Tagged: Boston University School of Medicine

BUSM /BMC Researcher Receives Grant to Examine Food Insecurity in Households with a Child with Special Healthcare Needs

June 28th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release, June 12, 2013
Contact:
Jenny Eriksen Leary, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org, 617-638-6841

(Boston) – Ruth Rose-Jacobs, ScD, associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and a research scientist at Boston Medical Center (BMC), has received funding for a two-year study to examine the association between the presence of young children with special healthcare needs in households and food insecurity. Rose-Jacobs, also a child development researcher with Children’s HealthWatch, is the principal investigator (PI) on this $249,984 grant awarded by the University of Kentucky’s Research Program on Childhood Hunger, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutritional Service.

Children with special health care needs (SHCN) are children who have, or are at increased risk for a chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and require health and related services of a type or amount beyond that required by children generally. The research project will examine the impact of having a young child with SHCN on child and/or household food insecurity in low-income households. Food insecurity is not being able to afford enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.  According to the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, approximately 15 percent of US children under the age of 17 have SHCN.  Households with versus without a child with SHCN are more likely to live at or near the poverty level. The presence of a child with SHCN is associated with lower overall household adult employment due to the increased care needs of the child, which may be associated with family material hardships.

“We anticipate that households with a child with SHCN suffer disproportionately from food insecurity,” said Rose-Jacobs, who is one of three recipients of these two-year grants on food insecurity.  “This study could have important implications for the expansion of food insecurity screening and inform practice in federal and state nutrition and non-nutrition assistance programs aimed at reducing food insecurity and other material hardships.

The study will take place at safety-net hospitals in Baltimore, Boston, Little Rock, Ark., Minneapolis and Philadelphia.

In 2011, approximately 25 percent of American households with children under 6 years of age were food insecure at some point during the year, according to data from the USDA’s Economic Research Service.  According to Children’s HealthWatch (www.childrenshealthwatch.org),  children from food insecure households, when compared to those from food secure households, are 90 percent more likely to be reported in fair or poor health and are two thirds more likely to be at risk for developmental delays.

To read more about the study, visit: http://www.ukcpr.org/CHTaskOrderRFP.aspx

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Virtual Patient Advocate Delivers Preconception Care to Improve Pregnancy Outcomes

May 1st, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release, April 30, 2013
Contact:
Jenny Eriksen Leary, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org

(Boston) – Results of a pilot study suggest that a virtual patient advocate (VPA) could help influence positive changes and help women have healthier pregnancies. Developed at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Northeastern University, “Gabby” is an innovative tool developed to deliver preconception care (PCC) to African-American women through interactive conversations online.

The study results, which are published online in the American Journal of Health Promotion, suggest that Gabby could help identify risk factors and influence positive changes in women before they conceive and decrease the risk for adverse birth outcomes. Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, assistant professor at BUSM and family medicine physician at BMC, is the paper’s first author. Brian Jack, MD, chief and chair of family medicine at BMC and BUSM, respectively, is the paper’s senior author. Timothy Bickmore, PhD, associate professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern, collaborated on this study and led the development of the software on which Gabby is based.

PCC addresses family planning, medical conditions and preventive behaviors in a primary care setting. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed evidence-based best practice guidelines for PCC, but there is a need for more comprehensive PCC implementation. Statistics show that approximately half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. According to the CDC, the fetal mortality rate for non-Hispanic African-American women in 2005 was 2.3 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women.

“Because approximately half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, delivering preconception care during general wellness visits could help reduce infant and maternal mortality rates,” said Gardiner.

In order to develop a VPA that participants could identify with and trust, researchers conducted usability studies to gather recommendations from participants about the name, gender and physical appearance of the VPA. Previous research has shown that African-Americans prefer a VPA who is their same race and gender, and the results of these studies also indicated that participants would feel comfortable discussing PCC health topics with a VPA who was a young, female health care provider. These results helped the researchers create Gabby.

