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.

Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy Reduced Pain of Fibromyalgia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mark A. Lumley, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology Training
Department of Psychology
Wayne State University
Detroit, Michigan  48202 and
Howard Schubiner, M.D
Founder and Director Mind-Body Medicine Center
Providence-Providence Park Hospitak
Warren, MI 48092 

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

Response: Fibromyalgia is a condition that afflicts many people with chronic pain and other symptoms, which are often severe. There is no clear evidence of tissue damage or other peripheral causes of the symptoms, and experts agree that the pain is real, and its primary source is the brain. Medications for fibromyalgia have limited effectiveness, so psychological and behavioral therapies are core to treatment.

Research documents a strong relationship between emotions and pain, and many patients with FM struggle with negative emotions related to difficult life circumstances, such as trauma, abuse, or relationship conflicts. Ironically, most psychological therapies for FM do not address these problems, but rather teach people how to manage their symptoms. Emerging research, however, demonstrates that therapies that help patients engage rather than avoid their difficult emotional experiences improve both psychological and physical symptoms, including pain. Therefore, we developed an emotion-focused therapy, which we call Emotional Awareness and Expression Therapy (EAET), and compared it to both an active education-based control condition and to the leading psychological intervention for fibromyalgia, cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT).

The EAET condition was substantially better on multiple outcomes that the control condition 6 months after treatment. Importantly, although EAET did not differ from CBT on many outcomes, EAET was superior than CBT on reducing widespread and in the percentage of individuals achieving substantial pain reduction (that is, at least 50% pain reduction from baseline).

Continue reading

Most Women Unaware of Breast Cancer Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rebekah Nagler PhD Assistant professor Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication University of Minnesota

Dr. Nagler

Rebekah Nagler PhD Assistant professor
Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication
University of Minnesota 

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

Response: Both the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) have stated that women in their 40s–or, in the case of ACS, women ages 40-44–should have the choice to decide when they want to start screening for breast cancer. These organizations recommend that women in this age group weigh the benefits and risks of mammography screening, with the goal of making an informed decision about when to start screening. Yet recent research has shown that women are more aware of the benefits of mammography screening than the harms, including overdiagnosis and overtreatment (doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2247). We therefore wondered whether women actually have the information they need to make informed screening decisions.

In a population-based sample of 429 U.S. women ages 35-55, we found that awareness of breast cancer overdiagnosis (16.5%) and overtreatment (18.0%) was low. Moreover, we found that most women did not find statements about these harms to be believable and persuasive.

Continue reading

Ruptured Biceps Tendon and Wild-type Transthyretin Amyloidosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Avinainder Singh, M.B.B.S. Research Fellow Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham & Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA

Dr. Singh

Avinainder Singh, M.B.B.S.
Research Fellow
Cardiovascular Medicine
Brigham & Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

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

Response: Amyloidosis due to aberrant folding of proteins. These misfolded proteins can deposit in various parts of the body and lead to organ dysfunction. The two most common types of amyloidosis affecting the heart include transthyretin and light chain amyloidosis. Transthyretin is a protein produced by the liver which supports the transport of thyroxine and retinol.

Wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTRwt, previously known as senile amyloidosis) occurs due to deposition of misfolded fibrils derived from transthyretin and primarily affects elderly men. Once considered a rare disease, it is now reported to be responsible for nearly 13% of heart failure with preserved ejected fraction and increased wall thickness.

Rupture of the biceps tendon is a rare occurrence in the general population (<1 per 1000). We noticed a ruptured biceps tendon in several patients with wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis and performed this study to further evaluate this finding in a group of patients with wild-type transthyretin amyloidosis and in a control group of age-matched patients with non-amyloid heart failure.

Continue reading

Playing Sports In Midlife Increases Chance of An Active Old Age

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Daniel Aggio, PhD UCL Department of Primary Care and Population Health UCL Medical School University College London PA Research Group London, UK

Dr. Aggio

Dr. Daniel Aggio, PhD
UCL Department of Primary Care and Population Health
UCL Medical School
University College London PA Research Group
London, UK

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

Response: Maintaining a physically active lifestyle into old age is associated with optimal health benefits. While we know that levels of physical activity in youth predict physical activity levels in adulthood, how physical activity in midlife predicts physical activity in old age is not as well understood. It is also unclear how different types of physical activity predict physical activity in later life.

