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OBJECTIVE - To evaluate the impact of health insurance expansion on racial disparities in severity of peripheral arterial disease.
BACKGROUND - Lack of insurance and non-white race are associated with increased severity, increased amputation rates, and decreased revascularization rates in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Little is known about how expanded insurance coverage affects disparities in presentation with and management of PAD. The 2006 Massachusetts health reform expanded coverage to 98% of residents and provided the framework for the Affordable Care Act.
METHODS - We conducted a retrospective cohort study of nonelderly, white and non-white patients admitted with PAD in Massachusetts (MA) and 4 control states. Risk-adjusted difference-in-differences models were used to evaluate changes in probability of presenting with severe disease. Multivariable linear regression models were used to evaluate disparities in disease severity before and after the 2006 health insurance expansion.
RESULTS - Before the 2006 MA insurance expansion, non-white patients in both MA and control states had a 12 to 13 percentage-point higher probability of presenting with severe disease (P < 0.001) than white patients. After the expansion, measured disparities in disease severity by patient race were no longer statistically significant in Massachusetts (+3.0 percentage-point difference, P = 0.385) whereas disparities persisted in control states (+10.0 percentage-point difference, P < 0.001). Overall, non-white patients in MA had an 11.2 percentage-point decreased probability of severe PAD (P = 0.042) relative to concurrent trends in control states.
CONCLUSIONS - The 2006 Massachusetts insurance expansion was associated with a decreased probability of patients presenting with severe PAD and resolution of measured racial disparities in severe PAD in MA.
BACKGROUND - Plasma lipid levels are highly heritable traits, but known genetic loci can only explain a small portion of their heritability.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In this study, we analyzed the role of parental levels of total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TGs) in explaining the values of the corresponding traits in adult offspring. We also evaluated the contribution of nongenetic factors that influence lipid traits (age, body mass index, smoking, medications, and menopause) alone and in combination with variability at the genetic loci known to associate with TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, and TG levels. We performed comparisons among different sex-specific regression models in 416 families from the Framingham Heart Study and 304 from the SardiNIA cohort. Models including parental lipid levels explain significantly more of the trait variation than models without these measures, explaining up to ≈39% of the total trait variation. Of this variation, the parent-of-origin effect explains as much as ≈15% and it does so in a sex-specific way. This observation is not owing to shared environment, given that spouse-pair correlations were negligible (<1.5% explained variation in all cases) and is distinct from previous genetic and acquired factors that are known to influence serum lipid levels.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings support the concept that unknown genetic and epigenetic contributors are responsible for most of the heritable component of the plasma lipid phenotype, and that, at present, the clinical utility of knowing age-matched parental lipid levels in assessing risk of dyslipidemia supersedes individual locus effects. Our results support the clinical utility of knowing parental lipid levels in assessing future risk of dyslipidemia.
© 2015 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley Blackwell.
BACKGROUND - Cross-sectional epidemiological and clinical research suggests that lower cardiac index is associated with abnormal brain aging, including smaller brain volumes, increased white matter hyperintensities, and worse cognitive performances. Lower systemic blood flow may have implications for dementia among older adults.
METHODS AND RESULTS - A total of 1039 Framingham Offspring Cohort participants free of clinical stroke, transient ischemic attack, and dementia formed our sample (age, 69±6 years; 53% women). Multivariable-adjusted proportional hazard models adjusting for Framingham Stroke Risk Profile score (age, sex, systolic blood pressure, antihypertensive medication, diabetes mellitus, cigarette smoking, cardiovascular disease history, atrial fibrillation), education, and apolipoprotein E4 status related cardiac magnetic resonance imaging-assessed cardiac index (cardiac output divided by body surface area) to incident all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease (AD). Over the median 7.7-year follow-up period, 32 participants developed dementia, including 26 cases of AD. Each 1-SD unit decrease in cardiac index increased the relative risk of both dementia (hazard ratio [HR]=1.66; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-2.47; P=0.013) and AD (HR=1.65; 95% CI, 1.07-2.54; P=0.022). Compared with individuals with normal cardiac index, individuals with clinically low cardiac index had a higher relative risk of dementia (HR=2.07; 95% CI, 1.02-4.19; P=0.044). If participants with clinically prevalent cardiovascular disease and atrial fibrillation were excluded (n=184), individuals with clinically low cardiac index had a higher relative risk of both dementia (HR=2.92; 95% CI, 1.34-6.36; P=0.007) and AD (HR=2.87; 95% CI, 1.21-6.80; P=0.016) compared with individuals with normal cardiac index.
