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Special Issue "Proceedings of Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Science 2017 Conference"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 19 October 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Elizabeth O. Ofili

Department of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Morehouse School of Medicine, 720 Westview Drive, Atlanta, GA 30310, USA
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Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Emma Fernandez-Repollet

Department of Pharmacology, UPR Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, P.O. Box 365067, San Juan, PR 0936-5067, USA
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Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Karam Soliman

Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Florida A&M University, 1520 Martin Luther King Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
E-Mail
Phone: 850 599 3306
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. William Southerland

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, Howard University, 520 W Street, NW, Washington, DC 20059, USA
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Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Paul B. Tchounwou

Department of Biology, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, Jackson State University, 1400 Lynch Street, Box 18750, Jackson, MS 39217, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 601 979 2349

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) for the publication of Proceedings of the Research Centers at Minority Institutions (RCMI) Translational Science 2017 Conference that was held from October 28, 2017 to November 02, 2017 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., USA. IJERPH is a peer-reviewed scientific journal that publishes articles and communications in the interdisciplinary area of environmental health sciences and public health. For detailed information on the journal, we refer you to http://www.mdpi.com/journal/ijerph.

Building on the successes of previous RCMI international symposia on health disparities, the 2017 Translational Science Conference highlighted the importance of basic, clinical, and population science collaborations to address minority health and health disparities. The conference participants including biomedical scientists and engineers, health care practitioners, trainees, clinicians, pharmacists, nurses and other allied health care professionals, and community and industry partners, discussed and developed research strategies and approached to eliminating health disparities. They also examined career development opportunities and discussed the best methods and approaches to train the next generation of biomedical and clinical workforce, as well as to engage community partners and industry collaborations. The conference featured research sessions addressing key environmental, cultural, socioeconomic, bio-behavioral, genetic and other factors related to health disparities. Several important topics were covered, including the following:

  • Behavioral and social sciences
  • Biomedical informatics and computational biology
  • Cancer health disparities research
  • Cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease
  • Women, child and adolescent health
  • Clinical and transitional science research
  • Cellular and molecular biology of human diseases
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Environmental health and toxicology
  • Health literacy and health information technology
  • HIV and AIDS and Infectious diseases
  • Nanoscience and nanotechnology
  • Neuroscience and health disparities
  • Public health sciences

This Special Issue aims to showcase the excellence in research and scientific discoveries on the above-listed topics. Submission of full manuscripts of original research, comprehensive reviews and/or short communications on any of these topics presented at the conference is strongly encouraged. If you are interested in submitting a manuscript, please go online at www.ijerph.com to register and submit it by the deadline of July 15, 2018. Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere. All manuscripts will be thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. We anticipate publishing the Proceedings of this Special Issue in December 2018.

Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Ofili
Prof. Dr. Emma Fernandez-Repollet
Prof. Dr. Karam Soliman
Prof. Dr. William Southerland
Prof. Dr. Paul B. Tchounwou
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Do Progestin-Only Contraceptives Contribute to the Risk of Developing Depression as Implied by Beta-Arrestin 1 Levels in Leukocytes? A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091966
Received: 29 June 2018 / Revised: 13 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 9 September 2018
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Abstract
We reported previously that reduction in beta-arrestin 1 (β-AR 1) protein levels in peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes (PBMC) significantly correlated with the severity of depressive symptoms in reproductive women. In this pilot study, we used β-AR 1 protein levels in PBMC as a
[...] Read more.
