Insurance Coverage, Tumor Types Linked to Black-White Survival Disparity Among Younger Colorectal Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH American Cancer Society Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Sineshaw

Helmneh M. Sineshaw, MD, MPH
American Cancer Society
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women in the United Sates. Although overall CRC incidence and mortality rates are decreasing in the United States, rates are increasing in the younger population. Notwithstanding these patterns, CRC incidence and mortality rates continue to be higher in blacks than in whites. Although black-white survival disparity among patients with colorectal cancer is well documented in the literature and multiple factors have been proposed as potential contributors, the contributions of differences in demographic characteristics, insurance type, comorbidity, tumor presentation, and treatment receipt to the racial disparity in survival among nonelderly CRC patients are unknown.

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Non-Medical Factors Affect Racial Disparities in Kidney Transplant Wait Lists

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yue-Harn Ng,
MD
University of New Mexico

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: ​African Americans (AA) have a higher incidence of end-stage renal disease but lower rates of kidney transplantation (KT) compared to whites (WH).  Disparities persist after adjusting for medical factors.  We assessed the relationship of non-medical (eg. cultural, psychosocial, knowledge) factors with kidney transplantation wait-listing (WL) within the context of racial differences.

​In this longitudinal cohort study, we found that African American patients were less likely to be wait-listed compared to White patients.  This difference was influenced by factors including age, comorbidities, socio-economic status, being on dialysis, having a living donor, transplant knowledge and social support.

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Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Help Explain Some Of Alzheimer’s Disease Racial Disparities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics Director, Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and Associate Director- Clinical Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) William S. Middleton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

Dr. Amy Kind

Amy Kind, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Geriatrics
Director, Department of Medicine Health Services and Care Research Program
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and
Associate Director- Clinical
Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC)
William S. Middleton Veteran’s Affairs Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Background: Dementia due to Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) disproportionately impacts racial/ethnic minorities and the socioeconomically disadvantaged—populations often exposed to neighborhood disadvantage. Neighborhood disadvantage is associated with education, health behaviors and mortality. Health improves with moving to less disadvantaged neighborhoods (Ludwig, Science 2012). Although studies have linked neighborhood disadvantage to diseases like diabetes and cancer, little is known about its effect on development of dementia.

Objective:  To examine the association between neighborhood disadvantage, baseline cognition, and CSF biomarkers of Alzheimer’s Disease among participants in the WRAP study, comprising a cohort of late-middle-aged adults enriched for parental family history of AD.

Methods:  We created and validated neighborhood-level quantifications of socioeconomic contextual disadvantage for the full US—over 34 million Zip+4 codes—employing the latest American Community Survey and Census data. This metric–the Area Deprivation Index (ADI)–incorporates poverty, education, housing and employment indicators; predicts disparity-related health outcomes; and is employed by Maryland and Medicare through our provision. We used standard techniques to geocode all WRAP subjects with a documented address (N= 1479). WRAP participants were ranked into deciles of neighborhood disadvantage, by ADI. Baseline cognitive function (indexed by factor scores) and CSF biomarker outcomes for levels of Aβ42 and P-tau181 (n=153 with CSF samples) were examined by neighborhood disadvantage decile.

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Majority of Murdered Women Are Killed By Current or Former Partners

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

Dr. Petrosky

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.

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Breastfeeding Rates Increase But Racial Gaps Persist

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

Dr. Anstey

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.

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RNA Splicing Variants Linked To Aggressive Prostate Cancer in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Norman Lee PhD Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology School of Medicine and Health Sciences George Washington University

Dr. Lee

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.

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Ozone Air Pollution Linked To US Deaths, Even At Levels Below Current Safety Standards

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.

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Liver Cancer Incidence and Deaths Rising, With Wide Ethnic Disparities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Farhad Islami, MD PhD  Strategic Director, Cancer Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Islami

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.

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Better Communication Linked To Reduced Racial Disparities in Breast Reconstruction Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elham Mahmoudi, PhD, MS Section of Plastic Surgery, University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, Michigan

Dr. Mahmoudi

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.

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Risk of Interval Colorectal Cancer Higher in Blacks Than Whites

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stacey Fedewa PhD Strategic Director, Risk Factors & Screening Surveillance American Cancer Society, Inc. Atlanta, GA 30303

Dr. Fedewa

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.

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Men and African Americans More Likely To Transition to Hypertension At Younger Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shakia Hardy, MPH, CPH. PhD

Dr. Hardy

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.

