Gregory E Miller's research while affiliated with Northwestern University and other places

Publications (325)

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Long COVID, a type of Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC), has been associated with sustained elevated levels of immune activation and inflammation. However, the mechanisms that drive this inflammation remain unknown. Inflammation during acute Coronavirus Disease 2019 could be exacerbated by microbial translocation (from gut and/or lung) to bl...
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To identify symptom burden profiles among men with advanced prostate cancer undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy and examine their association with baseline sociodemographic and medical characteristics and psychosocial outcomes over time. Latent profile analysis was employed to identify distinct groups based on the Expanded Prostate Index Compos...
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Increasing violence-related distress over time was associated with worse lung function and worse asthma-related quality of life in youth with asthma despite treatment with low-dose inhaled corticosteroids. Exposure to violence has been associated with lower lung function in cross-sectional studies. We examined whether increasing violence-related di...
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The present study investigated developmental pathways that can contribute to chronic disease among rural African Americans. With a sample of 342 African American youth (59% female) from the southeastern United States followed for nearly two decades (2001–2019), we examined the prospective association between family poverty during adolescence (ages...
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BACKGROUND This study examined how experiences with discrimination relate to inflammation, a key biological pathway in mental and physical illnesses, and whether associations are moderated by gender across two samples of adolescents of color. METHODS Study 1 was a longitudinal study of 419 African American adolescents assessed on discrimination (a...
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There are substantial, unexplained racial disparities in women's health. Some of the most pronounced involve elevated rates of preterm delivery (PTD) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) among Black women. We hypothesized that stress associated with excessive use of force by police may contribute to these disparities. In two prospective cohorts derived...
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Low socioeconomic status (SES) has been associated with distinct patterns of reward processing, which appear to have adverse implications for health outcomes, well-being, and human capital. However, most studies in this literature have used complex tasks that engage more than reward processing and/or retrospectively studied childhood SES in samples...
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Health disparities by socioeconomic status (SES) have been extensively documented, but less is known about the physical health implications of achieving upward mobility. This article critically reviews the evolving literature in this area, concluding that upward mobility is associated with a trade-off, whereby economic success and positive mental h...
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This study examined whether sadness, but not anger, could facilitate adaptive goal disengagement capacity in the context of older adult’s stress-related experiences. To this end, we investigated whether the within-person effects of sadness and anger on older adults’ goal disengagement capacity was moderated by stress perceptions and diurnal cortiso...
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Background Preterm birth rates are higher among individuals of lower socioeconomic status and non-White race, which is possibly related to life-course stressors. It is important to better understand the underlying mechanisms of these health disparities, and inflammation is a possible pathway to explain the disparities in birth outcomes. Objective...
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Exposure to interpersonal violence during childhood, a severe and often traumatic form of social stress, is an enduring problem that an emerging body of work suggests may be relevant to cardiometabolic health and the progression of cardiovascular disease (CVD) across the life course. Less is known about this association causally, and consequently,...
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The environment has pervasive impacts on human development, and two key environmental conditions – harshness and unpredictability – are proposed to be instrumental in tuning development. This study examined (1) how harsh and unpredictable environments related to immune and clinical outcomes in the context of childhood asthma, and (2) whether there...
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Background Numerous studies have found elevated pro-inflammatory markers and reduced brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) during symptomatic episodes of bipolar disorder (BD) in adults. There is a paucity of research examining these markers in youth with BD, or longitudinally in any BD age group. Methods 79 adolescents, ages 13-19 years, were...
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Individuals exposed to persistent neighborhood violence are at increased risk for developing mental and physical health problems across the lifespan. The biological mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are not well understood. Thus, we examined the relationship between children’s exposure to neighborhood violence and inflammatory activity, a proce...
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Background Housing instability is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Recent studies indicate that eviction, which may affect a larger segment of the population than other forms of housing instability, is also associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. However, these studies evaluate eviction across large areas, such as counties, so it rem...
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OBJECTIVE Inflammation as a risk factor for preterm birth is well-established. The primary objective of this analysis was to examine whether individual cytokines versus a composite indicator of mid-pregnancy inflammation are significantly associated with risk for adverse birth outcomes. STUDY DESIGN A multi-site prospective study was conducted in...