Women between the ages of 15 and 25 interact and engage with Gabby online by answering her questions about current health habits and conditions. Through this interactive dialogue, where participants can pick from answers or write in their own, Gabby screens for PCC risks, educates the participants about their risks and assesses whether they are ready to make lifestyle changes to decrease their risks. Based on participant’s responses, Gabby helps create a custom “My Health To-Do List,” which users can review and share with their providers.

Participants reported an average of 23 preconception risks. In the two-month pilot study, 83 percent of the risks added to the “My Health To-Do List” were either addressed or resolved by the users by the end of the pilot. For example, if a woman identified that she was not taking folic acid at the beginning of the pilot but had bought a folic acid supplement, she had addressed the risk. If she started taking it by the end of the pilot, she had resolved the risk. Therefore, Gabby was effective in helping those who were contemplating behavior change to move forward and take action.

The participants indicated that the Gabby system is a valuable addition to their health care routine and could be used either to prepare for an appointment with a provider or to reinforce information discussed during an appointment. They found Gabby trustworthy and reliable and found that she provided helpful information in an appropriate amount of time. The results also show that Gabby addressed some barriers to translating PCC best practices to clinical care, such as ease of delivery and patient acceptability.

“These results suggest that using Gabby as a PCC tool could be effective in helping deliver PCC to African-American women,” said Jack.

The researchers are working to expand on these results and have been recruiting for a randomized control trial to test whether participants who receive PCC with Gabby will have fewer preconception risk factors after six months than participants in a control group. They will enroll 100 young African-American women from across the country.

This research was supported by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under contract number HHSA 290-06-00012-7 (Principal Investigator: Jack); the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health in the Health Resources and Services Administration under grant award # R40 MC21510-01 (Principal Investigator: Jack); and the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine under grant award # K07AT005463-01(Principal Investigator: Gardiner).

Tagged , , , ,

BUSM Researchers Identify Novel Approach to Study COPD and Treatment Efficacy

April 11th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

For Immediate Release: April 11, 2013
Contact: Jenny Eriksen Leary, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org

(Boston) – Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have pinpointed a genetic signature for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from airway cells harvested utilizing a minimally invasive procedure. The findings provide a novel way to study COPD and could lead to new treatments and ways to monitor patient’s response to those treatments. The study is published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that leads to the loss of lung function primarily caused by cigarette smoking. It causes coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms that make it difficult to breathe. While there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can help people cope with COPD, there currently is no cure and there are no effective therapies to reduce the rate of lung function decline. According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which partially funded the study, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, resulting in approximately 135,000 deaths each year.

“There have been limited molecular studies of COPD given the inaccessibility and invasiveness of obtaining lung tissue,” said Katrina Steiling, MD, MSc, assistant professor of medicine at BUSM who served as the study’s first author. The researchers hypothesized that while COPD primarily affects the tissue deep within the lung, the effects of COPD might be detectable in relatively accessible tissue throughout the respiratory tract. This echoes previous work they had done that found that cancer found deep in the lung could be detected by cancer-specific patterns of gene expression in the largest airways connected to the windpipe, far from the tumor.

To examine their hypothesis, the research team used airway cells obtained during a bronchoscopy, a procedure that involves putting a small camera into the airway through the nose or mouth. During the procedure, which can be done while a patient is awake under local anesthesia or moderate sedation, a cytology brush is used to gently scrape the sides of airways to collect cells.

They examined 238 samples from current and former smokers that had been collected by Stephen Lam, MD, a collaborator from the University of British Columbia. Eighty seven of the samples were from patients who had been diagnosed with mild to moderate COPD based on their lung function. The other 151 samples represented patients who did not have COPD based on these criteria.

When the researchers compared the airway samples from both groups, they found that 98 genes were expressed at different levels in those diagnosed with COPD compared to those without COPD. In order to determine how similar the airway cell changes were to lung tissue cells, the researchers compared their results with previously published findings on the gene expression changes associated with COPD in lung tissue. The results of the comparison demonstrate that the changes that occur in the airway cell samples in those diagnosed with COPD were similar to the changes in lung tissue cells of individuals with the disease despite the airway cells coming from regions of the lung not thought to be altered by disease.

