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Understanding Reproductive Healthcare and Outcomes Among Women Veterans: A Review of Recent Research and Future Opportunities

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 2:36pm

Presentation focused on reproductive health issues among women Veterans in VA care. In particular, examines patterns of healthcare utilization for gender-specific conditions among women Veterans, as well as beliefs and preferences for reproductive health care services within the VA healthcare system. Then explores innovative new research aimed at better understanding reproductive health services and outcomes among women Veterans.

Pregnancy and Mental Health Care Among Women Veterans Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 2:36pm

Presentation looking at pregnancy and mental health care in the VA system. Documents a study examining the prevalence of pregnancy care and comparing the mental health diagnoses among pregnant and non-pregnant women in VA care. Then examining the degree to which pregnant veterans receive VA mental health care during their pregnancy. Concludes that pregnant women veterans using VA care have a substantial mental health burden.

Principles of Multidisciplinary Management

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 11:45am

This chapter in the Cancer Concepts textbook describes the principles of multi-disciplinary management, meaning multi-specialty physician management of malignancies. Tumor Boards are the model for multi-disciplinary management. They may be site specific or include the entire spectrum of malignancy. At Tumor Boards, staging workup and treatment recommendations are made collectively, and then the treatments are delivered by the respective modality specialists and their individual teams. Improved clinical decision making leading to superior survival for patients with some diseases and better quality of life has been documented with multi-disciplinary management. Just like curative patients, palliative patients require multi-disciplinary management.

Rapid prototyping amphiphilic polymer/hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds with hydration-induced self-fixation behavior

Mon, 08/11/2014 - 9:17am

Two major factors hampering the broad use of rapid prototyped biomaterials for tissue engineering applications are the requirement for custom-designed or expensive research-grade three-dimensional (3-D) printers and the limited selection of suitable thermoplastic biomaterials exhibiting physical characteristics desired for facile surgical handling and biological properties encouraging tissue integration. Properly designed thermoplastic biodegradable amphiphilic polymers can exhibit hydration-dependent hydrophilicity changes and stiffening behavior, which may be exploited to facilitate the surgical delivery/self-fixation of the scaffold within a physiological tissue environment. Compared to conventional hydrophobic polyesters, they also present significant advantages in blending with hydrophilic osteoconductive minerals with improved interfacial adhesion for bone tissue engineering applications. Here we demonstrated the excellent blending of biodegradable, amphiphilic PLA-PEG-PLA (PELA) triblock co-polymer with hydroxyapatite (HA) and the fabrication of high-quality rapid prototyped 3-D macroporous composite scaffolds using an unmodified consumer-grade 3-D printer. The rapid prototyped HA-PELA composite scaffolds and the PELA control (without HA) swelled (66% and 44% volume increases, respectively) and stiffened (1.38-fold and 4-fold increases in compressive modulus, respectively) in water. To test the hypothesis that the hydration-induced physical changes can translate into self-fixation properties of the scaffolds within a confined defect, a straightforward in vitro pull-out test was designed to quantify the peak force required to dislodge these scaffolds from a simulated cylindrical defect at dry vs. wet states. Consistent with our hypothesis, the peak fixation force measured for the PELA and HA-PELA scaffolds increased 6-fold and 15-fold upon hydration, respectively. Furthermore, we showed that the low-fouling 3-D PELA inhibited the attachment of NIH3T3 fibroblasts or MSCs while the HA-PELA readily supported cellular attachment and osteogenic differentiation. Finally, we demonstrated the feasibility of rapid prototyping biphasic PELA/HA-PELA scaffolds for potential guided bone regeneration where an osteoconductive scaffold interior encouraging osteointegration and a non-adhesive surface discouraging fibrous tissue encapsulation is desired. This work demonstrated that by combining facile and readily translatable rapid prototyping approaches with unique biomaterial designs, biodegradable composite scaffolds with well-controlled macroporosities, spatially defined biological microenvironment, and useful handling characteristics can be developed.

Understanding Health-Care Needs of Sexual and Gender Minority Veterans: How Targeted Research and Policy Can Improve Health

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 10:58am

Given the size of the patient population of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), it is likely the largest single provider of health care for sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals in the United States, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. However, current VHA demographic data-collection strategies limit the understanding of how many SGM veterans there are, thereby making a population-based understanding of the health needs of SGM veterans receiving care in VHA difficult. In this article, we summarize the emergent research findings about SGM veterans and the first initiatives that have been implemented by VHA to promote quality care. Though the research on SGM veterans is in its infancy, it suggests that SGM veterans share some of the health risks noted in veterans generally and also risks associated with SGM status. Some promising resiliency factors have also been identified. These findings have implications for both VHA and non-VHA systems in the treatment of SGM veterans. However, more research on the unique needs of SGM veterans is needed to fully understand their health risks and resiliencies in addition to health-care utilization patterns.

