Publications by authors named "Joseph B McCormick"

88 Publications

Elevated Glycated Hemoglobin Is Associated With Liver Fibrosis, as Assessed by Elastography, in a Population-Based Study of Mexican Americans.

Hepatol Commun 2020 Dec 31;4(12):1793-1801. Epub 2020 Oct 31.

Division of Epidemiology Human Genetics and Environmental Health University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. Brownsville campus Brownsville TX USA.

Diabetes is associated with liver disease and risk of hepatocellular carcinoma. In this study, we evaluated the association between liver fibrosis measured by transient elastography and four glucose metabolism measures in the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, a population-based, randomly selected cohort of Mexican American Hispanics with high rates of diabetes and liver cancer. We measured liver fibrosis (a risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma) in 774 well-characterized cohort participants using transient elastography. We evaluated the association of liver fibrosis with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance using multivariable linear regression models. In multivariable models, log-transformed HbA1c had the strongest association with liver fibrosis (β = 0.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.04-0.69,  = 0.038), after controlling for waist circumference, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, liver fat, and other known confounders. The association was statistically significant among women (β = 0.33, 95% CI 0.10-0.56,  = 0.009) and similar but nonsignificant among men (β = 0.41, 95% CI -0.17 to 0.98,  = 0.593). Waist circumference, platelet count, aspartate transaminase, and liver steatosis were each associated with liver stiffness. Elevated HbA1c is associated with liver fibrosis, a key risk factor for HCC, particularly among women. Our results indicate that Mexican Americans with uncontrolled HbA1c may benefit from routine screening by liver elastography to identify individuals at risk of liver disease progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1603DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7706295PMC
December 2020

Association of Visceral Adipose Tissue and Subclinical Atherosclerosis in US-Born Mexican Americans but not First Generation Immigrants.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 10 15;9(20):e017373. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Division of Cardiology Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Houston TX.

Background Excess visceral adipose tissue (VAT) is a primary driver for the cardiometabolic complications of obesity; VAT-associated cardiovascular disease risk varies by race, but most studies have been done on Non-Hispanics. This study aimed to evaluate the clinical and metabolic correlates of VAT, its association with subclinical atherosclerosis, and the factors affecting this association in Mexican Americans. Methods and Results Participants (n=527) were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC), on whom a carotid ultrasound to assess carotid intima media thickness and a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan to assess for VAT were obtained. Those in the highest quartiles of VAT were more likely to have hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. Increased carotid intima media thickness was more prevalent in those in the highest quartile for VAT (57.4% versus 15.4% for the lowest quartile; <0.001). There was a graded increase in mean carotid intima media thickness with increasing VAT, after adjusting for covariates; for every 10 cm increase in VAT, there was an increase of 0.004 mm (SE=0.002; =0.0299) in mean carotid intima media thickness. However, this association was only seen among second or higher generation US-born Mexican Americans but not among first generation immigrants (=0.024). Conclusions Excess VAT is associated with indicators of metabolic disorders and subclinical atherosclerosis in Mexican Americans regardless of body mass index. However, acculturation appears to be an important modulator of this association. Longitudinal follow-up with targeted interventions among second or higher generation Hispanics to lower VAT and improve cardiometabolic risk may help prevent premature cardiovascular disease in this cohort.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.017373DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7763390PMC
October 2020

Bile Acid Changes Associated With Liver Fibrosis and Steatosis in the Mexican-American Population of South Texas.

Hepatol Commun 2020 Apr 19;4(4):555-568. Epub 2020 Mar 19.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston TX.

Biomarkers to predict risk of liver fibrosis in subjects with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a common risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma, would allow for early preventive interventions. We sought to characterize bile acid profiles associated with liver fibrosis in subjects from the community-based Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, a population in South Texas with high rates of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Plasma bile acid levels were measured in 390 subjects. These subjects were screened with liver elastography, detecting significant liver fibrosis in 58 subjects and steatosis in 186 subjects. Unsupervised clustering of the bile acid profiles revealed five clusters that differed by liver fibrosis, liver steatosis, liver injury, age and gender, identifying these parameters as major determinants of circulating bile acid changes. Total bile acid levels were significantly higher in subjects with fibrosis, with chenodeoxycholic acid displaying the greatest increase among individual bile acids. The primary conjugated bile acids, glycocholic and glycochenodeoxycholic acids, displayed the strongest association with fibrosis by logistic regression. High lithocholic acid levels were strongly associated with advanced fibrosis. In contrast, deoxycholic acid and total unconjugated secondary bile acids were positively associated with steatosis, whereas relative glycoursodeoxycholic acid abundance was negatively associated. Milk and yogurt intake notably contributed to fibrosis-associated bile acid changes. In addition, multiple families within the Firmicutes phylum, Prevotellaceae, and species in stool significantly correlated with fibrosis-associated and steatosis-associated bile acid parameters, suggesting that the gut microbiome contributes to bile acid changes in the context of liver disease. Circulating bile acid levels were markedly but differently changed in liver fibrosis and steatosis in a high-risk Mexican-American population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep4.1490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7109342PMC
April 2020

Sex and age differences in prevalence and risk factors for prediabetes in Mexican-Americans.

Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2020 Jan 2;159:107950. Epub 2019 Dec 2.

School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Brownsville Regional Campus, One West University Boulevard, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

Aims: Over 1/3 of Americans have prediabetes, while 9.4% have type 2 diabetes. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence of prediabetes in Mexican Americans, with known 28.2% prevalence of type 2 diabetes, by age and sex and to identify critical socio-demographic and clinical factors associated with prediabetes.

Methods: Data were collected between 2004 and 2017 from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort in Texas. Weighted crude and sex- and age- stratified prevalences were calculated. Survey weighted logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify risk factors for prediabetes.

