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Nonenzymatic glycosylation of erythrocyte membrane proteins. Relevance to diabetes

Thu, 04/16/2015 - 12:55pm

Nonenzymatic glycosylation of proteins of the erythrocyte membrane was determined by incubating erythrocyte ghosts with [3H]borohydride. The incorporation of tritium into protein provides a reliable assay of ketoamine linkages. The membrane proteins from 18 patients with diabetes incorporated twice as much radioactivity as membrane proteins from normal erythrocytes. After acid hydrolysis, amino acid analysis showed that the majority of radioactivity was localized to glucosyllysine. Autoradiograms showed that all of the major proteins of the erythrocyte membrane, separated by electrophoresis on sodium dodecyl sulfate gels, contained ketoamine linkages. No protein bands in either normal or diabetic erythrocytes showed significant preferential labeling. Erythrocyte membranes from three patients with hemolytic anemia showed reduced incorporation of tritium from [3H]-borohydride, indicating decreased nonenzymatic glycosylation. Two patients with diabetes and hemolytic anemia had incorporation of radioactivity similar to that of normal individuals. In these groups of patients the incorporation of tritium into erythrocyte membrane proteins correlated with levels of hemoglobin AIc. Thus the modification of membrane proteins like that of hemoglobin depends on blood glucose levels as well as erythrocyte age. These studies show that the enhanced nonenzymatic glycosylation of proteins in diabetics extends beyond hemoglobin to the proteins of the erythrocyte membrane and probably affects other proteins that have slow turnover and are exposed to high concentrations of glucose.

UMCCTS Newsletter, April 2015

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 8:51am

This is the April 2015 issue of the UMass Center for Clinical and Translational Science Newsletter containing news and events of interest.

eScholarship@UMMS Digital Collections Policy

Mon, 04/13/2015 - 9:00pm

This policy articulates the scope and selection factors for the creation, collection, organization, dissemination, and management of digital content through eScholarship@UMMS, UMass Medical School's digital archive of research and scholarship.

A Virtual World Versus Face-to-Face Intervention Format to Promote Diabetes Self-Management Among African American Women: A Pilot Randomized Clinical Trial

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

BACKGROUND: Virtual world environments have the potential to increase access to diabetes self-management interventions and may lower cost.

OBJECTIVE: We tested the feasibility and comparative effectiveness of a virtual world versus a face-to-face diabetes self-management group intervention.

METHODS: We recruited African American women with type 2 diabetes to participate in an 8-week diabetes self-management program adapted from Power to Prevent, a behavior-change in-person group program for African Americans with diabetes or pre-diabetes. The program is social cognitive theory-guided, evidence-based, and culturally tailored. Participants were randomized to participate in the program via virtual world (Second Life) or face-to-face, both delivered by a single intervention team. Blinded assessors conducted in-person clinical (HbA1c), behavioral, and psychosocial measurements at baseline and 4-month follow-up. Pre-post differences within and between intervention groups were assessed using t tests and chi-square tests (two-sided and intention-to-treat analyses for all comparisons).

RESULTS: Participants (N = 89) were an average of 52 years old (SD 10), 60% had < /=high school, 82% had household incomes < US $30,000, and computer experience was variable. Overall session attendance was similar across the groups (6.8/8 sessions, P = .90). Compared to face-to-face, virtual world was slightly superior for total activity, light activity, and inactivity (P = .05, P = .07, and P = .025, respectively). HbA1c reduction was significant within face-to-face (-0.46, P = 02) but not within virtual world (-0.31, P = .19), although there were no significant between group differences in HbA1c (P = .52). In both groups, 14% fewer patients had post-intervention HbA1c > /=9% (virtual world P = .014; face-to-face P = .002), with no significant between group difference (P = .493). Compared to virtual world, face-to-face was marginally superior for reducing depression symptoms (P = .051). The virtual world intervention costs were US $1117 versus US $931 for face-to-face. CONCLUSIONS: It is feasible to deliver diabetes self-management interventions to inner city African American women via virtual worlds, and outcomes may be comparable to those of face-to-face interventions. Further effectiveness research is warranted.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01340079; (Archived by WebCite at

Municipal Officials' Participation in Built Environment Policy Development in the United States

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

Purpose. This study examined municipal officials' participation in built environment policy initiatives focused on land use design, transportation, and parks and recreation.