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Effect of Centralization on Health Disparities in Lung and Bladder Cancer Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emanuela Taioli MD PhD Professor, Population Health Science and Policy, and Thoracic Surgery Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology Director, Center for the Study of Thoracic Diseases Outcome Director, Division of Social Epidemiology Icahn Medical Institute, New York, NY 10029

Dr. Taioli

Emanuela Taioli MD PhD
Professor, Population Health Science and Policy, and Thoracic Surgery
Director, Institute for Translational Epidemiology
Director, Center for the Study of Thoracic Diseases Outcome
Director, Division of Social Epidemiology
Icahn Medical Institute,
New York, NY 10029 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Extensive literature documenting the relationship between hospital volume and clinical outcomes has resulted in the centralization of cancer care advocating patients to seek cancer surgical procedures at high-volume (HV) hospitals. Lung resection and cystectomy have been specifically recommended for centralization, but improvements in outcomes are not shared equally among racial groups. It has also been reported that black patients more commonly undergo surgery at low-volume and lower-quality hospitals, despite living in close proximity to higher quality hospitals.

We investigated the effects of centralization on HV hospital utilization and surgical outcomes for lung (n = 28,047 White; n = 2,638 Black) and bladder (n = 7,593 White; n = 567 Black) cancer patients over a 15 year time span (1997-2011) in New York State. We hypothesized that centralization has improved utilization of HV hospitals and outcomes for both black and white patients, but significant disparities remain between black and white patients.

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Racial Disparities in Genetic Testing of Women With Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cary P. Gross, MD Section of General Internal Medicine Yale University School of Medicine New Haven, CT

Dr. Cary Gross

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.

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Genetic Variants Tied To Kidney Disease in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katalin Susztak MD, PhD Associate Professor of Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104

Dr. Susztak

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.

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Membership In Medical Schools’ Honor Society Skews Toward White Students

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dowin Boatright, MD, MBA</strong> Department of Emergency Medicine Yale School of Medicine New Haven, Connecticut Fellow, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program Veterans Affairs Scholar

Dr. Dowin Boatright

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.

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Genetic Variant of p53 Gene May Explain Increased Breast Cancer Risk in African American Women

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

Dr. Murphy

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.

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Rank, Not Race, Associated with Stroke Outcomes in Military

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

Dr. Mathew Holtkamp,

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.

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For African American Women, Breast Cancer Symptoms Worsen During Initial Treatments

MedicalResearch.com Interview with::

Margaret Q. Rosenzweig PhD, CRNP-C, AOCNP, FAAN Acute and Tertiary Care Department University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing

Margaret Rosenzweig

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.

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African American Women Remain Disproportionately Affected By HIV

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.

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Asthma Risk Varies Among Hispanic Groups After Relocation to the U.S.

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

Dr. Elina Jerschow

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.

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A1C May Be Less Accurate Measure of Diabetes in African Americans with Common Sickle Cell Trait

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.

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Multifaceted Interventions Improve Cancer Screening Among Marginalized Groups

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

Dr. Sheila Dunn

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.

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Premature Midlife Deaths Increase in US Whites and Native Americans

Dr. Meredith Shiels

Dr. Meredith Shiels

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.

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Racial Disparities in Use of Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy With ICD

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

Dr. Lucas Marzec

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.

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ACA: Screening Disparities Fall For Mammograms But Not Colonoscopies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD Program Director, Gastroenterology, UH Cleveland Medical Center Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control UH Seidman Cancer Center

Dr. Gregory Cooper

Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD
Program Director, Gastroenterology
UH Cleveland Medical Center
Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center
Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine
Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control
UH Seidman Cancer Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The Affordable Care Act, among other features, removed out of pocket expenses for approved preventive services, and this may have served as a barrier to cancer screening in socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. If so, then the gap in screening between socioeconomic groups should narrow following the ACA.

The main findings of the study were that although in the pre-ACA era, there were disparities in screening, they narrowed only for mammography and not colonoscopy.

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Cancer Deaths Drop 25% in Less Than 25 Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rebecca Siegel, MPH Strategic Director, Surveillance Information Services American Cancer Society, Inc. 250 Williams St. Atlanta, GA 30303

Rebecca Siegel

Rebecca Siegel, MPH
Strategic Director, Surveillance Information Services
American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

MedicalResearch.com: What is the bottom line for incidence and mortality trends?

Response: The bottom line for cancer mortality is that in contrast to many other major causes of death, cancer death rates continue to decline, dropping by 25% from 1991 to 2014. This translates to about 2 million fewer cancer deaths over this time period than would be expected if cancer death rates had remained at their peak. Death rates are the best measure of progress against disease.

