Publications by authors named "Helen B Hubert"

17 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Fertility and Symptom Relief following Robot-Assisted Laparoscopic Myomectomy.

Obstet Gynecol Int 2015 19;2015:967568. Epub 2015 Apr 19.

Nashville Fertility Center, 345 23rd Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

Objective. To examine success of robot-assisted laparoscopic myomectomy (RALM) measured by sustained symptom relief and fertility. Methods. This is a retrospective survey of 426 women who underwent RALM for fibroids, symptom relief, or infertility at three practice sites across the US. We examined rates of symptom recurrence and pregnancy and factors associated with these outcomes. Results. Overall, 70% of women reported being symptom-free, with 62.9% free of symptoms after three years. At >3 years, 66.7% of women who underwent surgery to treat infertility and 80% who were also symptom-free reported achieving pregnancy. Factors independently associated with symptom recurrence included greater time after surgery, preoperative dyspareunia, multiple fibroid surgeries, smoking after surgery, and preexisting diabetes. Factors positively correlated with achieving pregnancy included desiring pregnancy, prior pregnancy, greater time since surgery, and Caucasian race. Factors negatively correlated with pregnancy were advanced age and symptom recurrence. Conclusions. This paper, the first to examine symptom recurrence after RALM, demonstrates both short- and long-term effectiveness in providing symptom relief. Furthermore, RALM may have the potential to improve the chance of conception, even in a population at high risk of subfertility, with greater benefits among those who remain symptom-free. These findings require prospective validation.
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May 2015

The impact of different surgical modalities for hysterectomy on satisfaction and patient reported outcomes.

Interact J Med Res 2014 Jul 17;3(3):e11. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Minimally Invasive & Gynecologic Robotic Surgery, Newark, NJ, United States.

Background: There is an ongoing debate regarding the cost-benefit of different surgical modalities for hysterectomy. Studies have relied primarily on evaluation of clinical outcomes and medical expenses. Thus, a paucity of information on patient-reported outcomes including satisfaction, recovery, and recommendations exists.

Objective: The objective of this study was to identify differences in patient satisfaction and recommendations by approach to a hysterectomy.

Methods: We recruited a large, geographically diverse group of women who were members of an online hysterectomy support community. US women who had undergone a benign hysterectomy formed this retrospective study cohort. Self-reported characteristics and experiences were compared by surgical modality using chi-square tests. Outcomes over time were assessed with the Jonkheere-Terpstra trend test. Logistic regression identified independent predictors of patient satisfaction and recommendations.

Results: There were 6262 women who met the study criteria; 41.74% (2614/6262) underwent an abdominal hysterectomy, 10.64% (666/6262) were vaginal, 27.42% (1717/6262) laparoscopic, 18.94% (1186/6262) robotic, and 1.26% (79/6262) single-incision laparoscopic. Most women were at least college educated (56.37%, 3530/6262), and identified as white, non-Hispanic (83.17%, 5208/6262). Abdominal hysterectomy rates decreased from 68.2% (152/223) to 24.4% (75/307), and minimally invasive surgeries increased from 31.8% (71/223) to 75.6% (232/307) between 2001 or prior years and 2013 (P<.001 all trends). Trends in overall patient satisfaction and recommendations showed significant improvement over time (P<.001).There were differences across the surgical modalities in all patient-reported experiences (ie, satisfaction, time to walking, driving and working, and whether patients would recommend or use the same technique again; P<.001). Significantly better outcomes were evident among women who had vaginal, laparoscopic, and robotic procedures than among those who had an abdominal procedure. However, robotic surgery was the only approach that was an independent predictor of better patient experience; these patients were more satisfied overall (odds ratio [OR] 1.31, 95% CI 1.13-1.51) and on six other satisfaction measures, and more likely to recommend (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.39-1.94) and choose the same modality again (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.67-2.57). Abdominal hysterectomy patients were more dissatisfied with outcomes after surgery and less likely to recommend (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.31-0.40) or choose the same technique again (OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.25-0.33). Quicker return to normal activities and surgery after 2007 also were independently associated with better overall satisfaction, willingness to recommend, and to choose the same surgery again.

