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    Research News Roundup: November 16, 2023

    Effectiveness of a Media Campaign Promoting Health Care Provider Tobacco Dependence Treatment

    Journal: Preventive Medicine Reports, 2023, doi: 10.1016/j.pmedr.2023.102403

    Authors: Kim A. Hayes, Elizabeth M. Brown, James Nonnemaker, Harlan Juster, Christina Ortega-Peluso, Matthew C. Farrelly, & Kevin Davis


    The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) developed a provider-focused media campaign to encourage provision of evidence-based, clinical tobacco dependence treatment (TDT). The purpose of this study was to assess providers’ awareness of the campaign and the relationship between campaign awareness and changes in campaign-related beliefs and clinical TDT intervention. We conducted a longitudinal, mailed survey of health care providers in New York State (n = 851; AAPOR3 RR: 24.6%). We estimated descriptive statistics and used multivariable regression analyses to assess whether changes in key outcomes (campaign-related beliefs and clinical TDT) from pre- to post-campaign vary by self-reported campaign awareness. Approximately 12% of providers were aware of the campaign. In multivariable analyses, changes from pre- to post-campaign in provider beliefs that the nicotine patch and gum are very effective at helping patients quit were greater for providers aware of the campaign compared with those not aware of the campaign (For patch: OR 2.17, CI 1.06-4.45, p = 0.03; for gum: OR 2.78, CI: 1.24-6.27, p = 0.01), but not for provider behavior. After seeing the NYSDOH campaign, providers’ beliefs about the effectiveness of the patch and gum increased. Many state tobacco control programs and health care organizations are implementing tobacco-related policies and systems to facilitate the provision of clinical TDT; this study suggests that a digital and print provider-focused media campaign has the potential to complement health systems change interventions. Future studies should seek to identify ways to modify ad delivery to increase campaign awareness to maximize potential campaign impact.

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

    Cognitive Behavioral Immersion for Substance Use Disorders: A Feasibility and Pilot Study of a Peer-Based Coaching Program in the Metaverse

    Journal: Games for Health Journal, 2023, doi: 10.1089/g4h.2022.0214

    Authors: Noah Robinson, Anjali Mahapatra, Brianna Jean-Baptiste, Austin Mallard, Aaron Yang, Steven D. Hollon, & Iony D. Ezawa

    Introduction: Cognitive Behavioral Immersion (CBI) is a novel cognitive-behavioral skills program delivered by lay coaches in the metaverse through immersive virtual reality technology.

    Objectives: The objective for this study was to run a feasibility and pilot study of CBI for individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder.

    Methods: Data from 48 participants were used and program usage was assessed. Participants were asked to complete questionnaires assessing affect, perceived online social support, and group therapy alliance throughout their participation in the program. Structured qualitative interviews were also conducted with a subset of participants (n = 11) to understand the feasibility of the novel program.

    Results: Participants experienced a significant increase in their positive affect and non-significant decrease in their negative affect during their most recently attended session. Participants also experienced a nonsignificant increase in online social support across their participation in the program. Structured qualitative interviews revealed eight primary themes, including both advantages (community, psychoeducational impact, immersion, comparability with other interventions, coping in the pandemic, and anonymity) and areas of improvement (challenges and technological usability) of the program.

    Conclusion: This study provides preliminary support for the feasibility and potential effects of CBI and its incorporation of lay coaches to lead cognitive-behavioral skills groups in the metaverse. Future research is encouraged to examine the feasibility and efficacy of this program for a broader array of clinical presentations.

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

    Neural Correlates of Negative Life Events and their Relationships with Alcohol and Cannabis Use Initiation

    Journal: Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 2023, doi: 10.1080/19585969.2023.2252437

    Authors: Yihong Zhao, Marc N. Potenza, Susan F. Tapert, & Martin P. Paulus


    Objective: Negative life events (NLEs), e.g., poor academic performance (controllable) or being the victim of a crime (uncontrollable), can profoundly affect the trajectory of one’s life. Yet, their impact on how the brain develops is still not well understood. This investigation examined the National Consortium on Alcohol and Neurodevelopment in Adolescence (NCANDA) dataset for the impact of NLEs on the initiation of alcohol and cannabis use, as well as underlying neural mechanisms.

    Methods: This study evaluated the impact of controllable and uncontrollable NLEs on substance use initiation in 207 youth who initiated alcohol use, 168 who initiated cannabis use, and compared it to 128 youth who remained substance-naïve, using generalised linear regression models. Mediation analyses were conducted to determine neural pathways of NLE impacting substance use trajectories.