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Introduction Women exposed to stressful events during pregnancy are thought to be at increased risk of adverse birth outcomes. However, studies investigating stressful events are often unable to control for important confounders, such as behavioral and genetic characteristics, or to isolate the impact of the stressor from other secondary effects. W...
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Almost one in three children globally live in households lacking basic necessities, and 356 million of these children were living in extreme poverty as of 2017. Disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic further increase rates of child poverty due to widespread job and income loss and economic insecurity among families. Poverty leads to unequal distri...
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This study tested relationships between racial inequalities in the school system—specifically, the disproportionate punishment of Black students—and life outcomes for Black youths, along with moderating psychological factors. In an 18-year longitudinal study of 261 Black youths (ages 11–29), we investigated whether adult life outcomes varied as a f...
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Importance Wealthy adults tend to live longer than those with less wealth. However, a challenge in this area of research has been the reduction of potential confounding by factors associated with the early environment and heritable traits, which could simultaneously affect socioeconomic circumstances in adulthood and health across the life course....
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Introduction Chronic villitis is an inflammatory lesion that affects 5-15% of placentas and is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes. Chronic villitis may also recur; however, studies estimating recurrence are based on small samples and estimates of recurrence range from 10-56%. Methods We utilized data from placentas submitted to pathology a...
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Individuals who are minoritized as a result of race, sexual identity, gender, or socioeconomic status experience a higher prevalence of many diseases. Understanding the biological processes that cause and maintain these socially driven health inequities is essential for addressing them. The gut microbiome is strongly shaped by host environments and...
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While numerous studies exist on the benefits of social support (both receiving and giving), little research exists on how the balance between the support that individuals regularly give versus that which they receive from others relates to physical health. In a US national sample of 6,325 adults from the National Survey of Midlife Development in th...
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Problem: Current scientific guidelines recommend collecting placental specimens within two hours of delivery for gene expression analysis. However, collecting samples in a narrow time window is a challenge in the dynamic and unpredictable clinical setting, so delays in placental specimen collection are possible. The purpose of our analysis is to i...
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A scientific consensus is emerging that children reared in risky family climates are prone to chronic diseases and premature death later in life. Few prospective data, however, are available to inform the mechanisms of these relationships. In a prospective study involving 323 Black families, we sought to determine whether, and how, childhood risky...
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Introduction While many placental lesions have been identified and defined, the significance of multiple overlapping lesions has not been addressed. The purpose of our analysis was to evaluate overlapping patterns of placental pathology and determine meaningful phenotypes associated with adverse birth outcomes. Methods Placental pathology reports...
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Importance Some Black adolescents who frequently experience racial discrimination develop mental health problems. Protective caregiving may buffer adolescents from the negative mental health outcomes associated with experiencing racial discrimination. Objective To examine if participation in programs that enhance protective caregiving will attenua...
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Background Neighborhood violence increases children’s risk for a variety of health problems. Yet little is known about biological pathways involved, or neural mechanisms that might render children more or less vulnerable. Here, we address these questions by considering whether neighborhood violence is associated with the expression of a pro-inflamm...
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Cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) improves quality of life and mitigates stress biology in patients with early-stage cancer, including men with localized prostate cancer. However, treatments for advanced prostate cancer like androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) can lead to significant symptom burden that may be further exacerbated by stre...
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Inflammation is associated with both lower and higher activity in brain regions that process rewarding stimuli. How can both low and high sensitivity to rewards be associated with higher inflammation? We propose that one potential mechanism underlying these apparently conflicting findings pertains to how people pursue goals in their environment. Th...
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Objective: Field-based research on inflammation and health is typically limited to baseline measures of circulating cytokines or acute phase proteins, while lab-based studies can pursue a more dynamic approach with ex vivo cell culture methods. The laboratory infrastructure required for culturing leukocytes limits application in community-based se...
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Cardiovascular diseases are patterned by race and socioeconomic status, and chronic low-grade inflammation is proposed as a key underlying mechanism. Theories for how racial and socioeconomic disadvantages foster inflammation emphasize a lifecourse approach: social disadvantages enable chronic or repeated exposure to stressors, unhealthy behaviors,...