“Our data shows that there are consistent gene-expression changes that occur in both airway and lung tissue cells in individuals with COPD,” said Avrum Spira, MD, MSc, Alexander Graham Bell professor of medicine and chief of the division of computational biomedicine at BUSM who served as one of the senior co-authors of the study. Spira also is a physician in the pulmonary, critical care and allergy department at Boston Medical Center.

To investigate the effects of treatment on the COPD-associated gene expression changes, the researchers collaborated with a team led by Maarten van den Berge, MD, PhD, from the University of Groningen Medical Center in the Netherlands that had collected airway cells from COPD patients before and after they started steroid therapy. They found that the expression of some genes that changed due to COPD reversed their expression after treatment and started to look more like the levels seen in current or former smokers without COPD.

“Part of the COPD ‘signature’ reverses with therapy, suggesting that examining airway cells might be a minimally invasive tool for monitoring the disease and evaluating the response to therapy more quickly in order to determine the best course of treatment for each individual patient,” said Marc Lenburg, PhD, associate professor in computational biomedicine and bioinformatics at BUSM and the study’s other senior co-author.

“Studying COPD using the large airway opens up some really exciting new avenues of research that could also improve care for patients with COPD,” said Spira. “While we are still at an early stage, I envision being able to examine airway cells from my patients with COPD to determine what is causing the disease and, from that information, recommend a more specific and effective treatment.”

Funding for this research was provided in part by the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) NHLBI under grant award number 1R01 HL095388 (PI: Spira/Lenburg) and the NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Science through the Boston University Clinical and Translational Science Institute under award number KL2RR025770.

Tagged , , ,

Utilizing MRI to Measure Blood Flow Over Atherosclerotic Plaques May Aid in Detection of Dangerous Plaques

April 8th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 5, 2013
Contact: Jenny Eriksen, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org

(Boston) – Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have shown that using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure blood flow over atherosclerotic plaques could help identify plaques at risk for thrombosis. The findings, which appear in the March issue of Circulation Cardiovascular Imaging, offer a non-invasive application in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with atherosclerosis.

Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease of the human vascular system associated with lipid (cholesterol) accumulation and inflammation. It can remain silent and undetected for many years, but can cause acute cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack. This often occurs when a high-risk, dangerous atherosclerotic plaque disrupts at the vessel surface facing the blood, followed by partial or complete blockage of blood flow through the lumen by a thrombus. An unmet challenge of diagnostic medicine is to find such plaques before disruption occurs in order to prevent these occurrences.

While most studies have focused on the plaque within the vessel wall, the flow of blood in the vessel (hemodynamics) also is known to be important in the progression and disruption of plaques.

In this study the researchers, led by James A. Hamilton, PhD, professor of biophysics and physiology at BUSM, found that the measurement of endothelial sheer stress (ESS), which is the indirect stress from the friction of blood flow over the vascular endothelium surface, can identify plaques in the highest risk category. After performing a non-invasive MRI examination of the aorta in a preclinical model with both stable and unstable plaques, a pharmacological “trigger” was used to induce plaque disruption. Low ESS was associated with plaques that disrupted and had other “high-risk” features, such as positive remodeling, which is an outward expansion of the vessel wall that “hides” the plaque from detection by many conventional methods.

These results are consistent with previous studies that examined coronary arteries of other experimental models using invasive intravascular ultrasound method to measure features of vulnerability but without an endpoint of plaque disruption, which is the outcome of the highest risk plaques.

“Our results indicate that using non-invasive MRI assessments of ESS together with the structural characteristics of the plaque offers a comprehensive way to identify the location of “high-risk” plaque, monitor its progression and assess the effect of interventions,” said Hamilton. “Early identification of “high-risk” plaques prior to acute cardiovascular events will provide enhanced decision making and might improve patient management by allowing prompt aggressive interventions that aim to stabilize plaques.”

This research was supported by grant funding from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) under grant award number 5P50HL083801.The study’s co-authors are Ning Hua, PhD, Tuan Pham, BSc, and Alkystis Phinikaridou, PhD (currently at King’s College London).

