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.

Cocaine Overdoses Rising Especially Among African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cocaine” by Nightlife Of Revelry is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Dave Thomas PhD

Health Scientist Administrator
National Institute on Drug Abuse 

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

Response: At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we support research on all forms of drug use, and are aware that cocaine misuse is on the rise.  We are aware that various forms of drug use can have greater prevalence by race, sex, age and other population characteristics.

The main finding of this paper is that cocaine overdose rates are on the rise and that that the group hit hardest is the non-Hispanic black population.

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Why Isn’t Your Diet Working? It’s In Your Genes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Scale model” by brett jordan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
William Barrington, PhD lead author on the study
Recently graduated PhD student from the Threadgill lab
David Threadgill, PhD
Texas A&M College of Medicine and
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, senior author

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

Response: Obesity and diet-induced diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, have reached epidemic proportions. The United States has offered universal dietary recommendations for decades, but they have been largely unsuccessful in reducing diet-induced diseases. These recommendations are largely built upon population-level data, which examines a large number of individuals and determines the average response to a dietary intervention. However, if there is large variation in responses within a population, then population-level data may be inadequate to improve health across genetically diverse individuals.

Our study used four genetically diverse types of mice to examine how one’s genetics interact with diet to influence obesity and risk factors for cardiometabolic disease. The study compared four popular human diets (American, Mediterranean, Japanese, and Maasai/ketogenic). While all mice suffered detrimental effects from the American diet, the severity of disease varied widely across the types of mice. In comparison, no single diet improved health across all strains, but there was one or more diets that improved health in each strain.

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No Mortality Benefit From Weight Gain in Rheumatoid Arthritis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey A. Sparks, M.D., M.M.Sc. Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy Department of Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School

Dr. Sparks

Jeffrey A. Sparks, M.D., M.M.Sc.
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Rheumatology, Immunology and Allergy
Department of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School

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

Response: We compared women diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) during follow-up in the Nurses’ Health Study and matched women without RA during the same index time period. Women with RA had higher mortality than women without RA. In both groups, those that had severe weight loss (>30 pounds), had the highest mortality after the early RA/index period. Weight gain in the early RA period was not associated with mortality for either group.

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Most Homes Harbor Multiple Allergens

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Salo

Dr. Salo

Dr. Pӓivi Salo, PhD Epidemiologist
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIH

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

Response: Indoor allergens are important risk factors for asthma and respiratory allergies. Only a few studies have investigated residential allergen exposures on a national scale; the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 is the largest and most comprehensive study to date.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our findings show that exposure to multiple allergens is common in U.S. homes; over 90% of homes had three or more detectable allergens, and 73% of homes had at least one allergen at elevated levels. The presence of pets and pests contributed strongly to elevated allergen levels. Housing characteristics also mattered – elevated exposure to multiple allergens was more likely in mobile homes, older homes, rental homes, and homes in rural areas. For individual allergens, exposure levels varied greatly with age, sex, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Differences were also found between geographic locations and climatic conditions.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Understanding factors that affect allergen levels in homes is important because elevated allergen levels can trigger and exacerbate symptoms in people who suffer from asthma and allergies. We hope that our findings provide beneficial information to a wide audience from patients to clinicians, identifying factors that influence levels of exposure to individual and multiple allergens

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The relationships between allergen exposures, allergic sensitization, and disease are complex. Further research is needed to determine how allergen exposures interact with other environmental and genetic factors that contribute to asthma and allergies.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We also compared allergen exposures and previously reported allergic sensitization patterns from this national survey to provide a more complete picture. The allergy focused component in NHANES 2005-2006, which we developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allowed national comparisons for the first time. The observed differences and overlaps reflect the complex nature of the relationships between allergen exposures, allergic sensitization, and disease.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Salo P, Wilkerson J, Rose KM, Cohn RD, Calatroni A, Mitchell HE, Sever ML, Gergen PJ, Thorne PS, Zeldin DC. 2017. Bedroom allergen exposures in US households. J Allergy Clin Immunol; doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.08.033(link is external) [Online 30 November 2017].

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Selection For Skin Color Varies With Latitude

MedicalReseaerch.com Interview with:

These are South African individuals in a household that exemplify the substantial skin pigmentation variability in the Khomani and Nama populations. Picture taken with consent for publication.

These are South African individuals in a household that exemplify the substantial skin pigmentation variability in the Khomani and Nama populations. Picture taken with consent for publication.
Image by Brenna Henn

Alicia R. Martin PhD, Postdoc
Department of Genetics
Stanford University
Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA and

Brenna M. Henn, Phd, Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolution
SUNY Stony Brook, NY 

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

Response: Skin pigmentation varies more in Africa than in any other continent, and yet genetic studies of this and other traits are massively underrepresented there. Previous Eurasian study biases have instead focused on populations that vary less and have fewer variants contributing to baseline skin color.

In our study, we compiled quantitative skin color measurements from a large, globally diverse set of individuals and populations to show that pigmentation varies more closer to the equator than in high latitude populations. We focused on the ‡Khomani San and Nama populations from South Africa, which diverged early along the modern human lineage from other populations and have lighter skin than equatorial Africans. We showed that skin pigmentation is roughly 100% heritable, but that previously identified genes make up a tiny fraction (~10%) of the variation present in these populations. We identified both known and new genes contributing to this variability.

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Later Puberty Linked To Lower Adult Bone Density

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Cousminer

Dr. Cousminer

Diana L. Cousminer, PhD
Division of Human Genetics
Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA 19104

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

Response: Osteoporosis is a significant public health burden, with origins early in life. Later puberty and lower adolescent bone mineral density are both risk factors for osteoporosis.

Geneticists have identified hundreds of genetic variants across the genome that impact pubertal timing, and we found that collectively this variation also plays a role in bone mineralization during adolescence. Additionally, we found that later puberty caused lower adult bone density.

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People Who Seek Revenge Are Often Sadistic and Plan Vengeful Attacks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David Chester, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Psychology Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Chester

David Chester, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
Virginia Commonwealth University

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

Response: We wanted to understand what personality traits define people who tend to seek revenge. We observed that the defining personality characteristic of revenge-seekers is sadism, which is the tendency to enjoy the suffering of others. Put simply, the people who seek revenge are the ones most likely to enjoy it. We also found some other interesting results, namely that revenge-seekers are also prone to premeditation. They like to plan out their actions ahead of time, which settles a long-standing debate about whether revenge seekers act on impulse or plan out their vengeful acts.

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Vast Majority of Adults Do Not Consume Enough Fruit and Vegetables

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, PhD Epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dr. Seung Hee Lee-Kwan

Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, PhD
Epidemiologist, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Seung Hee Lee-Kwan has a PhD in International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her previous work focused community-based interventions that aimed to promote healthy eating. Dr. Lee-Kwan’s current work at CDC is on fruits and vegetable surveillance, and research of health behaviors and environmental factors associated with obesity.

