and breast cancer screening programs, inequities in screening remain. In Ontario, women who are newcomers, especially those of South Asian and East Asian origin, have much lower screening rates than Canadian-born women. In order to address these inequities the CARES program used a multi-faceted community-based intervention to increase knowledge and promote cervical and breast cancer screening among newcomer and otherwise marginalized women in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We reached out to women in the target groups through a network of community agencies. Women attended group educational sessions co-led by peers who spoke their language. Access to screening was facilitated through group screening visits, a visit health bus and on-site Pap smears. Administrative data were used to compare screening after the education date for CARES participants with a control group matched for age, screening status and area of residence. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Addiction, Author Interviews, NIH, Opiods, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 27.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Meredith S Shiels Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute Bethesda, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In most high-income countries, premature death rates have been declining, due to the overwhelming successes of public health efforts to prevent and treat chronic disease. The US is a major outlier, where death rates overall have plateaued, or even increased, as reported recently by our sister agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of particular concern are recent reports of increasing death rates among Americans during mid-life. To expand upon prior findings, we focused on premature death, which we defined as death occurring between the ages of 25 and 64. We examined finely detailed death certificate data for the entire U.S. population and described changes in death rates during 1999-2014 by cause of death, sex, race, ethnicity, and geography. To provide context to our findings, we compared trends in death rates in the U.S. to England and Wales and Canada. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Technology / 27.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lucas Marzec MD Instructor of Medicine Section of Cardiac Electrophysiology Division of Cardiology University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, CO 80045 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The addition of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) to an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) reduces the risk of mortality and heart failure events in select patients with left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Given these benefits, it is important to ensure patients who have a guideline recommendation for CRT are considered for this therapy at the time of ICD implantation. Previously, little data were available on the contemporary use of CRT among guideline eligible patients undergoing ICD implantation. Although ICDs alone reduce the risk of mortality in patients with heart failure and reduced systolic function, prior work shows these devices are not uniformly provided to eligible patients and that rates of ICD implantation vary widely by hospital. Prior to our study, it was unknown whether similar variation in the use of the combination of ICD and CRT (CRT-D) exists. We analyzed data from the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR) ICD Registry to identify patient, provider, and hospital characteristics associated with CRT-D use and to determine the extent of hospital level variation in the use of CRT-D among patients eligible for CRT undergoing implantation of an ICD. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH Chief Cardiovascular Medicine Fellow Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death for Hispanics, most studies exploring disparities focus on Black and White differences. Additionally, Hispanics are often aggregated into one homogenous group, which masks important differences. There is also an interesting epidemiological phenomenon known as the “Hispanic paradox” that states that although Hispanics have greater risk factors for CVD, they experience lower mortality. (more…)