We reported previously that reduction in beta-arrestin 1 (β-AR 1) protein levels in peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes (PBMC) significantly correlated with the severity of depressive symptoms in reproductive women. In this pilot study, we used β-AR 1 protein levels in PBMC as a marker for developing depressive symptoms and the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) scores to assess potential mood-related side effects of oral contraceptive use for routine birth control among women. We evaluated 29 women in this study. We enrolled the participants in three groups: Estrogen-progestin combination-oral contraceptives (COC, n = 10), progestin-only contraceptives (POC, n = 12), and non-hormonal or no contraceptives (NC, n = 7). We determined the β-AR 1 protein levels in PBMCs by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). We found that women in the POC group had significantly higher HAM-D scores compared to those in the COC (p < 0.0004) and NC (p < 0.004). The levels of β-AR 1 protein were significantly attenuated in women in the POC group compared to women in the NC group (p = 0.03). Our findings suggest that the use of POC is a potential risk factor for developing depressive symptoms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Antidepressant Use on Healthcare Utilization among Individuals with Type 2 Diabetes and Depression Symptoms in the United States: Sociodemographic, Clinical, and Behavioral Factors Matter
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1904; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091904
Received: 12 July 2018 / Revised: 23 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 1 September 2018
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Abstract
Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to struggle from depressive symptoms than individuals without diabetes. However, this joint condition is undertreated in nearly two-thirds of patients. Failure to monitor the comorbidity may lead to suboptimal therapy. This study evaluated the association of
[...] Read more.
Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to struggle from depressive symptoms than individuals without diabetes. However, this joint condition is undertreated in nearly two-thirds of patients. Failure to monitor the comorbidity may lead to suboptimal therapy. This study evaluated the association of antidepressant use with healthcare utilization in a national sample of patients with type 2 diabetes and depression symptoms in the United States. It further assessed the differences in sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors between those who use antidepressants and those who do not. This study was a secondary data analysis using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the period 2005–2014. To assess if there were significant differences in sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors between those who were taking antidepressants or not, Chi Square and independent t-tests were used. To assess if there was a significant association between antidepressant use and healthcare utilization, univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted. Of the 955 participants, only 33% were on antidepressants. There were significant differences in sociodemographic, clinical, and behavioral factors among those who used antidepressants and those who did not. Regardless of antidepressant use, the study population had access to health care. Those on antidepressants had fewer diabetes specialists’ visits and more mental health care. There might be underlying health care disparities related to the use of, and access to, antidepressants. Further studies are needed to comprehensively explore the management of these comorbidities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Learning and Action in Community Health: Using the Health Belief Model to Assess and Educate African American Community Residents about Participation in Clinical Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1862; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091862
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 22 August 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
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Abstract
The Learning and Action in Community Health project was implemented to gather preliminary data needed to inform community-engaged educational approaches to increase clinical research participation among racial minorities. The Health Belief Model was the theoretical framework utilized to develop the intervention and assessment
[...] Read more.
The Learning and Action in Community Health project was implemented to gather preliminary data needed to inform community-engaged educational approaches to increase clinical research participation among racial minorities. The Health Belief Model was the theoretical framework utilized to develop the intervention and assessment tools. An educational session about clinical research and biorepository participation was designed using clinicaltrials.gov information and administered to adult, African American community residents (n = 60) in Atlanta, Georgia. Pre- and post-tests were collected and analyzed to assess changes in participants’ knowledge, perceptions, and willingness to participate in clinical studies and biorepositories. There were statistically significant changes in knowledge about joining a clinical study (p < 0.001) and registry or biorepository (p < 0.001). There was no statistically significant change in willingness to participate in clinical research or biorepositories after the educational session. Focus groups were conducted to gather feedback on the educational session and perceived barriers and benefits to participating in clinical research. Perceived benefits were improving health, receiving incentives, early detection of health issues, and access to care. Perceived barriers included fear, lack of knowledge, historical mistrust of research, and time constraints. Results have implications for subsequent community-engaged approaches to increasing minority participation in clinical research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Portfolio Analysis of Culturally Tailored Trials to Address Health and Healthcare Disparities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1859; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091859
Received: 13 July 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 August 2018 / Published: 28 August 2018
PDF Full-text (959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In 2010, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was authorized by Congress to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, employers, insurers, and policy makers make better-informed health decisions. We conducted a qualitative analysis of behavioral health trials in
[...] Read more.