Design. Web-based cross-sectional survey.

Setting. Eighty-three municipalities with 50,000 or more residents in eight states. Subjects. Four hundred fifty-three elected and appointed municipal officials.

Measures. Outcomes included self-reported participation in land use design, transportation, and parks and recreation policy to increase physical activity. Independent variables included respondent position; perceptions of importance, barriers, and beliefs regarding physical activity and community design and layout; and physical activity partnership participation.

Analysis. Multivariable logistic regression models.

Results. Compared to other positions, public health officials had lower participation in land use design (78.3% vs. 29.0%), transportation (78.1% vs. 42.1%), and parks and recreation (67.1% vs. 26.3%) policy. Perceived limited staff was negatively associated with participation in each policy initiative. Perceptions of the extent to which physical activity was considered in community design and physical activity partnership participation were positively associated with participation in each. Perceived lack of collaboration was associated with less land use design and transportation policy participation, and awareness that community design affects physical activity was associated with more participation. Perceived lack of political will was associated with less parks and recreation policy participation.

Conclusion. Public health officials are underrepresented in built environment policy initiatives. Improving collaborations may improve municipal officials' policy participation.

The home environment and childhood obesity in low-income households: indirect effects via sleep duration and screen time

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity disproportionally affects children from low-income households. With the aim of informing interventions, this study examined pathways through which the physical and social home environment may promote childhood overweight/obesity in low-income households.

METHODS: Data on health behaviors and the home environment were collected at home visits in low-income, urban households with either only normal weight (n = 48) or predominantly overweight/obese (n = 55) children aged 6-13 years. Research staff conducted comprehensive, in-person audits of the foods, media, and sports equipment in each household. Anthropometric measurements were collected, and children's physical activity was assessed through accelerometry. Caregivers and children jointly reported on child sleep duration, screen time, and dietary intake of foods previously implicated in childhood obesity risk. Path analysis was used to test direct and indirect associations between the home environment and child weight status via the health behaviors assessed.

RESULTS: Sleep duration was the only health behavior associated with child weight status (OR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.27, 0.77), with normal weight children sleeping 33.3 minutes/day longer on average than overweight/obese children. The best-fitting path model explained 26% of variance in child weight status, and included paths linking chaos in the home environment, lower caregiver screen time monitoring, inconsistent implementation of bedtime routines, and the presence of a television in children's bedrooms to childhood overweight/obesity through effects on screen time and sleep duration.

CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to the existing literature by identifying aspects of the home environment that influence childhood weight status via indirect effects on screen time and sleep duration in children from low-income households. Pediatric weight management interventions for low-income households may be improved by targeting aspects of the physical and social home environment associated with sleep.

Brief provider communication skills training fails to impact patient hypertension outcomes

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

OBJECTIVES: Hypertension remains a prevalent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and improved medication adherence leads to better blood pressure (BP) control. We sought to improve medication adherence and hypertension outcomes among patients with uncontrolled BP through communication skills training targeting providers.

METHODS: We conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effects of a communication skills intervention for primary care doctors compared to usual care controls, on the outcomes of BP (systolic, diastolic), patient self-reported medication adherence, and provider counseling, assessed at baseline and post-intervention. We enrolled 379 patients with uncontrolled BP; 203 (54%) with follow-up data comprised our final sample. We performed random effects least squares regression analyses to examine whether the provider training improved outcomes, using clinics as the unit of randomization.

RESULTS: In neither unadjusted nor multivariate analyses were significant differences in change detected from baseline to follow-up in provider counseling, medication adherence or BP, for the intervention versus control groups.

CONCLUSION: The intervention did not improve the outcomes; it may have been too brief and lacked sufficient practice level changes to impact counseling, adherence or BP.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Future intervention efforts may require more extensive provider training, along with broader systematic changes, to improve patient outcomes.

The association between dietary inflammatory index and risk of colorectal cancer among postmenopausal women: results from the Women's Health Initiative

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

PURPOSE: Inflammation is a process central to carcinogenesis and in particular to colorectal cancer (CRC). Previously, we developed a dietary inflammatory index (DII) from extensive literature review to assess the inflammatory potential of diet. In the current study, we utilized this novel index in the Women's Health Initiative to prospectively evaluate its association with risk of CRC in postmenopausal women.