CONCLUSION - Lower cardiac index is associated with an increased risk for the development of dementia and AD.
© 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.
BACKGROUND - Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors treated with thoracic radiation therapy (RT) have impaired exercise tolerance and increased cardiovascular mortality.
OBJECTIVES - The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of autonomic dysfunction and its implications on exercise capacity and mortality in long-term survivors of HL.
METHODS - Exercise parameters in 263 HL survivors referred for exercise treadmill testing at a median interval of 19 years after RT were compared with 526 age-, sex-, and cardiovascular risk score-matched control subjects. Within the RT cohort, the presence of autonomic dysfunction, defined by an elevated resting heart rate (HR) (≥80 beats/min) and abnormal heart rate recovery (HRR) at 1 min (≤12 beats/min if active cool-down, or ≤18 beats/min if passive recovery), was correlated with exercise capacity and all-cause mortality over a median follow-up of 3 years.
RESULTS - RT was associated with elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR after adjusting for age, sex, cardiovascular risk factors, medications, and indication for exercise treadmill testing: odds ratio: 3.96 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.52 to 6.23) and odds ratio: 5.32 (95% CI: 2.94 to 9.65), respectively. Prevalence of autonomic dysfunction increased with radiation dose and time from RT. Both elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR were associated with reduced exercise capacity in RT patients. Abnormal HRR was also associated with increased all-cause mortality (age-adjusted hazard ratio: 4.60 [95% CI: 1.62 to 13.02]).
CONCLUSIONS - Thoracic RT is associated with autonomic dysfunction, as measured by elevated resting HR and abnormal HRR. These abnormalities are associated with impaired exercise tolerance, and abnormal HRR predicts increased all-cause mortality in RT patients.
Copyright © 2015 American College of Cardiology Foundation. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The risk apolipoprotein E-4 (APOE4) poses for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may vary based on the neuropsychological definition of MCI.
SETTING - A community-based cohort study.
METHODS - Using two psychometric neuropsychological impairment definitions, we examined APOE4 and prevalent MCI among older adults or pre-MCI among middle-aged adults. Neuropsychological, clinical and genetic data were collected on 2,239 Framingham Offspring Cohort participants free from clinical stroke or dementia (62±9 years; 54% women). Prevalent amnestic MCI was defined from neuropsychological performances≥1.5 SD below the mean based on (i) age and education or (ii) age and Wide Range Achievement Test-3 Reading (WRAT-3 Reading) performance adjustment.
RESULTS - In the entire sample, multivariable-adjusted logistic regressions found that APOE4 was associated with amnestic MCI when using the age and WRAT Reading definition (odds ratio [OR]=1.7, P=0.002) but not the age and education definition (OR=1.0, P=0.90). Results were modified by age, such that APOE4 was associated with amnestic MCI in participants≥65 years using both the age and WRAT Reading definition (OR=2.4, P<0.001) and the age and education definition (OR=1.7, P=0.04).
CONCLUSION - APOE4 risk for prevalent amnestic MCI varies depending on the definition of objective neuropsychological impairment for MCI. Our findings support existing literature emphasising the need to refine MCI neuropsychological profiling methods.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: email@example.com.
BACKGROUND - Currently available screening tools for left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy (LVH) and systolic dysfunction (LVSD) are either expensive (echocardiography) or perform suboptimally (B-type natriuretic peptide [BNP]). It is unknown whether newer biomarkers are associated with LVH and LVSD and can serve as screening tools.
