Publications from the current and previous year are listed below; articles are listed chronologically within each year from the most to the least recent.

Most research articles have a link to the published abstract (a detailed summary) through the US. National Library of Medicine.

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BWHS_Printer friendly publication list, May 2015 (articles listed from most to least recent)

Last Updated: May 28, 2015


Ambrosone CB, Zirpoli G, Hong CC, Yao S, Troester MA, Bandera EV, Schedin P, Bethea TN, Borges V, Park SY, Chandra D, Rosenberg L, Kolonel LN, Olshan AF, Palmer JR.  Important role of menarche in development of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer in African American women. J Natl Cancer Inst 2015; 107(9): djv172. doi: 10.1093/jnci/djv172. link to online article

Bandera EV, Chandran U, Hong CC, Troester MA, Bethea TN, Adams-Campbell LL, Haiman CA, Park SY, Olshan AF, Ambrosone CB, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Obesity, body fat distribution, and risk of breast cancer subtypes in African American women participating in the AMBER Consortium. Breast Cancer Res Treat 2015;150(3):655-66. doi: 10.1007/s10549-015-3353-z.

Data from the BWHS and three other studies were used to assess the relationships of obesity and body fat distribution to different subtypes of breast cancer, including triple negative (TN) cancer, which occurs more commonly in Black women. Relationships differed according to the subtype of cancer and menopausal status. Higher body mass index was associated with decreased risk of postmenopausal estrogen receptor positive (ER+) cancer and with decreased risk of postmenopausal TN cancer.  Higher body mass index around the age of 18 was associated with increased risk of premenopausal ER+ cancer and all subtypes of postmenopausal cancer. High waist-to-hip ratio, a measure of body fat distribution around the waist, was associated with increased risk of ER+ tumors.  Different biologic mechanisms may be at work and more research is needed to understand the interplay between weight, body fat distribution, and breast cancer.  link to online article

Bethea TN, Rosenberg L, Hong CC, Troester MA, Lunetta KL, Bandera EV, Schedin P, Kolonel LN, Olshan AF, Ambrosone CB, Palmer, JR. A case-control analysis of oral contraceptive use and breast cancer subtypes in the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk Consortium. Breast Cancer Res 2015;17(22):1-13. doi:10.1186/s13058-015-0535-x.

Previous studies have found that women who have recently used oral contraceptives have a higher risk of breast cancer, which dissipates after use ceases.  This large study, based on the BWHS and three other studies, examined the association between oral contraceptive use and specific subtypes of breast cancer, namely estrogen receptor positive, estrogen receptor negative, and triple negative breast cancer.  Long-term and recent oral contraceptive use were associated with increased risk of all subtypes of cancer.  The risk decreased over time after use was halted.  link to online article

Boggs DA, Ban Y, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Higher diet quality is inversely associated with mortality in African-American women. J Nutr 2015;145(3):547-54. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.195735.

In an assessment of whether dietary intake is associated with risk of dying, information on food intake provided by Black Women’s Health Study participants in 1995 and 2001 was used to define several dietary patterns, such as the “Western” pattern. The Western pattern is a common pattern in the U.S., characterized by high intake of meat, fats, and sweets. The death rate was higher among BWHS participants with a Western type of diet whereas it was lower among women whose diets were high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. These findings are similar to results in other populations and strengthen the evidence that type of dietary intake can increase or decrease the risk of dying. link to online article

Vimalananda VG, Palmer JR, Gerlovin H, Wise LA, Rosenzweig JL, Rosenberg L, Ruiz-Narvaez, EA. Night-shift work and incident diabetes among African-American women. Diabetologia 2015;58(4):699-706. doi: 10.1007/s00125-014-3480-9.

In 2005 BWHS participants reported information on whether and how long they had worked night shifts. Based on follow-up through 2013, the incidence of type 2 diabetes in the BWHS was greater among women who had worked a night shift for at least 10 years than among women who had not worked night shifts.  The relationship was present in women who were overweight or obese as well as in thinner women, indicating that the mechanism for the increase was not through weight.  A possible mechanism may involve sleep disturbances, which are increasingly being associated with adverse health effects.  link to online article

Coogan PF, Castro-Webb N, Yu J, O'Connor GT, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Active and passive smoking and the incidence of asthma in the Black Women's Health Study. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2015;191(2):168-76. doi: 10.1164/rccm.201406-1108OC.

