Yeshiva University
  • New York City, United States
Recent publications
Here is the new abstract, 200 words: Cigarette smoking is a leading cause of mortality in people with HIV (PWH) in the United States (US). A rising proportion of US tobacco users smoke non-daily, a phenomenon that is common among PWH. PWH who smoke non-daily may be attractive targets for cessation efforts, and, thus, a fuller understanding of non-daily smoking in PWH is important. We merged datasets from two randomized controlled tobacco treatment trials for PWH conducted in three cities from 2014-2020. The final dataset included 872 PWH. We analyzed sociodemographic characteristics and behavioral measures, such as nicotine dependence, motivation to quit, anxiety, and other substance use for associations with non-daily smoking, and we assessed non-daily smoking as a predictor of cessation. 13.4% of the sample smoked non-daily. In multivariable analyses, non-White race, higher anxiety, and higher motivation to quit were associated with non-daily smoking. PWH who smoked non-daily had 2.14 times the odds of those who smoked daily of quitting at six-months (95% C.I.:1.30-3.51, P=0.002). PWH who smoke non-daily differ in some demographic and behavioral characteristics from those who smoke daily. PWH reporting non-daily smoking were more likely to quit in our trials and targeting them should be a priority of future cessation efforts.
Asthma is a common disorder leading to significant disability and healthcare cost throughout the world. Although medical treatment is usually highly effective in controlling it, asthma medicines often have high costs and attendant side effects. Biofeedback is an inexpensive noninvasive alternative with minimal side effects. This paper reviews evidence for two validated biofeedback treatments for treating asthma, heart rate variability biofeedback (HRVB), and muscle relaxation with surface electromyographic biofeedback. In multiple studies, although most of them are of modest size, both methods have clinically meaningful results, often allowing decreases in the use of steroid medication. Further research is needed to prove which specific components of HRVB are responsible for clinical effects, and to determine asthma populations that can best benefit from these methods. Despite demonstrated effectiveness, few insurance schemes reimburse for biofeedback, and national guidelines consider it only as worthy of further investigation. Funding for the requisite large-scale clinical trials remains lacking, creating a limbo-like status quo for these useful methods.
Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) facilitate the survival of diverse organisms in frigid environments by adsorbing to ice crystals and suppressing their growth. The rate of AFP accumulation on ice is determined by an interplay between AFP diffusion from the bulk solution to the ice-water interface and the subsequent adsorption of AFPs to the interface. To interrogate the relative importance of these two processes, here we combine non-equilibrium fluorescence experiments with a reaction-diffusion model. We find that as diverse AFPs accumulate on ice, their concentration in the aqueous solution does not develop a gradient but remains equal to its bulk concentration throughout our experiments. These findings lead us to conclude that AFP accumulation on ice crystals, which are smaller than 100 microns in radius, is not limited by the diffusion of AFPs, but by the kinetics of AFP adsorption. Our results imply that mass transport limitations do not hinder AFPs from performing their biological function.
Background and objective: Cognitive and physical functions correlate and delineate aging and disease trajectories. Whereas cognitive reserve (CR) is well-established, physical reserve (PR) is poorly understood. We, therefore, developed and evaluated a novel and more comprehensive construct, individual reserve (IR), comprised of residual-derived CR and PR in older adults with and without multiple sclerosis (MS). We hypothesized that: (a) CR and PR would be positively correlated; (b) low CR, PR, and IR would be associated with worse study outcomes; (c) associations of brain atrophy with study outcomes would be stronger in lower compared to higher IR due to compensatory mechanisms conferred by the latter. Methods: Older adults with MS (n = 66, mean age = 64.48 ± 3.84 years) and controls (n = 66, mean age = 68.20 ± 6.09 years), underwent brain MRI, cognitive assessment, and motoric testing. We regressed the repeatable battery for the assessment of neuropsychological status and short physical performance battery on brain pathology and socio-demographic confounders to derive independent residual CR and PR measures, respectively. We combined CR and PR to define a 4-level IR variable. The oral symbol digit modalities test (SDMT) and timed-25-foot-walk-test (T25FW) served as outcome measures. Results: CR and PR were positively correlated. Low CR, PR and IR were associated with worse SDMT and T25FW performances. Reduced left thalamic volume, a marker of brain atrophy, was associated with poor SDMT and T25FW performances only in individuals with low IR. The presence of MS moderated associations between IR and T25FW performance. Conclusion: IR is a novel construct comprised of cognitive and physical dimensions representing collective within-person reserve capacities.
