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Prevention of Covid-19 with the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 Vaccines [Comment]

Santacatterina, Michele; Sanders, John W; Weintraub, William S
PMID: 34614320
ISSN: 1533-4406
CID: 5015352

Optimal probability weights for estimating causal effects of time-varying treatments with marginal structural Cox models

Santacatterina, Michele; García-Pareja, Celia; Bellocco, Rino; Sönnerborg, Anders; Ekström, Anna Mia; Bottai, Matteo
Marginal structural Cox models have been used to estimate the causal effect of a time-varying treatment on a survival outcome in the presence of time-dependent confounders. These methods rely on the positivity assumption, which states that the propensity scores are bounded away from zero and one. Practical violations of this assumption are common in longitudinal studies, resulting in extreme weights that may yield erroneous inferences. Truncation, which consists of replacing outlying weights with less extreme ones, is the most common approach to control for extreme weights to date. While truncation reduces the variability in the weights and the consequent sampling variability of the estimator, it can also introduce bias. Instead of truncated weights, we propose using optimal probability weights, defined as those that have a specified variance and the smallest Euclidean distance from the original, untruncated weights. The set of optimal weights is obtained by solving a constrained quadratic optimization problem. The proposed weights are evaluated in a simulation study and applied to the assessment of the effect of treatment on time to death among people in Sweden who live with human immunodeficiency virus and inject drugs.
PMID: 30592073
ISSN: 1097-0258
CID: 5015312

More robust estimation of average treatment effects using kernel optimal matching in an observational study of spine surgical interventions

Kallus, Nathan; Pennicooke, Brenton; Santacatterina, Michele
Inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW), which has been used to estimate average treatment effects (ATE) using observational data, tenuously relies on the positivity assumption and the correct specification of the treatment assignment model, both of which are problematic assumptions in many observational studies. Various methods have been proposed to overcome these challenges, including truncation, covariate-balancing propensity scores, and stable balancing weights. Motivated by an observational study in spine surgery, in which positivity is violated and the true treatment assignment model is unknown, we present the use of optimal balancing by kernel optimal matching (KOM) to estimate ATE. By uniformly controlling the conditional mean squared error of a weighted estimator over a class of models, KOM simultaneously mitigates issues of possible misspecification of the treatment assignment model and is able to handle practical violations of the positivity assumption, as shown in our simulation study. Using data from a clinical registry, we apply KOM to compare two spine surgical interventions and demonstrate how the result matches the conclusions of clinical trials that IPTW estimates spuriously refute.
PMID: 33665870
ISSN: 1097-0258
CID: 5015332

Vaccine-induced seroconversion in participants in the North Carolina COVID-19 community Research Partnership

Friedman-Klabanoff, DeAnna J; Tjaden, Ashley H; Santacatterina, Michele; Munawar, Iqra; Sanders, John W; Herrington, David M; Wierzba, Thomas F; Berry, Andrea A
Well-regulated clinical trials have shown FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines to be immunogenic and highly efficacious. We evaluated seroconversion rates in adults reporting ≥ 1 dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine in a cohort study of nearly 8000 adults residing in North Carolina to validate immunogenicity using a novel approach: at-home, participant administered point-of-care testing. Overall, 91.4% had documented seroconversion within 75 days of first vaccination (median: 31 days). Participants who were older and male participants were less likely to seroconvert (adults aged 41-65: adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 0.69 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.64, 0.73], adults aged 66-95: aHR 0.55 [95% CI: 0.50, 0.60], compared to those 18-40; males: aHR 0.92 [95% CI: 0.87, 0.98], compared to females). Participants with evidence of prior infection were more likely to seroconvert than those without (aHR 1.50 [95% CI: 1.19, 1.88]) and those receiving BNT162b2 were less likely to seroconvert compared to those receiving mRNA-1273 (aHR 0.84 [95% CI: 0.79, 0.90]). Reporting at least one new symptom after first vaccination did not affect time to seroconversion, but participants reporting at least one new symptom after second vaccination were more likely to seroconvert (aHR 1.11 [95% CI: 1.05, 1.17]). This data demonstrates the high community-level immunogenicity of COVID-19 vaccines, albeit with notable differences in older adults, and feasibility of using at-home, participant administered point-of-care testing for community cohort monitoring. Trial registration: NCT04342884.
PMID: 36117003
ISSN: 1873-2518
CID: 5332982

Cochlear Implantation Outcomes in Patients With Retrocochlear Pathology: A Systematic Review and Pooled Analysis

