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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: 30 November 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
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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 https://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 (29 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Knowledge Management for Fostering Biostatistical Collaboration within a Research Network: The RTRN Case Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2533; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112533
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 4 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract
Purpose: While the intellectual and scientific rationale for research collaboration has been articulated, a paucity of information is available on a strategic approach to facilitate the collaboration within a research network designed to reduce health disparities. This study aimed to (1) develop
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Purpose: While the intellectual and scientific rationale for research collaboration has been articulated, a paucity of information is available on a strategic approach to facilitate the collaboration within a research network designed to reduce health disparities. This study aimed to (1) develop a conceptual model to facilitate collaboration among biostatisticians in a research network; (2) describe collaborative engagement performed by the Network’s Data Coordinating Center (DCC); and (3) discuss potential challenges and opportunities in engaging the collaboration. Methods: Key components of the strategic approach will be developed through a systematic literature review. The Network’s initiatives for the biostatistical collaboration will be described in the areas of infrastructure, expertise and knowledge management and experiential lessons will be discussed. Results: Components of the strategic approach model included three Ps (people, processes and programs) which were integrated into expert management, infrastructure management and knowledge management, respectively. Ongoing initiatives for collaboration with non-DCC biostatisticians included both web-based and face-to-face interaction approaches: Network’s biostatistical capacities and needs assessment, webinar statistical seminars, mobile statistical workshop and clinics, adjunct appointment program, one-on-one consulting, and on-site workshop. The outreach program, as a face-to-face interaction approach, especially resulted in a useful tool for expertise management and needs assessment as well as knowledge exchange. Conclusions: Although fostering a partnered research culture, sustaining senior management commitment and ongoing monitoring are a challenge for this collaborative engagement, the proposed strategies centrally performed by the DCC may be useful in accelerating the pace and enhancing the quality of the scientific outcomes within a multidisciplinary clinical and translational research network. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Risk Communication Strategies for Zika Virus Prevention and Control Driven by Community-Based Participatory Research
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2505; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112505
Received: 11 October 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 3 November 2018 / Published: 9 November 2018
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Abstract
Background: In this study, we use community-based participatory processes to engage community and academic partners in a meaningful exchange to identify and pilot test risk communication strategies for Zika virus prevention and control. Methods: Community members were actively involved in planning, developing, and
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Background: In this study, we use community-based participatory processes to engage community and academic partners in a meaningful exchange to identify and pilot test risk communication strategies for Zika virus prevention and control. Methods: Community members were actively involved in planning, developing, and implementing a risk communication initiative. Qualitative and quantitative data gathered through individual interviews, focus groups, and community advisory board input provided information for the identification of relevant risk communication strategies to increase the understanding about Zika virus and to promote behavior change. To examine its impact we obtained baseline and follow-up data from a random sample of 75 community residents. A face-to-face interview was conducted to assess community members’ knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors regarding Zika virus infection. Results: Study activities focused on three risk communication strategies: Zika awareness health fair, health education through theater, and community forums and workshops. The risk communication initiative was implemented over a two-month period. Findings from baseline and follow-up data demonstrated significant positive changes in respondents’ recognition of personal and community responsibility for the prevention of Zika infection, increased knowledge of prevention strategies, and enhanced engagement in preventive behaviors for mosquito control. Conclusion: Our findings sustain the benefits of community based participatory research for the design and implementation of risk communication strategies that are relevant to enable residents in low-income communities to take informed decisions for the protection against Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Survey of Health Disparities, Social Determinants of Health, and Converging Morbidities in a County Jail: A Cultural-Ecological Assessment of Health Conditions in Jail Populations
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2500; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112500
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
The environmental health status of jail populations in the United States constitutes a significant public health threat for prisoners and the general population. The ecology of jails creates a dynamic condition in relation to general population health due to the concentrated potential exposure
