Alicia K. Smith

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Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) is known to broadly regulate the cellular stress response. In contrast, it is unclear if the PACAP-PAC1 receptor pathway has a role in human psychological stress responses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here we find, in heavily traumatized subjects, a sex-specific association of(More)
Comparison between groups of monozygotic (MZ) and dizygotic (DZ) twins enables an estimation of the relative contribution of genetic and shared and nonshared environmental factors to phenotypic variability. Using DNA methylation profiling of ∼20,000 CpG sites as a phenotype, we have examined discordance levels in three neonatal tissues from 22 MZ and 12 DZ(More)
DNA methylation may mediate persistent changes in gene function following chronic stress. To examine this hypothesis, we evaluated African American subjects matched by age and sex, and stratified into four groups by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis and history of child abuse. Total Life Stress (TLS) was also assessed in all subjects. We(More)
OBJECTIVE This study was undertaken to increase understanding of environmental risk factors for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) within an urban, impoverished, population. METHOD This study examined the demographic characteristics, patterns of trauma exposure, prevalence of PTSD and MDD, and predictors of(More)
Cigarette smoking is an environmental risk factor for many chronic diseases, and disease risk can often be managed by smoking control. Smoking can induce cellular and molecular changes, including epigenetic modification, but the short- and long-term epigenetic modifications caused by cigarette smoking at the gene level have not been well understood. Recent(More)
DNA methylation is an important epigenetic mechanism that has been linked to complex diseases and is of great interest to researchers as a potential link between genome, environment, and disease. As the scale of DNA methylation association studies approaches that of genome-wide association studies, issues such as population stratification will need to be(More)
Risk for adverse neonatal outcome increases with declining gestational age (GA), and changes in DNA methylation may contribute to the relationship between GA and adverse health outcomes in offspring. To test this hypothesis, we evaluated the association between GA and more than 27,000 CpG sites in neonatal DNA extracted from umbilical cord blood from two(More)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by persistent or relapsing fatigue that is not alleviated by rest, causes substantial reduction in activities and is accompanied by a variety of symptoms. Its unknown etiology may reflect that CFS is heterogeneous. Latent class analyses of symptoms and physiological systems were used to delineate subgroups(More)
SUMMARY With the increasing availability of high-density methylation microarrays, there has been growing interest in analysis of DNA methylation data. We have developed CpGassoc, an R package that can efficiently perform the statistical analysis needed for increasingly large methylation datasets. CpGassoc is a modular, expandable package with functions to(More)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a debilitating disorder of unknown etiology with no known lesions, diagnostic markers or therapeutic intervention. The pathophysiology of CFS remains elusive, although abnormalities in the central nervous system (CNS) have been implicated, particularly hyperactivity of the serotonergic (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) system and(More)