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.

Young Adults Had Largest Increase in Alcohol-Related ER Visits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5 University of Ottawa

Daniel Myran

Daniel Myran, MD, MPH, CCFP
Public Health & Preventive Medicine, PGY-5
University of Ottawa

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

Response: We know that alcohol consumption results in enormous health and societal harms globally and in Canada.

While several studies have looked at changes in alcohol harms, such as Emergency Department (ED) visits and Hospitalizations due alcohol, this study is the first to examine in detail how harms related to alcohol have been changing over time in Canada.

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No Link Found Between Coffee and Increased Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
coffee-smell caffeineMr Jue Sheng Ong,  PhD Student
 QIMR Berghofer’s Statistical Genetics Group

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous findings have shown conflicting results on whether coffee is associated with cancer risk.

To evaluate whether there’s any evidence for a causal relationship between coffee and cancer outcomes, we performed two types of association analyses using data from the half a million participants in the UK.

  • We first studied whether an individual’s self-reported coffee consumption is related to their overall risk of developing or dying from any cancers.
  • Then, we repeated the analyses using genetically predicted coffee intake (using about 35 genetic markers related with coffee intake) instead of their self-reported consumption: a technique known as mendelian randomization which is commonly used in modern epidemiology to remove bias from environmental confounders.

Using both techniques, we found no evidence to support a relationship between coffee consumption and the risk of developing or dying from cancers.

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2016 U.S. Presidential Election Associated With Increase in Preterm Births among U.S. Latina Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alison Gemmill, PhD Assistant Professor Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Gemmill

Alison Gemmill, PhD
Assistant Professor
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health 

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

Response: A growing body of evidence suggests that the circumstances surrounding the 2016 presidential election may have had a uniquely negative impact on the health of U.S. Latino population. Few studies, however, have evaluated the population health implications of the election for Latina mothers and their children.

We used national data and methods that control for temporal patterning to test the hypothesis that preterm birth rose above otherwise expected levels among Latina women in the U.S. following the election of Donald Trump. We find that the number of preterm births among Latina women increased above expected levels following the election. Specifically, we find 3.5 percent more preterm births among Latinas than projected for nine months following election.

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New Target To Treat Itch Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark Hoon, PhD Senior Investigator,Molecular Genetics Unit Sensory Biology NIH NIDCR, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Moon

Mark Hoon, PhD
Senior Investigator,Molecular Genetics Unit
Sensory Biology
NIH NIDCR, Bethesda, MD

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

Response: Itch is a condition that at some point effects all people. For most of us itch is not a major problem, but for some people with certain chronic conditions it severely effects their quality of life.

Examples of diseases which cause chronic itch are atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and renal failure. However, current therapies for chronic itch are mainly ineffective and there is a unmet clinical need.

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Older Patients May Benefit from Combination of Simvastatin-Ezetimibe After Acute Coronary Syndrome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Richard G. Bach, MD FACC Professor of Medicine Washington University School of Medicine Director, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center Barnes-Jewish Hospital St. Louis, MO 63110

Dr. Bach

Richard G. Bach, MD FACC
Professor of Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
Director, Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
Director, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center
Barnes-Jewish Hospital
St. Louis, MO 63110

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

Response: Elderly patients represent the largest group of those hospitalized for an acute coronary syndrome, and age is an important marker of increased risk. The risk of death and recurrent cardiovascular events is greatest among the elderly. High intensity lipid lowering by statins has been shown to reduce the incidence of recurrent cardiovascular events after an acute coronary syndrome in general, but there remains limited data on efficacy and safety of that treatment in the elderly, and guidelines do not routinely advocate higher intensity treatment for patients older than 75 years. In practice, older age has been associated with a lower likelihood of being prescribed intensive lipid lowering therapy. IMPROVE-IT evaluated the effect of higher-intensity lipid lowering with ezetimibe combined with simvastatin compared with simvastatin-placebo among patients after ACS, and observed that ezetimibe added to statin therapy incrementally lowered LDL-cholesterol level and improved CV outcomes. IMPROVE-IT enrolled patients with no upper age limit, which gave us the opportunity to examine the effect of age on outcome on the benefit of more intensive lipid lowering with ezetimibe combined with simvastatin vs. simvastatin monotherapy.