Conclusions: Consistent with other US data, laparoscopic and robotic hysterectomy rates increased over time, with a concomitant decline in abdominal hysterectomy. While inherent shortcomings of this retrospective Web-based study exist, findings show that patient experience was better for each of the major minimally invasive approaches than for abdominal hysterectomy. However, robotic-assisted hysterectomy was the only modality that independently predicted greater satisfaction and willingness to recommend and have the same procedure again.
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July 2014

Retrospective analysis of robot-assisted versus standard laparoscopy in the treatment of pelvic pain indicative of endometriosis.

J Robot Surg 2013 Jun 27;7(2):163-9. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, USA.

We examined the feasibility of treating pelvic pain in patients with suspected endometriosis using robot-assisted laparoscopic techniques compared with CO2 laser laparoscopy, in a retrospective review from a single surgeon's practice, including the last 100 standard laparoscopic (December 2004-September 2007) and the first 180 robot-assisted (July 2007-January 2010) surgeries to treat suspected endometriosis. Perioperative outcomes and postoperative pain were compared by technique. Patients in each group were comparable in gravidity, body mass index, prior endometriosis, prior abdominopelvic surgery, American Fertility Society stage, and biopsy rates. Operative time (77 vs. 72 min), blood loss (29 vs. 25 mL), and complication rates (1.1 vs. 0 %) in robot-assisted and standard laparoscopy were low and similar for both approaches. Differences were apparent in biopsies confirming endometriosis (80 % robot-assisted vs. 56.8 % traditional laparoscopy, p < 0.001). Most patients reported improved postoperative pain at the first follow-up visit with no differences between the surgical approaches (85 % vs. 80 %, p = 0.365). Perioperative outcomes with robot-assisted surgery were comparable to outcomes using CO2 laser laparoscopy. Further investigation is needed to ascertain whether robotics provides better visual acuity and excision of endometriosis, as suggested by these data, and if long-term resolution of symptoms and fertility outcomes differ by surgical approach.
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June 2013

Lifestyle risk factors predict disability and death in healthy aging adults.

Am J Med 2012 Feb;125(2):190-7

Arthritis and Clinical Immunology, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma City, 73104, USA.

Background: Associations between modifiable health risk factors during middle age with disability and mortality in later life are critical to maximizing longevity while preserving function. Positive health effects of maintenance of normal weight, routine exercise, and nonsmoking are known for the short and intermediate term. We studied the effects of these risk factors into advanced age.

Methods: A cohort of 2327 college alumnae aged 60 years or more was followed annually (1986-2005) by questionnaires addressing health risk factors, history, and Health Assessment Questionnaire disability. Mortality data were ascertained from the National Death Index. Low-, medium-, and high-risk groups were created on the basis of the number (0, 1, ≥2) of health risk factors (overweight, smoking, inactivity) at baseline. Disability and mortality for each group were estimated from unadjusted data and regression analyses. Multivariable survival analyses estimated time to disability or death.

Results: The medium- and high-risk groups had higher disability than the low-risk group throughout the study (P<.001). Low-risk subjects had onset of moderate disability delayed 8.3 years compared with high-risk subjects. Mortality rates were higher in the high-risk group (384 vs 247 per 10,000 person-years). Multivariable survival analyses showed the number of risk factors to be associated with cumulative disability and increased mortality.

Conclusion: Seniors with fewer behavioral risk factors during middle age have lower disability and improved survival. These data document that the associations of lifestyle risk factors on health continue into the ninth decade.
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February 2012

Clinical and cost comparisons for hysterectomy via abdominal, standard laparoscopic, vaginal and robot-assisted approaches.

S D Med 2011 Jun;64(6):197-9, 201, 203 passim

Introduction: The goal of this study was to compare outcomes and costs of four methods of hysterectomy: abdominal, standard laparoscopic, vaginal and robot-assisted approaches.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective medical chart review of 1474 consecutive hysterectomy patients with benign indications.