Results: The prevalence of prediabetes (32%) was slightly higher than the alarmingly high rate of type 2 diabetes (28.2%). Hispanic men had the highest overall (37.8%) and highest age stratified prevalence of prediabetes. Males had higher odds of prediabetes than females 1.56 (1.19, 2.06), controlling for the effect of family history of diabetes, age, BMI, and high-density lipoprotein. Family history of diabetes was a strong independent risk factor for prediabetes in all men, and in men and women in the age group 40-64 years. Elevated triglycerides (p = 0.003) was an independent risk factor for men and women in the age group 18-39 years.

Conclusions: Despite the very high prevalence of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes prevalence among Mexican Americans is only marginally less than national prediabetes rates. This suggests that progression to type 2 diabetes is more rapid and occurs earlier than nationally. Earlier screening and interventions for prediabetes, especially for men, are necessary to slow the transition to diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.diabres.2019.107950DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7002264PMC
January 2020

Erratum to "Effects of Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Mexican-American and Korean Premenopausal Women".

Int J Endocrinol 2019 27;2019:8308475. Epub 2019 May 27.

Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1155/2017/5465869.].
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2019/8308475DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6556788PMC
May 2019

Fruit and Vegetable Intake is Inversely Associated with Cancer Risk in Mexican-Americans.

Nutr Cancer 2019 24;71(8):1254-1262. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Department of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health , Brownsville , Texas , USA.

: There is inconsistent evidence and limited data in the Hispanic population concerning fruit and vegetable intake and cancer risk. This study explored the effect of fruit and vegetable intake on cancer risk in Mexican-Americans. : Participants in this cross-sectional study were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort. Consumption of fruits and vegetables were assessed using a validated questionnaire. Cancer was self-reported by the participants based on being told by a health care provider that they had cancer. : Among 2,381 participants with available dietary data, 82 reported a diagnosis of cancer. Participants who met recommendations of five or more servings of fruit and vegetable per day had a significantly 86% lower risk for reported cancer compared with those who did not meet recommendations, after adjusting for other covariates. Every portion increment of total fruit and vegetable intake was significantly associated with the reduced cancer risk by 11% with the adjustment of other covariates. : Fruit and vegetable intake was inversely associated with cancer risk in Mexican-Americans. Improving the consumption of fruit and vegetable might be an effective area for further research as part of a strategy for cancer prevention and control among Mexican-Americans independent of other factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01635581.2019.1603315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7173711PMC
July 2020

A Lack of Decline in Major Nontraumatic Amputations in Texas: Contemporary Trends, Risk Factor Associations, and Impact of Revascularization.

Diabetes Care 2019 06 9;42(6):1061-1066. Epub 2019 Apr 9.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

Objective: Nontraumatic major lower extremity amputations (LEAs) have been reported to be declining nationally; however, trends in Texas have been less well described. We evaluated demographic and clinical risk factors and revascularization associations for LEAs by using inpatient hospital discharge data in Texas from 2005 to 2014.

Research Design And Methods: Inpatient hospital discharge data were obtained from the Texas Center for Health Statistics. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were performed to evaluate clinical, ethnic, and socioeconomic risk factors associated with LEA. The impact of revascularization (surgical and/or endovascular) on LEA was analyzed.

Results: Between 2005 and 2014, of 19,939,716 admissions, 46,627 were for nontraumatic major LEAs. Over time, LEAs were constant, and revascularization rates during index admission declined. The majority of LEAs occurred in males and in individuals aged 60-79 years. Risk factors associated with LEA included diabetes, peripheral arterial disease, chronic kidney disease, and male sex ( < 0.001). Insurance status, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, and stroke/transient ischemic attack were associated with lower odds of amputation ( < 0.001). Hispanic (odds ratio [OR] 1.51 [95% CI 1.48, 1.55], < 0.001) and black (OR 1.97 [95% CI 1.92, 2.02], < 0.001) ethnicities were associated with a higher risk for amputation when compared with non-Hispanic whites. Revascularization, either surgical or endovascular (OR 0.52 [95% CI 0.5, 0.54], < 0.001), was also associated with lower odds for amputation.

Conclusions: Amputation rates in Texas have remained constant, whereas revascularization rates are declining. A higher risk for LEA was seen in minorities, including Hispanic ethnicity, which is the fastest growing demographic in Texas. Revascularization and having insurance were associated with lower odds for amputation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc19-0078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6609949PMC
June 2019

Searching for the Genetic Determinants of Peripheral Arterial Disease: A Review of the Literature and Future Directions.

Cardiol Rev 2019 May/Jun;27(3):145-152

From the Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a significant but under-recognized disease that is poorly understood despite population-scale genetic studies. To address this morbid disease, clinicians need additional tools to identify, prevent, and treat patients at risk for PAD. Genetic studies of coronary artery disease have yielded promising results for clinical application, which have thus far been lacking in PAD. In this article, we review recent findings, discuss limitations, and propose future directions of genomic study and clinical application. However, despite many studies, we still lack definitive genetic markers for PAD. This can be attributed to the heterogeneity of PAD's pathogenesis and clinical manifestations, as well as inconsistencies in study methodologies, limitations of current genetic assessment techniques, incompletely comprehended molecular pathophysiology, and confounding generalized atherosclerotic risk factors. The goals of this review are to evaluate the limitations of our current genetic knowledge of PAD and to propose approaches to expedite the identification of valuable markers of PAD.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CRD.0000000000000231DOI Listing
June 2019

The combined effect of physical activity and sedentary behavior on subclinical atherosclerosis: a cross-sectional study among Mexican Americans.

BMC Public Health 2019 Feb 6;19(1):161. Epub 2019 Feb 6.

Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, 1 W University Blvd, Brownsville, TX, 78520, USA.