Purpose of Review Tobacco use is associated with significant health consequences especially for people with medical conditions. Although lifestyle strategies (e.g., sleep, diet) are commonly recommended as part of migraine treatment, tobacco-related strategies (e.g., smoking cessation) are rarely included. This review is aimed at elucidating what is known about tobacco use and migraine and at identifying gaps in the research. Recent Findings The prevalence of smoking is higher among people with migraine, and people with migraine believe that smoking makes migraine attacks worse. There is also evidence that smoking may exacerbate migraine-related consequences (e.g., stroke). Very few studies have examined other aspects of smoking and migraine or tobacco products other than cigarettes. Summary There are significant gaps in our knowledge of smoking and migraine. More research is needed to understand the relationship of tobacco use to migraine and potential benefits of adding smoking cessation efforts into migraine care.
Objective: While there is evidence that functioning, or ability to perform daily life activities, can be adversely influenced by type 1 diabetes, the impact of acute fluctuations in glucose levels on functioning is poorly understood. Research design and methods: Using dynamic structural equation modeling, we examined whether overnight glucose (coefficient of variation[CV], percent time <70 mg/dL, percent time >250 mg/dL) predicted seven next-day functioning outcomes (mobile cognitive tasks, accelerometry-derived physical activity, self-reported activity participation) in adults with type 1 diabetes. We examined mediation, moderation, and whether short-term relationships were predictive of global patient-reported outcomes. Results: Overall next-day functioning was significantly predicted from overnight CV (P = 0.017) and percent time >250 mg/dL (P = 0.037). Pairwise tests indicate that higher CV is associated with poorer sustained attention (P = 0.028) and lower engagement in demanding activities (P = 0.028), time <70 mg/dL is associated with poorer sustained attention (P = 0.007), and time >250 mg/dL is associated with more sedentary time (P = 0.024). The impact of CV on sustained attention is partially mediated by sleep fragmentation. Individual differences in the effect of overnight time <70 mg/dL on sustained attention predict global illness intrusiveness (P = 0.016) and diabetes-related quality of life (P = 0.036). Conclusions: Overnight glucose predicts problems with objective and self-reported next-day functioning and can adversely impact global patient-reported outcomes. These findings across diverse outcomes highlight the wide-ranging effects of glucose fluctuations on functioning in adults with type 1 diabetes.
This study was a secondary analysis of baseline data from a clinical trial of an intensive group-based smoking cessation treatment for people with HIV (PWH) who smoke. It examined the cross-sectional relationship between perceived ethnic discrimination (PED) and cigarette smoking variables (i.e., nicotine dependence, motivation to quit smoking, self-efficacy to quit smoking) among PWH and explored whether depressive symptoms mediated the relationship between PED and smoking variables. Participants (N = 442; Mage = 50.6; 52.8% Male; 56.3% Black, non-Hispanic; 6.3% White, non-Hispanic; 13.3% Hispanic; 87.7% unemployed; 81.6% single) completed measures of demographics, cigarette smoking, depressive symptoms, and PED. Greater PED was related to lower self-efficacy to quit smoking, greater perceived stress, and greater depressive symptoms. In addition, depressive symptoms mediated the relationship between PED and two cigarette smoking variables (i.e., nicotine dependence, self-efficacy to quit smoking). Findings highlight the need for smoking interventions to target PED, self-efficacy, and depressive symptoms to improve smoking cessation variables among PWH.
