The University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science (UMCCTS) was founded in 2006 to enhance clinical and translational research across the five University of Massachusetts campuses and our clinical partners, UMass Memorial Health Care and Baystate Medical Center. The UMCCTS is part of the Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) program, funded by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant # UL1-TR001453) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This collection showcases publications that are the result of UMCCTS supported research.

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Recently Published

  • COVID-19: a gray swan's impact on the adoption of novel medical technologies

    Dunlap, Denise; Santos, Roberto S.; Lilly, Craig M.; Teebagy, Sean; Hafer, Nathaniel S.; Buchholz, Bryan O.; McManus, David D. (2022-07-08)
    The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique context and opportunity to investigate changes in healthcare professional perceptions towards the adoption of novel medical technologies, such as point-of-care technologies (POCTs). POCTs are a nascent technology that has experienced rapid growth as a result of COVID-19 due to their ability to increase healthcare accessibility via near-patient delivery, including at-home. We surveyed healthcare professionals before and during COVID-19 to explore whether the pandemic altered their perceptions about the usefulness of POCTs. Our network analysis method provided a structure for understanding this changing phenomenon. We uncovered that POCTs are not only useful for diagnosing COVID-19, but healthcare professionals also perceive them as increasingly important for diagnosing other diseases, such as cardiovascular, endocrine, respiratory, and metabolic diseases. Healthcare professionals also viewed POCTs as facilitating the humanization of epidemiology by improving disease management/monitoring and strengthening the clinician-patient relationship. As the accuracy and integration of these technologies into mainstream healthcare delivery improves, hurdles to their adoption dissipate, thereby encouraging healthcare professionals to rely upon them more frequently to diagnose, manage, and monitor diseases. The technological advances made in POCTs during COVID-19, combined with shifting positive perceptions of their utility by healthcare professionals, may better prepare us for the next pandemic.
  • Design and Preliminary Findings of Adherence to the Self-Testing for Our Protection From COVID-19 (STOP COVID-19) Risk-Based Testing Protocol: Prospective Digital Study

    Herbert, Carly; Broach, John P.; Gerber, Ben S.; Fahey, Nisha; Orvek, Elizabeth Aaker; Lazar, Peter; Ferranto, Julia M.; Noorishirazi, Kamran; Valpady, Shivakumar; Shi, Qiming; et al. (2022-06-16)
    BACKGROUND: Serial testing for SARS-CoV-2 is recommended to reduce spread of the virus; however, little is known about adherence to recommended testing schedules and reporting practices to health departments. OBJECTIVE: The Self-Testing for Our Protection from COVID-19 (STOP COVID-19) study aims to examine adherence to a risk-based COVID-19 testing strategy using rapid antigen tests and reporting of test results to health departments. METHODS: STOP COVID-19 is a 12-week digital study, facilitated using a smartphone app for testing assistance and reporting. We are recruiting 20,000 participants throughout the United States. Participants are stratified into high- and low-risk groups based on history of COVID-19 infection and vaccination status. High-risk participants are instructed to perform twice-weekly testing for COVID-19 using rapid antigen tests, while low-risk participants test only in the case of symptoms or exposure to COVID-19. All participants complete COVID-19 surveillance surveys, and rapid antigen results are recorded within the smartphone app. Primary outcomes include participant adherence to a risk-based serial testing protocol and percentage of rapid tests reported to health departments. RESULTS: As of February 2022, 3496 participants have enrolled, including 1083 high-risk participants. Out of 13,730 tests completed, participants have reported 13,480 (98.18%, 95% CI 97.9%-98.4%) results to state public health departments with full personal identifying information or anonymously. Among 622 high-risk participants who finished the study period, 35.9% showed high adherence to the study testing protocol. Participants with high adherence reported a higher percentage of test results to the state health department with full identifying information than those in the moderate- or low-adherence groups (high: 71.7%, 95% CI 70.3%-73.1%; moderate: 68.3%, 95% CI 66.0%-70.5%; low: 63.1%, 59.5%-66.6%). CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results from the STOP COVID-19 study provide important insights into rapid antigen test reporting and usage, and can thus inform the use of rapid testing interventions for COVID-19 surveillance.
  • Novel Framework for Measuring Whole Knee Osteoarthritis Progression Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Driban, Jeffrey B.; Price, Lori Lyn; LaValley, Michael P.; Lo, Grace H.; Zhang, Ming; Harkey, Matthew S.; Canavatchel, Amanda; McAlindon, Timothy E. (2022-05-01)
    OBJECTIVE: We developed and validated a set of composite scores that combine quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based measurements of hyaline cartilage damage, bone marrow lesions (BMLs), and effusion-synovitis into composite scores. METHODS: We selected 300 participants (n = 100 for development cohort; n = 200 for validation cohort) from the Osteoarthritis Initiative with complete clinical, radiographic, and MRI data at baseline and 24 months. We used semiautomated programs to quantify tibiofemoral and patellar cartilage damage, BML volume, and whole-knee effusion-synovitis volume. The candidate composite scores were formed by summing changes from baseline to 24 months based on prespecified methods. We evaluated the candidate composite scores for 1) the ability to differentiate groups with and without knee osteoarthritis progression (17 radiographic and patient-reported definitions), 2) sensitivity to change (standardized response means), and 3) relative performance relating to legacy outcome measures of knee osteoarthritis progression. RESULTS: Three of 13 developed composite scores qualified for testing in the validation cohort (ranked by sensitivity to change): whole-knee cumulative cartilage damage, unweighted total knee score, and BML plus effusion-synovitis volume. Change in cumulative cartilage damage associated with radiographic progression (Kellgren/Lawrence grade: odds ratio [OR] 1.84; joint space width progression: OR 2.11). Changes in the unweighted total knee score (OR 1.97) and BML plus effusion-synovitis score (OR 1.92) associated with Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index knee pain progression. CONCLUSION: Two composite scores emerged, reflecting discrete domains of knee osteoarthritis progression. First, cumulative damage, which is measured by a whole-knee cartilage damage score, reflects the damage accrued over time. Second, dynamic disease activity, which is measured by a BML plus effusion-synovitis score, relates to changes in a patient's state of disease and symptoms.
  • Association of trends in child undernutrition and implementation of the National Rural Health Mission in India: A nationally representative serial cross-sectional study on data from 1992 to 2015