 

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

Response: The purpose of the study was to update a 2013 report that estimated how many people in each state are meeting fruit and vegetable intake recommendations with the latest data from 2015. These estimates looked at the percent of adults meeting the intake recommendations by age, sex, race/ethnicity, and income-to-poverty ratio for the 50 states and District of Columbia (DC).

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In Rugby, and Maybe at Work, Mixing Cultures Affects Motivation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Rugby” by Jim Ceballos is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Yusuke Kuroda PhD
Massey University
New Zealand

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

Response: Similar study, examining motivational personality among rugby players from four different countries (but all from predominantly Anglo-Saxon), was conducted in the late 1980s, and that study showed that elite rugby players, regardless of nationality, possessed serious minded and goal oriented personality. Number of studies examined athletes in different sports and showed similar results.

Previously, I had a chance to examine Maori and Japanese people engaged in traditional dance from their own culture; and, the Maori people were predominantly playful and spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese people were predominantly serious minded and goal oriented.

Dr Farah Palmer, one of co-authors, and I wanted to examine whether Maori All Blacks and Japanese National Team rugby players and see whether motivational personality of them were driven by being elite athletes or from cultural background. To play for the Maori All Blacks, players have to have a Maori background. The Japanese National Team, on the other hand, was consisted of Japanese and foreign born players. To examine the effect of culture, we also examined cultural identity among players.

With the help from Associate Professor Makoto Nakazawa, we got to measure motivational personality and cultural identity from both teams, and results showed that the Maori All Blacks players were more playful minded spontaneous oriented, while the Japanese National Team players were serious minded and goal oriented. Cultural identity showed that the Japanese National Team players, even with foreign born players, showed a greater knowledge of the Japanese culture and higher comfort level in their own culture than the Maori All Blacks players (or their own culture). However, the Maori All Blacks players felt more positive and sustain the Maori culture.

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Overeating High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Raise Both Hunger and Cortisol Levels

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Herring in high fructose corn syrup” by Ray Sawhill is licensed under CC BY 2.0Paolo Piaggi PhD and
Marie Thearle MD
Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona 

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

Response: Changes in food preparation have occurred over the recent decades including wide-spread availability of convenience foods and use of fructose as a sweetener. In addition, there is a growing trend to label certain foods as “healthy”. As the ingestion of added sugars and the prevalence of obesity have steadily increased over time, it has been suggested that the increased consumption of simple sugars may have contributed to the recent obesity epidemic.

We were interested in understanding whether the body responded to overeating foods with a high carbohydrate content differently if the source of the carbohydrate differed. For example, does it matter if we overeat foods containing whole wheat instead of high-fructose corn syrup? To answer this question, we conducted a study investigating changes in metabolism, circulating hormones, and appetite ratings in humans who were overfed a diet containing 75% carbohydrates for 24 hours. The subjects in the study were overfed with a high carbohydrate diet twice – once with a diet where the source of carbohydrates was whole wheat and once with a diet that contained simple sugars, primarily high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Note that the diets were given in random order with at least three days of recovery in between the overfeeding periods.

There was no difference in people’s metabolic rate over 24 hours between the whole-wheat versus high-fructose corn syrup diets; however, the diet containing HFCS resulted in increased hunger scores the next morning even though people had overeaten the day prior. These increased hunger scores were comparable to the hunger scores reported after a day of fasting. Also, 24-hour urinary free cortisol concentrations were higher the day after the diet containing high-fructose corn syrup. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to physiologic stress.

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Amyloid Deposits In Persons Without Dementia May Be First Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Willemijn Jansen, PhD  Postdoctoral researcher Department of Psychiatry & Neuropsychology Maastricht University Medical Center School for Mental Health and Neuroscience Alzheimer Center Limburg 

Dr. Jansen

Willemijn Jansen, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Psychiatry & Neuropsychology
Maastricht University Medical Center
School for Mental Health and Neuroscience
Alzheimer Center Limburg 

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

Response: Cerebral amyloid-β aggregation is an early pathological event in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), starting decades prior to dementia onset. About 25% of cognitively normal elderly and 50% of patients with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) have biomarker evidence of amyloid pathology. These persons are at increased risk for developing AD-type dementia, but the extent to which amyloid-β aggregation affects cognitive function in persons without dementia is unclear. This is important to know for a better understanding of the course of Alzheimer’s disease and for the design of AD prevention trials.

We here investigate the association between amyloid plaques and memory scores, using data from 53 international studies included in the Amyloid Biomarker study. Cognitively healthy elderly people with plaques have a low memory score twice as often as these persons without plaques. MCI patients with plaques had 20% more often low memory and low global cognition scores than MCI patients without plaques.

We further observed 10- to 15-year intervals between the onset of amyloid positivity and emergence of low memory scores in cognitively healthy persons.

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IVF Linked To Increased Risk of Congenital Heart Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“2010 Nobel Prize in Medicine - development of the in vitro fertilization procedure” by Solis Invicti is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Paolo Cavoretto MD PhD
San Raffaele Scientific Centre
Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department
Milan Italy

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

Response: Congenital heart defects (CHD) are the most common forms of congenital disorders and a relevant cause of perinatal morbidity and mortality involving about 0.8% of pregnancies. IVF pregnancies are very common nowadays with increasing rates in the developed countries worldwide. There is no consensus in current practice guidelines whether IVF/ICSI conception represents an indication for performing a fetal echocardiogram according to different eminent scientific societies due to differences in the estimations of the risk for CHD in the available literature.

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If Current Trends Continue, Most of Today’s Youth Will Be Obese By Age 35

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Kovalam Beach - Obesity : a rising problem in India” by Miran Rijavec is licensed under CC BY 2.0Mr. Zachary Ward
Center for Health Decision Science
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: Although the current obesity epidemic in the US has been well documented in children and adults, less is known about the long-term risks of adult obesity for children given their current age and weight.  As part of the CHOICES project (Childhood Obesity Intervention Cost Effectiveness Study), we developed new methods to simulate height and weight trajectories across the life course based on individual-level data.  We also used a novel statistical approach to account for long-term population-level trends in weight gain, allowing us to make more realistic projections of obesity into the future.  Continue reading

Most Common Brain Injuries in Babies Due to Hypoxia and Bleeding

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Baby” by Victor is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr Chris Gale
Clinical Senior Lecturer in Neonatal Medicine
Imperial College London and
Consultant Neonatologist at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital
NHS Foundation Trust

 

 

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

Response: As part of a drive to make England a safer place to give birth, the Department of Health in England has set a target of reducing the number of babies that incur brain injury during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020 and to halve them by 2030.

Before now United Kingdom health services did not have a standard definition of brain injury in babies and there has been no systematic collection of data for this purpose. With colleagues and in collaboration with the Department of Health, we have devised a practical way to measure the incidence rate of brain injury in babies using routinely recorded data held in the National Neonatal Research Database.