Tagged , , ,

BUSM Study Reveals B cells as Therapeutic Targets to Alter Obesity-Associated Inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes

March 20th, 2013 in 2013, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 12, 2013,
Jenny Eriksen Leary, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org

(Boston) – New research from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) reveals that B cells regulate obesity-associated inflammation and type 2 diabetes through two specific mechanisms. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicates the importance of continuing to explore B cells as a therapeutic target to treat these diseases. Barbara Nikolajczyk, PhD, associate professor of microbiology at BUSM, is the study’s senior author.

The incidence of diabetes continues to rise at alarming rates. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the disease now affects approximately 25.8 million Americans. In 2007, the National Institutes of Health estimated that the direct and indirect costs of diabetes were a staggering $174 billion.

Type 2 diabetes, which is a common result of obesity, occurs when the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly (insulin resistance) or the body does not produce enough insulin. The body needs insulin to absorb glucose and generate energy. If the body does not produce and respond to insulin appropriately, it can, over time, lead to various complications such as cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney disease and blindness.

Previous research has shown that B cells, which are white blood cells of the immune system, promote inflammation and can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms underlying B cell function were unclear.

The results of this study shed light on that question and indicate that B cells secrete a pro-inflammatory ratio of proteins called cytokines, which directly promote the insulin resistance that characterizes type 2 diabetes. The researchers also demonstrated that B cells directly regulate inflammatory T cells, an immune cell type known to cause insulin resistance in animal models of disease.

“Now that we have identified the specific mechanisms by which B cells promote inflammation, we can help develop novel, targeted approaches to treat type 2 diabetes,” said Nikolajczyk. “Our study supports the continued exploration of FDA-approved B cell depletion drugs, which are known to be generally safe and effective, as novel agents to prevent obesity-associated inflammation and type 2 diabetes.”

Research included in this study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) under grant award numbers R21DK089270 and R56DK096525 (PI: Nikolajczyk) and R56DK090455 (PI: Gerald Denis); the NIDDK’s Boston Area Diabetes Endocrinology Research Center Pilot Program and the Boston Nutrition Obesity Research Center under grant award number DK046200; the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research under grant award number 5R21DE021154 (PI: Nikolajczyk); the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Immunology Training Program under grant award number AI007309; the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Hematology Training Program under grant award number HL007501; and the Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research at BUSM (PI: Nikolajczyk and Denis).

 

-30-

 

Tagged , , , , ,

BUSM urologist elected president of Massachusetts Association of Practicing Urologists

August 1st, 2012 in News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Contact: Gina Orlando, (617) 638-8490, gina.orlando@bmc.org

(Boston) – Richard Babayan, MD, professor and chair of urology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and chief of the department of urology at Boston Medical Center (BMC) was elected president of the Massachusetts Association of Practicing Urologists (MAPU) at the American Urological Association annual meeting in May.

Having served as a director of the MAPU Executive Committee since 1990, Babayan served as president-elect from 2010-2012. He will serve as president for a two-year term and will assume responsibility for the association’s operations and activities, preside over the Board of Director’s meetings and serve as the society’s chief spokesperson.

Babayan has been actively involved in minimally invasive therapies within the field of urology. His clinical interests include benign prostatic hyperplasia, prostate cancer, urologic oncology, and endourology. He performed the first robot assisted radical prostatectomy in Boston and is currently one of three urologic surgeons at BMC using the daVinci Robot for minimally invasive procedures.

Actively involved in both local and national urological associations, Babayan was the New England Section representative to the Board of Directors of the American Urological Association (AUA) from 2005-2009 and is a past president of the New England Section of the AUA.  He was honored by the AUA in 2011 with a Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the AUA Foundation by the AUA Leadership Program and the AUA Board of Directors.

After earning his medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine, Babayan completed his surgical training at Yale-New Haven Hospital and a urology residency at the former University Hospital, now BMC. Babayan also served as an AUA Research Scholar performing basic science research in the field of hyperthermia at both MIT and BUSM.