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The environmental health status of jail populations in the United States constitutes a significant public health threat for prisoners and the general population. The ecology of jails creates a dynamic condition in relation to general population health due to the concentrated potential exposure to infectious diseases, difficult access to treatment for chronic health conditions, interruption in continuity of care for serious behavioral health conditions, as well as on-going issues for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse disorders. This paper reports on elements of a cross-sectional survey embedded in a parent project, “Health Disparities in Jail Populations.” The overall project includes a comprehensive secondary data analysis of the health status of county jail populations, along with primary data collection that includes a cross-sectional health and health care services survey of incarcerated individuals, coupled with collection of biological samples to investigate infectious disease characteristics of a county jail population. This paper reports on the primary results of the survey data collection that indicate that this is a population with complex and interacting co-morbidities, as well as significant health disparities compared to the general population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cigarette Smoking Modulation of Saliva Microbial Composition and Cytokine Levels
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2479; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112479
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 26 October 2018 / Accepted: 3 November 2018 / Published: 7 November 2018
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Abstract
Tobacco use has been implicated as an immunomodulator in the oral cavity and contributes to the development of oral cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on bacterial diversity and host responses compared to healthy nonsmoking controls. Saliva
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Tobacco use has been implicated as an immunomodulator in the oral cavity and contributes to the development of oral cancer. In the present study, we investigated the effects of cigarette smoking on bacterial diversity and host responses compared to healthy nonsmoking controls. Saliva samples were collected from eighteen smokers and sixteen nonsmoking individuals by passive drool. The 16S rRNA gene was used to characterize the salivary microbiome by using the Illumina MiSeq platform. Cytokine and chemokine expression analyses were performed to evaluate the host response. Significant differences in cytokine and chemokine expression levels of MDC, IL-10, IL-5, IL-2, IL-4, IL-7, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), insulin, and leptin were observed between smokers and nonsmokers. Taxonomic analyses revealed differences between the two groups, and some bacterial genera associated with the smokers group had correlations with hormones and cytokines identified as statistically different between smokers and nonsmokers. These factors have been associated with inflammation and carcinogenesis in the oral cavity. The data obtained may aid in the identification of the interactions between the salivary microbiome, host inflammatory responses, and metabolism in smokers. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Using a Virtual Community (the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory) to Support Early-Stage Investigators Pursuing Grant Funding
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112408
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 18 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 30 October 2018
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Abstract
Junior investigators often have limited access to networks of scientific experts and resources that facilitate competitive grant submissions. Since environments in which scientists are trained are critically important for long-term success, we built and tested a virtual environment for early-stage investigators (ESIs) working
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Junior investigators often have limited access to networks of scientific experts and resources that facilitate competitive grant submissions. Since environments in which scientists are trained are critically important for long-term success, we built and tested a virtual environment for early-stage investigators (ESIs) working on grant proposals. The aim of this study was to evaluate the virtual community’s influence on grant submission patterns among participants from underrepresented groups. As part of a grant writing coaching model, junior investigators were recruited into a professional development program designed to develop competitive grantsmanship skills. Designed by the Research Resources and Outreach Core (RROC) of the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN), the Health Equity Learning Collaboratory (EQ-Collaboratory) provided a virtual community for social support, accountability, constructive feedback, and access to peer networks to help investigators overcome barriers to grant submission. This study assessed differences in outcomes for participants who completed the training within the EQ-Collaboratory compared to those who did not. The analyzed data revealed a statistically significant difference in the average time to submission for participants enrolled in the EQ-Collaboratory. EQ-Collaboratory ESIs submitted proposals 148.6 days earlier, (p < 0.0001). The results suggest that a supportive virtual environment can help investigators more quickly overcome barriers to grant submission. Full article
Open AccessArticle Poor Sleep Quality Is Associated with Higher Hemoglobin A1c in Pregnant Women: A Pilot Observational Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2287; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102287
Received: 21 August 2018 / Revised: 12 October 2018 / Accepted: 14 October 2018 / Published: 18 October 2018
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Abstract
We hypothesized that poor sleep quality exacerbates glucose intolerance manifested as elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which increases the risk for gestational diabetes. To test this, 38 pregnant and 22 non-pregnant (age, 18–35 years; body-mass index, 20–35 kg/m2) otherwise healthy women were
[...] Read more.
