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.

Radiomics Plus Machine Learning Can Optimize Prostate Cancer Classification

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gaurav Pandey, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences Icahn Institute of Data Science and Genomic Technology Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York 

Dr. Pandey

Gaurav Pandey, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Genetics and Genomic Sciences
Icahn Institute of Data Science and Genomic Technology
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York 

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

 Response: Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) has become increasingly important for the clinical assessment of prostate cancer (PCa), most routinely through PI-RADS v2, but its interpretation is generally variable due to its relatively subjective nature.

Radiomics, a methodology that can analyze a large number of features of images that are difficult to study solely by visual assessment, combined with machine learning methods have shown potential for improving the accuracy and objectivity of mpMRI-based prostate cancer assessment. However, previous studies in this direction are generally limited to a small number of classification methods, evaluation using the AUC score only, and a non-rigorous assessment of all possible combinations of radiomics and machine learning methods. Continue reading

Absolute Pitch May Require a Bigger Auditory Cortex

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Keith Schneider PhD Director, Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging Associate Professor Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences University of Delaware

Dr. Schneider

Keith Schneider PhD
Director, Center for Biomedical and Brain Imaging
Associate Professor
Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
University of Delaware

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

Response: Absolute pitch is the ability to name a musical note in isolation.  It is rare in the population, approximately 1/10,000 people have it.  The neural mechanisms of this ability have not been clear.  It is not known whether people with absolute pitch encode auditory frequencies differently, or whether absolute pitch derives from the same sensory encoding but different memory connections.

We tested 20 people with absolute pitch, 20 matched musicians with the same number of years of musical training, age of onset of musical training, and number of hours of practice per week, as well as 20 controls with minimal musical training.

The main findings are that people with absolute pitch have larger early auditory cortex—primary auditory cortex was enlarged about 50% relative to the other two groups, which did not differ significantly from each other.  We also found that the tuning bandwidth of the individual voxels in the early auditory cortical areas was broader in people with absolute pitch.

That is, these small bits of the brain responded to a wide range of frequencies than those in the other two groups.  This suggested to us that people with absolute pitch might imply what is known as “ensemble encoding”.  That is, they use a larger network of neurons to encode sounds.   Continue reading

Most Counties See Opioid Prescription Rates Falling

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gery P. Guy Jr., PhD, MPH Senior Health Economist Division of Unintentional Injury CDC

Dr. Gery Guy

Gery Guy, PhD, MPH
Injury Center
CDC

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

Response: This study examined opioid prescribing at the national and county-level in 2015 and 2017.

During 2015 to 2017, the amount of opioids prescribed decreased 20.1% in the United States. The amount of opioids prescribed per person varies substantially at the county-level. The average amount of opioids prescribed in the highest quartile of counties was nearly 6 times the amount in the lowest quartile. Reductions in opioid prescribing could be related to policies and strategies aimed at reducing inappropriate prescribing, increased awareness of the risks associated with opioids, and release of the CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain.

Continue reading

Veyonda Enhanced Benefit of Radiation Therapy in Metastatic Prostate Cancer Trial

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Graham Kelly, BSc (Vet) (Hons, BVSc (Hons), PhD Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Noxopharm 

Dr. Kelly

Graham Kelly, BSc (Vet) (Hons, BVSc (Hons), PhD
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
Noxopharm 

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

Response: Veyonda is an experimental drug being developed as a means of enhancing the anti-cancer effect of radiotherapy. The Phase 1b DARRT-1 study is assessing the ability of Veyonda to boost a palliative dose of external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) applied to a single lesion, to result in a systemic response in non-irradiated lesions (known as an abscopal response) in men with metastatic, end-stage prostate cancer. The aim is to provide at the least better palliation, and at best a survival advantage. The reported data concerns the study’s initial dose-finding arm involving three different dosages of Veyonda. This arm involves 12 subjects and the report concerns their clinical status at 12-weeks post-irradiation. The data provide clinical evidence of an abscopal effect in at least half of the eight subjects receiving the two highest Veyonda dosages and demonstrate that the combination of Veyonda and palliative radiotherapy was well-tolerated. The 1200 mg dosage was confirmed as the therapeutic dose.

