AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Metabolic Syndrome, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Weight Research / 21.05.2015

Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-studerende Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital Hellerup MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle Schmiegelow, MD, PhD-student Hjertemedicinsk Forskning Gentofte Universitetshospital Hellerup Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Schmiegelow: Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic, but the excess cardiovascular risk observed in obese individuals may primarily be attributable to metabolic mediators, rather than obesity per se. Several studies conducted in primarily non-Hispanic white populations suggest that obese individuals without the metabolic syndrome, defined as metabolically healthy obese, have a cardiovascular risk similar to that of normal weight metabolically healthy individuals. We used prospectively collected data from the Women’s Health Initiative studies to evaluate whether obesity unaccompanied by metabolic abnormalities was associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across racial/ethnic subgroups in postmenopausal women. Additionally, we examined whether the use of the metabolic syndrome to define the metabolically healthy obese applied to the various racial/ethnic subgroups by quantifying the number and type of metabolic syndrome components. All women were classified by obesity level and metabolic health status at baseline. The women were thus categorized according to body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) into normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2) and obese (30.0 kg/m2) women. Metabolic health status was first defined by presence of the metabolic syndrome (yes/no), and second by number of metabolic syndrome components. In accordance with the International Diabetes Federation and the American Heart Association/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute we defined the metabolic syndrome as any two of the following (criteria for women): increased waist circumference ≥80 cm; increased level of triglycerides ≥150 mg/dL (≥1.7 mM); decreased level of HDL-C <50 mg/dL (<1.3 mM); increased blood pressure with either systolic blood pressure ≥130 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥85 mmHg, or treatment with antihypertensive drugs; and impaired fasting serum glucose ≥100 mg/dL (6.1 mM). Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Schmiegelow: The study population comprised 14,364 women without diabetes or prior cardiovascular disease. The women had a median age of 64 years (interquartile range 57–69), and 47% were white, 36% were black and 18% were Hispanic. Over a median follow-up of 13 years (interquartile range 12–14 years), 1,101 women (7.7%) had a first cardiovascular event. The main findings of this study were that metabolic abnormalities appeared to confer more cardiovascular risk among black women than among white women. Consistent with other studies, among white women without the metabolic syndrome, obesity was not associated with increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight women. Conversely, black overweight and black obese women had increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight black women without the metabolic syndrome, even in absence of the metabolic syndrome. According to number of metabolic syndrome components, black overweight or obese women with just two metabolic abnormalities had increased risk of cardiovascular disease, although they would be considered “metabolically healthy” based on the standard definition, particularly since one of these abnormalities were abdominal obesity for 79% of overweight and 98% of obese women, irrespective of race/ethnicity. White obese women with three metabolic abnormalities did not have a statistically significantly increased cardiovascular risk compared with normal weight metabolically healthy women. Thus, cardiovascular disease risk appeared to be elevated in black women by the presence of only two or three metabolic abnormalities to a degree that would require four or more metabolic abnormalities among white women. These findings did not appear to be driven by any particular combination of metabolic abnormalities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.05.2015

Jeff Bridge, Ph.D Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice Principal Investigator The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeff Bridge, Ph.D Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice Principal Investigator The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Bridge: Suicide is a leading cause of death among children younger than 12 years. Suicide rates in this age group have remained steady overall for the past 20 years, but this is the first national study to observe higher suicide rates among black children compared to white children. Little is known about the epidemiology of suicide in this age group, as prior research has typically excluded children younger than 10 years old and investigated trends only within specific older age groups. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Bridge: We found that suicide ranked 14th as a cause of death among 5- to 11-year old black children in 1993-97 but rose to 9th in 2008-12. For white children, suicide ranked 12th in 1993-97 and 11th in 2008-12. Rates have remained stable in Hispanic and non-Hispanic children. The findings in this study highlight an emerging racial disparity in the epidemiology of childhood suicide. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Depression, Duke, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.04.2015

 Dr. Robert J. Mentz MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Duke University Cooperative Cardiovascular Society Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Robert J. Mentz MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Director, Duke University Cooperative Cardiovascular Society Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mentz: Previous studies have shown that depression is associated with worse outcomes in heart failure patients; however, most of these prior studies were conducted in primarily white patient populations. The impact of depressive symptoms on outcomes specifically in blacks with heart failure has not been well studied. We used data from the HF-ACTION trial of exercise training in heart failure patients, which collected data on depressive symptoms via the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), to assess the association between depressive symptoms and outcomes in black patients as compared with white patients. We found that in blacks with heart failure, baseline symptoms of depression and worsening of symptoms over time were both associated with increased all-cause mortality/hospitalization. (more…)
Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, University of Michigan / 11.04.2015