METHODS: The DII was calculated from baseline food frequency questionnaires administered to 152,536 women aged 50-79 years without CRC at baseline between 1993 and 1998 and followed through 30 September 2010. Incident CRC cases were ascertained through a central physician adjudication process. Multiple covariate-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) for colorectal, colon (proximal/distal locations), and rectal cancer risk, by DII quintiles (Q).

RESULTS: During an average 11.3 years of follow-up, a total of 1,920 cases of CRC (1,559 colon and 361 rectal) were identified. Higher DII scores (representing a more pro-inflammatory diet) were associated with an increased incidence of CRC (HRQ5-Q1 1.22; 95 % CI 1.05, 1.43; p trend = 0.02) and colon cancer, specifically proximal colon cancer (HRQ5-Q1 1.35; 95 % CI 1.05, 1.67; p trend = 0.01) but not distal colon cancer (HRQ5-Q1 0.84; 95 % CI 0.61, 1.18; p trend = 0.63) or rectal cancer (HRQ5-Q1 1.20; 95 % CI 0.84, 1.72; p trend = 0.65).

CONCLUSION: Consumption of pro-inflammatory diets is associated with an increased risk of CRC, especially cancers located in the proximal colon. The absence of a significant association for distal colon cancer and rectal cancer may be due to the small number of incident cases for these sites. Interventions that may reduce the inflammatory potential of the diet are warranted to test our findings, thus providing more information for colon cancer prevention.

A television in the bedroom is associated with higher weekday screen time among youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD)

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

OBJECTIVE: A TV in the bedroom has been associated with screen time in youth. Youth with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) have higher rates of screen time, but associations with bedroom TVs are unknown in this population. We examined the association of having a bedroom TV with screen time among youth with ADD/ADHD.

METHODS: Data were from the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health. Youth 6-17 years whose parent/guardian reported a physician's diagnosis of ADD/ADHD (n = 7,024) were included in the analysis. Parents/guardians reported the presence of a bedroom TV and average weekday TV screen time. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models assessed the effects of a bedroom on screen time.

RESULTS: Youth with ADD/ADHD engaged in screen time an average of 149.1 minutes/weekday and 59% had a TV in their bedroom. Adjusting for child and family characteristics, having a TV in the bedroom was associated with 25 minutes higher daily screen time (95% CI: 12.8-37.4 min/day). A bedroom TV was associated with 32% higher odds of engaging in screen time for over 2 hours/day (OR = 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0-1.7).

CONCLUSION: Future research should explore whether removing TVs from bedrooms reduces screen time among youth with ADD/ADHD.

An internet-based diabetes management platform improves team care and outcomes in an urban latino population

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

OBJECTIVE: To compare usual diabetes care (UDC) to a comprehensive diabetes care intervention condition (IC) involving an Internet-based "diabetes dashboard" management tool used by clinicians.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We used a parallel-group randomized design. Diabetes nurses, diabetes dietitians, and providers used the diabetes dashboard as a clinical decision support system to deliver a five-visit, 6-month intervention to 199 poorly controlled (HbA1c > 7.5% [58 mmol/mol]) Latino type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients (mean age 55 years, 60% female) at urban community health centers. We compared this intervention to an established, in-house UDC program (n = 200) for its impact on blood glucose control and psychosocial outcomes.

RESULTS: Recruitment and retention rates were 79.0 and 88.5%, respectively. Compared with UDC, more IC patients reached HbA1c targets of < 7% (53 mmol/mol; 15.8 vs. 7.0%, respectively, P < 0.01) and < 8% (64 mmol/mol; 45.2 vs. 25.3%, respectively, P < 0.001). In multiple linear regression adjusting for baseline HbA1c, adjusted mean +/- SE HbA1c at follow-up was significantly lower in the IC compared with the UDC group (P < 0.001; IC 8.4 +/- 0.10%; UDC 9.2 +/- 0.10%). The results showed lower diabetes distress at follow-up for IC patients (40.4 +/- 2.1) as compared with UDC patients (48.3 +/- 2.0) (P < 0.01), and also lower social distress (32.2 +/- 1.3 vs. 27.2 +/- 1.4, P < 0.01). There was a similar, statistically significant (P < 0.01) improvement for both groups in the proportion of patients moving from depressed status at baseline to nondepressed at follow-up (41.8 vs. 40%; no significance between groups).

