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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 8425 interviews to date! More than 1635 interviews with researchers from JAMA.

Liquid Biopsies Sent To Different Labs May Yield Different Results

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gonzalo Torga, MD
Urology Department
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD 21287

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

Response: Liquid biopsy is a new and noninvasive alternative to tumor tissue sequencing, and it is intended to specifically detect and sequence tumor DNA circulating in patients’ blood. The results are used to help guide oncologists to tailor the best treatment for patients at each point of their disease. Our research was initially aimed at finding the best commercial lab to test samples from metastatic prostate cancer patients. We wanted to make the best choice for our patients, so we started submitting the samples to both places at the same time to compare results. However, we found significant disparities in the results from identical patient samples submitted to two different commercial liquid biopsy providers, and we believed it would be important to share them with the oncology community.

The two liquid biopsy panels compared were the Guardant360, from Guardant Health, Inc., which sequenced at least part of the coding sequences of 73 genes; and the PlasmaSELECT panel from Personal Genome Diagnostics, which sequenced coding segments of 64 genes.  Both laboratories were licensed by Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) and accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and report having high sensitivity (in this case, the ability to correctly identify mutations when they occur) and high specificity (the ability to correctly report as negative when those mutations are not present). The two companies differ in which genes, and regions within each gene, are covered. Just 25 of the 40 patients in the study had at least one genetic mutation reported within the overlapping genetic sequences covered by both companies.

Even when the companies were analyzing DNA from the same blood drawn, their results rarely matched each other. When comparing results within the overlapping genetic sequences, the results from both companies completely matched for all the mutations reported in only 7.5 percent (3 of 40 patients) of cases. In 15 percent of the patients (6 of 40), both companies’ results matched for at least one of the reported mutations. In 40 percent (16 of 40) of the patients, no mutations reported that were potentially covered by both panels were detected by both companies.

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Patronizing Hair and Nail Salons Linked To Increased Risk of Skin and Fungal Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lindsey Milich Rutgers School of Public Health studiesLindsey Milich

Rutgers School of Public Health studies
 

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

Response: Much of the spotlight has been focused on hair and nail technicians, with the focus now shifting towards the health and safety of hair and nail salon clients. We wanted to assess perceived safety and health risks and prevalence of respiratory and dermal symptoms among hair and nail salon clients in New Jersey.

Main findings include dermal/fungal symptoms being more prevalent among clients who visited salons three or more times within the past year, compared with those with fewer reported visits. Respiratory symptom prevalence was higher among clients with fewer salon visits, indicating a “healthy client effect”; clients with these symptoms may be less likely to return.

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Breakthrough Treatment With Prometric’s IV Plasminogen Treats Rare Disabling Disorder

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Charles T. Nakar, MD

Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center Pediatrics
Indianapolis, IN  

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

Response: Congenital plasminogen deficiency is a rare genetic disorder that is caused by mutations in the PLG gene. Mutations in this gene lead to clinical manifestations such as fibrinous deposits on mucous membranes leading to disruption of tissue or organ function. These symptoms, when untreated, lead to significant morbidity and decreased quality of life. Life-threatening episodes may occur especially when the respiratory system is affected. There is currently no established approach to treatment of type 1 plasminogen deficiency and the available topical and systemic therapies (e.g. FFP, corticosteroids, immunomodulatory drugs, anticoagulants, amongst others) lack consistent efficacy. Patients may undergo multiple surgeries to remove lesions, but this approach typically leads to regrowth of lesions. Prometic’s intravenous plasminogen replacement therapy represents the first direct treatment for this serious disorder.

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Multiple Myeloma: Phase 3 Study of DARZALEX + VMP Reduced Risk of Disease Progression and Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Meletios A. Dimopoulos MD Professor and Chairman Department of Clinical Therapeutics University Athens School of Medicine Athens, Greece

Dr. Dimopoulos

DrMeletios A. Dimopoulos MD
Professor and Chairman
Department of Clinical Therapeutics
University Athens School of Medicine
Athens, Greece

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

Response: Updated data from the Phase 3 POLLUX trials showed DARZALEX, in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone, reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 56 percent, compared to lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone (Hazard Ratio [HR]=0.44; 95 percent CI [0.34-0.55], p<0.0001). After a median follow-up of 32.9 months, the median progression-free survival (PFS) in the DARZALEX arm has not been reached, compared with a median PFS of 17.5 months for patients who received lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone.

DARZALEX in combination with lenalidomide and dexamethasone also significantly increased the overall response rate (ORR) compared to lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone (93 percent vs. 76 percent, p<0.0001), including rates of complete response (CR) or better (55 percent vs. 23 percent, p<0.0001). DARZALEX also showed significantly higher (>3-fold) MRD-negative rates compared to lenalidomide and dexamethasone alone. These data were featured as an oral presentation (Abstract #739) at the 59th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in early December.

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UK Study Finds Pulmonary Rehab for COPD Underutilized

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Jennifer K Quint MSc PhD FHEA FRCP Clinical Senior Lecturer Respiratory Epidemiology Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health National Heart and Lung Institute Imperial College London

Dr. Quint

Dr Jennifer K Quint MSc PhD FHEA FRCP
Clinical Senior Lecturer Respiratory Epidemiology
Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health
National Heart and Lung Institute
Imperial College
London 

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

Response: We were commissioned by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy in the UK to undertake a piece of work to show the value of pulmonary rehabilitation in reducing exacerbations in COPD patients so that they could create a web based tool that would show cost savings if GPs actually referred people for pulmonary rehabilitation.

Previous systematic reviews have found that pulmonary rehab can reduce hospital admissions but those groups are often small and not very generalizable so we decided to look at what happens in a primary care COPD population. Our main finding is that people who are eligible for referral are not being referred  – less than 10% eligible were actually referred.

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Most Laboratory Testing For Cancer-Causing Gene Mutations Found Reliable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Annette S. Kim, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham & Women's Hospital Boston MA 02115

Dr. Kim

Annette S. Kim, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Boston MA 02115 

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

Response: The recent debate on laboratory developed tests (LDTs) and FDA-approved companion diagnostics (FDA-CDs) has centered upon both the regulatory and performance aspects of LDTs and we, at the College of American Pathologists (CAP), had the data through our proficiency testing (PT) programs to address the latter point, performance that we wanted to share with the community.  We analyzed almost 7000 PT responses on three molecular oncology tests, those for BRAF, EGFR, and KRAS mutations, and found that both LDTs and FDA-CDs demonstrated excellent performance, with both test types exceeding 97% accuracy overall.