Addie Weaver PhD Research Investigator and LEO Adjunct Lecturer School of Social Work University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Addie Weaver PhD Research Investigator and LEO Adjunct Lecturer School of Social Work University of Michigan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Weaver: The mental health of both African Americans and rural Americans has been understudied. Though depression is one of the most common, debilitating mental illnesses among women, very little is known about depression among African American women living in rural areas of the United States. In fact, much of what we know about rural women's depression in general is based on research conducted with community samples, as limited epidemiolgical research includes large enough samples of both African American respondents and rural respondents to assess potentially important subgroup differences by urbanicity (e.g., urban, suburban, rural) and race. Our study used the National Survey of American Life, the first and only nationally representative survey of African Americans, to examine the interaction of urbanicity and race/ethnicity on Major Depressive Disorder and mood disorder prevalence among African American and non-Hispanic white women residing in the South. We found that rural residence has a differential effect on depression and mood disorder for African American women and non-Hispanic white women. Overall, African American women living in rural areas experienced significantly lower odds of meeting criteria for lifetime and 12-month Major Depressive Disorder and lifetime and 12-month mood disorder than urban African American women. Conversely, non-Hispanic white women residing in rural areas had significantly higher odds of meeting criteria for lifetime and 12-month Major Depressive and lifetime and 12-month mood disorder when compared to rural African American women, and had significantly higher prevalence rates of 12-month Major Depressive Disorder and 12-month mood disorder than urban non-Hispanic white women. All analyses controlled for age, education level, household income, and marital status, suggesting that the urbanicity differences were not due to resource disparities often experienced by individuals residing in rural communities. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 31.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Catherine R. Lesko, MPH Department of Epidemiology UNC School of Global Public Health Chapel Hill, NC Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a lot of evidence out there that HIV-infected minorities, and in particular, African Americans, experience higher morbidity and mortality than do their white, HIV-infected counterparts. This study looked at whether there were still differences in mortality among treated, HIV-infected adults, which was a crude attempt to control for differences in access to HIV-testing, HIV-care, and antiretroviral therapy - all things previously shown to contribute to racial disparities among people infected with HIV. Even among people who had initiated HIV therapy, we still found that black patients had a 10-year risk of mortality that was 8 percentage points greater than white patients. Hispanic patients did marginally better than white patients, but not as much better as their non-HIV-infected counterparts. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCSD / 24.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arisa Ortiz, MD, FAAD Assistant Clinical Professor Director, Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology Senior author: Brian Jiang, MD and First author Tiffany Loh, BS Department of Dermatology UC San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are the most common type of malignancy in the United States, affecting an estimated 3.5 million people each year. Previous perception has remained that skin cancer risk in Hispanics and Asians is lower than that of Caucasians. However, despite historically lower rates of skin cancer, in recent years, the incidence of skin cancer in these groups has reportedly been increasing in the United States. As Hispanics and Asians constitute two of the most rapidly expanding ethnic groups in the US, the rise in NMSCs in these populations is particularly concerning. The finding from our study were as follows: Hispanic patients were significantly younger than Caucasians and Asians (p=0.003, 0.023 respectively). The majority of Non-melanoma skin cancers in Caucasians occurred in men, while this gender ratio was reversed for both Hispanics and Asians. There were significantly more cases of Non-melanoma skin cancers occurring in the “central face” area in Hispanics. Race was not a significant predictor for specific NMSC type (BCC or SCC). (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Surgical Research / 18.03.2015

Dr. Adil Haider, MD, MPH Kessler Director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Adil Haider, MD, MPH Kessler Director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health (CSPH) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Disparities in the quality of care received by minority and low-income patients have been reported for years across multiple medical conditions, types of care, and institutions. To determine whether clinicians’ unconscious race and/or social class biases correlated with a lower quality of care for minority patients and those of lower socioeconomic status, my colleagues and I conducted a web-based survey among 215 physicians at an academic, level one trauma center. Participants were asked to review eight clinical vignettes, and then respond to three questions about management of care after each. Following their response, a test known as an Implicit Association Test (IAT Test) was used to assess any unconscious preferences. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Response: We found that race and class biases, as measured by response time to a standardized Implicit Association Test, had no relationship to the way that patients were clinically treated. Whether the lack of association found between implicit bias and decision making in this study represents a true lack of association or the failure of clinical vignettes to capture the nuances of how implicit biases translate into management decisions remains unclear. Existing biases might influence the quality of care received by minority patients and those of lower socioeconomic status in real-life clinical encounters. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.03.2015

Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D Canada Research Chair in Health Disparities Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University Montreal, Quebec CANADA MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jay S. Kaufman, Ph.D Canada Research Chair in Health Disparities Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health McGill University Montreal, Quebec Canada Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Published scientific articles speculate frequently about genetic predispositions in different racial groups as explanations for observed disease disparities. They infer this from the higher rates observed in racial minorities, even after adjusting for some social and behavioral measures. Taking the example of the racial disparity between blacks and whites in cardiovascular diseases (stroke, heart attack, heart failure, hypertension, etc), ours is the first published study to review all of the existing results from GWAS (genome-wide association studies) to see if they provide any support for this commonly stated position. To date, they do not. We performed an electronic literature search through the PubMed database to identify review articles and meta-analyses related to genetic risk factors for cardiovascular disease in samples that included populations of European and African ancestries. We focused our search on the 7-year period from January 1, 2007 to January 1, 2014, which corresponded to the rapid proliferation of large pooled GWAS activity. This search strategy yielded 197 review articles or meta-analyses. 68 of these articles contained relevant data, but very few reported significant associations in both racial groups, with just 3 variants meeting study-specific significance criteria. For most outcomes, there were too few estimates for quantitative summarization, but when summarization was possible, racial group did not contribute to heterogeneity. Most associations reported from genome-wide searches were small, difficult to replicate, and in no consistent direction that favored one racial group or another. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Sexual Health / 05.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cyprian Wejnert Center For Disease Control MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Cyprian Wejnert: Men who have sex with men (MSM) remain the risk group most severely affected by HIV in the United States, accounting for approximately two-thirds of new infections each year. Understanding racial and age disparities among MSM is critical to tailor effective prevention efforts. Our study examined data from CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system (NHBS) from 20 U.S. cities. We assessed changes in HIV prevalence, awareness of infection, and risk behavior among MSM, by age and race, from 2008 to 2011, finding that: o Among black Men who have sex with men, 30 percent were HIV-infected overall, and 1 in 5 black MSM aged 18-24 were infected with HIV. Compared to 14 percent and 4 percent among white MSM. o In all age groups younger than 40 years, black Men who have sex with men were significantly more likely to be HIV-positive compared to all other racial/ethnic groups. o Disparities in HIV prevalence between black and white MSM were greatest among the youngest MSM, and increased between 2008 and 2011. o Black MSM were less likely to be aware of their infection than their white counterparts (54 vs. 86 percent). o Black Men who have sex with men did not report higher levels of condomless sex overall or condomless sex with partners of discordant or unknown HIV status. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 05.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ndidi Nwangwu-Ike Center Disease Control MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: CDC data has shown encouraging signs of a decrease in new HIV infections among black women in recent years. However, African American women continue to be far more affected by HIV than women of any other race or ethnicity, with a rate of new infection 20 times that of white women and nearly five times that of Hispanic women. Ensuring people with HIV are diagnosed and remain in care is key to controlling HIV in the nation. When used consistently, antiretroviral medication can keep HIV controlled at very low levels in the body (known as viral suppression), allowing people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives and reducing the likelihood they will transmit HIV to others. Our study finds that viral suppression among women diagnosed with HIV is low, with young women and black women the least likely to achieve viral suppression. Specifically, we found that: o Of women newly diagnosed with HIV in 2012, 83 percent were linked to care within three months of diagnosis. o Retention in care varied by age and race/ethnicity; overall, just over half of women (52 percent) diagnosed and living with HIV in 2011 received ongoing HIV care. o Overall, only 44 percent of women diagnosed and living with HIV in 2011 had a suppressed viral load. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Vanderbilt / 24.02.2015