    Soni, Apurv; Fahey, Nisha; Bhutta, Zulfiqar; Li, Wenjun; Moore Simas, Tiffany A.; Nimbalkar, Somashekhar; Allison, Jeroan J. (2022-04-08)
    BACKGROUND: India launched the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) in 2005 to strengthen its primary healthcare system in high-focus and northeast-focus states. One of the NRHM objectives was to reduce child undernutrition in India. METHODS AND FINDINGS: We used data from 1992, 1998, 2005, and 2015 National Family Health Survey (NFHS) of India to evaluate trends in child undernutrition prevalence before and after NRHM and across different categories of focus states. Stunting, Wasting, and Comprehensive Index of Anthropometric Failure (CIAF) were assessed using the World Health Organization (WHO) growth curves to assess chronic, acute, and overall undernutrition. The study included 187,452 children aged 3 years or under. Survey-weighted and confounder-adjusted average annualized reduction rates (AARRs) and predicted probability ratios were used to assess trends and socioeconomic disparities for child undernutrition, respectively. Nationwide, the prevalence of all types of undernutrition decreased from 1992 to 2015. However, the trends varied before and after NRHM implementation and differentially by focus states. After NRHM, acute undernutrition declined more rapidly among high-focus states (AARR 1.0%) but increased in normal-focus states (AARR -1.9% per year; p-value for the difference < 0.001). In contrast, the prevalence of chronic undernutrition declined more rapidly (AARR 1.6%) in the normal-focus states in comparison to high-focus states (0.3%; p-value for the difference = 0.01). Income and caste-based disparities in acute undernutrition decreased but did not disappear after the implementation of the NRHM. However, similar disparities in prevalence of chronic undernutrition appear to be exacerbated after the implementation of the NRHM. Major limitations of this study include the observational and cross-sectional design, which preclude our ability to draw causal inferences. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggests that NRHM implementation might be associated with improvement in wasting (acute) rather than stunting (chronic) forms of undernutrition. Strategies to combat undernutrition equitably, especially in high-focus states, are needed.
  • Risk and Outcome of Breakthrough COVID-19 Infections in Vaccinated Patients With Cancer: Real-World Evidence From the National COVID Cohort Collaborative

