Publications by authors named "Raid Amin"

21 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Which Clinical Features of Children on Initial Presentation to the Emergency Department With Head Injury Are Associated With Clinically Important Traumatic Brain Injury, Classification as Abuse, and Poor Prognosis?

Pediatr Emerg Care 2020 Sep 10. Epub 2020 Sep 10.

From the Pediatric Trauma Research Team, Studer Family Children's Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart.

Background: Pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI) and abusive head trauma (AHT) are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. Clinicians may not be aware of AHT at presentation to the emergency department (ED).

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine which clinical features associated with head injury in children on initial presentation to the ED trauma bay predict 3 outcomes including clinically important TBI (CiTBI), classification as confirmed abuse by Child Protection Team (CPT), and poor neurologic status on hospital discharge.

Participants And Setting: Inclusion for this study were children 3 years or younger, presenting to the ED with significant TBI. In addition, presentations where the mechanism of injury was not verifiable such as with falls, being struck by object, or no mechanism of injury reported by caregiver were included.

Methods: Researchers used 3 sources of information for this analysis: a regional trauma registry, hospital records, and the CPT database. Clinical features included demographics, mechanisms of injury, physical, radiological findings, and CPT classification.

Results: On pairwise analysis, seizures, apnea, and no mechanism of injury reported by caregiver were the only clinical features related to all 3 outcomes (P < 0.001). Rib fractures (relative risk [RR], 3.3; P < 0.001), long bone fractures (RR, 3.1; P < 0.001), retinal hemorrhages (RR, 3.0; P < 0.001), seizures (RR, 3.6; P < 0.001), apnea (RR, 4.4; P < 0.001), and younger than 6 months (RR, 1.8; P < 0.001) were related to AHT. On multivariable logistic regression, no mechanism of injury reported by caregiver and seizures remained significantly related to CiTBI; seizures and retinal hemorrhage remained significantly related to classification as abuse by CPT, and no mechanism of injury by the caregiver, apnea, and seizures were significantly related to poor outcome on hospital discharge.

Conclusions: No mechanism of injury reported by the caregiver, seizures, and apnea at the time of presentation to the ED are important features associated with CiTBI, classification as AHT, and poor prognosis. In addition, younger age, retinal hemorrhage, rib, and long bone fractures were found to be important clinical features associated with AHT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PEC.0000000000002239DOI Listing
September 2020

The Proximity of Spatial Clusters of Low Birth Weight and Risk Factors: Defining a Neighborhood for Focused Interventions.

Matern Child Health J 2020 Aug;24(8):1065-1072

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of West Florida, Building 4, Room 336, 1111 University Parkway, Pensacola, USA.

Background: Low birth weight (LBW) is associated with significant mortality and morbidity and remains a significant preventable problem. Risk factors include socioeconomic, demographics, and characteristics of the environment. Spatial analysis can uncover unusual frequencies of health problems in neighborhoods, eventually leading to insights for targeted interventions.

Objectives: This study's goals were to 1. Evaluate the geographic distribution of spatial clusters of LBW births and maternal risk factors. 2. Determine the spatial relationship between risk factors and LBW.

Methods: This study obtained data on LBW newborns and risk factors from 19,013 births over 5 years (2012-2016) for Escambia County Census Tracts, extracted from FloridaCharts.com. Software was used to detect significant spatial clusters; these clusters were then plotted on a map. Poisson regression determined the statistical relationship between Census Tract risk factors and LBW. A separate analysis of the LBW cluster controlling for risk factors was also performed.

Results: All risk factor clusters resided in similar locations as the LBW cluster. The multiple Poisson regression model containing all risk factors fully explained the LBW cluster. On bivariate Poisson regression all risk factors in the Census Tract were significantly related to LBW whereas in multivariable Poisson regression, the proportion of births to African American women in the Census Tract remained significant after adjusting for other risk factors (p < 0.001).