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Objective: Children exposed to severe, chronic stress are vulnerable to mental and physical health problems across the lifespan. To explain how these problems develop, the neuroimmune network hypothesis suggests that early-life stress initiates a positive feedback loop between peripheral inflammatory cells and networked brain regions involved in t...
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Background Maternal depression has been linked to health care use for asthma in cross-sectional or short-term follow-up studies of school-aged children. Objective To examine whether increased or persistent maternal depressive symptoms over approximately 5 years are associated with severe asthma exacerbations or worse lung function in youth. Metho...
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Links between child maltreatment and low-grade inflammation in adulthood are well documented, but these studies often rely on adults to report retrospectively on experiences of childhood abuse. Furthermore, these findings raise questions about whether exposure to childhood maltreatment needs time to "incubate," only giving rise to nonresolving infl...
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Objective Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP) complicate 5 to 10% of all pregnancies and are a major cause of pregnancy-related morbidity. Exposure to psychosocial stress has been associated with systemic inflammation and adverse birth outcomes in pregnant women. Thus, it is probable that psychosocial stress and inflammation play a role in th...
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Objective: The skin-deep resilience pattern suggests that, for low-socioeconomic-status African American youths, the ability to maintain high self-control and to persist with efforts to succeed may act as a double-edged sword, facilitating academic success and adjustment while undermining physical health. We extend research by following a sample o...
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Stress during pregnancy affects maternal health and well‐being, as well as the health and well‐being of the next generation, in part through the hypothalamic‐pituitary‐adrenal (HPA) axis. Although most studies have focused solely on proximal experiences (i.e., during the pregnancy) as sources of prenatal stress, there has been a recent surge in stu...
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Background People with higher socioeconomic status generally enjoy better cardiovascular health across the life course than those with lower status. However, recent studies of upward mobility, where a child goes on to achieve higher socioeconomic status than his or her parents, suggest that it entails a tradeoff between better psychological well‐be...
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This study tested the skin-deep resilience hypothesis – that low socioeconomic status (SES) youth who are working hard to succeed in life experience good psychological and educational outcomes but at a cost to their physical health – in a sample of monozygotic (MZ) twins. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) contained a...
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Objective: Children reared by parents of low socioeconomic status (SES) go on to have elevated rates of physical health problems and premature mortality. However, many children reared in low SES families remain healthy throughout the life span. Here, secondary analyses of archival data tested the hypothesis that a positive relationship with parent...
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Background Growing evidence suggests that sleep plays an important role in immunological memory, including antibody responses to vaccination. However, much of the prior research has been carried out in the laboratory limiting the generalizability of the findings. Furthermore, no study has sought to identify sensitive periods prior to or after vacci...
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Stressful experiences affect biological stress systems, such as the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis. Life stress can potentially alter regulation of the HPA axis and has been associated with poorer physical and mental health. Little, however, is known about the relative influence of stressors that are encountered at different developmenta...
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Context Across pregnancy, maternal serum cortisol levels increase up to 3-fold. It is not known whether maternal peripheral cortisol metabolism and clearance change across pregnancy or influence fetal cortisol exposure and development. Objectives The primary study objective was to compare maternal urinary glucocorticoid metabolites, as markers of...
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Neighborhood violence is associated with a range of health consequences but little is known about the biological processes involved. Research in disease pathogenesis has identified low-grade inflammation as a process that, beginning in the first decades of life, is both induced by chronic stress and a contributor to multiple cardiometabolic disease...
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Objective: Subclinical or subthreshold depressive symptoms (StD) are frequent in adolescence and are related to suicidality and onset of depression in adulthood, however, their neurobiology is poorly understood. We examined the relationship between StD and subcortical grey matter structures in unmedicated adolescents with no history of axis I diag...
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COVER ILLUSTRATION Morphological findings from Jenkins et al. (this issue) Subcortical structural variations associated with low socioeconomic status in adolescents With art by AD_Images and aitoff, Pixabay. Figure depicts Left lateral view of results from subcortical vertex‐wise linear regression analysis of association between Income:Poverty rati...
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Introduction Chronic villitis of unknown etiology (VUE) is a chronic inflammatory lesion of the placenta. VUE is hypothesized to result from an alloimmune response or as response to an unidentified infection. Lack of a seasonal trend is thought to support VUE as an alloimmune response, though data on seasonal VUE trends are limited. Methods Data w...