Results: Implementation of a robotics program at our institution resulted in reductions in abdominal (33 percent to 8 percent) and laparoscopic (29 percent to 5 percent) hysterectomies. Robotic surgery demonstrated the least blood loss and shortest hospital stays (both p < 0.0001), despite greater case complexity. Overall complication rates were highest for abdominal procedures (14 percent) and similar across minimally invasive approaches (8 to 9 percent). Conversion rates were four times greater in laparoscopic than vaginal or robotic hysterectomy (p = 0.01). Vaginal hysterectomy, performed in the least complex cases, had the lowest major complication rate (1.5 percent) and lowest costs. Costs for robotic surgery were similar to abdominal and laparoscopic approaches when robots were not depreciated as direct surgical expenses.

Conclusions: Vaginal hysterectomy was the least expensive surgical option. Robotic surgery reduced morbidity, conversions and hospital stays even in complex cases, without incurring additional costs beyond purchase of the robotic system.
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June 2011

Comparison of minimally invasive surgical approaches for hysterectomy at a community hospital: robotic-assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy, laparoscopic-assisted vaginal hysterectomy and laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy.

J Robot Surg 2010 Sep 10;4(3):167-75. Epub 2010 Aug 10.

The study reported here compares outcomes of three approaches to minimally invasive hysterectomy for benign indications, namely, robotic-assisted laparoscopic (RALH), laparoscopic-assisted vaginal (LAVH) and laparoscopic supracervical (LSH) hysterectomy. The total patient cohort comprised the first 237 patients undergoing robotic surgeries at our hospital between August 2007 and June 2009; the last 100 patients undergoing LAVH by the same surgeons between July 2006 and February 2008 and 165 patients undergoing LAVHs performed by nine surgeons between January 2008 and June 2009; 87 patients undergoing LSH by the same nine surgeons between January 2008 and June 2009. Among the RALH patients were cases of greater complexity: (1) higher prevalence of prior abdominopelvic surgery than that found among LAVH patients; (2) an increased number of procedures for endometriosis and pelvic reconstruction. Uterine weights also were greater in RALH patients [207.4 vs. 149.6 (LAVH; P < 0.001) and 141.1 g (LSH; P = 0.005)]. Despite case complexity, operative time was significantly lower in RALH than in LAVH (89.9 vs. 124.8 min, P < 0.001) and similar to that in LSH (89.6 min). Estimated blood loss was greater in LAVH (167.9 ml) than in RALH (59.0 ml, P < 0.001) or LSH (65.7 ml, P < 0.001). Length of hospital stay was shorter for RALH than for LAVH or LSH. Conversion and complication rates were low and similar across procedures. Multivariable regression indicated that LAVH, obesity, uterine weight ≥250 g and older age predicted significantly longer operative time. The learning curve for RALH demonstrated improved operative time over the case series. Our findings show the benefits of RALH over LAVH. Outcomes in RALH can be as good as or better than those in LSH, suggesting the latter should be the choice primarily for women desiring cervix-sparing surgery.
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September 2010

Robotically assisted hysterectomy in patients with large uteri: outcomes in five community practices.

Obstet Gynecol 2010 Mar;115(3):535-542

From Ochsner Health Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, New Jersey; Hackensack Medical Center, New Jersey; Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, South Carolina; Mount Carmel Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio; Mercy Medical Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Stanford University School of Medicine, California.

Objective: To examine outcomes of robotically assisted laparoscopic hysterectomy in patients with benign conditions involving high uterine weight and complex pathology.

Methods: A multicenter study was undertaken in five community practice settings across the United States. All patients who had minimally invasive laparoscopic hysterectomy with robotic assistance March 2006 through July 2009 and uterine weights of at least 250 g were included. Retrospective chart review identified outcomes including skin-to-skin operative time, conversion to an exploratory laparotomy, blood loss, complications, and hospital duration of stay. The effect of uterine weight on skin-to-skin time and blood loss also was examined.