Conclusions For Practice: Clusters of LBW and risk factors were located in the same region of the county, with the proportion of births to African American women in the Census Tract remaining significant on multiple Poisson Regression. Targeted interventions should be directed at the geographic level.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10995-020-02946-yDOI Listing
August 2020

A spatial study of oral & pharynx cancer mortality and incidence in the U.S.A.: 2000-2015.

Sci Total Environ 2020 Apr 15;713:136688. Epub 2020 Jan 15.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of West Florida, Pensacola, USA.

This is a national scale study of spatial oral and pharynx cancer mortality and incidence clusters in the contiguous U.S.A. Spatial and space-time analyses of incidence and mortality rates of oral and pharynx cancers in the contiguous U.S.A. were done at the county resolution, using mortality data for the years 2000-2014 and incidence data for 2001-2015. The disease surveillance software SaTScan™ is used to identify significant cancer clusters that are non-random. In addition to a cluster analysis, regression analysis was used to adjust cancer incidence and mortality for several covariates or risk factors. This is the first study of the contiguous U.S.A. for oral and pharynx cancer in which mortality and incidence rates are studied together. The geographic clustering for mortality is somewhat different from the clustering for incidence. There exist several significant clusters in the contiguous U.S.A., both for oral and pharynx cancer incidence and for mortality. Some of the significant clusters persisted even after adjusting for several key risk factors. These clusters areas suggest a need for further investigation to identify some local concerns or needs to further address such cancer types in those specific sites. We identified statistically significant spatial and space-time clusters of oral and pharynx cancer for mortality and also for incidence in the contiguous US at the county resolution. The most important risk factors for oral cancer incidence are diabetes, alcohol drinking, and obesity, while the top risk factors for mortality are race, cervical cancer, diabetes, and alcohol drinking.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.136688DOI Listing
April 2020

Patterns of ovarian cancer and uterine cancer mortality and incidence in the contiguous USA.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Dec 28;697:134128. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

University of West Florida, USA.

The main objective is to investigate the geographical variation in ovarian cancer and uterine cancer mortality, and to test associations between some risk factors and these cancer types in the contiguous US for mortality and for incidence. The modern disease surveillance software SaTScan™ was used for a spatial cluster analysis to assess any observable geographical variation in ovarian and uterine cancer mortality rates and to identify and test for spatial clusters with elevated relative risk. The analyses were first completed using age adjusted cancer rates for ovarian cancer and for uterine cancer. The cancer data was then adjusted for the risk factors (or covariates) obesity rate, smoking rate, urban, poverty rate, college education rate, race, opioids mortality rate, and for arsenic intake from well water rate. All used data for cancer mortality were for 2000-2014 while incidence data were for 2011-2015. There exist seven significant mortality clusters of ovarian cancer, with large clusters in NW, NE and SE of the US, and there exist two large mortality clusters of uterine cancer in NE and Central US. Most risk factors studied for mortality and for incidence were significant at significance levels much lower than 0.05 for either of the two cancer types, except race for ovarian cancer mortality and arsenic for ovarian incidence. This study has identified several important factors, and these findings could be used for a more effective search for cancer prevention for uterine and ovarian cancer. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY: The accuracy of the data could not be controlled as data were downloaded from websites. While the mortality data was complete, the incidence data had counties with missing data. The data were obtained at the county resolution. No data were available on women who had one type of cancer and then had the second type of cancer later in life. Only purely spatial clusters were studied and no temporal analysis was done.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.134128DOI Listing
December 2019

Spatial clusters of life expectancy and association with cardiovascular disease mortality and cancer mortality in the contiguous United States: 1980-2014.

Geospat Health 2019 05 14;14(1). Epub 2019 May 14.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL.