Dr. Wei Zheng, MD, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wei Zheng, MD, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt Epidemiology Center, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wei Zheng: Substantial progress has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, resulting in a steady improvement in cancer survival. However, the degree of improvement by age, race and sex remains unclear. We quantified the differences in the improvement of cancer survival by race, age, and sex over the last two decades. We used cancer diagnosis and follow-up data from more than 1 million cancer patients, collected in nine SEER registries, to investigate trends in improved survival for seven major cancers in the United States by age, race, and sex between 1990 and 2010. We found that elderly patients experienced a smaller improvement in survival for cancers of the colon/rectum, breast, prostate, lung, and liver than their younger counterparts. In particular, the age-related disparities were most pronounced for those cancers with the greatest advancements in diagnosis and treatment over the past two decades, including cancers of colon/rectum, breast and prostate. African Americans experienced poorer survival than whites for all cancers. Because of a greater improvement in prostate cancer survival in African Americans than for whites, the racial difference in the survival of this cancer decreased during the study period. For ovarian cancer, however, the survival rate declined in African Americans but slightly increased in whites, leading to a wider racial gap in the survival of this deadly cancer. No apparent disparities in survival improvement by sex were noted. (more…)
Author Interviews, Connective Tissue Disease, Emory, Kidney Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 20.02.2015

Laura Plantinga, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Renal Medicine, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Plantinga, PhD Assistant Professor Division of Renal Medicine, Department of Medicine Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, GA 30322 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Plantinga: Quality of care for end-stage renal disease (ESRD), which is treated with dialysis or kidney transplantation, is a high priority for the U.S. healthcare system, given universal coverage of these services. However, quality of ESRD care remains relatively unexplored in lupus patients, who have multiple providers and may have greater access to care. We found that, overall, nearly three-quarters of U.S. ESRD patients with lupus had pre-ESRD nephrology care and about 20% of lupus patients on dialysis were waitlisted for kidney transplant per year; however, fewer than one-quarter of those who started on dialysis had a permanent vascular access in place, which is associated with better outcomes than a temporary catheter. Furthermore, patients who were black or Hispanic were nearly a third less likely to have pre-ESRD care and were also less likely to be placed on the kidney transplant waitlist in the first year of dialysis than white patients. Having Medicaid or no insurance at the start of ESRD were both associated with lower likelihood of quality ESRD care by all measures, despite universal Medicare coverage after the start of ESRD. While there was geographic variation in quality of ESRD care, patterns were not consistent across quality measures. (more…)
Author Interviews, Disability Research, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 14.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ying Wang, PhD, MPH Data Management, Analysis & Research Office of Primary Care and Health System Management New York State Department of Health Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12237 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wang: The purpose of the study was to examine the survival of children with one or more of 21 major birth defects in the United States. We used data from 12 population-based birth defects surveillance programs that participate in the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. The study included nearly 100,000 infants born with birth defects between 1997 and 2007. We found that children who were born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (a severe congenital heart defect) had the lowest chance of survival across multiple ages (up to 28 days of life, 1 year, 2 years, and 8 years of life), compared to children with any other birth defects studied. We also found that the chances of survival up to 1 year of life was greater than 90% for babies born with spina bifida, cleft palate, cleft lip with or without cleft palate, pyloric stenosis, gastroschisis, or Down syndrome. For most birth defects, survival was poorer among non-Hispanic black mothers and Hispanic mothers compared to non-Hispanic white mothers. (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Education, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 13.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robert M. Kaplan Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Years of formal education is one of the strongest correlates of life expectancy. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between educational attainment and life expectancy with adjustments for other social, behavioral, and biological factors. Using data from a large cohort of nearly 30,000 adults, we found that education was a very strong predictor of survival and that biological and behavioral factors only partially explained the relationship. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetologia, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 12.02.2015