Background: Physical activity and sedentary behavior are considered independent risk factors for chronic disease. However, we do not fully understand their interrelation with key health outcomes such as subclinical atherosclerosis. This study examines the combined effects of sedentary behavior and physical activity on carotid intima-media thickness (cIMT) and presence of carotid plaque in a Mexican American population on the Texas-Mexico border.

Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted using retrospective data from a sample (n = 612) of participants from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort. Carotid ultrasound was used to measure cIMT and presence of carotid plaque. Self-reported questionnaires were used to assess leisure time physical activity and sedentary behavior (TV/movie sitting and total sitting). A series of multivariable regression models were used to assess study aims. An interaction term between physical activity and sedentary behavior was included in models for each respective outcome. Models were controlled for demographic and health-related variables.

Results: There were no significant associations found between physical activity, sedentary behavior and mean cIMT, or cIMT thickness ≥ 75th percentile for age and gender. However, there was a significant interaction between physical activity and TV/movie sitting with presence of carotid plaque. Participants who reported moderate levels of physical activity had significantly lower odds for presence of plaque compared to participants with no activity when TV/movie sitting time was ≤3 h per day. However, there was no significant difference in odds for presence of plaque between physical activity groups when TV/movie sitting exceeded 3 h/day. These results were consistent with models examining total sitting time.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that for Mexican Americans, there is a combined effect of sedentary behavior and physical activity on presence of carotid plaque. Participating in moderate physical activity is optimal for having lower levels of carotid plaque in addition to avoiding excessive levels of TV/movie sitting (≥3 h/day) and/or total sitting (≥8.5 h/day).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-6439-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366018PMC
February 2019

The effect of Hispanic ethnicity on surgical outcomes: An analysis of the NSQIP database.

Am J Surg 2019 04 10;217(4):618-633. Epub 2018 Oct 10.

Research Institute, Doctors Hospital at Renaissance Health System, Edinburg, TX, USA; Department of Surgery, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine, Edinburg, TX, USA.

Background: Existing literature has shown racial/ethnic disparities between white and black surgical populations, however, surgical outcomes for Hispanic patients are limited in both scope and quantity.

Methods: Data from the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program from 2007 to 2015 was used to analyze surgical outcomes in approximately 3.5 million patients.

Results: Overall, Hispanics experienced lower odds of mortality compared to non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native patients (all P < 0.0001). No difference was found in mortality odds between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asian or Native Hawaiian patients. Hispanics experienced minimal disparities in complications as compared to non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black but had a higher rate of select complications when compared to Non-Hispanic Asian, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander.

Conclusion: Hispanics, in general, had lower odds of 30-day postoperative mortality and major morbidity compared to most of the races/ethnicities included in the ACS NSQIP database.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjsurg.2018.10.004DOI Listing
April 2019

Association between fruit and vegetable intake and symptoms of mental health conditions in Mexican Americans.

Health Psychol 2018 Nov 8;37(11):1059-1066. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

Division of Epidemiology.

Objective: No studies so far have shown the effect of fruit and vegetable intake on mental disorders in Mexican Americans, for whom mental illness is an important health issue. This study measured the association of fruit and vegetable intake with the symptoms of cognitive impairment, the indication of increased risk of dementia, anxiety, and depression in Mexican Americans.

Method: Participants were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort ( = 3,943), a randomly selected Mexican American cohort in Texas on the United States-Mexico border. Consumption of fruit and vegetables and symptoms of four mental disorders were assessed using reliable and validated instruments.

Results: Among 2,702 participants (mean age = 50 years, 34% male) with available data, 213 had cognitive impairment, 61 had the indication of increased risk of dementia, 626 had depression, 196 had anxiety, and 787 (29.13%) had mental disorders (i.e., any symptoms of the above four disorders). Participants who met recommendations of 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day were less likely to have anxiety = 0.22, 95% CI [0.08, 0.65], cognitive impairment = 0.16, 95% CI [0.05, 0.46]), and indication of increased risk of dementia ( = 0.16, 95% CI [0.03, 0.86]) compared with those who did not meet recommendations, after adjusting for covariates. Every portion increment of total fruit and vegetable intake was significantly associated with the reduced odds of mental disorders by 11% and the odds of cognitive impairment by 32%, with the adjustment of other covariates. No significant associations were found between fruit and vegetable intake and depression.

Conclusion: Fruit and vegetable intake was inversely associated with symptoms of cognitive impairment, the indication of increased risk of dementia, and anxiety in Mexican Americans. Improving consumption of fruit and vegetables may be a convenient target for mental disorder-symptoms prevention and control among Mexican Americans, independent of other factors. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/hea0000646DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6188785PMC
November 2018

Toll-like receptor 4: a target for chemoprevention of hepatocellular carcinoma in obesity and steatohepatitis.

Oncotarget 2018 Jun 29;9(50):29495-29507. Epub 2018 Jun 29.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA.

The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is rapidly increasing. We aimed to elucidate the genetic basis of NAFLD-associated HCC and identify candidate targets for chemoprevention. Twenty HCC tumors, distant liver and matched tails from mice with hepatocyte-deletion of Pten (Hep) were subjected to whole-exome sequencing. A total of 162 genes with somatic non-synonymous single nucleotide variants or exonic small insertions and deletions in tumors were identified. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of these 162 genes, further identified Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4, a key mediator of proinflammatory responses, and resatorvid, a TLR4 inhibitor, as the main causal networks of this dataset. Resatorvid treatment strongly prevented HCC development in these mice ( < 0.001). Remarkably, HCC patients with high tumoral TLR4 mRNA expression were more likely to be diagnosed with NAFLD and obese. TLR4 mRNA expression positively correlated with IL-6 and IL-10 mRNA expression in HCC tumors and the correlation was stronger in obese HCC patients. We have identified tumor mutation signatures and associated causal networks in NAFLD-associated HCC in Hep mice and further demonstrated the important role of TLR4 in promoting HCC development. This study also identified IL-6 and IL-10 as markers of TLR4 activation in HCC and subjects with NAFLD and obesity as the target population who would benefit from TLR4 inhibition treatment for HCC chemoprevention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25685DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047684PMC
June 2018

High Prevalence of Hepatic Fibrosis, Measured by Elastography, in a Population-Based Study of Mexican Americans.

Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2019 04 11;17(5):968-975.e5. Epub 2018 Jun 11.

School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, Texas.

Background & Aims: Hepatic fibrosis is a primary risk factor for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, which affect a disproportionate number of Hispanics in the United States. We aimed to determine the prevalence of significant fibrosis, measured by point shear-wave elastography (pSWE), and determine characteristics of hepatic fibrosis and simple steatosis in a population-based study of Mexican American Hispanics in south Texas.

Methods: Liver stiffness was measured by pSWE, performed by 2 separate operators, for 406 participants in the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort from 2015 through 2017. Significant fibrosis (F2-F4) was defined as median stiffness > 1.34 m/s. Steatosis was determined by ultrasound. All participants underwent a clinical examination that included a comprehensive laboratory analysis and standardized interview about their medical and social history. We calculated weighted prevalence of fibrosis and determined clinical and demographic associations with significant fibrosis (with or without steatosis) and simple steatosis with no/minimal fibrosis using multinomial logistic regression.

Results: Fifty-nine participants were excluded due to unreliable pSWE findings or inconclusive ultrasound results, for a final analysis of 347 participants. The prevalence of significant fibrosis was 13.8%; most of these participants (37/42, 88.1%) had no evidence of viral hepatitis or heavy drinking. Levels of liver enzymes were associated with fibrosis and simple steatosis. Indicators of metabolic health (insulin resistance, triglycerides, and cholesterol) were significantly associated with simple steatosis. Fibrosis, but not simple steatosis, was significantly associated with of antibodies against HCV in plasma (odds ratio, 18.9; P = .0138) and non-significantly associated with reduced platelet count (odds ratio, 0.8 per 50x10/μL; 95% CI, 0.5-1.1). Multivariable analyses, as well as sensitivity analyses removing F4 fibrosis and viral or alcoholic etiologies, confirmed our results.

Conclusion: We estimated the prevalence of fibrosis in a large population of Mexican American Hispanics using pSWE measurements. We found Mexican American Hispanics to have a higher prevalence of fibrosis compared to European and Asian populations, primarily attributable to metabolic disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cgh.2018.05.046DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6289899PMC
April 2019

Glycemic Control and Bone Turnover in Older Mexican Americans with Type 2 Diabetes.

J Osteoporos 2018 13;2018:7153021. Epub 2018 May 13.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, Brownsville, TX, USA.

Altered bone quality, caused by underlying metabolic changes of type 2 diabetes (T2D), has been hypothesized to cause altered bone strength and turnover leading to increased fracture risk in T2D patients. Current understanding about changes in bone turnover markers in T2D patients is mainly based on studies focused on Caucasian men and women. However, Hispanic populations have the highest prevalence of both T2D and osteoporosis in the US. We investigated associations of glycemic control (in terms of glycated hemoglobin [HbA1c]) and bone turnover rate in 69 older (≥50 years) Mexican American Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC) participants with T2D. Multivariable analyses were conducted to assess the associations between HbA1c (%), serum osteocalcin (OC), and serum sclerostin. In agreement with published reports from other racial/ethnic populations, our study found that lower bone turnover (indicated by lower serum OC) occurred in Mexican American men with T2D who had poorer glycemic control. For the women in our study, we found no significant association between glycemic control and OC. In contrast, HbA1c was positively associated with sclerostin for women, with near significance ( = 0.07), while no association was found in men. We recommend screening Mexican American individuals with T2D, specifically those with poor glycemic control, for bone loss and fracture risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2018/7153021DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5971242PMC
May 2018

Mexican American and South Asian population-based cohorts reveal high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and crucial differences in metabolic phenotypes.

BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care 2018 20;6(1):e000436. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Objective: Prevalence of type 2 diabetes varies by region and ancestry. However, most guidelines for the prevention of diabetes mellitus (DM) are based on European or non-Hispanic white populations. Two ethnic minority populations-Mexican Americans (MAs) in Texas, USA, and South Indians (SIs) in Tamil Nadu, India-have an increasing prevalence of DM. We aimed to understand the metabolic correlates of DM in these populations to improve risk stratification and DM prevention.

Research Design And Methods: The Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC; n=3023) served as the MA sample, and the Population Study of Urban, Rural, and Semi-Urban Regions for the Detection of Endovascular Disease (PURSE; n=8080) served as the SI sample. Using design-based methods, we calculated the prevalence of DM and metabolic comorbidities in each cohort. We determined the association of DM with metabolic phenotypes to evaluate the relative contributions of obesity and metabolic health to the prevalence of DM.

Results: In the CCHC (overall DM prevalence 26.2%), good metabolic health was associated with lower prevalence of DM, across age groups, regardless of obesity. In PURSE (overall prevalence 27.6%), probability of DM was not strongly associated with metabolic phenotypes, although DM prevalence was high in older age groups irrespective of metabolic health.

Conclusion: Our study provides robust, population-based data to estimate the prevalence of DM and its associations with metabolic health. Our results demonstrate differences in metabolic phenotypes in DM, which should inform DM prevention guidelines in non-European populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjdrc-2017-000436DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5873536PMC
March 2018

Transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes and predictors of risk in Mexican-Americans.

Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes 2017 6;10:491-503. Epub 2017 Dec 6.

Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, Brownsville.

Background: No studies have examined risk factors for the transition from pre-diabetes to diabetes in populations with widespread obesity and diabetes. We determined proximal changes and factors affecting the transition among Mexican-Americans with pre-diabetes.