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Voice Changes Common After Thyroid Cancer Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Megan Rist Haymart MD Associate Professor Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic Michigan Medicine

Dr. Haymart

Megan Rist Haymart MD
Associate Professor
Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic
Michigan Medicine

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

Response: Thyroid cancer is a common malignancy with surgery considered one of the primary treatments. Complications from thyroid surgery can lead to long-term voice problems. However, few studies have used validated scales to quantify the impact of thyroid surgery on patient voice. Prior work has largely focused on single institution studies with high volume surgeons or claims data with reports of specific nerve injury.

We surveyed a diverse cohort of patients affiliated with SEER sites Georgia and Los Angeles to identify the prevalence, severity and correlates of poor voice outcomes following surgery for differentiated thyroid cancer.

We found that out of 2,325 patients 25.8% reported voice changes lasting greater than 3 months after surgery, 12.7% had abnormal voice per a validated voice scale (Voice Handicap Index- 10), and 4.7% reported a diagnosis of vocal fold motion impairment. We also identified patient factors associated with abnormal voice 2-4 years post op.

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Do New Medical Marijuana Laws Reduce Opioid Prescriptions?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD Associate Professor of Epidemiology Department of Epidemiology Mailman School Of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032

Dr. Silvia Martins

Silvia S. Martins, MD, PHD
Associate Professor of Epidemiology
Department of Epidemiology
Mailman School Of Public Health
Columbia University 

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

Response: Prior studies have suggested t6hat medical marijuana legalization might play a role in decreasing opioid use.

We aimed to test this hypothesis using individual level data on nonmedical use of prescription opioids and opioid use disorder  from the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health.  Continue reading

Medicaid Expansion Increased Insurance Access For Those With Disabilities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jim Stimpson, PhD Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs  Health Management and Policy Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health

Dr. Stimpson

Jim Stimpson, PhD
Professor, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Health Management and Policy
Drexel Dornsife School of Public Health 

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

Response: We have limited information on the impact of the ACA on persons with a disability, even though nearly 1 in 5 persons in the US has a physical or mental disability.

Prior to the ACA, persons with a disability had complications accessing health insurance for a variety of reasons including lower likelihood of employer-based coverage, reduced access to private insurance due to pre-existing conditions, and income-restrictions for Medicaid coverage that are on average below the poverty threshold across the country.

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Lipid Control Treatment Gap in Patients with Atherosclerotic Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Guanmin Chen MD PhD MPH Senior Biostatistician Research Facilitation, Alberta Health Services Adjunct Research Assistant Professor University of Calgary

Dr. Chen

Guanmin Chen MD PhD MPH
Senior Biostatistician Research Facilitation, Alberta Health Services
Adjunct Research Assistant Professor
University of Calgary 

Co-authors: Guanmin Chen, PhD, MD, MPH, Megan S. Farris, MSc, Tara Cowling, MA, MSc, Stephen M. Colgan, PhD, Pin Xiang, PharmD, Louisa Pericleous, PhD, Raina M. Rogoza, MSc, Ming-Hui Tai, MSc, PhD, and Todd Anderson, MD 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:

  • Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada (and worldwide). Despite the established benefits of treatment with statins, most Canadians fail to achieve dyslipidemia targets (a risk factor for ASCVD).
  • The objective of this study was to examine current treatment patterns of lipid-lowering therapies for the management of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients with ASCVD.
  • This was a retrospective cohort study conducted using province-wide administrative health data from Alberta, Canada. Datasets used included health services, pharmaceutical, and laboratory data, in addition to the Alberta population registry. The study population consisted of individuals aged 18 years or older diagnosed with ASCVD between 2011-2015, based on International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. The cohort was then restricted to individuals with an initial (index) LDL-C measurement after ASCVD diagnosis and at least one year of pre-index data and one year of follow-up data.