The average life expectancy varies greatly from county to county in USA and there are also spatial variations in the county mortality rates for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, the top two causes of death. An association between these two groups of diseases has not been identified by cluster analysis previously. The main objective in this study was to investigate and quantify the associations between mortality due to CVD, cancer mortality and life expectancy based on US county data between 1980 and 2014. Regression analysis was used to adjust life expectancy for the mortality due to CVD and that due to cancer. In addition to the spatial life expectancy trends, we also studied existing trends over time with the software JOINPOINT to see how life expectancy is influenced by changes in mortality due to CVD and cancer mortality. The study setting was the 48 contiguous US states, while participants were 3,100 counties and their populations of all ages during the period 1980-2014. The main outcomes are spatial clusters of unusually low or high levels of life expectancy in addition to identifying which county level life expectancy locations were significantly associated with mortality due to CVD and/or cancer. Life expectancy has been improving steadily from 1980 to 2014, but the rate of increase per year (indicated by variation of the trend slope) changed significantly at five joinpoints, the latest of which occurred in 2010 when the slope changed from 0.29 (1980-1982) to 0.03 (2010-2014). Our results reveal that there are significant, purely spatial clusters in some geographical areas where life expectancy rates are significantly higher (or lower) than in the rest of the contiguous US. It is also shown that there is a significant association between the life expectancy level and the corresponding CVD mortality, and there is also a significant association between life expectancy level and the corresponding overall cancer mortality. The general trends (regression slopes) over time for the USA in life expectancy mortality, CVD mortality and cancer mortality have changed significantly after 2009-2010.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4081/gh.2019.733DOI Listing
May 2019

A spatial study of bladder cancer mortality and incidence in the contiguous US: 2000-2014.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jun 20;670:806-813. Epub 2019 Mar 20.

Department of Biology, University of West Florida, Pensacola, USA. Electronic address:

Bladder cancer is a significant health issue across the United States of America (USA). Evidence of unequal distribution of a disease or condition's incidence and mortality would suggest that important geographically-defined variables may play a role. In this study, a spatial cluster analysis of bladder cancer mortality identified significant hot spots in some parts of the USA. Regression analysis modelling estimated the effects of selected covariates or risk factors for bladder cancer mortality and also incidence. Spatial heat maps and cluster identification were done for mortality and incidence. The main result was the significant association between bladder cancer mortality and arsenic intake from well water. A similar result was also obtained for cancer incidence and arsenic. Additionally, there are certain geographic areas that appear to have bladder cancer mortality rates beyond the simple association with the studied covariates. These geographic areas warrant further investigation to better understand why cancer mortality is unusually high in such geographic areas and to potentially identify additional local concerns or needs to further address bladder cancer mortality in those specific sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.03.290DOI Listing
June 2019

Spatial Clusters of Breast Cancer Mortality and Incidence in the Contiguous USA: 2000-2014.

J Gen Intern Med 2019 03 16;34(3):412-419. Epub 2019 Jan 16.

Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola, FL, USA.

Background: Clusters of breast cancer with varied incidence or mortality are known to exist. No national scale of analysis of geographical variation in breast cancer incidence has been published before for the contiguous USA.

Methods: This was a spatial cluster analysis of incidence and mortality data on breast cancer in the contiguous USA at the county resolution. Data for the years 2000-2014 were downloaded and analyzed with the software SaTScan with the goal to identify significant spatial clusters of breast cancer. Regression analysis was used to then adjust breast cancer incidence and mortality for several key risk factors such as age, smoking, particulate matter air pollution, physical inactivity, urban living, education level, and race.

Results: Spatial clusters of counties for higher than expected breast cancer incidence and also for breast cancer mortality were identified. All identified clusters have p < 0.05. The mortality clusters show the mean breast cancer rates inside the cluster, while the incidence clusters show the relative risk inside each cluster. This is the first study of the contiguous USA for breast cancer mortality and incidence together. The clustering for mortality is quite different from the clustering for incidence. Using the software JOINPOINT, it is shown that the annual US downward trend for breast cancer mortality slowed down in recent years.