In 2010, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) was authorized by Congress to improve the quality and relevance of evidence available to help patients, caregivers, employers, insurers, and policy makers make better-informed health decisions. We conducted a qualitative analysis of behavioral health trials in the PCORI Addressing Disparities portfolio to examine cultural tailoring strategies across the following priority populations: racial and ethnic minorities, rural populations, people with low-income or low socioeconomic status, individuals with disabilities, people with low health literacy, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. The Common Strategies for Enhancing Cultural Appropriateness model was used to examine cultural tailoring strategies within trials. We hypothesized increased intersectionality within a patient population at risk for disparities would correlate with the dosage and type of cultural tailoring strategies applied. Thirty-three behavioral health trials applied cultural tailoring strategies and a majority of trials (n = 30) used three or more strategies. Trends in cultural tailoring were associated with certain racial and ethnic groups; however, increased use of tailoring was not associated with the number of priority populations included in a trial. The PCORI Addressing Disparities portfolio demonstrates how a range of cultural tailoring strategies are used, within comparative clinical effectiveness research trials, to address the needs and intersectionality of patients to reduce health and healthcare disparities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Reversing the Trends toward Shorter Lives and Poorer Health for U.S. Women: A Call for Innovative Interdisciplinary Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(9), 1796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15091796
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 19 August 2018 / Published: 21 August 2018
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Abstract
The United States (U.S.) is a leader and innovator in biomedicine, yet trails behind for many key health indicators, especially for women. This paper highlights key evidence indicating that not only is the state of women’s health in the U.S. lagging, but it
[...] Read more.
The United States (U.S.) is a leader and innovator in biomedicine, yet trails behind for many key health indicators, especially for women. This paper highlights key evidence indicating that not only is the state of women’s health in the U.S. lagging, but it is at risk for falling off the curve. Women’s health care remains fragmented; research in the field can be disconnected and difficult to integrate across disciplines—silos prevail. Structural obstacles contribute to this lack of cohesion, and innovative, interdisciplinary research approaches which integrate the multidimensional aspects of sex and gender, and race and ethnicity, with a life course perspective are sorely needed. Such synergistic, scientific strategies have the potential to reverse the trend towards shorter life expectancy and poorer health for women in the U.S. The National Institute for Health (NIH) seeks to raise the bar for the health of all women by tackling these issues through enhancing the relevance of biomedical research to the health of women and driving the sustained advancement of women in biomedical careers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle 6 Hz Active Anticonvulsant Fluorinated N-Benzamide Enaminones and Their Inhibitory Neuronal Activity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1784; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081784
Received: 15 July 2018 / Revised: 6 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
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Abstract
A small library of novel fluorinated N-benzamide enaminones were synthesized and evaluated in a battery of acute preclinical seizure models. Three compounds (GSA 62, TTA 35, and WWB 67) were found to have good anticonvulsant activity in the 6-Hz ‘psychomotor’ 44-mA rodent model.
[...] Read more.
A small library of novel fluorinated N-benzamide enaminones were synthesized and evaluated in a battery of acute preclinical seizure models. Three compounds (GSA 62, TTA 35, and WWB 67) were found to have good anticonvulsant activity in the 6-Hz ‘psychomotor’ 44-mA rodent model. The focus of this study was to elucidate the active analogs’ mode of action on seizure-related molecular targets. Electrophysiology studies were employed to evaluate the compounds’ ability to inhibit neuronal activity in central olfactory neurons, mitral cells, and sensory-like ND7/23 cells, which express an assortment of voltage and ligand-gated ion channels. We did not find any significant effects of the three compounds on action potential generation in mitral cells. The treatment of ND7/23 cells with 50 µM of GSA 62, TTA 35, and WWB 67 generated a significant reduction in the amplitude of whole-cell sodium currents. Similar treatment of ND7/23 cells with these compounds had no effect on T-type calcium currents, indicating that fluorinated N-benzamide enaminone analogs may have a selective effect on voltage-gated sodium channels, but not calcium channels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Translating Research as an Approach to Enhance Science Engagement
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1749; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081749
Received: 14 July 2018 / Revised: 10 August 2018 / Accepted: 12 August 2018 / Published: 15 August 2018
PDF Full-text (1513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The impact of research depends on the effective communication of discoveries. Scientific writing is the primary tool for the dissemination of research, and is an important skill that biomedical trainees have to develop. Despite its importance, scientific writing is not part of the
[...] Read more.