Cancer incidence rates also dropped in men over the past decade of data, whereas in women they are flat. The drop in men is because of large declines for the top 3 cancers (prostate, lung, and colorectum), which account for more than 40% of cancers diagnosed in men. The stable trend in women is largely because declines in lung and colorectal cancers are offset by a flat trend for both breast and uterine corpus (i.e., endometrial) cancers, which combined account for almost 40% of cases in women, as well as rapid increases for thyroid cancer over the past decade — increasing by almost 5% annually. Importantly, thyroid incidence rates have stabilized in the past few data years because of modifications in diagnostic criteria.

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Smoking Deaths Disproportionately Affect Poor and Black Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jane Henley MSPH

Epidemiologist
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 

Response: The Surgeon General concluded that cigarette smoking causes at least 12 types of cancer: oral cavity and pharynx, esophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, liver, pancreas, larynx, lung, bronchus and trachea, bladder, kidney and renal pelvis, cervix, and acute myeloid leukemia. Other tobacco products — cigars, chewing tobacco and snuff — and secondhand smoke are also linked to some of these cancers.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We examined rates and trends of new cases and deaths from these cancers using U.S. registry and mortality data from 2004 to 2013. We broke the data down by characteristics that might display disparities — sex, age, race, ethnicity, state, county-level poverty and education, rural/urban continuum, and cancer site.

We found that about 660,000 people were diagnosed with and 343,000 people died each year from these cancers. Rates were higher among men, black men and women, and people in counties with low education or high poverty. Rates ranged by state from a low of 130 cases in Utah (126 in Puerto Rico) to a high of 248 cases in Kentucky. Incidence decreased 1.3 percent per year and mortality decreased faster, at about 1.6 percent per year; decreases were observed across most groups, but not at the same rate. Disparities persist among certain groups with higher rates or slower declines in rates.

We also looked at changes in cancer death rates from 1970 to 2014 and estimated that 1.3 million tobacco-related cancer deaths were averted since 1990, in part because of comprehensive cancer and tobacco control efforts to reduce tobacco use and other cancer risk factors, early detection of cancer, and improvements in cancer treatment.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Further reducing tobacco use can save thousands more people from getting and dying from cancer. Based on current estimates, about 36.5 million people smoke, and about half will die from a smoking related disease, unless programs are implemented to help them quit smoking. Comprehensive cancer and tobacco control programs actions can be done at the state and local level, such as:

• Promoting healthy, tobacco-free environments
• Increasing access to early detection and care for tobacco-related cancers
• Helping cancer survivors who use tobacco quit
• Better assisting communities disproportionately impacted by cancer

And of course, increasing the price of tobacco products and ongoing media campaigns, like Tips from Former Smokers, have a huge impact.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Ongoing surveillance efforts are needed to monitor changes in the number of new cases and deaths from tobacco-related cancers and whether there are differences among communities or groups of people. This work will provide insight into the impact of comprehensive cancer and tobacco control efforts and how to target these efforts in the areas where they’re needed most.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: You can find more information at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/tobacco/

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Henley SJ, Thomas CC, Sharapova SR, et al. Vital Signs: Disparities in Tobacco-Related Cancer Incidence and Mortality — United States, 2004–2013. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:1212–1218. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6544a3.

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Breast Cancer Mortality Varies By Latina Subgroups

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bijon Hunt Epidemiologist photographed for Sinai Health System on Wednesday, February 4, 2015 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Photo credit: Randy Belice

Bijon Hunt

Bijou R. Hunt,  MA
Sinai Urban Health Institute, Sinai Health System
Chicago, IL 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Hispanic women, as well as the leading cause of cancer death for this group. Research has shown that there are differences by Hispanic subgroup in various causes of death, including cancer, but we haven’t seen data on breast cancer specifically among Hispanic subgroups. The most important question we wanted to address with this study was: do breast cancer prevalence and mortality vary by Hispanic subgroup?