Results: Data were analyzed for 256 patients with uteri weighing 250 to 3,020 g (median 453 g). Most patients were obese or had a history of pelvic or abdominal surgery. Median operative time was 145 minutes. Duration of surgery in patients with uteri 500 g or greater was significantly longer than in patients with uteri less than 500 g (167 compared with 126 minutes, P<.001). Median estimated blood loss also was greater in women with uteri weighing 500 g or more (100 compared with 50 mL, P<.001). Multivariable linear regression analysis confirmed the independent effect of uterine weight on operative time and blood loss. Median duration of hospital stay was 1 day. The conversion rate was 1.6%, the minor complication rate was 1.6%, and major complications occurred in 2.0% of patients.

Conclusion: Women with large uteri may successfully undergo robotically assisted hysterectomy with low morbidity, low blood loss, and minimal risk of conversion to laparotomy. Results were reproducible among general gynecologists from geographically diverse community settings.
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March 2010

Reduced disability and mortality among aging runners: a 21-year longitudinal study.

Arch Intern Med 2008 Aug;168(15):1638-46

Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

Background: Exercise has been shown to improve many health outcomes and well-being of people of all ages. Long-term studies in older adults are needed to confirm disability and survival benefits of exercise.

Methods: Annual self-administered questionnaires were sent to 538 members of a nationwide running club and 423 healthy controls from northern California who were 50 years and older beginning in 1984. Data included running and exercise frequency, body mass index, and disability assessed by the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI; scored from 0 [no difficulty] to 3 [unable to perform]) through 2005. A total of 284 runners and 156 controls completed the 21-year follow-up. Causes of death through 2003 were ascertained using the National Death Index. Multivariate regression techniques compared groups on disability and mortality.

Results: At baseline, runners were younger, leaner, and less likely to smoke compared with controls. The mean (SD) HAQ-DI score was higher for controls than for runners at all time points and increased with age in both groups, but to a lesser degree in runners (0.17 [0.34]) than in controls (0.36 [0.55]) (P < .001). Multivariate analyses showed that runners had a significantly lower risk of an HAQ-DI score of 0.5 (hazard ratio, 0.62; 95% confidence interval, 0.46-0.84). At 19 years, 15% of runners had died compared with 34% of controls. After adjustment for covariates, runners demonstrated a survival benefit (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% confidence interval, 0.45-0.82). Disability and survival curves continued to diverge between groups after the 21-year follow-up as participants approached their ninth decade of life.

Conclusion: Vigorous exercise (running) at middle and older ages is associated with reduced disability in later life and a notable survival advantage.
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August 2008

Long distance running and knee osteoarthritis. A prospective study.

Am J Prev Med 2008 Aug 12;35(2):133-8. Epub 2008 Jun 12.

Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.

Background: Prior studies of the relationship of physical activity to osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee have shown mixed results. The objective of this study was to determine if differences in the progression of knee OA in middle- to older-aged runners exist when compared with healthy nonrunners over nearly 2 decades of serial radiographic observation.

Methods: Forty-five long-distance runners and 53 controls with a mean age of 58 (range 50-72) years in 1984 were studied through 2002 with serial knee radiographs. Radiographic scores were two-reader averages for Total Knee Score (TKS) by modified Kellgren & Lawrence methods. TKS progression and the number of knees with severe OA were compared between runners and controls. Multivariate regression analyses were performed to assess the relationship between runner versus control status and radiographic outcomes using age, gender, BMI, education, and initial radiographic and disability scores among covariates.

Results: Most subjects showed little initial radiographic OA (6.7% of runners and 0 controls); however, by the end of the study runners did not have more prevalent OA (20 vs 32%, p =0.25) nor more cases of severe OA (2.2% vs 9.4%, p=0.21) than did controls. Regression models found higher initial BMI, initial radiographic damage, and greater time from initial radiograph to be associated with worse radiographic OA at the final assessment; no significant associations were seen with gender, education, previous knee injury, or mean exercise time.

