Discrimination, Racial clinical trials at University of California Health
2 in progress, 1 open to eligible people
open to eligible females ages 18-50
Obesity is a major public health problem related to a variety of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Prior research indicates that social stressors contribute to risk for obesity, possibly through alterations in diet and physical activity. However, it is not fully clear how these alterations contribute to obesity. The purpose of this study is to examine how the stressors of social isolation and discrimination relate to eating behaviors and dietary patterns, and further, how these behaviors affect the brain-gut-microbiome (BGM) connections. This study will focus on Mexican and Filipina women because research shows that they encounter a high burden of obesity and exposure to social stressors. Approximately 300 Mexican and Filipina women will be screened and enrolled. They will then provide information about social stressors via food diaries, physical body measures (e.g. waist circumference), questionnaire data regarding diet and eating behaviors, and measures of physical activity. Stool and serum will be collected to analyze microbes and metabolomics, and MRI to assess brain changes in the reward network. Analytic techniques will be used to integrate data from these multiple data sources. This analysis will determine the unique differences associated with ethnicity and social stressors in moderating eating behaviors and dietary patterns. The results of this study will provide new information about a possible pathway whereby social stressors affect behavioral, neurological and microbiome mechanisms related to obesity risk and provide new information in BGM patterns in two understudied ethnic groups. In the long term, this research may suggest possible approaches for intervention that may help reduce inequalities in obesity and related health problems.
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Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMADs) encompass a range of mental health disorders that occur during pregnancy and up to one year postpartum. Approximately 13% of women experience PMADs. This rate doubles for those with adverse perinatal outcomes (APO) and triples in Black women. Recent research points to racism as one significant source of these health disparities. Cultural adaptations to improve communication with providers decrease rates of depression in minority patients as well as improve adherence to treatment, insight and alliance. Discrimination stress and worries about experiencing medical consequences are thought to increase systemic inflammation, a mechanism known to drive mental and physical symptoms. Inflammation has been implicated in both PMADs and APO, suggesting a shared underlying etiology. Evidence from our work suggests that inflammation contributes to the pathophysiology of PMADs. The proposed pilot randomized control trial will allow the investigators to build on promising preliminary results and identify whether our culturally relevant mobile Health (mHealth) intervention is effective in improving outcomes among Black pregnant women randomized to the intervention compared to a control group. The culturally relevant modules include building communication and self-advocacy skills and provide a support network. The primary objective of this research is to provide guidance for clinical care of Black women during the perinatal period, with the goal to improve mental health and physical health outcomes. A secondary goal is to examine novel inflammatory signatures that change as a function of the intervention to reduce PMADs in this population. As inflammation may be diagnostic of PMADs, identification of its role may shed light of potential intervention targets and provide critical knowledge to improve women's long-term health. PMAD symptoms will be assessed prospectively in 150 Black pregnant women, half of whom will be randomized to receive the culturally relevant mHealth intervention. The investigators hypothesize that women in the intervention group will have reduced rates of PMADs and APOs, an increase in adherence to mental health treatment and will report increased self-advocacy skills, increased communication with providers, and reduced levels of discrimination related stress. Participants will also have improved biological risk indicators including lower circulating C-reactive protein and a transcription profile of differentially expressed inflammatory genes, marked by a decreased activity of inflammatory transcription factors from blood spots. Given the high burden of both PMADs and APOs among Black mothers and the numerous consequences on maternal and child outcomes, it is imperative that investigators develop and implement effective interventions, and test the biological mechanisms that might drive these effects. This work is interdisciplinary, building on a network of community advocates to implement a novel mHealth intervention informed by real world experiences designed to enhance self-advocacy, reduce stress and prevent adverse outcomes
Our lead scientists for Discrimination, Racial research studies include Arpana Gupta, PhD.