Parenting interventions for parents and children facing risks associated with poverty have significant effects on children’s social-emotional, behavioral and academic functioning, but they are threatened by low engagement, especially among families from underrepresented groups. The purpose of this study was to understand ways to enhance engagement in parenting programs among families in Head Start who are Spanish-Speaking in the United States. We used a conjoint analysis technique, namely a discrete choice experiment (DCE) (N = 73, 94% mothers, 31% single parents), to examine how Head Start parents who were Spanish-speaking prioritized key attributes of parenting programs when considering potential participation. Utility values and importance scores indicate that parents placed the highest priority on a program that optimized children’s friendship skills, academics, the parent-child relationship and behavioral skills (rather than on incentives and the inclusion of child groups). Next, we used simulations or forecasting tools to estimate parents’ preferences for types of programs. Seventy-three percent of parents preferred Outcome-focused Programs that fostered parents’ understanding and practice of skills, whereas 27% prioritized Enhanced Support Programs offering logistic support, followed by child outcomes. Results from multivariate analyses of variance showed that parents preferring Outcome-focused Programs reported lower levels of children’s mental health problems and higher child prosocial behaviors compared to parents preferring Enhanced Support Programs. MANOVAS and chi square analyses showed that the latter parents were more likely to have dropped out of a previous parenting program, less likely to have completed high school, reported higher levels of children’s mental health problems, and/or reported fewer children’s prosocial behaviors. Findings suggest ways to enhance accessibility and program reach, especially for families living in poverty speaking Spanish.
Early auditory processing (EAP) deficits are prevalent in schizophrenia and linked to disturbances in higher order cognition and daily functioning. Treatments that target EAP have the potential to drive downstream cognitive and functional improvements, but clinically feasible means to detect EAP impairment are lacking. This report describes the clinical feasibility and utility of using the Tone Matching (TM) Test to assess EAP in adults with schizophrenia. Clinicians were trained to administer the TM Test as part of a baseline cognitive battery to inform choice of cognitive remediation (CR) exercises. Only if the TM Test indicated EAP impairment, were the recommended CR exercises to include EAP training. Results indicated clinicians included the TM Test in all baseline assessments and identified 51.72% as EAP impaired. There were significant positive relationships between TM Test performance and cognitive summary scores, confirming instrumental validity. All clinicians found the TM Test useful for CR treatment planning. CR participants with impaired EAP spent significantly more training time on EAP exercises compared to CR participants with intact EAP (20.11% vs 3.32%). This study found that it is feasible to use the TM Test in community clinics and the test was perceived as clinically useful for personalizing treatment.
Objective: To understand the mechanisms of mindfulness' impact on migraine. Background: Promising mindfulness research demonstrates potential benefit in migraine, but no data-driven model exists from the lived experiences of patients that explains the mechanisms of mindfulness in migraine. Methods: Semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted with adults with migraine who participated in two mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) clinical trials (n = 43). Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and summarized into a framework matrix with development of a master codebook. Constructivist grounded theory approach was used to identify themes/subthemes. Results: Participants who learned mindfulness techniques through MBSR experienced altered pain perception, altered response to migraine attacks and disease, increased awareness of external and internal experiences, improved overall well-being, and group benefits. Mindfulness resulted in earlier stress-body awareness and increased interoceptive awareness resulting in earlier attack recognition, leading to earlier and more effective management. Interictal factors of self-blame, guilt, and stigma decreased while migraine acceptance, hope, empowerment, self-efficacy, and self-compassion increased. Improved emotion regulation resulted in decreased fear of migraine, pain catastrophizing, anticipatory anxiety, and pain reactivity. Although taught as prevention, mindfulness was used both acutely and prophylactically. We created a conceptual model hypothesizing that MBSR skills led to an infusion of mindfulness in daily life, resulting in altered pain perception and experience, ultimately leading to improvement in overall well-being, which may positively feed back to the infusion of mindfulness in daily life. The therapeutic benefit of learning mindfulness in a group setting may moderate these effects. Conclusions: This study identified several new potential mechanisms of mindfulness' effect on migraine. After learning MBSR skills, participants reported altered pain and migraine perception and experiences. Increased stress-body and interoceptive awareness resulted in earlier migraine awareness and treatment. Mindfulness may target important interictal factors that affect disease burden such as fear of migraine, pain catastrophizing, and anticipatory anxiety. This is the first data-driven study to help elucidate the mechanisms of mindfulness on migraine from patient voices and can help direct future research endeavors.
