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.

Steep Increase in Adversity-Related Hospital Admissions for Teenage Girls

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Ruth Blackburn PhD  UKRI Innovation Fellow UCL Institute of Health Informatics

Dr Ruth Blackburn PhD 
UKRI Innovation Fellow
UCL Institute of Health Informatics 

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

Response: In England one child in every classroom is admitted to hospital with an adversity related injury (i.e. violence, intentional self-injury, or drug or alcohol misuse) between the ages of 10 and 19 years. These young people are more likely than their classmates to be re-admitted to hospital or to die within 10 years.

We investigated how the rate of hospital admissions with an adversity related injury has changed over time among young people aged 10-24 years, using administrative data for National Health Service hospitals in England.

We found that between 2012 and 2016, rates of admission with an adversity related injury (including intentional self-injury) increased steeply for girls, with the biggest increase (6% per year) among 15-19 year olds. During the same time period, rates of admission with an adversity related injury decreased in boys aged 15-24 years (4-5% per year) but increased slightly for 10-14 year olds (3% per year).  Continue reading

Cannabis Users Have Increased Neural Activity, Even at Rest

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Francesca M. Filbey PhD Professor Program Head, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD Bert Moore Chair in BrainHealth UT Dallas

Dr. Filbey

Dr. Francesca M. Filbey PhD
Professor
Program Head, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD
Bert Moore Chair in BrainHealth
UT Dallas

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

Response: The cannabis literature has generally focused on changes in brain function when engaged in a task. We were interested in examining whether these differences are present when not engaged in a task (i.e., during resting state) to understand baseline functional organization of the brain. Changes to baseline functional organization may reflect changes in brain networks underlying cognition. We also wanted to investigate whether specific brain waves, as measured by electroencephalography (EEG), are associated with measures of cannabis use, such as craving.

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Artificial Intelligence Can Reliably Diagnosis Specific Types of Lung Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aristotelis Tsirigos, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Pathology Director, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories New York University School of Medicine

Dr. Tsirigos

Aristotelis Tsirigos, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Pathology
Director, Applied Bioinformatics Laboratories
New York University School of Medicine

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

Response: Pathologists routinely examine slides made from tumor samples to diagnose cancer types. We studied whether an AI algorithm can achieve the same task with high accuracy. Indeed, we show that such an algorithm can achieve an accuracy of ~97%, slightly better than individual pathologists.

In addition, we demonstrated that AI can be used to predict genes that are mutated in these tumors, a task that pathologists cannot do. Although the accuracy for some genes is as high as 86%, there is still room for improvement. This will come from collecting more training data and also from improvement in the annotations of the slides by expert pathologists.  

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Iron Deficiency: The Causes, Detection, and Treatment

spinach-bundlesIron Deficiency: The Causes, Detection, and Treatment

Background:

IDA or iron deficiency anemia is a result of a lack of iron in the human body. This causes a complication of hemoglobin, resulting in the body being unable to obtain enough oxygen. IDA can be caused by a few different occurrences, such as not receiving an adequate level of iron through intake, internal bleeding, or being unable to fully absorb iron into the body. Whatever the cause, research throughout the years has furthered the knowledge available on treatments for IDA, as well as how it can be detected, its symptoms, and how it affects the human body.

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Scribes Can Reduce Documentation Burden for Primary Care Physicians, But Cost is High

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Richard W. Grant MD MPH Research Scientist III, Kaiser Permanente Division of Resarch Adjunct Associate Professor, UCSF Dept Biostatistics & Epidemiology Director, Kaiser Permanente Delivery Science Fellowship Program Co-Director, NIDDK Diabetes Translational Research post-doctoral training program

Dr. Grant

Richard W. Grant MD MPH
Research Scientist III, Kaiser Permanente Division of Resarch
Adjunct Associate Professor, UCSF Dept Biostatistics & Epidemiology
Director, Kaiser Permanente Delivery Science Fellowship Program
Co-Director, NIDDK Diabetes Translational Research post-doctoral training program

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

Response: Primary care in the United States is in a state of crisis, with fewer trainees entering the field and more current primary care doctors leaving due to professional burnout. Changes in the practice of primary care, including the many burdens related to EHR documentation, has been identified as a major source of physician burnout. There are ongoing efforts to reduce physician burnout by improving the work environment. One innovation has been the use of medical scribes in the exam room who are trained to enter narrative notes based on the patient-provider interview. To date, there have only been a handful of small studies that have looked at the impact of medical scribes on the provider’s experience of providing care.