    Song, Qianqian; Bates, Benjamin; Shao, Yu Raymond; Hsu, Fang-Chi; Liu, Feifan; Madhira, Vithal; Mitra, Amit Kumar; Bergquist, Timothy; Kavuluru, Ramakanth; Li, Xiaochun; et al. (2022-03-14)
    PURPOSE: To provide real-world evidence on risks and outcomes of breakthrough COVID-19 infections in vaccinated patients with cancer using the largest national cohort of COVID-19 cases and controls. METHODS: We used the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) to identify breakthrough infections between December 1, 2020, and May 31, 2021. We included patients partially or fully vaccinated with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines with no prior SARS-CoV-2 infection record. Risks for breakthrough infection and severe outcomes were analyzed using logistic regression. RESULTS: A total of 6,860 breakthrough cases were identified within the N3C-vaccinated population, among whom 1,460 (21.3%) were patients with cancer. Solid tumors and hematologic malignancies had significantly higher risks for breakthrough infection (odds ratios [ORs] = 1.12, 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.23 and 4.64, 95% CI, 3.98 to 5.38) and severe outcomes (ORs = 1.33, 95% CI, 1.09 to 1.62 and 1.45, 95% CI, 1.08 to 1.95) compared with noncancer patients, adjusting for age, sex, race/ethnicity, smoking status, vaccine type, and vaccination date. Compared with solid tumors, hematologic malignancies were at increased risk for breakthrough infections (adjusted OR ranged from 2.07 for lymphoma to 7.25 for lymphoid leukemia). Breakthrough risk was reduced after the second vaccine dose for all cancers (OR = 0.04; 95% CI, 0.04 to 0.05), and for Moderna's mRNA-1273 compared with Pfizer's BNT162b2 vaccine (OR = 0.66; 95% CI, 0.62 to 0.70), particularly in patients with multiple myeloma (OR = 0.35; 95% CI, 0.15 to 0.72). Medications with major immunosuppressive effects and bone marrow transplantation were strongly associated with breakthrough risk among the vaccinated population. CONCLUSION: Real-world evidence shows that patients with cancer, especially hematologic malignancies, are at higher risk for developing breakthrough infections and severe outcomes. Patients with vaccination were at markedly decreased risk for breakthrough infections. Further work is needed to assess boosters and new SARS-CoV-2 variants.
  • Comparison of Rapid Antigen Tests' Performance between Delta (B.1.61.7; AY.X) and Omicron (B.1.1.529; BA1) Variants of SARS-CoV-2: Secondary Analysis from a Serial Home Self-Testing Study [preprint]

    Soni, Apurv; Herbert, Carly; Filippaios, Andreas; Broach, John P.; Colubri, Andres; Fahey, Nisha; Woods, Kelsey; Nanavati, Janvi; Wright, Colton; Orwig, Taylor; et al. (2022-03-02)
    Background: There is a need to understand the performance of rapid antigen tests (Ag-RDT) for detection of the Delta (B.1.61.7; AY.X) and Omicron (B.1.1.529; BA1) SARS-CoV-2 variants. Methods: Participants without any symptoms were enrolled from October 18, 2021 to January 24, 2022 and performed Ag-RDT and RT-PCR tests every 48 hours for 15 days. This study represents a non-pre-specified analysis in which we sought to determine if sensitivity of Ag-RDT differed in participants with Delta compared to Omicron variant. Participants who were positive on RT-PCR on the first day of the testing period were excluded. Delta and Omicron variants were defined based on sequencing and date of first RT-PCR positive result (RT-PCR+). Comparison of Ag-RDT performance between the variants was based on sensitivity, defined as proportion of participants with Ag-RDT+ results in relation to their first RT-PCR+ result, for different duration of testing with rapid Ag-RDT. Subsample analysis was performed based on the result of participants' second RT-PCR test within 48 hours of the first RT-PCR+ test. Results: From the 7,349 participants enrolled in the parent study, 5,506 met the eligibility criteria for this analysis. A total of 153 participants were RT-PCR+ (61 Delta, 92 Omicron); among this group, 36 (23.5%) tested Ag-RDT+ on the same day, and 84 (54.9%) tested Ag-RDT+ within 48 hours as first RT-PCR+. The differences in sensitivity between variants were not statistically significant (same-day: Delta 16.4% [95% CI: 8.2-28.1] vs Omicron 28.2% [95% CI: 19.4-38.6]; and 48-hours: Delta 45.9% [33.1-59.2] vs. Omicron 60.9% [50.1-70.9]). This trend continued among the 86 participants who had consecutive RT-PCR+ result (48-hour sensitivity: Delta 79.3% [60.3-92.1] vs. Omicron: 89.5% [78.5-96.0]). Conversely, the 38 participants who had an isolated RT-PCR+ remained consistently negative on Ag-RDT, regardless of the variant. Conclusions: The performance of Ag-RDT is not inferior among individuals infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant as compared to the Delta variant. The improvement in sensitivity of Ag-RDT noted with serial testing is consistent between Delta and Omicron variant. Performance of Ag-RDT varies based on duration of RT-PCR+ results and more studies are needed to understand the clinical and public health significance of individuals who are RT-PCR+ for less than 48 hours.
  • Cannabidiol inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication through induction of the host ER stress and innate immune responses