The impact of research depends on the effective communication of discoveries. Scientific writing is the primary tool for the dissemination of research, and is an important skill that biomedical trainees have to develop. Despite its importance, scientific writing is not part of the mainstream curriculum. One strategy used to teach scientific writing is holding a journal club style discussion of primary research literature that the students are asked to read. However, this activity can result in a passive learning experience and limit the development of trainees’ scientific writing skills. In order to improve trainees’ written communication skills, we tested an exercise that involved generating a revised article describing prior research, in essence “translating” the science into basic language. Following the guidelines set out by “Frontiers for Young Minds” and feedback received from “Young Reviewers”, we wrote a revised article with a simpler description of the research. In this article, we describe this scientific writing exercise, which may ultimately serve as a model for scientists to share their research more efficiently in order to promote better public health outcomes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Human Papillomavirus-16 DNA Quantitation Differentiates High-Grade Anal Neoplasia
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1690; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081690
Received: 16 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 August 2018 / Published: 8 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Due to their higher rates of anal dysplasia/cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals are recommended to undergo anal dysplasia screening, which consists of anal cytology (AC) and high resolution anoscopy (HRA) with anal biopsy (AB) after abnormal AC result. However, AC variability
[...] Read more.
Background: Due to their higher rates of anal dysplasia/cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive individuals are recommended to undergo anal dysplasia screening, which consists of anal cytology (AC) and high resolution anoscopy (HRA) with anal biopsy (AB) after abnormal AC result. However, AC variability limits its usefulness. Our objective was to evaluate human papillomavirus (HPV)-16 DNA quantitation as part of the screening algorithm. Methods: HPV-16 was detected in AC specimens from 75 HIV-positive participants using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. AB results were available from 18/44 patients who had abnormal AC. Statistical tests included Mann-Whitney U, Kruskal-Wallis, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and Kappa coefficient tests. Results: HPV-16 copy numbers differed significantly across AC (p = 0.001) and AB grades (p = 0.009). HPV-16 ≥ 65 copies/cell predicted high-grade AB (p = 0.04). Using this cut-off in comparison to AB, it had better specificity (1.00) than AC (0.75) and specificity (0.77) than qualitative HPV-16 detection (0.38). Also, the Kappa coefficient of the cut-off (κ = 0.649) was higher than AC (κ = 0.557) and qualitative HPV-16 detection (κ = 0.258) to AB. Conclusion: Higher HPV-16 copy numbers corresponded to higher AC and AB grades, suggesting the importance of HPV burden on disease stage. Furthermore, HPV-16 ≥ 65 copies/cell distinguished high-grade disease and demonstrated better sensitivity, specificity, and agreement with AB than AC or qualitative HPV-16 detection. These results support the potential use of HPV quantitation in conjunction with AC in anal dysplasia screening. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Epidemiological Investigation of Type 2 Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease in a Pakistani Population
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1582; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081582
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 19 July 2018 / Accepted: 23 July 2018 / Published: 26 July 2018
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Abstract
The epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the possibility of it contributing to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have become important health concerns worldwide and in Pakistan, where the co-occurrence of T2DM and AD is becoming more frequent. To gain
[...] Read more.
