Publications by authors named "Caroline Abe"

5 Publications

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Physical activity status and quality of life in patients with epilepsy - Survey from level four epilepsy monitoring units.

Epilepsy Res 2021 Jul 9;173:106639. Epub 2021 Apr 9.

Department of Neurology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, TX, 75390, USA. Electronic address:

Purpose: People with epilepsy (PWE) tend to have sedentary lifestyles which may predispose them to a lower perceived quality of life (QOL). Moreover, the relationship between physical activity (PA) and QOL in populations of PWE with high disease burden has been under-studied. The goal of this study was to evaluate PA level and its impact on health-related QOL in PWE who were admitted to Level-4 epilepsy monitoring units (EMU).

Methods: In this prospective observational study, 200 patients from two EMUs in Dallas, Texas completed the following standard surveys: Rapid Assessment of Physical Activity (RAPA), the Quality of Life in Epilepsy (QOLIE-31), Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) questionnaire. Information on self-reported epilepsy history, severity of disease, and socioeconomic status were also collected. The diagnosis of epilepsy was confirmed by video-EEG monitoring.

Results: Among the 200 who completed the survey, 113 had a diagnosis of epilepsy and 109 of them completed the RAPA. Ninety-two (84 %) of these PWE reported a sedentary level of physical activity (RAPA < 6) and 16 % reported an active level (RAPA ≥ 6). Self-reported QOL was slightly higher in PWE with an active level of PA compared to PWE with a sedentary level of PA (63.8 ± 15.0 vs 53.7 ± 17.9, p = 0.07), even though there was no difference in the severity of self-reported mood symptoms. After controlling for employment and seizure frequency, physical activity level measured by RAPA score was also positively related to QOL (r = 0.39, p = 0.01) and negatively correlated with anxiety symptoms (r = -0.28, p = 0.02) and depression symptoms (r = -0.25, p = 0.04).

Conclusion: The majority of PWE in this survey reported sedentary lifestyles despite most of them being young to middle-aged adults. Higher PA level was associated with fewer self-reported mood symptoms and higher QOL. In conjunction with the literature, these results suggest that PWE with a wide range of disease burden should be encouraged to participate in regular exercise to potentially improve QOL.
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July 2021

Comparison of psychiatric comorbidities and impact on quality of life in patients with epilepsy or psychogenic nonepileptic spells.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 01 20;102:106649. Epub 2019 Nov 20.

Department of Neurology and Neurotherapeutics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, TX 75390, USA. Electronic address:

Objectives: Psychiatric comorbidity is common in people with epilepsy (PWE) and psychogenic nonepileptic spells (PNES). These comorbidities can be detrimental to quality of life (QOL) and are often underdiagnosed and undertreated. Some types of epilepsy, such as focal temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), have been associated with higher rates of psychiatric comorbidity. This study examined the impact of psychiatric comorbidity on QOL in patients admitted to two level 4 epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs).

Methods: In this prospective observational study, 200 patients admitted to two level 4 EMUs completed standardized surveys including the Quality of Life in Epilepsy (QOLIE-31-P), Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7), Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II). Hierarchal multiple regression was performed to assess impact on QOL.

Results: Of the 200 participants, 113 had a diagnosis of epilepsy, 36 had a diagnosis of PNES, and 51 were excluded for nondiagnostic evaluation or dual diagnosis. Of those with epilepsy, 65 had TLE, 28 had focal extratemporal lobe epilepsy (ETLE), and 20 had nonfocal epilepsy. Patients with PNES had higher self-reported anxiety and depression levels (GAD-7: p = 0.04, PHQ-9: p < 0.01; BDI-II: p < 0.01) but similar QOL to PWE (p = 0.78). Using hierarchal multiple regression, symptoms of anxiety and depression were significant predictors of lower QOL in PWE but not in patients with PNES. There was no difference in QOL in those with ETLE and TLE.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that self-reported anxiety and depression symptoms are common in patients admitted to level 4 EMUs regardless of diagnosis and play an important role in predicting QOL in PWE. Our findings emphasize the importance of routinely screening all EMU patients for psychiatric comorbidity.
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January 2020

Hepatitis C Virus Infection in the Dallas County Jail: Implications for Screening, Prevention, and Linkage to Care.

Public Health Rep 2019 Nov/Dec;134(6):626-633. Epub 2019 Sep 17.

Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.

