Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Opiods / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joel E. Segel, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy and Administration The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Earlier research has shown that the societal costs of opioid misuse are high, including the impact on employment. However, previous work to understand the costs of opioid misuse borne by state and federal governments has largely focused on medical costs such as care related to overdoses and the cost of treating opioid use disorder. Our main findings are that when individuals who misuse opioids are unable to work, state and federal governments may bear significant costs in the form of lost income and sales tax revenue. We estimate that between 2000 and 2016, state governments lost $11.8 billion in tax revenue and the federal government lost $26.0 billion.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 09.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joanne Spetz, PhD Professor Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies San Francisco, CA 94143-0936  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Medication treatment is an important component of treatment for opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine has been the focus of policies designed to increase access to treatment and is the most widely-used medication due to well-established evidence of its efficacy and its accessibility outside licensed narcotics treatment programs. The most common brand name for this medication is Suboxone. There is a shortage of providers authorized to prescribe it, in part because only physicians were permitted to obtain waivers from the Drug Enforcement Agency to prescribe it outside of licensed narcotics treatment programs until the opioid bill of 2016. That bill granted nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) the ability to apply for waivers. However, in states that require NPs and/or PAs to be supervised by or collaborate with a physician, there are additional requirements regarding the training of the physician before the NP or PA can apply for a waiver. This affects nearly half of states for NPs, and all states for PAs. We found that the average percentage of NPs with waivers was 5.6% in states that do not require physician supervision, but only 2.4% in more restrictive states. Even after adjusting for other factors, we found that the percentage of NPs with waivers was 75% higher when physician oversight is not required. We didn’t find a similar result for PAs, probably because they must have physician oversight in all states.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Occupational Health, Social Issues / 08.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Work requirements condition Medicaid eligibility on completing a specified number of hours of employment, work search, job training, or community service. Little is known about how behavioral health and other chronic health conditions intersect with employment status among Medicaid enrollees who may be subject to work requirements. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, University of Pennsylvania / 05.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Henry R. Kranzler, MD Professor of Psychiatry Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder (AUD) are moderately heritable traits.  To date, genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have not examined these traits in the same sample, which limits an assessment of the extent to which genetic variation is unique to one or the other or shared. This GWAS examined a large sample (nearly 275,000 individuals) from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Million Veteran Program (MVP) for whom data on both alcohol consumption and alcohol use disorder diagnoses were available from an electronic health record.  We identified 18 genetic variants that were significantly associated with either alcohol consumption, AUD, or both. Five of the variants were associated with both traits, eight with consumption only, and five with alcohol use disorder only.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cannabis, End of Life Care, NYU / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arum Kim, MD Assistant Professor Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine NYU School of Medicine Director of the Supportive Oncology Program Perlmutter Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: There is increasing interest in medical marijuana and its applications for patients with cancers. Despite increasing access, little is known regarding doses of cannabinoids - specifically delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (delta-8-THC)  and cannabidiol (CBD), methods of drug delivery, and differences in patterns of use between cancer and non-cancer patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research, OBGYNE / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeremy Fine B.A. in Philosophy, Neuroscience, and Psychology Washington University in St. Louis, Class of 201 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alongside increasingly permissive marijuana use attitudes and laws, the prevalence of marijuana use among pregnant mothers has increased substantially (by 75% between 2002 and 2016), with some evidence that pregnant women may be using cannabis to combat pregnancy-related nausea. Our data came from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study, which included over 4,000 subjects with data on maternal marijuana use during pregnancy. Our main finding was that the children of mothers who used marijuana after learning they were pregnant had a small but significant increase in risk for psychosis in their future. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, CDC, Emory / 20.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: CDR Andrew Geller, MD Medical Officer, Medication Safety Program Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, CDC Atlanta GA 30329 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been a lot of recent attention on drug overdoses in the United States, particularly fatal overdoses which involve opioids. But the overall frequency with which patients end up in the emergency department (ED) due to nonmedical use of medications across the US is unknown.
  • Nonmedical use refers to a spectrum of circumstances, including intentionally using more medication than is recommended in an attempt to treat a health condition (therapeutic misuse) to using medication to attain euphoria or get “high” (abuse).
With this analysis, we wanted to focus on the acute harms to individual patients from nonmedical use of all medications, in order to help target prevention efforts.
  • Specifically, we used data from a nationally-representative sample of hospital EDs to identify the medications with the highest numbers of emergency visits for harms following nonmedical use of medications and to identify the patient groups with the highest risks. 