Conclusions: Long-distance running among healthy older individuals was not associated with accelerated radiographic OA. These data raise the possibility that severe OA may not be more common among runners.
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August 2008

Hydroxychloroquine and risk of diabetes in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

JAMA 2007 Jul;298(2):187-93

Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.

Context: Hydroxychloroquine, a commonly used antirheumatic medication, has hypoglycemic effects and may reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus.

Objective: To determine the association between hydroxychloroquine use and the incidence of self-reported diabetes in a cohort of patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Design, Setting, And Patients: A prospective, multicenter observational study of 4905 adults with rheumatoid arthritis (1808 had taken hydroxychloroquine and 3097 had never taken hydroxychloroquine) and no diagnosis or treatment for diabetes in outpatient university-based and community-based rheumatology practices with 21.5 years of follow-up (January 1983 through July 2004).

Main Outcome Measures: Diabetes by self-report of diagnosis or hypoglycemic medication use.

Results: During the observation period, incident diabetes was reported by 54 patients who had taken hydroxychloroquine and by 171 patients who had never taken hydroxychloroquine, with incidence rates of 5.2 per 1000 patient-years of observation compared with 8.9 per 1000 patient-years of observation, respectively (P < .001). In time-varying multivariable analysis with adjustments for possible confounding factors, the hazard ratio for incident diabetes among patients who had taken hydroxychloroquine was 0.62 (95% confidence interval, 0.42-0.92) compared with those who had not taken hydroxychloroquine. In Poisson regression, the risk of incident diabetes was significantly reduced with increased duration of hydroxychloroquine use (P < .001 for trend); among those taking hydroxychloroquine for more than 4 years (n = 384), the adjusted relative risk of developing diabetes was 0.23 (95% confidence interval, 0.11-0.50; P < .001), compared with those who had not taken hydroxychloroquine.

Conclusion: Among patients with rheumatoid arthritis, use of hydroxychloroquine is associated with a reduced risk of diabetes.
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July 2007

Associations of changes in exercise level with subsequent disability among seniors: a 16-year longitudinal study.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2006 Jan;61(1):97-102

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5755, USA.

Background: The effect of changes in physical exercise on progression of musculoskeletal disability in seniors has rarely been studied.

Methods: We studied a prospective cohort annually from 1984 to 2000 using the Health Assessment Questionnaire Disability Index (HAQ-DI). The cohort included 549 participants, 73% men, with average end-of-study age of 74 years. At baseline and at the end of the study, participants were classified as "High" or "Low" vigorous exercisers using a cut-point of 60 min/wk. Four groups were formed: "Sedentary" (Low-->Low; N = 71), "Exercise Increasers" (Low-->High; N = 27), "Exercise Decreasers" (High-->Low; N = 73), and "Exercisers" (High-->High; N = 378). The primary dependent variable was change in HAQ-DI score (scored 0-3) from 1984 to 2000. Multivariate statistical adjustments using analysis of covariance included age, gender, and changes in three risk factors, body mass index, smoking status, and number of comorbid conditions. Participants also prospectively provided reasons for exercise changes.

Results: At baseline, Sedentary and Increasers averaged little exercise (16 and 22 exercise min/wk), whereas Exercisers and Decreasers averaged over 10 times more (285 and 212 exercise min/wk; p <.001). All groups had low initial HAQ-DI scores, ranging from 0.03 to 0.08. Increasers and Exercisers achieved the smallest increments in HAQ-DI score (0.17 and 0.11) over 16 years, whereas Decreasers and Sedentary fared more poorly (increments 0.27 and 0.37). Changes in HAQ-DI score for Increasers compared to Sedentary were significantly more favorable (p <.05) even after multivariate statistical adjustment.

Conclusions: Inactive participants who increased exercise achieved excellent end-of-study values with increments in disability similar to those participants who were more active throughout. These results suggest a beneficial effect of exercise, even when begun later in life, on postponement of disability.
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January 2006

Lifestyle risk factors predict healthcare costs in an aging cohort.

Am J Prev Med 2005 Dec;29(5):379-87

Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care, University of California-Davis, Davis, California, USA.