The second key finding of the study was that more than 60% of all laboratories in our study that were using an FDA-CD kit report using it with modifications from the FDA-approved protocol.  These modifications in fact render these test LDTs.  These modifications appear to be driven by the exigencies of real day-to-day clinical practice that requires adapting the assays to meet the needs of a variety of clinical situations that may not be accommodated by the FDA-approved protocol.  These modifications include, for example, the testing of other tumor types that may carry targetable variants, different types of input specimen preparations available in pathology such as cytology smears or other fresh specimens rather than paraffin blocks, and availability of different methods of DNA quantification that those mandated by the FDA approval based upon pre-existing technologies in the laboratories.  In the clinical laboratory, we are always acutely aware that there is a patient awaiting this result.

Therefore, we validate our assays to ensure that we can provide reliable and accurate results from our laboratory under as many varied clinical situations as possible. These data support that practice.

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C-Section and Formula-Fed Babies Have Different Microbiome From Breastfed or Vaginal Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, Professor Dept Pediatrics Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB   

Dr. Kozyrskyj

Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, Professor
Dept Pediatrics
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB   

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

Response: The first year of an infant’s life is a critical time for the development of his or her gut microbiome. Gut microbes not only help infants digest food, but they also “train” their developing immune system. An infant’s environment, from the type of birth and infant diet to use of antibiotics, has a large impact in determining which microbes are present. Frequently these early life exposures occur together. Using data from AllerGen’s CHILD birth cohort and a new analytical approach —called Significance Analysis of Microarrays—we quantified changes to gut microbiota throughout the first year of life according to common combinations of early life exposures.

We found that, compared to vaginally-born and breastfed infants, formula-fed or cesarean-delivered infants had different trajectories of microbial colonization in later infancy, which could have implications for their future health.

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Intestinal Microbiome Linked To Pediatric Asthma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, Professor, Dept Pediatrics Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta Edmonton, AB 

Dr. Kozyrskyj

Anita Kozyrskyj, PhD, Professor, Dept Pediatrics
Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB  

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

Response: I was motivated to study the maternal asthma-infant microbiome link by the well-established fact that maternal asthma affects infant birth weight in a sex-specific manner. Based on data from AllerGen’s CHILD birth cohort, Caucasian baby boys born to pregnant moms with asthma—putting them at the highest risk for developing asthma in early childhood—were one-third as likely to have high levels of the microbe, Lactobacillus, in their gut microbiome at 3-4 months after birth.

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Frequent Take-Out Food Linked To Increased Cholesterol and Obesity in Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Angela S Donin Population Health Research Institute, St George’s University of London, London, UK

Dr. Donin

Dr. Angela S Donin
Population Health Research InstituteSt George’s
University of London
London, UK 

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

Response: There are increasing numbers of takeaway outlets, particularly in deprived neighbourhoods. This is driving an increase in consumption of takeaway meals, which previous evidence has shown is linked to higher risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Little is known about the dietary and health impact of high consumption of takeaway foods in children.

This research found children who regularly ate takeaway meals had higher body fat and cholesterol compared to children who rarely ate take away meals, they also had overall poorer diet quality.

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Familial Members Without Genetic Mutation Can Still Have Increased Risk of Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hildur Helgadottir, M.D., Ph.D. Department of Oncology Karolinska University Hospit

Dr. Helgadottir

Hildur Helgadottir, M.D., Ph.D.
Department of Oncology
Karolinska University Hospital

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

Response: Malignant melanoma of the skin is one of the fastest increasing cancer types in the West.

The main risk factors for melanoma are UV light exposure and hereditary factors. It is therefore relatively common for the afflicted to have family members with the disease. Inherited mutations of the tumour suppressor gene CDKN2A are the strongest known risk factors for familial melanoma and mutations in this gene also increase the risk of other cancers. Children, siblings or parents of mutation carriers have a 50-50 chance of also having the mutation, which can be identified with a gene test.

The present study included Swedish and American families with inherited CDKN2A mutations. The researchers studied whether family members who have not inherited the mutation have any higher than normal risk of developing melanoma or other cancers.

Melanoma, but no other cancers, was more common in the non-carriers in these families compared to the normal population. The phenomenon whereby non-carriers of a specific mutation copy the phenotype (in this case melanoma) from their mutation-carrying relatives is known as phenocopy.

Phenocopy can be caused by other risk-modifying genes or exposure patterns that increase the probability of the specific phenotype manifesting itself. Previous studies have shown that people with the mutation who also have certain pigmentation variants run an even higher risk of melanoma.

Even though the CDKN2A mutation should be present in all populations, it has almost exclusively been identified in families with a Caucasian heritage.This suggests that dark-skinned people with this mutation probably don’t develop melanoma as often and are therefore not tested for this specific mutation, presumably because they lack the risk-modifying pigmentation variants that increase the risk of melanoma. The researchers believe that such pigmentation variants also contribute to a higher melanoma risk in the family members who do not carry the mutation.

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Antibiotic Resistance Common In Infections After Ocular Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Penny Asbell

Dr. Asbell

Penny Asbell, MD
Icahn School of Medicine
Mt. Sinai, New York City.

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

─     Bacterial endophthalmitis is a serious, although infrequent, complication of ocular surgery, typically caused by perioperative introduction of bacterial flora from the patient’s own conjunctiva and skin.

─     Prophylactic measures such as perioperative antibiotic treatment may minimize the risk for endophthalmitis, but can be complicated by antibiotic resistant bacteria.

─     The ongoing Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring in Ocular micRoorganisms (ARMOR) study is the only nationwide antibiotic resistance surveillance program specific to ocular pathogens.

─     The purpose of this presentation is to report on the antibiotic susceptibility profiles of bacterial isolates from the vitreous and aqueous humor collected in the ARMOR study expanding upon earlier findings.

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How Do Stem Cells Respond To Diagnostic Radiation Studies?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
http://www.insilico.com/
Andreyan Osipov PhD
Insilico Medicine and
Dmitry Klokov PhD
Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Chalk River, Ontario, Canada 

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

Response: Cells and tissues can be damaged when exposed to ionizing radiation. In case of radiotherapy, it is a desirable effect in tumor cells. In case of occupational, medical and accidental exposures, typically to low-dose radiation, this may pose health risk to normal cells and tissues.

In both cases, short-term assays that quantify damage to DNA and help evaluate long-term outcome are key to treatment/risk management. One such short-term assay is based on quantification of a modified histone protein called gH2AX in exposed cells up to 24 hrs after exposure. This protein marks sites in DNA that have both strands of the DNA helix broken or damaged. This assay is also widely used for various applications, including determination of individual radiosensitivity, tumor response to radiotherapy and biological dosimetry. With the advent of regenerative medicine that is based on stem cell transplantation, the medical and research communities realized that there is a need to understand how stem cells respond to low-dose diagnostic radiation exposures, such as CT scans. Stem cell therapies may have to be combined with diagnostic imaging in recipient patients. The gH2AX assay comes in very handy here, or at least it seemed this way.