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Do Menu Labels Cause Diners to Order Fewer Calories?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John Cawley PhD Professor of policy analysis and management College of Human Ecology Cornell University

Dr. Cawley

John Cawley PhD
Professor of policy analysis and management
College of Human Ecology
Cornell University

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

Response: The background is that diet-related chronic disease has increased dramatically in the US and many other economically developed countries. For example, the prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has roughly tripled since 1960, and the prevalence of Type II diabetes has also increased significantly.  As a result, policymakers are looking for ways to facilitate healthy eating.  One possible approach is to require that restaurants list on their menus the number of calories in each menu item.  Several cities such as New York City and Philadelphia passed such laws, and in May of this year (2018) a nationwide law took effect requiring such calorie labels on the menus of chain restaurants. However, the effects of this information is not well known.

To answer that question, we conducted randomized controlled field experiments in two sit-down, full-service restaurants.  Parties of guests were randomly assigned to either the control group that got the regular menu without calorie information, or the treatment group that got the same menus but with calorie counts on the menu.  We then documented what items people ordered and then surveyed the patrons after their dinner.  Overall we collected data from over 5,000 patrons.

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Patients Most Often Receive Breast Cancer Diagnosis By Phone

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Emily Albright, MD Surgical Oncology Missouri University Health Care

Dr. Albright

Dr. Emily Albright, MD
Surgical Oncology
Missouri University Health Care

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

Response: Traditional medicine had a paternalistic approach but more recent changes have transitioned into shared decision making and a patient centered approach. However, current research has not addressed the mode of communicating bad news to patients.

This study was designed to look at trends in modes of communication of a breast cancer diagnosis. This study identified a trend for patients to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer over the telephone in more recent years. Also noted was that of those receiving the diagnosis in person 40% were alone.

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CDC Identifies Risk Factors for Adverse Childhood Experiences

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Melissa T. Merrick, PhD Behavioral Scientist,  Surveillance Branch, Division of Violence Prevention CDC

Dr. Merrick

Melissa T. Merrick, PhD
Behavioral Scientist,
Surveillance Branch, Division of Violence Prevention
CDC

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

Response: Childhood experiences build the foundation for health throughout a person’s life. Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic experiences, which occur in childhood. Exposure to ACEs, especially for young people without access to safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments, can impact health in many ways, including increased risk of chronic disease, engagement in risky behaviors, limited life opportunities, and premature death.

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Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution May Affect Newborn’s Thyroid Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carrie Breton ScD Associate Professor and Director of the MADRES Center  Division of Environmental Health Los Angeles, CA 90032

Dr. Breton

Carrie Breton ScD
Associate Professor and Director of the MADRES Center
Division of Environmental Health
Los Angeles, CA 90032

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

Response: I am interested in how the environment can influence our very early development, starting in the womb. I have studied the health effects of air pollutants on children for several years and wanted to focus now on the earliest windows of susceptibility.  Thyroid hormones play a critical role in fetal growth and development. We knew we could get information on newborn thyroid levels from the California Department of Public Health’s newborn screening program therefore look at this question in our study population.

We found that exposure to high levels of PM2.5 and PM10 throughout most of pregnancy affected TT4 levels in newborns. Continue reading

More Than 2 Million High School Students Have Used Marijuana in an E-Cigarette

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Katrina Trivers, PhD, MSP Lead author and lead epidemiologist Office on Smoking and Health CDC

Dr. Trivers

Katrina Trivers, PhD, MSP
Lead author and lead epidemiologist
Office on Smoking and Health
CDC

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

Response: Although we’ve seen considerable declines in the use of regular cigarettes among U.S. youth over the past several decades, the tobacco product landscape is evolving, and the use of other tobacco products have become increasingly popular. For example, as of 2014, e-cigarettes have become the most commonly used tobacco product among US youth. During 2011-2015, e-cigarette use increased 900% among U.S. high school students before declining in 2016. No change was observed in 2017, with about 2 million youth, including 12% of high school students and 3% of middle school students, reporting they had used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days.

This is a public health concern because the use of any form of tobacco product is unsafe among youth, irrespective of whether it’s smoked, smokeless, or electronic. The U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that the aerosol emitted from e-cigarettes is not harmless. It can contain harmful ingredients, including nicotine, carbonyl compounds, and volatile organic compounds known to have adverse health effects. The nicotine in these products is of particular concern given that nicotine exposure during adolescence can cause addiction and can harm the developing adolescent brain.