Continue reading

12 Genetic Loci Associated with Human Healthspan

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yurii Aulchenko Co-founder and Chief Scientist of PolyOmica

Yurii Aulchenko

Yurii Aulchenko Co-founder and Chief Scientist of PolyOmica
PolyOmica is a research & development company providing services and tools for quantitative genetics and functional genomics.

Peter Fedichev Founder and Chief Science Officer of Gero

Peter Fedichev

Peter Fedichev Founder and Chief Science Officer of Gero
Gero is a data-driven longevity company developing innovative therapies that will strongly extend the healthy period of life also known as healthspan

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

Peter Fedichev, Gero: Age is the most important risk factor behind age-related diseases and death. Lifespan has increased quite dramatically over the last 150-200 years mostly due to the eradication of early-life mortality. What we find, however, is that the healthspan, understood as the chronic diseases-free period, is also on the rise, but not so much. It appears that lifespan is modifiable by interventions, at least in lab animals. It is therefore crucial to understand if the biology behind human healthspan. Is it the same as that of lifespan? What are the molecular pathways and genetic factors controlling the healthspan? At the end, we would like to develop interventions that extend not only lifespan, but also the healthspan. Everyone wants to stay healthy!

Yurii Aulchenko, PolyOmica: We studied the incidence of the most prevalent age-related diseases in the large UK Biobank, one of the best repositories of biologically and medically relevant data from a very large cohort of aging individuals. We observed that the incidence (the chances of) all the major diseases increased exponentially with age. The diseases risk doubling time was about eight years, same as the mortality doubling time from the Gompertz mortality law, discovered as early as in 1825 and used in life insurance ever since. The similar patterns of age-dependent risk acceleration suggest a major common driver behind the diseases, that is most plausibly aging itself.

Peter Fedichev, Gero: The incidence of the diseases could, therefore, be used as a biomarker of aging process. We used the age at the onset of the first age-related disease (the end of healthspan) as the target for a genome-wide association study (GWAS) and identified as many as 12 genetic loci associated with human healthspan. Continue reading

Link Between Apolipoprotein E and Brain Hemorrhage Varies by Ethnicity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Marini

Dr. Marini

Sandro Marini, MD
Research Fellow
Jonathan Rosand Laboratory
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114

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

Response: The epsilon(ε) 4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene increases risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).

In both diseases, it is believed to increase risk through the deposition of beta-amyloid within the brain and blood vessels, respectively. The effect of APOE ε4 on both AD and ICH risk changes across populations, for unclear reasons.

In our study, we confirmed the role of APOE ε4 for ICH risk in whites and found that the risk-increasing effect of the 4 allele is demonstrable in Hispanics only when balancing out the effect of hypertension.
Continue reading

Kidney Transplant Patients at Increased Risk of Skin Cancer, Even After Graft Stops Working

MedicalResearch.com Interview with
"Kidney Model 9" by GreenFlames09 is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Donal JSextonMD, PhD
Department of Nephrology and Kidney Transplantation
Beaumont Hospital
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Dublin, Ireland

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

Response: Patients who receive a kidney transplant as treatment for end stage kidney disease are at risk of malignancy due to immunosuppression. In contrast to

other solid organ transplant types, when kidney transplants fail it is possible for recipients to return to dialysis. Immunosuppression is usually reduced or completely stopped when  the allograft fails due to the risk of infection on dialysis.

We decided to investigate what the trajectory of risk for non-melanoma skin cancer and invasive cancers overall (composite group) looked like for patients who have received multiple consecutive kidney transplants with intervening periods of graft failure. We compared cancer risk during periods of allograft failure and periods of functioning kidney transplants.   Continue reading

Birth Control Pills May Make It Harder for Women To Identify Complex Emotions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych. Universität Greifswald Institut für Psychologie Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie University of Greifswald, Germany

Dr. Lischke

Dr. Alexander Lischke, Dipl.-Psych.
Universität Greifswald
Institut für Psychologie
Physiologische und Klinische Psychologie/Psychotherapie
University of Greifswald, Germany

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

Response: We know for a long time that cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels affect their emotion recognition abilities by modulating neural activity in brain regions implicated in emotion processing. We also know that oral contraceptives suppress cyclic variations in womens’ estrogen and progesterone levels. We, thus, assumed that oral contraceptives would affect womens’ emotion recognition abilities due to the aforementioned suppression of cylic variations in estrogen and progesterone levels that modulate neural activity in brain regions during emotion processing. To test this assumption, at least with respect to the behavioral effects of oral contraceptive use on emotion recognition, we performed the current study.