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Single Measurement of High-Sensitivity Troponin To Assess Myocardial Infarction Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Fred Apple, PhD, DABCC Medical director,Clinical Laboratories, Clinical Chemistry, Clinical and Forensic Toxicology and Point of Care Testing, Hennepin HealthCare Principal investigator, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology University of Minnesota

Dr. Apple

Dr. Fred Apple, PhD, DABCC
Medical director,Clinical Laboratories, Clinical Chemistry, Clinical and Forensic Toxicology and Point of Care Testing, Hennepin HealthCare
Principal investigator, Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
University of Minnesota 

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

Response: Few studies have addressed the role of high sensitivity cardiac troponin (hs-cTn) assays in ruling out myocardial infarction (MI) based on the measurement of a single baseline specimen in US patients presenting to the emergency department with symptoms suggestive of ischemia. Most studies have been published predicated on patients in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. As US emergency departments have different ordering practices for using cTn in triaging patients, it is important to validate the role of hs-cTn assays in US practices to assure providers of appropriate utilization. We have published two papers using the Abbott ARCHITECT hs-cTnI assay, the same one used outside the US in clinical practice (as this assay is not yet FDA cleared) in a US cohort (clinicialtrials.gov trial: UTROPIA – Sandoval Y, Smith SW, Shah ASV, Anand A, Chapman AR, Love SA, Schulz K, Cao J, Mills NL, Apple FS. Rapid rule-out of acute myocardial injury using a single high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I measurement. Clin Chem 2017;63:369-76. Sandoval Y, Smith SW, Love SA,  Sexter A, Schulz K, Apple FS. Single high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I to rule out myocardial infarction. Am J Med 2017;130:1076-1083) that have shown similar rule out capacities predicated on clinical presentation, a normal ECG and the role of hs-cTnI testing.

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HIV Incidence: Effect of Universal Testing and Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Richard-Hayes.jpg

Prof. Hayes

Dr. Richard J. Hayes, DSc, FMedSci
Professor of Epidemiology and International Health
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

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

Response: HIV incidence rates remain at very high levels in many parts of southern Africa. Universal testing and treatment (i.e., ensuring that everyone in a community tests for HIV and that everyone diagnosed with HIV is started on treatment as soon as possible) has been proposed as a strategy to achieve steep reductions in HIV incidence in generalized epidemics. Prior trials have shown inconsistent results as to whether this strategy could be effective.

HPTN 071 (PopART) was carried out in 21 urban communities in Zambia and South Africa, with individual communities randomly assigned into one of three arms: A, B or C. The 14 communities in Arms A and B received annual rounds of home-based HIV testing by community health workers who supported linkage to care, antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence and other HIV services. The seven communities in Arm C received the local standard of care. We looked to see if the HIV incidence in the communities receiving universal testing and treatment would be lower (over time) compared to the incidence in the standard of care communities.

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Pharmacists Increasingly Managing Medication Therapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Craig A. Pedersen, RPh, PhD, FAPhA Manager, Sterile Compounding and Investigational Drug Service, Pharmacy Clinical Professor University of Washington

Dr. Pedersen

Craig A. Pedersen, RPh, PhD, FAPhA
Manager, Sterile Compounding and Investigational Drug Service,
Pharmacy Clinical Professor
University of Washington

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

Response: The ASHP national survey of pharmacy practice in hospitals originated with the Mirror to Hospital pharmacy, the first comprehensive, national audit of pharmaceutical services in hospitals, published in 1964.  Since that time, ASHP has conducted national surveys to document practices and technologies for managing the improving the medication-use system and the role that pharmacist play in that effort.  Beginning in 1998, the national survey became an annual project by ASHP.  This survey provides important information to pharmacists, managers, and external stakeholders to document the current state of pharmacy practice. Continue reading

Teens: Nonmedical Prescription Opioid Use Associated With Subsequent Heroin Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, MSHS, FAAP Assistant Professor | Division of Pediatric Surgery Children's Hospital Los Angeles Department of Surgery & Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC

Dr. Kelley-Quon

Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, MSHS, FAAP
Assistant Professor | Division of Pediatric Surgery
Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Department of Surgery & Preventive Medicine
Keck School of Medicine of USC 

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

Response: Prescription opioids are pharmacologically similar to heroin, and previous research has shown an association between nonmedical opioid use and heroin use.

This is the first study to follow a group of teenagers through all 4 years of high school and identify an association between nonmedical prescription opioid use and later heroin use.