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Prostate Cancer Genes in African American Men May Be Affected by Vitamin D Supplementation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gerard (Gary) Hardiman, Ph.D Professor, Department of Medicine Professor Department of Public Health Sciences Bioinformatics Director Center for Genomic Medicine Medical University of South Carolina Charleston, SC 29425

Dr. Gerard Hardiman

Gerard (Gary) Hardiman, Ph.D
Professor, Department of Medicine Professor
Department of Public Health Sciences Bioinformatics Director
Center for Genomic Medicine Medical
University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC 29425

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: There are significant racial disparities in prostate cancer outcomes. The disease disproportionately affects African American men in terms of incidence, morbidity, and mortality, even after adjustment for stage. African American men have a 2- to 3-times increased risk of developing prostate cancer and have a greater mortality rate compared to European American men. We carried out a prospective clinical study aimed at examining the effects of vitamin D3 supplementation at 4,000 IU per day for two months in male subjects who selected surgical removal of the prostate (prostatectomy) as a definitive treatment for their prostate cancer. The primary goal of this study was to examine molecular differences in gene expression patterns relevant to prostate cancer disparities between African American and European American men, and investigate the global effects of vitamin D3 supplementation on the prostate transcriptome. We carried out genome wide expression profiling experiments using high throughput (HT) RNA sequencing. Transcriptional profiles of each of the patient’s tissue samples were generated and systems level analyses were performed.

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Adding Black Race To Scoring System Improves Stroke Prediction in AFib

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Mary Vaughan Sarrazin PhD Associate Professor Department of Internal Medicine University of Iowa Roy and Lucille Carver College of Medicine, and Iowa City VA Medical Center, Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery Research and Evaluation (CADRE) Iowa City

Dr. Mary Vaughan Sarrazin

Dr. Mary Vaughan Sarrazin PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
University of Iowa Roy and Lucille Carver College of Medicine, and
Iowa City VA Medical Center, Center for Comprehensive Access & Delivery
Research and Evaluation (CADRE)
Iowa City

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation is associated with a higher risk of stroke. The CHA2DS2VASc score (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age 75 or older, diabetes, previous stroke, vascular disease, age 65-74, female sex) reflects stroke risk and is used to guide decisions regarding anticoagulation. Our prior work suggests that African Americans have a higher risk of stroke compared to other patients with atrial fibrillation, even after risk factor adjustments. In the current study, we used Medicare data to test whether addition of black race to CHA2DS2VASc score improves stroke prediction in patients with atrial fibrillation.

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Risk of Serious Injury or Death After Police Stops Do Not Vary By Race

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ted Miller, PhD Senior Research Scientist II Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation Calverton, Maryland

Dr. Ted Miller

Ted Miller, PhD
Senior Research Scientist II
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
Calverton, Maryland

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Police use of undue force is an enduring tinderbox issue in America. We tried to solve it by passing the 14th Amendment after the civil war, thru the civil rights movement, the riots of the 1960s, the Rodney King riot. The discussion has focused on racial disparities in per capita rates of deaths, stops, and arrests. This article digs deeper. Its aims are to use health data sets to examine nonfatal injuries inflicted during police action and apply better denominators. Looking at nonfatal injuries is especially important as shootings with firearms or tasers account for virtually all deaths but few other injuries in police encounters.

This study measures exposure as the sum of arrests plus traffic stops with search plus stops on the street. Those data come from FBI arrest reports, state arrest reports, and the 2011 Police-Public Contact Survey. Blacks have long had the highest per capita rates of stops and arrests. We believe this study is the first to assess the probability of being arrested when stopped. Those probabilities also are skewed, with police arresting 85% of Blacks and 82% of Hispanics who are stopped, well above the 71% of Whites and Native Americans and 61% of Asian-Americans. Arrest probabilities do not differ by sex or age group.

The study used a newspaper census of deaths and took injury counts from the 2012 Health Care Cost and Utilization Program nationwide samples, counting people whose injuries resulted from “legal intervention.” In 2012, US police killed or injured an estimated 55, 400 people during stops and arrests. The daily toll was 3 deaths and 150 hospital-treated injuries. In 1 in 11 US homicides and legal intervention deaths, a police officer pulled the trigger. Surprisingly, the probability that a serious injury was fatal did not vary by race. Nor did the ratio of serious and fatal injuries to stops and arrests. Teenagers and to a lesser extent young adults were less likely than people age 30 and over to die or suffer a hospital-treated injury when stopped or arrested.