We recruited regular cylcling women with and without oral contraceptive use for our study. None of the women were in psychotherapeutical or psychopharmacological treatment at the time of the study. During the study, women performed a emotion recognition task that required the recognition of complex emotional expressions like, for example, pride or contempt.
Continue reading

Stroke: Outcomes of Patients Transferred for Thrombectomy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Amrou Sarraj, MD, Associate Professor Department of Neurology

Dr. Sarraj

Amrou Sarraj, MD, Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
McGovern Medical School
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

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

Response: Secondary analyses of trials showing efficacy and safety of thrombectomy within 6-8 hours of stroke onset showed that patients who were transferred to centers performing thrombectomy from another hospital had worse outcomes than patients who presented directly to the thrombectomy centers. We wanted to assess if the thrombectomy outcomes differ between transferred patients and patients directly coming to the thrombectomy centers when patients are selected with advanced perfusion imaging.

We found that thrombectomy outcome rates were similar between patients who presented directly vs transferred from another hospital, including functional independence and safety outcomes. 

Continue reading

Memories Can Be Stored During Some Unconscious Sleep States

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marc Züst, PhD University of Bern Department of Psychology Division of Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology Switzerland

Dr. Züst

Marc Züst, PhD
University of Bern
Department of Psychology
Division of Experimental Psychology and Neuropsychology
Switzerland 

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

Response: Slow wave sleep (deep sleep) is known to be very important for memory reorganization. The brain goes through the memory traces that were created during wakefulness and strengthens the important ones, while unimportant ones are weakened or deleted to make room for new learning the next day. This happens during the peaks of the eponymous slow waves, also called up-states, where the brain is highly active and interconnected. Up-states last for about 0.5 sec before transitioning into down-states, where the brain is relatively silent.

Based on these findings, we hypothesized that up-states constitute windows of opportunity to learn new information during slow wave sleep: The “channels are open”, and the brain is already performing memory functions.

The results of our study support this hypothesis. We found that, if we repeatedly managed to synchronize presentation of word pairs with up-states, memory for these pairs was best. Moreover, we find a dose-response function: The more often word pairs hit up-states, the better the memory. On top of that, fMRI during the retrieval test suggests that the same brain regions are involved in sleep learning as are involved in learning during wakefulness.

Continue reading

Pioglitazone (Actos) Reduced Risk of Secondary Stroke and New Onset of Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Spence M.D., FRCPC, FAHA Professor of Neurology and Clinical Pharmacology Director, Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre, Robarts Research Institute, Western University London, ON Canada

Dr. Spence

David Spence M.D., FRCPC, FAHA
Professor of Neurology and Clinical Pharmacology
Director, Stroke Prevention & Atherosclerosis Research Centre,
Robarts Research Institute, Western University
London, ON Canada

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

Response: The motivation for the study was the chair of the committee that advises the Ontario Drug Benefit which medications to pay for said the IRIS results were not relevant to clinical practice. This because the Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke (IRIS) trial reported effects of pioglitazone in patients with stroke or TIA and insulin resistance assessed by the Homeostasis Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) score for insulin resistance.1 ( However, few clinicians measure a HOMA-iR score, so the clinical impact of that trial was limited.

In this study we analyzed the effect of pioglitazone in stroke/TIA patients with prediabetes, which is commonly assessed by clinicians. Prediabetes was defined by the American Diabetes Association: a glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C) of  5.7% to <6.5% (we did not do glucose tolerance tests).  We analyzed primarily the results for patients with 80% adherence, but also did  an intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis.  The reason for focusing on patients with good adherence was that pioglitazone cannot be taken by about 10-20% of patients, because of fluid retention and weight gain (mainly due  to fluid retention).  (The reasoning was that third party payers would not need to pay for the medication in patients who do not take it.)

In stroke/TIA patients with good adherence, the benefits of pioglitazone were greater than in the original IRIS trial. We found a 40% reduction of stroke/MI, a 33% reduction of stroke, and an 80% reduction of new-onset diabetes, over 5 years.  Pioglitazone also improved blood pressure, triglycerides and HDL-cholesterol. As expected, pioglitazone was somewhat less beneficial in the ITT analysis.

