Publications by authors named "Amber Williams"

41 Publications

Comment on "In vivo flow cytometry reveals a circadian rhythm of circulating tumor cells".

Light Sci Appl 2021 Sep 17;10(1):188. Epub 2021 Sep 17.

Department of Bioengineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41377-021-00624-4DOI Listing
September 2021

Predicting pain among female survivors of recent interpersonal violence: A proof-of-concept machine-learning approach.

PLoS One 2021 29;16(7):e0255277. Epub 2021 Jul 29.

Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi, United States of America.

Interpersonal violence (IPV) is highly prevalent in the United States and is a major public health problem. The emergence and/or worsening of chronic pain are known sequelae of IPV; however, not all those who experience IPV develop chronic pain. To mitigate its development, it is critical to identify the factors that are associated with increased risk of pain after IPV. This proof-of-concept study used machine-learning strategies to predict pain severity and interference in 47 young women, ages 18 to 30, who experienced an incident of IPV (i.e., physical and/or sexual assault) within three months of their baseline assessment. Young women are more likely than men to experience IPV and to subsequently develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. Women completed a comprehensive assessment of theory-driven cognitive and neurobiological predictors of pain severity and pain-related interference (e.g., pain, coping, disability, psychiatric diagnosis/symptoms, PTSD/trauma, executive function, neuroendocrine, and physiological stress response). Gradient boosting machine models were used to predict symptoms of pain severity and pain-related interference across time (Baseline, 1-,3-,6- follow-up assessments). Models showed excellent predictive performance for pain severity and adequate predictive performance for pain-related interference. This proof-of-concept study suggests that machine-learning approaches are a useful tool for identifying predictors of pain development in survivors of recent IPV. Baseline measures of pain, family life impairment, neuropsychological function, and trauma history were of greatest importance in predicting pain and pain-related interference across a 6-month follow-up period. Present findings support the use of machine-learning techniques in larger studies of post-IPV pain development and highlight theory-driven predictors that could inform the development of targeted early intervention programs. However, these results should be replicated in a larger dataset with lower levels of missing data.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0255277PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8320990PMC
July 2021

Assessing consistency among indices to measure socioeconomic barriers to health care access.

Health Serv Outcomes Res Methodol 2021 Jul 17:1-17. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV USA.

Many places within rural America lack ready access to health care facilities. Barriers to access can be both spatial and non-spatial. Measurements of spatial access, such as the Enhanced Floating 2-Step Catchment Area and other floating catchment area measures, produce similar patterns of access. However, the extent to which different measurements of socioeconomic barriers to access correspond with each other has not been examined. Using West Virginia as a case study, we compute indices based upon the literature and measure the correlations among them. We find that all indices positively correlate with each other, although the strength of the correlation varies. Also, while there is broad agreement in the general spatial trends, such as fewer barriers in urban areas, and more barriers in the impoverished southwestern portion of the state, there are regions within the state that have more disagreement among the indices. These indices are to be used to support decision-making with respect to placement of rural residency students from medical schools within West Virginia to provide students with educational experiences as well as address health care inequalities within the state. The results indicate that for decisions and policies that address statewide trends, the choice of metric is not critical. However, when the decisions involve specific locations for receiving rural residents or opening clinics, the results can become more sensitive to the selection of the index. Therefore, for fine-grained policy decision-making, it is important that the chosen index best represents the processes under consideration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10742-021-00257-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8286164PMC
July 2021

Assessing consistency among indices to measure socioeconomic barriers to health care access.

Health Serv Outcomes Res Methodol 2021 Jul 17:1-17. Epub 2021 Jul 17.

West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV USA.

Many places within rural America lack ready access to health care facilities. Barriers to access can be both spatial and non-spatial. Measurements of spatial access, such as the Enhanced Floating 2-Step Catchment Area and other floating catchment area measures, produce similar patterns of access. However, the extent to which different measurements of socioeconomic barriers to access correspond with each other has not been examined. Using West Virginia as a case study, we compute indices based upon the literature and measure the correlations among them. We find that all indices positively correlate with each other, although the strength of the correlation varies. Also, while there is broad agreement in the general spatial trends, such as fewer barriers in urban areas, and more barriers in the impoverished southwestern portion of the state, there are regions within the state that have more disagreement among the indices. These indices are to be used to support decision-making with respect to placement of rural residency students from medical schools within West Virginia to provide students with educational experiences as well as address health care inequalities within the state. The results indicate that for decisions and policies that address statewide trends, the choice of metric is not critical. However, when the decisions involve specific locations for receiving rural residents or opening clinics, the results can become more sensitive to the selection of the index. Therefore, for fine-grained policy decision-making, it is important that the chosen index best represents the processes under consideration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10742-021-00257-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8286164PMC
July 2021

Predicting Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Survivors of Recent Interpersonal Violence.