    Nguyen, Long Chi; Yang, Dongbo; Nicolaescu, Vlad; Best, Thomas J.; Randall, Glenn; Rosner, Marsha Rich; National COVID Cohort Collaborative Consortium (2022-02-25)
    The spread of SARS-CoV-2 and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for new treatments. Here we report that cannabidiol (CBD) inhibits infection of SARS-CoV-2 in cells and mice. CBD and its metabolite 7-OH-CBD, but not THC or other congeneric cannabinoids tested, potently block SARS-CoV-2 replication in lung epithelial cells. CBD acts after viral entry, inhibiting viral gene expression and reversing many effects of SARS-CoV-2 on host gene transcription. CBD inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in part by up-regulating the host IRE1alpha RNase endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and interferon signaling pathways. In matched groups of human patients from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative, CBD (100 mg/ml oral solution per medical records) had a significant negative association with positive SARS-CoV-2 tests. This study highlights CBD as a potential preventative agent for early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infection and merits future clinical trials. We caution against use of non-medical formulations including edibles, inhalants or topicals as a preventative or treatment therapy at the present time.
  • Glycemic Control and Clinical Outcomes in U.S. Patients With COVID-19: Data From the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Database

    Wong, Rachel; Hall, Margaret; Vaddavalli, Rohith; Anand, Adit; Arora, Neha; Bramante, Carolyn T.; Garcia, Victor; Johnson, Steven; Saltz, Mary; Tronieri, Jena S.; et al. (2022-02-24)
    OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the study is to evaluate the relationship between HbA1c and severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) with acute COVID-19 infection. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study using observational data from the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C), a longitudinal, multicenter U.S. cohort of patients with COVID-19 infection. Patients were > /=18 years old with T2D and confirmed COVID-19 infection by laboratory testing or diagnosis code. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality following the date of COVID-19 diagnosis. Secondary outcomes included need for invasive ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), hospitalization within 7 days before or 30 days after COVID-19 diagnosis, and length of stay (LOS) for patients who were hospitalized. RESULTS: The study included 39,616 patients (50.9% female, 55.4% White, 26.4% Black or African American, and 16.1% Hispanic or Latino, with mean +/- SD age 62.1 +/- 13.9 years and mean +/- SD HbA1c 7.6% +/- 2.0). There was an increasing risk of hospitalization with incrementally higher HbA1c levels, but risk of death plateaued at HbA1c > 8%, and risk of invasive ventilation or ECMO plateaued >9%. There was no significant difference in LOS across HbA1c levels. CONCLUSIONS: In a large, multicenter cohort of patients in the U.S. with T2D and COVID-19 infection, risk of hospitalization increased with incrementally higher HbA1c levels. Risk of death and invasive ventilation also increased but plateaued at different levels of glycemic control.
  • Variability of Prognostic Communication in Critically Ill Neurologic Patients: A Pilot Multicenter Mixed-Methods Study

    Ge, Connie; Goss, Adeline L.; Crawford, Sybil L.; Goostrey, Kelsey; Buddadhumaruk, Praewpannarai; Shields, Anne-Marie; Hough, Catherine L.; Lo, Bernard; Carson, Shannon S.; Steingrub, Jay; et al. (2022-02-21)
    IMPORTANCE: Withdrawal-of-life-sustaining treatments (WOLST) rates vary widely among critically ill neurologic patients (CINPs) and cannot be solely attributed to patient and family characteristics. Research in general critical care has shown that clinicians prognosticate to families with high variability. Little is known about how clinicians disclose prognosis to families of CINPs, and whether any associations exist with WOLST. OBJECTIVES: Primary: to demonstrate feasibility of audio-recording clinician-family meetings for CINPs at multiple centers and characterize how clinicians communicate prognosis during these meetings. Secondary: to explore associations of 1) clinician, family, or patient characteristics with clinicians' prognostication approaches and 2) prognostication approach and WOLST. DESIGN SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Forty-three audio-recorded clinician-family meetings during which prognosis was discussed from seven U.S. centers for 39 CINPs with 88 family members and 27 clinicians. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Two investigators qualitatively coded transcripts using inductive methods (inter-rater reliability > 80%) to characterize how clinicians prognosticate. We then applied univariate and multivariable multinomial and binomial logistic regression. RESULTS: Clinicians used four distinct prognostication approaches: Authoritative (21%; recommending treatments without discussing values and preferences); Informational (23%; disclosing just the prognosis without further discussions); advisory (42%; disclosing prognosis followed by discussion of values and preferences); and responsive (14%; eliciting values and preferences, then disclosing prognosis). Before adjustment, prognostication approach was associated with center (p < 0.001), clinician specialty (neurointensivists vs non-neurointensivists; p = 0.001), patient age (p = 0.08), diagnosis (p = 0.059), and meeting length (p = 0.03). After adjustment, only clinician specialty independently predicted prognostication approach (p = 0.027). WOLST decisions occurred in 41% of patients and were most common under the advisory approach (56%). WOLST was more likely in older patients (p = 0.059) and with more experienced clinicians (p = 0.07). Prognostication approach was not independently associated with WOLST (p = 0.198). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: It is feasible to audio-record sensitive clinician-family meetings about CINPs in multiple ICUs. We found that clinicians prognosticate with high variability. Our data suggest that larger studies are warranted in CINPs to examine the role of clinicians' variable prognostication in WOLST decisions.
  • Understanding Healthcare Professionals' Perspectives on Point-of-Care Testing