Fluid retention can usually be managed by reducing the dose of pioglitazone; even small doses still have a beneficial effect . Also, amiloride has been shown to reduce fluid retention with pioglitazone.

  1. Kernan WN, Viscoli CM, Furie KL, Young LH, Inzucchi SE, Gorman M, Guarino PD, Lovejoy AM, Peduzzi PN, Conwit R, Brass LM, Schwartz GG, Adams HP, Jr., Berger L, Carolei A, Clark W, Coull B, Ford GA, Kleindorfer D, O’Leary JR, Parsons MW, Ringleb P, Sen S, Spence JD, Tanne D, Wang D, Winder TR and Investigators IT. Pioglitazone after Ischemic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack. N Engl J Med. 2016;374:1321-31. 

Continue reading

Vitamin D May Speed Recovery From Resistant Tuberculosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Adrian Martineau, B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD FRSB Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity Queen Mary University of London

Prof. Martineau

Professor Adrian Martineau, B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD FRSB
Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity
Queen Mary
University of London

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

Response: The World Health Organisation estimates that 10.0 million people developed active tuberculosis in 2017, and that 1.6 million people died of this disease. Multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB is caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs, causing around 500,000 cases and 150,000 deaths per year worldwide. Existing antibiotic treatments for MDR TB are lengthy, costly and often toxic due to their serious side effects.

One novel approach to treating MDR TB is to complement antibiotic treatment by using therapies that boost the immune system’s ability to kill TB bacteria. Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is known to help white blood cells to make natural antibiotic substances (antimicrobial peptides) that can punch holes in the cell membranes of TB bacteria. Several clinical trials have investigated the effects of adding vitamin D to antibiotic treatment for TB.

In this study we pooled data from 8 of these studies (1850 participants) and analysed them to see if some TB patients benefited more from adding vitamin D to their treatment regimen than others. We found that vitamin D accelerated clearance of TB bacteria from the lungs of patients who had MDR TB; this benefit was not seen in patients who had ‘standard’ drug-sensitive TB. Continue reading

Melanoma Rates Stable in Australia but Rising in US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Melanoma CDC/ Carl Washington, M.D., Emory Univ. School of Medicine; Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH

Example of one type of melanoma

Dr. Catherine M. Olsen
Associate Professor
Cancer Control Group
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute

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

Response: Melanoma incidence and mortality rates are increasing globally. Public health campaigns aiming to reduce sun exposure and use of sunbed have been implemented in many parts of the world, but there is significant variability in terms of the history and reach of these campaigns across countries. We examined melanoma incidence rates in eight different countries with different patterns of sun exposure and varying approaches to melanoma control.

Continue reading

Stroke: Intensive Blood Sugar Control Did Not Improve Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof-Karen-C-Johnston

Prof. Johnston

Karen C. Johnston MD
Professor and Chair, Neurology
School of Medicine
University of Virginia

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

Response: We know that acute ischemic stroke patient with hyperglycemia at presentation have worse outcomes. We also know if we lower the glucose too low that this is bad for ischemic brain also. T

he SHINE trial addressed a world wide debate about whether intensive treatment of hyperglycemia is beneficial. We assessed the efficacy and safety of an intensive glucose control protocol with a target glucose of 80-130 mg/dL compared to a more standard protocol with a target of less than 180 mg/dL.

Continue reading

Systematic Reviews May Not Address Adverse Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Su Golder, PhD Department of Health Sciences University of York

Dr. Golder

Dr. Su Golder, PhD
Department of Health Sciences
University of York

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

Response:  Patients and providers need to know about the relative benefits and harms of an intervention. It is not just those adverse events deemed to be serious that are important but also those categorized as minor.

Systematic reviews are summaries of the evidence, often used in to inform guidelines and decision-making. It is common for systematic reviews to focus on the potential benefits of an intervention without addressing the adverse effects. This leads to bias and an incomplete picture of the evidence.

To aid transparency in systematic reviews, authors should published a protocol, describing what they intend to do. We look at protocols with a completed systematic review published in 2017 or 2018. We found that only 38% said that they would record adverse effects.

