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A randomized controlled trial of varying radiation doses in the treatment of choroidal melanoma

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVE: To determine if a reduction in proton radiation dose from the standard dose of 70 cobalt gray equivalents (CGE) to 50 CGE would decrease radiation-induced complications, thereby improving visual prognosis, without compromising local tumor control for patients with uveal melanoma at high risk of these complications.

DESIGN: Randomized, double-masked clinical trial.

PARTICIPANTS: A total of 188 patients with small or medium-sized choroidal melanomas (height) near the optic disc or macula (within 4 disc diameters of either structure).

METHODS: Patients were treated with proton beam therapy at doses of either 50 CGE or 70 CGE between October 1989 and July 1994, and followed up biannually through April 1998. Outcomes included visual acuity, radiation complications, melanoma recurrence, and metastasis.

RESULTS: Proportions of patients retaining visual acuity of at least 20/200 were similar in the 2 dose groups at 5 years after radiation (approximately 55%). Similar numbers of patients in each group experienced tumor regrowth (2 patients at 50 CGE vs 3 patients at 70 CGE; P>.99) and metastasis (7 patients at 50 CGE vs 8 patients at 70 CGE;P=.79). Five-year rates of radiation maculopathy also were similar (for both groups, approximately 75% for tumors within 1 disc diameter and 40% for tumors >1 disc diameter from the macula). Rates of radiation papillopathy were nonsignificantly decreased in the 50-CGE treatment group when tumors were located 1 disc diameter or less from the optic disc (P=.20). Patients treated with the lower dose also experienced significantly less visual field loss.

CONCLUSIONS: This level of dose reduction did not result in a lesser degree of visual acuity loss. The lower-dose group did experience significantly less visual field loss. Local tumor recurrence and metastatic death rates were similar in both dose groups.

The Chinese version of the Parenting Stress Index: a psychometric study

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

This study examined the psychometric properties of a Chinese version of the Parenting Stress Index/Short Form (PSI/SF). A 15-item simplified PSI/SF (S-PSI/SF) was subsequently developed which maintained a level of reliability and validity similar to the full version. The Chinese PSI/SF was tested on 149 parents (100 mothers, 49 fathers) of pediatric cancer patients in Taiwan. Psychometric testing was conducted using item analysis, Cronbach's alpha and confirmatory factor analysis. The S-PSI/SF was constructed based on the item analysis of the PSI/SF. Both the PSI/SF and S-PSI/SF produced good reliability coefficients. Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that both PSI/SF and S-PSI/SF met all criteria for goodness of fit. Compared with the PSI/SF, the S-PSI/SF demonstrated better internal consistency and overall fit at the one-subscale level, and satisfactory overall fit at two- and three-subscale levels. Despite the limited number of items included, the S-PSI/SF had a very good factor structure. No gender difference in parenting distress index was observed between mothers and fathers of pediatric cancer patients. Conclusion: The 15-item S-PSI/SF is a brief, easily administered instrument that has evidence of reliability and validity in Taiwanese parents of children with cancer. It could serve as a valuable assessment tool in clinical practice to identify parenting stress with a need for intervention.

Pediatric violence-related injuries in Boston: results of a city-wide emergency department surveillance program

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

CONTEXT: Violence-related injuries among children are common, but age-based incidence data are not easily available.

OBJECTIVES: To describe injuries due to violence in a population-based case series of children and to estimate injury incidence.

DESIGN: Prospective surveillance of children residing in Boston, Mass, who received pediatric emergency department treatment for violence-related injury during a 4-year period beginning April 15, 1995.

SETTING: Pediatric emergency departments in Boston.

PATIENTS: Children aged 3 through 18 years who came to a hospital emergency department between April 1995 and April 1999. Violence-related injuries were defined as those resulting from a situation of conflict involving 2 or more persons with intent to harm, as assessed by health care personnel caring for the patients. Self-inflicted injuries and injuries caused by child abuse (including any injury resulting from a conflict with a parent or guardian) were excluded. Homicides of Boston children aged 3 through 18 years who were killed during the study period were included based on police data.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Population-based violence-related injury rates.