Background: While the U.S. elderly population uses a disproportionate amount of healthcare resources, there is limited knowledge from prospective studies regarding the impact of lifestyle-related factors on costs in this group. The association was examined between smoking, drinking, exercise, body mass index (BMI), and changes in these risk factors, and healthcare costs after 4 years among 68- to 95-year-olds.

Methods: A total of 1323 participants completed annual surveys providing information on lifestyle factors (1986-1994) and health utilization (1994-1998). Healthcare costs in nine categories were ascertained from validated utilization. The relationships between risk factors and costs were examined in 2004 using linear regression models.

Results: Fewer cigarette pack-years and lower BMI were the most significant predictors of lower total costs in 1998 (p<0.001), controlling for baseline sociodemographic factors, costs, and conditions. Associations with smoking were strongest for hospitalizations, diagnostic tests, and physician and nursing-home visits. Those who reduced smoking by one pack per day experienced cost savings of 1160 dollars (p<0.05). The costs for normal weight compared to minimally obese seniors were approximately 1548 dollars lower, with diagnostic testing, physician visits, and medications accounting for much of this difference. Daily walking, measured at baseline, also predicted lower costs for hospitalizations and diagnostic testing.

Conclusions: Seniors who were leaner, smoked fewer cigarettes over a lifetime, reduced their smoking, or walked farther had significant subsequent cost savings compared to those with less-healthy lifestyle-related habits.
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December 2005

Health status, health behaviors, and acculturation factors associated with overweight and obesity in Latinos from a community and agricultural labor camp survey.

Prev Med 2005 Jun;40(6):642-51

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.

Background: U.S. Latino adults have experienced an 80% increase in obesity in the last decade.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 18-64-year-old Latino women (N = 380) and men (N = 335) from a community sample, and men (N = 186) from an agricultural labor camp sample in Monterey County, California, provided data on correlates of obesity.

Results: In the community and labor camp samples, prevalences of chronic disease risk factors (high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes) were 1.5-7 times higher in the heaviest compared with the leanest weight groups. Higher acculturation (generational status, years lived in the United States) was the strongest correlate of obesity (measured by BMI) in the community sample (P < 0.001), followed by less exercise and poorer diet (P values < 0.05). Women who exercised <2.5 h/week, watched TV regularly, ate chips/fried snacks, and ate no fruit the previous day were 45 lbs heavier than women with healthier habits. Men who did not exercise, rarely trimmed fat from meat, and ate fried foods the previous day were 16 lbs heavier than men with healthier habits. Discussions with health care providers about diet/exercise were associated with more accurate weight perception and more weight loss attempts in obese participants in both samples.

Conclusions: The associations of acculturation, exercise, and diet to BMI implicate societal as well as individual contributors to obesity among U.S. Latinos.
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June 2005

Self-report was a viable method for obtaining health care utilization data in community-dwelling seniors.

J Clin Epidemiol 2005 Mar;58(3):286-90

Division of Immunology and Rheumatology, Stanford University, School of Medicine, 701 Welch Road, Suite 3305, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.

Objective: Patient self-report and audits of medical records are the most common approaches for obtaining information on utilization of medical services. Because of the time and cost savings associated with self-report, it is important to demonstrate the reliability of this approach, particularly in older persons who use more medical resources but may have poorer recall.

Study Design And Setting: We contacted the medical providers of a random sample of seniors (n = 150) who participated in an ongoing study of health care use. Providers' reports on the participant's medical utilization in the prior year were compared with patients' self-report over the same time period using weighted kappa statistics.

Results: Perfect or almost perfect agreement (weighted kappa = 0.80-1.00) was obtained for physician, hospital, and emergency department visits and high-cost therapies (chemotherapy, radiation therapy). Agreement was substantial (weighted kappa = 0.60-0.80) for x-ray procedures and prescription medications and moderate (weighted kappa = 0.40-0.60) for outpatient procedures and diagnostic tests.