Conclusions: There exist several significant clusters in the contiguous USA, both for breast cancer incidence and for breast cancer mortality. Some of the clusters persisted even after adjusting for several key risk factors. These geographic areas warrant further investigation to potentially identify additional local concerns or needs to further address female breast cancer in those specific sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11606-018-4824-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6420677PMC
March 2019

Risk Factors Predicting Readmission to the Hospital in Children With Bronchiolitis.

Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2018 12 27;57(14):1699-1702. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

2 University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0009922818795904DOI Listing
December 2018

Prediction of Vancomycin Dose for Recommended Trough Concentrations in Pediatric Patients With Cystic Fibrosis.

J Clin Pharmacol 2018 05 10;58(5):662-665. Epub 2018 Jan 10.

The Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart, Pensacola, FL, USA.

Vancomycin is a key antibiotic used in the treatment of multiple conditions including infections associated with cystic fibrosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The present study sought to develop a model based on empirical evidence of optimal vancomycin dose as judged by clinical observations that could accelerate the achievement of desired trough level in children with cystic fibrosis. Transformations of dose and trough were used to arrive at regression models with excellent fit for dose based on weight or age for a target trough. Results of this study indicate that the 2 proposed regression models are robust to changes in age or weight, suggesting that the daily dose on a per-kilogram basis is determined primarily by the desired trough level. The results show that to obtain a vancomycin trough level of 20 μg/mL, a dose of 80 mg/kg/day is needed. This analysis should improve the efficiency of vancomycin usage by reducing the number of titration steps, resulting in improved patient outcome and experience.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jcph.1061DOI Listing
May 2018

Epidemiologic Surveillance of Teenage Birth Rates in the United States, 2006-2012.

Obstet Gynecol 2017 06;129(6):1068-1077

Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of West Florida, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Florida-Pensacola, Pensacola, and the University of Florida-Gainesville, Gainesville, Florida.

Objective: To investigate the geographic variation in the average teenage birth rates by county in the contiguous United States.

Methods: Data from the National Center for Health Statistics were used in this retrospective cohort to count the total number of live births to females aged 15-19 years by county between 2006 and 2012. Software for disease surveillance and spatial cluster analysis was used to identify clusters of high or low teenage births in counties or areas of greater than 100,000 teenage females. The analysis was then adjusted for percentage of poverty and high school diploma achievement.

Results: The unadjusted analysis identified the top 10 clusters of teenage births. The cluster with the highest rate was a city and the surrounding 40 counties, demonstrating an average teen birth rate of 67 per 1,000 females in the age range, 87% higher than the rate in the contiguous United States. Adjustments for poverty rates and high school diploma achievement shifted the top clusters to other areas.

Conclusion: Despite an overall national decline in the teenage birth rate, clusters of elevated teenage birth rates remain. These clusters are not random and remain higher than expected when adjusted for poverty and education. This data set provides a framework to focus targeted interventions to reduce teenage birth rates in this high-risk population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/AOG.0000000000001897DOI Listing
June 2017

Potential Adverse Consequences of Early Discharge for Newborns Who Meet American Academy of Pediatrics Criteria.

Clin Pediatr (Phila) 2018 03 30;57(3):352-354. Epub 2017 Mar 30.

3 University of Florida, Pensacola, FL, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0009922817698807DOI Listing
March 2018

Household proximity to water and nontuberculous mycobacteria in children with cystic fibrosis.

Pediatr Pulmonol 2017 03 30;52(3):324-330. Epub 2017 Jan 30.

Pediatric Residency Program at Sacred Heart Hospital, University of Florida, Pensacola, Florida.

Background: Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have a particular affinity for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). Recent studies suggest a possible relationship between acquiring NTM and the level of environmental water in a given area. We sought to determine if there is an association between household proximity to water and NTM in children with CF.