J Interpers Violence 2020 Nov 30:886260520978195. Epub 2020 Nov 30.

University of California, Irvine, California, USA.

A substantial minority of women who experience interpersonal violence will develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). One critical challenge for preventing PTSD is predicting whose acute posttraumatic stress symptoms will worsen to a clinically significant degree. This 6-month longitudinal study adopted multilevel modeling and exploratory machine learning (ML) methods to predict PTSD onset in 58 young women, ages 18 to 30, who experienced an incident of physical and/or sexual assault in the three months prior to baseline assessment. Women completed baseline assessments of theory-driven cognitive and neurobiological predictors and interview-based measures of PTSD diagnostic status and symptom severity at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups. Higher levels of self-blame, generalized anxiety disorder severity, childhood trauma exposure, and impairment across multiple domains were associated with a pattern of high and stable posttraumatic stress symptom severity over time. Predictive performance for PTSD onset was similarly strong for a gradient boosting machine learning model including all predictors and a logistic regression model including only baseline posttraumatic stress symptom severity. The present findings provide directions for future work on PTSD prediction among interpersonal violence survivors that could enhance early risk detection and potentially inform targeted prevention programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260520978195DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8164639PMC
November 2020

Short-Term Circulating Tumor Cell Dynamics in Mouse Xenograft Models and Implications for Liquid Biopsy.

Front Oncol 2020 6;10:601085. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Bioengineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, United States.

Motivation: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are widely studied using liquid biopsy methods that analyze fractionally-small peripheral blood (PB) samples. However, little is known about natural fluctuations in CTC numbers that may occur over short timescales , and how these may affect detection and enumeration of rare CTCs from small blood samples.

Methods: We recently developed an optical instrument called "diffuse flow cytometry" (DiFC) that uniquely allows continuous, non-invasive counting of rare, green fluorescent protein expressing CTCs in large blood vessels in mice. Here, we used DiFC to study short-term changes in CTC numbers in multiple myeloma and Lewis lung carcinoma xenograft models. We analyzed CTC detections in over 100 h of DiFC data, and considered intervals corresponding to approximately 1%, 5%, 10%, and 20% of the PB volume. In addition, we analyzed changes in CTC numbers over 24 h (diurnal) periods.

Results: For rare CTCs (fewer than 1 CTC per ml of blood), the use of short DiFC intervals (corresponding to small PB samples) frequently resulted in no detections. For more abundant CTCs, CTC numbers frequently varied by an order of magnitude or more over the time-scales considered. This variance in CTC detections far exceeded that expected by Poisson statistics or by instrument variability. Rather, the data were consistent with significant changes in mean numbers of CTCs on the timescales of minutes and hours.

Conclusions: The observed temporal changes can be explained by known properties of CTCs, namely, the continuous shedding of CTCs from tumors and the short half-life of CTCs in blood. It follows that the number of cells in a blood sample are strongly impacted by the timing of the draw. The issue is likely to be compounded for multicellular CTC clusters or specific CTC subtypes, which are even more rare than single CTCs. However, we show that enumeration can in principle be improved by averaging multiple samples, analysis of larger volumes, or development of methods for enumeration of CTCs directly .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2020.601085DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7677561PMC
November 2020

Use of remdesivir in the presence of elevated LFTs for the treatment of severe COVID-19 infection.

BMJ Case Rep 2020 Oct 31;13(10). Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Pharmacy Practice and Science, University of Iowa College of Pharmacy, Iowa City, Iowa, USA

An 82-year-old man with an extensive medical history presented to the emergency room with complaints of generalised weakness and cough. He tested positive for COVID-19 10 days prior to presenting to the emergency room. Although his symptoms started a week prior to diagnosis, his weakness increased, warranting emergency response. A comprehensive metabolic panel was drawn from the patient on admission, indicating markedly high liver function tests (LFTs) ≥20 times above the upper limit of normal. On day 1 of admission, the decision was still made to start remdesivir (5-day course) due to decompensated acute respiratory failure as well as dexamethasone. The patient's LFTs significantly improved throughout his hospital stay. The patient made a full recovery and was discharged on day 10 of hospitalisation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bcr-2020-239210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7783372PMC
October 2020

Dynamics and determinants of cortisol and alpha-amylase responses to repeated stressors in recent interpersonal trauma survivors.

Psychoneuroendocrinology 2020 12 6;122:104899. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior, Department of Pediatrics and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA; Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA, USA.