Equally worrying of those authors that stated in their protocol that they intended to look at adverse effects – only 65% fully reported the adverse outcome exactly as they set out to do.  Continue reading

Rheumatoid Arthritis: Study Finds No Benefit to MRI-Guided Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Signe Møller-Bisgaard MD, PhD Rigshospitalet Center for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases Copenhagen Center for Arthritis Research 

Dr. Møller-Bisgaard

Signe Møller-Bisgaard MD, PhD
Rigshospitalet
Center for Rheumatology and Spine Diseases
Copenhagen Center for Arthritis Research 

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

Response: The background was that to avoid long-term consequences of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) such as progressive joint damage progression leading to functional impairment and loss of quality of life, it is essential for patients with RA to achieve clinical remission, which is a disease state with no clinical signs and symptoms of disease activity. But despite treating our patients according to current clinical recommendations using targeted treatment strategies, so that the patients reach a state of remission, joint damage progression still occurs in one out of four patients. We knew, that MRI inflammatory findings such as synovitis and bone marrow edema are present in patients in clinical remission and are of prognostic value. In particular bone marrow edema has shown to be a strong predictor of erosive joint damage progression.

In the IMAGINE-RA randomized clinical trial we therefore wanted to investigate if an MRI treat-to-target strategy targeting absence of bone marrow edema versus a conventional disease activity-guided treat-to-target strategy would improve clinical and radiographic outcome in rheumatoid arthritis patients in clinical remission.  Continue reading

Does EEG Brain Monitoring During Surgery Reduce Post-Op Delirium?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology Chief of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research Director of the Infrastructure of Quality Improvement, Research and Informatics Washington University School of Medicine St Louis, MO

Dr. Avidan

Michael Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA
Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology
Chief of the Division of Clinical and Translational Research
Director of the Infrastructure of Quality Improvement, Research and Informatics
Washington University School of Medicine
St Louis, MO 

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

Response: Postoperative delirium, a temporary state of confusion and inattention, is common in older adults after major surgery. Delirium can be distressing to patients, family members and clinicians. It is associated with longer hospital stays, other medical complications, cognitive decline, and death.

Some previous studies have found that using electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring of the brain during general anesthesia decreases the occurrence of delirium following surgery.

Therefore we conducted a rigorous study to determine whether using information from the EEG to guide the safe reduction of inhaled anesthetic drugs would prevent postoperative delirium and improve other outcomes in older adults following major surgery.

Continue reading

Gastric Bypass Surgery Linked to Diabetes Remission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lene Ring Madsen, MD, Ph.d.
Medicinsk Afdeling  Herning
Hospitalsenheden Vest

Lene Ring Madsen, MD, Ph.d. Medicinsk Afdeling  Herning Hospitalsenheden Vest
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: We know from previous studies that there is a significant chance of diabetes remission following Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, but most studies evaluate smaller cohorts of selected patients (e.g. from a single center or only patients covered by a specific type of insurance). By using Danish registries, which hold information on all Danish Citizens independent of social- or economic status and have complete follow-up, we wanted to evaluate the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery (RYGB) in a real-world setting.

The main findings are that more than 70 % of patients with obesity (BMI>35 kg/m2) and type 2 diabetes treated by RYGB had their diabetes go into remission or every 6-month period in the first 5 years after the procedure. Out of those who were in remission within the first year of follow-up 27% had undergone relapse at 5 years.

The most important predictor of a patient not going into remission was if they required insulin to control their disease. Other factors included older age and higher starting HbA1c level. During the more than five years of follow-up, the risk of microvascular complications was 47% lower in the RYGB group than in the control population, with largest decreases in the risk of diabetic retinopathy and diabetic kidney disease. There was a smaller impact on the risk of macrovascular events, which were 24% lower among patients who had received bariatric surgery; however, this difference was not large enough to achieve statistical significance. The 90-day mortality was very low (<0.5%).

