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    Disparities in Toxic Chemical Exposures and Associated Neurodevelopmental Outcomes: A Scoping Review and Systematic Evidence Map of the Epidemiological Literature
    (2023-09-27) Payne-Sturges, Devon C.; Taiwo, Tanya Khemet; Ellickson, Kristie; Mullen, Haley; Tchangalova, Nedelina ; Anderko, Laura ; Chen, Aimin ; Swanson, Maureen
    BACKGROUND: Children are routinely exposed to chemicals known or suspected of harming brain development. Targeting Environmental Neuro-Development Risks (Project TENDR), an alliance of more than 50 leading scientists, health professionals, and advocates, is working to protect children from these toxic chemicals and pollutants, especially the disproportionate exposures experienced by children from families with low incomes and families of color. OBJECTIVE: This scoping review was initiated to map existing literature on disparities in neurodevelopmental outcomes for U.S. children from population groups who have been historically economically/socially marginalized and exposed to seven exemplar neurotoxicants: combustion-related air pollution (AP), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), organophosphate pesticides (OPs), phthalates (Phth), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). METHODS: Systematic literature searches for the seven exemplar chemicals, informed by the Population, Exposure, Comparator, Outcome (PECO) framework, were conducted through 18 November 2022, using PubMed, CINAHL Plus (EBSCO), GreenFILE (EBSCO), and Web of Science sources. We examined these studies regarding authors’ conceptualization and operationalization of race, ethnicity, and other indicators of sociodemographic and socioeconomic disadvantage; whether studies presented data on exposure and outcome disparities and the patterns of those disparities; and the evidence of effect modification by or interaction with race and ethnicity. RESULTS: Two hundred twelve individual studies met the search criteria and were reviewed, resulting in 218 studies or investigations being included in this review. AP and Pb were the most commonly studied exposures. The most frequently identified neurodevelopmental outcomes were cognitive and behavioral/psychological. Approximately a third (74 studies) reported investigations of interactions or effect modification with 69% (51 of 74 studies) reporting the presence of interactions or effect modification. However, less than half of the studies presented data on disparities in the outcome or the exposure, and fewer conducted formal tests of heterogeneity. Ninety-two percent of the 165 articles that examined race and ethnicity did not provide an explanation of their constructs for these variables, creating an incomplete picture. DISCUSSION: As a whole, the studies we reviewed indicated a complex story about how racial and ethnic minority and low-income children may be disproportionately harmed by exposures to neurotoxicants, and this has implications for targeting interventions, policy change, and other necessary investments to eliminate these health disparities. We provide recommendations on improving environmental epidemiological studies on environmental health disparities. To achieve environmental justice and health equity, we recommend concomitant strategies to eradicate both neurotoxic chemical exposures and systems that perpetuate social inequities.
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    Anthracite Memories: Semantic Tagging and Coal Mining Oral Histories
    (2023) Paul A. Shackel
    Oral histories are a critical source of information about lived experiences of past events. They have been analyzed both for their form – linguistically as texts, performances, and expressive accounts – and their content for understanding historic events and personal experiences. Here we focus on sentiment analysis approaches frequently applied to big data research questions, but less often utilized by anthropologists working with oral histories. Oral histories collected half a century ago in the anthracite mining communities of northeastern Pennsylvania are examined by considering methodological and historical questions. This project explores how oral history and data science might be productively combined to understand these now historic communities' everyday lives and working conditions. Bakhtin's (1981) concept of chronotope helps us understand the memory of these anthracite coal mining communities' daily life and working conditions.
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    The PhotoDissociation Region Toolbox: Software and Models for Astrophysical Analysis
    (The Astronomical Journal, 2023-01-15) Pound, Marc W.; Wolfire, Mark G.
    The PhotoDissociation Region Toolbox provides comprehensive, easy-to-use, public software tools and models that enable an understanding of the interaction of the light of young, luminous, massive stars with the gas and dust in the Milky Way and in other galaxies. It consists of an open-source Python toolkit and photodissociation region (PDR) models for analysis of infrared and millimeter/submillimeter line and continuum observations obtained by ground-based and suborbital telescopes, and astrophysics space missions. PDRs include all of the neutral gas in the interstellar medium where far-ultraviolet photons dominate the chemistry and/or heating. In regions of massive star formation, PDRs are created at the boundaries between the H II regions and neutral molecular cloud, as photons with energies 6 eV < hν < 13.6 eV photodissociate molecules and photoionize metals. The gas is heated by photoelectrons from small grains and large molecules and cools mostly through far-infrared (FIR) fine-structure lines like [O I] and [C II]. The models are created from state-of-the art PDR codes that include molecular freezeout; recent collision, chemical, and photorates; new chemical pathways, such as oxygen chemistry; and allow for both clumpy and uniform media. The models predict the emergent intensities of many spectral lines and FIR continuum. The tools find the best-fit models to the observations and provide insight into the physical conditions and chemical makeup of the gas and dust. The PDR Toolbox enables novel analysis of data from telescopes such as the Infrared Space Observatory, Spitzer, Herschel, the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory, the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite, the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment, the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, and the JWST.
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    Black Sexual Minority Adults’ Avoidance of Professional Mental Health Care
    (Psychiatric Services, 2023) Williams, Natasha D.; Turpin, Rodman E.; Boekeloo, Bradley O.; King-Marshall, Evelyn C.; Fish, Jessica N.
    Objective: The authors sought to determine whether Black sexual minority individuals were more likely than White sexual minority individuals to postpone or avoid professional mental health care (PMHC) and, if so, to identify the reasons for postponing or avoiding care. Methods: Analyses were conducted with a subsample of cisgender Black (N=78) and White (N=398) sexual minority individuals from a larger survey of U.S. adults administered via MTurk in 2020 (N=1,012). Logistic regression models were used to identify racial differences in overall postponement or avoidance of care as well as differences in the prevalence of each of nine reasons for postponing or avoiding care. Results: Black sexual minority individuals were more likely than their White counterparts to report ever postponing or avoiding PMHC (average marginal effect [AME]=13.7 percentage points, 95% CI=5.4–21.9). Black sexual minority people also were more likely than their White counterparts to cite beliefs that they should work out their problems on their own (AME=13.1 percentage points, 95% CI=1.2–24.9) or with family and friends (AME=17.5 percentage points, 95% CI=6.0–29.1) and to cite providers’ refusal to treat them (AME=17.4 percentage points, 95% CI=7.6–27.1) as reasons for postponing or avoiding care. Conclusions: Black sexual minority individuals were more likely than their White counterparts to report delaying or avoiding PMHC. Personal beliefs about managing mental health and providers’ refusal to offer treatment influenced Black sexual minority individuals’ willingness or ability to seek PMHC.