Managing nicotine without smoke to save lives now: Evidence for harm minimization
Abrams, D. B., Glasser, A. M., Villanti, A. C., Pearson, J. L., Rose, S., & Niaura, R. S.
Tobacco control has made strides in prevention and cessation, but deaths will not decline rapidly without massive behavior change. Currently, inhaled smoke from combusting tobacco is chiefly responsible for prematurely killing 7.2 million people worldwide and 530,000 in the United States annually. An array of noncombustible nicotine products (NNPs) has emerged and has disrupted the marketplace. Saving lives more speedily will require societal acceptance of locating a “sweet spot” within a three-dimensional framework where NNPs are simultaneously: 1. Less toxic, 2. Appealing (can reach smokers at scale), and 3. Satisfying (adequate nicotine delivery) to displace smoking. For this harm minimization framework to eliminate smoking, a laser focus on “smoking control” (not general tobacco control) is needed. By adopting these economically viable NNPs as part of the solution, NNPs can be smoking control's valued ally. Synthesis of the science indicates that policy and regulation can sufficiently protect youth while speeding the switch away from smoking. Despite some risks of nicotine dependence that can be mitigated but not eliminated, no credible evidence counters the assertion that NNPs will save lives if they displace smoking. But scientific evidence and advocacy has selectively exaggerated NNP harms over benefits. Accurate communication is crucial to dispel the misperception of NNPs harms and reassure smokers they can successfully replace smoking cigarettes with NNPs. Saving more lives now is an attainable and pragmatic way to call for alignment of all stakeholders and factions within traditional tobacco control rather than perpetuate the unrealized and unrealizable perfection of nicotine prohibition.
Measuring associations between the microbiota and repeated measures of continuous clinical variables using a lasso-penalized generalized linear mixed model
Tipton, L., Cuenco, K. T., Huang, L., Greenblatt, R. M., Kleerup, E., Sciurba, F., Duncan, S. R., Donahoe, M. P., Morris, A., & Ghedin, E.
Background: Human microbiome studies in clinical settings generally focus on distinguishing the microbiota in health from that in disease at a specific point in time. However, microbiome samples may be associated with disease severity or continuous clinical health indicators that are often assessed at multiple time points. While the temporal data from clinical and microbiome samples may be informative, analysis of this type of data can be problematic for standard statistical methods. Results: To identify associations between microbiota and continuous clinical variables measured repeatedly in two studies of the respiratory tract, we adapted a statistical method, the lasso-penalized generalized linear mixed model (LassoGLMM). LassoGLMM can screen for associated clinical variables, incorporate repeated measures of individuals, and address the large number of species found in the microbiome. As is common in microbiome studies, when the number of variables is an order of magnitude larger than the number of samples LassoGLMM can be imperfect in its variable selection. We overcome this limitation by adding a pre-screening step to reduce the number of variables evaluated in the model. We assessed the use of this adapted two-stage LassoGLMM for its ability to determine which microbes are associated with continuous repeated clinical measures. We found associations (retaining a non-zero coefficient in the LassoGLMM) between 10 laboratory measurements and 43 bacterial genera in the oral microbiota, and between 2 cytokines and 3 bacterial genera in the lung. We compared our associations with those identified by the Wilcoxon test after dichotomizing our outcomes and identified a non-significant trend towards differential abundance between high and low outcomes. Our two-step LassoGLMM explained more of the variance seen in the outcome of interest than other variants of the LassoGLMM method. Conclusions: We demonstrated a method that can account for the large number of genera detected in microbiome studies and repeated measures of clinical or longitudinal studies, allowing for the detection of strong associations between microbes and clinical measures. By incorporating the design strengths of repeated measurements and a prescreening step to aid variable selection, our two-step LassoGLMM will be a useful analytic method for investigating relationships between microbes and repeatedly measured continuous outcomes.
Quantitative methods for measuring neighborhood characteristics in neighborhood health research
Duncan, D. T., Goedel, W. C., & Chunara, R. In Neighborhoods and Health.
For the Sake of All: Civic Education on the Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities in St. Louis
Purnell, J. Q., Goodman, M., Tate, W. F., Harris, K. M., Hudson, D. L., Jones, B. D., Fields, R., Camberos, G., Elder, K., Drake, B., & Gilbert, K.