Objectives: Screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in jail provides an opportunity to educate and offer care to a high-risk population. We aimed to (1) estimate the prevalence of HCV infection in jail; (2) describe the demographic characteristics, risk factors, and pre-incarceration health insurance status associated with HCV infection; and (3) examine the implementation of HCV screening in jail.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of an opt-out HCV screening program with HCV RNA confirmation and patient education at the Dallas County Jail from April 1 through November 2, 2017. We extracted data on test results, demographic characteristics, and release destination from electronic medical records. A nurse navigator recorded data on patient self-reported risk factors and pre-incarceration health insurance status.

Results: Of 4089 incarcerated persons screened, 708 (17.3%) had a positive HCV antibody result. Of these, 641 (90.5%) had an HCV RNA test ordered; 576 (89.9%) had RNA tests completed, of whom 413 (71.7%) had a positive HCV RNA result. Of these 413, 352 (85.2%) received patient education. Half of HCV RNA-positive incarcerated persons (n = 207, 50.1%) were born outside the birth cohort (1945-1965). Among those with HCV infection, commonly reported risk factors were injection drug use (168 of 352; 47.8%) and tattoos (82 of 352; 23.4%). Most incarcerated persons with HCV infection (284 of 350; 81.1%) did not have health insurance. HCV antibody prevalence was higher among incarcerated persons released to prison (232 of 961; 24.1%) than to outside agencies (38 of 403; 9.4%) or the community (178 of 1026; 17.4%).

Conclusions: Screening for HCV with RNA confirmation in jail provides an opportunity for disease education, transmission prevention, and navigation to HCV treatment. Future efforts should examine post-incarceration linkage to care.
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February 2020

Sexually Transmitted Infections Detected During and After Incarceration Among People with Human Immunodeficiency Virus: Prevalence and Implications for Screening and Prevention.

Sex Transm Dis 2019 09;46(9):602-607

Department of Clinical Sciences, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

Background: Incarceration and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs); however, little is known about STI prevalence among people living with HIV (PLWH) during and after incarceration.

Methods: Electronic medical records from the Dallas County Jail and community HIV clinics were reviewed to determine the frequency and results of testing for gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis B virus (HBV) among PLWH incarcerated in Dallas County Jail between 2010 and 2013. HIV viral loads (VL) and evidence of STI symptoms and treatment were also collected.

Results: During 2473 incarcerations, 6 (3%) of 190 tests were positive for gonorrhea, 7 (4%) of 190 for chlamydia, 231 (21%) of 1082 for syphilis, of which 53 (23%) were new diagnoses, and 48 (5%) of 1005 for HBV surface antigen. Among 1631 releases to the community, 808 followed up in community clinics, where 21 (4%) 553 tests were positive for gonorrhea, 23 (4%) of 555 for chlamydia, 150 (19%) of 808 for syphilis, of which 31 (21%) were new diagnoses, and 24 (6%) of 421 for HBV surface antigen. The majority of new STI cases, 51 (80%) of 64 in jail and 43 (77%)of 56 in the community, had a concurrent detectable (>200 copies/mL) HIV VL.

Conclusions: Testing for gonorrhea and chlamydia was low, particularly in jail, which was attributed to testing protocols. High proportions of PLWH tested positive for syphilis and HBV infection in both settings. The majority of patients with active STIs had a detectable HIV VL. Routine, opt-out screening for STIs for PLWH during and after incarceration has the potential to identify a high proportion of STIs and improve secondary HIV prevention.
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September 2019

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Delivered with Motor Training Enhances Recovery of Function after Traumatic Brain Injury.

J Neurotrauma 2016 05 5;33(9):871-9. Epub 2015 Aug 5.

1 The, School of Behavioral Brain Sciences, The University of Texas at Dallas , Richardson, Texas.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the largest health problems in the United States, and affects nearly 2 million people every year. The effects of TBI, including weakness and loss of coordination, can be debilitating and last years after the initial injury. Recovery of motor function is often incomplete. We have developed a method using electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve paired with forelimb use by which we have demonstrated enhanced recovery from ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. Here we have tested the hypothesis that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) paired with physical rehabilitation could enhance functional recovery after TBI. We trained rats to pull on a handle to receive a food reward. Following training, they received a controlled-cortical impact (CCI) in the forelimb area of motor cortex opposite the trained forelimb, and were then randomized into two treatment groups. One group of animals received VNS paired with rehabilitative therapy, whereas another group received rehabilitative therapy without VNS. Following CCI, volitional forelimb strength and task success rate in all animals were significantly reduced. VNS paired with rehabilitative therapy over a period of 5 weeks significantly increased recovery of both forelimb strength and success rate on the isometric pull task compared with rehabilitative training without VNS. No significant improvement was observed in the Rehab group. Our findings indicate that VNS paired with rehabilitative therapy enhances functional motor recovery after TBI.
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May 2016