Continue reading

Sport-Related Concussion: Sub-threshold Exercise May Speed Recory

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John J. Leddy, MD Clinical Professor Department of Orthopaedics Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences University of Buffalo

Dr. Leddy

John J. Leddy, MD
Clinical Professor
Department of Orthopaedics
Jacobs School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences
University of Buffalo

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

Response: Sport-related concussion (SRC) is a significant public health problem without an effective treatment. Recent International Guidelines have questioned the efficacy of recommending complete rest to treat concussion and have called for prospective studies to evaluate early active treatments for sport-related concussion.  Continue reading

Adverse Outcomes More Likely in Infants Born to Mothers Who Get the Flu

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kim NewsomeCDC

Kim Newsome

Kim Newsome, MPH
National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
CDC 

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

Response: This study supports data from previous studies that have shown increased risks for infants born to pregnant women who are severely ill with flu.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our study found that severely ill women with 2009 H1N1 influenza during pregnancy were more likely to have adverse birth outcomes (such as their baby being born preterm or of low birth weight) than women without influenza. 

Continue reading

Life in the Womb Can Program Future Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Dino A. Giussani PhD ScD FRCOG Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine Department of Physiology Development & Neuroscience University of Cambridge UK Director of Studies in Medicine College Lectureship in Medicine '1958' Gonville & Caius College

Prof. Giussani

Professor Dino A. Giussani PhD ScD FRCOG
Professor of Developmental Cardiovascular Physiology & Medicine
Department of Physiology Development & Neuroscience
University of Cambridge
Director of Studies in Medicine
College Lectureship in Medicine ‘1958’
Gonville & Caius College
UK

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

Response: Heart disease kills 1 in 3 people worldwide.  When we hear about heart disease, the first thing we think of is a gene-environent interaction.  That is to say, how our genes interact with traditional lifestyle factors, such as smoking, obesity and/or a sedentary lifestyle to promote an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  However,  it has also become established that the gene-environment interaction early in life may be just as, if not more, important in ‘programming’ future heart health and heart disease. That is to say, how the quality of the intrauterine environment in which we develop may also shape our future heart risk.  Evidence from human sibling-pair studies suggests that these relationships are causal, that they occur independently of genotype and that they are significantly influenced by the quality of the intrauterine environment during pregnancy.  For instance, bariatric surgery to decrease the weight of obese women reduced the risk of obesity, insulin resistance and raised blood pressure in children born after surgery compared to those born before. Therefore, these studies highlight a disproportionate risk of disease in offspring born from the same mother but under different in utero conditions, providing strong evidence in humans that the environment experienced during this critical period of development directly influences long-term cardiovascular health.

One of the most common outcomes of complicated pregnancy in humans is chronic fetal hypoxia, as can occur during placental insufficiency or preeclampsia.

The main findings of our study show that prenatal hypoxia can programme future heart disease in the offspring and that maternal treatment with the antioxidant vitamin C can be protective (see paper attached). Continue reading

Transparency and Technology Reduced Racial Disparities in Early Lung Cancer Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samuel Cykert, MD Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program on Health and Clinical Informatics UNC School of Medicine, and Associate Director for Medical Education, NC AHEC Program Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Cykert

Samuel Cykert, MD
Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program on Health and Clinical Informatics
UNC School of Medicine, and
Associate Director for Medical Education, NC AHEC Program
Chapel Hill, NC

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

Response: Reports going as far back as the early 1990’s through reports published very recently show that Black patients with early stage, curable lung cancer are not treated with aggressive, curative treatments as often as White patients. These type of results have been shown in other cancers also. It’s particularly important for lung cancer because over 90% of these patients are  dead within 4 years if left untreated. In 2010, our group published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed that Black patients who had poor perceptions of communication (with their provider), who did not understand their prognosis with vs. without treatment, and who did not have a regular source of care ( a primary care doctor) were much less likely to get curative surgery. Also our results suggested that physicians who treated lung cancer seemed less willing to take the risk of aggressive treatments in treating Black patients (who they did not identify with as well) who had other significant illnesses.

Because of the persisting disparities and our 2010 findings, we worked with a community group, the Greensboro Health Disparities Collaborative to consider potential solutions.  As these omissions were not overt or intentional because of race on the part of the patients or doctors, we came up with the idea that we needed transparency to shine light on treatment that wasn’t progressing and better communication to ensure that patients were deciding on good information and not acting on mistrust or false beliefs.  We also felt the need for accountability – the care teams needed to know how things were going with patients and they needed to know this according to race. To meet these specifications, we designed a system that received data from electronic health records about patients’ scheduled appointments and procedures. If a patient missed an appointment this umbrella system triggered a warning. When a warning was triggered, a nurse navigator trained specially on communication issues, re-engaged the patient to bring him/her back into care. In the system, we also programmed the timing of expected milestones in care, and if these treatment milestones were not reached in the designated time frame, a physician leader would re-engage the clinical team to consider the care options.