Materials And Methods: An IRB-approved retrospective chart review was completed on 150 children with CF in Florida. Inclusion criteria required regular follow-up, at least two acid-fast bacilli cultures, and a consistent home address over a 3-year period. The distance from each patient's home to the nearest body of water was measured using ArcMap®, a Geographic Information System, and the mean distance to water for NTM-positive and NTM-negative groups were compared. A stepwise backwards logistic regression was used to evaluate for predictors of NTM-positivity.

Results: Of the 150 CF patients, 65 met inclusion criteria and 21 (32.3%) tested positive for NTM. Comparison of the mean distance to water for NTM-positive versus NTM-negative groups revealed a cutoff of 500 meters. On the logistic regression, CF patients who lived within 500 meters of water were 9.4 times more likely to acquire NTM (P = 0.013). Other significant predictors included a history of Aspergillus fumigatus (OR 7.9, P = 0.011) and recent history of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (OR 2.5, P = 0.007).

Conclusions: In the regions studied, children with CF who live closer to water are more likely to acquire nontuberculous mycobacteria. Future studies in other geographic areas are needed to determine if these results are generalizable. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2017;52:324-330. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ppul.23646DOI Listing
March 2017

Postpartum Contraception Use Rates of Patients Participating in the Centering Pregnancy Model of Care Versus Traditional Obstetrical Care.

J Reprod Med 2017 Jan-Feb;62(1-2):45-9

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether postpartum contraceptive rates are higher in the CenteringPregnancy population as compared to patients who choose to participate in traditional prenatal care. Centering Pregnancy is a model of obstetrical care that allows for enhanced contraceptive education. STUDY DESIGN: All patients who were delivered within the Florida State University College of Medicine Obstetrics and Gynecology residency from October 31, 2010, to October 31, 2011, were included in the study. A retrospective chart review was undertaken to compare the postpartum contraceptive use of patients in traditional obstetric care versus patients in CenteringPregnancy. RESULTS: A total of 472 obstetrical charts were reviewed, with 350 women participating in traditional care and 122 women in CenteringPregnancy. Using Fisher's exact test, the 2 groups' postpartum contraceptive use was compared. Analysis revealed that 57.4% of CenteringPregnancy patients returned for postpartum contraception, vs. 37.7% of traditional prenatal care patients. Furthermore, 24.5% of CenteringPregnancy patients chose long-acting reversible contraception as compared to only 8.28% of traditional patients. CONCLUSION: Centering Pregnancy leads to an increase in use of postpartum contraception when compared to traditional prenatal care. Long-acting reversible contraceptive usage rates were also significantly higher among CenteringPregnancy patients and were the most frequently chosen method of family planning.
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August 2018

Impact of pharmacy-led medication reconciliation on medication errors during transition in the hospital setting.

Pharm Pract (Granada) 2015 Oct-Dec;13(4):634. Epub 2015 Dec 15.

Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University . Tallahassee, FL ( United States ).

Objective: To assess if the pharmacy department should be more involved in the medication reconciliation process to assist in the reduction of medication errors that occur during transition of care points in the hospital setting.

Methods: This was an observational prospective cohort study at a 531-bed hospital in Pensacola, FL from June 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014. Patients were included in the study if they had health insurance and were taking five or more medications. Patients with congestive heart failure were excluded from the study. Student pharmacists collected and evaluated medication histories obtained from patients' community pharmacies, and directed patient interviews. Primary care providers were only contacted on an as needed basis. The information collected was presented to the clinical pharmacist, where interventions were made utilizing clinical judgment.

Results: During the three month study, 1045 home medications were reviewed by student pharmacist. Of these, 290 discrepancies were discovered (27.8%; p=0.02). The most common medication discrepancy found was dose optimization (45.5%). The remaining discrepancies included: added therapy (27.6%), other (15.2%), and discontinued therapy (11.7%). Pharmacists made 143 interventions based on clinical judgment (49.3%; p=0.04).

