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MedicalResearch.com specializes in exclusive interviews with medical researchers from major and specialty journals and presenters at health care meetings.
Learn directly from the researchers as they discuss the ideas behind their investigations and their plans for future studies. Over 7740 interviews to date!

Unorthodox Treatment of Presumed Chronic Lyme Disease Can Be Deadly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Christina Nelson, MD MPH  Medical epidemiologist, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases CDC

Dr. Nelson

Dr. Christina Nelson, MD MPH
Medical epidemiologist, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
CDC 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Patients who are given a diagnosis of “chronic Lyme disease” have been offered a variety of treatments that have not been shown to be effective.  Many patients are treated with prolonged courses of antibiotics (for months or years), which have not been shown to provide substantial long-term benefit to patients.  Anecdotal reports about adverse outcomes associated with these treatments for chronic Lyme disease are common, but there have not been systematic efforts to collect data about the frequency of these events.

MedicalResearch.com: Why is the diagnosis of ‘Chronic Lyme Disease’ so common?

Response: The term “chronic Lyme disease” (CLD) has been used to describe people with different illnesses. While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, in many occasions it has been used to describe symptoms in people who have no evidence of a current or past infection with Lyme disease.  Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, experts in this field do not support its use.

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Prenatal Acetaminophen Linked To Decreased Masculinization and Testosterone in Male Offspring

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David M. Kristensen, PhD
Assistant Professor                                                                                                         Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen,
Blegdamsvej 3A, DK-2200 Copenhagen, Denmark

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We have demonstrated that a reduced level of testosterone during fetal life by paracetamol means that male characteristics do not develop as they should. This also affects sex drive. In the trial, mice exposed to paracetamol at the foetal stage were simply unable to copulate in the same way as our control animals. Male programming had not been properly established during their foetal development and this could be seen long afterwards in their adult life. Moreover, the area of the brain that controls sex drive – the sexual dimorphic nucleus – had half as many neurons in the mice that had received paracetamol as the control mice. The inhibition of testosterone seem to have led to less activity in an area of the brain that is significant for male characteristics.

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Hearing Aids Did Not Improve Language Skills In Children With Mild Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Peter Carew, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD Lecturer in computing and information systems Waterford Institute of Technology

Dr. Carew

Dr. Peter Carew, BSc (Hons), MSc, PhD
Lecturer in computing and information systems
Waterford Institute of Technology

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The age at diagnosis of a congenital hearing loss has dropped over time. This has allowed for earlier fitting of amplification (hearing aids, cochlear implants) and earlier access to education intervention programs, all intended to lessen the impact of hearing loss on development. Much research has focused on the outcomes achieved by children with severe and profound losses, but relatively little attention has been given to milder hearing losses (mild and moderate). Despite this lack of evidence, we are observing children with mild loss being fitted with hearing aids earlier than ever before. From a historical age of fitting not uncommonly at 2 years of age or older, today the largest number of children under 12 months who receive a hearing aid for the first time in Australia have a mild hearing loss in their better hearing ear. To this end, clinical practice may have jumped ahead of the evidence in terms of understanding any benefits children with mild hearing loss receive from having hearing aids earlier.

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FDA Approves BAXDELA™ (Delafloxacin) For Skin Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Sue Cammarata, MD Chief Medical Officer Melinta Therapeutics

Dr. Cammarata

Dr. Sue Cammarata, MD
Chief Medical Officer
Melinta Therapeutics

MedicalResearch.com:   Would you explain what is meant by MRSA?

Response: MRSA is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a type of staph bacteria that is  resistant to many antibiotics. MRSA is noted by the CDC as one of the top 18 drug-resistant bacteria threats to the United States.  (from CDC https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/biggest_threats.html  ) 

MedicalResearch.com:   Why is infection with MRSA so serious?

Response:  MRSA can cause skin infections, lung infection and other issues.

