About Marie Benz MD FAAD

Physician in practice over 30 years. Editor of MedicalResearch.com. All interviews conducted exclusively for MedicalResearch.com by Marie Benz, MD.

Salivary Assay Developed for HIV Can Be Used To Detect Zika

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests. NYU/Sapna Parikh

Researchers at NYU College of Dentistry are developing a test for Zika virus that uses saliva to identify diagnostic markers of the virus in a fraction of the time of current tests.
NYU/Sapna Parikh

Maite Sabalza Ph.D
Post Doctoral Associate
Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology
College of Dentistry, New York University
New York, NY 10010

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

Response: With previous NIH funding we were able to develop an automated “dual assay” (able to detect both host antibodies and viral RNA) for HIV.

In relatively short time, we were able to migrate those findings into the new assay for ZIKA Virus. Continue reading

Repeated Less Serious Infections Do Not Affect Children’s School Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student Department of Clinical Medicine - Psychosis Research Unit Aarhus University

Ole Köhler-Forsberg

Ole Köhler-Forsberg, PhD Student
Department of Clinical Medicine – Psychosis Research Unit
Aarhus University

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

Response: Prior studies have demonstrated that serious illnesses, for example severe infections such as measles, rubella or meningitis, which we vaccinate against, affect the brain and thereby the child’s ability to learn. From this we know that illnesses and in particular infections to some degree have an influence on our brains.

In this study, we decided to look at how children perform following the less severe infections that many of them frequently experience during their childhood. After all, this is the largest group of children, but this has not been studied previously in such a large population.

Basically, we found that among 598,553 Danes born 1987-1997, the less severe infections treated with anti-infective agents during childhood did not affect the child´s ability to perform well in school, nonetheless whether 5, 10 or 15 prescriptions had been prescribed.

On the other hand, we found that children who had been admitted to hospital as a result of severe infections had a lower chance of completing 9th grade. The decisive factor is therefore the severity of the disease, but not necessarily the number of sick days.  

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New Vaccine Administered To Newborns Protects Against Rotavirus Gastroenteritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions set against a black background. Note the organism’s characteristic wheel-like appearance, which is visible when viewed under the electron microscope. It’s this morphology that gives the Rotavirus its name, which is derived from the Latin rota, meaning "wheel". Rotaviruses are nonenveloped, double-shelled viruses, making them quite stable in the environment. CDC- PHIL collection: Illustrator: Alissa Eckert, MS

This illustration provides a 3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions set against a black background. Note the organism’s characteristic wheel-like appearance, which is visible when viewed under the electron microscope. It’s this morphology that gives the Rotavirus its name, which is derived from the Latin rota, meaning “wheel”. Rotaviruses are nonenveloped, double-shelled viruses, making them quite stable in the environment.
CDC- PHIL collection: Illustrator: Alissa Eckert

Professor Julie Bines
Inaugural Victor and Loti Smorgon Professor of Paediatrics and Deputy Head of Department of Paediatrics University of Melbourne.
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the significance of Rotavirus infections?

Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child illness and death, and rotavirus is the most common cause of severe diarrhoea. Globally rotaviruses cause approximately 215,000 deaths in children under five years. This disease doesn’t discriminate – it infects children worldwide under the age of five – irrespective of what environment you live in.

The rotavirus vaccines that are currently available work very well in places like Australia, the US and Europe but they don’t seem to work as well in low income settings in Africa and Asia where severe gastroenteritis is common and many children die.

In a world-first clinical trial conducted in Indonesia, the oral RV3-BB vaccine was administered to babies within their first five days of life. Current rotavirus vaccines can only be administered to children older than six weeks, which leaves newborn babies particularly vulnerable to rotavirus infection. In lower resource settings, birth is often the best contact between mother, baby and health services.

The oral RV3-BB vaccine was developed from the human neonatal rotavirus strain RV3 identified in the stool of healthy newborn babies. It does not naturally cause diarrhoea like other rotaviruses. The RV3-BB vaccine program aims to take advantage of the characteristics of this novel strain to target a birth dose vaccination strategy.  Continue reading

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Learn directly from the researchers as they discuss the ideas behind their investigations and their plans for future studies. Over 8654 interviews to date! More than 1713 interviews with researchers from JAMA.

USPSTF: Ovarian Cancer Screening Not Recommended in Low-Risk, Asymptomatic Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael J. Barry, M.D., Task Force member Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program Health Decision Sciences Center Massachusetts General Hospital. Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School and  Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Barry

Michael J. Barry, M.D., Task Force member
Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program
Health Decision Sciences Center
Massachusetts General Hospital.
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School and
Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital

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

Response: Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. It is hard to detect, and many women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not show signs or symptoms early on. As a result, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage, when it is hard to treat successfully.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked at the latest evidence to see if screening women who do not have signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer can prevent them from dying of the disease. Unfortunately, we found that screening for ovarian cancer does not decrease the number of women who die, but it does lead to some women having unnecessary surgery to remove their ovaries. As a result, we are recommending against ovarian cancer screening in women who are not at high risk.