We exposed mesenchymal stem cells isolated from human patients to low or intermediate doses of X-rays (80 and 1000 mGy) and followed formation of gH2AX in their nuclei. First we found that residual gH2AX signal in cells exposed to a low dose was higher than in control non-irradiated cells. If the conventional assumptions about this assay that it is a surrogate for long-term detrimental effects was followed it would mean that the low-dose exposed cells were at a high risk of losing their functional properties. So we continued growing these cells for several weeks and assayed gH2AX levels, ability to proliferate and the level of cellular aging. Surprisingly, we found that low-dose irradiated cells did not differ from non-irradiated cells in any of the measured functional end-points. This was in contrast to 1000 mGy irradiated cells that did much worse at those long-term end points.

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Adolescent Violent Offenders With Childhood Adversity Have Increased Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emma Björkenstam PhD
Department of Public Health Sciences
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: My research team and I have previously shown that childhood adversity is associated with an elevated suicide risk in young adults, and this increased risk may be explained by maladaptive trajectories during adolescence. We also know that adolescent violent offending is linked with suicide, but up until now, less was known about the role of violent offending in the association between childhood adversity and later suicide.

Our main finding in the current study, based on almost half a million Swedes, is that individuals with a history of childhood adversity who also engage in violent offending in late adolescence, have a substantial increased risk of suicide.

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Small Increased Risk of Cardiac Birth Defects With ADHD Drug During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120  

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

Response: In recent years, use of stimulant medications in adults, including women of reproductive age, has increased substantially.

However, data regarding the safety of stimulant medications in early pregnancy are sparse and conflicting.  For example, two recent cohort studies failed to detect an association between use of methylphenidate in early pregnancy and overall or cardiac malformations, while another found an 81% increased risk of cardiac malformations, although the estimate was imprecise.

Given the rapidly increasing use of stimulant medications during pregnancy and among women of reproductive age who may become pregnant inadvertently, there is an urgent need to better understand their safety.

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Tapeworm Drug May Be Repurposed To Fight Parkinson’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Youcef Mehellou PhD Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Cardiff University

Dr. Mehellou

Dr. Youcef Mehellou PhD
Lecturer in Medicinal Chemistry
Cardiff School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Cardiff University

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

Response: Over the last decade or two, there has been many reports linking genetic mutations to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Among the proteins that have been found to be mutated in PD is a protein called PINK1. Indeed, PINK1 mutations that disturb its function in cells were found to be causal of PD in humans. Subsequent studies showed that PINK1 is a major player in maintaining healthy neurons. This is because it is one of the components involved in controlling the quality of the mitochondria, an organelle within the cell, and it does this by triggering the disposal of unhealthy mitochondria. Overall, studies into PINK1 indicated that the activation of PINK1 as a plausible strategy for maintaining health neurons and hence slowing down the development and progress of Parkinson’s disease.

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Deep Learning System Can Screen For Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blausen.com staff (2014). "Medical gallery of Blausen Medical 2014". WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010. ISSN 2002-4436. Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy

Illustration depicting diabetic retinopathy

Dr. Tien Yin Wong MD PhD
Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Center,
Duke-NUS Medical School, National University of Singapore
Singapore

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

Response: Currently, annual screening for diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a universally accepted practice and recommended by American Diabetes Association and the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) to prevent vision loss. However, implementation of diabetic retinopathy screening programs across the world require human assessors (ophthalmologists, optometrists or professional technicians trained to read retinal photographs). Such screening programs are thus challenged by issues related to a need for significant human resources and long-term financial sustainability.

To address these challenges, we developed an AI-based software using a deep learning, a new machine learning technology. This deep learning system (DLS) utilizes representation-learning methods to process large data and extract meaningful patterns. In our study, we developed and validated this using about 500,000 retinal images in a “real world screening program” and 10 external datasets from global populations. The results suggest excellent accuracy of the deep learning system with sensitivity of 90.5% and specificity of 91.6%, for detecting referable levels of DR and 100% sensitivity and 91.1% specificity for vision-threatening levels of DR (which require urgent referral and should not be missed). In addition, the performance of the deep learning system was also high for detecting referable glaucoma suspects and referable age-related macular degeneration (which also require referral if detected).

The deep learning system was tested in 10 external datasets comprising different ethnic groups: Caucasian whites, African-Americans, Hispanics, Chinese, Indians and Malaysians

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Menopausal Hormone Replacement Should Not Be Used For Disease Prevention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Suzanne Fenske.jpg

Dr. Fenske

Dr. Suzanne Fenske, MD
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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

Response: USPSTF recommendations are based off several studies, but is mainly based off of the Women’s Health Initiative.

The Women’s Health Initiative was a 15 year prevention study with a focus on death, disability and impaired quality of life in postmenopausal women. This study was originally performed in 1991.

The USPSTF reevaluated the data along with several other studies to assess the role of hormone replacement therapy in prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, blood clot, gallbladder disease, dementia.  The USPSTF has found that hormone replacement therapy has some benefit in reducing the risk of fractures, and, potentially, diabetes.  The USPSTF has found that hormone replacement therapy can increase the risk of coronary artery disease, stroke, blood clot, gall bladder disease, urinary incontinence and dementia.

With these risks, the USPSTF states that hormone replacement therapy should not be used as a preventative medicine, but, rather, used for treatment of symptomatic menopause and not prevention of osteoporosis or heart disease.

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Deep Learning Algorithms Can Detect Spread of Breast Cancer To Lymph Nodes As Well or Better Than Pathologists

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Babak Ehteshami Bejnordi Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine Radboud University medical center, NijmegenBabak Ehteshami Bejnordi

Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine
Radboud University medical center, Nijmegen

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

Response: Artificial intelligence (AI) will play a crucial role in health care. Advances in a family of AI popularly known as deep learning have ignited a new wave of algorithms and tools that read medical images for diagnosis. Analysis of digital pathology images is an important application of deep learning but requires evaluation for diagnostic performance.

Accurate breast cancer staging is an essential task performed by the pathologists worldwide to inform clinical management. Assessing the extent of cancer spread by histopathological analysis of sentinel lymph nodes (SLN) is an important part of breast cancer staging. Traditionally, pathologists endure time and labor-intensive processes to assess tissues by reviewing thousands to millions of cells under a microscope. Using computer algorithms to analyze digital pathology images could potentially improve the accuracy and efficiency of pathologists.

In our study, we evaluated the performance of deep learning algorithms at detecting metastases in lymph nodes of patients with breast cancer and compared it to pathologist’s diagnoses in a diagnostic setting.

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Babies’ Brain Responses Predict Dyslexic Reading Skills in School

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kaisa Lohvansuu, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Jyväskylä Centre for Interdisciplinary Brain Research
Department of Psychology
University of Jyväskylä 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Developmental dyslexia, a specific reading disability, has a strong genetic basis: The risk of having developmental dyslexia at school age is eight times higher than usual if either of the parents has reading difficulty. It has been known that dyslexia and also family risk for dyslexia are strongly associated with a speech perception deficit, but the underlying mechanism of how the impaired speech processing leads to reading difficulties has been unclear.