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Profound Disparities By Race in Delivery of Care to Stroke Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Romanus Roland Faigle, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Neurology The Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Roland Faigle

Romanus Roland Faigle, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Neurology
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Stroke care entails a variety of procedures and interventions, which generally fall into one of the two following categories: 1) curative/preventative procedures (such as IV thrombolysis and carotid revascularization), which intent to prevent injury and restore function; and 2) life-sustaining procedures (such as gastrostomy, mechanical ventilation, tracheostomy, and hemicraniectomy), which intent to address complications from a stroke and to prevent death. The use of curative/preventative procedures is supported by excellent evidence and is guided by well-defined criteria, while those are largely lacking for life-sustaining procedures. Therefore, curative/preventative are desirable for eligible patients, while life-sustaining procedures indicate the need to address undesired complications and in itself have questionable utility. We wanted to determine whether race differences in the use of the individual stroke-related procedures exist, and whether presence and directionality of differences by race follow a pattern unique to each of the 2 procedure groups.

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Selection Bias Does Not Explain White Prevalence of Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Evan L. Thacker, PhD. Brigham Young University Provo, UT

Dr. Evan Thacker

Evan L. Thacker, PhD.
Assistant Professor
College of Life Sciences
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is diagnosed more commonly in whites than blacks in the United States. This seems paradoxical because blacks have higher prevalence of many risk factors for AF. Various explanations for this paradox have been proposed, including biological explanations as well as potential biases in research studies. We investigated one such bias – selection bias – as a potential explanation for the paradox. We did this by comparing the racial difference in atrial fibrillation prevalence among people who enrolled in an epidemiologic study versus people who were eligible to enroll in the study but did not enroll.

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US Screening Guidelines Fail To Detect Disproportionate Number of Minorities With Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew James O'Brien MD Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Matthew James O’Brien

Matthew James O’Brien MD
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In October 2015, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released new diabetes screening guidelines. This government-supported expert group recommended screening asymptomatic adults who are 40-70 years old and overweight or obese for diabetes. Recent population trends show that racial/ethnic minorities develop diabetes at younger ages and lower weights than whites. Therefore, we sought to determine whether these screening criteria may fail to identify racial/ethnic minorities or other high-risk population subgroups. Our study population was 50,515 patients from federally-funded community health centers, which serve large numbers of minorities and socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals.

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Black Heart Failure Patients Have More Readmissions and Lower Mortality Than Whites

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Matthew Durstenfeld MD
Department of Medicine
Saul Blecker, MD, MHS
Department of Population Health and Department of Medicine
New York University School of Medicine
NYU Langone Medical Center
New York, New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Racial and ethnic disparities continue to be a problem in cardiovascular disease outcomes. In heart failure, minority patients have more readmissions despite lower mortality after hospitalization for heart failure. Some authors have attributed these racial differences to differences in access to care, although this has never been proven.

Our study examined patients hospitalized within the municipal hospital system in New York City to see whether racial and ethnic disparities in readmissions and mortality were present among a diverse population with similar access to care. We found that black and Asian patients had lower one-year mortality than white patients; concurrently black and Hispanic patients had higher rates of readmission. These disparities persisted even after accounting for demographic and clinical differences among racial and ethnic groups.
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DSM-V Classification May Not Capture Depression in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sirry Alang PhD Assistant professor of sociology and anthropology Lehigh University

Dr. Sirry Alang

Sirry Alang PhD
Assistant professor of sociology and anthropology
Lehigh University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Discrepancies exist between how some Black populations perceive depression and how depression is conceptualized within research and clinical settings. African Americans are exposed to a lot of stress from structural racism, yet, they perceive themselves to be resilient. The context of stress from discrimination and beliefs about depression inform how they express psychological distress. Depression is thought of as a weakness that is inconsistent with notions of strength in the community. Although depression was expressed through classic depressive symptoms such as feeling hopeless, loss of sleep, and losing interests in activities, symptom like anger, agitation, and the frantic need for human interaction were considered to be indicative of depression. Anger, agitation, and the frantic need for human interaction are not consistent with how depression is defined in the latest manual for psychiatric diagnosis- the DSM-V.

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Obesity and Atherosclerotic Heart Disease Incidence Highest in Black Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Duke Appiah, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Division of Epidemiology and Community Health
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55454

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Appiah: Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) mortality has decreased in recent decades with the rate of decline greater in whites than blacks. Obesity and ASCVD events are disproportionately higher among middle-aged blacks than whites with the adverse health effects of obesity especially elevated for black women. Given the current obesity epidemic and the known negative associations of obesity on ASCVD risk, we assessed whether longitudinal changes in body mass index (BMI) were positively associated with changes in 10-year AHA/ACC ASCVD risk scores in middle-aged blacks compared to whites.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Appiah:  We found that in our cohort, the prevalence of obesity increased from 32.3% in 2000-2001 (mean age: 42.8 years) to 41.7% in 2010-2011, higher in blacks than whites. Additionally, blacks were observed to have higher 10-year change ASCVD risk (men: 4.5 to 9.6%, women: 1.7 to 5.0%) than whites (men: 2.4 to 5.2%, women: 0.7 to 1.6%). Furthermore, black women had the highest prevalence of obesity (64.2%) with a greater proportion of them also having 10-year risk ASCVD risk ≥ 7.5% compared to white men and women. Although BMI was associated with ASCVD risk factor levels, longitudinal trends of BMI had little independent effect on the estimation of 10-year ASCVD risk scores, most likely due to its influence being mediated through risk factors already included in the risk score.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Appiah:

First, our findings do not in any way downplay the importance of obesity as a modifiable risk factor for ASCVD as obesity is related to diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.

Second, they provide valuable information of changes in BMI trends and ASCVD risk score trends for black and white men and women as they transition from young adulthood to middle age. Such information is currently lacking in the literature.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Appiah:  With obesity in middle age associated with greater prevalence of CVD risk factors relative to normal weight individuals, and the duration and severity of obesity playing major roles on the incidence of CVD events, primary prevention of ASCVD risk factors associated with excess weight gain may be needed to improve cardiovascular health among middle-aged adults, especially blacks.

The question I would ask is why some obese individuals develop adverse CVD risk factors and some do not. Primordial prevention of obesity, nonetheless, is critical for primary prevention of ASCVD risk factors on the causal pathway to frank CVD events.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Relation of longitudinal changes in body mass index with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk scores in middle-aged black and white adults: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) Study

Appiah, Duke et al.
Annals of Epidemiology , Volume 0 , Issue 0 , June 17, 2016

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2016.06.008

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Paradox Between Race and Risk of Atrial Fibrillation Remains Unexplained

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Director of Clinical Research Division of Cardiology Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Gregory Marcus

Gregory M Marcus, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS
Director of Clinical Research
Division of Cardiology
Endowed Professor of Atrial Fibrillation Research
University of California, San Francisco

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We and others have previously demonstrated that, despite the observation that African Americans on average exhibit more risk factors for atrial fibrillation, they demonstrate a substantially reduced risk of the disease. This suggests that, if we could understand the mechanism underlying this apparent paradox, we might learn something fundamentally important to atrial fibrillation that would be relevant to treating or preventing the disease regardless of race.

Building on our previous work demonstrating that, among African Americans, more European ancestry (determined by genomic testing) was a statistically significant predictor of atrial fibrillation, we sought to identify the gene(s) that might underlie this observation. The analysis took two forms.

First, we examined if any differences among several well-established single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with atrial fibrillation might mediate the race-atrial fibrillation relationship. One such SNP statistically mediated (rs10824026) up to about a third of the race-atrial fibrillation relationship. It’s important to mention that a causal relationship cannot be proven here.

Perhaps more remarkable was the observation that the disease-associated alleles of the SNPs most closely associated with atrial fibrillation in multiple studies were actually significantly more common among African Americans, pointing to the complex nature of both the race-atrial fibrillation relationship as well as the genetics of atrial fibrillation.

Finally, leveraging the ancestral relationships, we performed a genome wide admixture mapping study with the hope of reducing the penalty for multiple hypothesis testing incurred in conventional genome wide association studies. While several loci revealed associations with atrial fibrillation with small p values, none met our criteria for genome wide significance.

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Parental Race/Ethnicity Discordance Linked to Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD Professor Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy City University of New York

Dr. Luisa Borrell

Luisa N. Borrell, DDS, PhD
Professor
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy
City University of New York

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Borrell: Racial/ethnic disparities in birth outcomes in the United States are well documented, with non-Hispanic Black women exhibiting the worst outcomes. Several hypotheses have been proposed as explanation to this finding such as the weathering hypothesis and cumulative or chronic experiences of social inequality and racism. However, these hypotheses have only accounted for the stress burden associated with the mother’s race/ethnicity, as her race/ethnicity has been the sole information used to determine the child’s race/ethnicity, ignoring the possible stress associated with the father’s race/ethnicity. We used NYC birth- and death-linked data from 2000 to 2010 to examine the added effect of paternal race/ethnicity on adverse birth outcomes (low birth weight [LBW], small for gestational age [SGA], preterm births, and infant mortality [IM]) among NYC women.