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Pregnancy Outcomes in Lupus Patients Have Improved

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Bella Mehta, MBBS, MS  Assistant Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery Instructor, Weill Cornell Medical College       

Dr. Mehta

Bella Mehta, MBBS, MS
Assistant Attending Physician, Hospital for Special Surgery
Instructor, Weill Cornell Medical College

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

Response: For women with lupus, pregnancy has long been considered high-risk and associated with both medical and obstetric complications. In the 1960s and 1970s, pregnancy was thought to be contraindicated in lupus patients. Beginning in the 1980s, and especially in the 1990s, many studies identified specific risk factors for pregnancy complications and proposed best-practice management guidelines. We wished to see whether these advances improved pregnancy outcomes for lupus patients.

Our study showed a decline in maternal mortality and other outcomes in lupus patients. The improvement in pregnancy outcomes was observed more so in lupus patients than those without lupus.  Continue reading

Oral Anticoagulant in Chronic Kidney Disease: Benefits and Harms

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sunil Badve MBBS, MD, DNB, FRACP, PhD, FASN Senior Research Fellow, Renal & Metabolic Division Staff specialist nephrologist | St George Hospital University of New South Wales The George Institute for Global Health Australia

Dr. Badve

Sunil Badve MBBS, MD, DNB, FRACP, PhD, FASN
Senior Research Fellow, Renal & Metabolic Division
Staff specialist nephrologist | St George Hospital
University of New South Wales
The George Institute for Global Health
Australia

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

Response: Despite the high prevalence of cardiovascular thrombotic events and venous thromboembolism (VTE) in chronic kidney disease (CKD), oral anticoagulant therapy is often underutilized in patients with advanced CKD and dialysis-dependent end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) due to uncertainty of benefit and potential bleeding complications. This comprehensive systematic review was performed to study the benefits and harms of oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with CKD.

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Do Flexible Family Visitation Hours Reduce Delirium in ICU Patients?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Regis Goulart Rosa, MD, PhD Responsabilidade Social - PROADI Hospital Moinhos de Vento MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The debate about visiting policies in adult ICUs is of broad and current interest in critical care, with strong advocacy in favour of flexible family visitation models in order to promote patient- and family-centred care. However, the proportion of adult ICUs with unrestricted visiting hours is very low. Data from the literature show that 80% of hospitals in the United Kingdom and USA adopt restrictive ICU visiting policies. Among ICUs with restrictive visiting hours, published studies show that the daily visiting time ranges from a median of 1 hour in Italy to a mean of 4.7 hours in France. In agreement with this scenario, most adult ICUs in Brazil follow a restrictive visitation model, in which family members are allowed to visit the critically ill patient from 30 minutes to 1 hour, once or twice a day. These restrictive visitation models have been justified by the theoretical risks associated with unrestricted visiting hours, mainly infectious complications, disorganization of care, and burnout. Controversially, these risks have not been consistently confirmed by the scarce literature on the subject, and flexible ICU visiting hours have been proposed as a means to prevent delirium among patients and improve family satisfaction. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Disappointingly, studies evaluating the effectiveness and safety of flexible ICU visiting hours are scarce. To date, no large randomized trials have assessed the impact of a flexible visiting model on patients, family members, and ICU staff, and this evidence gap may constitute a barrier to the understanding of the best way to implement and improve ICU visiting policies. In the present pragmatic cluster-randomized crossover trial (The ICU Visits Study), we engaged 1,685 patients, 1,295 family members, and 826 ICU professionals from 36 adult ICUs in Brazil to compare a flexible visitation model (12 hours/day plus family education) vs. the standard restricted visitation model (median 90 minutes per day). We found that the flexible visitation did not significantly reduce the incidence of delirium among patients, but was associated with fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression and higher satisfaction with care among family members in comparison to the usual restricted visitation. Also, the flexible visitation did not increase the incidence of ICU-acquired infections and ICU staff burnout, which are major concerns when adopting this intervention. MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? Response: Considering the evidence suggesting that most adult ICUs restrict the presence of family members, our results provide useful and relevant information that may influence the debate about current ICU visitation policies around the world. First, a flexible visitation policy that permits flexible family visitation in ICU (up to 12 hour per day) is feasible, given the high adherence of participant ICUs to implementation in The ICU Visits Study. Second, the flexible family supported by family education is safe regarding the occurrence of infections, disorganization of care or staff burnout. Third, family members - a commonly missing piece of the critical care puzzle - seem to benefit from the flexible visitation model through higher satisfaction with care and less symptoms of anxiety and depression. MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? Response: Future research might focus on the following topics: 1) methods of implementation of flexible visiting models in ICUs; 2) Family support interventions in the context of flexible ICU visiting hours (e.g.: psychological and social support, support for shared decision making, peer support, and comfort); and 3) How flexible ICU visiting hours affects patient, family member and staff outcome at long-term. Disclosures: The ICU Visits study was funded by the Brazilian Ministry of Health through the Brazilian Unified Health System Institutional Development Program (PROADI-SUS). Citation: Effect of Flexible Family Visitation on Delirium Among Patients in the Intensive Care Unit  [last-modified] The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.
Regis Goulart Rosa, MD, PhD
Responsabilidade Social – PROADI
Hospital Moinhos de Vento 