Sourcebook: Women Veterans in the Veterans Health Administration. Volume 2: Sociodemographics and Use of VHA and Non-VA Care (Fee)

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 10:58am

Describes sociodemographic characteristics and health care utilization patterns of women Veteran patients in the VHA. Its primary purpose is to present data to inform policy and program planning as VHA implements and evaluates new ways of providing care to women Veterans. Provides data about women residing in rural versus urban areas and by examining use of health care through VHA’s “Non-VA Care (Fee)” system, which is comprised of services provided to Veterans by non-VHA providers but reimbursed through VHA.

Produced by the Women’s Health Evaluation Initiative, Women’s Health Services, Veterans Health Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington DC.

Cynicism: Incident diabetes and worsening of metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 4:15pm

Objective: To determine if self-reported cynical hostility predicted incident diabetes or increase in number of symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.

Design: Prospective study of a subsample of women (n = 3,658) participating in the Women's Health Initiative Clinical Trial.

Methods: Subjects: Postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79 years at baseline who were enrolled in the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial, Hormone Trial or both. Measures: The Cynicism subscale of the Cook-Medley Hostility Questionnaire was used to assess cynical hostility at baseline. Incident diabetes was ascertained by self-report of treatment with insulin or oral hypoglycemic medication at one year. Metabolic syndrome was defined based on number of Adult Treatment Panel (ATP) III criteria met at one year.Statistical Analysis: The relationship between baseline cynical hostility and incident diabetes and worsening of metabolic syndrome was assessed from baseline to one year using multivariable Cox proportional hazards models and multivariable logistic regression models, respectively.

Results: Incident diabetes was 36% higher among women in the upper tertile for baseline cynical hostility compared to the lowest tertile (p-trend = 0.05). The odds of a worsening of metabolic syndrome was 27% greater in the highest cynical hostility tertile compared to the lowest tertile (p-trend = 0.04).

Conclusions: Cynical hostility may increase the risk for developing diabetes and worsening of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women.

Prevention and Management of Chronic Disease through Worksite Health Promotion

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 4:15pm

Summarizes the rationale and scientific evidence for providing health promotion programs at worksites.

Collaborative Connection to the Past and Future: Introducing an Archival Program and Creating a History and Image Web Exhibit

Thu, 08/07/2014 - 8:33am

Objectives: Establishing an archival program and creating a digital exhibit highlighting the history of an institution provides invaluable outreach and support. There are opportunities for significant collaboration between affiliated organizations by building relationships and sharing expertise. This paper provides a project description and product evaluation of the collaboration between a large academic medical library and archives and an affiliated vaccine manufacturer. The planning, implementation, and outcomes are discussed, with generally applicable components of this project detailed. Finally, recommendations for similar project implementations are given.

Methods and Results: In collaboration with a medical library and archives, an affiliated, historic vaccine manufacturer developed a project to preserve and publicize its long, rich history. While initially there were many goals for the project, an archivist was hired for only 900 hours. Priorities, a timeline, and deliverables had to be negotiated. The result was the development of an institutional archival program and an online history and image exhibit, both serving as powerful outreach and marketing tools. The project had 2 notable components: the establishment of traditional archival procedures and activities, including supporting documentation for future work; and the research, selection, and implementation of an appropriate web platform supporting an image exhibit, comprehensive timeline, and narrative history. By developing a web exhibit, the vaccine manufacturer now has a visible product used for outreach and promotion. The creative manipulation of an open source, simple web service served the needs of the archivist, the institution, and the budget. Collaboration between the manufacturer and the medical school has increased general communication and connection between the two. Finally, by providing very clear guidelines, education, and documentation for the project and all aspects of archival work, invested parties could make more appropriate planning decisions and be better prepared to continue the project in the future. Collaboration, communication, and creativity by all parties grounded and guided this project and are crucial to any success in projects of this type.

Conclusions: The creative use of resources and the creation of clear foundational policies and procedures--while also providing education about the nature, importance, and work expectations of archives--led to valued deliverables and a successful project. While not all initial goals were able to be addressed, by creating realistic expectations and timelines, and producing an appreciated, visible product, the project was ultimately extended with additional funding and labor.

The Society of Behavioral Medicine position statement on the CMS decision memo on intensive behavior therapy for obesity

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity in the primary care setting. The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) Public Policy Leadership Group reviewed the CMS decision and has issued a position statement. SBM is in support of the CMS decision to cover intensive behavior therapy for obesity but expresses significant concern that aspects of the decision will severely limit the impact of the decision. Concerns focus on the degree to which this care can be feasibly implemented in its current form given the limitations in providers who are covered and the short length of counseling visits relative to evidence-based protocols. SBM is in strong support of modifications that would include providers who have expertise in weight control (e.g., psychologists and dietitians) and to expand the treatment time to better match protocols with confirmed efficacy.

Trait anxiety, but not trait anger, predisposes obese individuals to emotional eating

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

The present study examined whether trait anxiety and trait anger are associated with vulnerability to emotional eating, particularly among obese individuals. Lean (n = 37) and obese (n = 24) participants engaged in a laboratory study where they completed measures of trait anxiety and trait anger at screening and then completed 3 counterbalanced experimental sessions involving different mood inductions (neutral, anxiety, anger). Following each mood induction, participants were provided with snack foods in a sham taste test. Models predicting snack intake revealed a significant trait anxietyxbody mass index group interaction, such that high trait anxiety was positively associated with food intake for obese individuals, but not their lean counterparts. Contrary to the hypothesis, trait anger was not associated with food intake for obese or lean participants. Results suggest that trait anxiety may be a risk factor for emotional eating among obese individuals.