(more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Opiods / 18.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Serena Day, MD Ohio State University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea for this research came from my own observations of patients that I was caring for in the hospital first as an Internal Medicine Resident and now as a senior Cardiology Fellow. I did my residency here at Ohio State and noticed a marked increase in the number of patients with endocarditis that we were caring for just in my short time here as a trainee. Over 5 years, we saw an increase of 436% in intravenous drug use related endocarditis. How this disease is treated as changed as well. It used to be that if a patient was a good surgical candidate, we would offer a replacement valve. Now, we see that these patient's have such a high rate of recurrent intravenous drug use and reinfection of their heart valves that we now treat with antibiotics only rather than surgery. In many cases, the infection never goes away because we can't offer definitive therapy with surgery due to their high relapse and reinfection rates of nearly 50%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Orthopedics / 18.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Paul Cagle, Jr. MD Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings ie What are some of the significant comorbidities?  Response: In this study our goal was to better understand what medical issues (medical comorbidities) can cause trouble or issue for patients with a proximal humerus fracture (shoulder fracture).  To tackle this issue we used a large national sample of patients and sorted our the different medical issues the patients had. We found that patients with increased medical issues had longer hospital stays and higher use of opioid medications (pain medications). (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Orthopedics, Surgical Research / 18.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alexis Colvin, MD Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: 40% of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid and orthopaedic surgeons are the 3rd highest prescribers of opioids.  Set guidelines for post surgery opioid prescriptions have not been established.  Arthroscopic knee meniscectomy is one of the most common orthopaedic procedures.  The purpose of this study was to determine how many opioids were being prescribed  among a group of six sports fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeons versus how many patients were actually using. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NEJM, Opiods / 13.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wenjia Zhu, PhD. Marshall J. Seidman Fellow Department of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The current opioid epidemic continues to cause deaths and tremendous suffering in the United States, driven in large part by overuse of prescription opioids. Of special concern are new opioid prescriptions, i.e. opioids given to patients who have not used opioids before, which research tells us are an important gateway to long-term opioid use, misuse, overdoes and death. Recently, in their efforts to curb over prescribing of opioids, the CDC issued guidelines (December 2015 in draft form; March 2016 in final version) to encourage opioid prescribers to limit the use, duration and dose of opioids, particularly opioids to first-time users. Despite these, little is known about the prescribing of opioids to first-time users on a national scale, particularly among commercially insured patients. In this study, we examined national monthly trends in the rate at which opioid therapy was started among commercially insured patients. Using administrative claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association commercial insurers from 2012 to 2017, we analyzed more than 86 million commercially insured patients across the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Gastrointestinal Disease, Opiods / 12.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Howard Franklin, MD, MBA Vice President of Medical Affairs and Strategy Salix Pharmaceuticals MedicalResearch.com: What is opioid-induced constipation? Response: Opioid-induced constipation (OIC) is a side effect in as many as 80 percent of chronic pain patients on opioids. OIC is unlikely to improve over time without treatment and can lead to suffering and discomfort. More importantly, the insufficient treatment of OIC can have negative implications for patients, both those on opioid therapy for chronic non-cancer pain as well as advanced illness, and for hospitals.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Weight Research / 12.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alice R Carter MSc Doctor of Philosophy Student MRC Integrative Epidemiology Unit Population Health Science, Bristol Medical School University of Bristol MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Higher body mass index and alcohol intake have been shown to increase the risk of liver disease. Some studies have looked at their combined effect by comparing the risk of liver disease between individuals with both high BMI and high alcohol intake and individuals with low BMI and low alcohol intake. However, these studies have produced mixed results. Some possible reasons for that are errors in self-reported BMI and alcohol intake, other factors confounding the association of BMI & alcohol intake with liver disease risk and changes in lifestyle that individuals with ill health may have been advised to adopt. One way to overcome these limitations is to use a technique called Mendelian randomisation. This method uses genetic differences between individuals that influence their characteristics (e.g. their body mass and how much alcohol they drink) to help understand whether these characteristics are causally related to diseases. Our study used this method to explore the joint effects of BMI and alcohol consumption on liver disease and biomarkers of liver injury.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Opiods / 28.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cory E. Cronin PhD Department of Social and Public Health Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions Athens, Ohio MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: One of my primary areas of research is exploring how hospitals interact with their local communities. My own background is in health administration and sociology, and I have been working with colleagues in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine here at Ohio University (Berkeley Franz, Dan Skinner and Zelalem Haile) to conduct a series of studies looking at questions related to these hospital-community interactions. This particular question occurred to us because of the timeliness of the opioid epidemic. In analyzing data collected from the American Hospital Association and other sources, we identified that the number of hospitals offering in-patient and out-patient substance use disorder services actually dropped in recent years, in spite of the rising number of overdoses due to opioid use. Other factors seemed to matter more in regard to whether a hospital offered these services or not. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, Surgical Research / 27.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Calista Harbaugh, MD House Officer, General Surgery Clinician Scholar, National Clinician Scholars Program Research Fellow Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nonmedical prescription opioid use and prescription opioid-related overdose remain significant concerns among adolescents and young adults. Among adolescents and young adults prescribed an opioid after surgery, prior work found that 4.8% of opioid-naïve patients develop new persistent use, filling additional opioid prescriptions at 3-6 months after surgery. This work found associations of persistent use with diagnoses such as chronic pain disorders, depression, anxiety, and prior substance use disorder. It is likely that for young patients, family members may also play an important role in development of new persistent use, but this has not previously been explored. We performed this study to evaluate whether long-term opioid use among family members was associated with prescription opioid fills among adolescents and young adults perioperatively – and we found that opioid-naïve adolescents and young adults who have 1 or more family members with long-term opioid use are more likely to fill at the time of surgery, during recovery, and in the long-term with a near-doubling of rates of new persistent use. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 25.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mathew Vinhhoa Kiang, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nationally, opioid-related mortality has continued to climb for decades and resulted in over 42,000 deaths in 2016 — more than the number of deaths from car accidents or firearms. However, there are substantial differences across states and by opioid type. We sought to systematically describe these differences by examining state-level opioid mortality by opioid type. Deaths from synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, are rapidly increasing in the eastern half of the US. Specifically, 28 states have synthetic opioid mortality rates that are more than doubling every two years. Twelve of those states already have high levels of synthetic opioid mortality — above 10 deaths per 100,000. Lastly, the opioid epidemic has reached our nation's capital — Washington DC has the fastest rate of increase, more than tripling every year, and a high opioid mortality rate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Fentanyl is an important opioid for pain management but also has exceptional potential for misuse. Illicitly manufactured fentanyl accounts for a large portion of opioid overdoses. Seven states including Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont have recently implemented opioid prescribing laws. The objectives of this study were to:
  • 1) characterize how medical use of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues like sufentanil, alfentanil, and remifentanil, and other opioid use changed over the past decade, and
  • 2) determine whether opioid prescribing laws impacted fentanyl use in the US. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Automation of Reports and Consolidated Ordering System (ARCOS) is the gold-standard for pharmacoepidemiology research of controlled substances in the US for its comprehensiveness. 
(more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lonnie M. Schaible PhD Associate Professor School of Public Affairs University of Colorado Denver, CO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Following legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado, strong -- but unsubstantiated -- claims were being made about crime surrounding marijuana dispensaries.  We wanted to know what the data would show.  We were especially interested in determining whether the addition of recreational facilities had any effects above and beyond those which might exist for medical dispensaries.  To better capture the dynamic landscape of marijuana legalization, this is the first study to control for the prior existence of medical dispensaries and assess how effects of both of these types of establishments changed over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Opiods / 12.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Social Issues / 06.02.2019

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     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. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods / 02.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Opioids" by KSRE Photo is licensed under CC BY 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0Dr. Qiushi Chen (first author) and Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment Massachusetts General Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Opioid overdose epidemic is a national public health emergency — in 2017, more than 49,000 people died from overdose. Our study shows that under current conditions, the number of deaths is projected to increase to 81,700 by 2025. Efforts to curb the epidemic by reducing the incidence of prescription opioid misuse — the primary focus of current interventions — will have a modest effect of 3-5% reduction in overdose deaths. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 21.01.2019

gambling addictionAn addiction to gambling can be an isolating ordeal that causes havoc among someone’s personal relationships, destroys personal finances, and exacerbates any mental health issues that a person may have. Addiction is rarely an isolated incident. Typically there are many factors at play that can manifest themselves in the form of gambling. By tackling these underlying causes one can treat their addiction and eliminate the toxic habits that created it. In addition to confronting this by oneself, it is important for those who suffer from this to confide in those close to them as well as seeking advice from their doctor. One major issue brought on by any kind of addiction is the sense of alienation that someone can experience. This is where it is important for them to open up to those who are close to them, like a loved one or a close friend. It will help alleviate the burden of struggling alone and will help others to understand what they are going through. Getting in touch with self-help groups can be another means of alleviating the feelings of alienation that addicts can experience while they are treating their compulsive gambling. This provides an outlet for an addict to express what they are going through while simultaneously getting the perspective of others who have struggled in a similar fashion. One of the most important steps to take is the very first one. That is to be able to admit that there is a problem with gambling. Once this has been done, the problem becomes tangible and the addiction can be confronted directly. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, University of Michigan / 17.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Kruger, PhD Research Assistant Professor University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We study health-related behaviors, such as diet and the consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Given the recent trends in legalization of cannabis for medical and even recreational purposes, we were concerned with the narrow focus of current public health efforts regarding cannabis. Although some in the field take a harm-reduction approach to substance use, too many efforts focus solely on abstinence. These programs are a legacy from the era of prohibition, and we know that there are disadvantages to such a restricted scope in public health. For example, municipalities that eliminated or blocked accurate and effective sex education had increases in teenage pregnancy rates. There are so many public health-related aspects of cannabis, beyond risks and adverse effects, which need to be addressed by systematic scientific research. Because of the legal history of cannabis, there is little integration with the mainstream health care system. The focus of the current study was investigating how medical cannabis users perceived medical cannabis in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs and other aspects of the mainstream health care system and how they navigated they relationships between these currently separate systems (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, UCLA / 15.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD MA Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline (1-800-662-HELP) is the only free, federally managed and endorsed US drug treatment referral service, helping callers find the best local services that match their needs. Are millions suffering simply because they are not aware that lifesaving help is a phone call away? In our new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Mark Dredze, Alicia Nobles and I delved into Americans’ engagement with 1-800-662-HELP following singer Demi Lovato’s July 24, 2018 hospitalization for a reported overdose that on-the-scene investigators originally linked to heroin. Lovato has since recovered. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Depression, JAMA / 09.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ingunn Olea Lund, PhD The Norwegian Institute of Public Health Oslo, Norway MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are significant amounts of research on children of parents with alcohol use disorders – where the children are shown to be at risk of several adverse outcomes, including mental disorders, substance use disorders, suicide, impaired school performance, and employment problems. There is very little previous research on how other, more normal levels of parental drinking may influence child outcomes, such as mental health. This is a grave oversight, as there are vastly more parents with normal drinking patterns than there are parents who suffer from an alcohol use disorder. This means that there are potentially a lot more cases of adverse effect for children, and the number of children at risk may be higher than previously assumed. In addition to parents' alcohol use, several other risk factors in the family that may affect child mental health outcomes, such as parents' mental health and socio-economic status. Researchers have tended to look at these risk factors separately, but as these risks tend to co-occur, it may be more informative to consider them together. To our knowledge, this is the first study that examines possible harm from normal levels of parental drinking, alone or in combination with other parental risk factors, on children’s anxiety and depression. The sample consists of more than 8700 triads: children and both their parents. We combined information from three health registries with survey data where both adolescents and their parents provided information about health and social conditions. The health registers include information about the children 's actual contact with the health care system; we used information about whether children received diagnoses and/or treatment for anxiety and/or depression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Methamphetamine / 06.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Department of Basic Sciences, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, Scranton PA 18509  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The U.S. accounts for five percent of the world population but more than 92 percent of the world’s spending on pharmacotherapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health, ADHD increased to 11.0 percent of U.S. children, seven percent of girls and 15 percent of boys. Interestingly, ADHD rates were much lower among Hispanic children. The 2013 revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders broadened the criteria such that it became easier to diagnose adult ADHD. Together, we hypothesized that use of amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) would be increasing. We also predicted that there would be some regional differences in stimulant use. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cocaine, Opiods, Primary Care / 03.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah M. Bagley MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Director, CATALYST Clinic Boston University School of Medicine/Boston Medical Center Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Urine drug testing is a routine part of the management of primary care patients with opioid use disorder treated with medications such as buprenorphine. In addition, most providers also ask patients about recent drug use. The point of this study was to see the agreement between the urine drug testing and what patients told a nurse and whether that changed the longer a patient was in treatment. We found that truthful disclosure of opioid and cocaine use increased with time in treatment and that urine drug tests are a useful tool to monitor patients.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA / 29.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The genesis of this study was a patient asking me if he could continue to have a nightly cocktail or two after he was hospitalized with the new diagnosis of heart failure. The main findings are that moderate drinking after the diagnosis of heart failure in older adults is probably safe and is associated with longer survival. These types of studies can not prove a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and survival.  (more…)