Conclusion: Participant self-report is a viable, reasonably accurate method to obtain information on most types of medical utilization in an older study cohort.
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March 2005

Gender differences in physical disability among an elderly cohort.

Am J Public Health 2004 Aug;94(8):1406-11

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA.

Objectives: We analyzed the role of sociodemographic factors, chronic-disease risk factors, and health conditions in explaining gender differences in disability among senior citizens.

Methods: We compared 1348 men and women (mean age = 79 years) on overall disability and compared their specific activities of daily living, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL), and mobility limitations. Analysis of covariance adjusted for possible explanatory factors.

Results: Women were more likely to report limitations, use of assistance, and a greater degree of disability, particularly among IADL categories. However, these gender differences were largely explained by differences in disability-related health conditions.

Conclusions: Greater prevalence of nonfatal disabling conditions, including fractures, osteoporosis, back problems, osteoarthritis and depression, contributes substantially to greater disability and diminished quality of life among aging women compared with men.
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August 2004

Postponed development of disability in elderly runners: a 13-year longitudinal study.

Arch Intern Med 2002 Nov;162(20):2285-94

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, Calif, USA.

Background: The magnitude and duration of the benefit of running and other aerobic exercise on disability and mortality in elderly persons are not well understood. We sought to quantify the benefits of aerobic exercise, including running, on disability and mortality in elderly persons and to examine whether morbidity can be compressed into later years of life by regular exercise.

Methods: A 13-year prospective cohort study of 370 members of a runners' club for persons aged 50 and older and 249 control subjects initially aged 50 to 72 years (mean, 59 years), with annual ascertainment of the Health Assessment Questionnaire disability score, noting any deaths and their causes. Linear mixed models were used to compute postponement in disability, and survival analysis was conducted to determine the time to and causes of death.

Results: Significantly (P<.001) lower disability levels in runners' club members vs controls and in ever runners vs never runners were sustained for at least 13 years. Reaching a Health Assessment Questionnaire disability level of 0.075 was postponed by 8.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.5-13.7) years in runners' club members vs controls. Running club membership and participation in other aerobic exercise protected against mortality (rate ratio, 0.36 [95% CI, 0.20-0.65] and 0.88 [95% CI, 0.77-0.99], respectively), while male sex and smoking were detrimental (rate ratio, 2.4 [95% CI, 1.4-4.2] and 2.2 [95% CI, 1.1-4.6], respectively). Controls had a 3.3 times higher rate of death than runners' club members, with higher death rates in every disease category. Accelerated rates of disability and mortality were still not seen in the runners' club members; true compression of morbidity was not yet observable through an average age of 72 years.

Conclusion: Running and other aerobic exercise in elderly persons protect against disability and early mortality, and are associated with prolongation of a disability-free life.
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November 2002

Lifestyle habits and compression of morbidity.

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2002 Jun;57(6):M347-51

Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94304, USA.

Background: There has been much debate regarding the degree to which healthy lifestyles can increase longevity and whether added years will be offset by increased morbidity at older ages. This study was designed to test the compression of morbidity hypothesis, proposing that healthy lifestyles can reduce and compress disability into a shorter period toward the end of life.

Methods: Functional status in 418 deceased members of an aging cohort was observed between 1986 and 1998 in relationship to lifestyle-related risk factors, including cigarette smoking, physical inactivity, and under- or overweight. Three risk groups were created based on the number of these factors at study entry. Disability scores prior to death were modeled for each risk group to compare levels and rates of change, as well as to determine if and when acceleration in functional decline occurred.

Results: The risk-factor-free group showed average disability scores near zero 10-12 years before death, rising slowly over time, without evidence of accelerated functional decline. In contrast, those with two or more factors maintained a greater level of disability throughout follow-up and experienced an increase in the rate of decline 1.5 years prior to death. For those at moderate risk, the rate of decline increased significantly only in the last 3 months of life. Other differences between groups provided no alternative explanations for the findings.

Conclusions: These results make a compelling argument for the reduction and postponement of disability with healthier lifestyles as proposed by the compression of morbidity hypothesis.
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June 2002