Tagged , , , , ,

New Orthopaedic Surgeon joins BMC and BUSM faculty

August 1st, 2012 in News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Contact: Gina Orlando, (617) 638-8490, gina.orlando@bmc.org

(Boston) – Robert J. Nicoletta, MD has joined Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) as an orthopaedic surgeon and assistant professor and co-director of sports medicine in the department of orthopaedic surgery. Nicoletta will see patients at both the Shapiro Ambulatory Care Center at BMC and the Ryan Center for Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at Boston University starting August 1.

Nicoletta is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with specialty training in the field of sports medicine. His clinical interests include arthroscopic procedures of the knee and shoulder including anatomic and double bundle ACL reconstruction, cartilage injuries in the knee and shoulder rotator cuff injuries and instability.

Team physician for numerous local high schools, collegiate and professional athletic teams, Nicoletta most recently served as a team physician at Boston College, the Boston Cannons Men’s Professional Lacrosse team and the Boston Breakers Women’s Professional Soccer team. Before coming to Boston University Medical Campus, Nicoletta served as chief of orthopaedic surgery and sports medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center.

Recently named to the national List of 65 Outstanding Shoulder Surgeons and Specialists by Becker’s Orthopedic and Spine Review, Nicoletta completed a fellowship in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at BMC after earning his medical degree from Syracuse University.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Study finds non-disclosure of HIV Serostatus common among India female sex workers

July 23rd, 2012 in News Releases 0 comments

Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) – Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) in partnership with Indian researchers and HIV positive networks groups, have found that in India, non-disclosure of HIV serostatus to sex partners among both HIV-infected female sex workers (FSWs) and HIV-infected clients of FSWs is exceedingly common. These findings currently appear online in the journal AIDS and Behavior.

No previous studies in India specifically, and few internationally, have assessed FSWs’ and male clients’ disclosure of HIV status to sex partners. Disclosure of HIV serostatus to sex partners is viewed as a social and legal responsibility for HIV-infected individuals, particularly in the absence of condom use. In many developing countries, high prevalence of non-disclosure, ranging from 17 to 86 percent, is considered to be an important factor promoting transmission of HIV to sex partners. Disclosure to sex partners, on average, occurs less in developing countries than in the developed world (49 vs. 79 percent respectively).

Results were based on surveys conducted with HIV-infected FSW and infected male clients regarding HIV knowledge, awareness of sex partners’ HIV serostatus, alcohol use, transactional sex involvement, post-HIV diagnosis and non-disclosure of HIV serostatus. Non-disclosure of one’s serostatus to all sex partners was reported by almost three-fifths of females and two-fifths of males according to the researchers. Predictors of non-disclosure included lack of correct knowledge about HIV and no knowledge of sex partners’ HIV serostatus. Among females, recent alcohol consumption also predicted non-disclosure. Among males, having ten (or more) paid sexual partners in the year following HIV diagnosis predicted non-disclosure.

“Disclosure is a complex decision for HIV- infected persons in India as in many other countries in the world and it may be influenced by a fear of losing clients or sex in paid or unpaid relationships,” explained lead author Niranjan Saggurti, PhD, Co-Investigator of Alcohol Use and Sexual Risk in HIV-Infected Persons with Transactional Sex study at BUSM.

Saggurti believes that HIV prevention programs in India that seek to increase disclosure of HIV serostatus to sex partners may benefit from several factors including improving basic HIV knowledge, reducing alcohol consumption, reducing the number of different sex partners and seeking knowledge about the serostatus of one’s partner as a means to increase disclosure of HIV serostatus to sex partners.