RESULTS: There were 2035 injury-related visits caused by violence, which reflects a rate of 52.7 (95% confidence interval, 50.5-54.9) per 10 000 person-years. Most injuries were relatively minor; 6.4% of visits resulted in admission. The youth violence-related injury rate in Boston declined at an average rate of 12% annually during the period studied.

CONCLUSION: Pediatric emergency department monitoring of violence-related injury in Boston suggests that childhood injuries due to violence declined during the late 1990s.

Prevention of experimental choroidal neovascularization with intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody fragment

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of intravitreal injections of an antigen-binding fragment of a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody directed toward vascular endothelial growth factor (rhuFab VEGF) in a monkey model of choroidal neovascularization (CNV).

METHODS: In phase 1 of the study, each animal received intravitreal injections, 500 microg per eye, of rhuFab VEGF in one eye (prevention eye), while the contralateral eye received rhuFab VEGF vehicle (control eye) at 2-week intervals. On day 21, laser photocoagulation was performed to induce CNV. In phase 2, the vehicle-treated eye was crossed over and both eyes received 500 microg of rhuFab VEGF beginning 21 days following laser-induced injury at days 42 and 56. The eyes were monitored by ophthalmic examinations, color photographs, and fluorescein angiography.

RESULTS: rhuFab VEGF did not cause any ocular hemorrhages. All eyes treated with rhuFab VEGF developed acute anterior chamber inflammation within 24 hours of the first injection that resolved within 1 week, and this inflammation was less severe with subsequent injections. The incidence of CNV, defined angiographically, was significantly lower in the prevention eyes than the control eyes (P<.001). Subsequent treatments were associated with less leakage in eyes with established CNV that were crossed over from the control eyes to the treatment eyes (P =.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Intravitreal rhuFab VEGF injections prevented formation of clinically significant CNV in cynomolgus monkeys and decreased leakage of already formed CNV with no significant toxic effects.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: This study provides the nonclinical proof of principle for ongoing clinical studies of intravitreally injected rhuFab VEGF in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration.

Prescription drug coverage and seniors: how well are states closing the gap

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

As policymakers debate adding a drug benefit to Medicare, many states are attempting to provide drug coverage for low-income seniors through Medicaid and state-funded pharmacy assistance programs. This 2001 survey of seniors in eight states finds marked differences among states in the percentage of seniors with coverage and in the sources providing coverage. Among low-income seniors, a range of 20 percent (New York and California) to 38 percent (Michigan and Texas) lacked drug coverage. In all states Medicaid was an important source of coverage for the poor, but the depth of Medicaid drug coverage varied widely across states. Even states with pharmacy assistance programs fell far short of closing the prescription coverage gap for low-income seniors. Finally, the study finds that classifying beneficiaries as either having coverage or not misses major differences in depth of coverage, with some sources of coverage appearing only marginally better than no coverage at all. With erosion of state and private sources of prescription benefits expected, the findings speak to the need for a national policy solution.

Long-term risk of local failure after proton therapy for choroidal/ciliary body melanoma

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

PURPOSE: To quantitate long-term risk of local treatment failure after proton irradiation of choroidal/ciliary body melanomas and to evaluate risk of metastasis-related deaths after local failure.

METHODS: We followed prospectively 1,922 patients treated at the Harvard Cyclotron between January 1975 and December 1996 for local recurrences of their tumors. Mortality surveillance was completed through June 1999. For analysis, patient follow-up continued until tumor regrowth was detected or, in patients without recurrence, until the date of the last dilated examination prior to April 1998. Actuarial methods were used to calculate rates of recurrence and metastatic deaths. Cox regression models were constructed to evaluate risk factors for these outcomes.

RESULTS: Median ocular follow-up after irradiation was 5.2 years. Local recurrence was documented in 45 patients by ultrasound and/or sequential fundus photographs; in 17 more patients, the eye was enucleated due to suspected but unconfirmed tumor growth. Recurrences were documented between 2 months and 11.3 years after irradiation. The 5- and 10-year rates of regrowth, including suspected cases, were 3.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5%-4.2%), and 4.3% (95% CI, 3.3%-5.6%). Among the 45 documented recurrences, about one half (21) occurred at the margin, presumably due to treatment planning errors. The remaining cases represented extrascleral extensions (nine cases), ring melanomas (six cases), or uncontrolled tumor (nine cases). Recurrence of the tumor was independently related to risk of tumor-related death.