CONCLUSIONS: The diabetes dashboard intervention significantly improved diabetes-related outcomes among Latinos with poorly controlled T2D compared with a similar diabetes team condition without access to the diabetes dashboard. long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered.

Tobacco counseling experience prior to starting medical school, tobacco treatment self-efficacy and knowledge among first-year medical students in the United States

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

OBJECTIVE: To explore students' tobacco dependence counseling experiences prior to medical school and their associations with tobacco counseling self-efficacy, and familiarity with and perceived effectiveness of tobacco dependence treatment among first-year medical students in the United States.

METHOD: In 2010, 1266 first-year medical students from 10 US medical schools completed a survey reporting their clinical experiences with specific tobacco counseling skills (e.g., 5As) prior to medical school. The survey also included questions on tobacco counseling self-efficacy, perceived physician impact on smokers, and familiarity and effectiveness of tobacco-related treatments.

RESULTS: Half (50.4%) reported some tobacco counseling experiences prior to medical school (i.e. at least one 5A). Students with prior counseling experiences were more likely to have higher tobacco counseling self-efficacy, and greater familiarity with medication treatment, nicotine replacement treatment, and behavioral counseling for smoking cessation, compared to those with no prior experiences. Perceived physician impact on patient smoking outcomes did not differ by prior tobacco counseling experiences.

CONCLUSIONS: Many first-year medical students may already be primed to learn tobacco dependence counseling skills. Enhancing early exposure to learning these skills in medical school is likely to be beneficial to the skillset of our future physicians.

Smoking and mortality--beyond established causes

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

BACKGROUND: Mortality among current smokers is 2 to 3 times as high as that among persons who never smoked. Most of this excess mortality is believed to be explained by 21 common diseases that have been formally established as caused by cigarette smoking and are included in official estimates of smoking-attributable mortality in the United States. However, if smoking causes additional diseases, these official estimates may significantly underestimate the number of deaths attributable to smoking.

METHODS: We pooled data from five contemporary U.S. cohort studies including 421,378 men and 532,651 women 55 years of age or older. Participants were followed from 2000 through 2011, and relative risks and 95% confidence intervals were estimated with the use of Cox proportional-hazards models adjusted for age, race, educational level, daily alcohol consumption, and cohort.

RESULTS: During the follow-up period, there were 181,377 deaths, including 16,475 among current smokers. Overall, approximately 17% of the excess mortality among current smokers was due to associations with causes that are not currently established as attributable to smoking. These included associations between current smoking and deaths from renal failure (relative risk, 2.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.7 to 2.3), intestinal ischemia (relative risk, 6.0; 95% CI, 4.5 to 8.1), hypertensive heart disease (relative risk, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.9 to 3.0), infections (relative risk, 2.3; 95% CI, 2.0 to 2.7), various respiratory diseases (relative risk, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.6 to 2.4), breast cancer (relative risk, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.2 to 1.5), and prostate cancer (relative risk, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2 to 1.7). Among former smokers, the relative risk for each of these outcomes declined as the number of years since quitting increased.

CONCLUSIONS: A substantial portion of the excess mortality among current smokers between 2000 and 2011 was due to associations with diseases that have not been formally established as caused by smoking. These associations should be investigated further and, when appropriate, taken into account when the mortality burden of smoking is investigated.

(Funded by the American Cancer Society.).

Single-component versus multicomponent dietary goals for the metabolic syndrome: a randomized trial

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

BACKGROUND: Few studies have compared diets to determine whether a program focused on 1 dietary change results in collateral effects on other untargeted healthy diet components.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate a diet focused on increased fiber consumption versus the multicomponent American Heart Association (AHA) dietary guidelines.

DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial from June 2009 to January 2014. ( NCT00911885).

SETTING: Worcester, Massachusetts.

PARTICIPANTS: 240 adults with the metabolic syndrome.

INTERVENTION: Participants engaged in individual and group sessions.

MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was weight change at 12 months.

RESULTS: At 12 months, mean change in weight was -2.1 kg (95% CI, -2.9 to -1.3 kg) in the high-fiber diet group versus -2.7 kg (CI, -3.5 to -2.0 kg) in the AHA diet group. The mean between-group difference was 0.6 kg (CI, -0.5 to 1.7 kg). During the trial, 12 (9.9%) and 15 (12.6%) participants dropped out of the high-fiber and AHA diet groups, respectively (P = 0.55). Eight participants developed diabetes (hemoglobin A1c level > =6.5%) during the trial: 7 in the high-fiber diet group and 1 in the AHA diet group (P = 0.066).