Schlacter, Jamie A; Kay-Rivest, Emily; Nicholson, Joseph; Santacatterina, Michele; Zhang, Yan; Jethanamest, Daniel; Friedmann, David R; McMenomey, Sean O; Roland, J Thomas
OBJECTIVE:To review the current literature regarding cochlear implantation in patients with retrocochlear pathologies and extract speech perception scores between 6 months and 1 year after surgery. DATABASES REVIEWED/UNASSIGNED:PubMed/MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane CENTRAL via Ovid, CINAHL Complete via Ebsco, and Web of Science. METHODS:The review was conducted according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Search strategies included keywords and subject headings to maximize retrieval and reflect cochlear implants and retrocochlear pathologies. Patients with previously resected vestibular schwannoma (VS) were excluded. RESULTS:There were 2,524 abstracts screened against inclusion criteria, and 53 studies were included, with individual data available for 171 adult patients. Pathologies included were either observed or irradiated VS (previously operated tumors were excluded) (n = 99, 57.9%), superficial siderosis (n = 39, 22.8%), neurosarcoidosis (n = 11, 6.4%), and previous central nervous system or skull base radiation (n = 22, 12.9%). Mean (standard deviation) postoperative consonant-nucleus-consonant (CNC) word scores were 45.4% (24.2) for observed VS, 44.4% (20.8) for irradiated VS, 43.6% (21.0) for superficial siderosis, 89.5% (3.0) for neurosarcoidosis, and 30.0% (30.2) in patients with previous central nervous system or skull base irradiation. Irradiated compared with observed VS had similar postoperative CNC word scores (effect size, 0.06; p = 0.71). Age, sex, maximal tumor dimension, and neurofibromatosis type 2 status did not significantly impact cochlear implant performance in patients with VS. Eighty-two percent of patients with reported device usage were daily users, and overall, 82% of cases benefitted from cochlear implantation. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Cochlear implantation in patients with concomitant retrocochlear pathology generally results in improved speech discrimination scores sustained over time.
PMID: 36047686
ISSN: 1537-4505
CID: 5335012

Timing of headache after COVID-19 vaccines and its association with cerebrovascular events: An analysis of 41,700 VAERS reports

Garcia-Azorin, David; Baykan, Betül; Beghi, Ettore; Doheim, Mohamed F; Fernandez-de-Las-Penas, Cesar; Gezegen, Hasim; Guekht, Alla; Hoo, Fan Kee; Santacatterina, Michele; Sejvar, James; Tamborska, Arina A; Thakur, Kiran T; Westenberg, Erica; Winkler, Andrea S; Frontera, Jennifer A
BACKGROUND:Delayed-onset of headache seems a specific feature of cerebrovascular events after COVID-19 vaccines. METHODS:All consecutive events reported to the United States Vaccine Adverse Reporting System following COVID-19 vaccines (1 January to 24 June 2021), were assessed. The timing of headache onset post-vaccination in subjects with and without concomitant cerebrovascular events, including cerebral venous thrombosis, ischemic stroke, and intracranial haemorrhage was analysed. The diagnostic accuracy in predicting concurrent cerebrovascular events of the guideline- proposed threshold of three-days from vaccination to headache onset was evaluated. RESULTS:There were 314,610 events following 306,907,697 COVID-19 vaccine doses, including 41,700 headaches, and 178/41,700 (0.4%) cerebrovascular events. The median time between the vaccination and the headache onset was shorter in isolated headache (1 day vs. 4 (in cerebral venous thrombosis), 3 (in ischemic stroke), or 10 (in intracranial hemorrhage) days, all P < 0.001). Delayed onset of headache had an area under the curve of 0.83 (95% CI: 0.75-0.97) for cerebral venous thrombosis, 0.70 (95% CI: 0.63-76) for ischemic stroke and 0.76 (95% CI: 0.67-84) for intracranial hemorrhage, and >99% negative predictive value. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Headache following COVID-19 vaccination occurs within 1 day and is rarely associated with cerebrovascular events. Delayed onset of headache 3 days post-vaccination was an accurate diagnostic biomarker for the occurrence of a concomitant cerebrovascular events.
PMID: 35514199
ISSN: 1468-2982
CID: 5216402

Neurological Events Reported after COVID-19 Vaccines: An Analysis of VAERS

Frontera, Jennifer A; Tamborska, Arina A; Doheim, Mohamed F; Garcia-Azorin, David; Gezegen, Hasim; Guekht, Alla; Yusof Khan, Abdul Hanif Khan; Santacatterina, Michele; Sejvar, James; Thakur, Kiran T; Westenberg, Erica; Winkler, Andrea S; Beghi, Ettore
OBJECTIVE:To identify the rates of neurological events following administration of mRNA (Pfizer, Moderna) or adenovirus vector (Janssen) vaccines in the U.S.. METHODS:We utilized publicly available data from the U.S. Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) collected between January 1, 2021-June 14, 2021. All free text symptoms that were reported within 42 days of vaccine administration were manually reviewed and grouped into 36 individual neurological diagnostic categories. Post-vaccination neurological event rates were compared between vaccine types and to age-matched baseline incidence rates in the U.S. and rates of neurological events following COVID. RESULTS:Of 306,907,697 COVID vaccine doses administered during the study timeframe, 314,610 (0.1%) people reported any adverse event and 105,214 (0.03%) reported neurological adverse events in a median of 1 day (IQR0-3) from inoculation. Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), and cerebral venous thrombosis (CVT) occurred in fewer than 1 per 1,000,000 doses. Significantly more neurological adverse events were reported following Janssen (Ad26.COV2.S) vaccination compared to either Pfizer-BioNtech (BNT162b2) or Moderna (mRNA-1273; 0.15% versus 0.03% versus 0.03% of doses, respectively,P<0.0001). The observed-to-expected ratios for GBS, CVT and seizure following Janssen vaccination were ≥1.5-fold higher than background rates. However, the rate of neurological events after acute SARS-CoV-2 infection was up to 617-fold higher than after COVID vaccination. INTERPRETATION/CONCLUSIONS:Reports of serious neurological events following COVID vaccination are rare. GBS, CVT and seizure may occur at higher than background rates following Janssen vaccination. Despite this, rates of neurological complications following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection are up to 617-fold higher than after COVID vaccination. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
PMID: 35233819
ISSN: 1531-8249
CID: 5174412