With BWHS data on smoking (“active”) and exposure to the smoke of others (“passive”), we examined the development of adult-onset asthma among  past smokers, current smokers, non-smokers who were exposed to the smoke of others (passive smokers), and non-smokers  never exposed to the smoke of others Current active smoking was associated with the greatest increase in risk of adult-onset asthma. Passive smokers also experienced a higher risk but less than that of active smokers.  These results suggest that avoiding smoking and reducing exposure to tobacco smoke could help to prevent the development of adult-onset asthma. link to online article

Wise LA, Li S, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Depressive symptoms and risk of uterine leiomyomata.  Am J Obstet Gynecol 2015;212(5):617.e1-10. doi:10.1016/j.ajog.2014.12.012. link to online article

Boggs DA, Rosenberg L, Adams-Campbell LL, Palmer JR. A prospective approach to breast cancer risk prediction in African American women: the Black Women’s Health Study model. J Clin Oncol 2015;33(9):1038-44. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2014.57.2750.

Breast cancer prediction models that are currently used underestimate risk of breast cancer for African American women, resulting in lower rates of recruitment into breast cancer prevention trials.   Based on data collected from Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) participants from 1995 to 2005, BWHS developed a prediction model that includes more factors than used in previous models.   The model was then tested in BWHS data from 2006-2011. The results suggested an improvement on current prediction models among African American women Use of the new model could result in an increase in the number of Black women eligible for breast cancer prevention trials, which in turn would ensure that new prevention methods are applicable to African American women. link to online article

Palmer JR, Kipping-Ruane K, Wise LA, Yu J, Rosenberg L.  Lactation in relation to long-term maternal weight gain in African American women. Am J Epidemiol 2015;181(12):932-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwv027. link to online article

Cozier YC, Coogan PF, Govender P, Berman JS, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Obesity and weight gain in relation to incidence of sarcoidosis in US Black women: data from the Black Women's Health Study. Chest 2015;147(4):1086-93. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-1099.

Sarcoidosis, an inflammatory autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and other organs, disproportionally affects Black women.  Overweight and obesity causes inflammation.  BWHS data was used to examine whether there is an association between weight and sarcoidosis.   Weight gain and obesity were both associated with increased incidence of sarcoidosis.  While plausible, this is the first report of such associations and they need to be confirmed in other studies.  link to online article

Felix AS,..., Palmer JR, Rosenberg L, Wise LA, et al. Intrauterine devices and endometrial cancer risk: a pooled analysis of the Epidemiology of Endometrial Cancer Consortium. Int J Cancer 2015;136(5):E410-22. doi: 10.1002/ijc.29229.

The Endometrial Cancer Consortium combines data from 18 separate studies, including the BWHS, to assess risk factors for endometrial cancer.  Based on 8,801 cases of endometrial cancer,  use of IUD s of various types was associated with reduced  risk of endometrial cancer.   To fully understand the biology of the decrease in risk, additional study is needed.  In addition, further study of the types of IUDs currently available in the US is needed. link to online article


Cohen SS, Park Y, Signorello LB, Patel AV, Boggs DA, Kolonel LN, Kitahara CM, Knutsen SF, Gillanders E, Monroe KR, Berrington de Gonzalez A, Bethea TN, Black A, Fraser G, Gapstur S, Hartge P, Matthews CE, Park SY, Purdue MP, Singh P, Harvey C, Blot WJ, Palmer, JR. A pooled analysis of body mass index and mortality among African Americans. PLoS ONE 2014;9(11):e111980. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111980.

This study combined BWHS data with data from six other studies to assess the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and death by any cause (all-cause mortality). Among African American men and women, obesity (defined as a BMI of at least 30 30) was associated with a higher risk of all-cause mortality. The relationship with obesity was strongest among for death from cardiovascular disease. This study demonstrates the importance of personal and public health policy efforts that help individuals attain and maintain a healthy weight. link to online article

Rosenberg L, Palmer JR, Bethea TN, Ban Y, Kipping-Ruane K, Adams-Campbell LL. A prospective study of physical activity and breast cancer incidence in African American women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2014;23(11):2522-31. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0448.

Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer, but the relationship needs confirmation in African American populations. In the BWHS, higher levels of vigorous exercise and brisk walking were related to decreased risk of breast cancer. link to online article

Bethea TN, Kitahara CM, Sonderman J, Patel AV, Harvey C, Knutsen SF, Park Y, Park SY, Fraser GE, Jacobs EJ, Purdue MP, Stolzenberg-Solomon RZ, Gillanders EM, Blot WJ, Palmer JR, Kolonel LN. A pooled analysis of body mass index and pancreatic cancer mortality in African Americans. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prev 2014;23(10):2119-25. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-14-0422.