    Teebagy, Sean; Wang, Zi-Yue; Dunlap, Denise; Saleeba, Connor; DiMezza, Danielle; Crain, JoAnn; Lilly, Craig M.; Buchholz, Bryan; McManus, David D.; Hafer, Nathaniel S. (2022-02-19)
    Point-of-care testing (POCT) is an emerging technology that provides crucial assistance in delivering healthcare. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the accelerated importance of POCT technology due to its in-home accessibility. While POCT use and implementation has increased, little research has been published about how healthcare professionals perceive these technologies. The objective of our study was to examine the current perspectives of healthcare professionals towards POCT. We surveyed healthcare professionals to quantify perceptions of POCT usage, adoption, benefits, and concerns between October 2020 and November 2020. Questions regarding POCT perception were assessed on a 5-point Likert Scale. We received a total of 287 survey responses. Of the respondents, 53.7% were male, 66.6% were white, and 30.7% have been in practice for over 20 years. We found that the most supported benefit was POCTs ability to improve patient management (92%) and that the most supported concern was that POCTs lead to over-testing (30%). This study provides a better understanding of healthcare workers' perspectives on POCT. To improve patient outcomes through the usage of POCT, greater research is needed to assess the needs and concerns of industry and healthcare stakeholders.
  • Imaging Net Retrograde Axonal Transport In Vivo: A Physiological Biomarker

    Lee, Pin-Tsun Justin; Kennedy, Zachary C.; Wang, Yuzhen; Lu, Yimeng; Cefaliello, Carolina; Uyan, Ozgun; Song, Chun-Qing; Godinho, Bruno M. D. C.; Xu, Zuoshang; Rusckowski, Mary; et al. (2022-02-17)
    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to develop a novel method for monitoring the integrity of motor neurons in vivo by quantifying net retrograde axonal transport. METHODS: The method uses single photon emission computed tomography to quantify retrograde transport to spinal cord of tetanus toxin fragment C ((125) I-TTC) following intramuscular injection. We characterized the transport profiles in 3 transgenic mouse models carrying amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-associated genes, aging mice, and SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice following CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. Lastly, we studied the effect of prior immunization of tetanus toxoid on the transport profile of TTC. RESULTS: This technique defines a quantitative profile of net retrograde axonal transport of TTC in living mice. The profile is distinctly abnormal in transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice as young as 65 days (presymptomatic) and worsens with disease progression. Moreover, this method detects a distinct therapeutic benefit of gene editing in transgenic SOD1(G93A) mice well before other clinical parameters (eg, grip strength) show improvement. Symptomatic transgenic PFN1(C71G/C71G) ALS mice display gross reductions in net retrograde axonal transport, which is also disturbed in asymptomatic mice harboring a human C9ORF72 transgene with an expanded GGGGCC repeat motif. In wild-type mice, net retrograde axonal transport declines with aging. Lastly, prior immunization with tetanus toxoid does not preclude use of this assay. INTERPRETATION: This assay of net retrograde axonal transport has broad potential clinical applications and should be particularly valuable as a physiological biomarker that permits early detection of benefit from potential therapies for motor neuron diseases.
  • Characteristics, Outcomes, and Severity Risk Factors Associated With SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children in the US National COVID Cohort Collaborative

    Martin, Blake (2022-02-01)
    Importance: Understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection in US children has been limited by the lack of large, multicenter studies with granular data. Objective: To examine the characteristics, changes over time, outcomes, and severity risk factors of children with SARS-CoV-2 within the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C). Design, Setting, and Participants: A prospective cohort study of encounters with end dates before September 24, 2021, was conducted at 56 N3C facilities throughout the US. Participants included children younger than 19 years at initial SARS-CoV-2 testing. Main Outcomes and Measures: Case incidence and severity over time, demographic and comorbidity severity risk factors, vital sign and laboratory trajectories, clinical outcomes, and acute COVID-19 vs multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and Delta vs pre-Delta variant differences for children with SARS-CoV-2. Results: A total of 1068410 children were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 167262 test results (15.6%) were positive (82882 [49.6%] girls; median age, 11.9 [IQR, 6.0-16.1] years). Among the 10245 children (6.1%) who were hospitalized, 1423 (13.9%) met the criteria for severe disease: mechanical ventilation (796 [7.8%]), vasopressor-inotropic support (868 [8.5%]), extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (42 [0.4%]), or death (131 [1.3%]). Male sex (odds ratio [OR], 1.37; 95% CI, 1.21-1.56), Black/African American race (OR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.06-1.47), obesity (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 1.01-1.41), and several pediatric complex chronic condition (PCCC) subcategories were associated with higher severity disease. Vital signs and many laboratory test values from the day of admission were predictive of peak disease severity. Variables associated with increased odds for MIS-C vs acute COVID-19 included male sex (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.33-1.90), Black/African American race (OR, 1.44; 95% CI, 1.17-1.77), younger than 12 years (OR, 1.81; 95% CI, 1.51-2.18), obesity (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.40-2.22), and not having a pediatric complex chronic condition (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.65-0.80). The children with MIS-C had a more inflammatory laboratory profile and severe clinical phenotype, with higher rates of invasive ventilation (117 of 707 [16.5%] vs 514 of 8241 [6.2%]; P < .001) and need for vasoactive-inotropic support (191 of 707 [27.0%] vs 426 of 8241 [5.2%]; P < .001) compared with those who had acute COVID-19. Comparing children during the Delta vs pre-Delta eras, there was no significant change in hospitalization rate (1738 [6.0%] vs 8507 [6.2%]; P = .18) and lower odds for severe disease (179 [10.3%] vs 1242 [14.6%]) (decreased by a factor of 0.67; 95% CI, 0.57-0.79; P < .001). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of US children with SARS-CoV-2, there were observed differences in demographic characteristics, preexisting comorbidities, and initial vital sign and laboratory values between severity subgroups. Taken together, these results suggest that early identification of children likely to progress to severe disease could be achieved using readily available data elements from the day of admission. Further work is needed to translate this knowledge into improved outcomes.
  • Association of Social Determinants of Health With Adherence to Second-generation Antipsychotics for People With Bipolar Disorders in a Medicaid Population