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

Response: The debate about visiting policies in adult ICUs is of broad and current interest in critical care, with strong advocacy in favour of flexible family visitation models in order to promote patient- and family-centred care. However, the proportion of adult ICUs with unrestricted visiting hours is very low. Data from the literature show that 80% of hospitals in the United Kingdom and USA adopt restrictive ICU visiting policies. Among ICUs with restrictive visiting hours, published studies show that the daily visiting time ranges from a median of 1 hour in Italy to a mean of 4.7 hours in France. In agreement with this scenario, most adult ICUs in Brazil follow a restrictive visitation model, in which family members are allowed to visit the critically ill patient from 30 minutes to 1 hour, once or twice a day. These restrictive visitation models have been justified by the theoretical risks associated with unrestricted visiting hours, mainly infectious complications, disorganization of care, and burnout. Controversially, these risks have not been consistently confirmed by the scarce literature on the subject, and flexible ICU visiting hours have been proposed as a means to prevent delirium among patients and improve family satisfaction. 

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“Loose” RNA Stimulates Regeneration of Skin

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Luis Garza, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor of Dermatology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Garza

Luis Garza, M.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Dermatology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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

Response: We wanted to find out what might stimulate regeneration in mice and humans. We find that in both species during wounding, released “loose” dsRNA induces production of retinoic acid that stimulates regeneration. Continue reading

Barriers to PReP Therapy for HIV Prevention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rogério Meireles Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D. Professor and Associate Dean for Research University of Michigan School of Social Work 

Dr. Pinto

Rogério Meireles Pinto, LCSW, Ph.D.
Professor and Associate Dean for Research
University of Michigan School of Social Work

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

Response: In order to decrease the rate of HIV infection, interventions to scale up PrEP will need to address identified barriers at multiple ecological levels. In the past decade, interventions proposed to address PrEP implementation barriers were limited to one ecological level or another (e.g., individual or community). The failure to consider interventions targeting multiple ecological levels simultaneously may help explain why PrEP implementation is lagging. This failure is also due to methodological limitations of PrEP implementation studies.This high-quality paper presents a thorough and theoretically grounded review of original research on HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) implementation in the U.S.

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Drug Overdoses and Mental Disorders Tied to Drop in Longevity in US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samuel Preston, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology University of Pennsylvania 

Dr. Preston

Samuel Preston, Ph.D.
Professor of Sociology
University of Pennsylvania

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

Response: Life expectancy at birth in the United States is low by international standards and has been declining in recent years. Our study aimed to identify how these trends differed by age, sex, cause of death, metropolitan status, and region.

We found that, over the period 2009-11 to 2014-16, mortality rose at ages 25-44 in large metropolitan areas and their suburbs as well as in smaller metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan areas. Mortality at ages 45-64 also rose in all of these areas except large metropolitan areas. These were the ages responsible for declining life expectancy.

Changes in life expectancy were particularly adverse for non-metropolitan areas and for women. The metropolitan distinctions in mortality changes were similar from region to region.

The cause of death contributing most strongly to mortality declines was drug overdose for males and mental and nervous system disorders for women. Continue reading

Prostate Cancer: Effects of Hormone Therapy on Cognitive Function Addressed in Large Study

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ravi Jayadevappa, PhD, MS Department of Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104-2676 

Dr. Jayadevappa

Ravi Jayadevappa, PhD, MS
Department of Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-2676 

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

Response: In the US, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer and the second leading cause of cancer death among men. Research shows that hormone therapy or ADT reduces the levels of male hormones in the body, called androgens, to stop them from stimulating cancer cells to grow., and thus is effective in reducing the spread and progression of prostate cancer.