Using data from the British Regional Heart Study, an ongoing prospective cohort study involving men recruited between 1978 and 1980, we assessed how physical activity tracks over 20 years from midlife to old age. The study of over 3400 men showed that being active in midlife more than doubled the odds of being active 20 years later. Interestingly, sport participation in midlife predicted physical activity in old age more strongly than other types of physical activity, such as walking and recreational activity. The odds of being active in old age were even stronger for those men who took up sport from a younger age prior to midlife.

Sport was the most stable activity across the follow up, with just under half of men reporting playing sport at least occasionally at each survey. However, walking was the least stable; the proportion of men who reported high levels of walking rose from just under 27% at the start of the study to 62% at the 20 year survey, possibly because retirement might free up more time.

Continue reading

More Teenage Boys Becoming Fathers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maureen Pirog PhD Rudy Professor of Policy Analysis School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University

Dr. Pirog

Maureen Pirog PhD
Rudy Professor of Policy Analysis
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Indiana University 

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

Response: We analyzed parenthood, education and income statistics over a long time span from two groups of about 10,000 people — those born in 1962-64 and those born in 1980-82.

  • Teen fathers and mothers came increasingly from single-mother families with disadvantaged backgrounds.
  • The proportion of teen mothers or fathers living with their partners didn’t change, but far fewer were married.
  • The birth rates to teenage girls across the two groups didn’t change, but the reported rate of teenage fatherhood increased, a seemingly contradictory conclusion. For example, 1.7 percent of the men in the older group were fathers by the time they were 17, while in the younger group, nearly double that number were dads. About 8 percent of the 17-year-old females in both groups were mothers.

Continue reading

Joint Physical Custody Better For Children’s Psychological Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Malin Bergström PhD Center for Health Equity Studies  Karolinska Institutet  

Dr. Bergstrom

Malin Bergström PhD
Center for Health Equity Studies
Karolinska Institutet  

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

Response: The increase in children who move between their parent’s homes after a divorce is one of the major changes in children’s life circumstances during the last decade. Spending equal amounts of time in both parents’ homes means that these children move fifty times a year. Child experts have claimed this to be stressful and potentially harmful to children’s attachment relations to their mothers. Especially for children this young the practice of joint physical custody has been questioned.

Continue reading

Facial Structure Linked To Sexual Drive and Orientation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Arnocky PhD Faculty of Arts & Science-Psychology Nipissing University Canada

Dr. Arnocky

Steven Arnocky PhD
Faculty of Arts & Science-Psychology
Nipissing University
Canada 

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

Response:  – Previous research has linked the facial width-to-height ratio to a number of testosterone-mediated traits, primarily in men, such as aggression and achievement drive. Some research has also linked FWHR to testosterone directly, although this research is less consistent. If testosterone is linked to cranio-facial development then we hypothesized that facial masculinization should therefore correlate with other testosterone-linked traits. In both men and women, there is good evidence that testosterone increases sexual motivation.

In two samples of young-adults from two Canadian cities, we found that  facial width-to-height ratio predicted sex-drive, regardless of whether participants were male or female.

In the second study (the larger of the two) we also found that FWHR predicted a more unrestricted sociosexual orientation, in other words, attitudes and behavior consistent with more pluralistic mating, as well as more intended infidelity.

Continue reading

Parasitic Infection With Toxoplasmosis May Be Linked To Parkinson’s & Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Under a magnification of 900X, this hematoxylin and eosin-stained (H&E) photomicrograph of a brain tissue specimen revealed a case of neurotoxoplasmosis in a patient who had also been diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Note the Toxoplasma gondii tissue cyst, within which bradyzoites could be seen developing. CDC Image

Rima McLeod, M.D., F.A.C.P, F.I.D.S.A
Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences,Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases), and The College,
Director, Toxoplasmosis Center,
Senior Fellow,Institute of Genomics, Genetics and Systems Biology, Member, Commitees on Immunology, and Molecular Medicine and Pathogenesis,
Member Global Health Center, Affiliate CHeSS;
Attending Physician, Chicago Medicine,
The University of Chicago

