Carotid Stenosis: Using Cerebrovascular Reserve To Assess Stroke Risk

Ankur Pandya, PhD Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research Departments of Healthcare Policy and Research Weill Cornell Medical College New York, NY 10065.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ankur Pandya, PhD
Assistant Professor of Healthcare Policy and Research
Departments of Healthcare Policy and Research
Weill Cornell Medical College
New York, NY 10065.

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Pandya: Asymptomatic carotid stenosis is a highly prevalent condition that can lead to ischemic stroke, which is a leading cause of death and healthcare costs in the U.S. Revascularization procedures are often performed on asymptomatic carotid stenosis patients, but experts have questioned whether the stroke prevention benefits outweigh the risks and costs of revascularization in these patients. Imaging-based stroke risk assessment has traditionally focused on the degree of artery narrowing, but there has been growing interest in using cerebrovascular reserve (CVR) assessment to stratify these patients into those that are more likely to have a stroke, and thus better candidates for revascularization, and those that would be better off with less invasive management strategies (such as medical therapy). We therefore developed a simulation model to evaluate whether the CVR-based decision rule could be used efficiently select the right patients for revascularization. We found that the CVR-based strategy represented the best value for money compared to immediate revascularizations or medical therapy-based treatment for all patients.
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Venous Thromboembolism: Review Compares Eight Treatment Options

Dr. Marc Carrier, MD MSc Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute Physician, Hematology (Thrombosis), The Ottawa Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, and Research Chair in Venous Thromboembolism and Cancer (Tier 2) at the University of OttawaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Marc Carrier, MD MSc
Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Physician, Hematology (Thrombosis), The Ottawa Hospital
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, and Research Chair in Venous Thromboembolism and Cancer (Tier 2) at the University of Ottawa

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of this study?

Dr. Carrier: Venous thromboembolism (VTE), comprised of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, is the third leading cause of cardiovascular death. There are many anticoagulant treatments available but there is little guidance about which treatment is most effective and safe. This systematic review and network meta-analysis evaluated eight different treatment options for acute Venous thromboembolism.  Forty-five trials were included in the analysis and there were no significant differences in clinical or safety outcomes associated with most treatment options when compared to the combination of LMWH-VKA..
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Does Magnesium Help Prevent Cerebral Palsy?

Lex W Doyle MD BS MSc FRACP Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology The Royal Women’s Hospital Parkville, Victoria, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lex W Doyle MD BS MSc FRACP
Professor of Neonatal Paediatrics
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
The Royal Women’s Hospital
Parkville, Victoria, Australia

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Doyle: From collectively pooling data from five large trials carried out around the world over the past 20 years, we know that magnesium sulfate given under strict medical protocols in hospital to women threatening to deliver preterm reduces the risk of cerebral  palsy in their children in early childhood.  Following  from this knowledge, magnesium sulfate is now given routinely to women, under strict medical conditions, who are threatening to deliver very early in Australia, and in other parts of the world, to try to prevent cerebral palsy in their child.  What we do not know is if magnesium sulfate used this way has any longer-term effects on the brain or on other important outcomes.

One of the initial studies that contributed to the overall evidence about cerebral palsy was carried out in Australia and New Zealand and completed more than 10 years ago.  Over 1000 women and their babies were enrolled in that study and although the rate of cerebral palsy was not substantially reduced by magnesium sulfate in our study, we showed that there were fewer children at 2 years of age who were not walking in the group whose mothers were given magnesium compared with those whose mothers were given placebo.  With this knowledge, and given the unknown longer-term benefits or risks, we re-evaluated the children from our study at school-age, between 6-11 years of age.  We thoroughly evaluated their brain function, including movement and co-ordination, thinking ability, behaviour, and school progress, as well as general health and well-being.  The basic message from our longer-term study is that magnesium sulfate, as used in our trial, does not have any substantial benefits or harms on brain or cognitive function, or any other outcome at school age.
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20 Year Drop In Stroke Incidence

Silvia Koton, PhD, MOccH, RN Chair, Department of Nursing The Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, IsraelMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Silvia Koton, PhD, MOccH, RN
Chair, Department of Nursing
The Stanley Steyer School of Health Professions
Tel Aviv University Tel Aviv, Israel


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Koton: Based on data on 14,357 participants in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study who were free of stroke when the study began in 1987 and followed until the end of 2011, we found a 24 percent overall decline in first-time strokes in each of the last two decades and a 20 percent overall drop per decade in deaths after stroke. The results were similar across race and gender, but varied by age: the decline in stroke risk was concentrated mainly in the over-65 set, while the decrease in stroke-related deaths was primarily found among those under age 65.
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Abdominal Obesity Continues To Increase, Particularly in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 
Earl S. Ford, MD, MPH
Medical officer, U.S Public Health Service
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA 30341

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Ford:  The main finding of the study is that mean waist circumference and the prevalence of abdominal obesity in US adults have increased since 1999-2000 and that these increases are being driven primarily by trends in women. Mean waist circumference and the percentage of abdominal obesity in men has been relatively stable since 2003-2004. Continue reading

Multiple Sclerosis: Generic Copaxone Demonstrates Equivalent Safety and Efficacy

Jeffrey Cohen MD Department of Neurology Cleveland ClinicMedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Jeffrey A. Cohen, MD
Hazel Prior Hostetler Endowed Chair
Professor, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine
Director, Mellen Center for MS Treatment and Research
Neurological Institute
Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, OH  44195

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cohen: The primary objective of the GATE trial was to compare the efficacy and safety of generic glatiramer acetate to the approved form (Copaxone) in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.  The study demonstrated equivalent efficacy of generic glatiramer acetate and Copaxone measured by gadolinium enhancing brain MRI lesions at months 7, 8, and 9 and a number of additional measures of MRI lesion activity.  The study also showed comparable safety (measured by adverse events) and injection site tolerability.