    Li, Nien-Chen; Alcusky, Matthew J.; Masters, Grace A.; Ash, Arlene S. (2022-02-01)
    BACKGROUND: About 7 million people, 2.8% of US adults, have bipolar disorder (BD). While second-generation antipsychotics (SGA) are indicated as acute and maintenance treatments for BD, therapeutic success requires medication adherence and reported nonadherence estimates to range as high as 60%. Identifying patient risk factors for nonadherence is important for reducing it. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to quantify the associations of risk factors, including social determinants of health, with SGA nonadherence among patients with BD. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study of 2015-2017 MassHealth Medicaid data, we examined several definitions of adherence and used logistic regression to identify risk factors for nonadherence (medication possession ratio < 0.8) among all adults aged 18-64 diagnosed with BD who could be followed for 12 months following SGA initiation. RESULTS: Among 5197 patients, the mean (+/-SD) age was 37.7 (+/-11.4) years, and 42.3% were men. Almost half (47.7%) of patients were nonadherent to SGAs when measured by medication possession ratio. The prevalence of nonadherence peaked at middle age for men and younger for women. Nonadherence was less common among Massachusetts' Department of Mental Health clients (odds ratio=0.60, 95% confidence limit: 0.48-0.74) and among those who used other psychotropic medications (odds ratios between 0.45 and 0.81); in contrast, increase in neighborhood socioeconomic stress was associated with increased odds of nonadherence. CONCLUSIONS/IMPLICATIONS: Adherence to SGA treatment is suboptimal among people with BD. Recognizing risk factors, including those related to social determinants of health, can help target interventions to improve adherence for people at high risk and has implications for adherence-based quality measures.
  • Caregiver-perceived neighborhood safety and pediatric asthma severity: 2017-2018 National Survey of Children's Health

    Hoque, Shushmita; Goulding, Melissa; Hazeltine, Max D.; Ferrucci, Katarina A.; Trivedi, Michelle K.; Liu, Shao-Hsien (2022-02-01)
    OBJECTIVE: To examine the association between caregiver-perceived neighborhood safety and pediatric asthma severity using a cross-sectional, nationally representative sample. STUDY DESIGN: Using data from the 2017-2018 National Survey of Children's Health, children aged 6-17 years with primary caregiver report of a current asthma diagnosis were included (unweighted N = 3209; weighted N = 3,909,178). Perceived neighborhood safety, asthma severity (mild vs. moderate/severe), demographic, household, and health/behavioral covariate data were collected from primary caregiver report. Poisson regression with robust error variance was used to estimate the association between perceived neighborhood safety and caregiver-reported pediatric asthma severity. RESULTS: Approximately one-third of children studied had moderate/severe asthma. A total of 42% of children with mild asthma and 52% of children with moderate/severe asthma identified as Hispanic or non-Hispanic Black. Nearly 20% of children with mild asthma and 40% of children with moderate/severe asthma were from families living below the federal poverty level (FPL). Children living in neighborhoods perceived by their caregiver to be unsafe had higher prevalence of moderate/severe asthma compared to those in the safest neighborhoods (adjusted prevalence ratio: 1.34; 95% confidence interval: 1.04-1.74). This association was found to be independent of race/ethnicity, household FPL, household smoking, and child's physical activity level after adjusting for covariates. CONCLUSIONS: Children living in neighborhoods perceived by their caregiver to be unsafe have higher prevalence of moderate or severe asthma. Further investigation of geographic context and neighborhood characteristics that influence childhood asthma severity may inform public health strategies to reduce asthma burden and improve disease outcomes.
  • Association Between COVID-19 and Mortality in Hip Fracture Surgery in the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C): A Retrospective Cohort Study