Dr. Therese Tillin Research Fellow, Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Group Institute of Cardiovascular Science Faculty of Pop Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Therese Tillin Research Fellow, Cardiometabolic Phenotyping Group Institute of Cardiovascular Science Faculty of Pop Health Sciences Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tillin: The global burden of type 2 diabetes is rising rapidly and people of South Asian origins (from the Indian subcontinent) remain at much higher risk of developing diabetes than people of European origin. Why is this? Although it is thought that increased levels of obesity around the waist level, diet, physical activity levels and genetic factors contribute, no study to date has been able to tease out fully the underlying causes for the added risk in South Asian people. However, it is likely that complex metabolic disturbances may play an important role. We have been studying a British cohort of people of European and South Asian origin for nearly 20 years and have used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to build a profile of amino acids in blood samples that were collected at the start of the study between 1988 and 1991. We found that higher levels of some amino acids, in particular tyrosine, were already present in non-diabetic South Asian individuals back then. Some of these amino acids, again especially tyrosine, more strongly predicted later development of type 2 diabetes in the South Asian people than in the Europeans in our study, even after adjustment for other risk factors such as obesity and insulin resistance. A given increase (one standard deviation) in tyrosine increased risk of developing diabetes by just 10% in Europeans, while in South Asians the increase in risk was 47%. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, HIV, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 06.02.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Azfar-e-Alam Siddiqi, MD, PhD Associate Chief of Science (Acting) HIV Incidence and Case Surveillance Branch Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sidiqqi: African Americans remain the population most affected by HIV in the United States -- accounting for almost half (44 percent) of all new infections and more than a third (41 percent) of people living with HIV, despite representing just 12 percent of the U.S. population. We also know that far too many African Americans living with HIV do not get the medical care and treatment they need to stay healthy and protect themselves and others. In fact, less than half (40 percent) of African Americans living with HIV are engaged in care and only one-quarter (28 percent) have the virus under control through treatment. To better understand mortality among African Americans with HIV, our team analyzed data from the National HIV Surveillance System for 2008 through 2012. Because immune suppression caused by HIV infection can result in fatal co-illnesses, our analysis estimated deaths due to all causes, rather than limiting their analysis to deaths resulting directly from HIV infection. This method allowed us to capture the fullest picture of mortality among African Americans with HIV. According to our new analysis, from 2008-2012, the death rate per 1,000 blacks living with HIV decreased 28 percent, more than the overall decline (22 percent) observed among all persons living with HIV and more than declines observed among other races/ethnicities (13 percent for whites and 25 percent for Hispanics). Despite substantial declines in mortality, the death rate per 1,000 blacks living with HIV in 2012 was 13 percent higher than the rate for whites and 47 percent higher than the rate for Hispanics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Journal Clinical Oncology, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford, Surgical Research / 30.01.2015

Kim F. Rhoads, MD, MS, MPH, FACS Assistant Professor of Surgery Director, Community Partnership Program Stanford Cancer Institute Unit Based Medical Director, E3 Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties Stanford University Stanford, Ca 94305 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kim F. Rhoads, MD, MS, MPH, FACS Assistant Professor of Surgery Director, Community Partnership Program Stanford Cancer Institute Unit Based Medical Director, E3 Surgery and Surgical Subspecialties Stanford University Stanford, Ca 94305 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rhoads: Colon cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in US men and women and is the 2nd most common cause of cancer death. For at least 2 decades, minorities with colon cancer have suffered a 15-20% additional risk of death when compared with non-minority patients. Our study set out to understand the influence of the location where treatment was delivered and the quality of care received, on overall survival and racial disparities. We examined more than 30,000 patients who were diagnosed and treated for colon cancer in California from 2001 through 2006. Using cancer registry data linked to state level inpatient data and hospital information, we compared the rates of National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guideline adherence and mortality by location of care and by race. We found that patients treated within an integrated health system (IHS) received NCCN guideline based care at higher rates than those treated outside the system—about 3% higher rates of surgery; and more than 20% higher rates of stage appropriate chemotherapy. The rates of guideline based care were nearly equal between the racial groups treated inside the IHS. Propensity score matched comparisons revealed a lower risk of death for all patients and no racial disparities associated with treatment within the Integrated system. For patients treated outside IHS, the disparity in mortality was explained by accounting for differences in receipt of evidence based care by race. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, University of Pennsylvania / 30.12.2014

Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D. The Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair in Health Services Research Director, Center for Outcomes Research The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology & Critical Care The Perelman School of Medicine Professor of Health Care Management, The Wharton School MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey H. Silber, M.D., Ph.D. The Nancy Abramson Wolfson Endowed Chair in Health Services Research Director, Center for Outcomes Research The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology & Critical Care The Perelman School of Medicine Professor of Health Care Management, The Wharton School The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Differences in colon cancer survival by race is a well recognized problem among Medicare beneficiaries. We wanted to determine to what extent the racial disparity in survival is due to a racial disparity in presentation characteristics at diagnosis (such as advanced stage and the presence of chronic diseases) versus a disparity in subsequent treatment by surgeons and oncologists. To answer this question, we compared black colon cancer patients to three matched white groups: (1) “Demographics” match controlling age, sex, diagnosis year, and Survey, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) site; (2) “Presentation” match controlling demographics plus comorbidities and tumor characteristics including stage and grade; and (3) “Treatment” match including presentation variables plus details of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. We studied Medicare patients 65 years of age and older diagnosed between 1991-2005 in the SEER-Medicare database. There were 7,677 black patients and 3 sets of 7,677 matched white controls. We found that difference in 5-year survival (black-white) was 9.9% in the demographics match. This disparity remained unchanged between 1991-2005. After matching on presentation characteristics, this difference fell to 4.9%. Finally, after additionally matching on treatment, this same difference hardly changed, moving to only 4.3%. So the disparity in survival attributed to treatment differences comprised only an absolute 0.6% of the overall 9.9% survival disparity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 19.12.2014