If left untreated, MRSA infections can become severe and cause sepsis – a life-threatening reaction to severe infection in the body – and even death.  MRSA can also cause major issues, such as bloodstream infectionspneumonia and surgical site infections in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. “Resistance to first-line drugs to treat infections caused by Staphlylococcus aureus—a common cause of severe infections in health facilities and the community—is widespread. People with MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant form of the infection.”  (quote from WHO website http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs194/en/  )   Continue reading

Animal Visitation Programs Can Raise Infection Risks In Health Care Facilities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN</strong> Research assistant professor Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Tufts University and Associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

Dr. Linder

Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN
Research assistant professor
Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine
Tufts University and
Associate director of the Tufts Institute for Human-Animal Interaction

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: In our experience with our own therapy animal program, Tufts Paws for People, we have seen facilities and organizations put animals and people at risk by not following rigorous health and safety policies, and this certainly was confirmed by the results of our study. Lax health and safety policies typically aren’t intentional but occur as a result of enthusiasm for therapy animal programs without being aware of potential risks and what questions to ask. Also, it’s not just obvious problems that can occur, such as bites or allergies. It also can be an animal spreading infections due to diet or inadequate grooming, or unwanted stress on the animal.

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How Does HPV Virus Lead To Skin Cancer?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. med. Sigrun Smola
Institute of Virology, Saarland University
Homburg/Saar, Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC), the most common cancer in humans, is caused by UV-irradiation. The potential co-factor role of cutaneous genus beta-human papillomaviruses (beta-HPV) in skin carcinogenesis, particularly in immunosuppressed patients, has become a major field of interest. However, the underlying mechanisms were unclear.

The skin has natural mechanisms providing protection against UV-induced damage. One important factor suppressing UV-induced skin carcinogenesis is the transcription factor C/EBPα belonging to the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein family. C/EBPα can induce cellular differentiation and is regarded as a tumor suppressor in various tissues. When C/EBPα expression is blocked in these tissues, tumorigenesis is enhanced.

Another important factor is the microRNA-203. It has been shown to control “stemness” in normal skin by suppressing a factor called p63. In many tumors miR-203 expression is shut off releasing this “brake”.

In our study we demonstrate that cutaneous beta-HPV interferes with both protective factors providing an explanation how cutaneous beta-HPV enhances the susceptibility to UV-induced carcinogenesis. Moreover, we provide evidence that these viruses regulate miR-203 via C/EBPα.

We have investigated this mechanism in Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) patients that serve as a human model disease for studying the biology of genus beta-HPVs. They are highly susceptible to persistent genus beta-HPV infection, such as HPV8, and have an increased risk to develop non-melanoma skin cancer at sun-exposed sites.

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USPSTF Recommends Children and Adolescents Be Screened For Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David C. Grossman, M.D., M.P.H. US Preventive Services Task Force Chair Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute Senior Associate Medical Director, Market Strategy & Public Policy Kaiser Permanente Washington Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Pediatrics

Dr. Grossman

David C. Grossman, M.D., M.P.H.
US Preventive Services Task Force Chair
Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Senior Associate Medical Director, Market Strategy & Public Policy
Kaiser Permanente Washington
Physician, Washington Permanente Medical Group, Pediatrics

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this recommendation?

Response: Recognizing that obesity is a nation-wide health problem, affecting approximately 17% of 2-to 19-year-old children and adolescents in the U.S., the Task Force finalized its recommendation on screening for obesity in children and adolescents and the benefits and harms of weight management interventions. The Task Force found sufficient evidence to recommend screening for obesity in children and adolescents age 6 years and older and then offering or referring those who are found to be obese comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to manage their weight and improve overall health.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the potential benefits and harms of early screening and intervention for obesity in children?

Response: The Task Force found that intensive behavioral interventions for children and adolescents who have obesity can result in benefits of improvement in weight status for up to 12 months’ post-intervention. Additionally, the evidence indicated very little harm from screening and comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions. This is due to likely minimal harms of using BMI (body mass index), the absence of reported harms of behavioral interventions, and the noninvasive nature of the programs.