In recent years, many youth have also been using other psychoactive substances in e-cigarettes, including cannabinoids and other illicit drugs. This could have been fueled, in part, by shifts in the social acceptability and access to cannabis as several states have or are considering legalized cannabis sales for adults. A previous CDC study found that in 2015, almost 1 in 3 students reported using e-cigarettes with non-nicotine substances. However, it wasn’t possible to identify what exactly those substances were based on the question. Given the high concurrent use of tobacco and other substances, including cannabis, a more detailed question was added to a future survey to assess the use of cannabis in e-cigarettes among U.S. youth. This study presents the findings from that question.

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When Should Children in Pediatric Intensive Care Receive Parenteral Nutrition?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD Pediatric intensivist Erasmus MC-Sophia Children's Hospital

Dr. Verbruggen

Sascha Verbruggen, MD, PhD
Pediatric intensivist
Erasmus MC-Sophia Children’s Hospital

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

Response: In critically ill children treated in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) are often difficult to feed. The subsequent macronutrient deficit was found to be associated with impaired outcomes in the PICU. Furthermore, being undernourished in the PICU has also been associated with poor outcome of critical illness in children.

These associations formed the basis for guidelines recommending initiation of parenteral nutritional support early when enteral feeding is insufficient. However, the multicenter randomised controlled trial (RCT) ‘Pediatric Early versus Late Parenteral Nutrition in Critical Illness’ (PEPaNIC), including 1440 critically ill children, showed that withholding PN for one week (Late-PN) resulted in fewer new infections and reduced the duration of PICU stay as compared to initiating PN at day 1 (Early-PN). However, withholding PN for one week in critically ill children, who are already undernourished upon admission to the PICU, raised concerns among experts.

Therefore we set out to investigate the impact of withholding supplemental PN in a subgroup of critically ill children who were acutely undernourished upon admission to the PICU.  Continue reading

Inhaled Steroids Associated With Increased Risk of Atypical Mycobacterial Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen J Ruoss MD Professor, Stanford University, Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Cfritical Care Medicine Stanford, California

Dr. Ruoss

Stephen J Ruoss MD
Professor, Stanford University, Medicine,
Division of Pulmonary and Cfritical Care Medicine
Stanford, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by an atypical mycobacterial infection? 

Response: Our interest in undertaking this study stems from three important clinical observations and issues.

First, the use of inhaled steroid medications for a broad variety of respiratory complaints and diseases is increasing, including in clinical circumstances where there isn’t much strong supportive evidence for benefit to patients from using inhaled steroids.

The second observation is that steroids can and do alter immune system responses, and can increase the risk for some infections. There are already data from studying patients on inhaled steroids where the incidence of bacterial respiratory infections has increased, supporting the concerns for infection risk from inhaled steroids.

And the third issue is that steroids can more specifically alter immune system function that helps combat mycobacterial infections, and this means that the risk for, and incidence of mycobacterial infections could be increased in patients treated with inhaled steroids. The best known mycobacterial infection is of course tuberculosis, but there are other mycobacteria, called nontuberculous mycobacterial (or atypical mycobacterial) that are broadly found in the environment, and some of those nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) can cause lung infections.

So our hypothesis was that the use of inhaled steroids might be associated with an increased frequency of NTM infections, and we designed the study to explore that hypothesis. Continue reading

Clothing Patterns of Boys Compared to Girls May Explain Differences in Patterns of Mole Development

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lori A. Crane, PhD Department of Community and Behavioral Health Colorado School of Public Health University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora CO

Dr. Crane

Lori A. Crane, PhD
Department of Community and Behavioral Health
Colorado School of Public Health
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus,
Aurora CO 

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

Response: Nevi, which are commonly called “moles”, are brown or black spots on the skin that are usually raised.  Moles are the number one risk factor for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer.  About 9,000 people die of melanoma each year in the U.S. The more moles a person has, the higher their risk for melanoma.  Sun exposure is a major factor in the development of moles, and in order to prevent melanoma, it is important to better understand how moles are formed on the skin.