Background: Alterations in major stress response systems are present during the immediate aftermath of trauma and may play a role in determining risk for developing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, the dynamics and determinants of stress responses during this acute recovery phase, and their relevance for longitudinal clinical course and prognosis, have yet to be fully examined. The objectives of the present study were to characterize stress response and habituation patterns to repeated social stressors in women who recently experienced interpersonal trauma and to determine the extent to which these stress responses were associated with PTSD during prospective follow-up.

Method: This longitudinal study examined salivary cortisol and alpha-amylase and heart rate (HR) responses to repeated stressors in 98 young women (ages 18-30). Participants included women who had experienced an incident of interpersonal trauma (i.e., physical and/or sexual assault) in the three months prior to their baseline assessment (n = 58) and a comparison group of healthy, non-traumatized women (n = 40). Women completed the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), clinical interviews to evaluate posttraumatic stress symptom severity at the baseline assessment and again at 1-, 3-, and 6-month follow-ups.

Results: Multilevel models revealed a pattern of robust initial cortisol TSST responses and habituation across successive TSSTs; alpha-amylase and HR responses showed no evidence of habituation across TSSTs. Among interpersonal trauma survivors, current PTSD status was associated with more pronounced cortisol responses to the first TSST. Survivors exhibited similarly blunted cortisol responses across follow-up TSSTs regardless of PTSD status, suggesting habituation of cortisol responses among survivors who developed PTSD. PTSD re-experiencing symptoms were uniquely associated with blunting of cortisol TSST responses.

Conclusion: Findings suggest that PTSD as a diagnostic entity is meaningfully associated with cortisol responses to repeated social stressors. Social-evaluative threat is a salient form of danger for interpersonal trauma survivors. Identifying the determinants of cortisol (non)habituation to repeated social-evaluative threat among interpersonal trauma survivors could inform the development of early interventions for PTSD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2020.104899DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686015PMC
December 2020

Identifying Cardiac Diseases using Cardiac Biomarkers in Rhesus Macaques ().

Comp Med 2020 10 10;70(5):348-357. Epub 2020 Aug 10.

Department of Medicine & Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis California; California National Primate Research Center, University of California-Davis, Davis California;, Email:

Cardiac biomarkers are an important tool for diagnosing cardiac diseases in both human and veterinary patients. Serum concentrations of N-terminal probrain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin I (cTnI) have been used to indicate the presence of various cardiac diseases including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) in various species including humans. However, these cardiac biomarkers have not been established as a diagnostic tool for detecting cardiac disease in rhesus macaques. In the rhesus macaque colony at the California National Primate Research Center, naturally occurring HCM and various other cardiac diseases have been identified. In this study, commercially available assays were used to measure serum cTnI and NT-proBNP concentrations to evaluate their utility as a diagnostic screening tool for cardiac diseases in rhesus macaques. This study revealed that the serum cTnI concentration was significantly higher in animals with echocardiographically apparent cardiac disease as compared with the animals that had no cardiac structural and functional changes (the control group). However, no significant differences were detected between animals with HCM and non-HCM cardiac disease. Because the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.81 when the serum cTnI was compared between the control and cardiac disease groups, serum cTnI was considered a moderately accurate test to predict the presence of cardiac disease. The optimal cut-off value of serum cTnI concentration for diagnosis of cardiac disease was 0.0085 ng/mL, with a sensitivity of 0.68 and specificity of 0.94. Significant but weak correlations were noted between the serum cTnI concentration and several echocardiographic parameters. Conversely, no significant differences in NT-proBNP concentrations were detected between animals with and without cardiac diseases. In conclusion, measurement of serum cTnI can be used to aid in diagnosing cardiac diseases in rhesus macaques. However, cTnI measurement does not replace echocardiographic evaluation to diagnose cardiac diseases in rhesus macaques due to the poor sensitivity of the assay and the weak correlation to with more established echocardiographic markers for cardiac disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.30802/AALAS-CM-19-000117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7574220PMC
October 2020

Vertebral Heart Score in Rhesus Macaques (Macaca mulatta): Generating Normal Reference Intervals and Assessing its Validity for Identifying Cardiac Disease.

J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci 2020 04 21. Epub 2020 Apr 21.