Civic education translates research evidence about topics of social importance for broad public audiences, with increased understanding and meaningful action of the desired outcomes. For the Sake of All is an example of civic education on the social determinants of health and health disparities situated in the local context of St. Louis, Missouri. This article describes the research translation, community engagement, strategic communication, and approach to policy that characterized this project. It presents data highlighting racial disparities in health, educational, and economic outcomes, along with policy and programmatic recommendations. Engagement and implementation strategies are described within the context of the events in Ferguson.
Using information and communication technologies to prevent suicide among secondary school students in two regions of Chile: A randomized controlled trial
Mascayano, F., Schilling, S., Tapia, E., Santander, F., Burrone, M. S., Yang, L. H., & Alvarado, R.
Frontiers in Psychiatry
Background: There is an increasing concern for addressing suicide among adolescents in Latin America. Recent mental health policies encourage the development and implementation of preventive interventions for suicide. Such initiatives, however, have been scarcely developed, even in countries with solid mental health services such as Chile. The use of information and communications technology (ICT) might contribute to create accessible, engaging, and innovative platforms to promote well-being and support for adolescents with mental health needs and suicide risk. Objective: To evaluate a program based on ICT to prevent suicide and enhance mental health among adolescents in Chile. Method: A cluster randomized controlled trial (RCT) will be conducted including 428 high-school students aged 18-14 years in two regions of Chile. Study procedures will take place as follows: (1) design of the intervention model and creation of prototype; (2) selection and randomization of the participating public schools; (3) implementation of the 3-month intervention and evaluation at baseline, post-intervention period, and a 2-month follow-up. Suicidal ideation at the 2-month follow up is the primary outcome in this study. Secondary outcomes include negative psychological outcomes (e.g., stigma, depression, anxiety) as well as a number of protective psychological and social factors. Indicators regarding the study implementation will be also gathered. Discussion: Here we describe a novel program based on technological devices and aimed to target youth suicide in Chile. This is the first clinical trial of such a program in Latin America, and to our knowledge, the first of its kind in any middle income country.
A predictive model for conversion to psychosis in clinical high-risk patients
Ciarleglio, A. J., Brucato, G., Masucci, M. D., Altschuler, R., Colibazzi, T., Corcoran, C. M., Crump, F. M., Horga, G., Lehembre-Shiah, E., Leong, W., Schobel, S. A., Wall, M. M., Yang, L. H., Lieberman, J. A., & Girgis, R. R.
Background: The authors developed a practical and clinically useful model to predict the risk of psychosis that utilizes clinical characteristics empirically demonstrated to be strong predictors of conversion to psychosis in clinical high-risk (CHR) individuals. The model is based upon the Structured Interview for Psychosis Risk Syndromes (SIPS) and accompanying clinical interview, and yields scores indicating one's risk of conversion. Methods: Baseline data, including demographic and clinical characteristics measured by the SIPS, were obtained on 199 CHR individuals seeking evaluation in the early detection and intervention for mental disorders program at the New York State Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University Medical Center. Each patient was followed for up to 2 years or until they developed a syndromal DSM-4 disorder. A LASSO logistic fitting procedure was used to construct a model for conversion specifically to a psychotic disorder. Results: At 2 years, 64 patients (32.2%) converted to a psychotic disorder. The top five variables with relatively large standardized effect sizes included SIPS subscales of visual perceptual abnormalities, dysphoric mood, unusual thought content, disorganized communication, and violent ideation. The concordance index (c-index) was 0.73, indicating a moderately strong ability to discriminate between converters and non-converters. Conclusions: The prediction model performed well in classifying converters and non-converters and revealed SIPS measures that are relatively strong predictors of conversion, comparable with the risk calculator published by NAPLS (c-index = 0.71), but requiring only a structured clinical interview. Future work will seek to externally validate the model and enhance its performance with the incorporation of relevant biomarkers.
Beliefs About the End of AIDS, Concerns About PrEP Functionality, and Perceptions of HIV Risk as Drivers of PrEP Use in Urban Sexual Minority Men: The P18 Cohort Study
Halkitis, P. N., Jaiswal, J., Griffin-Tomas, M., Krause, K. D., D’Avanzo, P., & Kapadia, F.