African Americans are more likely to be diagnosed with and die from pancreatic cancer than other Americans. Data from 7 studies, including the BWHS, was used to assess the possible relationship between obesity and death from pancreatic cancer among African American women and men. Obesity was related to increased mortality from pancreatic cancer, particularly among people who had never smoked. Reducing obesity may reduce pancreatic cancer mortality. link to online article

Palmer JR, Viscidi E, Troester MA, Hong C, Schedin P, Bethea TN, Bandera EV, McKinnon C, Haiman CA, Lunetta K, Kolonel LN, Rosenberg L, Olshan AF, Ambrosone CB. Parity, lactation, and breast cancer subtypes in African American women: results from the AMBER Consortium. J Natl Cancer Inst 2014;106(10):dju237. doi: 10.1093/jnci/dju237.

Estrogen negative (ER-) breast cancer is an aggressive form of breast cancer that occur more commonly among African American women. In an analysis of data from four studies, including the BWHS, women who had at least one birth were at increased risk of ER- and triple-negative breast cancer, but the increase was reduced if they had breast fed. ER+ breast cancer, another subtype, was not related to parity or lactation. These results suggest that breastfeeding could reduce the risk of ER- breast cancer in African American women. link to online article

James-Todd TM, Boggs DA, Rich-Edwards JW, Rosenberg L, Wise LA, Palmer JR. Preterm birth and subsequent risk of type 2 diabetes in black mothers. Epidemiology 2014;25(6):805-10. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000167.

In this BWHS study, the relationship between preterm birth and risk of type 2 diabetes was examined. Women who had a preterm birth (a baby born before the 37th week of pregnancy) were 20% more likely to report developing type 2 diabetes, and those who had a very premature birth (before_ the 32nd week of pregnancy) had an even higher risk. These results suggest that efforts to reduce preterm births could also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes among Black women. link to online article

Feng Y, …, Palmer JR, et al. A comprehensive examination of breast cancer risk loci in African American women. Hum Mol Genet 2014;23(20):5518-26. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddu252.

Genetic studies of European populations have identified 73 genetic variants related to breast cancer risk, but genetic structures differ somewhat by ethnic group and these variants may not have the same relation to breast cancer risk among women of African ancestry. Among 54 variants examined in the present study, which included BWHS data, 38 that were associated with breast cancer, and several previously unidentified variants were also associated with risk. Additional research is needed to confirm and extend these findings. link to online article

Ruiz-Narváez EA, Palmer JR, Gerlovin H, Wise LA, Vimalananda VG, Rosenzweig JL, Rosenberg L. Birth weight and risk of type 2 diabetes in the Black Women’s Health Study: does adult body mass index play a mediating role? Diabetes Care 2014;37(9):2572-8. doi: 10.2337/dc14-0731.

The occurrence of type 2 diabetes is higher among African Americans than among white Americans. This BWHS study examined whether a woman’s birthweight was associated with her risk of diabetes in adulthood. Compared to women who had a normal birthweight (5lb 8oz-8lb13oz), risk of type 2 diabetes was 40% higher among women with very low birthweight (less than 3lb 5oz) and 13% higher risk among women with low birthweight (3lb5oz-5lb8oz). The increase in diabetes risk was not explained by adult body size. These results suggest that having been born prematurely may contribute to a woman’s risk of developing diabetes in adulthood. link to online article

Wise LA, Ruiz-Narváez EA, Haddad SA, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Polymorphisms in vitamin D-related genes and risk of uterine leiomyomata. Fertil Steril 2014;102(2):503-10.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.04.037.

Recent studies have suggested an association between uterine leiomyomata (uterine fibroids) and vitamin D deficiency (which is related to vitamin D intake, sun exposure, and skin pigmentation). Specific genetic variants involved in vitamin D metabolism and skin pigmentation were assessed in relation to uterine leiomyomata in the BWHS. Several genetic variants occurred more commonly among women with fibroids than among women without fibroids, supporting the idea of an association between vitamin D metabolism and uterine leiomyomata. Further study of this possible association is needed. link to online article

Vimalananda VG, Palmer JR, Gerlovin H, Wise LA, Rosenzweig JL, Rosenberg L, Ruiz-Narváez EA. Depressive symptoms, antidepressant use, and the incidence of diabetes in the Black Women’s Health Study. Diabetes Care 2014;37(8):2211-7. doi: 10.2337/dc13-2642.