Vertebral heart scoring (VHS) is a semiquantitative method to assess the presence and severity of cardiomegaly by using thoracic radiographs. VHS in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) has not been validated or used routinely in the clinical or research setting. We hypothesized that rhesus macaques with cardiac disease diagnosed by using echocardiography would have higher VHS than animals without cardiac disease. A total of 150 rhesus macaques were enrolled in this study. All animals underwent echocardiography and thoracic radiography (right lateral [RL], dorsoventral [DV], and ventrodorsal [VD] views).According to echocardiography, 121 rhesus macaques had no cardiac disease and were used to establish reference intervals for VHS. The remaining 29 macaques had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (n = 20) or other cardiac disease (n = 9). Results showed that VHS of RL and VD views were significantly higher in macaques with any of the identified cardiac diseases and in the cardiac disease group that excluded hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. VHS of animals with HCM was not significantly different than that of control animals. In the RL view, VHS was moderately accurate for predicting the presence of cardiac disease, with an AUC of 0.71 and an optimal cut-off value of 10.25 (sensitivity: 62%, specificity: 77%). In the VD view, VHS was a mildly accurate test for cardiac disease, with an AUC of 0.654 and an optimal cut-off value of 10.65 (sensitivity, 66%;specificity, 63%). Study results indicated that VHS could be a useful screening tool for clinically identifying rhesus macaques with cardiac disease. However, VHS is unlikely to replace echocardiographic examination for determining the presence, type,and severity of cardiac disease in this species.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-19-000143DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7338866PMC
April 2020

Correlations Between the USMLE Step Examinations, American College of Physicians In-Training Examination, and ABIM Internal Medicine Certification Examination.

Acad Med 2020 09;95(9):1388-1395

P. Alguire is senior vice president emeritus medical education, American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Purpose: To assess the correlations between United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) performance, American College of Physicians Internal Medicine In-Training Examination (IM-ITE) performance, American Board of Internal Medicine Internal Medicine Certification Exam (IM-CE) performance, and other medical knowledge and demographic variables.

Method: The study included 9,676 postgraduate year (PGY)-1, 11,424 PGY-2, and 10,239 PGY-3 internal medicine (IM) residents from any Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-accredited IM residency program who took the IM-ITE (2014 or 2015) and the IM-CE (2015-2018). USMLE scores, IM-ITE percent correct scores, and IM-CE scores were analyzed using multiple linear regression, and IM-CE pass/fail status was analyzed using multiple logistic regression, controlling for USMLE Step 1, Step 2 Clinical Knowledge, and Step 3 scores; averaged medical knowledge milestones; age at IM-ITE; gender; and medical school location (United States or Canada vs international).

Results: All variables were significant predictors of passing the IM-CE with IM-ITE scores having the strongest association and USMLE Step scores being the next strongest predictors. Prediction curves for the probability of passing the IM-CE based solely on IM-ITE score for each PGY show that residents must score higher on the IM-ITE with each subsequent administration to maintain the same estimated probability of passing the IM-CE.

Conclusions: The findings from this study should support residents and program directors in their efforts to more precisely identify and evaluate knowledge gaps for both personal learning and program improvement. While no individual USMLE Step score was as strongly predictive of IM-CE score as IM-ITE score, the combined relative contribution of all 3 USMLE Step scores was of a magnitude similar to that of IM-ITE score.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/ACM.0000000000003382DOI Listing
September 2020

God as a White man: A psychological barrier to conceptualizing Black people and women as leadership worthy.

J Pers Soc Psychol 2020 Dec 30;119(6):1290-1315. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Department of Psychology, Stanford University.

[Correction Notice: An Erratum for this article was reported online in on May 21 2020 (see record 2020-36018-001). In the article, the phrase Mixed Effects in the table title for Tables 1-3 and Tables 6-8 is incorrect. The corrected phrase should appear instead as Fixed Effects. All versions of this article have been corrected.] In the United States, God is commonly conceptualized as the omnipotent and omniscient entity that created the universe, and as a White man. We questioned whether the extent to which God is conceptualized as a White man predicts the extent to which White men are perceived as particularly fit for leadership. We found support for this across 7 studies. In Study 1, we created 2 measures to examine the extent to which U.S. Christians conceptualized God as a White man, and in Study 2 we found that, controlling for multiple covariates (e.g., racist and sexist attitudes, religiosity, political attitudes), responses on these measures predicted perceiving White male job candidates as particularly fit for leadership, among both Black and White, male and female, Christians. In Study 3, we found that U.S. Christian children, both White and racial minority, conceptualized God as more White than Black (and more male than female), which predicted perceiving White people as particularly boss-like. We next found evidence to suggest that this phenomenon is rooted in broader intuitions that extend beyond Christianity. That is, in a novel context with novel groups and a novel god, U.S. Christian adults (Studies 4 and 6), atheist adults (Study 5), and agnostic preschoolers (Study 7), used a god's identity to infer which groups were best fit for leadership. Collectively, our data reveal a clear and consistent pattern: Attributing a social identity to God predicts perceiving individuals who share that identity as more fit for leadership. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000233DOI Listing
December 2020

Development and Evaluation of a Theory-Based Approach to Reducing Carbon Monoxide (CO) Morbidity and Mortality: The CO Blitz Model.