The research estimated that 3,418 babies suffered conditions linked to brain injury at or soon after birth in 2015, which equates to an incidence rate of 5.14 per 1,000 live births. For preterm births (babies born at or less than 37 weeks) the rate was 25.88 per 1,000 live births in 2015, almost six times greater than the rate for full-term births, which was 3.47 per 1,000 live births.

Overall, the research found that the most common type of condition that contributed brain injuries was damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain, called hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy; this is seen mainly in term babies. For preterm babies, the largest contributor to brain injuries is from bleeding into and around the ventricles of the brain, a condition called periventricular haemorrhage.

It is also the first time that brain injuries in babies have been measured using data gathered routinely during day to day clinical care on NHS neonatal units. The use of routine data required no additional work for clinical staff and provides a valuable way to measure the effectiveness of interventions to reduce brain injury.

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Most Older Drivers Do Not Take Advantage of Car Adaptations Which Make Driving Safer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
aaaTara Kelley-Baker PhD

Data and Information Group Leader
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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

Background on LongROAD

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAAFTS) launched the Senior Driver Initiative in 2012 in an effort to better understand and meet the safe mobility needs of older adult drivers. A multidisciplinary research team from six institutions was formed to design and implement the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) study.

The aims of the study are to better understand:

  • 1) major protective and risk factors of safe driving;
  • 2) effects of medical conditions and medications on driving behavior and safety;
  • 3) mechanisms through which older adults self-regulate their driving behaviors to cope with functional declines;
  • 4) the extent, use, and effects of new vehicle technology and aftermarket vehicle adaptations among older drivers; and
  • 5) determinants and health consequences of driving cessation during the process of aging.

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Less Than Half of Health Care Workers Receive Tdap Vaccine

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Syringe and Vaccine” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Alissa C. O’Halloran, MSPH
Immunization Services Division
National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta GA 30329 

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

Response: Outbreaks of pertussis (whooping cough) can occur in healthcare settings. Vaccinating healthcare personnel (HCP) may be helpful in protecting HCP from pertussis and potentially limiting spread to others in healthcare settings.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends a single dose of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for all adults, including pregnant women during each pregnancy, to protect themselves and reduce the risk for transmitting pertussis to infants too young to be vaccinated. To assure high Tdap coverage and disease prevention among HCP, patients, and others, ACIP recommends that healthcare employers provide Tdap vaccination to HCP and use approaches that maximize vaccination rates.

In this study, we assessed Tdap vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel  by occupation, industry, demographics, access-to-care characteristics, and by the 21 states in the study.

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SVC As Marker of Respiratory Decline in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jinsy Andrews, MD, MS Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials Columbia University The Neurological Institute New York, NY 10032 

Dr. Andrews

Jinsy Andrews, MD, MS
Director of Neuromuscular Clinical Trials
Columbia University
The Neurological Institute
New York, NY 10032 

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

Response: The importance of respiratory function in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) has long been recognized. Despite ALS being a clinical diagnosis with variable presentation and variable rates of disease progression, all patients experience respiratory symptoms and inevitably die typically from respiratory failure. At present there is no validated biomarker of disease progression or clinical staging system. Direct measure of respiratory function in ALS is important and can be measured using vital capacity. Although the forced maneuver (FVC) has been widely used in patients with ALS, it can underestimate the actual lung capacity by causing fatigue or inducing bronchospasm in patients with ALS. More recently, the slow maneuver (SVC) has been used since it can be obtained from patients with advancing disease which can potentially minimize missing data and may reduce any underestimation of actual lung capacity due to a forceful effort. However, the prognostic value of the decline in SVC is unclear in patients with ALS.

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Tetravalent Vaccine Proves Promising In Protecting Children From Dengue

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Vianney Tricou DPhil
Takeda Vaccines Pte Ltd
Singapore

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

Response: Dengue fever is a painful, debilitating mosquito-borne disease caused by any one of the four closely related dengue virus serotypes. Forty percent of the world’s population lives under the threat of dengue, with approximately 390 million infections and 20,000 deaths occurring globally each year. Dengue virus can infect people of all ages and is a leading cause of serious illness among children in some countries in Latin America and Asia. Takeda is developing a dengue vaccine candidate to safely protect children and adults living in, or traveling to, endemic areas against all four dengue virus serotypes, regardless of previous dengue virus exposure. 

Takeda’s tetravalent dengue vaccine candidate (TAK-003) is based on a live, attenuated dengue serotype 2 virus, which provides the genetic ‘backbone’ for all four vaccine viruses. Takeda’s ongoing Phase 2 DEN-204 study was designed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of different dose schedules of TAK-003 in approximately 1,800 healthy children and adolescents ages two through 17 years living in dengue-endemic countries in Latin America and Asia. Participants of the DEN-204 trial received either one primary dose of TAK-003, two primary doses of TAK-003 administered three months apart, one primary dose of TAK-003 followed by a booster dose one year later, or a placebo. Eighteen-month interim data showed that that TAK-003 is associated with a reduction in the incidence of dengue in the study participants. Data also showed that TAK-003 induced sustained antibody responses against all four serotypes of dengue virus, regardless of previous dengue exposure and dosing schedule.

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Kids Who Have Difficulty Spelling Can Have Trouble Writing As Well

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sonia Kandel PhD
Professor at the GIPSA-Lab
Université Grenoble Alpes 

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

Response: How do we recall a word’s spelling from memory? How do we execute the movements to produce letters? A series of studies conducted by Professor Sonia Kandel at the GIPSA-Lab/University of Grenoble Alpes in France provide evidence indicating that writing is a linguistic process that affects the way we execute the manual movements when we write. For example, the movements involved in writing T-H-R are easier to execute in a word that is pronounced as it is spelled, (e.g. “thrill”) than in a word that is orthographically irregular (e.g. “through”). What happens with writing when spelling processes are impaired like, in dyslexia and dysgraphia?

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Cardiac Muscle Patch Made From Stem Cells Can Repair Damaged Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nenad Bursac PhD Professor of Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor of Medicine Duke University Durham, NC

Dr. Bursac

Nenad Bursac PhD
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Associate Professor of Medicine
Duke University
Durham, NC 

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

Response: Every year about 1 million new people in US suffers from heart attack, resulting in death of hundreds of millions of cardiac muscle cells. This massive cell loss leads to gradual deterioration of heart function, which for many patients results in the occurrence of heart failure that ultimately will require heart transplant. Heart transplantation is complicated and expensive procedure and donor hearts are in short supply, rendering this disease to be not only highly prevalent but ultimately lethal.

For almost 30 years, researchers have been exploring transplantation of stem cells into injured hearts as a means to replace dead cardiac muscle with new muscle cells that would yield improved heart function. However, injections of stem cells in the heart have so far met with limited clinical success and surgical implantation of pre-made heart muscle tissue in a form of a “cardiac patch” has been explored as an alternative strategy with a proven benefit of enhancing transplanted cell survival. Others and we have engineered cardiac tissue patches in a dish starting from human pluripotent stem cells, which have advantage of being able to become bona fide contracting cardiac muscle cells. So far, however, no one has been able to engineer a highly functional cardiac muscle patch of a size that is large enough to be used in human therapies for heart disease.