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Community-Wide Interventions Decreased Obesity in African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Youlian Liao MD
Division of Community Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: There is an obesity epidemic in the nation. Obesity is more prevalent among Blacks than the general U.S. population, and the obesity trend is less favorable for Blacks. Although many successful short-term weight loss interventions among Blacks have been reported, data on the impact of large-scale community-wide interventions on the prevalence of obesity at the population level are lacking.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: As an effort to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health, the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) U.S. project was conducted in 14 predominantly Black communities in 10 states. Cardiovascular disease or diabetes was the priority focus of the initiative in each community, and obesity reduction was one of the targeted interventions in all of these communities. In 2009, the prevalence of obesity was 12.3 percentage points higher among Blacks in REACH US communities than that among non-Hispanic Whites in the nation. We found a statistically significant reduction in age-standardized prevalence of obesity in the REACH U.S. communities from 2009 through 2012, and the disparity reduced to 10.5 percentage points by 2012. No significant change in obesity prevalence was found among non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black populations nationally, or in the 10 states where these REACH US communities were located. In addition, we created a matched control sample of non-Hispanic Blacks from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System national sample using propensity score matching. The age-standardized prevalence of obesity significantly decreased in REACH U.S. communities, but not in the comparison populations. In the propensity score matching analysis, from 2009 to 2012, the relative change was -5.3% in REACH U.S. communities, compared to +1.4% in matched controls.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our study demonstrates the success of a large-scale community-wide intervention in reducing the prevalence of obesity in disadvantaged Black communities. Through building strong community-based coalitions; focusing on policy, systems, and environmental improvements; and providing culturally tailored interventions, health disparities can be reduced and the health status of groups most affected by health inequities can be improved.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research is needed to examine the effectiveness of community-based participatory interventions, such as the REACH model, in reducing other health disparities in other disadvantaged communities. Also, because the communities used various intervention strategies in multiple settings simultaneously, it was difficult to assess the impact of any specific approach. The field would benefit from future research examining the relative effectiveness of the various intervention strategies in specific settings.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The REACH U.S. project was a large-scale, community participatory intervention conducted in “real-world” settings at the general population level. Our ability to shift a whole population’s distribution of risk for disease will be more far-reaching with the implementation of effective mass strategies, such as REACH U.S.
The following video shows African American communities in action.

Improving Health in African American Communities

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Poor Cardiovascular Health Linked to Increased Diabetes Risk Especially African Americans and Hispanics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Joshua J. Joseph, MD
Christopher D. Saudek M.D. Fellow in Diabetes Research
Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

MedicalResearch.com: What does your study explore?

Response: Our study explores two basic questions:

(a) Are multi-ethnic people with higher levels of cardiovascular health less likely to develop diabetes based on the AHA ideal cardiovascular health metric?

(b) Do these associations vary by race/ethnicity (non-Hispanic white, Chinese American, African American, and Hispanic American)?

MedicalResearch.com: Why did you choose this topic to explore?

Response: The literature has shown a strong association between lifestyle factors and elevated risk of diabetes in majority non-Hispanic white studies. One study of American Indians showed that meeting a greater number of ideal cardiovascular health goals was associated with a reduced risk of diabetes. We aimed to assess the association of baseline ideal cardiovascular health with incident diabetes within a multi-ethnic population, due to variation of ideal cardiovascular health by race/ethnicity.

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Black-White Disparity in Stroke Deaths Due To More Strokes in Blacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

George Howard, Dr.P.H. Professor of biostatistics Birmingham School of Public Health University of Alabama

Dr. George Howard

George Howard, Dr.P.H.
Professor of biostatistics
Birmingham School of Public Health
University of Alabama

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Howard: What has been known for many decades is that death rates from stroke are much higher in the black than white population, particularly between the ages of 45 – 65 (or maybe even a little older). These racial differences in stroke are among the greatest disparities for any disease, clearly it is a priority to reduce this disparity.

However, there are two reasons more blacks could die from a disease:

1) more blacks get the disease, or

2) once you get the disease, it is more likely to kill blacks.

The implications of knowing which of these is the major contributor is profound. If the driving force is more blacks are having more stroke, then we need to focus out attention on activities before stroke occur. For example, prevention of the greater prevalence of hypertension and diabetes in blacks, and also reducing the differences in the control of blood pressure and glucose. However, if the driving force is a higher chance of death in blacks once stroke occur, then we need to focus on the disparities in how black stroke patients are cared for compared to white stroke patients. That is, the former requires community-based efforts, while the latter requires hospital-based efforts.

What we found was that nearly all the difference was that blacks are having more strokes … not that they are more likely to die once stroke occurs.