LIMITATIONS: Generalizability is unknown. Maintenance of weight loss after cessation of group sessions at 12 months was not assessed. Definitive conclusions cannot be made about dietary equivalence because the study was powered for superiority.

CONCLUSION: The more complex AHA diet may result in up to 1.7 kg more weight loss; however, a simplified approach to weight reduction emphasizing only increased fiber intake may be a reasonable alternative for persons with difficulty adhering to more complicated diet regimens.

PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Design and methods for "Commit to Get Fit" - A pilot study of a school-based mindfulness intervention to promote healthy diet and physical activity among adolescents

Thu, 04/09/2015 - 11:55am

INTRODUCTION: Cardiovascular prevention is more effective if started early in life, but available interventions to promote healthy lifestyle habits among youth have been ineffective. Impulsivity in particular has proven to be an important barrier to the adoption of healthy behaviors in youth. Observational evidence suggests that mindfulness interventions may reduce impulsivity and improve diet and physical activity. We hypothesize that mindfulness training in adjunct to traditional health education will improve dietary habits and physical activity among teenagers by reducing impulsive behavior and improving planning skills.

METHODS/DESIGN: The Commit to Get Fit study is a pilot cluster randomized controlled trial examining the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of school-based mindfulness training in adjunct to traditional health education for promotion of a healthy diet and physical activity among adolescents. Two schools in central Massachusetts (30 students per school) will be randomized to receive mindfulness training plus standard health education (HE-M) or an attention-control intervention plus standard health education (HE-AC). Assessments will be conducted at baseline, intervention completion (2months), and 8months. Primary outcomes are feasibility and acceptability. Secondary outcomes include physical activity, diet, impulsivity, mood, body mass index, and quality of life.

CONCLUSIONS: This study will provide important information about feasibility and preliminary estimates of efficacy of a school-delivered mindfulness and health education intervention to promote healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors among adolescents. Our findings will provide important insights about the possible mechanisms by which mindfulness training may contribute to behavioral change and inform future research in this important area.

The association between HIV status and homelessness among Veterans in care

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 11:05am

Veterans seeking care in the Department of Veterans Affairs Health Care System (VA) are more vulnerable to HIV infection and homelessness. However, there is little scholarship on the association between serostatus and homelessness among VA veterans. We examined this association in the Veterans Aging Cohort Study, a sample of 6,819 HIV-positive and HIV-negative veterans attending 8 VAs across the country. We utilized logistic models regressing shelter use in the last month on correlates. HIV and homelessness prevalence was higher than in general veteran populations. Being HIV-positive was protective against homelessness. Substance use, hazardous alcohol use, depression, schizophrenia, and being African American and male increased risk of homelessness. HIV-positive status reduced the homelessness risk posed by substance use, especially among African American substance users. However, women veterans with HIV were at higher risk of homelessness than noninfected women veterans. Implications for policies on veteran homelessness and housing for people with HIV are discussed.

Understanding how patients (vs physicians) approach the decision to escalate treatment: a proposed conceptual model

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 10:34am

OBJECTIVE: We performed a qualitative study to better understand how patients with RA approach risk-benefit trade-offs inherent in the choice of remaining with their current treatment vs escalating care.

METHODS: We used a think-aloud protocol to examine how patients with RA approach risk-benefit trade-offs inherent in the choice of remaining with their current treatment vs adding a biologic. The data emerging from the protocols were used to develop a conceptual model describing how patients approach the decision to escalate care.

RESULTS: Participants who were strongly impacted by their disease were not open to considering alternative options. For some patients, being highly impacted by their disease results in a strong preference to escalate care. For others, the same level of distress is reason to unconditionally refuse additional medications. In contrast, those who were moderately impacted were more open to consider treatment options. Among these participants, however, subjects' risk-benefit trade-offs were consistently modified by factors unrelated to medication, including sociodemographic characteristics, role responsibilities and the quality of the patient-physician relationship.