Background Physical reserve (PR) refers to one’s ability to maintain physical functioning despite age, illness, or injury. The measurement and predictive utility of PR, however, are not well established. Aims We quantified PR using a residual measurement approach by extracting standardized residuals from gait speed, while accounting for demographic and clinical/disease variables, and used it to predict fall-risk. Methods Participants (n = 510; age ≥ 70ys) were enrolled in a longitudinal study. Falls were assessed annually (in-person) and bimonthly (via structured telephone interview). Results General Estimating Equations (GEE) revealed that higher baseline PR was associated with reduced odds of reporting falls over repeated assessments in the total sample, and incident falls among those without fall’s history. The protective effect of PR against fall risk remained significant when adjusting for multiple demographic and medical confounders. Discussion/Conclusion We propose a novel framework to assessing PR and demonstrate that higher PR is protective against fall-risk in older adults.
Background: Residents of the Bronx suffer marked health disparities due to socioeconomic and other factors. The COVID-19 pandemic worsened these health outcome disparities and healthcare access disparities, especially with the abrupt transition to online care. Objectives: This study classified electronic health literacy (EHL) among patients at an urban, academic hospital in the Bronx, and assessed for associations between EHL levels and various demographic characteristics. Methods: We designed a cross-sectional, observational study in adults 18 years or older presenting to the Montefiore Einstein Center for Cancer Care (MECCC) Department of Radiation Oncology or the Montefiore Department of Medicine in the Bronx. We assessed EHL using the eHealth Literacy Scale (eHEALS) survey, a previously validated tool, and our newly developed eHealth Literacy Objective Scale-Scenario Based (eHeLiOS-SB) tool. Results: A total of 97 patients recruited from the Montefiore MECCC and Department of Medicine participated in this study. There was a statistically significant association between age and EHL as assessed by both eHEALS and eHeLiOS-SB, with older adults having lower EHL scores. Additionally, a question designed to assess general attitudes toward digital health technologies found that most participants had a positive attitude toward such applications. Conclusions: Many patients, especially older adults, may require additional support to effectively navigate telehealth. Further research is warranted to optimize telemedicine strategies in this potentially-marginalized population and ultimately to create telehealth practices accessible to patients of all ages and demographics.
Introduction: Both exposure to a natural disaster and psychological symptoms may lead to decreases in social support. Few studies have examined ways to improve social support among victims of natural disasters. Aims: The objective of the study was to assess emotional and tangible support following a 12-session Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT) targeting posttraumatic stress (PTS), insomnia, and depression symptoms and to examine the association between posttreatment symptoms and emotional and tangible support. Materials and methods: One hundred and seventy-eight wildfire evacuees with significant PTS, depression and/or insomnia symptoms were given access to the ICBT. They completed questionnaires at pre- and posttreatment to measure social support and symptom severity. Results: Results show that completion of the treatment led to an improvement in emotional support. Lower posttreatment PTS and insomnia symptoms were associated with higher posttreatment emotional support. Conclusion: ICBT may contribute to enhance emotional support through symptom improvement and probably more so when social support is address directly in treatment.
We consider the Hill four-body problem where three oblate, massive bodies form a relative equilibrium triangular configuration, and the 4th, infinitesimal body orbits in a neighborhood of the smallest of the three massive bodies. We regularize collisions between the infinitesimal body and the smallest massive body, via McGehee coordinate transformation. We describe the corresponding collision manifold and show that it undergoes a bifurcation when the oblateness coefficient of the smallest massive body passes through the zero value.
Lichen planus is a distinctive mucocutaneous disease with well-established clinical and histopathologic criteria. Lichenoid eruptions closely resemble lichen planus and may sometimes be indistinguishable from it. Systemic agents previously associated have included medications, viral infections and vaccines. Sporadic case reports of lichen planus and lichenoid reactions associated with COVID-19 vaccines have recently emerged. Herein, we review the world literature (31 patients) and expand it with a case series of 15 patients who presented with vaccine-induced lichenoid eruption (V-ILE). The spectrum of clinical and histopathologic findings is discussed with emphasis on the subset whose lesions manifested in embryologic fusion lines termed lines of Blaschko. This rare Blaschkoid distribution appeared in seven of the 46 patients studied. Of interest, all seven were linked to the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. We believe that all lichenoid eruptions should be approached with a heightened index of suspicion and patients should be specifically questioned with regards to their vaccination history. When diagnosed early in its course, V-ILE is easily treated and resolves quickly in almost all patients with or without hyperpigmentation. Additional investigative studies regarding its immunopathology and inflammatory signaling pathways may offer insight into other Th1-driven autoimmune phenomena related to COVID-19 vaccination.
