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Blood Harmane Concentrations in 497 Individuals Relative to Coffee, Cigarettes, and Food Consumption on the Morning of Testing
Elan D. Louis,Pam Factor-Litvak,Marina Gerbin,Wendy Jiang,Wei Zheng
Journal of Toxicology , 2011, DOI: 10.1155/2011/628151
Abstract: Harmane, a potent neurotoxin linked with several neurological disorders, is present in many foods, coffee, and cigarettes. We assessed whether morning food/coffee consumption and smoking were reflected in blood harmane concentrations (BHCs) we obtained in an epidemiologic sample ( ). Participants who smoked on the morning of phlebotomy had similar logBHCs to those who had not smoked ( ); there was no correlation between logBHCs and number of cigarettes ( ). Among the coffee drinkers, there was no correlation between number of cups and logBHCs ( ). Participants who had eaten on the morning of phlebotomy had similar logBHCs to those who had not ( ); logBHCs did not correlate with the time latency between last food consumption and phlebotomy ( ). BHCs in this sample of ~500 individuals did not covary with recent smoking, coffee, or food consumption, suggesting that our inability to withhold these exposures on the morning of phlebotomy was not reflected in the BHCs we measured. 1. Introduction Harmane (1-methyl-9H-pyrido[3,4-β]indole) is a potent neurotoxin that has been linked with several neurological outcomes [1, 2]. Although it is produced endogenously by the body, harmane is also present in many foods (esp. meats but also plant-derived foods) [3]. Studies have shown that harmane concentrations are particularly high in certain commonly consumed beverages (esp. coffee) [3–6] as well as cigarettes [3, 5, 7]. Coffee consumption and smoking are widespread and common human behaviors. Smoking [8] and food ingestion [9] have been shown to result in transient elevations in BHCs. After smoking, blood harmane levels rise rapidly and seem to return to baseline within one hour, although the number of tested human volunteers has been small [8]. After oral dosing (harmane dissolved in corn oil), blood harmane levels in rats peaked rapidly (in approximately 30 minutes) and then gradually returned to baseline within 3–5 hours [9]. Studies of harmane and its relation to neurological outcomes (essential tremor [ET] and Parkinson’s disease) often involve work with frail and elderly study subjects for whom fasting on the morning of testing is not feasible, especially as many of these patients must also take prescription medications (often accompanied with food). It is also difficult to ask smokers to refrain, and their attempts to do so can transiently exacerbate their tremor, confounding the accurate assessment of tremor severity. Given these limitations, it is important to know whether food consumption, coffee consumption, and/or smoking on the morning of phlebotomy are
Influence of Prenatal Arsenic Exposure and Newborn Sex on Global Methylation of Cord Blood DNA
J. Richard Pilsner, Megan N. Hall, Xinhua Liu, Vesna Ilievski, Vesna Slavkovich, Diane Levy, Pam Factor-Litvak, Mahammad Yunus, Mahfuzar Rahman, Joseph H. Graziano, Mary V. Gamble
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037147
Abstract: Background An emerging body of evidence indicates that early-life arsenic (As) exposure may influence the trajectory of health outcomes later in life. However, the mechanisms underlying these observations are unknown. Objective The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of prenatal As exposure on global methylation of cord blood DNA in a study of mother/newborn pairs in Matlab, Bangladesh. Design Maternal and cord blood DNA were available from a convenience sample of 101 mother/newborn pairs. Measures of As exposure included maternal urinary As (uAs), maternal blood As (mbAs) and cord blood As (cbAs). Several measures of global DNA methylation were assessed, including the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay and three Pyrosequencing assays: Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA. Results In the total sample, increasing quartiles of maternal uAs were associated with an increase in covariate-adjusted means of newborn global DNA methylation as measured by the [3H]-methyl-incorporation assay (quartile 1 (Q1) and Q2 vs. Q4; p = 0.06 and 0.04, respectively). Sex-specific linear regression analyses, while not reaching significance level of 0.05, indicated that the associations between As exposures and Alu, LINE-1 and LUMA were positive among male newborns (N = 58) but negative among female newborns (N = 43); tests for sex differences were borderline significant for the association of cbAs and mbAs with Alu (p = 0.05 and 0.09, respectively) and for the association between maternal uAs and LINE-1 (p = 0.07). Sex-specific correlations between maternal urinary creatinine and newborn methyl-incorporation, Alu and LINE-1 were also evident (p<0.05). Conclusions These results suggest that prenatal As exposure is associated with global DNA methylation in cord blood DNA, possibly in a sex-specific manner. Arsenic-induced epigenetic modifications in utero may potentially influence disease outcomes later in life. Additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and to examine the persistence of DNA methylation marks over time.