CONCLUSION: These data, based on relatively long-term follow-up, demonstrate that excellent local control is maintained after proton therapy and that patients with recurrences experience poorer survival.

Evidence-based estimates of outcome in patients irradiated for intraocular melanoma

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: Melanoma of the eye is the only potentially fatal ocular malignancy in adults. Until radiation therapy gained wide acceptance in the 1980s, enucleation was the standard treatment for the tumor. Long-term results after proton beam irradiation are now available.

METHODS: We developed risk score equations to estimate probabilities of the 4 principal treatment outcomes-local tumor recurrence, death from metastasis, retention of the treated eye, and vision loss-based on an analysis of 2069 patients treated with proton beam radiation for intraocular melanoma between July 10, 1975, and December 31, 1997. Median follow-up in surviving patients was 9.4 years.

RESULTS: Tumor regrowth occurred in 60 patients, and 95% of tumors (95% confidence interval, 93%-96%) were controlled locally at 15 years. Risk scores were developed for the other 3 outcomes studied. Overall, the treated eye was retained by 84% of patients (95% confidence interval, 80%-87%) at 15 years. The probabilities for vision loss (visual acuity worse than 20/200) ranged from 100% to 20% at 10 years and for death from tumor metastases from 95% to 35% at 15 years, depending on the risk group.

CONCLUSIONS: High-dose radiation treatment was highly effective in achieving local control of intraocular melanomas. In most cases, the eye was salvaged, and functional vision was retained in many patients. The mortality rate was high in an identifiable subset of patients who may benefit from adjuvant therapies directed at microscopic liver metastases.

Tumor basal area and metastatic death after proton beam irradiation for choroidal melanoma

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: Tumor dimension is an established prognostic factor for metastasis-related death after radiotherapy for uveal melanoma.

OBJECTIVE: To compare various methods of modeling the relationship between tumor dimension and metastatic death.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: The analyses were based on a consecutive series of 1204 patients with primary choroidal melanoma treated with proton beam irradiation (70 cobalt-gray equivalent in 5 fractions) at the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory, Boston, Mass, between January 1985 and December 1998. Largest basal diameter and largest perpendicular basal diameter were recorded at the time of surgical placement of tantalum rings used for tumor localization during proton treatment. The height of the tumor and the axial diameter of the eye were measured by ultrasonography prior to treatment. Using proportional hazards regression, we compared the prognostic influence of different indices of tumor size with estimated risk ratios and death rates according to tumor basal area and largest basal diameter. All estimates were adjusted for other established prognostic factors.

RESULTS: Patients were followed up annually through June 30, 2000. Of the 1204 patients analyzed, 193 died of melanoma metastasis. The median follow-up among survivors was 7.9 years. The 5- and 10-year metastatic death rates were 12.8% and 20.7%, respectively. Among various approaches for modeling tumor dimension, the logarithm of tumor basal area had the highest log-likelihood and performed better than other approaches in 85% of the simulations. Based on this model, the covariate-adjusted rate ratio for any doubling in tumor basal area was 1.92 (95% confidence interval, 1.62-2.28).

CONCLUSION: Tumor basal area is a better prognostic indicator than largest tumor diameter and tumor volume in the prediction of metastatic death after proton beam irradiation for uveal melanoma.

Body-composition changes in the simian immunodeficiency virus-infected juvenile rhesus macaque

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: Body-composition changes are common in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus. The purpose of the present study was to measure, as a model of wasting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), longitudinal body-composition changes in macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV).

METHODS: Twelve juvenile macaques were inoculated with SIVmac239. Immunologic, virologic, somatometric, and dual-energy x-ray-absorptiometry measurements were performed prospectively every 4 weeks for 72 weeks and were compared to measurements taken from 8 uninfected control macaques.

RESULTS: During the first 4 weeks, body-fat percentage decreased in the SIV-infected macaques while lean-tissue percentage increased; during weeks 4-72, these macaques lost a greater percentage of total fat tissue but had more subcutaneous-fat deposition than did the uninfected control macaques. Just prior to death, the SIV-infected macaques that died (n=7) had a greater loss in body-mass index, abdominal fat, fat tissue, and lean tissue, compared with that in SIV-infected macaques that survived (n=5).