Methods: Participants with pre-diabetes (n=285) were recruited from our randomly sampled population-based Cameron County Hispanic Cohort. These participants were followed for an average of 27 months with repeat examination every 3 to 4 months. Metabolic health was defined as having less than 2 metabolic abnormalities (e.g., hypertension, elevated low-density lipoprotein, etc). Diabetes was identified as fasting blood glucose ≥126 mg/dL, glycated hemoglobin ≥6.5% and/or on hypoglycemic medication.

Results: Ninety-six of 285 (33.7%) participants transitioned to overt diabetes. The increased risk of diabetes in the metabolically unhealthy varying with follow-up time was 81% (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 1.81; 95% CI: 1.09-3.02). The risk of diabetes increased 8% for each kg/m of increase in body mass index (BMI, OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.05-1.11) independent of covariates. Transition to diabetes was accompanied by a mean increase in BMI of 0.28 kg/m, and deterioration in metabolic health of 9% (OR: 1.09; 95% CI: 1.003-1.18) compared with those who did not transition.

Conclusions: Deteriorating metabolic health and/or increasing BMI significantly raises the risk of transitioning from pre-diabetes to diabetes. Transition itself was accompanied by further increase in BMI and deterioration in metabolic health. These data underline the importance of improving metabolic health and avoiding weight gain in pre-diabetes as simple but clear diabetes prevention targets, and emphasize the importance of lifestyle management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/DMSO.S136368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5723109PMC
December 2017

Prevalence of Aflatoxin-Associated Mutation in Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Hispanics in South Texas.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2018 02 31;11(2):103-112. Epub 2017 Oct 31.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

We aimed to determine whether aflatoxin dietary exposure plays a role in the high incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) observed among Hispanics in South Texas. We measured somatic mutation, hallmark of aflatoxin etiology in HCC, using droplet digital PCR and RFLP. mutation was detected in 3 of 41 HCC tumors from Hispanics in South Texas (7.3%). We also measured mutation in plasma cell-free DNA (cfDNA) from 218 HCC patients and 96 Hispanic subjects with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis, from South Texas. The mutation was detected only in Hispanic and Asian HCC patients, and patients harboring mutation were significantly younger and had a shorter overall survival. The mutation was not detected in any Hispanic subject with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis. Genes involved in cell-cycle control of chromosomal replication and in BRCA1-dependent DNA damage response were enriched in HCCs with mutation. The E2F1 family members, E2F1 and E2F4, were identified as upstream regulators. mutation was detected in 5.7% to 7.3% of Hispanics with HCC in South Texas. This mutation was associated with a younger age and worse prognosis. was however not detected in Hispanics in South Texas with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis. Aflatoxin exposure may contribute to a small number of HCCs in Hispanics in South Texas, but the detection of mutation in plasma cfDNA is not a promising biomarker of risk assessment for HCC in subjects with cirrhosis or advanced fibrosis in this population. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-17-0235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5811406PMC
February 2018

Effects of Exercise Training on Fat Loss and Lean Mass Gain in Mexican-American and Korean Premenopausal Women.

Int J Endocrinol 2017 6;2017:5465869. Epub 2017 Jul 6.

Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

We investigated the effect of exercise training on body composition change in women. Nineteen Mexican-American and 18 Korean premenopausal overweight/obese women were randomized into one of the following groups: control, low-intensity training group (LI), and high-intensity training group (HI). Subjects completed 12 weeks of training at 50-56% maximal oxygen consumption (LI) or 65-70% maximal oxygen consumption (HI). Body composition components were measured at baseline and after training using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry for Mexican-Americans, while whole-body composition was measured by the direct segmental multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis and abdominal fat was measured by single-slice computed tomography for Koreans. Data were analyzed using mixed-model repeated measures independent of age, ethnicity, and body mass index (BMI). Exercise training showed a significant effect on BMI, fat percentage, fat mass, lean mass, and visceral adipose tissue area. HI significantly decreased fat mass and fat percentage but increased lean mass (all < 0.05). LI significantly reduced BMI, fat mass, fat percentage, and visceral adipose tissue area but increased lean mass (all < 0.05). Exercise training had a beneficial effect on reducing BMI, fat percentage, fat mass, and visceral adipose tissue area but had no effect on increasing lean mass for Mexican-American and Korean premenopausal overweight/obese women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2017/5465869DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518509PMC
July 2017

Frequency of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and Subclinical Atherosclerosis Among Young Mexican Americans.

Am J Cardiol 2017 06 16;119(11):1717-1722. Epub 2017 Mar 16.

Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas. Electronic address:

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered as the hepatic manifestation of the metabolic syndrome, whose criteria are risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. We aimed to evaluate the prevalence of NAFLD, its association with subclinical atherosclerosis, and factors that may account for this association in Mexican Americans. In a population-based cross-sectional sample drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort in Texas, carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), an indicator of subclinical atherosclerosis, was measured. Abnormal carotid ultrasound study was defined as mean cIMT >75th percentile for age and gender and/or plaque presence. NAFLD was defined as steatosis by ultrasound in the absence of other causes of liver disease. Multivariable weighted regression analyses were performed to evaluate associations between NAFLD and cIMT. Mean age was 50.4 ± 1.2 years with 58.3% women. Mean body mass index was 31.0 ± 0.4 kg/m, and 54.0% had the metabolic syndrome. NAFLD was highly prevalent (48.80%); subjects with NAFLD had greater body mass index, central obesity, fasting glucose levels, and dyslipidemia and were more likely to have the metabolic syndrome. Nearly 1/3 of subjects with NAFLD also had evidence of subclinical atherosclerosis (31.2%). After adjusting for covariates, there was an independent association between NAFLD and increased cIMT only in younger subjects <45 years (p = 0.0328). Subjects with both abnormal liver and carotid ultrasound studies tended to be obese, diabetic and have the metabolic syndrome. In conclusion, NAFLD is highly prevalent in this Mexican American cohort, with an independent association between NAFLD and subclinical atherosclerosis among younger subjects; clustering of diabetes, obesity, and metabolic syndrome in this health disparity cohort increases the risk of both liver disease and early atherosclerosis in young adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2017.03.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132248PMC
June 2017

The Precarious Health of Young Mexican American Men in South Texas, Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, 2004-2015.