METHODS AND RESULTS - We studied 2460 Framingham Study participants (mean age 58 years, 57% women) with measurements of biomarkers mirroring cardiac biomechanical stress (soluble ST-2 [ST2], growth differentiation factor-15 [GDF-15] and high-sensitivity troponin I [hsTnI]) and BNP. We defined LVH as LV mass/height(2) ≥the sex-specific 80th percentile and LVSD as mild/greater impairment of LV ejection fraction (LVEF) or a fractional shortening <0.29. Adjusting for standard risk factors in logistic models, BNP, GDF-15, and hsTnI were associated with the composite echocardiographic outcome (LVH or LVSD), odds ratios (OR) per SD increment in log-biomarker 1.29, 1.14, and 1.18 (95% CI: 1.15 to 1.44, 1.004 to 1.28, and 1.06 to 1.31), respectively. The C-statistic for the composite outcome increased from 0.765 with risk factors to 0.770 adding BNP, to 0.774 adding novel biomarkers. The continuous Net Reclassification Improvement was 0.212 (95% CI: 0.119 to 0.305, P<0.0001) after adding the novel biomarkers to risk factors plus BNP. BNP was associated with LVH and LVSD in multivariable models, whereas GDF-15 was associated with LVSD (OR 1.41, 95% CI: 1.16 to 1.70), and hsTnI with LVH (OR 1.22, 95% CI: 1.09 to 1.36). ST2 was not significantly associated with any outcome.
CONCLUSIONS - Our community-based investigation suggests that cardiac stress biomarkers are associated with LVH and LVSD but may have limited clinical utility as screening tools.
On Sept 29, 2013, the Framingham Heart Study will celebrate 65 years since the examination of the first volunteer in 1948. During this period, the study has provided substantial insight into the epidemiology and risk factors of cardiovascular disease. The origins of the study are closely linked to the cardiovascular health of President Franklin D Roosevelt and his premature death from hypertensive heart disease and stroke in 1945. In this Review we describe the events leading to the foundation of the Framingham Heart Study, and provide a brief historical overview of selected contributions from the study.
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
BACKGROUND - The "hidden curriculum" and role models for responding to medical errors might play a central role in influencing residents' attitudes about disclosure. We sought to compare surgical and nonsurgical residents' exposure to role modeling for responding to medical errors and their attitudes about error disclosure.
STUDY DESIGN - We conducted a cross-sectional, electronic survey of surgical and nonsurgical residents at 2 large academic medical centers. The questionnaire asked respondents about personal experience with medical errors; training for responding to errors; frequency of exposure to role modeling related to disclosure; and attitudes about disclosure. Descriptive statistics were used to describe frequencies. Chi-square and Fisher's exact test were used to compare proportions between surgical and nonsurgical trainees.
RESULTS - The response rate was 58% (253 of 435). Surgical residents reported more frequently observing a colleague be treated harshly (eg, humiliated or verbally abused) for an error than nonsurgical residents (sometimes or often, 39% [26 of 66] vs 20% [37 of 187]; p = 0.002). Surgical residents were more likely than nonsurgical residents to believe they would be treated harshly by others if they acknowledged making a medical error (35% [23 of 66] vs 12% [23 of 187]; p < 0.001) and believe they have to compromise their own values when dealing with medical errors at their institution (11% [7 of 66] vs 2% [4 of 187]; p = 0.008). Surgical residents were less likely than nonsurgical residents to feel free to express concerns to other members of the team about medical errors in patient care (70% [46 of 66] vs 83% [115 of 187]; p = 0.02).
CONCLUSIONS - The punitive response to error by senior members of the health care team might be an impediment to the transparent disclosure of errors among residents that might disproportionally affect surgical training programs.
Copyright © 2013 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Because metabolites are hypothesized to play key roles as markers and effectors of cardiometabolic diseases, recent studies have sought to annotate the genetic determinants of circulating metabolite levels. We report a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 217 plasma metabolites, including >100 not measured in prior GWAS, in 2076 participants of the Framingham Heart Study (FHS). For the majority of analytes, we find that estimated heritability explains >20% of interindividual variation, and that variation attributable to heritable factors is greater than that attributable to clinical factors. Further, we identify 31 genetic loci associated with plasma metabolites, including 23 that have not previously been reported. Importantly, we include GWAS results for all surveyed metabolites and demonstrate how this information highlights a role for AGXT2 in cholesterol ester and triacylglycerol metabolism. Thus, our study outlines the relative contributions of inherited and clinical factors on the plasma metabolome and provides a resource for metabolism research.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.