The epidemic of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the possibility of it contributing to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have become important health concerns worldwide and in Pakistan, where the co-occurrence of T2DM and AD is becoming more frequent. To gain insights on this phenomenon, a cross-sectional study was initiated. We recruited and interviewed 820 research participants from four cities in Pakistan: 250 controls, 450 T2DM, 100 AD, and 20 with both diseases. Significant differences between groups were observed for age (p < 0.0001), urban vs. rural locality (p = 0.0472) and residing near industrial areas. The average HbA1c (%) level was 10.68 ± 2.34 in the T2DM group, and females had a lower level than males (p = 0.003). In the AD group, significant relationships existed between education and family history. Overall, the results suggest that T2DM and AD were associated with both socio-demographic and environmental factors in Pakistani participants. Detailed molecular investigations are underway in our laboratory to decipher the differential genetic pathways of the two diseases to address their increasing prevalence in this developing nation. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Suicide Stigma among Medical Students in Puerto Rico
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1366; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071366
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 19 June 2018 / Accepted: 26 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
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Abstract
Suicide is a global public health issue and the 10th leading cause of death, regardless of age, in the U.S. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens with one of the highest rates of suicide ideation and attempts (SIA) among all Latino sub-groups. Research has
[...] Read more.
Suicide is a global public health issue and the 10th leading cause of death, regardless of age, in the U.S. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens with one of the highest rates of suicide ideation and attempts (SIA) among all Latino sub-groups. Research has found that stigma is a risk factor for SIA. Medical students are an important group to target as they engage in routine clinical interactions with potential suicide victims, playing an important role in suicide prevention efforts. However, these efforts may be hampered by suicide stigma. The purpose of this study is to examine the correlates of suicide stigma in a sample of medical students in Puerto Rico. We implement an exploratory cross-sectional design using quantitative techniques. A total of 123 medical students participate in the study. Bivariate analyses suggest that gender is significantly correlated to suicide stigma (p < 0.05). Hierarchical regression analysis suggests that suicide literacy (β = −0.196, p < 0.05) and emotional reaction to suicide (β = 0.212, p < 0.05) predict suicide stigma. Although preliminary, these findings echo previous research regarding the importance of literacy and emotional reaction in the stigmatization process. Future research may develop intervention strategies aimed at reducing suicide stigma among medical students. Full article
Open AccessArticle Clinical Relevant Polymorphisms Affecting Clopidogrel Pharmacokinetics and Pharmacodynamics: Insights from the Puerto Rico Newborn Screening Program
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1115; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061115
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 16 May 2018 / Accepted: 28 May 2018 / Published: 30 May 2018
PDF Full-text (617 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Background: Variations in several clopidogrel-pharmacogenes have been linked to clopidogrel response variability and clinical outcomes. We aimed to determine the frequency distribution of major polymorphisms on CYP2C19, PON1, ABCB1 and P2RY12 pharmacogenes in Puerto Ricans. Methods: This was a cross-sectional,
[...] Read more.