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Study Addresses Why Blacks Are At Higher Risk of Cognitive Impairment in Later Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zhenmei Zhang, Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Sociology Michigan State University East Lansing, MI48824

Dr. Zhenmei Zhang

Zhenmei Zhang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI48824

MedicalResearch.com: 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.
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Inflammatory Biomarker CRP Linked To Heart Disease Risk in African American Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Norman C. Wang, M.D., M.S., Assistant professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.,
Assistant 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 examined medical records, blood samples and heart CT scans for 372 black and white women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women averaged just over 51 years old, were not on hormone replacement therapy and had no known heart disease when enrolled. We then looked at blood levels of five biomarkers linked to inflammation. All of the biomarkers were associated with coronary artery calcification, a predictor of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

Taking into account the participants’ body mass index (BMI), a measure of overall body fat, we found that obesity was a key factor linking most of the elevated inflammation biomarkers and coronary artery calcification. Regardless of BMI, black women with higher levels of one particular biomarker, C-reactive protein, were more likely to have coronary artery calcification than whites. In fact, black women with coronary artery calcification had an average level of C-reactive protein in their blood that was almost double that of their white counterparts.

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Black Patients Five Times More Likely To Present With Advanced Colon Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Robert Wong, M.D., M.S. Attending Physician, Gastroenterology & Hepatology Director, GI Education & Research Highland Hospital I A member of Alameda Health System Oakland, CA

Dr. Robert Wong

Robert Wong, M.D., M.S.
Attending Physician, Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Director, GI Education & Research
Highland Hospital I A member of Alameda Health System
Oakland, CA

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Wong:  Colorectal cancer is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Early diagnosis through implementation of effective screening and surveillance programs leads to earlier staged tumor at time of diagnosis, which increases the treatment opportunities and improves overall survival. However, disparities in access to effective screening and surveillance can impair timely diagnosis and lead to advanced disease, limited treatment options and poor outcomes. The current study evaluated race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology at a large urban safety net hospital and observed African American patients had significantly more advanced cancer stage at the time of diagnosis. Our study observed that African Americans were over 5 times more likely to have advanced stage 3-4 colon cancer at time of diagnosis compared with non-Hispanic white patients with colon cancer. While these findings are likely multifactorial, it sheds important light on race/ethnicity-specific disparities in colorectal cancer epidemiology and helps target future education and research to improve outcomes.

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Ideal Blood Pressure After Stroke Differs For Blacks, Whites

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Azizi Seixas, Ph.D. Fellow NYU Langone School of Medicine  Department of Population Health Center for Healthful Behavior Change

Dr. Azizi Seixas

Azizi Seixas, Ph.D.
Fellow
NYU Langone School of Medicine
Department of Population Health
Center for Healthful Behavior Change
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Seixas: Twenty-five percent of strokes in the US are attributed to high blood pressure. Studies indicate that lowering blood pressure after a stroke significantly reduces risk of recurrent stroke by almost 50%. However, recent evidence suggests that lowering blood pressure did not lower risk of recurrent stroke or mortality. In fact, epidemiological evidence indicates that low to normal blood pressure (120-140mmHg) had the highest cumulative all-cause mortality compared to high (140-149mmHg) and very high (>=150 mmHg) blood pressure. However, these studies did not look at this relationship among blacks/African Americans, non-White Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites.

Please see link for more background information as reported recently by the AHA.

http://news.heart.org/high-blood-pressure-causing-deaths-despite-drop-heart-disease-stroke-deaths/

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Dr. Seixas: We found that black stroke survivors who have a post-stoke blood pressure in the low-normal range <140 mmHg were 46% more likely to die compared to those who had a blood pressure in the range of 140-149mmHg, over a five year period. Non-Hispanic Whites stroke survivors with a very high post-stroke blood pressure (>= 150mmHg) had a 79% greater odds of dying over a five year period.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Dr. Seixas: Black stroke survivors with low-normal blood pressure and white stroke survivors with very high blood pressure are at increased all-cause mortality risk. Our findings with blacks suggest there may be another factor[s] responsible for mortality.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Seixas: Future research should investigate which factors might be interacting with low-average blood pressure to increase mortality risk.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Seixas: Our findings do not suggest that blood pressure is the cause of mortality but instead indicates that it plays a very important role in mortality in stroke survivors.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation: Abstract presented at the 2016 American Society of Hypertension

Racial/ethnic differences in post-stroke blood pressure trajectory and mortality risk

Seixas, Azizi et al.
Journal of the American Society of Hypertension , Volume 10 , Issue 4 , e51

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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