    Results: Dose-response relationships between controllable NLEs and substance use initiation were observed. Having one controllable NLE increased the odds of alcohol initiation by 50% (95%CI [1.18, 1.93]) and cannabis initiation by 73% (95%CI [1.36, 2.24]), respectively. Greater cortical thickness in left banks of the superior temporal sulcus mediated effects of controllable NLEs on alcohol and cannabis initiations. Greater left caudate gray-matter volumes mediated effects of controllable NLEs on cannabis initiation.

    Conclusions: Controllable but not uncontrollable NLEs increased the odds of alcohol and cannabis initiation. Moreover, those individuals with less mature brain structures at the time of the NLEs experienced a greater impact of NLEs on subsequent initiation of alcohol or cannabis use. Targeting youth experiencing controllable NLEs may help mitigate alcohol and cannabis initiation.

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

    Adapting, Implementing, and Maintaining a Group Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Program at an Inpatient Addiction Treatment Facility

    Journal: Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 2023, doi: 10.2147/SAR.S433523

    Authors: Jessica L. Bourdon, Sidney Judson, Gabriella Caporaso, Monica F. Wright, Taylor Fields, Nehal P. Vadhan, & Jon Morgenstern


    Background: Quality training is an oft-cited barrier to effective implementation and ongoing delivery of high-quality evidence-based practice (EBP) across fields. This is especially true in the addiction field, but there is little cited evidence for optimal methods to improve EBP in inpatient addiction facilities with minimal resources.

    Objective: The current paper focuses on evaluating the state of our facility’s group CBT manual and clinical training on the manual in a “realistic” (ie, non-RCT, non-grant-funded) inpatient addiction treatment setting.

    Methods: Five full-time clinicians volunteered to take part in the study (woman = 60%; Mage = 36.20 years). The study involved a mix of semi-structured interviews and surveys designed to measure seven outcomes (barriers, feasibility, useability, appropriateness, acceptability, burden, trialability).

    Results: Three themes emerged from the data that impacted the group CBT manual: training, timing, and functionality. Addressing these themes allowed for a new, optimal manual and training procedure to be put into place.

    Conclusion: The current study highlights that under-resourced inpatient addiction facilities can still methodically utilize implementation approaches to study their EBP, namely CBT. Such an approach will ensure that the highest quality care is being delivered to patients and actively addresses known training barriers that prevent proper EBP delivery.

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

    Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems and E-Liquid Modifications to Vape Cannabis Depicted in Online Videos

    Journal: JAMA Network Open, 2023, doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.41075

    Authors: Rachel R. Ouellette, Sophia Selino, & Grace Kong


    Importance: Electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) were created to vape nicotine e-liquids; however, social media demonstrates increased ENDS modifications to vape cannabis. Analysis of social media content helps with understanding ENDS modifications for cannabis use, overlapping markets for ENDS and cannabis, and the need for additional regulation.

    Objective: To analyze online videos for use, modification, and marketing of ENDS to vape cannabis.

    Design, Setting, and Participants: In this qualitative study, 10 searches were performed on YouTube on July 14, 2022, using different combinations of relevant search terms to identify videos depicting modifications to ENDS and e-liquids to vape cannabis. The first 40 videos from each search (400 videos total, 152 without duplicates) were extracted, of which 59 included depiction or discussion of cannabis vaping content. Content analysis of videos included iterative development of codes, consensus building across team members, and reliability checks.

    Main Outcomes and Measures: Metadata (ie, video length, number of likes, comments, and views) were extracted for included videos. Coding was performed for uploader type, modifications to ENDS and e-liquids, devices used, cannabis products vaped, age restriction, purchasing links, health claims, and discussion of warning messages and cannabis regulations.

    Results: Of the 59 videos analyzed, 34 (58%) included tetrahydrocannabinol; 33 (56%), cannabidiol; and 8 (14%), both. A total of 21 videos (36%) were age-restricted, while 25 (42%) included purchasing links for cannabis products, 20 (34%) for ENDS, and 7 (12%) for nicotine e-liquids. Twenty-six videos (44%) made claims about health benefits of vaping cannabis. Forty-one videos (69%) demonstrated vaping manufacturer-made cannabis products (eg, cannabis concentrates) with no modifications needed. Eighteen videos (31%) depicted modifications to e-liquids or ENDS for cannabis use. The most frequent modification was mixing e-liquids with cannabis products to be compatible with ENDS. The most frequently reported reason for modifications was to vape cannabis in public by using the same devices used for nicotine.

    Conclusions and Relevance: This qualitative study of online videos found high frequencies of statements about health benefits from vaping cannabis, frequent purchasing links, and inadequate age restrictions. Exposure to such content on social media platforms may increase risk of cannabis vaping among youth. Use of the same devices for multiple substances may also enable dual use and complicate the US Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of ENDS.

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