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Teen Marijuana Use Did Not Increase After Passage of Medical Marijuana Laws

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“medical marijuana : strains and varieties” by torbakhopper is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Deborah Hasin PhD
Department of Epidemiology in Psychiatry
Mailman School of Public Health
Columbia University

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

Response: We began to think about this study after we published an earlier report (Hasin et al., The Lancet Psychiatry 2015) showing that after state medical marijuana laws (MML) were passed, U.S. teen marijuana use did not increase compared to the period before the laws were passed and to overall national trends. However, people continued to question whether MML led to teen increases in marijuana use. Therefore, in the present study, we combined findings from 11 large-scale national studies of teens to provide a more definite answer.

The findings were clear that teen marijuana use did not increase after passage of medical marijuana laws.  Continue reading

Wine Might Be Good For Dental Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Wine” by Uncalno Tekno is licensed under CC BY 2.0
M.Victoria Moreno-Arribas
Spanish National Research Council | CSIC 

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

Response: Recent discoveries indicate polyphenols might also promote health by actively interacting with bacteria in the gut. Also, the intake of specific polyphenol-rich beverages and foods helps the maintenance of digestive health and prevention of disease status. However, the knowledge of the effects of polyphenols in relation to the prevention of dental diseases is still at an early stage.

The use of antiseptics and/or antibiotics in the prevention and treatment of periodontal diseases can lead to unwanted effects. Therefore, there is a need to develop novel antimicrobial strategies useful for the prevention and management of these diseases. Oral epithelial cells normally constitute a physical barrier that prevents infections, but bacterial adhesion to host tissues constitutes a first key step in the infectious process.

With the final goal to elucidate the health properties of wine polyphenols at oral level, we studied their properties as an anti-adhesive therapy for periodontal and cariogenic prevention, as well as the combined action between wine polyphenols and oral probiotic strains in the management of microbial-derived oral diseases. In particular, we checked out the effect of two red wine polyphenols, as well as commercially available grape seed and red wine extracts, on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums and cause dental plaque, cavities and periodontal disease. Also, oral metabolism of polyphenols, including both oral microbiota and human mucosa cells, was investigated.  Continue reading

Aspirin or Rivaroxaban for VTE Prophylaxis after Hip or Knee Arthroplasty?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. David R. Anderson, MD, FRCPC, FACP Faculty of Medicine Dean, Professor Dean, Faculty of Medicine Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine  & Nova Scotia Health Authority

Dr. Anderson

Dr. David R. Anderson, MD, FRCPC, FACP
Faculty of Medicine Dean, Professor
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine
& Nova Scotia Health Authority

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

Response: Blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) and veins of the legs (deep vein thrombosis) are well recognized complications following total hip and knee arthroplasty surgeries.  Prior to the routine use of antithrombotic prophylaxis, pulmonary embolism was the most common cause of death following these procedures.  Oral anticoagulants such as rivaroxaban are commonly prescribed for the indication of preventing blood clots following total hip or knee arthroplasty.  For maximal benefit these agents are continued following surgery for up to five weeks following total hip arthroplasty and for two weeks following total knee arthroplasty.

There is evidence that aspirin has some benefit for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism following total hip or knee arthroplasty.  However there is less evidence for its benefit than for oral anticoagulants.  We reasoned that aspirin would potentially be an attractive alternative for extended out of hospital prophylaxis following total hip or knee arthroplasty for patients who received a short course (5 days )of rivaroxaban following surgery.  Aspirin would be attractive for this indication because of its low cost, ease of use, and low rates of side effects.

Our study demonstrated that in a randomized controlled trial involving a large group (over 3400) of patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty that extended therapy with aspirin was comparable to rivaroxaban for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism following surgery.  Low rates of complications (< 1%) were observed with both treatment arms.  We also found that rates of clinically important bleeding complications (the most common side effect with antithrombotic drugs) were uncommon and similar with the two agents.

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Study Finds No Benefit To Prophylactic Haldol For Delirium in ICU

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“hospital.” by Bethany Satterfield is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Mark van den Boogaard, PhD, RN, CCRN
Assistant Professor
Department of Intensive Care Medicine
Radboud University Medical Center
Nijmegen Netherlands 

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

Response:  Delirium is affecting many of our intensive care unit (ICU) patients which is impacting their recovery on the short-term as well as on the long-term. Therefore we were very interested to investigate if the use prophylactic haloperidol would be beneficial for the ICU patients. Especially because there were indications that it would be effective in ICU delirium prevention and also because this drug is being used in daily practice to prevent ICU delirium although there is no clear evidence. The overall finding of our large-scale well designed study is that we didn’t find any beneficial effect of prophylactic haloperidol in ICU patients. Moreover, this finding is very consistent over all groups of patients.  Continue reading

One Step Closer To Vaccine Against Heroin Addiction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Candy Hwang, Ph.D.

The Scripps Research Institute
La Jolla, CA 92037

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

Response: Our heroin vaccine is designed to stimulate antibodies to recognize and bind heroin, preventing passage of drug molecules to the brain. By essentially blocking the “high” from heroin, we believe this will assist recovering addicts from relapsing. Last year, we reported a heroin vaccine that was shown to be effective in both mouse and non-human primate models. In this current study, we were interested in enhancing our heroin vaccine by exploring different vaccine components and dosages.

Once we discovered the most promising vaccine formulations, we wanted to see if our vaccines would be stable under different storage conditions. We found that our heroin vaccine was shelf stable under different temperatures and as a powder or in liquid form, meaning that the vaccine will remain stable for transport and storage. The best vaccine formulation from these studies showed protection against lethal doses of heroin.

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