CONCLUSIONS: Body-composition changes in SIV-infected juvenile macaques exhibit 3 phases: during acute infection, loss of body weight from fat tissue; a compensation period during which macaques grow, but at a reduced rate; and a terminal phase, during which tissue is lost from all body compartments. The SIV-infected juvenile macaque provides a useful model for the investigation of wasting in AIDS, particularly for pediatric AIDS wasting.

A new method for evaluating the quality of medical interpretation

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVES: To develop and implement a method to evaluate the quality of medical interpretation in a pediatric outpatient setting and explore the patterns and correlates of errors and failures in translation.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS: Observational study of a convenience sample of 13 Spanish-speaking families attending pediatric outpatient clinics at an urban teaching hospital, their English-speaking providers, and interpreters. Visits were audiotaped and transcribed. The transcripts were divided into segments consisting of continuous sections of dialogue in a single language, plus any translation of that dialogue, and segments were coded for characteristics of the translation, word count, and the identity of the speakers.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Translation quality on an ordinal scale derived from a set of nominal codes.

RESULTS: We found that 66.1% of segments in which translation should have occurred were translated with substantial errors or omissions or not translated at all. In 29.8% of segments, the interpreter engaged in speech unrelated to interpretation. Quality of interpretation was inversely associated with the word count per segment and, independently, whether the interpreter engaged in speech acts which did not consist of interpretation, which we call "role exchange." We give several examples and qualitative discussion of "role exchange" and show that it not necessarily associated with mistranslation but may have egregious consequences.

CONCLUSIONS: Interpreters who lack appropriate training fail to interpret accurately. Engaging in speech behaviors other than interpreting is associated with a higher rate of errors.

Better physician-patient relationships are associated with higher reported adherence to antiretroviral therapy in patients with HIV infection

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: There is little evidence to support the widely accepted assertion that better physician-patient relationships result in higher rates of adherence with recommended therapies.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether and which aspects of a better physician-patient relationship are associated with higher rates of adherence with antiretroviral therapies for persons with HIV infection.

DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis.

SETTING: Twenty-two outpatient HIV practices in a metropolitan area.

PARTICIPANTS: Five hundred fifty-four patients with HIV infection taking antiretroviral medications.

MEASUREMENTS: We measured adherence using a 4-item self-report scale (alpha= 0.75). We measured core aspects of physician-patient relationships using 6 previously tested scales (general communication, HIV-specific information, participatory decision making, overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend physician, and physician trust; alpha > 0.70 for all) and 1 new scale, adherence dialogue (alpha= 0.92). For adherence dialogue, patients rated their physician at understanding and solving problems with antiretroviral therapy regimens.

RESULTS: Mean patient age was 42 years, 15% were female, 73% were white, and 57% reported gay or bisexual sexual contact as their primary HIV risk factor. In multivariable models that accounted for the clustering of patients within physicians' practices, 6 of the 7 physician-patient relationship quality variables were significantly (P < .05) associated with adherence. In all 7 models worse adherence was independently associated (P < .05) with lower age, not believing in the importance of antiretroviral therapy, and worse mental health.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that multiple, mutable dimensions of the physician-patient relationship were associated with medication adherence in persons with HIV infection, suggesting that physician-patient relationship quality is a potentially important point of intervention to improve patients' medication adherence. In addition, our data suggest that it is critical to investigate and incorporate patients' belief systems about antiretroviral therapy into adherence discussions, and to identify and treat mental disorders.

Kinetics of Cryptosporidium parvum-specific cytokine responses in healing and nonhealing murine models of C. parvum infection

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

Susceptibility or resistance to infection with Cryptosporidium parvum correlates with the ability of mice to produce characteristic panels of cytokines in response to infection. Both adult healing and nonhealing mouse models of cryptosporidiosis were used to study the cell-mediated immune response during the course of C. parvum infection. Mesenteric lymph node (MLN) lymphocytes from both mouse models were proliferated after ex vivo re-stimulation with C. parvum sporozoite antigen. Study of the cytokine profile from the supernatant of proliferated MLN cells revealed that healing mice produced greater levels of Th1 (IFN-gamma and IL-2) and moderate amounts of Th2 (IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10) cytokines throughout the course of infection. Whereas, MLN cells from nonhealing mice produced no IFN-gamma, low levels of IL-2 and IL-4, and higher levels of IL-5, IL-6, and IL-10 cytokines. These results suggest that the capacity to produce both Th1 and Th2 cytokines, rather than the presence of Th2 cytokines alone, determines the effective immune response against C. parvum infection.