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

* One third of humans are infected lifelong with the brain-dwelling, protozoan parasite, Toxoplasma gondii.
* Approximately fifteen million of these have congenital toxoplasmosis.
* The parasite interconverts between slow-growing, encysted bradyzoites and rapid-growing tachyzoites.
* In mice, T. gondii creates a chronic intra-neuronal infection and an inflammatory process.
* Mice with acute and chronic infection have alterations in neurotransmitters, memory, seizures, and neurobehavior.
* Some epidemiologic-serologic studies show associations between seropositivity for T. gondii and human neurologic diseases, for example, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
* Although neurobehavioral disease is associated with seropositivity, causality is unproven.
* Serologic studies of humans with diverse genetics are not optimal to detect strong associations or directionality.
* Epidemiologic associations also do not reveal parasite-modulated gene networks in human brain that could provide insights into how to cure and prevent resultant diseases.
* We need integrative approaches to examine relationships between brain parasitism and other brain diseases, to provide a foundation to identify key pathways and molecules for drug and vaccine design
* To address these problems, we considered two central questions: (i) If chronic brain parasitism associates with other neurologic diseases, what are they? And (ii) Which macromolecular networks are modulated by the parasite in human brain that lead to neuropathology which could underpin and facilitate design of treatments?
* We hypothesized that a systems approach integrating multiple levels of host parasite interactions might resolve these questions.
* To better understand what this parasite does to human brains, we performed a comprehensive systems analysis of the infected brain.  Continue reading

Mild Hypothermia During Prolonged Surgery May Reduce Complications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brett A. Miles, DDS MD FACS Associate Professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Co-Chief Division Head and Neck Oncology Fellowship Director Head and Neck Oncologic and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029

Dr. Miles

Brett A. Miles, DDS MD FACS
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Co-Chief Division Head and Neck Oncology
Fellowship Director
Head and Neck Oncologic and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery
Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
New York, NY 10029 

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

Response: The ideal core temperature for patients undergoing prolonged major head and neck surgery remains unknown. Previous data indicates the low temperatures may increase the risk of developing postoperative complications such as tissue loss, hematomas, or surgical infections.(1) Other studies have indicated that high temperatures may also influence outcomes and lead to increased complications such as bleeding.(2)

This study was a study of 519 patients who underwent major head and neck surgery at the Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, New York. The study looked at the core temperature of the patients during prolonged surgery for head and neck cancer in order to identify the optimal temperature range for these patients to prevent complications.

The study found that higher intraoperative temperatures were associated with worse outcomes in terms of tissue loss, wound complications, and infection. Our study suggests an optimal temperature range of 35.3C-37.6C. If patients were above or below that range for a significant period of time, their complications increased. Therefore maintaining this temperature range (mild hypothermia) may improve flap outcomes in this population.

Continue reading

Intermittent Dieting May Result In Greater Weight Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Nuala Byrne PhD Head of School | Health Sciences Faculty of Health University of Tasmania

Prof. Byrne

Professor Nuala Byrne PhD
Head of School | Health Sciences
Faculty of Health
University of Tasmania 

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

Response: Calorie restriction (or cutting back on the energy we are eating) triggers powerful compensatory responses by our body’s metabolism – we might think of it as a “Famine Reaction”. Our body weight is regulated by a series of nervous system and hormone networks that act together to make sure we have enough energy to sustain life. When we eat more energy than our body needs to meet our daily metabolic requirements (positive energy balance), we are designed to store that excess energy; and we are very good at storing. We store this energy in the fat cells (adipocytes) as an emergency reserve for when we hit hard-times when food availability is scarce. The problem in today’s society is that most of us have a constant availability of energy-dense food; making it more common to be in energy excess.

When we have less calories being consumed than what we need to fuel all the body’s metabolic processes (negative energy balance), we convert the stored fat into usable energy, and consequently lose weight. While our body does sense the positive energy balance, it is designed to be more sensitive to gauging when we are in a negative energy balance. Our body senses the change in energy intake and the decreasing fat stores, and brings out the artillery to defend our energy stores – this is the Famine Reaction. Our body is constantly changing our physiology in response to challenges to the status quo; the body works constantly to keep the oxygen concentration in the blood at an optimal level, to keep a constant and optimal body temperature, and a constant and optimal amount of sugar in the blood. Our body’s regulatory systems also work hard to defend our energy stores if it senses we are continually in negative energy-balance (i.e., dieting). One major metabolic compensatory as part of the “Famine Reaction” is a decrease in the body’s resting metabolic rate (energy expended while at rest to maintain the basic functioning of our major organs). Given that resting metabolic rate is determined largely by body size and composition, it is expected to decrease with weight loss. However, during dieting, resting metabolic rate has been reported to decrease to a greater extent than that expected from changes in body composition, a phenomenon termed ‘adaptive thermogenesis’. This leads to markedly reduced efficiency of weight loss.

Continue reading