Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 17.06.2016 Interview with: Kelli A. Komro, MPH, PhD, Professor Director of Graduate Studies Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Jointly Appointed, Epidemiology Rollins School of Public Health Emory University Atlanta, GA 30322 What is the background for this study?  Dr. Komro: Epidemiologists have done a thorough job describing the income-health gradient, which shows a clear association between income and health. That is, as income increases, exposure to health risks and premature mortality decreases. Each step down on the income ladder decreases one’s health for many reasons related to material resources, physical environment exposures and social circumstances. The income to health association begins at birth, and more than one in four women giving birth in the U.S. are below the poverty level, putting nearly 1 million babies at risk each year. Low-income mothers are more likely to give birth prematurely, to have low birth weight babies, and to suffer the death of their infant during the post-neonatal period (28 to 364 days old). Given the importance of the income-health gradient, we set out to test the health effects of policies that are designed to increase economic security among low-income families. Our main question is: Do policies designed to reduce poverty and improve family economic security also improve health? One relevant policy is minimum wage laws. A federal minimum wage was first enacted in 1938. The real value (in 2015 dollars) of the federal minimum wage reached a high of $10.85 in 1968. The current federal rate is $7.25. Many cities and states have passed minimum wage laws that are higher than the federal rate, and currently there is a range of minimum wage increases under active public and policymaker discussion. Given that some states pass minimum wage standards and others do not, and that laws within states change over time, we took advantage of all the changes that have occurred to design a natural experiment. Our natural experiment examined the effects of state minimum wage laws on infant health. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, Social Issues / 03.06.2016 Interview with: Dr Robb Rutledge UCL Institute of Neurology and Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research University College London What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rutledge: As we get older, dopamine levels in the brain gradually decline. Dopamine has long been associated with risk taking and we have recently found that it is related specifically to how willing people are to take risks for potential rewards. It is widely believed that older people are risk averse, but this is controversial, and it is unknown whether age-related changes in dopamine are responsible for changes in risk taking. In this study, we tested over 25,000 people using a smartphone app called The Great Brain Experiment where players tried to win as many points as they could by choosing between safe and risky options. We found that older people were less willing to takes risks for potential rewards than young people, the same situations dopamine is known to be involved in. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 03.06.2016 Interview with: Zhenmei Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Sociology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI48824 What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhang: Blacks are especially hard hit by cognitive impairment and dementia. Recent estimates of dementia prevalence and incidence were substantially higher for blacks than whites. Reducing racial/ethnic disparities in dementia has been identified as a national priority by the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2011. So I really want to contribute to the ongoing discussion of the origins and pathways through which racial disparities in cognitive impairment is produced. If we have a better understanding of the factors contributing to racial disparities in cognitive impairment in later life, more effective interventions can be conducted to reduce the racial disparities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 27.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Jianghong Li, Senior Scientist (PhD) From the President’s Project Group, WZB Berlin Social Science Center (Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung GmbH: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany What is the background for this study? Dr. Jianghong Li: Commuting to work is a common phenomenon in developed countries. In the US full-time wage workers residing in urban counties on average commuted about 55 minutes to work. In the UK, workers commuted 42 minutes (round trip) for work in 2008. German workers commute 13 kilometers and 44 minutes both ways to work on average. The average daily commuting time for work in other European countries ranges from 29 minutes in Portugal to 51 minutes in Hungary. To make your commute a little easier, why not try the Moovit app with its handy tracking tools such as the metro map. Men commute longer than women to work and working fathers commute further to work than working mothers. Men who are employed full-time and with children commute longer than their counterparts without children, regardless of the age of the youngest child. Previous research has shown that long commuting to workplace is associated with reduced civic participation and social interactions, lower life satisfaction, elevated stress hormone and reduced task performance, and increased risk for marriage breakdown. Daily experiences of unreliable transport, conflicting time schedules, congested roads and crowded trains contribute to commuters’ physical and psychological stress. These health and psychosocial consequences of commuting raise a concern about its plausible negative impact on children’s well-being. Yet, there was no inquiry about the effect of commuting on children’s well-being, except one small-scale study in the US of mothers leaving welfare for employment. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, End of Life Care, NEJM, Social Issues / 24.05.2016 Interview with: Jill Cameron, PhD Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Rehabilitation Sciences Institute Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cameron: In the world of critical illness, a lot of research has focused on helping people to survive – and now that more people are surviving, we need to ask ourselves, what does quality of life and wellbeing look like afterwards for both patients and caregivers? The aim of our research was to identify factors associated with family caregiver health and wellbeing during the first year after patients were discharged from the Intensive Care Unit. We examined factors related to the patient and their functional wellbeing, the caregiving situation including the impact it has on caregivers everyday lives, and caregiver including their sense of control over their lives and available social support. We used Pearlin’s Caregiving Stress Process model to guide this research. From 2007-2014, caregivers of patients who received seven or more days of mechanical ventilation in an ICU across 10 Canadian university-affiliated hospitals were given self-administered questionnaires to assess caregiver and patient characteristics, caregiver depression symptoms, psychological wellbeing, and health-related quality of life. Assessments occurred seven days and three, six and 12-months after ICU discharge. The study found that most caregivers reported high levels of depression symptoms, which commonly persisted up to one year and did not improve in some. Caregiver sense of control, impact on caregivers’ everyday lives, and social support had the largest relationships with the outcomes. Caregivers’ experienced better health outcomes when they were older, caring for a spouse, had higher income, better social support, sense of control, and caregiving had less of a negative impact on their everyday lives. No patient characteristics or indicators of illness severity were associated with caregiver outcomes. Poor caregiver outcomes may compromise patients’ rehabilitation potential and sustainability of home care. Identifying risk factors for caregiver distress is an important first step to prevent more suffering and allow ICU survivors and caregivers to regain active and fulfilling lives. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Lifestyle & Health, Social Issues / 16.05.2016 Interview with: Dr. Tyler VanderWeele PhD Professor of Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Department of Biostatistics Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. VanderWeele: There have been some prior studies on religious service attendance and mortality. Many of these have been criticized for poor methodology including the possibility of reverse causation – that only those who are healthy can attend services, so that attendance isn’t necessarily influencing health. We tried to address some of these criticisms with better methodology. We used repeated measures of attendance and health over time to address this, and a very large sample, and controlled for an extensive range of common causes of religious service attendance and health. This was arguably the strongest study on the topic to date and addressed many of the methodological critiques of prior literature. We found that compared with women who never attended religious services, women who attended more than once per week had 33% lower mortality risk during the study period. Those who attended weekly had 26% lower risk and those who attended less than once a week had 13% lower risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Social Issues / 12.05.2016 Interview with: Erica Spatz, MD, MHS Assistant Professor, Section of Cardiovascular Medicine Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation Yale University School of Medicine/Yale-New Haven Hospital New Haven, CT 06520 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Spatz: Rates of heart attack have declined during the last 15 years. But whether communities of different economic status or in different geographic regions experienced similar declines is unknown, especially as efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease and manage heart attacks may not have been equally successful in communities with different resource capacity. Our study shows that trends in the incidence of and mortality from heart attack were similar in low, average and high income communities. However, low-income communities had higher hospitalization rates than average and high income communities throughout the 15 year study period. Interestingly mortality rates were similar. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 26.04.2016 Interview with: Lindsey Hicks Doctoral Student Social Psychology Florida State University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: My colleagues and I are very interested in the factors that differentially predict peoples’ self-reported relationship satisfaction and their gut-level feelings about their partners—the spontaneous feelings they have and may not articulate. Because explicit self-reports require conscious deliberation they are subject to the influence of biases and beliefs about relationships; gut-level, automatic attitudes do not require conscious deliberation and thus appear to better track actual experience. With that in mind, we examined whether sexual frequency influences automatic but not explicit evaluations of the partner. Previous research has yielded inconsistent results regarding the influence of sexual frequency on relationship satisfaction, and we thought such inconsistencies may stem from the influence of deliberate reasoning and biased beliefs regarding the sometimes taboo topic of sex. Thus, we tested the association between partners’ sexual frequency and their gut-level feelings about each other. Basically we found that the frequency with which couples have sex has no influence on whether or not they report being happy with their relationship, but their sexual frequency does influence their more spontaneous, automatic, gut-level feelings about their partners. This is particularly important in light of previous research done by my colleagues demonstrating that it these automatic attitudes ultimately predict whether or not they’ll end up becoming dissatisfied with their relationship. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Pediatrics, PNAS, Social Issues / 26.04.2016 Interview with:

Joan L. Luby, MD Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Child Psychiatry Director, Early Emotional Development Program Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, Missouri What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Luby: The study was designed to investigate brain development in early onset mental disorders. The main findings validate depression in preschoolers with brain change evident this young similar to that known in adults. We also found effects of maternal support on brain development in this process which is what the current paper focuses on . (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Social Issues, Stroke / 20.04.2016 Interview with: Nicole Valtorta NIHR Doctoral Research Fellow Department of Health Sciences University of York, UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lonely and socially isolated adults are at increased risk of mortality. The influence of social relationships on morbidity is widely accepted, but the size of the risk to cardiovascular health is unclear. We systematically reviewed the evidence from prospective cohort studies to investigate the association between loneliness or social isolation and incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke. We identified 23 papers reporting data from 16 longitudinal datasets, for a total of 4,628 CHD and 3,002 stroke events. Reports of eleven studies (CHD) and eight studies (stroke) provided data suitable for meta-analyses, the results of which indicated that deficiencies in social relationships are associated with an increased risk of developing CHD and stroke. People who were lonely or isolated had, on average, a 29% greater risk of incident CHD; similarly, the risk of developing stroke was 32% greater among isolated individuals. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Karolinski Institute, Social Issues / 15.04.2016 Interview with: Zheng Chang, PhD Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet Stockholm Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Chang: More than 30 million people are released from prison worldwide every year. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, repeat offending remains high across many high-income and middle-income countries. Because there is considerable inconsistency and inefficiency in identifying those who are at high risk of reoffending and most in need of interventions, we developed and validated a clinical prediction rule to determine this risk in released prisoners. We did a cohort study of 47 326 prisoners released in Sweden between 2001 and 2009. We developed a 14-item model to predict violent reoffending, which includes modifiable risk factors and has been externally validated. The model showed good measures of discrimination and calibration. The study uses the methods to develop the prediction model on the basis of TRIPOD guidelines, and it is a brief, easy to use, and scalable tool. This tool has also been translated into a freely available web application (OxRec). (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 07.04.2016 Interview with: Dr. Simon Graff Department of Public Health Aarhus University What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Graff: We knew that a substantial amount of evidence have accumulated, linking our mental wellbeing to our body. With that in mind we wanted to examine one of the (if not the most) most stressful life event; the loss of a partner! Former studies have ranked bereavement of a life partner as the most stressful life event we humans can experience. Our study reports that spousal bereavement is followed by a transiently increased risk of new onset of atrial fibrillation (AF). The risk was highest 8-14 days after the loss and remains elevated for one year. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 05.04.2016 Interview with: Paula Braitstein, PhD Division of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Department of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Moi University, Eldoret, Kenya Department of Epidemiology, Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana University, Indianapolis Regenstrief Institute Inc, Indianapolis, Indiana What is the background for this study? Dr. Braitstein: There are vast numbers of children and youth in the world who find themselves in street circumstances. Yet, there is an absence of consensus among academics, policymakers, stakeholders, and international organizations regarding the causes of child and youth street-involvement around the world. Without data concerning these reasons, policies are developed or implemented to mitigate street-involvement without taking these causes into account. Often, the prevailing paradigm assumes that children and youth on the street are juvenile delinquents and the government response is often characterized by social exclusion, criminalization, and oppression by police and civic authorities. Therefore we wanted to find out what reasons do children and youth self-report for their street-involvement globally. What are the main findings?  