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Praluent May Reduce Need For Apheresis In Some Patients With Familial Hypercholesterolemia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jay Edelberg VP Head of CV Development and Head Global CV Medical Affairs

Dr. Edelberg

Dr. Jay Edelberg MD, PhD
VP Head of CV Development and
Head Global CV Medical Affairs
Sanofi 

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

Response: Patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HeFH) are often not able to achieve their target low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, and some may require lipoprotein apheresis (LA) to lower their “bad cholesterol.” Apheresis is a procedure similar to kidney dialysis, where bad cholesterol is mechanically removed from the blood. It is an invasive, expensive, and time-consuming treatment for patients, as well as physicians.

The Phase III ESCAPE clinical study looked at the potential effect of LA on total Praluent, free and total PCSK9 concentrations, as well as the combined pharmacodynamics effect of total Praluent on LDL-C-lowering.

Praluent levels remained unaffected by apheresis, and Praluent consistently suppressed free PCSK9 levels in patients with HeFH, regardless of LA treatment. This analysis further confirms clinical ESCAPE data that Praluent can be used in conjunction with LA and may reduce or potentially eliminate the need for LA in some patients.

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Digital Health About Connection, Collaboration and Integration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

HITLab

Mr. David Moore MBA
Senior Vice President, Commercial
Novo Nordisk


Mr. David Moore presented the keynote presentation “Breaking Through Barriers in Innovation” at the
4th Annual HITLAB Innovators Summit, NYC November 28, 2017. 

MedicalResearch.com: How did you become interested in incorporating technological advances into the sales and marketing end of pharmaceutical delivery?

Response: Part of our message today is that we understand that there is an opportunity to improve outcomes if we have a better focus on collaboration and integration through engagement with the patient rather than through medications alone. We continue to innovate in diabetes pharmaceutical care but are also focusing more on meeting the patient in their journey through everyday life.

The opportunity to connect, collaborate and integrate is what digital health is all about.

As manufacturers, we are still early in the integration process. When we think about technological changes from the patient’s perspective, health care has become much different. The patient no longer just goes to the doctor’s office for a conversation or opinion, with the doctor keeping all the notes. Now the patient has access to a broad range of medical information and usually their own medical records. There is an element of needing things to be user-friendly. As with any consumer product or service with choices, if the choice isn’t user-friendly, the consumer won’t use it. We are looking for ways to make the delivery of pharmacologic products user-friendly to both the patient and provider.

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Shifting Attention Causes Momentary Brain Freeze

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alex Maier, PhD Assistant Professor of Psychology Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science Vanderbilt University

Dr. Maier

Alex Maier, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Vanderbilt University

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

Response: We were interested in finding out about how the brain shifts attention from one location to another. We knew that when we attend a certain location, brain activity increases in a specific way. This increase in activity is how we perform better when we use attention. What we knew less about is what happens when attention moves between locations.

To our surprise, we found that there is a brief moment in between these attentional enhancements, while attention moves from one location to another, where the brain does the complete opposite and decreases its activity. Shifting attention thus has a brief negative effect on our brain’s ability to process information about the world around us.

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Lack of Response to LDL-Lowering Praluent Rare

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Jay Edelberg VP Head of CV Development and Head Global CV Medical Affairs

Dr. Edelberg

Dr. Jay Edelberg MD, PhD
VP Head of CV Development and
Head Global CV Medical Affairs
Sanofi

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

Response: Clinical trials of lipid-lowering therapies (LLTs), including statins, often report variations in treatment response regarding effects on low density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels, although LDL-C reductions are fairly consistent between trials. Praluent is generally well tolerated, however hyporesponsiveness exists in few patients.

Potential causes for variation in patient responsiveness to Praluent include lack of receipt of active study drug, changes in concurrent LLTs, inaccurate or unrepresentative baseline lipid levels, concurrent acute-phase illness, and biological nonresponsiveness.

This analysis evaluated patients pooled from 10 ODYSSEY trials to assess characteristics of patients with hyporesponsiveness to Praluent, defined as <15% LDL-C reduction from baseline at all analyzed time points.

Overall, only 1% of patients (n=33) had <15% LDL-C reduction at all time points. Prolonged hyporesponsiveness to Praluent was rarely associated with Praluent antidrug antibodies. Of the 33 patients with <15% LDL-C reduction at all study timepoints, 27 had undetectable or missing alirocumab levels, absence of pharmacokinetics analyses, or early treatment discontinuation.

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Doing Something Is Better Than Nothing: Even Light Physical Activity Improves Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH Research Associate Professor Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health Co-Director, MPH Program (epidemiology) School of Public Health and Health Professions Women’s Health Initiative Clinic University at Buffalo – SUNY 

Dr. LaMonte

Michael J. LaMonte, PhD, MPH
Research Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health
Co-Director, MPH Program (epidemiology)
School of Public Health and Health Professions
Women’s Health Initiative Clinic
University at Buffalo – SUNY 

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

Response: Current national public health guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week for adults. The guidelines recommend persons 65 and older follow the adult guidelines to the degree their abilities and conditions allow. Some people, because of age or illness or deconditioning, are not able to do more strenuous activity. Current guidelines do not specifically encourage light activity because the evidence base to support such a recommendation has been lacking.

Results from the Objective Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Health (OPACH) Study, an ancillary study to the U.S. Women’s Health Initiative, recently published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed women ages 65-99 who engaged in regular light intensity physical activities had a reduction in the risk of mortality. The 6,000 women in the OPACH study wore an activity-measuring device called an accelerometer on their hip for seven days while going about their daily activities and were then followed for up to four and a half years.  Results showed that just 30 additional minutes of light physical activity per day lowered mortality risk by 12 percent while 30 additional minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walking or bicycling at a leisurely pace, exhibited a 39 percent lower risk. 

The finding for lower mortality risk associated with light intensity activity truly is remarkable. We anticipated seeing mortality benefit associated with regular moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity, as supported by current public health guidelines. But, observing significantly lower mortality among women who were active at levels only slightly higher than what defines being sedentary was such a novel finding with important relevance to population health.

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Survey Finds Americans Routinely Ignore Over-the-Counter Pain Medication Labels

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Charles Melbern (Mel) Wilcox, MD, MSPH Director of the division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology University of Alabama-Birmingham

Dr. Wilcox

Charles Melbern (Mel) Wilcox, MD, MSPH
Director of the division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
University of Alabama-Birmingham 

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

Response: Nearly every person experiences pain at some point in their life – for many, the pain is acute and occasional, but for others, the pain is chronic and can be debilitating. Research shows that more than 25.3 million Americans suffer from daily pain and, every year, consumers purchase more than $20 billion per year on over-the-counter (OTC) pain medicines. In my work with the American Gastroenterological Association, we set out to explore the behaviors, beliefs, and misunderstandings that Americans have when it comes to OTC pain medicines. We surveyed 1,015 U.S. adults and 251 gastroenterologists to gain insight on how they were approaching pain management and OTC pain medicine use.