This study was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

 

Tagged , , ,

BUSM Researchers Identify Role of FOXO1 Gene in Parkinson’s Disease

July 2nd, 2012 in News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Contact: Jenny Eriksen Leary, 617-638-6841, jenny.eriksen@bmc.org

(Boston) – A recent study led by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) revealed that the FOXO1 gene may play an important role in the pathological mechanisms of Parkinson’s disease. These findings are published online in PLoS Genetics, a peer-reviewed open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science

The study was led by Alexandra Dumitriu, PhD, a postdoctoral associate in the department of neurology at BUSM. Richard Myers, PhD, professor of neurology at BUSM, is the study’s senior author.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year and approximately one million Americans are currently living with the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a complex neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a buildup of proteins in nerve cells that lead to their inability to communicate with one another, causing motor function issues, including tremors and slowness in movement, as well as dementia. The substantia nigra is an area of the midbrain that helps control movement, and previous research has shown that this area of the brain loses neurons as Parkinson’s disease progresses.

The researchers analyzed gene expression differences in brain tissue between 27 samples with known Parkinson’s disease and 26 samples from neurologically healthy controls. This data set represents the largest number of brain samples used in a whole-genome expression study of Parkinson’s disease to date. The novel aspect of this study is represented by the researchers’ emphasis on removing possible sources of variation by minimizing the differences among samples. They used only male brain tissue samples that showed no significant marks of Alzheimer’s disease pathology, one of the frequently co-occurring neurological diseases in Parkinson’s disease patients. The samples also had similar tissue quality and were from the brain’s prefrontal cortex, one of the less studied areas for the disease. The prefrontal cortex does not show neuronal death to the same extent as the substantia nigra, although it displays molecular and pathological modifications during the disease process, while also being responsible for the dementia present in a large proportion of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Results of the expression experiment showed that the gene FOXO1 had increased expression in the brain tissue samples with known Parkinson’s disease. FOXO1 is a transcriptional regulator that can modify the expression of other genes. Further examination of the FOXO1 gene showed that two single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), or DNA sequence variations, were significantly associated with age at onset of Parkinson’s disease.

“Our hypothesis is that FOXO1 acts in a protective manner by activating genes and pathways that fight the neurodegeneration processes,” said Dumitriu. “If this is correct, there could be potential to explore FOXO1 as a therapeutic drug target for Parkinson’s disease.”

Research reported in this publication was supported in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke under award number 1R01NS076843-01, the Cogan Family Foundation, the Robert P. & Judith N. Goldberg Foundation and the William N. and Bernice E. Bumpus Foundation.

Tagged , , ,

Researchers find alcohol plays no role in disclosing HIV status among Russians

June 11th, 2012 in Health & Medicine, News Releases, School of Medicine 0 comments

Contact: Gina DiGravio, 617-638-8480, gina.digravio@bmc.org

(Boston) — Disclosure of HIV positive serostatus to sexual partners is considered an important public health goal to prevent new infections. Disclosure can motivate sex partners to make informed choices and change behavior through negotiation of safer sex practices. It might also prompt partner testing and counseling.

A team of Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers in cooperation with Pavlov State University investigated nondisclosure of HIV infection in a cohort of 700 people living with HIV in St. Petersburg, Russia. In Russia, an HIV epidemic is currently growing at explosive rates, particularly among injection drug users. Russians are also worldwide leaders in alcohol consumption, which has led to a national health crisis, adds further to health problems and potentially facilitates the spread of HIV.

The BUSM and Pavlov team found that approximately half (52.4 percent) of all participants surveyed reported not having disclosed their HIV serostatus to all partners since they had known of their infection. The study findings, which currently appear on-line in the journal AIDS Behavior, suggest that alcohol seems to play no major role in the decision to disclose or not. However, those in a relationship with a casual partner, an HIV negative partner, or with multiple sex partners were less likely to disclose.

“We now know that nondisclosure of HIV status to sex partners is still very common in Russia and that risky alcohol use is also very common however we were there we were unable to detect an association between any alcohol use and the outcome of recent nondisclosure,” explained lead author Karsten Lunze, MD, a fellow in the Clinical Addiction Research & Education Unit at BUSM.

According to the authors these results emphasize that Russian health care providers should find out whether their patients have casual, HIV negative, or multiple sex partners, and particularly counsel and encourage those patients to disclose their HIV diagnosis to help prevent a further spread of the dramatic HIV epidemic in Russia.

Tagged ,