Elites degrade democracy in part because of incentives that arise from public opinion. We report pre-registered and exploratory tests of which Americans are most likely to support democracy-degrading action, focusing on three distinct democracy attitudes assessed in a large demographically representative sample 5 weeks before the 2020 election. Professed opposition to democracy was relatively rare and most common among citizens who felt disengaged with politics. But a different pattern of findings emerged for attitudes toward (1) flagrant, politically congenial authoritarian policy action and (2) election subversion framed with a pro-democracy justification. These anti-democratic attitudes were relatively common, related to cultural conservatism among both Republicans and Democrats, and – consistent with an “involved-but-ignorant” hypothesis – highest among those who combined strong political interest with low political sophistication. We recommend an increased focus on attitudes toward flagrant, contextualized, and politically cued authoritarian actions, including actions framed in pro-democracy terms.
Background: COVID-19 is a heterogenous disease resulting in long-term sequela in predisposed individuals. It is not uncommon that recovering patients endure non-respiratory ill-defined manifestations, including anosmia, and neurological and cognitive deficit persisting beyond recovery-a constellation of conditions that are grouped under the umbrella of long-term COVID-19 syndrome. Association between COVID-19 and autoimmune responses in predisposed individuals was shown in several studies. Aim and methods: To investigate autoimmune responses against neuronal and CNS autoantigens in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients, we performed a cross-sectional study with 246 participants, including 169 COVID-19 patients and 77 controls. Levels of antibodies against the acetylcholine receptor, glutamate receptor, amyloid β peptide, alpha-synucleins, dopamine 1 receptor, dopamine 2 receptor, tau protein, GAD-65, N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, BDNF, cerebellar, ganglioside, myelin basic protein, myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein, S100-B, glial fibrillary acidic protein, and enteric nerve were measured using an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Circulating levels of autoantibodies were compared between healthy controls and COVID-19 patients and then classified by disease severity (mild [n = 74], severe [n = 65], and requiring supplemental oxygen [n = 32]). Results: COVID-19 patients were found to have dysregulated autoantibody levels correlating with the disease severity, e.g., IgG to dopamine 1 receptor, NMDA receptors, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein. Elevated levels of IgA autoantibodies against amyloid β peptide, acetylcholine receptor, dopamine 2 receptor, myelin basic protein, and α-synuclein were detected in COVID-19 patients compared with healthy controls. Lower IgA autoantibody levels against NMDA receptors, and IgG autoantibodies against glutamic acid decarboxylase 65, amyloid β peptide, tau protein, enteric nerve, and S100-B were detected in COVID-19 patients versus healthy controls. Some of these antibodies have known clinical correlations with symptoms commonly reported in the long COVID-19 syndrome. Conclusions: Overall, our study shows a widespread dysregulation in the titer of various autoantibodies against neuronal and CNS-related autoantigens in convalescent COVID-19 patients. Further research is needed to provide insight into the association between these neuronal autoantibodies and the enigmatic neurological and psychological symptoms reported in COVID-19 patients.
