Publications by authors named "Saher Ali"

6 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Fathers' Heightened Stress Responses to Recounting their NICU Experiences Months after Discharge: A Mixed Methods Pilot Study.

Am J Perinatol 2021 Jun 15. Epub 2021 Jun 15.

Department of Pediatrics, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Objective:  The acute and traumatic events associated with having a newborn who requires admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may elicit long-term concerns for parents postdischarge. Cognitive processing of taxing events influences recurring stress responses, which can be inferred via biomarkers such as salivary cortisol (sCort) and skin conductance (SC). In addition, personal narratives provide an important insight into individual perceptions and coping strategies. The current pilot study aimed to (1) test the hypotheses that fathers' sCort and SC would peak in response to stress induction and decrease during recovery, (2) examine associations among stress biomarkers and stress perceptions, (3) explore fathers' narratives using thematic analysis, and (4) integrate fathers' narrative themes with their stress responsivity.

Study Design:  Using a convergent mixed methods approach, we enrolled 10 fathers of infants formerly cared for in NICU who underwent a Trier Social Stress Test including recounting their NICU experience months postdischarge. Stress responsivity was measured via sCort and SC, while stress perceptions were identified by using the Perceived Stress Scale and Distress Thermometer-Parent. Personal narratives were explored by using thematic analysis.

Results:  The significant rise in fathers' sCort and SC in response to stress induction was reflected in narrative themes including loss, worry, and role strain. Subsequently, fathers' sCort and SC returned to baseline, which was illustrated by themes such as role strength, coping, and medical staff interactions. Fathers' stress measured by PSS was lower than that required for mental health referral, and did not correlate with stress biomarkers.

Conclusion:  Salivary cortisol and skin conductance are useful biomarkers of paternal stress responsivity and recovery. Thematic analysis identified fathers' NICU stressors and coping strategies that mirrored their stress responsivity patterns. Further studies are needed to more broadly examine the sociodemographic variables that influence stress reactivity and perceptions in parents of infants formerly cared for in NICU.

Key Points: · Stress associated with NICU stay is impactful on fathers and may have long-term implications.. · Salivary cortisol and skin conductance are useful noninvasive stress biomarkers.. · Fathers' coping strategies included infant bonding, partner relationship, and trust building..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0041-1731045DOI Listing
June 2021

Tocomin Restores Endothelium-Dependent Relaxation in the Diabetic Rat Aorta by Increasing NO Bioavailability and Improving the Expression of eNOS.

Front Physiol 2019 4;10:186. Epub 2019 Mar 4.

School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

We aimed to determine whether tocomin, an extract from palm oil that has a high tocotrienol content, was able to prevent diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction. To induce type 1 diabetes streptozotocin (50 mg/kg) was injected into the tail vein of Wistar rats. Six weeks later the diabetic rats, and normal rats injected with citrate buffer, commenced treatment with tocomin (40 mg/kg/day sc) or its vehicle (peanut oil) for a further 4 weeks. Aortae isolated from diabetic rats had impaired acetylcholine (ACh)-induced endothelium-dependent relaxation compared to normal rat aortae but there was no change in endothelium-independent relaxation in response to sodium nitroprusside. By contrast, responses to ACh in aortae from diabetic rats treated with tocomin were not different to normal rats. In addition to impaired endothelium-dependent relaxation the diabetic aortae had increased expression of the NADPH oxidase Nox2 subunit, increased generation of superoxide and decreased expression of eNOS and all of these effects were prevented by tocomin treatment. Tocomin did not affect plasma glucose levels. The impaired response to ACh was maintained in the presence of TRAM-34 and apamin, selective inhibitors of calcium-activated potassium (K ) channels, indicating diabetes impaired the contribution of NO to endothelium-dependent relaxation. By contrast, neither diabetes nor tocomin treatment influenced EDH-type relaxation as, in the presence of L-NNA, an inhibitor of eNOS, and ODQ, to inhibit soluble guanylate cyclase, responses to ACh were similar in all treatment groups. Thus tocomin treatment improves NO mediated endothelium dependent relaxation in aortae from diabetic rats associated with a decrease in vascular oxidant stress but without affecting hyperglycaemia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2019.00186DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6409301PMC
March 2019

Western Diet Chow Consumption in Rats Induces Striatal Neuronal Activation While Reducing Dopamine Levels without Affecting Spatial Memory in the Radial Arm Maze.