The survey found that Americans are routinely ignoring OTC pain medicine labels and are not consulting their health-care professionals about their pain before taking OTC pain medicines. As a direct result, gastroenterologists are noticing their patients experiencing complications and unintentional overdose symptoms. They see an average of 90 overdose cases each year, about two a week, due to OTC pain medicine overdose.

Ninety percent of gastroenterologists believe their patients require more and better education on how to use OTC pain medicine safely. They find that patients are not fully understanding the harms associated with taking too much. When asked why patients take more than the recommended dose, Americans say that they are confident in their ability to manage their medication (32 percent) or they wanted to feel better faster, mistakenly thinking more medicine would be the solution (73 percent).

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Cost and Side Effects Influence Patients’ Preferences for Leukemia Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carol Mansfield, PhD, Senior Research Economist Health Preference Assessment RTI Health Solutions www.rtihs.org

Dr. Mansfield

Carol Mansfield, PhD,
Senior Research Economist

Health Preference Assessment
RTI Health Solutions
www.rtihs.org 

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

Response: As the most prevalent form of leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) affects approximately 130,000 people in the United States. More than 20,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. In recent years, more treatment options–each with its own associated benefits, side effects, and price tag–have been approved. This leaves patients and physicians with a variety of factors they must consider when choosing a treatment plan.

While every patient wants the most effective drug with the fewest side effects, most people don’t have that option available. By asking patients to make tradeoffs and rank their preferences, we can form an understanding of how patients approach their treatment.

This study showed that patients with CLL value medicines that provide the longest progression-free survival, but are willing to trade some benefits for a lower risk of serious adverse events. Additionally, we found that cost clearly has an impact on which treatment a patient would choose. When patients get prescribed something they can’t afford, they are forced to make very difficult choices.

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Verseon’s Precision Anticoagulants Prevent Clotting Without Excess Bleeding Risk in Preclinical Studies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
https://www.verseon.com/
Anirban Datta, PhD

Director Discovery Biology
Verseon Corporation


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

Response: Today’s anticoagulant market is dominated by the NOACs. These oral anticoagulants require less constant monitoring and have reduced drug and food interactions compared to their predecessors, warfarin and heparin. However, there is still a significant bleeding risk associated with the NOACs. This is particularly problematic when they are co-dosed with antiplatelet drugs. While life-long therapy combining an oral anticoagulant with one or two antiplatelet drugs is desired for the many patients suffering from both non-valvular atrial fibrillation and coronary artery disease, current treatment guidelines limit such therapy to a maximum of six months to a year due to safety concerns.

At Verseon, we are developing a novel class of precision anticoagulants that combine efficacy comparable to the NOACs with a significantly reduced bleeding risk in preclinical testing. We believe that this profile can have a positive impact on the lives of the many patients in need of long-term anticoagulation-antiplatelet combination therapy.

We are currently advancing two development candidates toward clinical trials in 2018. VE-1902, our first development candidate, is scheduled to enter phase I in the first half of the year. Continue reading

Thinking Abilities May Decline After Treatment For Head and Neck Cancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lori J Bernstein, PhD, CPsych Neuropsychologist, Dept. of Supportive Care Core Member, Cancer Rehabilitation & Survivorship Program ELLICSR Centre for Health Wellness and Cancer Survivorship Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN Clinical Research Unit Member, Princess Margaret Research Institute Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto Adjunct Faculty, Graduate Program in Psychology, York University

Dr. Bernstein

Lori J Bernstein, PhD, CPsych
Neuropsychologist, Dept. of Supportive Care
Core Member, Cancer Rehabilitation & Survivorship Program
ELLICSR Centre for Health Wellness and Cancer Survivorship
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, UHN
Clinical Research Unit Member,
Princess Margaret Research Institute
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto
 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Despite the increasing role of (chemo-)radiation treatment for head and neck cancer (HNC), and involvement of central nervous system structures in the radiation field, we don’t know a lot about whether there are short or long term consequences in thinking abilities in survivors. So our question was this: Do people treated for head and neck cancer with radiation or chemoradiation have short or long term neurocognitive deficits after treatment?

We assessed head and neck cancer patients and healthy non-cancer controls four times, first at baseline (after diagnosis but before treatment), and then again 6, 12, and 24 months later. We found that compared to the controls, patients decline over time in several different neurocognitive domains, including concentration, verbal memory, and executive function. We found that as many as 38% of patients suffered from impaired global neurocognitive functioning by two years after treatment compared to none of the controls.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The findings indicate that some (but not all) head and neck cancer survivors are at risk of suffering from declines in thinking abilities such as attention and memory. These changes can be subtle and increase gradually. We didn’t follow people beyond 2 years after treatment, so we don’t know whether these deficits would improve, worsen, or stabilize after that.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Longer longitudinal follow-up is needed to determine if symptoms change after 2 years. More investigation of the relationships between treatment variables such as radiation dosing and long term neurocognitive function is important. Further research is also needed to find ways to avoid, reduce and compensate for declines.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We are extremely grateful to the people who participated in this study. We plan to reassess participants for several more years, so we hope to know more about even longer term cognitive function in people treated for head and neck cancer. In addition, I want to acknowledge that we could not have done this work without the support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and The Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Alona Zer, Gregory R. Pond, Albiruni R. Abdul Razak, Kattleya Tirona, Hui K. Gan, Eric X. Chen, Brian O’Sullivan, John Waldron, David P. Goldstein, Ilan Weinreb, Andrew J. Hope, John J. Kim, Kelvin K. W. Chan, Andrew K. Chan, Lillian L. Siu, Lori J. Bernstein. Association of Neurocognitive Deficits With Radiotherapy or Chemoradiotherapy for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. Published online November 22, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2017.2235

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idarucizumab – Praxbind – Reverses Anticoagulant Effect of Pradaxa Prior To Emergency Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas Seck, M.D., vice president Clinical Development and Medical Affairs, Primary Care Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Dr. Thomas Seck

Thomas Seck, M.D., vice president
Clinical Development and Medical Affairs
Primary Care
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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

Response: This is a new subanalysis of the phase III RE-VERSE AD™ study, which evaluated the safety and efficacy of idarucizumab, marketed in the U.S. as Praxbind®, in reversing the anticoagulant effect of Pradaxa® (dabigatran etexilate mesylate). This data assessed idarucizumab in a subset of patients requiring an urgent procedure or emergency surgery.

The analysis found that idarucizumab rapidly and completely reversed the anticoagulant effect of dabigatran in approximately 98 percent of patients based on dTT. The median time between administration of idarucizumab and start of surgery was 1.7 hours for patients requiring abdominal procedures, 1.9 hours for orthopedic procedures, 1.4 hours for vascular procedures, 1.3 hours for drainage procedures and 1.2 hours for catheter procedures. Among these patients, periprocedural homeostasis was assessed as normal in more than 92 percent of patients, across all surgery types.