At the same time, some research has suggested that decreasing androgen levels may increase the risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia, including loss of lean body mass, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. The ADT therapy may lead to impaired neuron growth and the regeneration of axons, thus affecting the cognitive function. Thus there is growing interest in the possible association between exposure to ADT and cognitive dysfunction.

Our study investigates the association between exposure to ADT and subsequent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia in elderly, fee-for-service Medicare enrollees using SEER-Medicare linked databases.

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Preterm Babies Less Likely To Have Romantic Relationships as Adults

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Marina Mendonca PhD RECAP project (Research on European Children and Adults Born Preterm) Department of Psychology University of Warwick, UK

Dr. Mendonca

Dr. Marina Mendonca PhD
RECAP project (Research on European Children and Adults Born Preterm)
Department of Psychology
University of Warwick, UK

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

Response: Previous research on the social lives of adults born preterm (under 37 weeks gestation) was inconsistent. This meta-analysis brought together data from up to 4.4m adult participants and has shown that those who were born preterm are less likely to form romantic relationships, to have had sexual relations or experience parenthood than full terms. For example, those born preterm were 28% less likely to form romantic relationships and 22% less likely to become parents, when compared to those born full term. When looking at sexual relations, preterm born adults were 2.3 times (or 57%) less likely to ever have a sexual partner.

These associations were found for both men and women, and were stronger the lower gestational age. This means that the chances of finding a romantic partner or having children were lower for those born very (<28 weeks gestation) or extremely preterm (<28 weeks gestation), with the extremely pre-term born adults being for example 3.2 times (78%) less likely to ever having had sexual relations when compared to their full term peers.

Despite having fewer relationships, we found that when adults who were born preterm had friends or a partner, the quality of these relationships was at least as good as those born full term. 

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Music Makes High Intensity Exercise More Enjoyable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew J. Stork, PhD Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow The University of British Columbia School of Health & Exercise Sciences

Dr. Stork

Matthew J. Stork, PhD
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Postdoctoral Fellow
The University of British Columbia
School of Health & Exercise Sciences

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

Response: High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves multiple brief, high-intensity efforts, separated by periods of recovery. Research shows that several weeks of HIIT can elicit meaningful physical health benefits that are similar to those of traditional, long-duration aerobic exercise. While HIIT is time-efficient and can induce important health benefits, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant – especially those who are insufficiently active and not meeting recommended physical activity guidelines. The potentially unpleasant nature of HIIT may deter people from beginning or adhering to a HIIT program.

Consequently, researchers have begun to investigate the use of music as a potential strategy to enhance people’s pleasure during HIIT. However, the current research evidence is quite limited and, in particular, insufficiently active individuals have been understudied.

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Woke Retroviruses May Trigger Multiple Sclerosis and ALS

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. Patrick Küry Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany

Prof. Küry

Prof. Dr. Patrick Küry
Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-University
Düsseldorf Germany

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How do these viruses in our DNA differ from others such as the herpes family of viruses?

Response: The background of our current two published studies is elucidating the role of endogenous retroviruses such as the HERV-W in contributing to neurological disease initiation and progression. Our new paper in PNAS (Kremer et al., PNAS 2019) describes a novel axon damage scenario for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in which a “toxic” protein called ENV from HERV-W instructs so called microglial cells in the human brain to attack and damage myelinated axons.

Our second review article (Gruchot et al., Front Genet 2019) summarizes currently known effects on endogenous retroviruses exerted towards neural cells, that means cells other than the infiltrating immune cells. There is currently a shift of attention and research in the MS field in that resident neural cells such as oligodendrocytes, precursor cells, stem cells and microglial cells and their reactions are intensively investigated.