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Over the last two decades, chronic psychosocial stress has been linked to asthma. Exposure to violence is a common stressor for people living in urban settings, particularly in the U.S, and has received increased attention in the asthma literature in recent years. Improving our understanding of whether and how exposure to chronic stressors causes o...
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Objective Higher rates of adverse outcomes have been reported for early term (37 0 to 38 6 weeks) versus full term (≥ 39 0 weeks) infants, but differences in breastfeeding outcomes have not been systematically evaluated. This study examined breastfeeding initiation and exclusivity in early and full term infants in a large US based sample. Methods...
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Objective: Adverse endothelial cell health, an early pathogenic process underlying atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, is evident in childhood and adolescence. Sleep duration, a modifiable cardiovascular health behavior, may be an important cardiovascular disease prevention target that may impact endothelial cell health. We examined the as...
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Objective: Children with low self-control who grow up in poverty are at elevated risk for living in poverty when they are adults. The purpose of this study was to further understanding of the intergenerational continuity of poverty by (a) examining the likelihood that children with low levels of self-control at age 11 earn less employment income a...
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Low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with a higher probability of multiple exposures (e.g., neighborhood violence, poor nutrition, housing instability, air pollution, and insensitive caregiving) known to affect structural development of subcortical brain regions that subserve threat and reward processing, however, few studies have examined...
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Economic hardship during childhood is associated with worse mental and physical health across the life span. Over the past decade, interdisciplinary research has started to elucidate the behavioral and biological pathways that underlie these disparities and identify protective factors that mitigate against their occurrence. In this integrative revi...
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The processing of emotional facial expressions is important for social functioning and is influenced by environmental factors, including early environmental experiences. Low socio-economic status (SES) is associated with greater exposure to uncontrollable stressors, including violence, as well as deprivation, defined as a lack or decreased complexi...
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Abnormal reward responsiveness and rumination each are associated with elevated inflammation and mood symptoms. Ruminating on positive and negative affect, or dampening positive affect, may amplify, or buffer, the associations of reward hyper/hyposensitivity with inflammation and mood symptoms. Young adults (N=109) with high or moderate reward sens...
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Background and objectives: Poor neighborhood conditions have established associations with poorer child health, but little is known about protective factors that mitigate the effects of difficult neighborhood conditions. In this study, we tested if positive family relationships can buffer youth who live in dangerous and/or disorderly neighborhoods...
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Children growing up in poverty are vulnerable to negative changes in the developing brain; however, these outcomes vary widely. We tested the hypothesis that receipt of supportive parenting would offset the association between living in poverty during adolescence and the connectivity of neural networks that support cognition and emotion regulation...
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Background: Researchers document bidirectional pathways linking peripheral inflammation and neural circuitries subserving emotion processing and regulation. To extend this work, we present results from two independent studies examining the relationship between inflammation and resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC), as measured by functional...
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Objective: African Americans and Latinos make up the two largest minority groups in the United States, and compared with Whites, these ethnic minority groups face disproportionate risk for certain physical health problems. However, factors that may protect these groups against early risk for poor health are not entirely understood. Familism, which...
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As the United States becomes more diverse, the ways in which mainstream institutions recognize and address race and ethnicity will be increasingly important. Here, we show that one novel and salient characteristic of an institutional environment, that is, whether a school emphasizes the value of racial and ethnic diversity, predicts better cardiome...
Presentation
Background: Growing research suggests that reward hypersensitivity and immune dysfunction jointly confer risk for bipolar spectrum disorders (BSDs), which is characterized by an altered reward-related neural profile. However, the mechanisms underlying the joint effect remain unclear. One possible mechanism is that reward-hypersensitive individuals...
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Major life stress often produces a flat diurnal cortisol slope, an indicator of potential long-term health problems. Exposure to stress early in childhood or the accumulation of stress across the life span may be responsible for this pattern. However, the relative impact of life stress at different life stages on diurnal cortisol is unknown. Using...
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Rationale: Recent research reveals that, although girls encounter some barriers in school (e.g., in science and math), on balance, boys perform worse academically. Moreover, other research has identified a correlation between exposure to a context characterized by large disparities in performance or resources and a range of negative outcomes, incl...