Most moles are formed during childhood and adolescence.  We studied non-Hispanic and Hispanic white children age 3-16 and found that non-Hispanic children developed many more moles than Hispanic children.  Overall, boys developed more moles than girls, but there were some important differences.  For parts of the skin that are often covered by clothing but sometimes exposed to the sun, such as the chest and back, upper arms and upper legs, girls developed more moles than boys, especially among Hispanic children.  In contrast, for parts of the skin that are usually exposed to the sun, such as the face, boys developed many more moles than girls.  The development of moles leveled off by age 16 for parts of the skin usually exposed to the sun, while for the less often exposed skin, children continued to develop moles to age 16.

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Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Reduce Anxiety

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“omega 3” by Khaldaa Photographer is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yutaka MATSUOKA, MD, PhD

Division Chief of Health Care Research,
Behavioral Sciences and Survivorship Research Group,
Center for Public Health Sciences,
National Cancer Center Japan

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

Response: Anxiety is the most commonly experienced psychiatric symptom. We have now two major treatment options that include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and pharmacotherapy.  However, CBT is time-consuming, costly, and limited in availability. And there is concern over potential side effects in pharmacotherapy. Evidence-based and safer treatment options are required. Omega-3 fatty acids have potential preventive and therapeutic effects on depression and anxiety. Clinical and preclinical studies support the effectiveness of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite the largely positive findings of these trials, the clinical application of the findings is unfortunately limited by their small sample size.

Improvement in anxiety symptoms were associated with omega-3 fatty acids treatment compared with controls. The anxiolytic effects of omega-3 fatty acids were also stronger in patients with clinical conditions than in subclinical populations.  Continue reading

Disease-Free and Overall Survival Among Patients With Operable HER2-Positive Breast Cancer Treated With Sequential vs Concurrent Chemotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kelly K. Hunt, MD Department of Breast Surgical Oncology The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston

Dr. Hunt

Kelly K. Hunt, MD
Department of Breast Surgical Oncology
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston

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

Response: We completed a neoadjuvant trial at MD Anderson Cancer Center and published the results in 2005 demonstrating that trastuzumab delivered in combination with anthracycline and taxane based chemotherapy resulted in pathologic complete response rates of up to 60% in patients with HER-2 positive breast cancer. This was a single institutions study and there was concern about cardiac toxicity when using anthracyclines and trastuzumab concurrently.

We therefore worked with the NCI cooperative groups, the American College of surgeons oncology group (ACOSOG), to design the ACOSOG Z1041 trial. This trial compared to different regimens in the neoadjuvant setting, one regimen utilizing concurrent anthracycline and taxanes based chemotherapy with trastuzumab and the other regimen utilizing concurrent taxanes with trastuzumab but the anthracycline was delivered in a sequential fashion.

The primary end point of the trial was pathologic complete response rates in the breast.

The results from this primary end point were published in the Lancet Oncology in 2013 and showed that the pathologic complete response rates were the same with the 2 different regimens. This was important since patients could be assured of similar efficacy without the potential added toxicity of delivering anthracyclines and trastuzumab together.

The current publication is a report of the disease-free and overall survival rates from the Z1041 trial. Several studies have shown an association between pathologic complete response rates and survival. The current study shows that there is no difference in survival rates between the 2 different regimens. So once again there is an association between pathologic complete response and survival and it is not important that the anthracycline and trastuzumab are given concurrently in order to achieve these high pathologic complete response rates and improve survival rates. Continue reading

Study Finds Protective Effect of Caffeine in Chronic Kidney Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Coffee Wikipedia image

Coffee
Wikipedia image

Miguel Bigotte Vieira  MD
Nephrology and Renal Transplantation Department
Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte
Lisbon, Portugal

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

Response: An inverse relationship between coffee consumption and mortality has been reported in the general population. However, the association between caffeine consumption and mortality in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) remains unclear. We examined the association between varying levels of caffeine consumption and mortality among 4863 patients with CKD in a prospective nationwide cohort, using the continuous National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010.

Our study showed a protective effect of caffeine consumption among patients with chronic kidney disease. The reduction in mortality was present even after considering other important factors such as age, gender, race, smoking, other diseases, and diet.  Continue reading

H. pylori Link to Stomach Cancer Strengthened

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nina R. Salama. PhD Member Human Biology Division Member Public Health Sciences Division Affiliate Member Basic Sciences Division Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research  Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Dr. Salama

Nina R. Salama. PhD
Member Human Biology Division
Member Public Health Sciences Division
Affiliate Member Basic Sciences Division
Dr. Penny E. Petersen Memorial Chair for Lymphoma Research
Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology (MCB) Graduate Program
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center 

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

Response: We wanted to better understand why certain patients infected with H. pylori developed stomach cancer and how we could better identify them. H. pylori is one of the strongest risk factors for stomach cancer, but how much it predisposes individuals to gastric cancer varies around the world.