HERVs are evolutionary acquired retroviruses (RNA viruses able to integrate into host DNA via reverse transcription from RNA to DNA) that were collected during evolution by our ancestors. Some of them remained in our genome (8% of our genome is HERV related) and in most cases appear to be non-functional, mutated or genetically silenced. A few of them, as for example HERV-W in MS or HERV-K in ALS, can apparently be activated, woken up so to say, and one of the mechanisms leading to activation might be an infection by Herpesviruses. Note that herpesviruses such as for example the Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) are long known suspected triggers of MS, however, a direct correlation could never be demonstrated. HERVs such as HERV-W might therefore constitute the missing link.

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Surgical Safety Variations With Affiliation to a Top-Ranked Cancer Hospital

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Daniel Boffa, MD Professor of Surgery Yale School of Medicine

Dr. Boffa

Daniel Boffa, MD
Professor of Surgery
Yale School of Medicine 

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

Response: We have previously demonstrated that top-ranked hospitals are significantly safer than their affiliates for complex cancer surgery (patients 1.4 times more likely to die after cancer surgery at affiliate hospitals).  A logical extension of this work was to compare affiliate hospitals to hospitals that were not affiliated with a top ranked hospital.
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Genetic Variants Linked to Life-threatening Cardiac Arrhythmias in Patients With Dilated Cardiomyopathy and Implanted Defibrillators

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ben Cordon, PhD NIHR Post-doctoral Academic Clinical Fellow Specialist Registrar training in cardiology

Dr. Cordon

Ben Cordon, PhD
NIHR Post-doctoral Academic Clinical Fellow
Specialist Registrar training in cardiology 

James S. Ware, PhD, MRCP  Reader in Genomic Medicine Group head within the Cardiovascular Genetics & Genomics Unit Imperial College London

Dr. Ware

James SWarePhD, MRCP
 Reader in Genomic Medicine
Group head within the Cardiovascular Genetics & Genomics Unit
Imperial College London

 

 

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

Response: Non-ischaemic dilated cardiomyopathy is a common cause of heart failure and carries the risk of life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia. An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) can be life-saving in this condition. However, the decision to implant an ICD is not one that can be taken lightly – ICD insertion carries its own risks, such as infection or inappropriate shocks, and our ability to predict who will benefit from a device is currently far from perfect. Genetic sequencing is affordable and widely available and for DCM, like many diseases, it is hoped that genetic stratification may one day help deliver personalised management. In DCM, variants in the Lamin A/C gene for example are known to cause a phenotype with early and severe arrhythmias and, as a result, international guidelines advocate a lower threshold for ICD insertion in these patients. However, Lamin A/C is an infrequent cause of DCM. The commonest known genetic cause of DCM are protein-truncating variants in the gene encoding Titin (TTNtv), accounting for ~15% of DCM cases. We wanted to know if this group had a higher risk of arrhythmia than the general DCM population.

Earlier work from our group on this topic found that patients with TTNtv-associated DCM were more likely to have a clinical history of arrhythmia (composite of atrial and ventricular arrhythmia, including NSVT), at the time of their initial DCM diagnosis. But it was unclear if this was driven by ventricular arrhythmia, atrial arrhythmia, or both or if it would translate into a long-term risk of potentially dangerous ventricular arrhythmia of the sort for which an ICD can be life-saving. In another study we analysed a larger cohort of ambulant DCM patients but did not find an increased risk of ventricular arrhythmia – but this was a relatively low-risk group, with comparatively mild symptoms (NHYA I/II heart failure) and moderately impaired LV function. As a result, the overall arrhythmic event rate was low, meaning that the power to detect differences between the TTNtv and non-TTNtv groups was reduced.

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Elevated Systolic Blood Pressure Linked to Increase in Valvular Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Kazem Rahimi

Prof. Rahimi

Dr Kazem Rahimi
Deputy Director of the George Centre for Healthcare Innovation
James Martin Senior Fellow in Essential Healthcare
Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital
Deputy Director of the George Institute for Global Health

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

Response: In the last century, we have witnessed a dramatic change in the spectrum of valvular heart disease and the prevalence of this condition has been rapidly increasing, due to population ageing, with poor patient outcomes and high healthcare costs associated with the only effective treatment available, which is valve repair or replacement. However, modifiable risk factors for valvular heart disease remain largely unknown, which limits prevention and treatment. We used a state-of-the-art, gene-based method called Mendelian randomization to determine the causality of the association between systolic blood pressure and risk of valvular heart diseases.  Continue reading