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Daratumumab Monotherapy for Patients with Intermediate or High-Risk Smoldering Multiple Myeloma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Craig C. Hofmeister, MD, MPH The Ohio State University 

Dr. Hofmeister

Craig CHofmeisterMD, MPH
The Ohio State University 

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

Response: Preliminary data presented from the randomized, open-label, Phase 2 CENTAURUS (SMM2001) study evaluated three dosing schedules for DARZALEX monotherapy in patients with intermediate or high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma. A total of 123 patients were enrolled, with a median time since initial smoldering multiple myeloma diagnosis of 6.83 months (0.4-56). Patients were randomized to one of three treatment arms receiving DARZALEX 16 mg/kg intravenously in 8-week cycles: 1.) a long-intense dosing schedule (LONG) where DARZALEX was administered weekly in Cycle 1, every other week in Cycle 2-3, every 4 weeks in Cycle 4-7, and every 8 weeks up to Cycle 20; 2.) an intermediate dosing schedule (INT), where DARZALEX was given weekly for 1 cycle, and every 8 weeks up to Cycle 20 and; 3.) a short intense dosing schedule (SHORT), where DARZALEX was given weekly for 1 cycle. Results from the study showed DARZALEX monotherapy had a tolerable safety profile in patients with intermediate or high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma, with the most common treatment-emergent adverse events (TEAEs) being fatigue, cough, headache and insomnia. The efficacy endpoints included overall response rate, progression free survival, time to next treatment, and overall survival rate at 4 years. These study results serve as the basis for a Phase 3 study for DARZALEX in smoldering multiple myeloma, which is actively enrolling. These findings demonstrated DARZALEX had a manageable safety profile in patients with intermediate or high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma.

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Thyroid Treatment Did Not Improve IVF Miscarriage Rate in Women With Thyroid Antibodies But Normal Thyroid Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Tianpei Hong, MD, PhD
Of behalf of Prof. Jie Qiao and all the coauthors,
Director, Department of Endocrinology & Metabolism
Director, Department of Laboratory Medicine
Peking University Third Hospital
Beijing, China

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

  • Ÿ           Women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies have been reported to be at 2- to 3-fold higher risk of spontaneous miscarriage than those who test negative. However, the effect of levothyroxine on miscarriage among women with positive thyroid autoantibodies and normal thyroid function has been documented in limited studies with conflicting results.
  • Ÿ           Given the substantial difficulty achieving successful pregnancy among infertile women, identifying optimal treatment for infertile women who test positive for thyroid autoantibodies is particularly important. There are a few randomized clinical trials showing a beneficial effect of levothyroxine treatment on pregnancy outcomes among women undergoing in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET). However, the sample size of those trials was rather small which may weaken the quality of the evidence.
  • Ÿ           Therefore, the Pregnancy Outcomes Study in euthyroid women with Thyroid Autoimmunity after Levothyroxine (POSTAL) study was conducted in Peking University Third Hospital to evaluate whether levothyroxine treatment initiated before IVF-ET could decrease the miscarriage rate and improve the live birth rate in infertile women who tested positive for antithyroperoxidase antibody but had normal thyroid function.

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Parents Encouraged To Keep Screen Devices Out Of Kids’ Bedrooms At Night

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Video Game Addicts” by Michael Bentley is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Marsha Novick, MD

Associate professor of pediatrics and family and community medicine,
Penn State College of Medicine 

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

Response: The results of this study solidify some well-established data concerning childhood obesity – namely that children who watch more television and have a more sedentary lifestyle are more likely to have an overweight or obese BMI compared with those who are more active. The survey results highlight some associations between increased technology use and difficulty with sleep quantity in children and adolescents.

The data suggest:

  • ​​Increased technology use at bedtime, namely television, cell phones, video games and computers, is associated with a decrease in the amount of sleep children are getting. These children were more likely to be tired in the morning and less likely to eat breakfast.
  • Specifically, children who reported watching TV or playing video games before bed got an average of 30 minutes less sleep than those who did not, while kids who used their phone or a computer before bed averaged an hour less of sleep than those who did not.
  • The data also suggests that children with overweight or obesity were more likely to have trouble falling asleep and trouble staying asleep than their normal BMI counterparts
  • When children were reported by their parents to use one form of technology at bedtime, they were more likely to use another form of technology as well.

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Letermovir (Prevymis) Prevents CMV Infection in Stem Cell Transplant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Francisco M. Marty, M.D Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Dana–Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Marty

Francisco M. Marty, M.D
Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Dana–Farber Cancer Institute and
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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

Response: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is the most common infection in patients who undergo allogeneic hematopoietic-cell transplantation (bone marrow transplantation with cells from donors different than the patient). Up until now, we had no antiviral agent that could be used for prophylaxis (prevention) of CMV post-transplant because of the side effects of drugs available to date (ganciclovir, valganciclovir, foscarnet, cidofovir).

This trial confirmed that letermovir was highly effective in preventing CMV infection when used in the first 100 days after allogeneic HCT, was associated with minimal side effects of concern and was also associated with lower all-cause mortality by Week 24 post-HCT.

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Post Exposure Doxycycline in PReP Users May Reduce Risk of Syphilis and Chlamydiae

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis Paris France 

Prof. Molina

Professor Jean-Michel Molina MD
Head of Department of Infectious Diseases, Hôpital Saint-Louis
Paris France 

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

Response: There is a high rate of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Pre-exposure prophylaxis users and we wished to assess whether post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) with doxycycline could reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted infections in this population.

We have found indeed a high rate of STIs most of them (71%) being asymptomatic and warranting therefore systematic testing. Also PEP reduced the incidence of syphilis and chlamydiae infection by 70%, not for gonorrhea due to the high rate of detection in throat swabs without any impact of PEP.

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Medicaid Work Requirements May Have Unintended Consequences on Costs and Enrollees

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI

Dr. Tipirneni

Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc
Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine
University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and
Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation
Ann Arbor, MI

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

Response: Several states have submitted proposals to require Medicaid expansion enrollees to work, actively seek work or volunteer, or risk losing Medicaid coverage. The current federal administration has signaled a willingness to approve the waivers states need to enact such requirements.

In our survey of over 4000 Medicaid expansion enrollees in Michigan, we found that nearly half of enrollees have jobs, another 11 percent can’t work, likely due to serious physical or mental health conditions, and another 27% are out of work but also are much more likely to be in poor health.

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Personalized Medicine Tool Helps Direct Cardiac Care in Elderly Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD Principal Substudy Investigator, PRESET Registry Subgroup Analysis, Elderly Patients Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Ladapo

Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD
Principal Substudy Investigator, PRESET Registry
Subgroup Analysis, Elderly Patients
Associate Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research
David Geffen School of Medicine
University of California, Los Angeles

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

Response: The mapping of the Human Genome 14 years ago ushered in a new era of precision medicine. Many people are familiar with advances in oncology using precision medicine, but recently, new developments in precision medicine in cardiology have allowed us to develop a tool to differentiate patients likely to have obstructive coronary artery (CAD) from those who have non-cardiac causes of their symptoms.