Prev Chronic Dis 2016 08 25;13:E113. Epub 2016 Aug 25.

University of Texas School of Public Health, Brownsville Regional Campus, Brownsville, Texas.

Introduction: Hispanic men have higher rates of illness and death from various chronic conditions than do non-Hispanic men. We aimed to characterize the health of Mexican American men living on the US-Mexico border in South Texas and elucidate indications of chronic disease in young men.

Methods: We sampled all male participants from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, an ongoing population-based cohort of Mexican Americans in Brownsville, Texas. We calculated descriptive statistics and stratified the sample into 3 age groups to estimate the prevalence of sociodemographic, behavioral, and clinical factors by age group and evaluated differences between age groups.

Results: Obesity prevalence was approximately 50% across all age groups (P = .83). Diabetes prevalence was high overall (26.8%), and 16.9% (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.1%-23.8%) of men younger than 35 had diabetes. More than 70% of these young men had elevated liver enzymes, and mean values of aspartate aminotransferase were significantly higher in younger men (45.0 u/L; 95% CI, 39.5-50.6 u/L) than in both older age groups. Less than 20% of young men had any form of health insurance. Current smoking was higher in young men than in men in the other groups, and the rate was higher than the national prevalence of current smoking among Hispanic men.

Conclusions: We suggest a need for obesity and diabetes prevention programs and smoking cessation programs for men in this region. Opportunities exist to expand current intervention programs and tailor them to better reach this vulnerable population of young Hispanic men. Elevated liver enzymes in men younger than 35 suggest a substantial burden of liver abnormalities, a finding that warrants further study.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd13.160020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003530PMC
August 2016

Discovery and Description of Ebola Zaire Virus in 1976 and Relevance to the West African Epidemic During 2013-2016.

J Infect Dis 2016 10 29;214(suppl 3):S93-S101. Epub 2016 Jun 29.

Special Pathogens Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Background: In 1976, the first cases of Ebola virus disease in northern Democratic Republic of the Congo (then referred to as Zaire) were reported. This article addresses who was responsible for recognizing the disease; recovering, identifying, and naming the virus; and describing the epidemic. Key scientific approaches used in 1976 and their relevance to the 3-country (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) West African epidemic during 2013-2016 are presented.

Methods: Field and laboratory investigations started soon after notification, in mid-September 1976, and included virus cell culture, electron microscopy (EM), immunofluorescence antibody (IFA) testing of sera, case tracing, containment, and epidemiological surveys. In 2013-2016, medical care and public health work were delayed for months until the Ebola virus disease epidemic was officially declared an emergency by World Health Organization, but research in pathogenesis, clinical presentation, including sequelae, treatment, and prevention, has increased more recently.

Results: Filoviruses were cultured and observed by EM in Antwerp, Belgium (Institute of Tropical Medicine); Porton Down, United Kingdom (Microbiological Research Establishment); and Atlanta, Georgia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In Atlanta, serological testing identified a new virus. The 1976 outbreak (280 deaths among 318 cases) stopped in <11 weeks, and basic clinical and epidemiological features were defined. The recent massive epidemic during 2013-2016 (11 310 deaths among 28 616 cases) has virtually stopped after >2 years. Transmission indices (R) are higher in all 3 countries than in 1976.

Conclusions: An international commission working harmoniously in laboratories and with local communities was essential for rapid success in 1976. Control and understanding of the recent West African outbreak were delayed because of late recognition and because authorities were overwhelmed by many patients and poor community involvement. Despite obstacles, research was a priority in 1976 and recently.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5050466PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiw207DOI Listing
October 2016

Multicollinearity in Regression Analyses Conducted in Epidemiologic Studies.

Epidemiology (Sunnyvale) 2016 Apr 7;6(2). Epub 2016 Mar 7.

Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Division of Clinical and Translational Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and Center for Clinical and Translational Sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX.

The adverse impact of ignoring multicollinearity on findings and data interpretation in regression analysis is very well documented in the statistical literature. The failure to identify and report multicollinearity could result in misleading interpretations of the results. A review of epidemiological literature in PubMed from January 2004 to December 2013, illustrated the need for a greater attention to identifying and minimizing the effect of multicollinearity in analysis of data from epidemiologic studies. We used simulated datasets and real life data from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort to demonstrate the adverse effects of multicollinearity in the regression analysis and encourage researchers to consider the diagnostic for multicollinearity as one of the steps in regression analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4172/2161-1165.1000227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4888898PMC
April 2016

Recommended Levels of Physical Activity Are Associated with Reduced Risk of the Metabolic Syndrome in Mexican-Americans.

PLoS One 2016 7;11(4):e0152896. Epub 2016 Apr 7.

Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, Brownsville, Texas, United States of America.

Purpose: To measure the association between physical activity and the metabolic syndrome risk in Mexican-Americans.

Methods: Participants were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (n = 3,414), a randomly selected Mexican-American cohort in Texas on the US-Mexico border. Moderate and vigorous physical activity was assessed using reliable and validated instruments. The metabolic syndrome was defined as having 3 or more metabolic abnormalities.