Glenn Firebaugh, Ph.D. Roy C. Buck Professor of American Institutions, Sociology, and Demography College of the Liberal Arts The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Glenn Firebaugh, Ph.D. Roy C. Buck Professor of American Institutions, Sociology, and Demography College of the Liberal Arts The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Firebaugh: Lifespans are more variable for blacks than for whites in the United States. The objective of this study was to determine why. Is it because blacks are more likely to die of causes, such as homicide, that disproportionately strike the young and middle-aged, or because age at death varies more for blacks than for whites among those who die of the same cause? It is primarily the latter. For almost all causes of death, age at death varies more among black victims than it does among white victims, especially for women. To be sure, some youthful causes of death, such as homicide and AIDS, are more prevalent among blacks, accounting for some of the greater variances in blacks' lifespans. But these causes are largely offset by higher rates of suicide and drug poisoning deaths among whites. As a result, differences in causes of death for blacks versus whites on net account for relatively little of the difference in lifespan variance for blacks and whites. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCSF / 12.11.2014

Paula Braveman, MD, MPH Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health Professor, Family and Community Medicine University of California San Francisco San Francisco, CA 94118 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paula Braveman, MD, MPH Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health Professor, Family and Community Medicine University of California San Francisco San Francisco, CA 94118 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Braveman: There were a couple of striking findings from this study of preterm birth (PTB) among non-Latino White and Black women born in the U.S.. First, we found that women who were poor or socioeconomically disadvantaged in other ways (who had not or whose parents had not graduated from high school or who lived in neighborhoods (census tracts) with highly concentrated (25% or more of residents) poverty) had similarly high preterm birth rates. In addition, we found that while preterm birth rates among White women consistently improved as their socioeconomic status (SES) improved, higher-SES Black women generally did no better –and sometimes did worse—than lower-SES Black women. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Duke, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 29.10.2014

Kevin L Thomas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Duke Clinical Research Institute MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kevin L Thomas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Duke Clinical Research Institute   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Thomas: The number of participants with controlled blood pressure (readings of less than 140/90) increased by 12 percent in the six months between the first and last readings. Mean systolic blood pressure for the population decrease by 4.7mmHg. The number of participants who had high blood pressure in the range of 140-149/90-99 decreased systolic blood pressure by a mean of 8.8mmHg and those with readings in the higher range of 150/100 or above decreased systolic blood pressure by 23.7percent. The study concluded that a program that followed this type of approach was associated with improved blood pressures across a diverse high-risk community.” (more…)
Author Interviews, Pulmonary Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 23.10.2014

Nandita Bhan, ScD MSc MA Research Scientist & Adjunct Assistant Professor Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nandita Bhan, ScD MSc MA Research Scientist & Adjunct Assistant Professor Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Bhan: We found that the last decade in the US has seen a rise in racial/ethnic disparities in asthma. Compared to Non-Hispanic White populations, greater rates of asthma were seen among African Americans and lower rates among Hispanic populations. But more importantly, we found that it is not just a question of who you are, but where you live. Results showed heterogeneity by region and place of origin - highlighting that it will be simplistic to assume that asthma rates for Hispanic populations are the same across all states in the US. While data is unable to explore further granularity by ethnicity, our results add to the developing evidence that state policies and politics have impacts on socioeconomic and racial/ethnic inequalities manifesting in health disparities in the US. (more…)
Author Interviews, Primary Care, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 19.10.2014