Dr. Braitstein: We systematically reviewed the literature and compiled data from 49 studies representing 24 countries globally. Street-connected children and youth most frequently reported poverty, family conflict, and abuse as their reasons for street-involvement. They infrequently identified delinquent behaviours for their circumstances. There were no significant differences between males and females reported reasons, with the exception of females in developed regions who were more likely to report abuse. (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Social Issues / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. Dayu Lin, PhD NYU Langone Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lin: Decades of researchs including those from our labs have identified some key sites for aggressive actions, but the neural substrates of aggressive intention remain unclear. In this study, we designed a task to evaluate the aggressive intention of the mice in the absence of aggression provoking cues (another male mouse) and identified a small hypothalamic area, namely the ventrolateral part of the ventromedial hypothalamus, as a key brain region for aggressive motivation. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Social Issues / 08.03.2016 Interview with: Dr. LeaAnne DeRigne MSW Ph.D. FAU School of Social Work What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DeRigne: 49 million U.S. employees work without paid sick leave, causing an even greater divide in health care disparities as well as undesirable health care outcomes.   This study examined the relationship between paid sick leave benefits and delays in medical care and forgone medical care for both working adults and their family members. We also analyzed the risk of emergency department use and the risk of missing work because of illness or injury by paid sick leave status, as well as the interaction effects between paid sick leave and family income and health insurance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 01.03.2016 Interview with: Stephen Aichele PhD University of Geneva in Switzerland What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Aichele: The study was initiated over 30 years ago by professor Patrick Rabbitt (U. Oxford), who sought to investigate age-related changes in health, lifestyle, and cognitive abilities in more than 6000 residents of Greater Manchester and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK. Our most recent findings show that two psychological variables, lower self-rated health and age-related decrements in mental processing speed, appear to be especially important indicators of elevated mortality risk in middle-age and older adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Social Issues / 27.02.2016 Interview with: Aaron W. Lukaszewski, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Oklahoma State University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lukaszewski: A large body of evidence from multiple social science fields indicates that physically formidable men tend to attain positions of leadership and prestige within cooperative groups (e.g., communities, businesses, nations). The most common explanation for this phenomenon is that strong men ascend hierarchies by aggressively intimidating their rivals and fellow group members into submission -- much like chickens use physical contests to establish "pecking orders" that define rank. The current research advances a different explanation for why formidable men attain high status. Specifically, we propose that members of cooperative groups willingly confer high status upon physically strong men, because they are perceived as possessing specific leadership capacities. To test this, we had people view photographs of men and women whose physical strength had been previously measured, and evaluate them along specific dimensions. As predicted, stronger men (but not women) were seen as deserving higher status, and this was explained by the fact that such men were seen as being better leaders (as defined by their apparent ability to enforce group policies and represent the group to outsiders). Moreover, physically strong men who were seen as being likely to aggressively intimidate others were projected to acquire less status than their apparently gentler counterparts. Taken together, the findings support the idea that strong men are given higher status by others because they are perceived as being likely to use their strength to benefit the group by cost-effectively providing valuable leadership services. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sexual Health, Social Issues / 12.02.2016 Interview with: Andrea K. Knittel, MD, PhD PGY-3, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Knittel: The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and many studies have shown that involvement in the criminal justice system may be a risk factor for HIV/AIDS or other STDs. For example, some studies have found that in areas with high rates of incarceration, rates of STDs are higher, and others have shown that incarcerated individuals are more likely to have higher rates of concurrent sexual partnerships and a greater number of sexual partners. This may happen because of increased rates of partnership dissolution due to physical and emotional distance, as well as a desire on the part of formerly incarcerated men for an increased number of sexual partners to “make up for lost time,” which some studies have suggested. In addition, the female partners of incarcerated men may rely on other relationships, including new sexual partners, for emotional and financial support while their partners are incarcerated, whether their relationships end permanently or temporarily or they maintain their relationships through visits and calls. Very few studies have been able to look at community level effects of incarceration, however, because it is difficult to gather data at this level. This study uses an agent-based model, a computational approach that provide a closed system in which to test hypotheses. An agent-based model is a computer simulation that creates a small community (250 “agents” or simulated people) in which the agents can date and have sexual relationships. The model used in this paper has been shown previously to be similar to young people in the US. The experiment in this study was to run the model without incarceration and see how many partners men and women in the community had, and then add incarceration into the model and see what happened. Based on data from other studies, when men in the model were incarcerated they had a slightly higher risk of ending a relationship and became slightly less desirable as partners. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Social Issues, Yale / 10.02.2016 Interview with: Kristina Marie Talbert-Slagle, PhD Lecturer in Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases) and in Public Health (Health Policy); Senior Scientific Officer, Yale Global Health Leadership Institute Yale School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Talbert-Slagle: The interest for this study originally came as a result of work done by Elizabeth Bradley, PhD, co-author of The American Health Care Paradox.  In the book, Dr. Bradley compared spending rates of social services to health care services between the U.S. and other countries and found that while the U.S. invested more money in health care services than any other country we had worse health outcomes.  By contrast, countries that spent more on social services per dollar spent on health care had better outcomes. We applied that same idea to AIDS.  There are still more than 50,000 cases of HIV/AIDS diagnosed in the U.S. each year.  Although many medical advances have been made in treatment and prevention of this infection, we were curious as to why rates of HIV/AIDS have remained stagnate.  We wanted to explore how spending relates to differences in case rates among the states and found a significant difference among states regarding social service and public health spending related to HIV/AIDS.  We looked at all 50 states’ spending habits over the past 10 years and discovered that states that invested more money in social services such as education, housing, and nutrition per person in poverty had significantly lower rates of HIV/AIDS deaths. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, NYU, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 05.02.2016 Interview with: Alan Mendelsohn, MD Associate professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Population Health Adriana Weisleder, PhD Research scientist, Department of Pediatrics NYU Langone Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In the last decade, scientists have begun to understand the mechanisms by which poverty can cause changes in brain development that can lead to higher rates of behavior problems and lower educational achievement for disadvantaged children. This study shows that pediatric-based programs that promote reading aloud and play can help prevent these problems before they arise. The Video Interaction Project (VIP) – the main program studied in the research – takes place at regular pediatric check-ups starting at birth. A trained parenting coach meets with the family at each visit and records the parent and child playing and reading together with materials provided by the program. The coach then reviews the video with the parent to identify and reinforce positive interactions and encourage strong parent-child relationships. The second intervention program, Building Blocks, is a lower-intensity option in which families receive parenting pamphlets and learning materials monthly by mail to facilitate reaching specific developmental goals. The results of the three-year randomized-controlled trial showed notable benefits for children’s social and emotional development. Children of families who participated in the Video Interaction Project had better attention and play skills as toddlers and reduced hyperactivity and aggression at three years, compared to children in a control group. For the highest risk families, hyperactivity was reduced by more than half.  These findings are important because a child’s ability to control or regulate his or her behavior is a critical factor in their learning and success at school. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Social Issues / 29.01.2016 Interview with: Jessica Moe MD, MA, PGY4 FRCPC Emergency Medicine MSc (Candidate) Clinical Epidemiology RCPS Emergency Medicine Residency Program University of Alberta Edmonton, Alberta Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Moe: Patients who leave the emergency department (ED) prior to completing their care account for a substantial number of annual visits; some of these patients are at high medical risk. We used the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 2009-2011 to examine a nationally representative sample of patients who left the ED prior to completing care. Our work suggests that, among patients who leave the ED prematurely, the degree of medical risk may be related to whether or not these patients saw a medical professional prior to leaving the ED. Patients who leave prior to medical evaluation are generally younger and present with lower acuity visits, whereas patients who leave after medical evaluation tend to be older, are more likely to arrive by ambulance and have higher acuity visits. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Social Issues, University of Michigan / 23.12.2015 Interview with: Christine Veenstra MD Clinical Lecturer, Internal Medicine Medical Oncology University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI  48109-5343 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Veenstra: Patients with cancer face many costs and incur financial burden as they go through diagnosis and treatment. For working patients, cancer diagnosis and treatment may come with the additional burden of time away from work, lost income, and even long-term job loss. Although 40% of US workers do not have access to paid sick leave, we hypothesized that availability of paid sick leave could reduce the need to take unpaid time away from work during cancer treatment and might therefore be associated with job retention and reduced personal financial burden. In a survey of over 1300 patients with Stage III colorectal cancer, we found that only 55% of those who were employed at the time of their cancer diagnosis retained their jobs. Working patients with paid sick leave were nearly twice as likely to retain their jobs compared with working patients who did not have paid sick leave. This held true even when controlling for income, education and health insurance. Furthermore, working patients without paid sick reported significantly higher personal financial burden than those who had paid sick leave available. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 22.12.2015 Interview with: Abigail Sewell PhD Assistant Professor of Sociology Emory University Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Sewell: Ethnoracial minorities report poorer quality of care than do whites. However, one key dimension of health care quality - trust in one's personal physician - indicates mixed associations with race. This study examines five dimensions of the patient-physician relationship independently of each other to identify the aspects of health care where minorities feel most alienated from their doctors. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Sewell: The results of the study show that Blacks and Latinos are less likely to believe that their doctors really care about them as a person than are Whites. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Duke, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Social Issues / 18.11.2015 Interview with: Lauren Cooper, MD Fellow in Cardiovascular Diseases Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Cooper: The HF-ACTION study, published in 2009, showed that exercise training is associated with reduced risk of death or hospitalization, and is a safe and effective therapy for patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. Subsequently, Medicare began to cover cardiac rehabilitation for patients with heart failure. However, many patients referred to an exercise training program are not fully adherent to the program. Our study looked at psychosocial reasons that may impact participation in an exercise program. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Cooper: We found that patients with higher levels of social support and fewer barriers to exercise exercised more than patients with lower levels of social support and more barriers to exercise. And patients who exercised less had a higher risk of cardiovascular death or heart failure hospitalization compared to patients who exercised more. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Social Issues / 10.11.2015 Interview with: Dr. Rachael Morton, PhD Associate Professor Director of Health Economics, NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre The University of Sydney, Sydney Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Morton: Household income was measured at baseline and study end among participants with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease (CKD), randomized into the Study of Heart and Renal Protection (SHARP).Household poverty was defined as <50% of the median household income for the participating country. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Social Issues / 03.11.2015 Interview with: Meg Bruening, PhD, MPH, RD Assistant Professor Arizona State University School of Nutrition and Health Promotion College of Health Solutions Phoenix, AZ 85004 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Bruening: Food insecurity is understudied in college populations, particularly college freshmen. We saw that over 1/3 of our population of freshmen living in dorms reported inconsistent access to healthy foods. Students who were food insecure reported higher odds of anxiety and depression (by almost 3-fold), and were less likely to eat breakfast and eat home cooked meals. (more…)
Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Social Issues / 03.11.2015 Interview with: Susan Cha, PhD Division of Epidemiology Department of Family Medicine and Population Health School of Medicine Virginia Commonwealth University Richmond, VA  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Cha: We used data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth to evaluate the association between couple pregnancy intentions and rapid repeat pregnancy (RRP) in women. Results indicated that the odds of RRP was primarily influenced by paternal rather than maternal desire for pregnancy. For instance, couples where the father intended the pregnancy but not the mother were 2.5 times as likely to have rapid repeat pregnancy than couples who both intended their pregnancy. Furthermore, more than 85% of women in the study reported no contraceptive use between pregnancies. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Social Issues / 16.10.2015

Joseph M. Unger, PhD MS Assistant Member Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, Interview with: Joseph M. Unger, PhD MS Assistant Member Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In a prior study, we identified patient-level income as an important predictor of clinical trial participation. Because this was one of many demographic and socioeconomic factors that we examined, we sought to confirm the finding in this new study using prospective data. Again, we found that patient-level income predicted clinical trial participation. Patients with household income <$50,000/year had a 32% lower odds of participating in clinical trials than patients with household income >$50,000/year. This confirmed our previous observation and provided strong evidence that the observation of income disparities in clinical trial enrollment is valid. (more…)