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Specialized Consults Can Link Hospitalized Patients To Outpatient Addiction Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Zoe Weinstein MD Instructor, Boston University School of Medicine Director of the Inpatient Addiction Consult Service Boston Medical Center
Dr. Zoe Weinstein MD
Instructor, Boston University School of Medicine
Director of the Inpatient Addiction Consult Service
Boston Medical Center

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

Response: Substance use disorders are highly prevalent, especially among hospitalized patients, however substance use often goes unaddressed in the hospital setting, even if substance use is the underlying cause of the hospitalization (such as a blood stream infection from intravenous drug use).

This study reviews the experience of one hospital in starting an Addiction Consult Service to address substance use among hospitalized patients, and help connect them with long-term outpatient addiction treatment directly from the hospital.

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Your Mother Was Right! Raw Cookie Dough Can Make You Sick

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Escherichia coli CDC Image

E. coli – Escherichia coli
CDC Image

Samuel J. Crowe, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Food and Drug Administration
College Park, MD
CDC

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

Response: Flour has been a suspected outbreak vehicle for Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections since 2009, when a multistate outbreak of foodborne disease was linked to prepackaged cookie dough. The 2016 STEC outbreak investigation described in this study was the first investigation to confirm flour as the source of an E. coli outbreak. Linking the outbreak to flour was challenging for several reasons, but epidemiologic, traceback, and microbiologic data ultimately confirmed that flour produced at a single facility was the source of the illnesses.

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CDC Study Finds Lyme Disease Remains a Public Health Challenge

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

This 2007 photograph depicts the pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye”, which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman’s posterior right upper arm, who’d subsequently contracted Lyme disease. Lyme disease patients who are diagnosed early, and receive proper antibiotic treatment, usually recover rapidly and completely. A key component of early diagnosis is recognition of the characteristic Lyme disease rash called erythema migrans. This rash often manifests itself in a “bull's-eye” appearance, and is observed in about 80% of Lyme disease patients. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and as illustrated here, the characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Note that there are a number of PHIL images related to this disease and its vectors.

This 2007 photograph depicts the pathognomonic erythematous rash in the pattern of a “bull’s-eye”, which manifested at the site of a tick bite on this Maryland woman’s posterior right upper arm, who’d subsequently contracted Lyme disease.
Lyme disease patients who are diagnosed early, and receive proper antibiotic treatment, usually recover rapidly and completely. A key component of early diagnosis is recognition of the characteristic Lyme disease rash called erythema migrans. This rash often manifests itself in a “bull’s-eye” appearance, and is observed in about 80% of Lyme disease patients.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and as illustrated here, the characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. From CDC image library

Kiersten Kugeler, PhD
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases
CDC

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

Response: Lyme disease has been a nationally notifiable disease in the United States since 1991. Each year, possible cases of Lyme disease are investigated and tallied by state and local public health officials according to criteria set by the surveillance case definition. States voluntarily share human case data with CDC, which summarizes the data to provide a national perspective on disease trends.

This report summarizes national Lyme disease data reported during 2008-2015. Lyme disease continues to be the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States with more than 275,000 cases of Lyme disease reported to CDC during the study period. Although most cases continue to be reported from states with high incidence in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic, and upper Midwest regions, case counts in most of these states have remained stable or decreased during this time. In contrast, case counts have increased in states that neighbor those with high incidence. The trend of stable to decreasing case counts in many states with high incidence may be due to multiple factors, including the possibility that occurrence of the disease has stabilized in these areas or that some state health agencies have changed their reporting practices to lower the resource burden associated with Lyme disease surveillance. Lyme disease surveillance is not meant to document every case, but rather to indicate disease trends over time, define high-risk groups, and describe the geographic distribution of the condition.

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Aging Population, Socio-Economic Disparities Linked To Increase in Heart Failure Incidence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof Kazem Rahimi FRCP The George Institute for Global Health Oxford Martin School University of Oxford, Oxford

Prof. Rahimi

Prof Kazem Rahimi FRCP
The George Institute for Global Health
Oxford Martin School
University of Oxford, Oxford

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

Response: We decided to investigate this topic because disease incidence data is very important for public health bodies; for example, for the allocation of healthcare resources or for the design and assessment of disease prevention measures.

When we reviewed the literature, we found that estimates of heart failure incidence, temporal trends, and association by patient features were scarce. Studies often referred to restricted populations (such as relatively small cohorts that may or may not be representative of the general population), or limited data sources (for example, only including patients hospitalized for their heart failure and not considering those diagnosed by clinicians outside of hospitals). Few studies reported comparable, age-standardized rates, with the result that the rates reported varied considerably across the literature.

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IQuity Releasing First RNA-Based Blood Test for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Iquity IncChase Spurlock, PhD, CEO of IQuity Inc. and
Thomas M. Aune, PhD,
Co-Founder of IQuity Inc.

MedicalResearch.com: Why did you develop IsolateIBS-IBD?

Response: Isolate IBS-IBD arose from work started at Vanderbilt University, which found that autoimmune diseases exhibit distinct RNA patterns in blood and that these patterns often are specific for a particular disease. In our longitudinal and cross-sectional studies of many human conditions that span both autoimmune and non-autoimmune disease categories, we found that differences detected at the level of RNA can provide an accurate snapshot of a person’s disease. Using RNA, we can tell at a very early stage if a pattern exists that indicates a specific disease. With this information, providers can initiate treatment plans sooner and have an additional tool in their toolbox when making diagnostic determinations.

We developed this test because the symptoms of IBS and IBD are very similar, which can make it difficult and time-consuming for doctors to achieve an accurate diagnosis. IsolateIBS-IBD helps providers distinguish between the two conditions. It shouldn’t be viewed as a replacement or stand-alone test — doctors still need to use it in conjunction with clinical observation combined with traditional tests and procedures like a CT scan or endoscopic examination of the colon — but it can dramatically speed the diagnostic process. IQuity delivers results to providers within seven days of receiving the patient’s sample in the laboratory, allowing doctors to begin discussing a course of treatment as soon as possible.  Continue reading

Majority of Cataract Surgeries Now Performed in Ambulatory Centers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

cataract-eye-wikipedia Cataract in Human Eye  author Rakesh Ahuja, MD

Cataract in Human Eye

Brian C. Stagg, MD
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
University of Michigan Medical School
National Clinician Scholars Program
University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation

Joshua D. Stein, MD, MS
Associate Professor
University of Michigan
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences
Director, Center for Eye Policy and Innovation
Ann Arbor 

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

Response: Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the US. It is typically performed at either hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) or ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs). ASCs are cheaper and more efficient, but some people believe that HOPDs may be safer for people with co-morbid medical conditions.

We conducted this study to evaluate how the use of ambulatory surgery centers for cataract and other ocular surgeries has changed since 2001. We also wanted to see what factors influenced whether or not a patient had cataract surgery at an ASC (versus a HOPD), and to compare ASC use for cataract surgery with ASC use for other common eye surgeries (glaucoma, cornea, retina, strabismus).