Arjumand Siddiqi, Sc.D., Assistant Professor Departments of Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario Canada MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arjumand Siddiqi, Sc.D., Assistant Professor Departments of Epidemiology and Social and Behavioral Sciences Dalla Lana School of Public Health University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario Canada MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Siddiqi: The main finding of the study is that, in a society with universal health insurance (Canada), racial disparities in access to primary care are drastically reduced, with some important exceptions. (more…)
Diabetes, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 17.09.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Adam Tabak MD Clinical Research Associate Epidemiology & Public Health Institute of Epidemiology & Health Faculty of Population Health Sciences University College London, UK Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Tabak: Some of the major findings are confirmatory, such as the almost 3 times increased risk and an earlier onset of type 2 diabetes among south Asians, and a decreased insulin sensitivity in this ethnic group. The major novel finding is related to the fact that we could model events before diabetes diagnosis. We found a faster increase in fasting glucose before the diagnosis is south Asians compared to whites and that although insulin secretion increased in both ethnicities until 7 years before diagnosis, this increase was faster among whites. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.08.2014

Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College 1404 Baker Pavilion, New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly G. Prigerson, Ph.D. Irving Sherwood Wright Professor in Geriatrics Professor of Sociology in Medicine Director, Center for Research on End of Life Care Weill Cornell Medical College New York Presbyterian Hospital New York City, New York 10065 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Prigerson: That there are strikingly different preferences for end-of-life care based on a patient's race/ethnicity and in rates of do not resuscitate order completion. Regardless of what those preferences are, however, they significantly influence the likelihood of completing a do not resuscitate order (dnr) across racial/ethnic groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.08.2014

Satyesh K Sinha, PhD Assistant Professor Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science Los Angeles, CA-90059 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Satyesh K Sinha, PhD Assistant Professor Charles R Drew University of Medicine and Science Los Angeles, CA-90059 Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Sinha: Our main finding is that compared to Whites, African Americans (AAs) and Hispanics, with diabetes, have a higher prevalence of early chronic kidney disease (CKD) which is significantly associated with urinary albumin excretion (UAE) and/or C-reactive protein (CRP). (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Macular Degeneration, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 19.08.2014

Rohit Varma, MD, MPH Grace and Emery Beardsley Professor and Chair USC Department of Ophthalmology Director, USC Eye Institute Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Network Development Keck School of Medicine of USC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rohit Varma, MD, MPH Grace and Emery Beardsley Professor and Chair USC Department of Ophthalmology Director, USC Eye Institute Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and Network Development Keck School of Medicine of USC Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Varma: Our research demonstrates African-Americans bear a heavier burden of diabetic macular edema (DME), one of the leading causes of blindness in diabetic patients in the United States, compared to Non-Hispanic whites. The study points to a need for improved screening and greater attention to vision loss by clinicians and patients particularly those who are at high risk of developing diabetic macular edema. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 11.08.2014

Lynn Rosenberg, ScD Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University 1010 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215 MedicalResearch.com Interview with Lynn Rosenberg, ScD Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University 1010 Commonwealth Avenue Boston, MA 02215   Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response: With prospective data from the Black Women’s Health Study, we assessed vigorous exercise and walking in relation to incidence of invasive breast cancer . We found that the overall incidence of breast cancer was lower among women who exercised vigorously or walked briskly than among women who were sedentary. The reduction was most apparent among women who exercised at least 5 hours per week. The association of exercise with breast cancer risk did not differ by estrogen receptor status of the breast tumor, but further study is needed to firmly establish this. Sitting for long periods at work or watching television was not significantly associated with breast cancer incidence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 10.08.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sahil Khera, MD and Dhaval Kolte, MD, PhD Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology New York Medical College, NY Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: We used the publicly available Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) databases for our study. We analyzed data on 6.5 million patients with heart attack (all types) from 2002 to 2011 in United States. Out of these 3.98 million were admitted with a diagnosis of non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). Our objective was to describe how the care for patients with NSTEMI has changed over the past 10 years and whether this has resulted in better patient outcomes. We looked at the proportion of patients with NSTEMI who underwent cardiac catheterization each year. We also studied how many patients died in the hospital, how long was the hospital stay, and what was the total cost of hospitalization for this condition. Lastly, we determined if the changes in treatment and outcomes over the years were similar for different age- groups, men and women, and for different racial/ethnic groups. In this analysis, we looked at cardiac catheterization trends after NSTEMI for both within 24 hours and within 48 hours. This is the first study of its kind to analyze two different time frames of early catheterization simultaneously. Although there was an increase in the proportion of patients with NSTEMI with increase in utilization of early cardiac catheterization and decrease in in-hospital death and length of stay, age-, sex-, and race/ethnicity-specific differences in the management and outcomes of NSTEMI were observed, and further studies are needed to develop strategies to ensure more equitable care for patients with this type of heart attack. (more…)