J Community Health Nurs 2019 Jul-Sep;36(3):115-123

a University of South Carolina College of Nursing , Columbia , SC , US.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is preventable yet remains the most common cause of U.S. non-drug poisoning. The purpose of this non-experimental study was to develop and evaluate the theory-based . Events targeted five SC communities; volunteers provided education while local firefighters installed CO alarms. At the 4-6-month follow-up evaluation, all homes still had a functioning CO alarm; most recipients could name CO sources in their homes (78%) and what to do if the alarm sounded (90%). The theory-driven process evaluation revealed the CO Blitz Model was tailorable and effective in addressing unique community resources and needs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07370016.2019.1630967DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6629467PMC
January 2020

Acute Stress Attenuates Cognitive Flexibility in Males Only: An fNIRS Examination.

Front Psychol 2018 1;9:2084. Epub 2018 Nov 1.

Department of Physics, Miami University, Oxford, OH, United States.

Cognitive processes that afford us the ability to control thoughts and achieve goal-directed behavior are known as executive functions. Empirical evidence in the past few years has demonstrated that executive functions can be influenced by acute stress. The impact of acute stress on cognitive flexibility, a key aspect of executive functions, has received little attention in the literature. We present the results of two experiments conducted to examine the effect of acute stress on cognitive flexibility. Acute stress was induced using the cold pressor task. Cognitive flexibility was assessed using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Across both experiments acute stress had an attenuating effect on task switching on the WCST. Our findings also indicate that this effect was moderated by the participant's gender. In Study 1, we observed that following stress exposure male participants in the stress condition made more perseverative errors than participants in the control group. In Study 2, we examined the bilateral hemodynamics in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) during acute stress induction using functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). Our analysis indicated that functional oxyHb signals fluctuated with greater amplitude than systemic components for participants in the stress group relative to those in the control group. In addition, oxyHb levels post stress induction were correlated with performance on the WCST for the male participants in the stress group only. Concordant with previous reports, our findings indicate that acute stress impacts cognitive flexibility in males and females differentially. Our work also demonstrates the feasibility of using fNIRS as a practical and objective technique for the examination of hemodynamics in the PFC during acute stress.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02084DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6221931PMC
November 2018

Innovative Methods for Designing Actionable Program Evaluation.

J Public Health Manag Pract 2018 Jan/Feb;24 Suppl 1 Suppl, Injury and Violence Prevention:S12-S22

Division of Analysis, Research and Practice Integration, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Messrs Nesbit and Castellanos and Mss Hertz, Thigpen, and Brown); and Safe States Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr Porter and Ms Williams).

Context: For most programs, whether funded through governmental agencies or nongovernmental organizations, demonstrating the impact of implemented activities is vital to ensuring continued funding and support.

Objective: Program evaluation is a critical tool that serves the dual purpose of describing impact and identifying areas for program improvement. From a funder's perspective, describing the individual and collective impact of state-based programs can be challenging due to variations in strategies being implemented and types of data being collected.

Design: A case study was used to describe the actionable, mixed-methods evaluation of the Core Violence and Injury Prevention Program (Core VIPP), including how the evaluation design and approach shifted to address evolving challenges faced by award recipients over time. Particular emphasis is given to innovative methods for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating data for key state and federal stakeholders.

Results: The results of the Core VIPP evaluation showed how this funding played a vital role in building injury and violence prevention capacity in state health departments, leading to a decrease in both intermediate and long-term outcomes.

Conclusions: The lessons learned through the mixed-method evaluation of the Core VIPP informed the structure of the subsequent funding cycle (Core SVIPP) to include more prescriptive requirements for evidence-based implementation and a state support team structure for delivery of training and technical assistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PHH.0000000000000682DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5810136PMC
June 2018

Promoting Resilience Among African American Girls: Racial Identity as a Protective Factor.

Child Dev 2018 11 20;89(6):e552-e571. Epub 2017 Nov 20.

University of Michigan.