A cluster-based randomized controlled trial promoting community participation in arsenic mitigation efforts in Bangladesh
Christine George, Alexander van Geen, Vesna Slavkovich, Ashit Singha, Diane Levy, Tariqul Islam, Kazi Ahmed, Joyce Moon-Howard, Alessandro Tarozzi, Xinhua Liu, Pam Factor-Litvak, Joseph Graziano
Environmental Health , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1476-069x-11-41
Abstract: We conducted a cluster based randomized controlled trial of 20 villages in Singair, Bangladesh. Fifty eligible respondents were randomly selected in each village. In 10 villages, a community member provided As education and WAs testing. In a second set of 10 villages an outside representative performed these tasks.Overall, 53% of respondents using As contaminated wells, relative to the Bangladesh As standard of 50?μg/L, at baseline switched after receiving the intervention. Further, when there was less than 60% arsenic contaminated wells in a village, the classification used by the Bangladeshi and UNICEF, 74% of study households in the community tester villages, and 72% of households in the outside tester villages reported switching to an As safe drinking water source . Switching was more common in the outside-tester (63%) versus community-tester villages (44%). However, after adjusting for the availability of arsenic safe drinking water sources, well switching did not differ significantly by type of As tester (Odds ratio =0.86[95% confidence interval 0.42-1.77). At follow-up, among those using As contaminated wells who switched to safe wells, average urinary As concentrations significantly decreased.The overall intervention was effective in reducing As exposure provided there were As-safe drinking water sources available. However, there was not a significant difference observed in the ability of the community and outside testers to encourage study households to use As-safe water sources. The findings of this study suggest that As education and WAs testing programs provided by As testers, irrespective of their residence, could be used as an effective, low cost approach to reduce As exposure in many As-affected areas of Bangladesh.Exposure to elevated levels of inorganic arsenic (As) is associated with cancers of the skin, bladder, and lung [1-3], developmental effects [4,5], cardiovascular disease [6,7], and skin lesions [8,9]. Chronic As exposure is also associated
Prenatal polychlorinated biphenyl exposure is associated with decreased gestational length but not birth weight: archived samples from the Child Health and Development Studies pregnancy cohort
Katrina L Kezios, Xinhua Liu, Piera M Cirillio, Olga I Kalantzi, Yunzhu Wang, Myrto X Petreas, June-Soo Park, Gary Bradwin, Barbara A Cohn, Pam Factor-Litvak
Environmental Health , 2012, DOI: 10.1186/1476-069x-11-49
Abstract: In a sample of 600 infants (born between 1960 and 1963) randomly selected from Child Health and Development Studies participants followed through adolescence we measured 11 PCB congeners in maternal post partum sera (within three days of delivery). Length of gestation was computed from the reported first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) and delivery date. Linear regression was used to estimate associations between PCB exposure and gestational age and birth weight, adjusting for potential confounders. PCBs were grouped according to hypothesized biological action (1b (sum of weak phenobarbital inducers), 2b (sum of limited dioxin activity), and 3 (sum of CYP1A and CYP2b inducers)) or degree of ortho- substitution (mono, di, tri). Secondary analyses examined associations between total PCB exposure and exposure to individual congeners.Each unit increase in mono-ortho substituted PCBs was associated with a 0.30?week decrease (95% confidence interval (CI) -0.59, -0.016), corresponding to a 2.1 (95% CI ?4.13, -0.11) day decrease in length of gestation. Similar associations were estimated for di-ortho substituted PCBs, (1.4?day decrease; (95% CI ?2.9, 0.1)) and group 3 PCBs (0.84?day decrease; (95% CI ?1.8, 0.11). We found similar associations in congener specific analyses and for the sum of congeners.Our study provides new evidence that PCB exposure shortens length of gestation in humans. This may have public health implications for population exposures.Despite their ban in 1979, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) remain ubiquitous environmental contaminants due to their chemical stability and lipophilic properties. PCBs are biphenyls with one to ten chlorine atoms; the degree of chlorination determines the stability and lipophilicity of any particular PCB congener. This structure also results in stereochemical resemblance to steroid hormones. In animal and human studies, PCBs cross the blood-placenta barrier [1,2]. Fetal exposure to PCBs may result in adverse pregnanc