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Babies Can Understand When The Effort Might Be Worth The Reward

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shari Liu Dept Psychology Harvard University Cambridge, MA 02138 

Shari Liu -image by Kris Brewer.

Shari Liu
Dept Psychology
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA 02138 

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

Response: Every day, we look out into the social world and see more than pixels changing across our retinas, or bodies moving in space. We see people brimming with desires, governed by their beliefs about the world and concerned about the costs of their actions and the potential rewards those actions may bring. Reasoning about these mental variables, while observing only people’s overt behaviors, is at the heart of commonsense psychology. Continue reading

Aside From Pregnancy, 3-4 Cups of Coffee Per Day Has Likely Health Benefits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Coffee” by Treacle Tart is licensed under CC BY 2.0Robin Poole
Specialty registrar in public health
Academic Unit of Primary Care and Population Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
University of Southampton

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

Response: Worldwide, over two billion cups of coffee are consumed every day. Since such a lot of coffee is consumed it is important to understand whether this is beneficial or harmful to our health. Evidence to date has been mixed and this tends to vary between different outcomes.

Coffee is a complex mixture of many bioactive compounds including caffeine, chlorogenic acids, and diterpenes. Laboratory experiments have previously highlighted the potential for coffee to have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fibrotic and anti-cancer effects.

Our research group is interested in liver conditions and we were aware of studies suggesting beneficial associations between drinking coffee and liver disease. We went on to conduct two meta-analyses and concluded that coffee drinking was beneficially associated with both liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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Virtual Reality Lets Users Walk Over Cellular Landscape

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/fotologic/3862190141">“Virtual Reality”</a> by <i> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/fotologic/">fotologic</a> </i> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Professor Robert G. Parton FAA

Institute for Molecular Bioscience,
University of Queensland
Brisbane, Australia

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

Response: We have combined whole cell microscopy with image analysis and virtual reality visualization to allow a user to explore the surface of a cancer cell and then to move inside the cell and interact with the organelles vital for cellular function. The study utilized serial blockface electron microscopy data of a migratory breast cancer cell (combining thousands of electron microscopic images into one 3D dataset) together with to-scale animations of endocytic processes at the cell surface. Through the use of low-cost commercial VR headsets, the user could then ‘walk’ over the alien landscape of the cell surface, observe endocytic processes occurring around them in real-time, and then enter a portal into the cell interior. We provide guidelines for the use of VR in biology and describe pilot studies illustrating the potential of this new immersive experience as an educational too

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Up To 40% of Food Allergic Adolescents Experience Severe Reactions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Peanuts” by Daniella Segura is licensed under CC BY 2.0Vicki McWilliam

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI)

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Food allergy affects up to 10% of children and 2-3% of adults, and appears to increasing in prevalence. The rise in food allergy prevalence has coincided with increased reports of anaphylaxis. Previous research has shown that adolescents are most at risk of experiencing adverse food reactions and appear to be at higher risk of anaphylaxis fatalities but are an understudied age group in food allergy research.

In a large population representative sample of 10,000 10-14 year olds in Melbourne, Australia we found that alarmingly over 40% had experienced an allergic reaction in the past year and almost 10% reported potentially life threatening reactions. Consistent with other research peanut and tree nuts were the most common trigger foods for reactions and those with nut allergy were most at risk of anaphylaxis. Having more than two food allergies doubled the risk of a food allergic reaction compared to those with a single food allergy. Surprisingly, reactions were found to occur most commonly at home rather than restaurants or school.

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Are You A ‘Material Girl’ (or Boy)? Then You Love Facebook

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“FACEBOOK(LET) Front” by FACEBOOK(LET) is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Phillip Ozimek M.Sc.
Department of Social Psychology Faculty of Psychology Ruhr-University Bochum UniversitätsstrBochum, Germany

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

Response: We started reading the classic book by Erich Fromm „To have or to be“ out of personal interest. I was very much interested in studying social media, so we wondered how materialists would use facebook. After all Facebook seemed to be a perfect tool for people who love social comparisons.

Furthermore, Facebook is for free – materialists love tools that do not cost money!

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Intestinal Microbiome Alterations May Trigger Immune Reactions Inducing Multiple Sclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kouichi Ito, PhD Associate Professor Department of Neurology Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Rutgers

Dr. Kouichi Ito

Kouichi Ito, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Neurology
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers

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

Response: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS), and breakdown of immune tolerance to CNS proteins has been suggested to initiate CNS autoimmunity. Although the mechanism underlying the breakdown of immune tolerance to CNS proteins is still unknown, gut microbiota has been suggested to be involved in disease initiation and progression.

To investigate the etiology of Multiple Sclerosis, we have created humanized transgenic mice expressing MHC class II and T cell receptor genes isolated from an Multiple Sclerosis patient and showed that gut dysbiosis, alteration in intestinal microbial composition, can induce gut leakiness and subsequently trigger the development of neurological deficits through activation of complement C3 and reduction of CBLB and Foxp3 genes.

This study suggests that gut dysbiosis is one of the possible etiological factors for Multiple Sclerosis.

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Infectious Prions Detected in Skin of Patients With Neurodegenerative Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

The brain of one patient who died from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (sCJD) appears nearly identical to the brain of a mouse inoculated with infectious prions taken from the skin of patients who died from sCJD.

The brain of one patient who died from sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (sCJD) appears nearly identical to the brain of a mouse inoculated with infectious prions taken from the skin of patients who died from sCJD.
Case Western Reserve University

 

Byron Caughey, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Chief, TSE/prion Biochemistry Section
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases
NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Hamilton, MT 

 

 

MedicalResearch.com: Would you briefly explain what is meant by Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease?

Response: Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is an incurable—and ultimately fatal—transmissible, neurodegenerative disorder in the family of prion diseases. Prion diseases can be found in many mammalian species and are due to the conversion of normally harmless prion protein molecules into abnormally folded, aggregated and self-propagating clusters and filaments in the brain. The accumulation of these clusters has been associated with tissue damage that often leaves dying neurons and microscopic sponge-like holes in the brain. In the sporadic and genetic forms of CJD this pathogenic process appears to arise spontaneously in the patient.

However, the transfer of the prion protein aggregates from a Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease patient into another human or experimental animal can initiate the pathogenic process in the recipient. These infectious forms of prion protein are called prions. Human prion diseases include fatal insomnia; kuru; Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome; and variant, familial and sporadic CJD. Sporadic CJD is the most common human prion disease, affecting about one in one million people annually worldwide. Other prion diseases include scrapie in sheep; chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose; and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease, in cattle.

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Racial Differences in Plasma Biomarker May Partially Explain Stroke Disparities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pankaj Arora MD, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiology Division University of Alabama at Birmingham Section Editor, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics American Heart Association

Dr. Arora

Pankaj Arora MD, FAHA
Assistant Professor, Cardiology Division
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Section Editor, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics
American Heart Association 

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

Response: Natriuretic peptides are hormones produced by the heart in response to increased wall stress in the atria and ventricles. It is well known that blacks have increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease which contributes to racial disparities in outcomes.

