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Barriers to research participation by racial and ethnic minority group members are multi-factorial, stem from historical social injustices and occur at participant, research team, and research process levels. The informed consent procedure is a key component of the research process and represents an opportunity to address these barriers. This manuscript describes the development of the Strengthening Translational Research in Diverse Enrollment (STRIDE) intervention, which aims to improve research participation by individuals from underrepresented groups.
We used a community-engaged approach to develop an integrated, culturally, and literacy-sensitive, multi-component intervention that addresses barriers to research participation during the informed consent process. This approach involved having Community Investigators participate in intervention development activities and using community engagement studios and other methods to get feedback from community members on intervention components.
The STRIDE intervention has three components: a simulation-based training program directed toward clinical study research assistants that emphasizes cultural competency and communication skills for assisting in the informed consent process, an electronic consent (eConsent) framework designed to improve health-related research material comprehension and relevance, and a “storytelling” intervention in which prior research participants from diverse backgrounds share their experiences delivered via video vignettes during the consent process.
The community engaged development approach resulted in a multi-component intervention that addresses known barriers to research participation and can be integrated into the consent process of research studies. Results of an ongoing study will determine its effectiveness at increasing diversity among research participants.
Early adverse experiences are believed to have a profound effect on inhibitory control and the underlying neural regions. In the current study, behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) data were collected during a go/no-go task from adolescents who were involved with the child welfare system due to child maltreatment (n = 129) and low-income, nonmaltreated adolescents (n = 102). The nonmaltreated adolescents were more accurate than the maltreated adolescents on the go/no-go task, particularly on the no-go trials. Paralleling the results with typically developing populations, the nonmaltreated adolescents displayed a more pronounced amplitude of the N2 during the no-go trials than during the go trials. However, the maltreated adolescents demonstrated a more pronounced amplitude of the N2 during the go trials than during the no-go trials. Furthermore, while the groups did not differ during the go trials, the nonmaltreated adolescents displayed a more negative amplitude of the N2 than the maltreated adolescents during no-go trials. In contrast, there was not a significant group difference in amplitude of the P3. Taken together, these results provide evidence that the early adverse experiences encountered by maltreated populations impact inhibitory control and the underlying neural activity in early adolescence.
This study examined the impact of a school readiness intervention on external response monitoring in children in foster care. Behavioral and event-related potential (ERP) data were collected during a flanker task from children who received the Kids In Transition to School (KITS) Program (n = 26) and children who received services as usual (n = 19) before and after the intervention. While there were no significant group differences on the behavioral data, the ERP data for the two groups of children significantly differed. Specifically, in contrast to the children who received services as usual, the children who received the KITS Program displayed greater amplitude differences between positive and negative performance feedback over time for the N1, which reflects early attention processes, and feedback-related negativity, which reflects evaluation processes. In addition, although the two groups did not differ on amplitude differences between positive and negative performance feedback for these ERP components before the intervention, the children who received the KITS Program displayed greater amplitude differences than the children who received services as usual after the intervention. These results suggest that the KITS Program had an effect on responsivity to external performance feedback, which may be beneficial during the transition into kindergarten.
Maltreated children in foster care are at high risk for dysregulated hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis functioning and educational difficulties. The present study examined the effects of a short-term school readiness intervention on HPA axis functioning in response to the start of kindergarten, a critical transition marking entry to formal schooling, and whether altered HPA axis functioning influenced children's school adjustment. Compared to a foster care comparison group, children in the intervention group showed a steeper diurnal cortisol slope on the first day of school, a pattern previously observed among nonmaltreated children. A steeper first day of school diurnal cortisol slope predicted teacher ratings of better school adjustment (i.e., academic performance, appropriate classroom behaviors, and engagement in learning) in the fall of kindergarten. Furthermore, the children's HPA axis response to the start of school mediated the effect of the intervention on school adjustment. These findings support the potential for ameliorative effects of interventions targeting critical transitional periods, such as the transition of formal schooling. This school readiness intervention appears to influence stress neurobiology, which in turn facilitates positive engagement with the school environment and better school adjustment in children who have experienced significant early adversity.