Working closely with colleagues from Zhengzhou University, we ran tests on 49 samples from China and found that 91 percent of patients infected with the EPIYA D gene variant of H. pylori also had stomach cancer. Continue reading

Children Raised in Religious Environment Better Protected From Depression, Substance Abuse and Risky Behavior

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Tyler J. VanderWeele

Dr. VanderWeele

Dr. Tyler J. VanderWeele PhD
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health,
Boston, MA

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

Response: There have been a number of prior studies on religious practices of adolescents, but this study is a relatively big step forward because it is considerably more rigorous than the vast majority of prior studies. The study uses a large sample of over 5,000 adolescents, it follows them up for more than eight years, it controls for many other variables to try to isolate the effect of religious upbringing, and it looks at many outcomes.

In our analysis, we found that children who were raised in a religious or spiritual environment were subsequently better protected from the “big three” dangers of adolescence – depression, substance abuse and risky behaviors. For example, those who attended religious services regularly were subsequently:

  • 12% less likely to have high depressive symptoms
  • 33% less likely to use illicit drugs

Those who prayed or meditated frequently were:

  • 30% less likely to start having sex at a young age
  • 40% less likely to subsequently have a sexually transmitted infection.

Moreover, a religious upbringing also contributed towards to a number of positive outcomes as well such greater happiness, more volunteering in the community, a greater sense of mission and purpose, and higher levels of forgiveness. For example,those who attended religious services were subsequently:

  • 18% more likely to report high levels of happiness
  • 87% more likely to have high levels of forgivenessThose who prayed or meditated frequently were subsequently:
  • 38% more likely to volunteer in their community
  • 47% more likely to have a high sense of mission and purpose

These are relatively large effects across a variety of health and well-being outcomes.  Continue reading

Helping Soccer Coaches Teach How To ‘Read The Field’

“Girl Playing Soccer” by Bold Content is licensed under CC BY 2.0MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Craig Pulling. MSc, PGCE, BA (Hons), FHEA
Head of Physical Education
University of Chichester

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

Response: Successful perceptual-cognitive skill in team-sports such as football requires players to pick up task-relevant information during the control of action in complex and dynamic situations. It has been proposed that players could perform visual exploratory activity (VEA) to be able to recognise important cues in the playing environment. VEA is defined as:

“A body and/or head movement in which the player’s face is actively and temporarily directed away from the ball, seemingly with the intention of looking for teammates, opponents or other environmental objects or events, relevant to perform a subsequent action with the ball” (Jordet, 2005, p.143).

Research has suggested that VEA is an important facet of skilled performance in youth and adult football. However, it is currently unknown whether such evidence is commensurate with the views of coaches and whether coaching practices are utilised to develop VEA in training.

In order to further current understanding on VEA and coaching practices, the present study developed an online survey to examine:
(i) when VEA should be introduced in coaching;
(ii) how VEA is delivered by coaches and
(iii) how coaches evaluate VEA.

Further, this study aimed to explore whether distinct groups of football coaches existed who differed in their approach to the delivery of VEA training and, if so, whether there were differences in the demographics of the coaches across these differentiated groups.

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Cadmium, Smoking and Atherosclerosis Linked to Decreased Visual Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Vision” by Victoria Ford is licensed under CC BY 2.0Adam J. Paulsen MS

Associate Researcher
EpiSense Research Program
Department of Ophthalmology&  Visual Sciences
University of Wisconsin – Madison

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

Response: Contrast Sensitivity is a measure of visual function that indicates how well a person is able to distinguish an object against its background.  Tests of CS determine how faint a visual signal can be identified.  CS can be diminished even in those with appropriately corrected visual acuity, has been shown to have effects on daily activities (including near vision tasks), risk of falls, and driving ability.  The causes of and risks for CS impairment are understudied.  Cadmium (Cd) and Lead (Pb) are known neurotoxins that have been shown to accumulate in the retina.  Both Cd and Pb have common sources of exposure in the general population.  Our studied aimed to investigate risk factors for incident CS impairment, including Cd and Pb exposure.