Response style and vulnerability to anger-induced eating in obese adults

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

Emotional eating appears to contribute to weight gain, but the characteristics that make one vulnerable to emotional eating remain unclear. The present study examined whether two negative affect response styles, rumination and distraction, influenced palatable food intake following an anger mood induction in normal weight and obese adults. We hypothesized that higher rumination and lower distraction would be associated with greater vulnerability to anger-induced eating, particularly among obese individuals. Sixty-one participants (74% female, mean age=34.6) underwent neutral and anger mood inductions in counterbalanced order. Directly following each mood induction, participants were provided with 2400 kcal of highly palatable snack foods in the context of a laboratory taste test. Results revealed that distraction influenced energy intake following the mood induction for obese but not normal weight individuals. Obese participants who reported greater use of distraction strategies consumed fewer calories than those reporting less use of distraction strategies. These findings were independent of subjective hunger levels, individual differences in mood responses and trait anger, and other factors. Rumination did not account for changes in energy intake among obese or normal weight participants. Among obese individuals, the tendency to utilize fewer negative affect distraction strategies appears to be associated with vulnerability to eating in response to anger. Future research should determine whether coping skills training can reduce emotional eating tendencies.

Time to abandon the notion of personal choice in dietary counseling for obesity

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

De-emphasizing the role of personal choice in dietary counseling for obesity would reduce stigma, but doing so carries the risk of undermining patients' perceived control over their weight loss success. The goal of this commentary is to help dietetics practitioners negotiate this dilemma by presenting a scientifically informed framework that views the personal choices relevant to obesity counseling in terms of three neurobehavioral processes. We argue that applying this framework in dietary counseling can both minimize patient stigma and preserve patients' sense of empowerment.

The current state of lifestyle intervention implementation research: where do we go next

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

Intensive lifestyle interventions are being adopted throughout the nation, and a growing body of research is identifying the settings, circumstances, and processes by which sustainable adoption occurs. Sustainability remains a challenge, although studies are providing important insights into the barriers as well as the playbook to overcoming them... The increasing magnitude of national initiatives and grassroot efforts to implement and disseminate lifestyle interventions over the past 10 years suggests forward movement toward widespread implementation.

Translation of the diabetes prevention program into a community mental health organization for individuals with severe mental illness: a case study

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) have significant health disparities. Wellness services embedded in community mental health organizations could lessen these disparities. This case study illustrates the integration of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) lifestyle intervention into a community mental health organization. The Diffusion of Innovations Theory was used as a model for integration, which included a collaboration between researchers and the organization and qualitative work, culminating in a small pilot of the DPP led by peer specialists to test the feasibility of the DPP in this setting. Fourteen individuals with SMI participated in the 19-week intervention. Three dropped out, but the remaining 11 demonstrated 92% attendance. Weight loss was minimal, but the participants reported benefit and showed continued interest in the intervention. The use of a peer-led DPP in a community mental health organization is feasible and warrants further investigation to demonstrate efficacy.

Can familial factors account for the association of body mass index with poor mental health in men or women

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

OBJECTIVE: This study examined if associations between body mass index (BMI) and mental and physical health were independent of genetic and familial factors.

METHOD: Data from 2831 twins (66% female) were used in an epidemiological co-twin control design with measures of BMI and mental and physical health outcomes. Generalized estimating equation regressions assessed relationships between BMI and health outcomes controlling for interdependency among twins and demographics. Within-pair regression analyses examined the association of BMI with health outcomes controlling for genetic and familial influences.

RESULTS: Adjusted analyses with individual twins found associations in women between BMI and perceived stress (P=.01) and depression (P=.002), and the link between BMI and depression (P=.03) was significant in men. All physical health outcomes were significantly related to BMI. Once genetic and familial factors were taken into account, mental health outcomes were no longer significantly associated with BMI. BMI in women remained related to ratings of physical health (P=.01) and body pain (P=.004), independent of genetic and familial influences.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that genetic and familial factors may account for the relationship between increased weight and poor mental health.

Indoor tanning and tanning dependence in young people after a diagnosis of basal cell carcinoma

Wed, 08/06/2014 - 4:45pm

Individuals who have had basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are at high risk of subsequent BCCs and melanoma. Indoor tanning is an established risk factor for BCC, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. As such, continuing to tan indoors after a BCC diagnosis may elevate one’s risk for future skin cancers. Skin cancer survivors have sun protection behaviors that are similar to those of the general population, but little is known about their indoor tanning behavior. Notably, research suggests that some individuals develop tanning dependence, analogous to substance dependence,which could be related to continued indoor tanning. To understand better the patterns of and reasons for indoor tanning after BCC diagnosis, we assessed indoor tanning and symptoms of tanning dependence in people who had received at least 1 BCC diagnosis before age 40 years.