The effect of micronutrient supplementation on disease progression and death in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected juvenile male rhesus macaques

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: We investigated the impact that micronutrient supplementation has on the progression of simian acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (SAIDS).

METHODS: Twenty-four simian immunodeficiency virus-infected juvenile male rhesus macaques were randomized into 2 groups. One group was given certified chow, and the other group was given chow and a supplement that contained 2-3 times the estimated nutritional requirement of micronutrients. Virological, immunological, and body composition measurements were taken every 4 weeks for 120 weeks.

RESULTS: There was no difference between groups in weight gain, body mass index (BMI), crown-heel length, waist circumference, total tissue mass, lean mass, bone mineral content, or bone mineral density. The rhesus macaques on the supplemented diet had a higher death rate (hazard ratio, 2.39; P<.001) than those on the nonsupplemented diet; death in both groups was associated with a higher viral load set point during the early phase of infection. Additionally, higher body weight, BMI, crown-rump length, and lower viral load set point were protective from death in both groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Micronutrient supplementation did not significantly alter the progression of SAIDS with respect to changes in body composition and immunological characteristics. A significantly higher rate of death was observed in rhesus macaques on the supplemented diet.

A pilot study of antibiotic cycling in the community hospital setting

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVE: To assess the feasibility of a quarterly antibiotic cycling program at two community hospitals and to evaluate its safety and impact on antibiotic use, expenditures, and resistance. DESIGN: Nonrandomized, longitudinal cohort study. SETTING: Two community hospitals, one teaching and one non-teaching. PATIENTS: Adult medical and surgical inpatients requiring empiric antibiotic therapy. INTERVENTION: We developed and implemented a treatment protocol for the empiric therapy of common infections. Between July 2000 and June 2002, antibiotics were cycled quarterly; quinolones, beta-lactam-inhibitor combinations, and cephalosporins were used. Protocol adherence, adverse drug events, nosocomial infections, antibiotic use and expenditures, resistance among clinical isolates, and length of stay were assessed during eight quarters. RESULTS: Physicians adhered to the protocol for more than 96% of 2,494 eligible patients. No increases in nosocomial infections or adverse drug events were attributed to the cycling protocol. Antibiotic acquisition costs increased 31%; there was a 14.7% increase in antibiotic use. Length of stay declined by 1 day. Quarterly variability in the prevalence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci and ceftazidime resistance among combined gram-negative organisms were noted. CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of an antibiotic cycling program is feasible in a community hospital setting. No adverse safety concerns were identified. Antibiotic cycling was more expensive, partly due to an increase in antibiotic use to optimize initial empiric therapy. Quarterly antibiogram patterns suggested that antibiotic cycling may have impacted resistance, although the small number of isolates precluded statistical analysis. Further assessment of this approach is necessary to determine its relationship to antimicrobial resistance.

Conservation treatment of the eye: Conformal proton reirradiation for recurrent uveal melanoma

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

PURPOSE: To evaluate the outcomes of a second course of proton beam radiation therapy (PBRT) in patients with recurrent uveal melanoma. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Thirty-one patients received a second course of PBRT. The mean interval between the first and the second PBRT course was 50.2 months (range, 8-165 months). Most patients (87%) received 70 cobalt Gray equivalent (CGE) for both courses. Visual acuity was 20/200 or better in 30 patients initially and in 22 patients at the second treatment. The mean follow-up time after the second treatment was 50 months (range, 6-164 months). RESULTS: At the time of the last follow-up, 20 patients were classified as having no evidence of disease, defined as tumor regression or an absence of tumor progression. Nine eyes (29%) were enucleated because of local recurrence (n = 5) or intractable pain (n = 4). The 5-year eye retention rate was 55% (95% confidence interval: 25.2-77.4). Six of the 22 patients who retained the eye (27%) had useful vision (20/200 or better). CONCLUSIONS: A second course of PBRT for recurrent uveal melanoma to total doses between 118 and 140 CGE was associated with a relatively good probability of local control and a low enucleation rate. Although most patients lost vision, the majority were able to retain the reirradiated eye. Further evaluation is needed to assess metastasis-free survival of additional proton irradiation vs. enucleation after local recurrence.