CONCLUSION: The conceptual model indicates that patients approach the decision to escalate care differently from physicians. In order to improve care in RA, it is important to recognize that many patients with moderate to high disease activity are not open to alternative treatments, which is a prerequisite to engaging in decision making. Routine clinical encounters should enable health care providers to identify these patients in order to tailor education prior to recommending treatment escalation. British Society for Rheumatology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:

Reproductive health diagnoses of women veterans using department of veterans affairs health care

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 10:34am

BACKGROUND: Little is known regarding the reproductive health needs of women Veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the reproductive health diagnoses of women Veterans using VA health care, how these diagnoses differ across age groups, and variations in sociodemographic and clinical characteristics by presence of reproductive health diagnoses.

RESEARCH DESIGN: This study is a cross-sectional analysis of VA administrative and clinical data.

SUBJECTS: The study included women Veterans using VA health care in FY10. MEASURES: Reproductive health diagnoses were identified through presence of International Classification of Disease, 9th Revision (ICD-9) codes in VA clinical and administrative records. The prevalence of specific diagnosis categories were examined by age group (18-44, 45-64, > =65 y) and the most frequent diagnoses for each age group were identified. Sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were compared by presence of at least 1 reproductive health diagnosis.

RESULTS: The most frequent reproductive health diagnoses were menstrual disorders and endometriosis among those aged 18-44 years (n = 16,658, 13%), menopausal disorders among those aged 45-64 years (n = 20,707, 15%), and osteoporosis among those aged > =65 years (n = 8365, 22%). Compared with women without reproductive health diagnoses, those with such diagnoses were more likely to have concomitant mental health (46% vs. 37%, P < 0.001) and medical conditions (75% vs. 63%, P < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Women Veterans using VA health care have diverse reproductive health diagnoses. The high prevalence of comorbid medical and mental health conditions among women Veterans with reproductive health diagnoses highlights the importance of integrating reproductive health expertise into all areas of VA health care, including primary, mental health, and specialty care.

Informing policy to deliver comprehensive care for women veterans

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 10:34am

The goal of this supplement is to disseminate new research findings related to the planning, organization, financing, provision, evaluation, and improvement of health services and/or outcomes for women Veterans (WVs) and women actively serving in the military. We received wide-ranging, outstanding submissions that demonstrated advances in ever-widening domains of women’s health (WH) and health care, which was the goal of the VA WH research agenda. The resulting supplement of selected articles is organized by the research agenda’s 6 main topics and is further framed by their relationships to informing policy on delivery of comprehensive care to WVs.

Infertility Care Among OEF/OIF/OND Women Veterans in the Department of Veterans Affairs

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 10:34am

BACKGROUND: An increasing number of young women Veterans seek reproductive health care through the VA, yet little is known regarding the provision of infertility care for this population. The VA provides a range of infertility services for Veterans including artificial insemination, but does not provide in vitro fertilization. This study will be the first to characterize infertility care among OEF/OIF/OND women Veterans using VA care.

METHODS: We analyzed data from the OEF/OIF/OND roster file from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC)-Contingency Tracking System Deployment file of military discharges from October 1, 2001-December 30, 2010, which includes 68,442 women Veterans between the ages of 18 and 45 who utilized VA health care after separating from military service. We examined the receipt of infertility diagnoses and care using ICD-9 and CPT codes.

RESULTS: Less than 2% (n=1323) of OEF/OIF/OND women Veterans received an infertility diagnosis during the study period. Compared with women VA users without infertility diagnosis, those with infertility diagnosis were younger, obese, black, or Hispanic, have a service-connected disability rating, a positive screen for military sexual trauma, and a mental health diagnosis. Overall, 22% of women with an infertility diagnosis received an infertility assessment or treatment. Thirty-nine percent of women Veterans receiving infertility assessment or treatment received this care from non-VA providers.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, a small proportion of OEF/OIF/OND women Veterans received infertility diagnoses from the VA during the study period, and an even smaller proportion received infertility treatment. Nearly 40% of those who received infertility treatments received these treatments from non-VA providers, indicating that the VA may need to examine the training and resources needed to provide this care within the VA. Understanding women's use of VA infertility services is an important component of understanding VA's commitment to comprehensive medical care for women Veterans.

Mental health care screening and care coordination during pregnancy and postpartum for women veterans

Wed, 04/08/2015 - 10:34am

Introduction to the January 2015 issue of Journal of Women's Health.