Conclusion: Involvement of pharmacy personnel during the medication reconciliation process can be an essential component in reducing medical errors. With the addition of the pharmacy department during the admission process, accuracy, cost savings, and patient safety across all phases and transition points of care were achieved.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18549/PharmPract.2015.04.634DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696120PMC
January 2016

A Blinded Comparison of Injection Pain With Quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine Versus Other Vaccines.

J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc 2015 Dec 8;4(4):396-7. Epub 2015 Oct 8.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jpids/piv066DOI Listing
December 2015

Geographical Clusters of Rape in the United States: 2000-2012.

Stat Public Policy (Phila) 2015 18;2(1):87-92. Epub 2015 Sep 18.

Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Phramacoeconomics, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA.

Background: While rape is a very serious crime and public health problem, no spatial mapping has been attempted for rape on the national scale. This paper addresses the three research questions: (1) Are reported rape cases randomly distributed across the USA, after being adjusted for population density and age, or are there geographical clusters of reported rape cases? (2) Are the geographical clusters of reported rapes still present after adjusting for differences in poverty levels? (3) Are there geographical clusters where the proportion of reported rape cases that lead to an arrest is exceptionally low or exceptionally high?

Methods: We studied the geographical variation of reported rape events (2003-2012) and rape arrests (2000-2012) in the 48 contiguous states of the USA. The disease Surveillance software SaTScan™ with its spatial scan statistic is used to evaluate the spatial variation in rapes. The spatial scan statistic has been widely used as a geographical surveillance tool for diseases, and we used it to identify geographical areas with clusters of reported rape and clusters of arrest rates for rape.

Results: The spatial scan statistic was used to identify geographical areas with exceptionally high rates of reported rape. The analyses were adjusted for age, and in secondary analyses, for both age and poverty level. We also identified geographical areas with either a low or a high proportion of reported rapes leading to an arrest.

Conclusions: We have identified geographical areas with exceptionally high (low) rates of reported rape. The geographical problem areas identified are prime candidates for more intensive preventive counseling and criminal prosecution efforts by public health, social service, and law enforcement agencies Geographical clusters of high rates of reported rape are prime areas in need of expanded implementation of preventive measures, such as changing attitudes in our society toward rape crimes, in addition to having the criminal justice system play an even larger role in preventing rape.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2330443X.2015.1092899DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5221697PMC
September 2015

Clusters of adolescent and young adult thyroid cancer in Florida counties.

Biomed Res Int 2014 28;2014:832573. Epub 2014 Apr 28.

Florida State University College of Medicine, P.O. Box 33655, Pensacola, FL 32508, USA.

Background: Thyroid cancer is a common cancer in adolescents and young adults ranking 4th in frequency. Thyroid cancer has captured the interest of epidemiologists because of its strong association to environmental factors. The goal of this study is to identify thyroid cancer clusters in Florida for the period 2000-2008. This will guide further discovery of potential risk factors within areas of the cluster compared to areas not in cluster.

Methods: Thyroid cancer cases for ages 15-39 were obtained from the Florida Cancer Data System. Next, using the purely spatial Poisson analysis function in SaTScan, the geographic distribution of thyroid cancer cases by county was assessed for clusters. The reference population was obtained from the Census Bureau 2010, which enabled controlling for population age, sex, and race.

Results: Two statistically significant clusters of thyroid cancer clusters were found in Florida: one in southern Florida (SF) (relative risk of 1.26; P value of <0.001) and the other in northwestern Florida (NWF) (relative risk of 1.71; P value of 0.012). These clusters persisted after controlling for demographics including sex, age, race.

Conclusion: In summary, we found evidence of thyroid cancer clustering in South Florida and North West Florida for adolescents and young adult.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2014/832573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020503PMC
November 2015

Are Caribbean reef sharks, Carcharhinus perezi, able to perceive human body orientation?

Anim Cogn 2014 May 5;17(3):745-53. Epub 2013 Dec 5.