We hypothesized that poor sleep quality exacerbates glucose intolerance manifested as elevated glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), which increases the risk for gestational diabetes. To test this, 38 pregnant and 22 non-pregnant (age, 18–35 years; body-mass index, 20–35 kg/m2) otherwise healthy women were enrolled in the study. Sleep quality was assessed during gestational week 24 (pregnant), or outside of the menstrual period (non-pregnant), using qualitative (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index) and objective (actigraphic wrist-watch) measures. Blood glucose, total cortisol, and depression status were evaluated. Eight pregnant and one non-pregnant women were lost to follow-up, or withdrew from the study. There was a higher incidence of poor sleep quality in pregnant (73%) relative to non-pregnant women (43%). Although actigraphic data revealed no differences in actual sleep hours between pregnant and non-pregnant women, the number of wake episodes and sleep fragmentation were higher in pregnant women. Poor sleep quality was positively correlated with higher HbA1c in both pregnant (r = 0.46, n = 26, p = 0.0151) and non-pregnant women (r = 0.50, n = 19, p = 0.0217), reflecting higher average blood glucose concentrations. In contrast, poor sleep was negatively correlated with cortisol responses in pregnant women (r = −0.46, n = 25, p = 0.0167). Three pregnant women had elevated one-hour oral glucose tolerance test results (>153 mg/dL glucose). These same pregnant women exhibited poor sleep quality. These results support the suggestion that poor sleep quality is an important risk factor that is associated with glucose intolerance and attendant health complications in pregnancy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Contemplative Practices: A Strategy to Improve Health and Reduce Disparities
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2253; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102253
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 25 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 15 October 2018
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Abstract
Health has many dimensions, and intolerance and lack of compassion may contribute to the poor health and disparities in our nation. Tolerance can convey an inherent paradox or dissonance that can be associated with stress. However, tolerance has a dimension of acceptance, an
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Health has many dimensions, and intolerance and lack of compassion may contribute to the poor health and disparities in our nation. Tolerance can convey an inherent paradox or dissonance that can be associated with stress. However, tolerance has a dimension of acceptance, an acknowledgement and acceptance of what “is” at the present moment, that can relieve tension associated with differing beliefs and practices. Compassionate consideration of others can be combined with acceptance to create harmony within and across individuals. In this article, we explore how contemplative practices can cultivate tolerance and compassion and contribute to improvements in individual and population health. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication A Multi-Pronged Approach to Diversifying the Workforce
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2219; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102219
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 8 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
The biomedical workforce continues to lack diversity, despite growing evidence demonstrating the advantages of diverse teams in workplaces for creativity and innovation. At the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education, we have taken a multi-pronged, collaborative approach to enhance the diversity
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The biomedical workforce continues to lack diversity, despite growing evidence demonstrating the advantages of diverse teams in workplaces for creativity and innovation. At the University of Pittsburgh Institute for Clinical Research Education, we have taken a multi-pronged, collaborative approach to enhance the diversity of our trainees and scholars. We started by implementing a program for postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty, the Career Education and Enhancement for Health Care Research Diversity (CEED) program. We then built on this program and created a sister program for medical students (CEED II). These two programs were intended to build a local community of diverse researchers. Following the success of these programs, we extended our efforts and pursued federal funding to establish other programs. Our first funded program was designed to teach leadership and career coaching skills to mentors who are committed to mentoring people from diverse backgrounds, the Professional Mentoring Skills Enhancing Diversity (PROMISED) program. We then partnered with minority serving institutions to create a fellowship in translational research skills training, Leading Emerging and Diverse Scientists to Success (LEADS), training in patient-centered outcomes research, Expanding National Capacity in PCOR through Training (ENACT), and a year-long fellowship to work with a specific mentor at Pitt, the Clinical and Translational Science (CTS) Fellowship (TL1). With recognition that much work remains to be done, we believe these programs represent a small but positive step toward diversifying the biomedical workforce. Full article