This study aimed to specify the neural mechanisms underlying the link between low household income and diminished executive control in the preschool period. Specifically, we examined whether individual differences in the neural processes associated with executive attention and inhibitory control accounted for income differences observed in performance on a neuropsychological battery of executive control tasks. The study utilized a sample of preschool-aged children (N = 118) whose families represented the full range of income, with 32% of families at/near poverty, 32% lower income, and 36% middle to upper income. Children completed a neuropsychological battery of executive control tasks and then completed two computerized executive control tasks while EEG data were collected. We predicted that differences in the event-related potential (ERP) correlates of executive attention and inhibitory control would account for income differences observed on the executive control battery. Income and ERP measures were related to performance on the executive control battery. However, income was unrelated to ERP measures. The findings suggest that income differences observed in executive control during the preschool period might relate to processes other than executive attention and inhibitory control.
Children in foster care have often encountered a range of adverse experiences, including neglectful and/or abusive care and multiple caregiver transitions. Prior research findings suggest that such experiences negatively affect inhibitory control and the underlying neural circuitry. In the current study, event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging was employed during a go/no go task that assesses inhibitory control to compare the behavioral performance and brain activation of foster children and nonmaltreated children. The sample included two groups of 9- to 12-year-old children: 11 maltreated foster children and 11 nonmaltreated children living with their biological parents. There were no significant group differences on behavioral performance on the task. In contrast, patterns of brain activation differed by group. The nonmaltreated children demonstrated stronger activation than did the foster children across several regions, including the right anterior cingulate cortex, the middle frontal gyrus, and the right lingual gyrus, during correct no go trials, whereas the foster children displayed stronger activation than the nonmaltreated children in the left inferior parietal lobule and the right superior occipital cortex, including the lingual gyrus and cuneus, during incorrect no go trials. These results provide preliminary evidence that the early adversity experienced by foster children impacts the neural substrates of inhibitory control.
To assess the change in Na content of Australian pasta sauces between 2008 and 2011. A secondary objective was to project the mean Na content of these same products in 2014 using the Australian Food and Health Dialogue Na commitment and compare projections with the 2012 UK Na target for pasta sauce.
Na data were collected from the product labels of pasta sauce products. Mean Na content was calculated for 2008 and 2011 and change assessed. Projected mean values for 2014 were derived by applying a 15 % reduction to the 2011 products above the ‘action point’ of 420 mg Na/100 g, consistent with the Food and Health Dialogue commitment (scenario 1). A 15 % reduction was applied to products already below the ‘action point’ (scenario 2). Projections were compared with the 2012 UK target.
Na data for pasta sauce products in Australian supermarkets (July–September) in 2008 and 2011.
Data were available for 124 (2008) and 187 (2011) products, and mean Na levels were not significantly different (451 mg/100 g v. 423 mg/100 g; P = 0·16). The projected means (381 mg Na/100 g in scenario 1; 375 mg Na/100 g in scenario 2) exceeded the 2012 UK target (330 mg Na/100 g) and to attain this would require a 22 % reduction from 2011 levels.
There is little evidence that all Australian manufacturers of pasta sauces systematically reduced the Na content of their products between 2008 and 2011. Even if all manufacturers achieve the current voluntary commitment by 2014, average salt levels in Australian products would still be above the 2012 UK target.
The goal of this study was to examine whether growth delay can serve as an index of allostatic load during early development, as it is well known that the activity of stress-mediating systems inhibits growth. The participants were children adopted internationally from institutional care (n = 36), children adopted internationally from foster care (n = 26), and nonadopted children (n = 35). For the adopted children, height for age and weight for height were assessed at adoption; for all children, disinhibited social approach (DSA; termed elsewhere as “indiscriminate friendliness”) and diurnal cortisol were assessed at 6–8 years (M = 6.9 years). For internationally adopted children in general, and postinstitutionalized children specifically, linear growth delay assessed at the time of adoption was associated with more dysregulated behavior in response to an unfamiliar adult (i.e., greater DSA) and a more dysregulated diurnal cortisol rhythm (i.e., higher late afternoon and evening values). Further, among the most growth-delayed children, higher cortisol levels later in the day were correlated with DSA. The potential for using growth delay as an allostatic load indicator and the possible problems and limitations in its use in child populations are discussed.