Front Behav Neurosci 2017 9;11:22. Epub 2017 Feb 9.

School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University Bundoora, VIC, Australia.

Rats fed high fat diets have been shown to be impaired in hippocampal-dependent behavioral tasks, such as spatial recognition in the Y-maze and reference memory in the Morris water maze (MWM). It is clear from previous studies, however, that motivation and reward factor into the memory deficits associated with obesity and high-fat diet consumption, and that the prefrontal cortex and striatum and neurotransmitter dopamine play important roles in cognitive performance. In this series of studies we extend our research to investigate the effect of a high fat diet on striatal neurochemistry and performance in the delayed spatial win-shift radial arm maze task, a paradigm highly reliant on dopamine-rich brain regions, such as the striatum after high fat diet consumption. Memory performance, neuronal activation and brain dopaminergic levels were compared in rats fed a "Western" (21% fat, 0.15% cholesterol) chow diet compared to normal diet (6% fat, 0.15% cholesterol)-fed controls. Twelve weeks of dietary manipulation produced an increase in weight in western diet-fed rats, but did not affect learning and performance in the delayed spatial win-shift radial arm maze task. Concurrently, there was an observed decrease in dopamine levels in the striatum and a reduction of dopamine turnover in the hippocampus in western diet-fed rats. In a separate cohort of rats Fos levels were measured after rats had been placed in a novel arena and allowed to explore freely. In normal rats, this exposure to a unique environment did not affect neuronal activation. In contrast, rats fed a western diet were found to have significantly increased Fos expression in the striatum, but not prefrontal cortex or hippocampus. Our study demonstrates that while western diet consumption in rats produces weight gain and brain neuronal and neurotransmitter changes, it did not affect performance in the delayed spatial win-shift paradigm in the radial arm maze. We conclude that modeling the cognitive decline-obesity relationship is complex with considerations, of type of memory, behavioral task and dietary intervention (fat, fat and sugar, sugar, and cafeteria diets) all adding to our overall understanding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5299010PMC
February 2017

Tocotrienol-Rich Tocomin Attenuates Oxidative Stress and Improves Endothelium-Dependent Relaxation in Aortae from Rats Fed a High-Fat Western Diet.

Front Cardiovasc Med 2016 17;3:39. Epub 2016 Oct 17.

School of Health and Biomedical Sciences, RMIT University , Bundoora, VIC , Australia.

We have previously reported that tocomin, a mixture high in tocotrienol content and also containing tocopherol, acutely preserves endothelial function in the presence of oxidative stress. In this study, we investigated whether tocomin treatment would preserve endothelial function in aortae isolated from rats fed a high-fat diet known to cause oxidative stress. Wistar hooded rats were fed a western diet (WD, 21% fat) or control rat chow (standard diet, 6% fat) for 12 weeks. Tocomin (40 mg/kg/day sc) or its vehicle (peanut oil) was administered for the last 4 weeks of the feeding regime. Aortae from WD rats showed an impairment of endothelium-dependent relaxation that was associated with an increased expression of the NADPH oxidase Nox2 subunit and an increase in the vascular generation of superoxide measured using L-012 chemiluminescence. The increase in vascular oxidative stress was accompanied by a decrease in basal NO release and impairment of the contribution of NO to ACh-induced relaxation. The impaired relaxation is likely contributed to by a decreased expression of eNOS, calmodulin, and phosphorylated Akt and an increase in caveolin. Tocotrienol rich tocomin, which prevented the diet-induced changes in vascular function, reduced vascular superoxide production and abolished the diet-induced changes in eNOS and other protein expression. Using selective inhibitors of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) and calcium-activated potassium (K) channels we demonstrated that tocomin increased NO-mediated relaxation, without affecting the contribution of endothelium-dependent hyperpolarization type relaxation to the endothelium-dependent relaxation. The beneficial actions of tocomin in this diet-induced model of obesity suggest that it may have potential to be used as a therapeutic agent to prevent vascular disease in obesity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2016.00039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5065990PMC
October 2016