Open AccessArticle Characterization of Histone Genes from the Bivalve Lucina Pectinata
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2170; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102170
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 27 September 2018 / Published: 2 October 2018
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Abstract
Lucina pectinata is a clam that lives in sulfide-rich environments and houses intracellular sulfide-oxidizing endosymbionts. To identify new Lucina pectinata proteins, we produced libraries for genome and transcriptome sequencing and assembled them de novo. We searched for histone-like sequences using the Lucina pectinata
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Lucina pectinata is a clam that lives in sulfide-rich environments and houses intracellular sulfide-oxidizing endosymbionts. To identify new Lucina pectinata proteins, we produced libraries for genome and transcriptome sequencing and assembled them de novo. We searched for histone-like sequences using the Lucina pectinata histone H3 partial nucleotide sequence against our previously described genome assembly to obtain the complete coding region and identify H3 coding sequences from mollusk sequences in Genbank. Solen marginatus histone nucleotide sequences were used as query sequences using the genome and transcriptome assemblies to identify the Lucina pectinata H1, H2A, H2B and H4 genes and mRNAs and obtained the complete coding regions of the five histone genes by RT-PCR combined with automated Sanger DNA sequencing. The amino acid sequence conservation between the Lucina pectinata and Solen marginatus histones was: 77%, 93%, 83%, 96% and 97% for H1, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4, respectively. As expected, the H3 and H4 proteins were the most conserved and the H1 proteins were most similar to H1′s from aquatic organisms like Crassostrea gigas, Aplysia californica, Mytilus trossulus and Biomphalaria glabrata. The Lucina pectinata draft genome and transcriptome assemblies, obtained by semiconductor sequencing, were adequate for identification of conserved proteins as evidenced by our results for the histone genes. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication The Economic Impact of Herpes Zoster Vaccine Disparities in Elderly United States Blacks
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102128
Received: 23 August 2018 / Revised: 22 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 27 September 2018
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Abstract
There are persistent disparities with regard to receipt of herpes zoster vaccine among elderly blacks, but no data is available regarding the public health or economic impact of these disparities. A decision tree was constructed with multiple Markov nodes in order to estimate
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There are persistent disparities with regard to receipt of herpes zoster vaccine among elderly blacks, but no data is available regarding the public health or economic impact of these disparities. A decision tree was constructed with multiple Markov nodes in order to estimate the preventable cases of herpes zoster occurring among elderly blacks due to disparities in receipt of herpes zoster vaccine and to quantify the economic costs associated with these disparities. The model was constructed to examine the number of herpes zoster cases occurring among elderly blacks from the age of 60 to 84 over a 20 year period and also calculated costs due to herpes zoster complications and lost productivity. Achievement of health equity would prevent over 34,500 cases of herpes zoster from occurring in the future and avert over $180 million in lost productivity and treatment costs as a result of these cases of herpes zoster. These results help to show that thousands of cases of herpes zoster could be prevented if blacks were vaccinated at the same frequency as whites and help to show the benefit of implementing viable strategies to achieving this goal. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cancer Health Literacy and Willingness to Participate in Cancer Research and Donate Bio-Specimens
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2091; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102091
Received: 28 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 24 September 2018
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Abstract
Although it has been well documented that poor health literacy is associated with limited participation in cancer clinical trials, studies assessing the relationships between cancer health literacy (CHL) and participation in research among diverse populations are lacking. In this study, we examined the
[...] Read more.