Results: One thousand five hundred and twenty-four participants of the cohort (45.02%) were found to have the metabolic syndrome. Compared to participants who did not meet US physical activity guidelines, participants who met physical activity guidelines of 150 moderate and vigorous minutes per week (≥ 600 MET adjusted minutes) had 36% lower risk for the metabolic syndrome (OR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.42-0.98), and participants with total minutes per week of moderate and vigorous/strenuous activity greater than 743 MET adjusted minutes had 37% lower risk for the metabolic syndrome (OR = 0.63; 95% CI: 0.42-0.94) compared with their counterparts, after adjusting for age, gender, annual household income, body mass index, smoking and alcohol drinking status, total portions of fruit and vegetable intake, census tracts and blocks, and survey version for physical activity.

Conclusions: Meeting or exceeding physical activity guidelines significantly was inversely associated with the risk for the metabolic syndrome in Mexican-Americans. Improving levels of physical activity appears to be an effective target for the metabolic syndrome prevention and control among Mexican-Americans independent of other factors.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0152896PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4824434PMC
August 2016

Cirrhosis and Advanced Fibrosis in Hispanics in Texas: The Dominant Contribution of Central Obesity.

PLoS One 2016 7;11(3):e0150978. Epub 2016 Mar 7.

Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.

Liver cirrhosis is a leading cause of death in Hispanics and Hispanics who live in South Texas have the highest incidence of liver cancer in the United States. We aimed at determining the prevalence and associated risk factors of cirrhosis in this population. Clinical and demographic variables were extracted for 2466 participants in the community-based Cameron County Hispanic Cohort in South Texas. Aspartate transaminase to Platelet Ratio Index (APRI) was used to predict cirrhosis in Cameron County Hispanic Cohort. The prevalence of cirrhosis using APRI≥2 was 0.94%, which is nearly 4-fold higher than the national prevalence. Using APRI≥1, the overall prevalence of cirrhosis/advanced fibrosis was 3.54%. In both analyses, highest prevalence was observed in males, specifically in the 25-34 age group. Risk factors independently associated with APRI≥2 and APRI≥1 included hepatitis C, diabetes and central obesity with a remarkable population attributable fraction of 52.5% and 65.3% from central obesity, respectively. Excess alcohol consumption was also independently associated with APRI≥2. The presence of patatin-like phospholipase domain-containing-3 gene variants was independently associated with APRI≥1 in participants >50 years old. Males with both central obesity and excess alcohol consumption presented with cirrhosis/advanced fibrosis at a young age. Alarmingly high prevalence of cirrhosis and advanced fibrosis was identified in Hispanics in South Texas, affecting young males in particular. Central obesity was identified as the major risk factor. Public health efforts are urgently needed to increase awareness and diagnosis of advanced liver fibrosis in Hispanics.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0150978PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4780836PMC
July 2016

Liver and Other Gastrointestinal Cancers Are Frequent in Mexican Americans.

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities 2016 Mar 28;3(1):1-10. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Science, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, 80 Fort Brown, Brownsville, TX, 78520, USA.

Background: Disease patterns in Mexican American health-disparity populations differ from larger US populations.

Aims: This study is aimed to determine frequency of gastrointestinal cancers in Mexican Americans.

Methods: We analyzed self-reported data from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort where we find high rates of risk factors for cancer: obesity (48.5 %) and diabetes (30.7 %). Participants provided cancer histories about themselves and first- and second-degree relatives. Logistic regression models assessed risk factors. Frequencies of cancer sites were ranked and validated using concurrent age local cancer registry data.

Results: Among 9,249 individuals (participants and their relatives), there were 1,184 individuals with reports of cancer. Among cohort participants under 70 years of age, the most significant risk factor for all-cause cancers was diabetes (OR 3.57, 95 % CI 1.32, 9.62). Participants with metabolic syndrome were significantly more likely to report cancer in relatives [1.73 (95 % CI 1.26, 2.37]. Among cancers in fathers, liver cancer was ranked third, stomach fourth, colorectal sixth, and pancreas tenth. In mothers, stomach was third, liver fourth, colorectal seventh, and pancreas eleventh. The unusual prominence of these cancers in Mexican Americans, including liver cancer, was supported by age-adjusted incidence in local registry data.

Conclusions: Gastrointestinal system cancers, particularly, liver cancer, in a Mexican American health disparity cohort and their relatives rank higher than in other ethnicities and are associated with high rates of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Effective prevention of diabetes and low-tech, high-quality screening strategies for gastrointestinal cancers are needed in health disparity communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40615-015-0104-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5676561PMC
March 2016

Metabolic Health Has Greater Impact on Diabetes than Simple Overweight/Obesity in Mexican Americans.

J Diabetes Res 2016 10;2016:4094876. Epub 2016 Jan 10.

Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Brownsville Campus, Brownsville, TX 78520, USA.

Purpose: To compare the risk for diabetes in each of 4 categories of metabolic health and BMI.

Methods: Participants were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, a randomly selected Mexican American cohort in Texas on the US-Mexico border. Subjects were divided into 4 phenotypes according to metabolic health and BMI: metabolically healthy normal weight, metabolically healthy overweight/obese, metabolically unhealthy normal weight, and metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese. Metabolic health was defined as having less than 2 metabolic abnormalities. Overweight/obese status was assessed by BMI higher than 25 kg/m(2). Diabetes was defined by the 2010 ADA definition or by being on a diabetic medication.

Results: The odds ratio for diabetes risk was 2.25 in the metabolically healthy overweight/obese phenotype (95% CI 1.34, 3.79), 3.78 (1.57, 9.09) in the metabolically unhealthy normal weight phenotype, and 5.39 (3.16, 9.20) in metabolically unhealthy overweight/obese phenotype after adjusting for confounding factors compared with the metabolically healthy normal weight phenotype.

Conclusions: Metabolic health had a greater effect on the increased risk for diabetes than overweight/obesity. Greater focus on metabolic health might be a more effective target for prevention and control of diabetes than emphasis on weight loss alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/4094876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4736910PMC
December 2016

Meeting or Exceeding Physical Activity Guidelines is Associated with Reduced Risk for Cancer in Mexican-Americans.