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Who Is Most Vulnerable To Opioid Prescription Use?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology University at Buffalo, SUNY

Dr. GROL-PROKOPCZYK

Hanna Grol-Prokopczyk PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
University at Buffalo, SUNY

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

Response: Studies examining predictors of prescription opioid use often have limited information about users’ socioeconomic status, their level of pain, and their opinions of opioids.  Using unique data from the Health and Retirement Study’s 2005-2006 Prescription Drug Study—which includes information about older adults’ education, income, wealth, insurance type, pain level, and opinions of prescription drugs used—I was able to explore how socioeconomic factors shaped prescription opioid use in the 2000s, when U.S. opioid use was at its peak.  I was also able to present a snapshot of how users of prescription opioids felt about these drugs before the declaration of an opioid epidemic.

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High Burden of Trauma and Avoidable Surgical Deaths in US Prisons

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tanya L. Zakrison, MHSc MD FRCSC FACS MPH Associate Professor of Surgery University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Zakrison

Tanya L. Zakrison, MHSc MD FRCSC FACS MPH
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

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

Response: Over 2 million people in the United States are incarcerated, the highest rate in the entire world.  To date no national statistics on surgical outcomes have been reported in this vulnerable patient population.  We examined 301 medical examiner’s reports from prisoner deaths in Miami-Dade County.  Excluding those with confounding medical conditions such as cirrhosis and cancer, we still found that one in five deaths were being attributed to trauma and reversible surgical diseases.   

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Increase In Measles in Italy Linked to Austerity Measures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Measles

Veronica Toffolutti PhD
Research Fellow in Health Economics
Bocconi University

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

Response: Austerity has been linked to several health damaging effects such as suicides, increase in unmet needs, disease outbreaks that affect vulnerable peoples such as malaria in Greece, HIV in Greece and Romania during the current economic crises or in the earlier economic crisis cuts in public health expenditure have been linked with diphtheria and TB.

Europe is experiencing declining vaccination rates and resurgences in measles incidence rates. Italy appears to be particularly affected reporting the second largest number, second to Romania, of infection in Europe in 2017. Starting from the point that the primary reason for the outbreak in the decline in the measles vaccination we test the hypothesis that large budget reductions in public health spending were also a contributing factor.

Using data on 20 Italian regions for the period 2000-2014 we found that each 1% reduction in the real per capita public health expenditure was associated with a decrease of 0.5 percentage points (95% CI: 0.36-0.65 percentage points) in MMR coverage, after adjusting for time and regional-specific time-trends.  Continue reading

Addiction Withdrawal Treatment Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Crystal meth – illicit methamphetamine hydrochloride

Crystal meth – illicit methamphetamine hydrochloride

TiFei YuanPhD
School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
Shanghai Key Laboratory of Psychotic Disorders, Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
Co-innovation Center of Neuroregeneration, Nantong University, Nantong, Jiangsu, China
Guangdong-Hongkong-Macau Institute of CNS Regeneration, Ministry of Education CNS Regeneration Collaborative Joint Laboratory, Jinan University, Guangzhou, China
School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China

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

Response: Addiction is causing serious challenge to public health. Few drugs can treat or even alleviate addiction.

In recent years, non-invasive brain stimulation has been used to modulate craving responses in different types of drug addicts (heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine), and to prevent smoking or alcohol abuse.

However it is unknown if brain stimulation can also help addicts get rid of the aversive symptoms in the early withdrawal period.

The present study is to our knowledge, the first trial to alleviate drug withdrawal symptoms and associated insomnia with non-invasive transcranial magentic stimulation.  Continue reading

Fatal Toxicities Rare With Checkpoint Inhibitors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Douglas B. Johnson, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program Melanoma, clinical and translational studies Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Dr. Johnson

Douglas B. Johnson, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Clinical Director, Melanoma Research Program
Melanoma, clinical and translational studies
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

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

Response: Immune checkpoint inhibitors produce long-lasting responses in patients with many different types of cancer. However, they may cause serious autoimmune-like side effects that may affect any organ. We used several large databases to determine how often these side effects were fatal, when they occurred, and which types of side effects were responsible.

We found that overall, fatal side effects were uncommon, ranging from 0.3 – 1.3%. However, they tended to occur early on treatment (on average within the first 6 weeks), and affected a variety of organs, including the heart, lungs, colon, liver, and brain. There was a dramatic increase in reporting of fatal toxicities since 2017, likely reflecting the increased use of immune checkpoint inhibitors.  Continue reading