Publications by authors named "Jenny Dang"

3 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Engrailed 2 deficiency and chronic stress alter avoidance and motivation behaviors.

Behav Brain Res 2021 Sep 13;413:113466. Epub 2021 Jul 13.

Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Area, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA. Electronic address:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairments in social interaction, cognition, and communication, as well as the presence of repetitive or stereotyped behaviors and interests. ASD is most often studied as a neurodevelopmental disease, but it is a lifelong disorder. Adults with ASD experience more stressful life events and greater perceived stress, and frequently have comorbid mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. It remains unclear whether adult exposure to chronic stress can exacerbate the behavioral and neurodevelopmental phenotypes associated with ASD. To address this issue, we first investigated whether adult male and female Engrailed-2 deficient (En2-KO, En2-/-) mice, which display behavioral disturbances in avoidance tasks and dysregulated monoaminergic neurotransmitter levels, also display impairments in instrumental behaviors associated with motivation, such as the progressive ratio task. We then exposed adult En2-KO mice to chronic environmental stress (CSDS, chronic social defeat stress), to determine if stress exacerbated the behavioral and neuroanatomical effects of En2 deletion. En2-/- mice showed impaired instrumental acquisition and significantly lower breakpoints in a progressive ratio test, demonstrating En2 deficiency decreases motivation to exert effort for reward. Furthermore, adult CSDS exposure increased avoidance behaviors in En2-KO mice. Interestingly, adult CSDS exposure also exacerbated the deleterious effects of En2 deficiency on forebrain-projecting monoaminergic fibers. Our findings thus suggest that adult exposure to stress may exacerbate behavioral and neuroanatomical phenotypes associated with developmental effects of genetic En2 deficiency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2021.113466DOI Listing
September 2021

Perceived work exposures and expressed intervention needs among Michigan nail salon workers.

Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2021 May 29. Epub 2021 May 29.

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109, USA.

Background: Nail salon workers are an underserved population exposed to various occupational hazards. Comprised primarily of women and immigrants, these workers face challenges that further increase their workplace exposures and adverse health outcomes. Though previous studies have noted nail salon workers' exposures, these studies have yet to explore the workers' insights on intervention needs. This study among Michigan nail salon workers addresses this gap.

Methods: This qualitative study was informed by the phenomenology methodological framework anchored within critical social theory. Participants were recruited from nail salons in Southeast Michigan to partake in focus groups. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using content analysis.

Results: Three focus groups were conducted with 13 participants. Three major categories emerged. The first category, workers' perceived work-related stressors, included six themes: lack of standardized policies, regulations, education/training; disconnect between education/training and real-world practice; inadequate knowledge on exposures and safety protocols; unsafe nail products; customer pressure; and immigrant-related pressures. The second category, health issues perceived to be directly related to workplace exposures, included two themes: symptoms experienced due to contact with nail products and symptoms due to poor ergonomics. The third category, participants' perceived intervention needs, included four themes: continuing education; updates with new products; communication with key stakeholders; and partnership building and resource access.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this is the first qualitative study among U.S. nail salon workers focused in Midwest. In addition to the noted individual and organizational-level interventions, policy level implications are discussed given discrepancies in training and practices across states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00420-021-01719-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8164489PMC
May 2021

COVID-19 and mental health of food retail, food service, and hospitality workers.

J Occup Environ Hyg 2021 Apr-May;18(4-5):169-179. Epub 2021 Apr 16.

Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing, University of Washington, School of Nursing, Seattle, Washington DC, USA.

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a detrimental toll on the lives of individuals globally. In addition to the direct effect (e.g., being infected with the virus), this pandemic has negatively ravaged many industries, particularly food retail, food services, and hospitality. Given the novelty of the disease, the true impact of COVID-19 remains to be determined. Because of the nature of their work, and the characteristics of the workers, individuals in the food retail, food service, and hospitality industries are a group whose vulnerability is at its most fragile state during this pandemic. Through this qualitative study, we explored workers' perspectives on the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health and coping, including screening for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder symptoms. Twenty-seven individual interviews were conducted, audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Four key themes emerged: being infected and infecting others, the unknown, isolation, and work and customer demands. Considering the many uncertainties of COVID-19, workers in these three industries were experiencing heightened levels of mental distress because of where they worked and the already existing disparities they faced on a daily basis before the pandemic started. Yet they remained hopeful for a better future. More studies are needed to fully understand the magnitude, short-term, and long-term effects of COVID-19. Based on this study's findings, programs are critically needed to promote positive coping behaviors among at-risk and distressed workers. Recommendations for employers, occupational health and safety professionals, and policy stakeholders to further support these service workers are discussed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15459624.2021.1901905DOI Listing
May 2021
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