Revista chilena de pediatría , 1959,
On measuring linguistic intelligence
Maxim Litvak
Computer Science , 2015,
Abstract: This work addresses the problem of measuring how many languages a person "effectively" speaks given that some of the languages are close to each other. In other words, to assign a meaningful number to her language portfolio. Intuition says that someone who speaks fluently Spanish and Portuguese is linguistically less proficient compared to someone who speaks fluently Spanish and Chinese since it takes more effort for a native Spanish speaker to learn Chinese than Portuguese. As the number of languages grows and their proficiency levels vary, it gets even more complicated to assign a score to a language portfolio. In this article we propose such a measure ("linguistic quotient" - LQ) that can account for these effects. We define the properties that such a measure should have. They are based on the idea of coherent risk measures from the mathematical finance. Having laid down the foundation, we propose one such a measure together with the algorithm that works on languages classification tree as input. The algorithm together with the input is available online at lingvometer.com
Using the Ages and Stages Questionnaire to teach medical students developmental assessment: a descriptive analysis
Pam Nicol
BMC Medical Education , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1472-6920-6-29
Abstract: To evaluate the program, an interpretative analysis was completed on the students' reports written during the program and a questionnaire was administered to the parents to gain their perception of the experience. As well, student confidence levels in assessing growth and development were measured at the end of the paediatric term.Although there was an increase in student confidence in developmental assessment at the end of the term, it was not statistically significant. However the findings indicated that students gained increased understanding of the process and enhanced recognition of the parental role, and the study suggested there was increased confidence in some students. Parents indicated that they thought they should be involved in the teaching of students.The ASQ was shown to have been useful in an education program at the level of advanced beginners in developmental assessment.Developmental assessment is a core learning outcome for paediatric and child health students, so when a survey of medical graduates' skills identified a lack of confidence in this area, a program was developed with the aims of increasing both confidence and respect for the parental role. This study evaluates that program.Paediatric and child health practitioners advocate a family-centred care model that requires practitioners to have good interpersonal skills, to have respect for parental judgement and to be flexible in their role [1]. As well, collaborative patient-centred practice is emerging as a framework for interdisciplinary education [2]. For these frameworks to be successful, interpersonal competence, which includes an appreciation of the skill and uniqueness of all individuals involved, is required [3]. The development of these attitudinal and communication attributes in health care practitioners is one of the challenges for health educators interested in family-centred practice.Medical student attitudes are important because they are viewed as a mediating link between clini
Ocular Tumours in Childhood
V. Pam
Nigerian Journal of Surgical Research , 2001,
Abstract: (Nig J Surg Res 2001; 3:1-5)
A Review of 'Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present' edited by Sue V. Rosser
Pam Stello
International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology , 2010,
Thinking globally, acting locally: Women activists’ accounts
Alldred Pam
Temida , 2003, DOI: 10.2298/tem0304023a
Abstract: This paper intends to describe the range of forms women’s resistance to globalisation takes, emphasising diverse strategies from everyday acts, the development of practical alternative resources, organising in women’s groups or trades unions, mass demonstrations and symbolic defiance. Recognising that it is the women of the South, in particular, who bear the brunt of the impact of neoliberal ‘free market’ economic policies, it hoped to be sensitive to the struggles for survival that might frame the urgency of resistance amongst women of the South, and make links with some of the strategies of activist women in the more privileged North.
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