Using this system that combined transparency through technology, essentially our real time warning registry, and humans who were accountable for the triggered warnings, care improved for both Black and White patients and the treatment disparity for Black patients was dramatically reduced. In terms of the numbers, at baseline, before the intervention, 79% of White patients completed treatment compared to 69% of Black patients. For the group who received the intervention, the rate of completed treatment for White patients was 95% and for Black patients 96.5%.  Continue reading

Prescription Opioids Lead to Decrease in Labor Participation and Increase in Unemployment

Dr. Kessler

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lawrence M. Kessler, PhD 
Research Assistant Professor

Matthew C. Harris, PhD, Assistant Professor Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research and Department of Economics, The University of Tennessee

Dr. Harris

Matthew C. Harris, PhD Assistant Professor

Boyd Center for Business and Economic Research and Department of Economics
The University of Tennessee  

 

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

Response: Motivation for this study came from Co-Author, Matt Murray, who was at a speaking engagement and heard a community business leader say “we’ve got jobs, but no one is applying, could opioids be a contributing factor?” This led to a conversation back at the Boyd Center between us and Matt Murray, where we decided that if we could get data on prescription rates, we could answer this question empirically.

We started by contacting each state agency in charge of their respective prescription drug monitoring program to see if they’d be willing to share county-level data on prescription opioid rates. From this letter-writing campaign we received data from 10 states, which formed the basis for our analysis. As time went on, new data was made publicly available and we were able to expand the analysis to all 50 states.

Continue reading

Self-Compression During Mammography Evaluated

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Kiki Gets a Mammogram" by kristiewells is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0Philippe Henrot, MD
Radiology Department
Institut de Cancerologie de Lorraine
Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy 

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

Response: The initial observation was that daily practice of mammography shows a substantial proportion of women that report a negative experience after having a mammogram. Compression of the breast before delivering X-rays is mandatory to achieve the best image quality and to detect small cancers. Unfortunately, compression is uncomfortable, even sometimes painful.

We took into consideration a study of PJ Kornguth et al. published in 1993 reporting the self-compression technique. In this study one breast was compressed by the radiographer and the other with self-compression. The author reported a high level of patient satisfaction, and a lower discomfort, without compromising image quality. We performed a multicenter prospective randomized trial to demonstrate the feasibility of the self-compression technique in condition similar to routine screening or follow-up, compared with standard compression. The primary outcome was to demonstrate that self-compression did not lead to compress the breast less than standard compression, and that was done. The secondary outcomes were to evaluate pain, compression force and image quality.

The results indicated that compression force was higher when the women controlled themselves the compression of their breast, and the pain measured on a visual analogue scale was lower. Moreover, image quality was not compromised compared with standard compression.  Continue reading

Skin Care Products Make Cotton Fabrics More Flammable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Sarah Hall PhD Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science Anglia Ruskin University

Dr. Hall

Dr Sarah Hall PhD
Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science
Anglia Ruskin University

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

Response: We initially started the study in collaboration with Essex Fire and Rescue Services, as we were already doing some research on the recovery of evidence from fire scenes. During a visit to their cold fire scene facility, they described a tragic fatality with extensive fire damage, which didn’t link with the main fuel in the room. Therefore they questioned if a skin cream, regularly used by the victim, could have contributed as a fuel or ignited to initiate the fire and asked if we would do some initial research. Now we are also working with West Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, the London Fire Brigade, St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns and the National Fire Chiefs Council.

We initially started the study in collaboration with Essex Fire and Rescue Services, as we were already doing some research on the recovery of evidence from fire scenes. During a visit to their cold fire scene facility, they described a tragic fatality with extensive fire damage, which didn’t link with the main fuel in the room. Therefore they questioned if a skin cream, regularly used by the victim, could have contributed as a fuel or ignited to initiate the fire and asked if we would do some initial research. Now we are also working with West Yorkshire and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, the London Fire Brigade, St Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns and the National Fire Chiefs Council.

Continue reading