Although it has been well documented that poor health literacy is associated with limited participation in cancer clinical trials, studies assessing the relationships between cancer health literacy (CHL) and participation in research among diverse populations are lacking. In this study, we examined the relationship between CHL and willingness to participate in cancer research and/or donate bio-specimens (WPRDB) among African Americans, Latinos, and Whites. Participants completed the Cancer Health Literacy Test and the Multidimensional Cancer Literacy Questionnaire. Total-scale and subscale scores, frequencies, means, and distributions were computed. Analyses of variance, the Bonferroni procedure, and the Holm method were used to examine significant differences among groups. Cronbach’s alphas estimated scales’ internal consistency reliability. Significant interactions were found between race/ethnicity, gender, and CHL on WPRDB scales and subscale scores, even after education and age were taken into account. Our study confirms that CHL plays an important role that should be considered and researched further. The majority of participants were more willing to participate in non-invasive research studies (surveys, interviews, and training) or collection of bio-specimens (saliva, check cells, urine, and blood) and in studies led by their own healthcare providers, and local hospitals and universities. However, participants were less willing to participate in more-invasive studies requiring them to take medications, undergo medical procedures or donate skin/tissues. We conclude that addressing low levels of CHL and using community-based participatory approaches to address the lack of knowledge and trust about cancer research among diverse populations may increase not only their willingness to participate in research and donate bio-specimens, but may also have a positive effect on actual participation rates. Full article
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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,
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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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Open AccessReview Neuromodulation of Synaptic Transmission in the Main Olfactory Bulb
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2194; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102194
Received: 30 July 2018 / Revised: 28 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 October 2018 / Published: 8 October 2018
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Abstract
A major step in our understanding of brain function is to determine how neural circuits are altered in their function by signaling molecules or neuromodulators. Neuromodulation is the neurochemical process that modifies the computations performed by a neuron or network based on changing
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A major step in our understanding of brain function is to determine how neural circuits are altered in their function by signaling molecules or neuromodulators. Neuromodulation is the neurochemical process that modifies the computations performed by a neuron or network based on changing the functional needs or behavioral state of the subject. These modulations have the effect of altering the responsivity to synaptic inputs. Early sensory processing areas, such as the main olfactory bulb, provide an accessible window for investigating how neuromodulation regulates the functional states of neural networks and influences how we process sensory information. Olfaction is an attractive model system in this regard because of its relative simplicity and because it links primary olfactory sensory neurons to higher olfactory and associational networks. Likewise, centrifugal fibers from higher order brain centers target neurons in the main olfactory bulb to regulate synaptic processing. The neuromodulatory systems that provide regulatory inputs and play important roles in olfactory sensory processing and behaviors include the endocannabinoid system, the dopaminergic system, the cholinergic system, the noradrenergic system and the serotonergic system. Here, we present a brief survey of neuromodulation of olfactory signals in the main olfactory bulb with an emphasis on the endocannabinoid system. Full article
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Open AccessReview Epigenetic Effects of Drugs of Abuse
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2098; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102098
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 22 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
Drug addiction affects a large extent of young people and disadvantaged populations. Drugs of abuse impede brain circuits or affect the functionality of brain circuits and interfere with bodily functions. Cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) form key constituents of marijuana derived from the cannabis plant. Marijuana
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Drug addiction affects a large extent of young people and disadvantaged populations. Drugs of abuse impede brain circuits or affect the functionality of brain circuits and interfere with bodily functions. Cannabinoids (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol) form key constituents of marijuana derived from the cannabis plant. Marijuana is a frequently used illegal drug in the USA. Here, we review the effects of cannabinoids at the epigenetic level and the potential role of these epigenetic effects in health and disease. Epigenetics is the study of alterations in gene expression that are transmitted across generations and take place without an alteration in DNA sequence, but are due to modulation of chromatin associated factors by environmental effects. Epigenetics is now known to offer an extra mechanism of control over transcription and how genes are expressed. Insights from research at the genetic and epigenetic level potentially provide venues that allow the translation of the biology of abused drugs to new means of how to treat marijuana substance use disorder or other addictions using pharmacotherapeutic tools. Full article
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
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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
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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
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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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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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