Publications by authors named "Aileen Shen"

2 Publications

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Food Insecurity and Body Mass Index: A Longitudinal Mixed Methods Study, Chelsea, Massachusetts, 2009-2013.

Prev Chronic Dis 2015 Aug 6;12:E125. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Introduction: Cross-sectional studies show an association between food insecurity and higher body mass index (BMI), but this finding has not been evaluated longitudinally. Patient perspectives on food choice in resource-constrained environments are not well understood. The objective of this study was to evaluate the longitudinal association between food insecurity and BMI.

Methods: This mixed methods study used both a retrospective matched cohort and focus groups. For the quantitative analysis, all patients in a community health center who reported food insecurity from October 2009 through March 2010 (n = 457) were followed through August 2013 and compared with controls matched by age, sex, and race/ethnicity (n = 1,974). We evaluated the association between food insecurity and change in BMI by using linear, mixed effects longitudinal models. The qualitative analysis included patients with food insecurity, stratified by BMI. Qualitative data were analyzed by using open coding and grounded theory.

Results: The mean age of participants was 51 years; 61% were women, and 73% were Hispanic. Baseline BMI was similar in food insecure participants and matched controls. After adjustment in longitudinal analyses, food insecurity was associated with greater increase in BMI (0.15 kg/m(2) per year more than controls, P < .001). Themes identified in 4 focus groups included attitudes and knowledge about food, food access, and food practices. Participants with BMI of 30 kg/m(2) or less highlighted skills such as budgeting and portion control.

Conclusion: Food insecurity is associated with increase in BMI. The skills of food insecure participants who were not obese, such as portion control and budgeting, may be useful in weight management interventions for vulnerable patients.
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August 2015

Fetal effects of anticonvulsant polytherapies: different risks from different drug combinations.

Arch Neurol 2011 Oct 13;68(10):1275-81. Epub 2011 Jun 13.

North American AED Pregnancy Registry, Genetics Unit, MassGeneral Hospital for Children, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Objective: To determine the frequency of malformations among infants born to women who had taken lamotrigine or carbamazepine as part of polytherapy during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Design: A cohort of women enrolled during pregnancy in the North American AED (Antiepileptic Drug) Pregnancy Registry between February 1, 1997, and June 1, 2010. Information on AED use and demographic characteristics was collected in 3 telephone interviews.

Setting: United States and Canada.

Patients: A total of 6857 pregnant women taking an AED for any reason.

Main Outcome Measures: Major congenital malformations were identified at birth and through the first 12 weeks after delivery. Diagnoses were based on the mother's report and confirmed by medical records. The risks of malformations were compared between polytherapy and monotherapy groups, using exact odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs).

Results: The risk of malformations was 1.9% among infants exposed to lamotrigine as monotherapy (n = 1441). Among the infants exposed to lamotrigine as polytherapy (n = 505), the risks were 9.1% for lamotrigine plus valproate sodium (OR, 5.0; 95% CI, 1.5-14.0) and 2.9% for lamotrigine plus any other AEDs (1.5; 0.7-3.0). The risk of malformations was 2.9% for the infants exposed to carbamazepine monotherapy (n = 1012). For the infants exposed to carbamazepine as polytherapy (n = 365), the risks were 15.4% for carbamazepine plus valproate (OR, 6.2; 95% CI, 2.0-16.5) and 2.5% for carbamazepine plus any other AEDs (0.8; 0.3-1.9). Confounding by factors such as periconceptional vitamin use, cigarette smoking, alcohol use, and chronic maternal diseases did not explain the results.

Conclusions: The risk of malformations among infants exposed to lamotrigine and carbamazepine as polytherapy was higher than the corresponding monotherapies only when the polytherapy includes valproate. These findings suggest that counseling for fetal risks from AED polytherapy should be based on the specific drugs included.
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October 2011