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    Research News Roundup: June 27, 2024

    Youth Attention, Perceptions, and Appeal in Response to E-Cigarette Advertising Features: A Focus Group Study

    Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2024.102789

    Authors: Michelle Jeong, Caitlin Weiger, Caitlin Uriarte, Olivia A. Wackowski, & Cristine D. Delnevo


    Background: E-cigarette marketing exposure may influence vaping-related outcomes among youth, but less is known on which specific advertising features impact youth attention, perceptions, and appeal. This study qualitatively examines responses to different e-cigarette advertising features among e-cigarette-naïve youth.

    Methods: We conducted four online focus groups in 2021 with a national U.S. sample of 13–17 year olds (n = 25) who had never used e-cigarettes. Participants viewed and discussed their reactions to different e-cigarette advertisements varying in the inclusion of ad features, including color, models in imagery, text claims targeting smokers, and the nicotine warning label.

    Results: Participants were attracted to ads with bright colors, particularly when contrasted against a dark background. Ads featuring models attracted attention and reduced perceptions that the product is harmful. Comments indicated mixed reactions to smoker-targeted text claims. On one hand, participants perceived ads with text that specified “for smokers” as targeting older adults. On the other hand, text referring to “switching” from cigarettes to e-cigarettes led to some perceptions that the product is healthy, and certain text that implicitly referred to smoking (e.g., “no odor”) had the potential to appeal to youth who wanted to use e-cigarettes discreetly. The level of attention paid to warnings depended on warning size and the color contrast between the warning and the rest of the ad.

    Conclusions: Findings suggest specific e-cigarette ad features play an important role in attracting youth attention and influencing perceptions. More research is needed on the potential public health benefits versus unintended consequences of smoker-targeted text claims.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Major Psychiatric Disorders, Substance Use Behaviors, and Longevity

    Journal: JAMA Psychiatry, 2024, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2024.1429

    Authors: Daniel B. Rosoff, Ali M. Hamandi, Andrew S. Bell, Lucas A. Mavromatis, Lauren M. Park, Jeesun Jung, Josephin Wagner, & Falk W. Lohoff


    Importance: Observational studies suggest that major psychiatric disorders and substance use behaviors reduce longevity, making it difficult to disentangle their relationships with aging-related outcomes.

    Objective: To evaluate the associations between the genetic liabilities for major psychiatric disorders, substance use behaviors (smoking and alcohol consumption), and longevity.

    Design, Settings, and Participants:  This 2-sample mendelian randomization (MR) study assessed associations between psychiatric disorders, substance use behaviors, and longevity using single-variable and multivariable models. Multiomics analyses were performed elucidating transcriptomic underpinnings of the MR associations and identifying potential proteomic therapeutic targets. This study sourced summary-level genome-wide association study (GWAS) data, gene expression, and proteomic data from cohorts of European ancestry. Analyses were performed from May 2022 to November 2023.

    Exposures: Genetic susceptibility for major depression (n = 500 199), bipolar disorder (n = 413 466), schizophrenia (n = 127 906), problematic alcohol use (n = 435 563), weekly alcohol consumption (n = 666 978), and lifetime smoking index (n = 462 690).

    Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcome encompassed aspects of health span, lifespan, and exceptional longevity. Additional outcomes were epigenetic age acceleration (EAA) clocks.

    Results: Findings from multivariable MR models simultaneously assessing psychiatric disorders and substance use behaviorsm suggest a negative association between smoking and longevity in cohorts of European ancestry (n = 709 709; 431 503 [60.8%] female; β, −0.33; 95% CI, −0.38 to −0.28; P = 4.59 × 10−34) and with increased EAA (n = 34 449; 18 017 [52.3%] female; eg, PhenoAge: β, 1.76; 95% CI, 0.72 to 2.79; P = 8.83 × 10−4). Transcriptomic imputation and colocalization identified 249 genes associated with smoking, including 36 novel genes not captured by the original smoking GWAS. Enriched pathways included chromatin remodeling and telomere assembly and maintenance. The transcriptome-wide signature of smoking was inversely associated with longevity, and estimates of individual smoking-associated genes, eg, XRCC3 and PRMT6, aligned with the smoking-longevity MR analyses, suggesting underlying transcriptomic mediators. Cis-instrument MR prioritized brain proteins associated with smoking behavior, including LY6H (β, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.03; P = 2.37 × 10−6) and RIT2 (β, 0.02; 95% CI, 0.01 to 0.03; P = 1.05 × 10−5), which had favorable adverse-effect profiles across 367 traits evaluated in phenome-wide MR.

    Conclusions: The findings suggest that the genetic liability of smoking, but not of psychiatric disorders, is associated with longevity. Transcriptomic associations offer insights into smoking-related pathways, and identified proteomic targets may inform therapeutic development for smoking cessation strategies.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Journal: Journal of Perinatal Medicine, 2024, doi: 10.1515/jpm-2024-0067

    Authors: Panagiota Kitsantas, Sebastian Densley, Meera Rao, Lea Sacca, Robert S. Levine, Charles H. Hennekens, & Maria C. Mejia


    Objectives: We explored temporal trends in drug-related infant deaths in the United States (U.S.) from 2018 to 2022.

    Methods: We used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER). A total of 295 drug-involved infant deaths were identified from 2018 to 2022 (provisional mortality data for year 2022) based on the underlying cause of death.