HIV, Tuberculosis, and Food Insecurity in Africa-A Syndemics-Based Scoping Review

Ojo, Temitope; Ruan, Christina; Hameed, Tania; Malburg, Carly; Thunga, Sukruthi; Smith, Jaimie; Vieira, Dorice; Snyder, Anya; Tampubolon, Siphra Jane; Gyamfi, Joyce; Ryan, Nessa; Lim, Sahnah; Santacatterina, Michele; Peprah, Emmanuel
The double burden of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), coupled with endemic and problematic food insecurity in Africa, can interact to negatively impact health outcomes, creating a syndemic. For people living with HIV/AIDS (PWH), food insecurity is a significant risk factor for acquiring TB due to the strong nutritional influences and co-occurring contextual barriers. We aim to synthesize evidence on the syndemic relationship between HIV/AIDS and TB co-infection and food insecurity in Africa. We conducted a scoping review of studies in Africa that included co-infected adults and children, with evidence of food insecurity, characterized by insufficient to lack of access to macronutrients. We sourced information from major public health databases. Qualitative, narrative analysis was used to synthesize the data. Of 1072 articles screened, 18 articles discussed the syndemic effect of HIV/AIDS and TB co-infection and food insecurity. Reporting of food insecurity was inconsistent, however, five studies estimated it using a validated scale. Food insecure co-infected adults had an average BMI of 16.5-18.5 kg/m2. Negative outcomes include death (n = 6 studies), depression (n = 1 study), treatment non-adherence, weight loss, wasting, opportunistic infections, TB-related lung diseases, lethargy. Food insecurity was a precursor to co-infection, especially with the onset/increased incidence of TB in PWH. Economic, social, and facility-level factors influenced the negative impact of food insecurity on the health of co-infected individuals. Nutritional support, economic relief, and psychosocial support minimized the harmful effects of food insecurity in HIV-TB populations. Interventions that tackle one or more components of a syndemic interaction can have beneficial effects on health outcomes and experiences of PWH with TB in Africa.
PMID: 35162131
ISSN: 1660-4601
CID: 5163342

Optimal weighting for estimating generalized average treatment effects

Santacatterina, Michele; Kallus, Nathan
In causal inference, a variety of causal effect estimands have been studied, including the sample, uncensored, target, conditional, optimal subpopulation, and optimal weighted average treatment effects. Ad hoc methods have been developed for each estimand based on inverse probability weighting (IPW) and on outcome regression modeling, but these may be sensitive to model misspecification, practical violations of positivity, or both. The contribution of this article is twofold. First, we formulate the generalized average treatment effect (GATE) to unify these causal estimands as well as their IPW estimates. Second, we develop a method based on Kernel optimal matching (KOM) to optimally estimate GATE and to find the GATE most easily estimable by KOM, which we term the Kernel optimal weighted average treatment effect. KOM provides uniform control on the conditional mean squared error of a weighted estimator over a class of models while simultaneously controlling for precision. We study its theoretical properties and evaluate its comparative performance in a simulation study. We illustrate the use of KOM for GATE estimation in two case studies: comparing spine surgical interventions and studying the effect of peer support on people living with HIV.
ISSN: 2193-3677
CID: 5314802

The effect of patient age on discharge destination and complications after lumbar spinal fusion

Pennicooke, Brenton; Santacatterina, Michele; Lee, Jennifer; Elowitz, Eric; Kallus, Nathan
Age is an important patient characteristic that has been correlated with specific outcomes after lumbar spine surgery. We performed a retrospective cohort study to model the effect of age on discharge destination and complications after a 1-level or multi-level lumbar spine fusion surgery. The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS-NSQIP) database was used to identify patients who underwent lumbar spinal fusion surgery from 2013 through 2017. Perioperative outcomes were compared across ages 18 to 90 using multivariable nonlinear logistic regressioncontrolling for preoperative characteristics. A total of 61,315 patients were analyzed, with patients over 70 having a higher risk of being discharged to an inpatient rehabilitation center and receiving an intraoperative or postoperative blood transfusion. However, the rates of the other complications and outcomes analyzed in this study were not significantly different as patients age. In conclusion, advanced-age affects the discharge destination after a one- or multi-level fusion and intraoperative/postoperative blood transfusion after a one-level fusion. However, age alone does not significantly affect the risk of the other complications and outcomes assessed in this study. This study will help guide preoperative discussion with advanced-aged patients who are considering a 1-level or multi-level lumbar spine fusion surgery.
PMID: 34373046
ISSN: 1532-2653
CID: 5015342