Background: Variations in several clopidogrel-pharmacogenes have been linked to clopidogrel response variability and clinical outcomes. We aimed to determine the frequency distribution of major polymorphisms on CYP2C19, PON1, ABCB1 and P2RY12 pharmacogenes in Puerto Ricans. Methods: This was a cross-sectional, population-based study of 200 unrelated “Guthrie” cards specimens from newborns registered in the Puerto Rican newborn screening program (PRNSP) between 2004 and 2014. Taqman® SNP assay techniques were used for genotyping. Results: Minor allele frequencies (MAF) were 46% for PON1 (rs662), 41% for ABCB1 (rs1045642), 14% for CYP2C19*17, 13% for CYP2C19*2, 12% for P2RY12-H2 and 0.3% for CYP2C19*4. No carriers of the CYP2C19*3 variants were detected. All alleles and genotype proportions were found to be in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium (HWE). Overall, there were no significant differences between MAFs of these variants in Puerto Ricans and the general population (n = 453) of the 1000 Genome project, except when comparisons to each individual parental group were performed (i.e., Africans, Europeans and East-Asians; p < 0.05). As expected, the prevalence of these markers in Puerto Ricans most resembled those in the 181 subjects from reference populations of the Americas. Conclusions: These prevalence data provide a necessary groundwork for future clinical studies of clopidogrel pharmacogenetics in Caribbean Hispanics. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessFeature PaperReview Cross-Talk between Wnt and Hh Signaling Pathways in the Pathology of Basal Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1442; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071442
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
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Abstract
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. The cost of care for BCC is one of the highest for all cancers in the Medicare population in the United States. Activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway appears to
[...] Read more.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. The cost of care for BCC is one of the highest for all cancers in the Medicare population in the United States. Activation of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway appears to be a key driver of BCC development. Studies involving mouse models have provided evidence that activation of the glioma-associated oncogene (GLI) family of transcription factors is a key step in the initiation of the tumorigenic program leading to BCC. Activation of the Wnt pathway is also observed in BCCs. In addition, the Wnt signaling pathway has been shown to be required in Hh pathway-driven development of BCC in a mouse model. Cross-talks between Wnt and Hh pathways have been observed at different levels, yet the mechanisms of these cross-talks are not fully understood. In this review, we examine the mechanism of cross-talk between Wnt and Hh signaling in BCC development and its potential relevance for treatment. Recent studies have identified insulin-like growth factor 2 mRNA-binding protein 1 (IGF2BP1), a direct target of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling, as the factor that binds to GLI1 mRNA and upregulates its levels and activities. This mode of regulation of GLI1 appears important in BCC tumorigenesis and could be explored in the treatment of BCCs. Full article
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Open AccessReview Racial Disparities and Preventive Measures to Renal Cell Carcinoma
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1089; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061089
Received: 10 April 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 1 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
Kidney cancer ranks among the top 10 cancers in the United States. Although it affects both male and female populations, it is more common in males. The prevalence rate of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which represents about 85% of kidney cancers, has been
[...] Read more.
Kidney cancer ranks among the top 10 cancers in the United States. Although it affects both male and female populations, it is more common in males. The prevalence rate of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which represents about 85% of kidney cancers, has been increasing gradually in many developed countries. Family history has been considered as one of the most relevant risk factors for kidney cancer, although most forms of an inherited predisposition for RCC only account for less than four percent. Lifestyle and other factors such as occupational exposure, high blood pressure, poor diet, and heavy cigarette smoking are highly associated with its incidence and mortality rates. In the United States, White populations have the lowest prevalence of RCC compared to other ethnic groups, while Black Americans suffer disproportionally from the adverse effects of RCC. Hence, this review article aims at identifying the major risk factors associated with RCC and highlighting the new therapeutic approaches for its control/prevention. To achieve this specific aim, articles in peer-reviewed journals with a primary focus on risk factors related to kidney cancer and on strategies to reduce RCC were identified. The review was systematically conducted by searching the databases of MEDLINE, PUBMED Central, and Google Scholar libraries for original articles. From the search, we found that the incidence and mortality rates of RCC are strongly associated with four main risk factors, including family history (genetics), lifestyle (poor diet, cigarette smoking, excess alcohol drinking), environment (community where people live), and occupation (place where people work). In addition, unequal access to improvement in RCC cancer treatment, limited access to screening and diagnosis, and limited access to kidney transplant significantly contribute to the difference observed in survival rate between African Americans and Caucasians. There is also scientific evidence suggesting that some physicians contribute to racial disparities when performing kidney transplant among minority populations. New therapeutic measures should be taken to prevent or reduce RCC, especially among African Americans, the most vulnerable population group. Full article
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Open AccessReview Alcoholism: A Multi-Systemic Cellular Insult to Organs
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1083; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061083
Received: 19 February 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 28 May 2018
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Abstract
Alcohol abuse can affect more than the heart and the liver. Many observers often do not appreciate the complex and differing aspects of alcohol’s effects in pathophysiologies that have been reported in multiple organs. Chronic alcohol abuse is known to be associated with
[...] Read more.