Am J Cancer Prev 2016 29;4(1):1-7. Epub 2016 Jan 29.

Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, Brownsville, TX.

Background: Epidemiologic studies have shown that inadequate physical activity was associated with cancers in whites and other ethnic groups, but in Mexican-Americans data are limited. This study aimed to measure the association between physical activity and reported cancer risk in Mexican-Americans.

Methods: Participants were drawn from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (n=3,391), a randomly selected Mexican-American cohort in Texas on the US-Mexico border. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Cancer was self-reported by the participants as being told by a health care provider that they had cancer.

Results: Ninety-nine participants of the cohort (2.94%) reported a diagnosis of cancer. Compared to participants who did not meet US physical activity guidelines, subjects who met physical activity guidelines of 150 moderate and vigorous minutes per week (≥ 600 METs) reduced their risk for cancer by 87% (OR=0.13; 95% CI: 0.03-0.54), and subjects with total minutes per week of moderate and vigorous/strenuous activity greater than 745 METs decreased cancer risk by 86% [odds ratio (OR)=0.14; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.03-0.60] comparing with their counterparts, after adjusting for age, gender, body mass index, smoking and alcohol drinking status, education and total portions of fruit and vegetable intake.

Conclusions: Meeting or exceeding recommended levels of moderate and vigorous physical activity was associated with a significantly reduced risk of reporting cancer by Mexican-Americans. Meeting or exceeding recommended levels of physical activity appears to be an effective target for cancer prevention and control among Mexican-Americans independent of BMI and other factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.12691/ajcp-4-1-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438161PMC
January 2016

Depression, obesity, and metabolic syndrome: prevalence and risks of comorbidity in a population-based representative sample of Mexican Americans.

J Clin Psychiatry 2015 Oct;76(10):e1300-5

Department of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Dr, San Antonio, TX 78229

Introduction: We examined the prevalence of depression, obesity, and metabolic syndrome and associations between them in a population-based representative cohort of Mexican Americans living on the United States-Mexico border.

Method: The sample in this cross-sectional analysis consisted of 1,768 Mexican American adults (≥ 18 years of age) assessed between the years 2004 and 2010, with whom we tested our central hypothesis of a significant relationship between obesity and depression. Depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D) with a cutoff score of ≥ 16 for depression and a cutoff score of ≥ 27 for severe depression. We categorized body mass index (BMI) values as obese (≥ 30kg/m(2)) and later subdivided the obese subjects into obese (30-39 kg/m(2)[inclusive]) and morbidly obese (≥ 40 kg/m(2)). Metabolic syndrome was defined using the American Heart Association definition requiring at least 3 of the following: increased waist circumference, elevated triglycerides, reduced high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, and elevated fasting glucose. Weighted data were analyzed to establish prevalence of depression, obesity, and metabolic syndrome. Univariate and multivariable weighted regression models were used to test potential associations between these disorders.

Results: Using weighted prevalence, we observed high rates of depression (30%), obesity (52%), and metabolic syndrome (45%). Univariate models revealed female gender (P = .0004), low education (P = .003), low HDL level (P = .009), and increased waist circumference (P = .03) were associated with depression. Female gender (P = .01), low education (P = .003), and morbid obesity (P = .002) were risk factors for severe depression and remained significant in multivariable models.

Conclusions: In this large cohort of Mexican Americans, obesity, female gender, and low education were identified risk factors for depression. These indicators may serve as targets for early detection, prevention, and intervention in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4088/JCP.14m09118DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5836315PMC
October 2015

ASSOCIATION OF TOTAL AND DIFFERENTIAL WHITE BLOOD CELL COUNTS TO DEVELOPMENT OF TYPE 2 DIABETES IN MEXICAN AMERICANS IN CAMERON COUNTY HISPANIC COHORT.

Diabetes Res 2015 Sep 23;1(4):103-112. Epub 2015 Sep 23.

Division of Epidemiology, University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health, Brownsville Campus, Brownsville, TX.

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between total and differential White Blood Cell (WBC) counts with time to transition to type 2 diabetes in Mexican Americans using prospective data from the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort (CCHC).

Results: Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models revealed that obese Mexican-American cohort participants whose total WBC or granulocyte count increased over time had 1.39 and 1.35 times higher risk respectively of transition to type 2 diabetes when compared to overweight participants. The granulocyte or total WBC count in participants with BMI≥35 were significant risk factors for transition to type 2 diabetes.

Conclusions: Increased total WBC and WBC differential counts, particularly lymphocytes and granulocytes, are associated with risk of transition to type 2 diabetes in obese Mexican Americans, after adjusting for other potential confounders. Screening and monitoring the WBC counts, including lymphocytes and granulocytes can help with monitoring potential transition to type 2 diabetes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.17140/DROJ-1-117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5226365PMC
September 2015

Clinical Sequencing Uncovers Origins and Evolution of Lassa Virus.

Cell 2015 Aug;162(4):738-50

FAS Center for Systems Biology, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA; Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115, USA. Electronic address:

The 2013-2015 West African epidemic of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reminds us of how little is known about biosafety level 4 viruses. Like Ebola virus, Lassa virus (LASV) can cause hemorrhagic fever with high case fatality rates. We generated a genomic catalog of almost 200 LASV sequences from clinical and rodent reservoir samples. We show that whereas the 2013-2015 EVD epidemic is fueled by human-to-human transmissions, LASV infections mainly result from reservoir-to-human infections. We elucidated the spread of LASV across West Africa and show that this migration was accompanied by changes in LASV genome abundance, fatality rates, codon adaptation, and translational efficiency. By investigating intrahost evolution, we found that mutations accumulate in epitopes of viral surface proteins, suggesting selection for immune escape. This catalog will serve as a foundation for the development of vaccines and diagnostics. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2015.07.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4537774PMC
August 2015