    Levitt, Eli B.; Patch, David A.; Mabry, Scott; Terrero, Alfredo; Jaeger, Byron; Haendel, Melissa A.; Chute, Christopher G.; Quade, Jonathan H.; Ponce, Brent; Theiss, Steven; et al. (2022-01-04)
    BACKGROUND: This study investigated the outcomes of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-positive patients undergoing hip fracture surgery using a national database. METHODS: This is a retrospective cohort study comparing hip fracture surgery outcomes between COVID-19 positive and negative matched cohorts from 46 sites in the United States. Patients aged 65 and older with hip fracture surgery between March 15 and December 31, 2020, were included. The main outcomes were 30-day all-cause mortality and all-cause mortality. RESULTS: In this national study that included 3303 adults with hip fracture surgery, the 30-day mortality was 14.6% with COVID-19-positive versus 3.8% in COVID-19-negative, a notable difference. The all-cause mortality for hip fracture surgery was 27.0% in the COVID-19-positive group during the study period. DICUSSION: We found higher incidence of all-cause mortality in patients with versus without diagnosis of COVID-19 after undergoing hip fracture surgery. The mortality in hip fracture surgery in this national analysis was lower than other local and regional reports. The medical community can use this information to guide the management of hip fracture patients with a diagnosis of COVID-19.
  • Sex and organ-specific risk of major adverse renal or cardiac events in solid organ transplant recipients with COVID-19

    Vinson, Amanda J.; Dai, Ran; Agarwal, Gaurav; Anzalone, Alfred J.; Lee, Stephen B.; French, Evan; Olex, Amy L.; Madhira, Vithal; Mannon, Roslyn B.; National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Consortium (2022-01-01)
    While older males are at the highest risk for poor coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, it is not known if this applies to the immunosuppressed recipient of a solid organ transplant (SOT), nor how the type of allograft transplanted may impact outcomes. In a cohort study of adult ( > 18 years) patients testing positive for COVID-19 (January 1, 2020-June 21, 2021) from 56 sites across the United States identified using the National COVID Cohort Collaborative (N3C) Enclave, we used multivariable Cox proportional hazards models to assess time to MARCE after COVID-19 diagnosis in those with and without SOT. We examined the exposure of age-stratified recipient sex overall and separately in kidney, liver, lung, and heart transplant recipients. 3996 (36.4%) SOT and 91 646 (4.8%) non-SOT patients developed MARCE. Risk of post-COVID outcomes differed by transplant allograft type with heart and kidney recipients at highest risk. Males with SOT were at increased risk of MARCE, but to a lesser degree than the non-SOT cohort (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.81-0.98 for SOT and HR 0.61, 95% CI 0.60-0.62 for non-SOT [females vs. males]). This represents the largest COVID-19 SOT cohort to date and the first-time sex-age-stratified and allograft-specific COVID-19 outcomes have been explored in those with SOT.
  • Association between Residential Segregation and Long-Term Acute Care Hospital Performance on Improvement in Function among Ventilated Patients

    Jain, Snigdha; Walkey, Allan J.; Law, Anica C.; Ferrante, Lauren E.; Lindenauer, Peter K.; Krumholz, Harlan M. (2022-01-01)
    One in five survivors of critical illness who require prolonged mechanical ventilation are discharged to long-term acute care hospitals (LTCHs). Although disparities based on race and insurance have been described in LTCH use, studies have not evaluated equity in outcomes. Improvement in function (e.g., mobility) is a crucial recovery goal for patients requiring prolonged mechanical ventilation. Research in other areas has suggested that Black patients disproportionately receive care in lower-performing facilities. Whether LTCHs serving communities with more segregation achieve lower gains in functional outcomes is unknown. In response to the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services mandated reporting of change in mobility among ventilated patients as an LTCH quality measure. We sought to examine the association between the racial composition of the neighborhood and county of an LTCH and performance on the functional mobility improvement measure.
  • Examination of the Allostatic Load Construct and Its Longitudinal Association With Health Outcomes in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study