Background: Craving is considered a central process to addictive behavior including cigarette smoking, although the clinical utility of craving relies on how it is defined and measured. Network analysis enables examining the network structure of craving symptoms, to identify the most central symptoms of cigarette craving, to improve our understanding of craving and its measurement. Methods: This study used network analysis to identify the central symptoms of self-reported cigarette craving as measured by the Craving Experiences Questionnaire, which assesses both craving strength and craving frequency. Data were obtained from baseline of a randomized controlled trial of mindfulness training for smoking cessation. Results: The most central symptoms in an overall cigarette craving network were the frequency of imagining its smell, imagining its taste, and intrusive thoughts. The most central symptoms of both craving frequency and craving strength subnetworks were imagining its taste, the urge to have it, and intrusive thoughts. Conclusions: The most central craving symptoms reported by individuals in treatment for cigarette smoking were from the frequency domain, demonstrating the value of assessing craving frequency along with craving strength. Central craving symptoms included multisensory imagery (taste, smell), intrusive thoughts, and urge, providing additional evidence that these symptoms may be important to consider in craving measurement and intervention. Findings provide insight into the symptoms that are central to craving, contributing to a better understanding of cigarette craving, and suggest potential targets for clinical interventions. Implications: This study used network analysis to identify central symptoms of cigarette craving. Both craving frequency and strength were assessed. The most central symptoms of cigarette craving were related to craving frequency. Central symptoms included multisensory imagery, intrusive thoughts, and urge. Central symptoms might be targeted by smoking cessation treatment.
Objective: In this secondary analysis of mobile health headache diary data, we evaluated the relationship between adherence to medication used for the acute treatment of migraine and lifetime history of an anxiety or depression disorder. Background: Medication non-adherence can produce poor clinical efficacy and may be associated with medication overuse. Medication overuse was defined by taking a migraine-specific medication (MSM) for ≥10 days/month, an opioid or barbiturate for ≥10 days/month, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug for ≥15 days/month and having ≥15 headache days/month. Extant literature predominantly evaluates fixed-schedule medication adherence. Little is known about predictors of adherence to as-needed medication such as those used for the acute treatment of migraine. Methods: Adults with prior migraine diagnosis and at least 4 headache days/month completed baseline questionnaires assessing lifetime history of depression or anxiety disorder diagnoses and were asked to record 90 days of once-daily electronic headache diaries soliciting: Headache occurrence; symptoms; medication taken, if any, for the acute treatment of migraine; and their pain level (mild, moderate, severe) when the medication was taken. The 193 participants who completed ≥30 days of headache diary were included in this secondary analysis. Results: A MSM was used as the first medication taken on 45.7% (2825/6176) of headache days. Nearly a quarter of the sample (45/193, 23.3%) overused medications for acute treatment of migraine. Medication overuse was more common in patients with a history of an anxiety disorder, odds ratio (OR) 2.01 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01-3.69), but this relationship was not significant when headache days were accounted for, OR 2.02 (95% CI 0.83-4.91). Neither a history of a depression disorder, OR 1.40 (95% CI 0.90-2.16), nor an anxiety disorder, OR 1.11 (95% CI 0.71-1.72), was associated with taking medications early; however, duration of self-monitoring was associated with taking MSM early, OR 1.006 (95% CI 1.004-1.009). Conclusion: Lifetime history of depression and anxiety were not associated with taking a MSM early. Medication overuse may be more common in patients who have both migraine and anxiety. Taking a MSM early improved over time for all participants, even when adjusting for a history of an anxiety and or a depression disorder.
Emotion regulation and executive function are associated. However, if – and how – these two processes affect one another has not previously been explored; most studies have employed a correlational approach, leaving the direction of influence unknown. Using an experimental design, we aimed to explore the impact of emotion regulation on executive functioning. Adult participants (N = 31) completed a computerized executive functioning task under a neutral/baseline condition and three emotion regulation conditions: (1) positive mood-maintain, (2) negative mood-maintain, (3) negative mood-reduce. Relative to baseline, participants demonstrated better set-shifting performance across regulation conditions (likely reflecting practice effects). In contrast, inhibitory control performance in the emotion regulation conditions was slower, suggesting that inhibitory control may be more involved in the emotion regulation process than set-shifting. The present study provides preliminary evidence that individuals' executive function may be affected by concurrent emotion regulation demands; additional experiments are necessary to further probe the complexity of this association.
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2,237 members
Kenneth L. Critchfield
  • Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
Archishman Chakraborty
  • Syms School of Business
Claire Jeanette Hoogendoorn
  • Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
Vera Békés
  • Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology
Marian Gidea
  • Department of Mathematical Sciences
New York City, United States