Diagnosing CAD in the elderly is challenging. Aging individuals often present with atypical symptoms of CAD which can complicate the evaluation process. The typical diagnostic pathway for possible CAD often starts with less invasive testing and progresses to invasive testing, especially in older patients. Invasive procedures pose greater risk in the elderly population than they do in younger patients because of the higher risk of side effects, including bleeding, vascular complications and kidney injury.

Elderly adults evaluated for CAD have a higher pretest probability of CAD and are also at higher risk of experiencing procedure-related complications during their evaluation.[i],[ii] It is also important to note that elderly patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials and other types of comparative effectiveness research.[iii],[iv] For example, the 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk Algorithm is only formally approved to be used in individuals up to the age of 75, despite the fact that individuals exceeding this threshold in age experience higher rates of adverse cardiovascular events.[v]

All of this means that the elderly population may have the most to gain from timely and accurate determination of their currently likelihood of obstructive CAD.
This precision medicine tool, the age, sex and gene expression score (ASGES), and its clinical utility in the elderly population is the focus of this study. It was based on patient data from the PRESET Registry, a prospective, multicenter, observational study enrolling stable, symptomatic outpatients from 21 U.S. primary care practices from August 2012 to August 2014.

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Family Members of Patients Prescribed Opioids More Likely To Fill Opioid Prescriptions Themselves

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Pills” by Victor is licensed under CC BY 2.0Marissa J. Seamans, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Mental Health
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Baltimore, MD 21205 

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

Response: Many patients report sharing their prescriptions for opioids with family members. What we didn’t know is whether family members of opioid users are more likely to fill opioid prescriptions themselves than family members of non-opioid users. Our study found that the 1-year risk of prescription opioid initiation among family members of prescription opioid users was an absolute 0.71% higher than among family members of non-opioid users. The risks were particularly higher for initial prescriptions with refills or longer days supply.

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A Computer Can Predict Health From A Photograph Of A Face

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Credit: Stephen et al. 2017

Dr Ian Stephen PhD
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology
ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders,
Perception in Action Research Centre
Macquarie University, Sydney
NSW, Australia

 

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

Response: Since the 1990s, the dominant view of attraction in the scientific community has been that it is an evolved mechanism for identifying appropriate, healthy, fertile mates. People who are attracted to appropriate, healthy, fertile people are more likely to have more, healthy offspring and therefore any genes for having these preferences will become more common. On the other hand people who are attracted to inappropriate, unhealthy, infertile people will be less likely to pass on their genes to the next generation, so genes for this attraction pattern will become less common. However, for this model to be correct, two things have to be true. First, we should be able to identify cues in the face and body that people find attractive/healthy looking. And second, these cues must be related to some aspect of actual physiological health. The first part of this is well established – cues like symmetry, skin color, body shape are all related to looking healthy and attractive. But there is much less research on the second part.

The computer modeling techniques that we use allowed us to build a model based on 272 African, Asian and Caucasian face photographs that identifies three aspects of physiological health – body fat, BMI (a measure of body size) and blood pressure – by analysing facial shape. We then used the model to create an app that predicts what different faces would look like if those individuals increased or decreased their fatness, BMI or blood pressure. We gave this app to some more participants and asked them to make the faces look as healthy as possible. We found that, to make the faces look healthy, the participants reduced their fatness, BMI and (to a lesser extent) blood pressure.

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Atopic Dermatitis: IF Used At All, Systemic Steroids Should Be Short Term Bridge To Other Therapies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH Assistant Professor in Dermatology Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

Dr. Jonathan Silverberg

Dr. Jonathan L. Silverberg MD PhD MPH
Assistant Professor in Dermatology
Medical Social Sciences and Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois

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

Response: Systemic corticosteroids are commonly used as systemic treatments for atopic dermatitis. However, few studies assessed the efficacy and safety of systemic corticosteroids in atopic dermatitis. This systematic review sought to summarize the available evidence for their use in atopic dermatitis.

Overall, 52 reviews and 12 studies were included in this systematic review. Most studies suffered from small sample size, low quality. In one of the only randomized-controlled trials performed, systemic corticosteroids were less effective than cyclosporine and led to more rebound flares. There were numerous safety and tolerability concerns with both short and long-term treatment with systemic corticosteroids. One study found that even short-term use of systemic corticosteroids was associated with increased sepsis, venous thromboembolism and fractures.

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Hearing Loss Associated With Higher Risk of Cognitive Decline and Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Hear” by Jaya Ramchandani is licensed under CC BY 2.0David G. Loughrey, BA(Hons)

NEIL (Neuro Enhancement for Independent Lives) Programme
Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience, School of Medicine
Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

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

Response: Age-related hearing loss, a common chronic condition among older adults, has emerged in the literature as a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia. This is of interest as current pharmacological therapies for dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease only offer symptom-modifying effects. Treatment of risk factors such as hearing loss may help delay the onset of dementia and may provide an alternate therapeutic strategy. However, there is variance in the research on hearing loss and cognition with some studies reporting a small or non-significant association. In this meta-analysis, we investigated this association and we only included observational studies that used standard assessments of cognitive function and pure-tone audiometry (the clinical standard).

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Anesthesia, Sterility Measures Contribute To Large Carbon Footprint of Health Care Systems

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/armymedicine/6127836005">“surgery”</a> by <i> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/armymedicine/">Army Medicine</a> </i> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Andrea MacNeill MD MSc FRCSC

Surgical Oncologist & General Surgeon
University of British Columbia
Vancouver General Hospital
BC Cancer Agency

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

Response: Climate change is one of the most pressing public health issues of the present era, responsible for 140,000 deaths annually.  Somewhat paradoxically, the health sector itself has a considerable carbon footprint, as well as other detrimental environmental impacts.  Within the health sector, operating rooms are known to be one of the most resource-intensive areas and have thus been identified as a strategic target for emissions reductions.

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No Convincing Evidence of Memory Dysfunction Due To Statins

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Beth-Taylor

Dr. Taylor

Beth A. Taylor, PhD
Director of Exercise Physiology Research, Hartford Hospital Associate Professor, Kinesiology
University of Connecticut

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

Response: Hydroxy-methyl-glutaryl (HMG) CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) are the most effective medications for managing elevated concentrations of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C).  Although statins are generally well-tolerated, they are not without side effects, and mild central nervous system (CNS) complaints such as memory loss and attention decrements are the second most commonly reported adverse effect of these drugs.