    Lopez-Cepero, Andrea; McClain, Amanda C.; Rosal, Milagros C.; Tucker, Katherine L.; Mattei, Josiemer (2022-01-01)
    OBJECTIVE: Despite evidence on allostatic load (AL) as a model explaining associations between stress and disease, there is no consensus on its operationalization. This study aimed to contrast various AL constructs and their longitudinal associations with disease and disability. METHODS: Baseline and 5-year follow-up data from 738 adults participating in the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study were used. Five AL scores were created by summing the presence of 21 dysregulated multisystem physiological parameters using the following: a) z scores, b) population-based quartile cutoffs, c) clinical-based cutoffs, d) 10 preselected clinical-based cutoffs (AL-reduced), and e) 12 clinical-based cutoffs selected a posteriori based on association with disease (AL-select). Adjusted logistic regression models examined associations between each AL score at baseline and 5-year incident type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease (CVD), activities (or instrumental activities) of daily living (ADL; IADL) for physical impairment, and cognitive impairment. RESULTS: AL-quartile was associated with greater odds of T2D (odds ratio [OR] = 1.20; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.07-1.35) and CVD (OR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.06-1.22). AL-reduced was associated with higher odds of IADL (OR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.07-1.37) and AL-clinical with CVD (OR = 1.14; 95% CI = 1.07-1.21), IADL (OR = 1.11; 95% CI = 1.04-1.19), and ADL (OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.04-1.26). AL-select showed associations with T2D (OR = 1.35; 95% CI = 1.14-1.61), CVD (OR = 1.21; 95% CI = 1.11-1.32), IADL (OR = 1.15; 95% CI = 1.04-1.26), and ADL (OR = 1.24; 95% CI = 1.08-1.41). No associations were found with AL z-score. CONCLUSIONS: AL scores computed with clinical-based cutoffs performed robustly in our sample of mainland Puerto Ricans, whereas z scores did not predict disease and disability. AL-select was the most consistent predictor, supporting its use as a disease-predicting model. Future assessment of AL-select in other populations may help operationalize AL.
  • SepA Enhances Shigella Invasion of Epithelial Cells by Degrading Alpha-1 Antitrypsin and Producing a Neutrophil Chemoattractant

    Meza-Segura, Mario; Birtley, James R.; Maldonado-Contreras, Ana; Mueller, Christian; Simin, Karl J.; Stern, Lawrence J.; McCormick, Beth A. (2021-12-21)
    Shigella spp. are highly adapted pathogens that cause bacillary dysentery in human and nonhuman primates. An unusual feature of Shigella pathogenesis is that this organism invades the colonic epithelia from the basolateral pole. Therefore, it has evolved the ability to disrupt the intestinal epithelial barrier to reach the basolateral surface. We have shown previously that the secreted serine protease A (SepA), which belongs to the family of serine protease autotransporters of Enterobacteriaceae, is responsible for the initial destabilization of the intestinal epithelial barrier that facilitates Shigella invasion. However, the mechanisms used by SepA to regulate this process remain unknown. To investigate the protein targets cleaved by SepA in the intestinal epithelium, we incubated a sample of homogenized human colon with purified SepA or with a catalytically inactive mutant of this protease. We discovered that SepA targets an array of 18 different proteins, including alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT), a major circulating serine proteinase inhibitor in humans. In contrast to other serine proteases, SepA cleaved AAT without forming an inhibiting complex, which resulted in the generation of a neutrophil chemoattractant. We demonstrated that the products of the AAT-SepA reaction induce a mild but significant increase in neutrophil transepithelial migration in vitro. Moreover, the presence of AAT during Shigella infection stimulated neutrophil migration and dramatically enhanced the number of bacteria invading the intestinal epithelium in a SepA-dependent manner. We conclude that by cleaving AAT, SepA releases a chemoattractant that promotes neutrophil migration, which in turn disrupts the intestinal epithelial barrier to enable Shigella invasion. IMPORTANCE Shigella is the second leading cause of diarrheal death globally. In this study, we identified the host protein targets of SepA, Shigella's major protein secreted in culture. We demonstrated that by cleaving AAT, a serine protease inhibitor important to protect surrounding tissue at inflammatory sites, SepA releases a neutrophil chemoattractant that enhances Shigella invasion. Moreover, SepA degraded AAT without becoming inhibited by the cleaved product, and SepA catalytic activity was enhanced at higher concentrations of AAT. Activation of SepA by an excess of AAT may be physiologically relevant at the early stages of Shigella infection, when the amount of synthesized SepA is very low compared to the concentration of AAT in the intestinal lumen. This observation may also help to explain the adeptness of Shigella infectivity at low dose, despite the requirement of reaching the basolateral side to invade and colonize the colonic epithelium.
  • Dataset from: COVID-19: A Gray Swan’s Impact on the Adoption of Novel Medical Technologies

    Dunlap, Denise; Santos, Roberto S.; Lilly, Craig M.; Teebagy, Sean; Hafer, Nathaniel S.; Buchholz, Bryan O.; McManus, David D. (eScholarship@UMassChan, 2021-12-20)
    This dataset is used to examine how the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many providers and patient perspectives related to healthcare and offers an opportunity to investigate potential changes in provider perceptions towards the adoption of novel point-of-care technologies (POCTs).

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