In the current work, we tested the hypothesis that black race is a natriuretic peptide deficiency state using a stratified random cohort of 4,415 participants selected from the REGARDS study (a national population-based cohort study evaluating racial and geographic disparities in stroke in US adults aged ≥45 years of age or older). Next, we looked for published results on the percentage difference in N-terminal proB-type NP (NTproBNP) levels by race in participants free of cardiovascular disease from other population cohorts. Lastly, we explored whether association of natriuretic peptides with all-cause mortality and CV mortality in apparently healthy individuals from REGARDS differs by race.

We found that in multivariable adjustment, NTproBNP levels were up to 27% lower in black individuals as compared with white individuals in the REGARDS study. We pooled our results and found that in meta-analysis of the 3 cohorts, NTproBNP levels were 35% lower in black individuals than white individuals (more than 13,000 individuals in total). Lastly, we found that the higher NTproBNP levels were associated with higher incidence of all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality in healthy blacks and white individuals, and this association did not differ by race.

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Nonphysician Clinicians Provide Wide Variety of Dermatology Services To Medicare Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adewole Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology UNC – Chapel Hill North Carolina

Dr. Adamson

Adewole Adamson, MD, MPP
Department of Dermatology
UNC – Chapel Hill North Carolina 

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

Response: Nurses practitioners and physician assistants, collectively known as non-physician clinicians (NPCs), provide many dermatology services, some which are billed for independently. Little is known about the types of these services provided. Even less is known about where these independently billed services are provided. Given that there is a purported shortage of dermatologists in the United States (US),  NPCs have been suggested as way to fill in the gap.

In this study, we found that NPCs independently billed for many different types of dermatology associated procedures, including surgical treatment of skin cancer, flaps, grafts, and billing for pathology. Most of these NPCs worked with dermatologists. Much like dermatologists, NPCs were unevenly distributed across the US, concentrating mostly in non-rural areas.

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Radiologic Findings Can Be Key In Identifying Intimate Partner Violence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“IMGP6403_qtu-no-violence” by Rae Allen is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Elizabeth George, MD
PGY-4 Radiology Resident
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Dr. Bharti Khurana MD
Clinical Fellow, Harvard Medical School and
Assistant Director, Emergency Radiology
Director, Emergency Musculoskeletal Radiology
Program Director, Emergency Radiology Fellowship
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School


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

Response: According to the CDC, 1 in 3 women in the United States are victims of abuse by their intimate partner. Despite the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations, intimate partner violence (IPV) screening is still not widely implemented and IPV remains very prevalent and often under-recognized.

The goals of this study are to increase the awareness among physicians about this public health problem and to elucidate the potential role of imaging in the identification of these patients. In fact, there is a striking disparity in the literature on the role of imaging in identifying non-accidental trauma in children compared to intimate partner violence.

The common patterns of injury we identified in this population were soft tissue injuries (swelling, hematoma or contusion) followed by extremity fractures, which often involve the distal upper extremities, suggesting injury from defensive attempts. Other common injuries were facial fractures, which represent an easily accessible site for inflicting trauma, and pregnancy failure. Since radiologists have access to both current and prior radiological studies of these patients, they could play a critical role by putting the pieces together in identifying victims of IPV.

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Sex Differences In Body Fat Composition Predictive of Cardiometabolic Risk Profile

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Miriam Bredella, MD Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School Department of Radiology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, MA 02114

Dr. Bredella

Miriam Bredella, MD
Associate Professor of Radiology
Harvard Medical School
Department of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 02114

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

Response: It is well known that body composition differs between men and women, with women having proportionally more fat and men more muscle mass.

But not the amount of fat but its distribution is an important determinant of cardiometabolic risk, with certain ectopic fat depots, such as visceral adipose tissue, fat within muscle cells – intramyocellular (IMCL), and liver fat, being more detrimental than others, such as femorogluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue.

We therefore wanted to study sex differences in body composition and cardiometabolic risk in men and women with obesity.

We found that at the same BMI, men had relatively higher visceral adipose tissue, IMCL, liver fat, muscle and lean mass, while women higher percent fat mass and higher subcutaneous adipose tissue. This female anthropometric phenotype was associated with a better cardiometabolic risk profile at similar BMI compared to men. However, ectopic fat depots were more strongly associated with adverse cardiometabolic risk factors in women compared to men

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Rapid Increase in ER Visits For Young Girls With Self-Inflicted Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA Behavioral scientist Division of Violence Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

Dr. Mercado

Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA
Behavioral scientist
Division of Violence Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

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

Response: Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death for all age groups combined and has been among the top 12 leading causes of death since 1975 in the U.S. In 2015, across all age groups, suicide was responsible for 44,193 deaths in the U.S., which is approximately one suicide every 12 minutes.

Suicide was the second leading cause of death among U.S. youth aged 10-24 years in 2015. Self-inflicted injury is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide.

This study examined trends in non-fatal self-inflicted injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) among youth aged 10 to 24 years in the United States from 2001-2015.  The overall weighted age-adjusted rate for this group increased by 5.7% annually during the 2008 to 2015 period.  Age-adjusted trends for males overall and across age groups remained stable throughout 2001-2015.  However, rates among females increased significantly, by 8.4% annually. The largest increase among females was observed among those aged 10-14 years, with an increase of 18.8% annually from 2009 to 2015.

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Some Cancer Drugs May Also Treat Hypertension

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anton Wellstein, MD PhD Professor Oncology & Pharmacology Georgetown University Medical School Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center Washington DC

Dr. Wellstein

Anton Wellstein, MD PhD
Professor Oncology & Pharmacology
Georgetown University Medical School
Associate Director for Basic and Translational Science
Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center
Washington DC

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

Response: Tumor angiogenesis and signaling by growth factors such as Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) are targets for the treatment of cancer. Targeting some of these factors will alter blood pressure. We show that FGF activation in an animal model can cause hypertension. We show that the hypertension is driven by sensitization of resistance vessels to the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II. We propose that drugs used to target FGF pathway signaling in cancer could be useful to treat hypertension.

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Diabetic Atherosclerosis Management Can Be Personalized Using Coronary Artery Calcium Score

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. MalikDr. Shaista Malik MD PhD MPH
Director of Samueli Center For Integrative Medicine
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine

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

Response: Having diabetes has been considered to be a risk equivalent to already had a myocardial infarction for predicting future cardiovascular events.  We were interested in testing whether further risk stratification in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, using coronary artery calcium (CAC), would result in improved prediction of cardiovascular events.

We found that CAC score was associated with incident coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease more than a decade after the scoring was performed.  We also found that even after we controlled for the duration of diabetes (of 10 years or more), insulin use, or hemoglobin A1c level, coronary artery calcium remained a predictor of cardiovascular events.

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