Studies assessing cognitive effects of statins vary widely and have produced inconclusive findings. Despite the equivocal data on adverse cognitive side effects with statin therapy, in 2012 the FDA announced a safety label change for statins, based on published case reports of memory loss and confusion and data from the Adverse Events Reporting System. One possibility for these equivocal findings is that studies involving the effects of statins on cognition typically have assessed cognitive function using traditional cognitive tests, which may yield small effect sizes and demonstrate high intra-participant variability. This may explain the discrepancy between clinical trials and patient self-reports, and could be addressed by utilizing CNS tests that directly assess brain parameters.

To the best of our knowledge and literature review, this study is the first to investigate the effects of statins on the central nervous system by utilizing fMRI to assess brain neural activation in healthy adults treated with 80 mg atorvastatin or placebo.

We detected few changes attributable to statin therapy with standardized neuropsychological tests, a finding similar to that from previous clinical trials. However, participants on atorvastatin demonstrated altered patterns of neural activation on vs. off statin compared to participants treated with placebo. Unexpectedly, the treatment groups differed at both timepoints. The clinical implications of these findings are unclear and warrant additional clinical trials.

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More Evidence That Higher Education May Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Larsson

Susanna C. Larsson, PhD
Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet,
Institute of Environmental Medicine,
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: The causes of Alzheimer’s disease are largely unknown and there are currently no medical treatments that can halt or reverse its effects. This has led to growing interest in identifying risk factors for Alzheimer’s that are amenable to modification. Several observational studies have found that education and various lifestyle and vascular risk factors are associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but whether these factors actually cause Alzheimer’s is unclear.

We used a genetic epidemiologic method known as ‘Mendelian randomization’. This method involves the use of genes with an impact on the modifiable risk factor – for example, genes linked to education or intelligence – and assessing whether these genes are also associated with the disease. If a gene with an impact on the modifiable risk factor is also associated with the disease, then this provides strong evidence that the risk factor is a cause of the disease.

MedicalResearch.com:  What are the main findings?

Response: Our results, based on aggregated genetic data from 17 000 Alzheimer’s disease patients and 37 000 healthy controls, revealed that genetic variants that predict higher education were clearly associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. A possible explanation for this link is ‘cognitive reserve’, which refers to the ability to recruit and use alternative brain networks or structures not normally used to compensate for brain ageing. Previous research has shown that high education increases this reserve.

We found suggestive evidence for possible associations of intelligence, circulating vitamin D, coffee consumption, and smoking with risk of Alzheimer’s disease. There was no evidence for a causal link with other modifiable factors, such as vascular risk factors.

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Maternal Ingestion of Placenta Has No Proven Therapeutic Benefit

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Placenta – Wikipedia Image

Daniel C Benyshek, PhD
Professor, Department of Anthropology
Adjunct Professor, UNLV School of Medicine
Co-Director, Metabolism, Anthropometry and Nutrition Lab
UNLV
Sharon M. Young, PhD (first author)

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

Response: Over the last several decades, human maternal placentophagy (postpartum ingestion of the placenta by the mother) has emerged as a rare but increasingly popular practice among women in industrialized countries seeking its many purported health benefits. Human placentophagy advocates, including many midwives, placenta encapsulation specialists, lactation consultants, and mothers who have experienced positive results previously from the practice, regularly claim improved lactation, energy levels, and postpartum mood, among other benefits, as a result of placentophagy. These advocates regularly speculate that these self-reported effects are likely due to (beneficial) changes to postpartum maternal hormone profiles as a result of the practice. While maternal placentophagy is ubiquitous among land mammals, including our closest primate relatives, recent research has shown that human maternal placentophagy is unknown as a traditional cultural practice. The conspicuous cross-cultural absence of maternal placentophagy among humans (as a long-standing traditional practice) thus remains a mystery. Our study is an important first step in the scientific (evolutionary and clinical) investigation of this rare but increasingly popular maternal practice.

Our study was a double-blind, and placebo controlled trial, meaning that there was a placenta group and a placebo group, and the participants and researchers didn’t know which supplement a participant had until the end of the study. We included 27 healthy women, recruited during pregnancy, who met with the researchers 4 times across pregnancy and early postpartum. At each meeting, they answered questionnaires on topics of interest (e.g., mood, energy, bonding, social support etc.), and we collected blood and saliva samples. At the first two meetings, they were not yet taking a placenta or placebo supplement, so we could collect baseline measures for their hormones and questionnaire data. After the second meeting, they were instructed to take either placenta or placebo supplements. Once the study had ended, we compared data between the two groups to identify any differences.

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Snowball Obesity Genes Lead To Constant Weight Gain Throughout Life

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Meyre PhD Associate Professor, McMaster University, Dept. of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact Hamilton, Ontario Canada Visiting Professor, University of Lorraine, Inserm Nutrition-Genetics-Environmental Risks

Dr. Meyre

David Meyre PhD
Associate Professor, McMaster University,
Dept. of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact
Hamilton, Ontario Canada
Visiting Professor, University of Lorraine,
Inserm Nutrition-Genetics-Environmental Risks

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

Response: While the average body mass index has reached a plateau in Western countries such as the United States, extreme forms of obesity are still on the rise. The origins of super obesity are still poorly understood. We studied the effects of 37 well-established obesity genes on body-mass index in 75,230 adults with European ancestry using innovative statistical methods (conditional quantile regression and meta-regression models).

We found that nine of the 37 genes (24%) make individuals gain more weight if they already have a high body mass index. The effect of these genes is amplified by four times, if we compare the 10% of the population at the low end of the body mass index, compared to the 10% at the high end. The plausible explanation is that there are interactions between these snowball obesity genes and risk environmental factors.
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New Tool Can Tell Whether Your Child Has a ‘Screen Addiction’

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cici loves full screen video on the XO” by Mike Lee is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sarah E. Domoff, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Central Michigan University
Research Faculty Affiliate
Center for Human Growth and Development
University of Michigan

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

Response: There has been growing concern that children may become “addicted” to screens, such as tablets and other mobile devices. Children at younger ages are now “owning” their own mobile devices and have increased access to gaming apps and other rewarding functions of these devices. Until now, there hasn’t been a parent report form available to capture addictive like use of screen media in children.

The Problematic Media Use Measure (PMUM) assesses addictive-like use of screen media in children under 12 years and has strong psychometrics. We found that the PMUM does a better job in predicting psychosocial difficulties in children, over and above hours of screen time.

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Older Diabetes Drug Metformin May Resensitize Tumors to Chemotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, Canada 

Dr. Arnason

Terra G Arnason, MD PhD, Associate Professor,
Division of Endocrinology,
Department of Medicine
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK, Canada

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

Response: Response: Metformin has been used worldwide for decades to treat Type diabetes.

Metformin is a cheap non-toxic compound that was originally plant derived. In the past decade a number of meta-analyses have demonstrated that Type 2 individuals taking
metformin have a reduced risk of developing many different cancers and do better
longterm. The molecular events facilitating metformin’s activity remain obscure and
it is unknown whether metformin can help cancer patients avoid the development of
drug resistant cancers years after successful treatment.