More Appointments with Advanced Care Practitioners Linked to Medicaid Expansion

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Molly Candon PhD Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Lecturer, Department of Health Care Management The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania Co-Instructor, Health Services and Policy Research Methods II, MS in Health Policy Research Program, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 

Dr. Candon

Molly Candon PhD
Research Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Lecturer, Department of Health Care Management
The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Co-Instructor, Health Services and Policy Research Methods II, MS in Health Policy Research Program, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 

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

Response: A team of researchers (led by Karin Rhodes, MD and Dan Polsky, PhD) conducted a secret shopper study of thousands of primary care practices across 10 states, with trained callers simulating patients with Medicaid and requesting appointments.

One of the outcome measures was whether an appointment was scheduled with a physician or Advanced Practitioner. Between 2012 and 2016, the share of appointments scheduled with Advanced Practitioners increased by five percentage points.  Continue reading

No Cognitive Deterioration Found After Two Years of Youth Football

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sean C. Rose, MD Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director of the Complex Concussion Clinic Nationwide Children’s Hospital 

Dr. Rose

Sean C. Rose, MD
Pediatric sports neurologist and co-director of the
Complex Concussion Clinic
Nationwide Children’s Hospital 

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

Response: Very limited data has been collected in children while they are playing contact sports to study the relationship between repetitive head impacts and neurocognitive outcomes.  We previously published a 1-year analysis of youth tackle football players and found no association between the number or severity of head impacts and performance on neurocognitive testing before to after the football season.  We are now reporting the results from the 2nd year of our study, tracking children through two seasons of football participation.

We measured head impacts using helmet sensors during the 2016 and 2017 football seasons.  In the total group of 166 players age 9-18, one outcome measure (processing speed), out of the 23 outcome measures studied, declined over time.  However, several other measures that also assessed processing speed did not decline.  Neither the total burden of head impacts nor the intensity of individual impacts were associated with changes in testing performance over the course of the two seasons.

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Heart Failure: Low Iron Storage vs Defective Iron Utilization

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Niels Grote Beverborg, MD PhD Post-doctoral research fellow Department of experimental cardiology University Medical Center Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands Integrated CardioMetabolic Center Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Sweden

Dr. Grote Beverborg

Dr. Niels Grote Beverborg, MD PhD
Post-doctoral research fellow
Department of experimental cardiology
University Medical Center Groningen,
Groningen, The Netherlands
Integrated CardioMetabolic Center
Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm
Sweden 

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

Response: Iron deficiency is very prevalent worldwide and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality, especially in vulnerable populations such as patients with heart failure. It is well known that iron deficiency can be a consequence of an insufficient iron uptake or increased iron loss (termed low iron storage), or of a chronic low inflammatory state (defective iron utilization). However, so far, we had no tools to distinguish these causes from each other in patients and have not been able to assess their potential consequences.

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Food Placement and Traffic Light Labeling To Reduce Caloric Intake in Employee Cafeteria

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital General Internal Medicine Division Boston, MA 02114

Dr. Thorndike

Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH
Massachusetts General Hospital
General Internal Medicine Division
Boston, MA 02114

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

Response: Nearly one-third of the 150 million US adults who are employed are obese. Employees frequently eat meals acquired at work, and workplace food is often high in calories. Effective strategies for reducing non-nutritive energy intake during the workday could help address the rising prevalence of obesity.

Simplified labeling, such as traffic-light labels, provide understandable information about the relative healthfulness of food and can be placed on menu boards, shelf labels, and individual packages to help employees make healthier choices. Choice architecture (e.g., product placement) interventions make it easier and more convenient for employees to choose a healthy item. It is unknown if labeling interventions are associated with sustained reductions in calorie intake, or if there are only temporary effects after which most people revert to higher-calorie choices.

A previous study demonstrated that a hospital cafeteria traffic-light labeling and choice architecture program resulted in a higher proportion of healthy green-labeled purchases and lower proportion of unhealthy red-labeled purchases over two years. The current study analyzed calories purchased by a longitudinal cohort of 5,695 hospital employees who used the cafeteria regularly. The study examined changes in calories purchased over time and hypothesized the effect of the change in calorie intake on employees’ weight.

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