AIDS and behavior
Using cross-sectional data from an ongoing cohort study of young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (N = 492), we examined the extent to which cognitive factors such as beliefs about the end of AIDS, concerns about the manner in which PrEP works, and perceptions about risk of contracting HIV, are related to PrEP uptake and use. While almost all participants indicted awareness of PrEP, a mere 14% had ever used PrEP. Those with lower concerns about the side effects of PrEP and greater belief that treatment and PrEP would eliminate AIDS were also more likely to have ever used PrEP. Our findings support the ongoing challenges of PrEP uptake as means of curtailing HIV in young sexual minority men, and suggest that beyond the structural factors, consideration must be given to further educating the population as a means of adjusting potentially faulty beliefs, concerns, and perceptions which may influence PrEP utilization.
A Case of Rectal Ureaplasma Infection and Implications for Testing in Young Men Who Have Sex with Men: The P18 Cohort Study
Abbott, C. E., Greene, R. E., Kapadia, F., & Halkitis, P. N.
Ureaplasma is a significant cause of nongonococcal urethritis. This is a case of rectal Ureaplasma found on culture in a young man who has sex with men not previously reported in the literature. Nucleic acid amplification tests are now standard of care for sexually transmitted infection testing, but they do not test for Ureaplasma and, therefore, may be missing important infections. Ureaplasma could have important implications in urethritis and rectal HIV transmission among men who have sex with men engaging in condomless anal intercourse. Further study of Ureaplasma's role as a rectal pathogen may be warranted.
How the US Population Engaged with and Prioritized Sources of Information about the Emerging Zika Virus in 2016
Piltch-Loeb, R., Merdjanoff, A. A., & Abramson, D. M.
Emerging disease threats like Zika pose a risk to naïve populations. In comparison to chronic diseases, there is scientific uncertainty surrounding emerging diseases because of the lack of medical and public health information available as the threat emerges. Further complicating this are the multiple, diverse channels through which people get information. This article used bivariate and multivariate analysis to first describe the breadth of information sources individuals accessed about the Zika virus, and then describe individuals' primary sources of information for Zika using a nationally representative pooled cross-sectional data set collected at 3 time points in 2016 (N = 3,698). The analysis also highlights how 3 subgroups - high-education, high-income adults; Hispanic women of childbearing age; and retirees over the age of 65 with less than a high school education - varied in their use of information. Results suggest individuals accessed multiple sources, but TV and radio were the primary sources of Zika information for the public, followed by print news. Demographic variation in primary source of information means public health officials should consider alternative channels to reach target groups in an emerging event. Without an understanding of how information has reached people, and who individuals engaged with regarding that information, public health practitioners are missing a key piece of the puzzle to improving public health campaigns during a future event like Zika. This analysis aims to inform the public health community about the message channels the US population uses during an emerging disease event and the most prevalent channels for different demographic groups, who can be targeted with particular messaging.
Antiretroviral therapy and declining AIDS mortality in New York City
Messeri, P., Gunjeong, L., Abramson, D. M., Aidala, A., Chiasson, M. A., & Jessop, D. J.
OBJECTIVE. This study estimates the impact of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) and other antiretroviral therapy combinations on reducing mortality risk for a cohort of HIV-infected persons living in New York City. MATERIALS AND METHODS. Data for this study come from the CHAIN project, an ongoing multiwave longitudinal study of HIV-infected persons is living in New York City (n = 700) initiated in 1994. The study sample is drawn from the clients of 43 medical and social service agencies and is broadly representative of New York City residents, who were aware of their positive serostatus at time of enrollment. Occurrences of deaths were obtained through routine field tracking and searches of death certificates and an online death registry. Information on other study variables was obtained through in-person interviews. A Cox proportional hazard model was applied to estimate the effects of medication on mortality risk. RESULTS. Mortality rates for the CHAIN cohort dropped steadily from a high of 131 deaths per 1000 persons/year in 1995 to 31 deaths per 1000 persons/year in 1999, with the historically low mortality rates continuing through 2000. Current use of HAART was associated with a 50% reduction in mortality risk (hazard ratio = 0.51, P <0.01). CONCLUSIONS. These results demonstrate that in the case of HAART, the therapeutic benefits of an innovative but costly medical treatment are reaching populations that traditionally have poor access to quality health care.