In our study we asked whether metformin can not only restore sensitivity of multiple drug resistant tumors to chemotherapy once again, but whether metformin can prevent the development of multiple drug resistance in the “rst place. We demonstrate that metformin can sensitize drug resistant cells to chemotherapy once again, which supports recent
studies, but we also show for the “first time that Metformin can prevent the
progression of cancer cells towards drug resistance using cell culture experiments.

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Aravind Eye Care System Reduces Waste and Carbon Footprint From Cataract Surgeries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cassandra Thiel, PhD Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Health and Opthamology at NYU Langone Health, and Assistant Professor at NYU Wagner and NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Dr. Thiel

Cassandra Thiel, PhD
Assistant Professor in the Departments of Population Health and Opthamology at NYU Langone Health, and Assistant Professor at NYU Wagner and
NYU Tandon School of Engineering

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

Response: Everyone is concerned about the health impacts of climate change, from the United Nations to the Lancet. While other industries are trying to monitor and minimize their environmental footprint, healthcare services have been largely overlooked. Yet, the US healthcare sector emits 10% of the US’s total greenhouse gases.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the world. In the US, these surgeries generate large quantities of waste due to the use of single-use, disposable materials and supplies. However, at Aravind Eye Care System in southern India, the outcomes for this procedure are the same as in the US, but the materials they use are mostly reusable. This study assessed the environmental footprint of Aravind’s surgical process, to determine how their process design and material selection affected their emissions.

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Current Sunscreens Lack Protection Against Damaging Effects of Visible Light

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. Mauricio S. Baptista
Chemistry Institute (IQ-USP)
University of São Paulo
Brazil 

“Tanning in the sun” by S B is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: This research started around 7 years ago. Our lab had a lot of previous experience in studying how photosensitizers (molecules that absorb light and transfer energy to others in its surroundings) used for Photodynamic Therapy, behave in the intracellular environments. We realized that most scientific work that defined the effects of sun in skin did not really consider looking into the properties of the molecules that are naturally found in skin and that absorb light. We also realized that very likely natural photosensitizers present in the skin behaves similarly when excited by either UVA or visible light. It all depends on which molecule absorb light and how the subsequent excited states behave. The work started by looking at melanin and melanocyte cells (Chiarelli-Neto et al Free Radic Biol Med 2011, 51, 1195; Chiarelli-Neto O et al. PLoS ONE, 2014  9(11): e113266). More recently we start looking at keratinocytes  and liposfucin (Tonolli et al Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2017, 137, 2447).

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Experimental Chemotherapy and Diabetes Medication Combination Shows Potential In Huntington’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Audrey S. Dickey, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Neurology, DUMC 2900 Durham, NC  27710

Dr. Dickey

Audrey S. Dickey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Neurology, DUMC 2900
Durham, NC  27710

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

Response: A drug already used to treat certain forms of cancer may also be an effective therapy for Huntington’s disease, according to a new study in the latest issue of Science Translational Medicine. The same study also increases our understanding of how this drug, and other medications like it, may offer hope for other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease.

Huntington’s disease is a devastating, inevitably fatal disease, with no medications that slow or stop disease progression. In this study, mice with the equivalent of Huntington’s disease became more mobile, recovered from neurodegeneration, and lived longer after being treated with Bexarotene. The same research builds on a 2016 study where Dr. Al La Spada, Dr. Audrey Dickey and colleagues showed that the drug KD3010 is an effective treatment for Huntington’s disease in mice and in human patient neurons made from stem cells.

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Could Lithium Lower Risk Of Alzheimer’s Disease?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Val Andrew Fajardo, PhD. NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow | Centre for Bone and Muscle Health Brock University | Department of Health Sciences St. Catharines, ON, Canada 

Dr. Fajardo

Val Andrew Fajardo, PhD.
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow | Centre for Bone and Muscle Health
Brock University | Department of Health Sciences
St. Catharines, ON, Canada 

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

Response: Lithium is best known for its role as a mood stabilizer, and several ecological studies across a number of different regions have shown that trace levels of lithium in tap water can exert its mood stabilizing effect and reduce rates of suicide, crime, and homicide.

The results from our study show that these trace levels of lithium could also potentially protect against Alzheimer’s disease.  These findings are actually supported by several years of research using pre-clinical and clinical models to demonstrate low-dose lithium’s neuroprotective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we also found that trace lithium in tap water may potentially protect against obesity and diabetes – an effect that is also supported with previous literature.  In fact, some of the earlier reports of lithium’s effect of increasing insulin sensitivity and improving glucose metabolism were first published in the 1920s.  Finally, we found that trace lithium’s effect on Alzheimer’s disease may be partly mediated by its effect on obesity and diabetes.

My collaborator Dr. Rebecca MacPherson who is an expert on Alzheimer’s disease as a metabolic disorder explains that this effect is in support of recent research demonstrating that obesity and diabetes are important risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease.  So interventions aiming to reduce obesity and diabetes such as physical activity can go a long way in lowering risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which is also something we present in our study.

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Breast Cancer Survival Remains Lower For Black Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Family Weekend 2014-Breast Cancer Walk” by Nazareth College is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Jacqueline Miller, MD
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC 

MedicalResearch.com: What efforts have proven successful in reducing racial disparities like these?

Response: While some racial disparities will exist due to differences in tumor types, improving early diagnosis and providing specific treatment based on tumor characteristics in a timely fashion would result in reducing breast cancer disparities.

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Clot-Busting Catheter Procedure for DVT May Reduce Symptoms In Some Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Suresh Vedantham, M.D
.
Principal Investigator, ATTRACT Trial
Professor of Radiology & Surgery
Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology
Washington University School of Medicine 

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

Response:   About 300,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with a blood clot (deep vein thrombosis, DVT) for the first time.  In total, about 600,000 Americans have a DVT each year, as noted in the 2008 Surgeon General’s Call to Action.

Despite the use of standard treatment (blood thinning drugs and compression stockings), about 40% of DVT patients develop a long-term complication called post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS).  PTS impairs patients’ quality of life and typically causes chronic pain and swelling of the leg that occur on a daily basis. In many patients, this leads to major disability the prevents them from walking, working, or conducting normal daily activities. Some patients develop painful open sores on the leg called “venous ulcers”, that are difficult to heal.

Pharmacomechanical catheter-directed thrombolysis (“PCDT”) is a minimally-invasive treatment that removes blood clots through a tiny (2-3 mm) incision using the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (TPA) along with catheter-based devices that can chew up the clots. The benefits and risks of PCDT have not before been evaluated for DVT treatment in a rigorous study.