Demographic, geographic, and temporal patterns of ambulance runs for suspected opiate overdose in Rhode Island, 1997-20021

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

We examine ambulance runs for suspected opiate overdose from 1997 to 2002 using a Rhode Island Department of Health database. Of the 8,763 ambulance runs for overdoses, 18.6% were for suspected opiate overdoses. Most cases were males under age 54. Suspected opiate overdoses were more likely to occur in a private residence, were more frequent on Fridays and Saturdays, and peaked in incidence around 9:00 p.m. The incidence rate of suspected opiate overdose by year was similar. The study results may help identify areas for preventive intervention and demonstrate the limitation of using naloxone as a marker of opiate overdose events.

Factors contributing to spontaneous Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

BACKGROUND: A cohort of SIV-infected macaques had been used to investigate the effect of dietary supplement, immune status, SIV/AIDS disease progression and serum micronutrients levels on spontaneous acquisition of Enterocytozoon bieneusi infection in SIV-infected macaques. METHODS: Twenty-four SIV-infected macaques were randomized into 2 groups. One group received a vitamin/mineral supplementation and a second group received a placebo. Both groups were examined for E. bieneusi infection. RESULTS: SIV-infected macaques were more prone to acquire E. bieneusi with the progression of SIV/AIDS, and the increased shedding of infectious spores was directly associated with decreased CD4 lymphocyte and increased circulating SIV, in both supplemented and unsupplemented groups of animals. Dietary supplementation, body composition factors and serum micronutrients levels however had no association with the acquisition of E. bieneusi infection in these animals. CONCLUSIONS: Acquisition of E. bieneusi infection is related to SIV disease progression, CD4 counts and viral load but independent of changes in body composition and serum micronutrient levels.

Outdoor falls among middle-aged and older adults: a neglected public health problem

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

OBJECTIVES: Although risk factors for indoor falls among older individuals have been well studied, little is known about the etiology of outdoor falls. We examined risk factors for outdoor falls among middle-aged and older adults. METHODS: We analyzed data on the most recent fall during the past year among participants aged 45 years and older in the control group (N=2193) of a case-control study of fractures. The study was conducted at 5 Northern California Kaiser Permanente Medical Centers between 1996 and 2001. RESULTS: Falls occurred outdoors more often than indoors among most age groups. Study participants who reported more leisure-time physical activity had a higher risk for outdoor falls, and participants who were in poorer health had a greater risk for indoor falls. Most outdoor falls (73%) were precipitated by environmental factors, such as uneven surfaces and tripping or slipping on objects, and usually occurred on sidewalks, curbs, and streets. Walking (47.3%) was the most common fall-related activity. CONCLUSIONS: Outdoor falls among adults aged 45 years and older were frequently attributable to modifiable environmental factors. With the widespread promotion of active lifestyles among older people, improvements in their outdoor environment are urgently needed.

A diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol accelerates simian immunodeficiency virus disease progression

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:01am

Several lines of evidence suggest that dietary fat and cholesterol may play a role in the pathogenesis of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and disease progression. We examined the effect that an atherogenic diet (AD) high in saturated fatty acids and cholesterol has on disease progression and systemic inflammation in the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaque model of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Macaques fed an AD had significantly more rapid disease progression, resulting in an increased risk of SIV-related death compared with that in control macaques (hazard ratio, 5.4 [95% confidence interval, 1.7-17.0]; P<.001). Peak viral load was higher in the AD group compared with control values, but further statistically significant differences were not detected at viral set point. The baseline plasma interleukin-18 level after 6 months of the AD was predictive of disease progression. Our findings may have important implications for HIV-infected individuals, because they suggest that dietary changes and manipulation of lipid metabolism could offer potential benefits by slowing disease progression.