This study examines school climate, racial identity beliefs, and achievement motivation beliefs within a cultural-ecological and risk and resilience framework. Data were drawn from a longitudinal study of 733 (M  = 14.49) African American adolescent girls. A linear mixed effects model was used to determine if racial identity dimensions moderated the relationship between school climate and achievement motivation beliefs across four waves. Results revealed that racial identity (private regard and racial centrality) and ideology (nationalist) beliefs were associated with higher achievement motivation beliefs over time, while racial centrality and private regard, and a sense of belonging served as protective factors. The findings contribute to the importance of racial identity beliefs and increase the visibility of African American girls.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.12995DOI Listing
November 2018

Sleeping Beauties of Science.

Authors:
Amber Williams

Sci Am 2016 Jan;314(1):80

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0116-80DOI Listing
January 2016

Youth Depression Alleviation-Augmentation with an anti-inflammatory agent (YoDA-A): protocol and rationale for a placebo-controlled randomized trial of rosuvastatin and aspirin.

Early Interv Psychiatry 2018 02 5;12(1):45-54. Epub 2015 Nov 5.

Orygen, the National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Melbourne, Australia.

Aim: There is growing support for the role of inflammation and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of major depressive disorder (MDD). This has led to the development of novel strategies targeting inflammation in the treatment of depression. Rosuvastatin and aspirin have well-documented, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The aim of the Youth Depression Alleviation: Augmentation with an anti-inflammatory agent (YoDA-A) study is to determine whether individuals receiving adjunctive anti-inflammatory agents, aspirin and rosuvastatin experience a reduction in the severity of MDD compared with individuals receiving placebo.

Methods: YoDA-A is a 12-week triple-blind, randomized controlled trial funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia. Participants aged 15-25, with moderate-to-severe MDD, are allocated to receive either 10 mg/day rosuvastatin, 100 mg/day aspirin, or placebo, in addition to treatment as usual. Participants are assessed at baseline and at weeks 4, 8, 12 and 26. The primary outcome is change in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) from baseline to week 12.

Results: The study is planned to be completed in 2017. At date of publication, 85 participants have been recruited.

Conclusion: Timely and targeted intervention for youth MDD is crucial. Given the paucity of new agents to treat youth MDD, adjunctive trials are not only pragmatic and 'real-world', but additionally aim to target shortfalls in conventional medications. This study has the potential to first provide two new adjunctive treatment options for youth MDD; aspirin and rosuvastatin. Second, this study will serve as proof of principle of the role of inflammation in MDD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eip.12280DOI Listing
February 2018

A Bigger City Isn't Always Better.

Authors:
Amber Williams

Sci Am 2015 Sep;313(3):100

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0915-100DOI Listing
September 2015

ASTHO Affiliates Find Value in PH WINS.

J Public Health Manag Pract 2015 Nov-Dec;21 Suppl 6:S168-9

National Public Health Information Coalition, Marietta, Georgia (Ms Smith); Directors of Health Promotion and Education, Washington, District of Columbia (Ms Goekler); Safe States Alliance, Atlanta, Georgia (Ms Williams); and The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, Arlington, Virginia (Dr Sellers).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PHH.0000000000000294DOI Listing
February 2017

Weight isn't selling: The insidious effects of weight stigmatization in retail settings.

J Appl Psychol 2015 Sep 9;100(5):1483-96. Epub 2015 Mar 9.

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan.

In recent years, the literature on the stigma of obesity has grown but there still remains a paucity of research examining specific issues associated with its impact in the workplace. In the current study, we examine 3 such issues related to the influence of weight-based stigmatization in retail settings. First, we highlight research on the impact of obesity in men often is minimized or altogether excluded, and we examine whether weight-based stigmatization influences men in authentic retail settings (Study 1). Across retail contexts, Study 1 reveals that heavy (vs. nonheavy) men do experience significantly more interpersonal (subtle) discrimination. Second, we examine the "why" of weight-based stigmatization and find that weight-related negative stereotypes compound to produce indirect but strong effects of stigmatization in retail settings (Study 2). Third and finally, we examine whether weight-based stigmatization against men and women in retail also influences ratings of associated products and the organizations for which heavy individuals work (also Study 2). Results from Study 2 show that stereotypes work similarly for men and women and that a stigma-by-association effect occurs in which evaluators rate products and organizations associated with heavy (vs. nonheavy) retail personnel more negatively. Finally, we discuss the importance of these findings in gaining a more holistic look at the influence of weight stigmatization in the workplace.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/apl0000017DOI Listing
September 2015

Framing black boys: parent, teacher, and student narratives of the academic lives of black boys.