    Results: In the U.S. from 2018 to 2022, there was a significant 2.2-fold increase in drug-involved infant mortality. The observed increases were higher in non-Hispanic White and Black infants. The findings show that drug-involved infant deaths were more likely to occur in the post neonatal period, defined as ages 28–364 days (81.4 %) compared to the neonatal period. The most prevalent underlying causes of death included assault (homicide) by drugs, medicaments and biological substances (35.6 %) followed by poisoning due to exposure to narcotics and psychodysleptics (hallucinogens) (15.6 %). The most common multiple causes of drug-involved infant deaths were psychostimulants with abuse potential of synthetic narcotics.

    Conclusions: Drug-related infant mortality has increased significantly from 2018 to 2022. These increases are particularly evident among White and Black infants and occurred predominantly in the postneonatal period. These findings require more research but also indicate the need to address drug-involved infant deaths as preventable clinical and public health issues. Effective strategies to reduce drug-involved infant deaths will require preventing and treating maternal substance use disorders, enhancing prenatal care access, and addressing broader social and behavioral risk factors among vulnerable maternal and infant populations.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Association Between Cannabis Potency and Mental Health in Adolescence

    Journal: JAMA Psychiatry, 2024, doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.1035

    Authors: Lindsey A. Hines, Rebecca Cannings-John, Jemma Hawkins, Chris Bonell, Matthew Hickman, Stanley Zammit, Linda Adara, Julia Townson, & James White


    Introduction: In legal and illegal markets, high-potency cannabis (>10% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)) is increasingly available. In adult samples higher-potency cannabis has been associated with mental health disorder but no studies have considered associations in adolescence.

    Methods: A population-wide study compared no, low and high potency cannabis using adolescents (aged 13–14 years) self-reported symptoms of probable depression, anxiety, and auditory hallucinations.

    Results: Of the 6,672 participants, high-potency cannabis was used by 2.6% (n=171) and low-potency by 0.6% (n=38). After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, tobacco and alcohol use, in comparison to participants who had never used cannabis, high-potency but not low-potency users were more likely to report symptoms of depression (odds ratio 1.59 [95% confidence interval 1.06, 2.39), anxiety (OR 1.45, 95% CI 0.96, 2.20), and auditory hallucinations (OR 1.56, 95% CI 0.98, 2.47).

    Conclusions: High-potency cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of probable mental health disorders. Services and programming to minimise drug harms may need to be adapted to pay more attention to cannabis potency.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Perceptions around Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Among a Diverse Sample of U.S. Adults

    Journal: Journal of Substance Use & Addiction Treatment, 2024, doi: 10.1016/j.josat.2024.209361

    Authors: Kaitlyn Jaffe, Stephanie Slat, Liying Chen, Colin Macleod, Amy Bohnert, & Pooja Lagisetty


    Introduction: Medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) including methadone (MMT), buprenorphine (BUP), and naltrexone (NTX) are safe and effective. However, there are significant negative perceptions surrounding MOUD, creating barriers to uptake. While research on MOUD stigma has largely focused on provider and patient experiences, fewer studies have explored MOUD perceptions among the general public. Given that MOUD stigma expressed by social ties surrounding individuals with OUD can influence treatment choices, we assessed MOUD perceptions among U.S. adults to determine how beliefs impacted treatment preference. We further explored how MOUD perceptions may be amplified among racialized groups with histories of experiencing drug-related discrimination.

    Methods: The study collected survey data from a diverse sample of U.S. adults (n = 1508) between October 2020 and January 2021. The survey measured knowledge of MOUD and non-medication treatments, relative agreement with common MOUD perceptions, and treatment preferences. Multinomial logistic regression analysis tested associations with treatment preference, stratified by race/ethnicity.

    Results: Descriptive results indicated that across groups, many respondents (66.8 %) had knowledge of MOUD, but believed MOUD was a “substitute” for opioids and had some degree of concern about misuse. Multivariable results showed knowledge of non-medication treatments was positively associated with MOUD preference among White (MMT OR = 3.16, 95 % CI = 1.35-7.39; BUP OR = 2.69, CI = 1.11-6.47), Black (MMT OR = 3.91, CI = 1.58-9.69), and Latino/a (MMT OR = 5.12, CI = 1.99-13.2; BUP OR = 3.85, CI = 1.5-9.87; NTX OR = 4.51, CI = 1.44-14.06) respondents. Among White respondents, we identified positive associations between MOUD experience and buprenorphine preference (OR = 4.33, CI = 1.17-16.06); non-medication treatment experience and preference for buprenorphine (OR = 2.86, CI = 1.03-7.94) and naltrexone (OR = 3.17, CI = 1.08-9.28). Concerns around misuse of methadone were negatively associated with methadone preference among White (OR = 0.65, CI = 0.43-0.98) and Latino/a (OR = 0.49, CI = 0.34-0.7), and concerns around misuse of buprenorphine was negatively associated with preference for MOUD among White (MMT OR = 0.62, CI = 0.39-0.99; BUP OR = 0.48, CI = 0.3-0.77; NTX OR = 0.6, CI = 0.36-0.99) and Latino/a (BUP OR = 0.59, CI = 0.39-0.89) respondents.

    Conclusions: This analysis offers critical insights into treatment perceptions beyond the patient population, finding that negative beliefs around MOUD are common and negatively associated with preferences for medication-based treatment. These findings highlight implications for public support of evidence-based treatment and lay the groundwork for future interventions addressing public stigma toward MOUD.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.


    June 2024