Tocotrienol Rich Palm Oil Extract Is More Effective Than Pure Tocotrienols at Improving Endothelium-Dependent Relaxation in the Presence of Oxidative Stress.

Oxid Med Cell Longev 2015 17;2015:150829. Epub 2015 May 17.

School of Medical Sciences, Health Innovations Research Institute, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia.

Oxidative endothelial dysfunction is a critical initiator of vascular disease. Vitamin E is an effective antioxidant but attempts to use it to treat vascular disorders have been disappointing. This study investigated whether tocotrienols, the less abundant components of vitamin E compared to tocopherols, might be more effective at preserving endothelial function. Superoxide generated by hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase or rat aorta was measured using lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence. The effect of α-tocopherol, α-, δ-, and γ-tocotrienols and a tocotrienol rich palm oil extract (tocomin) on levels of superoxide was assessed. Endothelial function in rat aorta was assessed in the presence of the auto-oxidant pyrogallol. Whilst all of the compounds displayed antioxidant activity, the tocotrienols were more effective when superoxide was produced by hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase whereas tocomin and α-tocopherol were more effective in the isolated aorta. Tocomin and α-tocopherol restored endothelial function in the presence of oxidant stress but α-, δ-, and γ-tocotrienols were ineffective. The protective effect of tocomin was replicated when the tocotrienols were present with, but not without, α-tocopherol. Tocotrienol rich tocomin is more effective than α-tocopherol at reducing oxidative stress and restoring endothelium-dependent relaxation in rat aortae and although α-, δ-, and γ-tocotrienols effectively scavenged superoxide, they did not improve endothelial function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/150829DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4449936PMC
April 2016

Breaking down the barriers: a qualitative study to understand child oral health in refugee and migrant communities in Australia.

Ethn Health 2015 17;20(3):241-57. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

a Healthy Mothers Healthy Families Research Group , Murdoch Childrens Research Institute , Parkville , Australia.

Objective: Australia is an increasingly multicultural nation. Never before has the dental workforce been exposed to such language, cultural, religious and ethnic diversity. There is evidence that refugee and migrant children experience significantly poorer oral health than the nonmigrant population. However, little is known about the oral health knowledge, practices and beliefs of parents with young children from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The aim of this study was to identify the sociocultural influences on child oral health in these communities.

Design: Participatory and qualitative research methods were utilised. Partnerships were established with community agencies representing migrants from Iraq, Lebanon and Pakistan. Focus group discussions and semi-structured interviews were conducted with community members. Qualitative data were analysed thematically, combining focus group and interview data.

Results: Over 100 women participated in focus groups (n = 11) and semi-structured interviews (n = 7). Key findings included the knowledge, beliefs and practices concerning: caries risk factors, oral health practices and oral health literacy. Despite mothers' knowledge of the major causes of poor oral health - dietary changes, confusion about child oral hygiene practices and limited oral health literacy all influenced child oral health outcomes.

Conclusion: This culturally competent qualitative study explores the sociocultural factors influencing child oral health in refugee and migrant communities. Understanding and acknowledging these factors are a prerequisite to determining where and how to intervene to improve oral health. Furthermore, it has implications for both dental and non-dental health professionals working to reduce health inequalities within such communities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13557858.2014.907391DOI Listing
November 2015
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