This BWHS study assessed whether depressive symptoms and use of antidepressant medications are related to development of type 2 diabetes in the BWHS. Based on questions that participants completed in 1999 on depressive symptoms and 3,372 new cases of diabetes that occurred during the next 12 years, depressive symptoms and antidepressant medication use were found to be associated with a higher risk of diabetes. link to online article

Wise LA, Radin RG, Kumanyika S, Ruiz-Narvaez EA, Pamer JR, Rosenberg L. Prospective study of dietary fat and risk of uterine leiomyomata. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99(5):1105-16. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.073635.

High intake of dietary fat has been associated with higher levels of female hormones, and thus has the possibility of affecting the occurrence of uterine fibroids. In our large study within the BWHS, the only consistent association was a small increase in risk associated with intake of marine fatty acids. This finding needs to be confirmed in other studies.  link to online article

Boggs DA, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Bilateral oophorectomy and risk of cancer in African American women. Cancer Causes Control 2014;25(4):507-13. doi: 10.1007/s10552-014-0353-y.

Previous research suggests that bilateral oophorectomy (removal of the both ovaries) at younger ages may reduce risk of breast cancer, with some suggestion that the removal increases the risk of lung and colorectal cancer. In this BWHS study, bilateral oophorectomy, regardless of age at removal, was associated with a decreased risk of estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer but not with risk of estrogen receptor negative breast cancer. Results on risk of colorectal or lung cancer, based on small numbers, suggested a possible increase in risk. Having a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) without removal of the ovaries did not affect risk of breast, lung, or colorectal to online article

Cozier YC, Yu J, Coogan PF, Bethea TN, Rosenberg L, Palmer JR. Racism, segregation, and risk of obesity in the Black Women's Health Study. Am J Epidemiol 2014;179(7):875-83. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu004.

Experiences of racism are stressors that might result in increased obesity, for example through changes in eating or exercise habits.  In the BWHS, the occurrence of obesity was greater among women who had the greatest experiences of racism. This was the case whether women lived in segregated or nonsegregated neighborhoods.  link to online article

Coogan PF, Yu J, O'Connor GT, Brown TA, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Depressive symptoms and the incidence of adult-onset asthma in African American women. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2014;112(4):333-8. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2013.12.025.

Some evidence suggests that depression could lead to increased incidence of asthma. In this first study of that hypothesis in African American women, the incidence was greatest among women who had the most symptoms of depression. Confirmation of this finding in further studies is needed. link to online article

Ruiz-Narvaez, EA. Redundant enhancers and causal variants in the TCG7LC gene. Eur J Hum Genet 2014;22(11):1243-6. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2014.17.

The author suggests some possible reasons to explain the fact that genetic variants discovered to date appear to explain very little of the occurrence of various illnesses. link to online article

Palmer JR, Amrosone CG, Olshan AF. A collaborative study of the etiology of breast cancer subtypes in African American women: the AMBER Consortium. Cancer Causes Control 2014;25(3):309-19. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0332-8

Black women are more likely than other women to be affected by an aggressive form of breast cancer called estrogen receptor negative (ER-), which contributes to higher breast cancer mortality rates among black women compared to other American women.  The risk factors for ER- cancer are poorly understood and informative assessments require large numbers of women with this subtype. The BWHS has joined with three other large studies of breast cancer in black women in a collaborative study, the AMBER consortium, to assess nongenetic and genetic risk factors for ER- and other breast cancer subtypes in black women.  link to online article

Dash C, Palmer JR, Boggs DA, Rosenberg L, Adams-Campbell LL. Type 2 diabetes and the risk of colorectal adenomas: Black Women's Health Study. Am J Epidemiol 2014;179(1):112-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt227.

Results from studies of type 2 diabetes in relation to the incidence of tumors of the colon and rectum have been  contradictory. We assessed type 2 diabetes in relation to the occurrence of colorectal adenomas in the BWHS.  Adenomas are precursors to colorectal cancer. There was no overall association of diabetes with colorectal adenoma occurrence.  link to online article

Coogan PF, Yu J, O’Connor GT, Brown TA, Cozier YC, Palmer JR, Rosenberg L. Experiences of racism and the incidence of adult-onset asthma. Chest 2014;145(3):480-5. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-0665.

In the BWHS, more than 1000 women have reported the development of asthma.  We found that the incidence of asthma was increased among women who reported hight levels of experiences of racism.  It may be that chronic stress resulting from experiences of racism increases the incidence of adult-onset asthma through effects on the immune system and the airways.  link to online article