Alcohol abuse can affect more than the heart and the liver. Many observers often do not appreciate the complex and differing aspects of alcohol’s effects in pathophysiologies that have been reported in multiple organs. Chronic alcohol abuse is known to be associated with pathophysiological changes that often result in life-threatening clinical outcomes, e.g., breast and colon cancer, pancreatic disease, cirrhosis of the liver, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, kidney disease, immune system dysfunction, hypertension, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and can be as far-reaching as to cause central nervous system disorders. In this review article, we will discuss the various organs impacted by alcohol abuse. The lack of clear guidelines on the amount and frequency of alcohol intake, complicated by personal demographics, make extrapolations to real-life practices at best difficult for public health policy-makers. Full article
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Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessConference Report Academic Response to Storm-Related Natural Disasters—Lessons Learned
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081768
Received: 5 July 2018 / Revised: 12 August 2018 / Accepted: 14 August 2018 / Published: 17 August 2018
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Abstract
On 30 October 2017, selected faculty and administrators from Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) grantee institutions gathered to share first-hand accounts of the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which had interrupted academic activities, including research, education, and training in
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On 30 October 2017, selected faculty and administrators from Research Centers in Minority Institutions (RCMI) grantee institutions gathered to share first-hand accounts of the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, which had interrupted academic activities, including research, education, and training in Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. The presenters reviewed emergency response measures taken by their institutions to maintain community health care access and delivery, the storm-related impact on clinical and research infrastructure, and strategies to retain locally grown clinical expertise and translational science research talent in the aftermath of natural disasters. A longer-term perspective was provided through a comparative review of lessons learned by one New Orleans-based institution (now more than a decade post-storm) in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Caring for the internal and external communities associated with each institution and addressing the health disparities exacerbated by storm-related events is one key strategy that will pay long-term dividends in the survival of the academic institutions and the communities they serve. Full article
Open AccessBrief Report Sanger and Next Generation Sequencing Approaches to Evaluate HIV-1 Virus in Blood Compartments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1697; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081697
Received: 6 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 9 August 2018
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Abstract
The implementation of antiretroviral treatment combined with the monitoring of drug resistance mutations improves the quality of life of HIV-1 positive patients. The drug resistance mutation patterns and viral genotypes are currently analyzed by DNA sequencing of the virus in the plasma of
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The implementation of antiretroviral treatment combined with the monitoring of drug resistance mutations improves the quality of life of HIV-1 positive patients. The drug resistance mutation patterns and viral genotypes are currently analyzed by DNA sequencing of the virus in the plasma of patients. However, the virus compartmentalizes, and different T cell subsets may harbor distinct viral subsets. In this study, we compared the patterns of HIV distribution in cell-free (blood plasma) and cell-associated viruses (peripheral blood mononuclear cells, PBMCs) derived from ART-treated patients by using Sanger sequencing- and Next-Generation sequencing-based HIV assay. CD4+CD45RARO+ memory T-cells were isolated from PBMCs using a BD FACSAria instrument. HIV pol (protease and reverse transcriptase) was RT-PCR or PCR amplified from the plasma and the T-cell subset, respectively. Sequences were obtained using Sanger sequencing and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). Sanger sequences were aligned and edited using RECall software (beta v3.03). The Stanford HIV database was used to evaluate drug resistance mutations. Illumina MiSeq platform and HyDRA Web were used to generate and analyze NGS data, respectively. Our results show a high correlation between Sanger sequencing and NGS results. However, some major and minor drug resistance mutations were only observed by NGS, albeit at different frequencies. Analysis of low-frequency drugs resistance mutations and virus distribution in the blood compartments may provide information to allow a more sustainable response to therapy and better disease management. Full article
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