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Open Access Publications from the University of California
Cover page of Biomarkers and Noncalcified Coronary Artery Plaque Progression in Older Men Treated With Testosterone.

Biomarkers and Noncalcified Coronary Artery Plaque Progression in Older Men Treated With Testosterone.

(2020)

OBJECTIVE:Recent results from the Cardiovascular Trial of the Testosterone Trials showed that testosterone treatment of older men with low testosterone was associated with greater progression of noncalcified plaque (NCP). We evaluated the effect of anthropometric measures and cardiovascular biomarkers on plaque progression in individuals in the Testosterone Trial. METHODS:The Cardiovascular part of the trial included 170 men aged 65 years or older with low testosterone. Participants received testosterone gel or placebo gel for 12 months. The primary outcome was change in NCP volume from baseline to 12 months, as determined by coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA). We assayed several markers of cardiovascular risk and analyzed each marker individually in a model as predictive variables and change in NCP as the dependent variable. RESULTS:Of 170 enrollees, 138 (73 testosterone, 65 placebo) completed the study and were available for the primary analysis. Of 10 markers evaluated, none showed a significant association with the change in NCP volume, but a significant interaction between treatment assignment and waist-hip ratio (WHR) (P = 0.0014) indicated that this variable impacted the testosterone effect on NCP volume. The statistical model indicated that for every 0.1 change in the WHR, the testosterone-induced 12-month change in NCP volume increased by 26.96 mm3 (95% confidence interval, 7.72-46.20). CONCLUSION:Among older men with low testosterone treated for 1 year, greater WHR was associated with greater NCP progression, as measured by CCTA. Other biomarkers and anthropometric measures did not show statistically significant association with plaque progression.

Cover page of The role of dwelling type when estimating the effect of magnetic fields on childhood leukemia in the California Power Line Study (CAPS).

The role of dwelling type when estimating the effect of magnetic fields on childhood leukemia in the California Power Line Study (CAPS).

(2020)

PURPOSE:The type of dwelling where a child lives is an important factor when considering residential exposure to environmental agents. In this paper, we explore its role when estimating the potential effects of magnetic fields (MF) on leukemia using data from the California Power Line Study (CAPS). In this context, dwelling type could be a risk factor, a proxy for other risk factors, a cause of MF exposure, a confounder, an effect-measure modifier, or some combination. METHODS:We obtained information on type of dwelling at birth on over 2,000 subjects. Using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression, we assessed whether dwelling type was a risk factor for childhood leukemia, which covariates and MF exposures were associated with dwelling type, and whether dwelling type was a potential confounder or an effect-measure modifier in the MF-leukemia relationship under the assumption of no-uncontrolled confounding. RESULTS:A majority of children lived in single-family homes or duplexes (70%). Dwelling type was associated with race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status but not with childhood leukemia risk, after other adjustments, and did not alter the MF-leukemia relationship upon adjustment as a potential confounder. Stratification revealed potential effect-measure modification by dwelling type on the multiplicative scale. CONCLUSION:Dwelling type does not appear to play a significant role in the MF-leukemia relationship in the CAPS dataset as a leukemia risk factor or confounder. Future research should explore the role of dwelling as an effect-measure modifier of the MF-leukemia association.

Cover page of "It is big because it's ruining the lives of many people in Malawi": Women's attitudes and beliefs about cervical cancer.

"It is big because it's ruining the lives of many people in Malawi": Women's attitudes and beliefs about cervical cancer.

(2020)

Adoption of routine cervical cancer screening in Malawi is very low, even though it has the highest cervical cancer burden in the world. We performed a multi-level assessment of Malawian women's knowledge and perceptions of cervical cancer risk and screening. Using the Multi-Level Health Outcomes Framework, we conducted interviews with 60 adult Malawian women aged 18-62 at facilities with cervical cancer screening. Eligible participants were recruited regardless of HIV status or history of screening, and asked about their experiences with cervical cancer disease and screening. Interviews were audio recorded and a theory-informed codebook was developed. Analysis focused on thematic differences across groups by age, HIV status, and screening history. Half of the sample (n = 30) had either never been screened for cervical cancer or were at the facility for their first-ever screen. Most women said that cervical cancer is dangerous, and many knew someone affected. Many women spoke about the importance of screening for prevention of cancer. Risk factors were generally well-understood, including increased risk with HIV, although this was misunderstood by some HIV-negative women to mean they were not at risk. Social networks were identified as a key determinant of screening, and gender issues were likewise highly salient. Despite high knowledge levels about cervical cancer, there remain significant challenges to improving screening, including interpersonal and system-level barriers. Future work should strengthen service delivery, target social networks and intimate partners, and develop targeted communication strategies for HIV-positive and -negative groups, especially in high-burden settings.

Cover page of Creating New β-Globin-Expressing Lentiviral Vectors by High-Resolution Mapping of Locus Control Region Enhancer Sequences.

Creating New β-Globin-Expressing Lentiviral Vectors by High-Resolution Mapping of Locus Control Region Enhancer Sequences.

(2020)

Hematopoietic stem cell gene therapy is a promising approach for treating disorders of the hematopoietic system. Identifying combinations of cis-regulatory elements that do not impede packaging or transduction efficiency when included in lentiviral vectors has proven challenging. In this study, we deploy LV-MPRA (lentiviral vector-based, massively parallel reporter assay), an approach that simultaneously analyzes thousands of synthetic DNA fragments in parallel to identify sequence-intrinsic and lineage-specific enhancer function at near-base-pair resolution. We demonstrate the power of LV-MPRA in elucidating the boundaries of previously unknown intrinsic enhancer sequences of the human β-globin locus control region. Our approach facilitated the rapid assembly of novel therapeutic βAS3-globin lentiviral vectors harboring strong lineage-specific recombinant control elements capable of correcting a mouse model of sickle cell disease. LV-MPRA can be used to map any genomic locus for enhancer activity and facilitates the rapid development of therapeutic vectors for treating disorders of the hematopoietic system or other specific tissues and cell types.

Unconditional care in academic emergency departments.

(2020)

Recent news stories have explicitly stated that patients with symptoms of COVID-19 were "turned away" from emergency departments. This commentary addresses these serious allegations, with an attempt to provide the perspective of academic emergency departments (EDs) around the Nation. The overarching point we wish to make is that academic EDs never deny emergency care to any person.