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PCSK9 Inhibitor Praluent Added to Statins Improved Lipid Profile in Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Robert-R-Henry.jpg

Dr. Henry

Robert R. Henry, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Member of the ODYSSEY DM Steering Committee and
Director of the Center for Metabolic Research
VA San Diego Healthcare System

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The ODYSSEY DM-DYSLIPIDEMIA trial was a randomized, open-label, parallel-group study designed to evaluate the superiority of Praluent versus usual care in 413 patients with type 2 diabetes with mixed dyslipidemia at high cardiovascular (CV) risk, not adequately controlled with maximally tolerated dose (MTD) statins. The primary endpoint was percent change in non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) from baseline to week 24.

In ODYSSEY DM-DYSLIPIDEMIA, Praluent 75 mg was added to MTD statins, with dose adjusted at week 12 to 150 mg every two weeks if their non-HDL-C was greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL at week 8. Approximately 64 percent of patients reached their lipid goals with the Praluent 75 mg dose.

Results from the ODYSSEY DM-DYSLIPIDEMIA study found that Praluent added to MTD statins showed significant reduction in non-HDL-C and other lipid parameters compared to those on usual care.

Praluent was superior to usual care in lowering non-HDL-C (37.3 percent and 4.7 percent, for the usual care arm). The mean difference between the two treatment arms was -32.5 percent (p<0.0001).

Praluent in combination with MTD statins reduced LDL-C by 43 percent from baseline compared to a 0.3 percent increase for usual care (p<0.0001). Treatment with Praluent also improved the overall lipid profile.

There is a large unmet need for improving cholesterol lowering in patients with diabetes. Despite current standard of care, nearly 70 percent of people age 65 or older with diabetes die from some form of heart disease; and 16 percent die of stroke. Furthermore, in spite of current standard of care, many people with diabetes continue to have persistent lipid abnormalities resulting in high residual CV risk.

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Gene Linked To Decreased Plasma Amyloid and Lower Alzheimer’s Disease Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mikko Hiltunen, PhD Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology University of Eastern Finland School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine Kuopio,  Finland

Dr. Hiltunen

Mikko Hiltunen, PhD
Professor of Tissue and Cell Biology
University of Eastern Finland
School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine
Kuopio,  Finland 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response:  We wanted to assess among the population-based METSIM (METabolic Syndrome In Men) cohort whether protective variant in APP gene (APP A673T) affects the beta-amyloid levels in plasma. The rationale behind this was that previous genetic studies have discovered that the APP A673T variant decreases the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

However, the protective functional outcome measures related to this variant were lacking and thus we anticipated that the elucidation of plasma samples in terms of beta-amyloid levels would provide the much needed link between APP A673T variant and potential protective functions.

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Efficacy of Recombinant Flu Vaccine in Adults 50 Years of Age or Older 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa M. Dunkle, M.D. Chief Medical Officer Protein Sciences Corporation 1000 Research Parkway Meriden, CT 

Dr. Dunkle

Lisa M. Dunkle, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Protein Sciences Corporation
1000 Research Parkway
Meriden, CT

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The first and only recombinant protein influenza vaccine (RIV, Flublok) was approved in 2013 as a trivalent formulation for use in adults 18 years of age and older. This approval was based on demonstration of clinical efficacy (full approval) in adults 18-49 years of age and accelerated approval was granted for adults 50 years of age and older. Two clinical trials were conducted in 2014-2015 with RIV4 (Flublok Quadrivalent), of which the trial reported in the current NEJM is one.

These studies supported full approval of Flublok in adults 50 years of age and older and approval of Flublok Quadrivalent in all adults 18 years of age and older. The second trial of immunogenicity of Flublok Quadrivalent in adults 18-49 years of age will be the subject of another publication in the near future.

The main findings of the current trial are well summarized in the Conclusion of the Abstract: “RIV4 provided better protection than standard-dose IIV4 against confirmed influenza-like illness in older adults.”

Additionally, the recombinant vaccine (RIV4, Flublok Quadrivalent) demonstrated significantly less injection site pain and tenderness following vaccination. Based on the characteristics of the study participants, one can conclude that RIV4 is safe and effective in most individuals with underlying chronic diseases

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