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Heart Failure: Serum Uric Acid As Predictor Of Poor Outcome

Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH Department of Medicine Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MassMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH
Department of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, Mass


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Vaduganathan: Based on data from a large, multinational randomized controlled trial of patients hospitalized for heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), we conducted a retrospective analyses of the clinical profiles associated with baseline serum uric acid levels. Serum uric acid was commonly elevated in patients hospitalized for heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (mean ~9 mg/dL), especially in men and black patients. Higher uric acid levels were associated with lower systolic blood pressure and EF, higher natriuretic peptides, and more impaired renal function. After accounting for 24 known baseline covariates, serum uric acid was independently predictive of post-discharge mortality and rehospitalization in patients with relatively preserved renal function, but not in those with poor renal function.

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Pediatric Cancer More Common In White, Male Adolescents from Northeast

Dr. Jun Li, MD, PhD, MPH Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch Division of Cancer Prevention and Control National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health PromotionMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Jun Li, MD, PhD, MPH
Epidemiology and Applied Research Branch
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion


Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Li: Using the 2001 to 2009 National Program of Cancer Registries (NPCR) and Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) data, which represent 94.2% of the US population, we identified 120,137 pediatric cancer cases with an incidence rate of 171 cases per million children and adolescents.

Overall cancer incidence rates were stable from 2001-2009. However, we found rates were increasing significantly at 1.3% per year in African American children and adolescents.  This increase might be partially attributed to the rise among renal tumors and thyroid cancer. We also found rising incidence in thyroid cancer and renal carcinoma among children and adolescents.

As has been previously established, pediatric cancer is more common in males, in white, in adolescents, and in the Northeast. Leukemia is the most common pediatric cancer, followed by central nervous system (CNS) neoplasms, and then lymphomas.
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Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation Therapy May Be Helpful For Uncomplicated Sciatica

Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD Professor, Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program Center for Spirituality & Healing University of MinnesotaMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gert Bronfort, DC, PhD
Professor, Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program
Center for Spirituality & Healing
University of Minnesota

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Bronfort: Our study found that spinal manipulative therapy  SMT coupled with home exercise and advice (HEA) appears to be helpful compared to home exercise and advice alone (especially in the short term) for patients with sub-acute and chronic back-related leg pain (BRLP). BRLP was defined as radiating pain originating from the lumbar spine, which travels into the proximal or distal lower extremity, with or without neurological signs. Patients with progressive neurological deficits, cauda equina syndrome, spinal fracture, and other potentially serious causes of BRLP (and often candidates for surgery) were EXCLUDED.

There were a few things we did find to be quite interesting. First, it is notable that the spinal manipulative therapy & home exercise and advice group experienced less self-reported medication use after one year than the  home exercise and advice alone group (SMT&HEA was 2.6 times more likely to experience fewer medication days than HEA alone at 1 year). Given the growing concerns of overuse of pain medications (and the potential for adverse events and addiction), this is a finding that has important public health consequence.

Another interesting and important finding is that the adverse events observed in this study were only mild to moderate and self-limiting. No serious adverse events occurred that were related to the study interventions. Mild to moderate adverse events (e.g. temporary aggravation of pain, muscle soreness, etc.) were reported by 30% of the patients in the SMT&HEA group, and 42% in the HEA group. This is important as few studies have systematically recorded the side effects and adverse events related to SMT&HEA and HEA alone; this is one of the first, larger clinical trials to do so. These findings are especially notable because SMT is often not recommended for patients with leg symptoms because of safety concerns (which might be related to the previous absence of robust scientific data to support its use).

Finally, while an advantage of SMT& HEA versus HEA was found (especially in the short term), we do find the findings of the HEA alone group to also be of interest. Almost half of the HEA patients experienced a 50% reduction in leg pain symptoms in both the short (at 12 weeks) and long term (at 52 weeks). That’s an important improvement and warrants future investigation. Self-management strategies (like home exercise) that emphasize the importance of movement and fitness, restoration of normal activities, and allow patients to care for themselves embrace important principles for promoting overall health and wellbeing that could have a big impact if routinely put into practice.
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Should Routine Breast Cancer Screening Stop At Age 70?

Nienke de Glas, MD PhD-student Leiden University Medical Center Department of Surgery Leiden The NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nienke de Glas, MD PhD-student
Leiden University Medical Center
Department of Surgery
Leiden The Netherlands

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. de Glas: It remains unclear whether mass breast cancer screening has a beneficial effect in older women. In the Netherlands, the upper age limit of the breast cancer screening program was extended from 69 to 75 years in 1998. If a screening program is effective, it can be expected that the incidence of early stage tumours increases, while the incidence of advanced stage tumours decreases. The aim of this study was to assess the incidence of early stage and advanced stage breast cancer before and after the implementation of mass screening in women aged 70-75 years in the Netherlands. We showed that the extension of the upper age limit to 75 years has only led to a small decrease of advanced stage breast cancer, while the incidence of early stage tumours has strongly increased. For every advanced stage tumour that was prevented, 20 “extra” and early stage tumours were diagnosed.
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