     The final results of the ATTRACT Trial, which was primarily sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), are being published in The New England Journal of Medicine.  ATTRACT, the most rigorous study to date of clot-busting treatment for DVT, was a multicenter randomized controlled trial comparing PCDT and standard therapy versus standard therapy alone in 692 patients with above-knee DVT. This landmark study, conducted in 56 U.S. hospitals, was led by Principal Investigator Dr. Suresh Vedantham, Professor of Radiology & Surgery at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology at Washington University in St. Louis, along with outstanding DVT researchers at McMaster University (Hamilton, Ontario [Canada]), the Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), and the Mid America Heart Institute (Kansas City, MO).  

The primary study result is that for most patients with DVT, the addition of PCDT to standard therapy does not prevent the development of PTS.  Because the use of PCDT involves a small but significant increase in major bleeding complications, it should not be routinely used as first-line DVT treatment.  However, PCDT did reduce the severity of PTS and appeared likely to provide better relief of DVT-related leg pain and swelling.  Further analyses will determine which DVT patients are most likely to experience these benefits.

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About 20% Increased Risk of Breast Cancer in Women On Oral Contraceptives

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Birth control pills” by lookcatalog is licensed under CC BY 2.0Lina Mørch PhD, MSc

Senior Researcher
Rigshospitalet

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

Response: There was a lack of evidence on contemporary hormonal contraception and risk of breast cancer. In particular the knowledge of risk with newer progestins was sparse.

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FDA Grants IND of ARTEMIS™ T cell Platform To Enhance CAR-T Cancer Therapies Without Cytokine Storm

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Cheng Liu PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer of Eureka Therapeutics.

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

 

    • Eureka Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical stage biotechnology company focused on improving the safety profile of T cell therapies and developing novel T cell therapies for the treatment of solid tumors.
    • ET190L1-ARTEMISTM utilizes Eureka’s proprietary ARTEMISTM T cell receptor platform and proprietary human anti- CD19 binder to target CD19-positive malignancies. In preclinical studies, ET190L1-ARTEMISTM matched the cancer killing potency of current CAR-T therapies but with a dramatic reduction in the levels of inflammatory cytokines released, a main cause of cytokine release syndrome. In addition, these studies have shown that ET190L1-ARTEMISTM T cells are less exhausted and more naive and therefore, expected to have improved persistence in vivo. If confirmed in the clinic, this could result in a longer term therapeutic benefit to patients with an improved safety profile.
    • Eureka is also focused on developing the next evolution of T cell therapies against solid tumors which represent 90% of all cancers. While CAR-T therapies have been successful with liquid tumors such as leukemia and lymphoma, they have not been successful in solid tumors because of a lack of specific cell surface antigens. Eureka has pioneered the use of TCR mimic antibodies to target intracellular antigens in solid tumors that were once considered undruggable. Using its proprietary human E-ALPHA® phage display library, Eureka has discovered highly-specific, high affinity TCR mimic antibodies that can target intracellular antigens in solid tumors when processed into peptides and presented onto the cell surface by the MHCI complex. Pre-clinical studies have shown that when these TCR mimic antibodies were engineered onto the ARTEMISTM or CAR-T cell receptor platform against hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) cells, the T cells launched a potent anti-tumor response.

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Weight Loss After Bariatric Procedures Mostly Sustained Over Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anita P. Courcoulas MD, MPH Professor of Surgery, Chief MIS Bariatric & General Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Dr. Courcoulas

Anita P. Courcoulas MD, MPH
Professor of Surgery, Chief MIS Bariatric & General Surgery
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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

Response: This study is the main long term outcomes report from The Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery (LABS) Study, an NIH-NIDDK ( National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) funded study at 10 hospitals in 6 clinical centers and a data coordinating center.  It was a multicenter, prospective three phase longitudinal cohort study that began recruitment of participants in 2006 when gastric bypass and laparoscopic adjustable banding were the two most common bariatric procedures performed in the U.S.

The goal of this particular study from LABS was to address the longer-term durability and variability of weight loss and the assess the longer-term impact of bariatric surgery on major health conditions including diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Continue reading

Disparities in Ovarian Cancer Survival in the United States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC image

Site of Ovarian Cancer CDC image

Dr. Sherri Stewart, PhD
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What do women most need to know about ovarian cancer detection and treatment?

Response: There is no effective test to detect ovarian cancer at an early stage where treatment is most likely to be effective.  Many women mistakenly believe that the Pap test can detect ovarian cancer, but it does not. The Pap test is recommended only for the detection of cervical cancer.

 Recognizing early symptoms of ovarian cancer and seeking timely care may help lead to detection of the cancer at an earlier stage, where treatment is likely to be more effective.  Symptoms – such  as abdominal and back pain, feeling full quickly after eating, and frequent urination – are often present among women with ovarian cancer.  Women should talk with their doctors if they experience any of these symptoms for 2 weeks or longer and the symptoms persist or worsen.

If a woman is diagnosed with ovarian cancer, she should seek treatment from a gynecologic oncologist, a physician specially trained to treat ovarian cancer.  Ovarian cancer patients who have been treated by gynecologic oncologists have been shown to survive longer than those treated by other physicians.           Continue reading

Black Men and Women Continue To Have Lower Colon Cancer Survival Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Large Colon Cancer Arising in Adenoma” by Ed Uthman

Dr. Arica White PhD MPH
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the likelihood of reaching the 80% CRC screening rate goal by next year?

Response: As of 2016, 67% of adults age 50-75 years reported being up-to-date with colorectal cancer screening. The 80% by 2018 initiative represented an aspirational goal that public health, non-profit, and community-based organizations will continue to strive for regardless of the outcome in 2018.

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LA’s Housing Program Reduced Overall Costs For Homeless Services

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Homeless” by Sonny Abesamis is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sarah Hunter, PhD
Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation
Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica, CA 90401-3028

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

Response: In 2014, RAND was contracted by Brilliant Corners in collaboration with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to conduct an evaluation of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services’ Housing for Health (HFH) program.  The HFH program began in 2012 with the goal of providing permanent supportive housing for frequent utilizers of county health services who were experiencing homelessness.  Continue reading

LMTX® Shows Promise As Monotherapy In Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Claude Wischik Co-Founder and Executive Chairman TauRx Pharmaceuticals

Prof. Wischik

Professor Claude Wischik
Co-Founder and Executive Chairman
TauRx Pharmaceuticals

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

Response: The study TRx-237-005 was the second of two Phase 3 trials conducted by TauRx, and was specifically set up to investigate the efficacy and safety of LMTX® in 800 patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease at a dose of 100 mg twice daily compared to 4 mg twice daily (intended as an inactive control dose) over an 18-month treatment period.

Results from this study were found to be consistent with those from the first Phase 3 study in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, published in The Lancet [(TRx-237-015) Gauthier et al. 2016], indicating that patients obtained no benefit from LMTX® when it was taken in combination with existing approved drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and supporting the hypothesis that LMTX® might be effective as monotherapy at doses as low as 4 mg twice daily. Please refer to the press release for full study results.

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