Adv Child Dev Behav 2014 ;47:301-32

The discourse on Black boys tends to suggest that Black boys are in complete peril. We begin with evidence that Black boys are excelling in certain contexts (i.e., in certain states, in certain schools, and in certain courses). We then discuss the ways in which the narratives used by parents, teachers, and Black boys themselves may serve to further reinforce views that Black boys are beyond hope. Research on Black parents suggests that they tend to view their sons as vulnerable and have lower expectations for sons than for daughters. Studies of teachers show that they tend to view Black boys as unteachable, as social problems, and as scary. Research on Black boys shows that they are sometimes complicit in supporting these narratives by engaging in negative or ste reotypical behavior. We also include recent research that includes counter-narratives of Black boys. We end with suggestions for future research.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/bs.acdb.2014.05.003DOI Listing
November 2014

Social networking policies in nursing education.

Comput Inform Nurs 2014 Mar;32(3):110-7

Author Affiliations: College of Nursing, University of South Carolina Columbia.

Social networking use has increased exponentially in the past few years. A literature review related to social networking and nursing revealed a research gap between nursing practice and education. Although there was information available on the appropriate use of social networking sites, there was limited research on the use of social networking policies within nursing education. The purpose of this study was to identify current use of social media by faculty and students and a need for policies within nursing education at one institution. A survey was developed and administered to nursing students (n = 273) and nursing faculty (n = 33). Inferential statistics included χ², Fisher exact test, t test, and General Linear Model. Cronbach's α was used to assess internal consistency of social media scales. The χ² result indicates that there were associations with the group and several social media items. t Test results indicate significant differences between student and faculty for average of policies are good (P = .0127), policies and discipline (P = .0315), and policy at the study school (P = .0013). General Linear Model analyses revealed significant differences for "friend" a patient with a bond, unprofessional posts, policy, and nursing with class level. Results showed that students and faculty supported the development of a social networking policy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CIN.0000000000000030DOI Listing
March 2014

Professional conferences enrich and energise.

Inj Prev 2013 Feb;19(1):72

Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/injuryprev-2012-040725DOI Listing
February 2013

Castor bean organelle genome sequencing and worldwide genetic diversity analysis.

PLoS One 2011 7;6(7):e21743. Epub 2011 Jul 7.

Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.

Castor bean is an important oil-producing plant in the Euphorbiaceae family. Its high-quality oil contains up to 90% of the unusual fatty acid ricinoleate, which has many industrial and medical applications. Castor bean seeds also contain ricin, a highly toxic Type 2 ribosome-inactivating protein, which has gained relevance in recent years due to biosafety concerns. In order to gain knowledge on global genetic diversity in castor bean and to ultimately help the development of breeding and forensic tools, we carried out an extensive chloroplast sequence diversity analysis. Taking advantage of the recently published genome sequence of castor bean, we assembled the chloroplast and mitochondrion genomes extracting selected reads from the available whole genome shotgun reads. Using the chloroplast reference genome we used the methylation filtration technique to readily obtain draft genome sequences of 7 geographically and genetically diverse castor bean accessions. These sequence data were used to identify single nucleotide polymorphism markers and phylogenetic analysis resulted in the identification of two major clades that were not apparent in previous population genetic studies using genetic markers derived from nuclear DNA. Two distinct sub-clades could be defined within each major clade and large-scale genotyping of castor bean populations worldwide confirmed previously observed low levels of genetic diversity and showed a broad geographic distribution of each sub-clade.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0021743PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3131294PMC
December 2011

Team training in the neonatal resuscitation program for interns: teamwork and quality of resuscitations.

Pediatrics 2010 Mar 15;125(3):539-46. Epub 2010 Feb 15.

6410 Fannin St, UPB 1100, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Objective: Poor communication and teamwork may contribute to errors during neonatal resuscitation. Our objective was to evaluate whether interns who received a 2-hour teamwork training intervention with the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) demonstrated more teamwork and higher quality resuscitations than control subjects.

Methods: Participants were noncertified 2007 and 2008 incoming interns for pediatrics, combined pediatrics and internal medicine, family medicine, emergency medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology (n = 98). Pediatrics and combined pediatrics/internal medicine interns were eligible for 6-month follow-up (n = 34). A randomized trial was conducted in which half of the participants in the team training arm practiced NRP skills by using high-fidelity simulators; the remaining practiced with low-fidelity simulators, as did control subjects. Blinded, trained observers viewed video recordings of high-fidelity-simulated resuscitations for teamwork and resuscitation quality.