Shark Research Institute, Florida Office, 5970, Osprey Place, Pensacola, FL, 32504, USA,

The present study examines the potential capability of Caribbean reef sharks to perceive human body orientation, as well as discussing the sharks' swimming patterns in a person's vicinity. A standardized video method was used to record the scenario of single SCUBA divers kneeling in the sand and the approach patterns of sharks, combined with a control group of two divers kneeling back-to-back. When approaching a single test-subject, significantly more sharks preferred to swim outside the person's field of vision. The results suggest that these sharks are able to identify human body orientation, but the mechanisms used and factors affecting nearest distance of approach remain unclear.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-013-0706-zDOI Listing
May 2014

Bacterial growth response to photoactive quinones.

Photochem Photobiol 2010 Nov-Dec;86(6):1327-33. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Department of Chemistry, University of West Florida, Pensacola, FL, USA.

Quinones are known producers of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that may be toxic in natural aquatic environments. In this study, the effects of parent quinones and their photodegradation products on bacterial growth were determined, and photochemical ROS formation rates were measured. Using (3)H-leucine incorporation to measure growth of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa and natural seawater bacterioplankton, growth inhibition was observed when samples were exposed to dichlone, chloranil and sodium anthraquinone-2-sulfonate (AQ2S). For seawater, compared with other quinones tested, dichlone showed the greatest toxicity in the dark, and AQ2S toxicity was greatest during simultaneous exposure to sunlight. Photodegraded chloranil and dichlone showed decreased toxicity compared with nonirradiated samples. For P. aeruginosa, AQ2S and its photodegradation products showed the greatest toxicity during simultaneous exposure to sunlight. Chloranil photodegradation products showed reduced toxicity compared with the parent compound during simultaneous exposure to sunlight. Dichlone was the only compound to show any toxicity to P. aeruginosa in the dark, and its photodegradation products were more toxic than the parent compound. Based on the results of dark and light controlled experiments measuring bacterial growth and estimated ROS production rates, ROS alone does not account for relative differences in toxicity between these quinones.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1751-1097.2010.00794.xDOI Listing
March 2011

Epidemiologic mapping of Florida childhood cancer clusters.

Pediatr Blood Cancer 2010 Apr;54(4):511-8

Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of West Florida, Pensacola, Florida 32514, USA.

Background: Childhood cancer remains the leading cause of disease-related mortality for children. Whereas, improvement in care has dramatically increased survival, the risk factors remain to be fully understood. The increasing incidence of childhood cancer in Florida may be associated with possible cancer clusters. We aimed, in this study, to identify and confirm possible childhood cancer clusters and their subtypes in the state of Florida.

Methods: We conducted purely spatial and space-time analyzes to assess any evidence of childhood malignancy clusters in the state of Florida using SaTScan. Data from the Florida Association of Pediatric Tumor Programs (FAPTP) for the period 2000-2007 were used in this analysis.

Results: In the purely spatial analysis, the relative risks (RR) of overall childhood cancer persisted after controlling for confounding factors in south Florida (SF) (RR = 1.36, P = 0.001) and northeastern Florida (NEF) (RR = 1.30, P = 0.01). Likewise, in the space-time analysis, there was a statistically significant increase in cancer rates in SF (RR = 1.52, P = 0.001) between 2006 and 2007. The purely spatial analysis of the cancer subtypes indicated a statistically significant increase in the rate of leukemia and brain/CNS cancers in both SF and NEF, P < 0.05. The space-time analysis indicated a statistically significant sizable increase in brain/CNS tumors (RR = 2.25, P = 0.02) for 2006-2007.

Conclusions: There is evidence of spatial and space-time childhood cancer clustering in SF and NEF. This evidence is suggestive of the presence of possible predisposing factors in these cluster regions. Therefore, further study is needed to investigate these potential risk factors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pbc.22403DOI Listing
April 2010