Results: High-fidelity training (HFT) group had higher teamwork frequency than did control subjects (12.8 vs 9.0 behaviors per minute; P < .001). Intervention groups maintained more workload management (control subjects: 89.3%; low-fidelity training [LFT] group: 98.0% [P < .001]; HFT group: 98.8%; HFT group versus control subjects [P < .001]) and completed resuscitations faster (control subjects: 10.6 minutes; LFT group: 8.6 minutes [P = .040]; HFT group: 7.4 minutes; HFT group versus control subjects [P < .001]). Overall, intervention teams completed the resuscitation an average of 2.6 minutes faster than did control subjects, a time reduction of 24% (95% confidence interval: 12%-37%). Intervention groups demonstrated more frequent teamwork during 6-month follow-up resuscitations (11.8 vs 10.0 behaviors per minute; P = .030).

Conclusions: Trained participants exhibited more frequent teamwork behaviors (especially the HFT group) and better workload management and completed the resuscitation more quickly than did control subjects. The impact on team behaviors persisted for at least 6 months. Incorporating team training into the NRP curriculum is a feasible and effective way to teach interns teamwork skills. It also improves simulated resuscitation quality by shortening the duration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2009-1635DOI Listing
March 2010

Heart rate variability in response to pain stimulus in VLBW infants followed longitudinally during NICU stay.

Dev Psychobiol 2009 Dec;51(8):638-49

Center for Nursing Research The University of Texas School of Nursing at Houston, 6901 Bertner Avenue Ste. 560, P.O. Box 20334 Houston, TX 77225-0334, USA.

The objective of this longitudinal study, conducted in a neonatal intensive care unit, was to characterize the response to pain of high-risk very low birth weight infants (<1,500 g) from 23 to 38 weeks post-menstrual age (PMA) by measuring heart rate variability (HRV). Heart period data were recorded before, during, and after a heel lanced or wrist venipunctured blood draw for routine clinical evaluation. Pain response to the blood draw procedure and age-related changes of HRV in low-frequency and high-frequency bands were modeled with linear mixed-effects models. HRV in both bands decreased during pain, followed by a recovery to near-baseline levels. Venipuncture and mechanical ventilation were factors that attenuated the HRV response to pain. HRV at the baseline increased with post-menstrual age but the growth rate of high-frequency power was reduced in mechanically ventilated infants. There was some evidence that low-frequency HRV response to pain improved with advancing PMA.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dev.20399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2936240PMC
December 2009

Neural correlates of reward processing in adolescents with a history of inhibited temperament.

Psychol Sci 2009 Aug 6;20(8):1009-18. Epub 2009 Jul 6.

Department of Psychology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Functional imaging data were acquired during performance of a reward-contingency task in a unique cohort of adolescents (ages 14-18 years) who were characterized since infancy on measures of temperamental behavioral inhibition. Neural activation was examined in striatal structures (nucleus accumbens, putamen, caudate) with a known role in facilitating response to salient reward-related cues. Adolescents with a history of behavioral inhibition, relative to noninhibited adolescents, showed increased activation in the nucleus accumbens when they believed their selection of an action would affect reward outcome. Neural responses did not differ between the two groups when participants made a prespecified response that they knew would result in reward or when they produced random motor responses that they knew would not be rewarded. These results link inhibited temperament and perturbed neural responses to reward-contingency cues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02401.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785902PMC
August 2009

Changes in the PQRST intervals and heart rate variability associated with rewarming in two newborns undergoing hypothermia therapy.

Neonatology 2009 2;96(2):93-5. Epub 2009 Mar 2.

Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, Department of Pediatrics and Center for Clinical Research and Evidence-Based Medicine, University of Texas Medical School, Houston, TX 77030, USA.

Background: Little is known about the effects of hypothermia therapy and subsequent rewarming on the PQRST intervals and heart rate variability (HRV) in term newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

Objectives: This study describes the changes in the PQRST intervals and HRV during rewarming to normal core body temperature of 2 newborns with HIE after hypothermia therapy.

Methods: Within 6 h after birth, 2 newborns with HIE were cooled to a core body temperature of 33.5 degrees C for 72 h using a cooling blanket, followed by gradual rewarming (0.5 degrees C per hour) until the body temperature reached 36.5 degrees C. Custom instrumentation recorded the electrocardiogram from the leads used for clinical monitoring of vital signs. Generalized linear mixed models were calculated to estimate temperature-related changes in PQRST intervals and HRV.

Results: For every 1 degrees C increase in body temperature, the heart rate increased by 9.2 bpm (95% CI 6.8-11.6), the QTc interval decreased by 21.6 ms (95% CI 17.3-25.9), and low and high frequency HRV decreased by 0.480 dB (95% CI 0.052-0.907) and 0.938 dB (95% CI 0.460-1.416), respectively.

Conclusions: Hypothermia-induced changes in the electrocardiogram should be monitored carefully in future studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1159/000205385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957844PMC
November 2009
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