Alcohol, Author Interviews, Smoking / 28.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sarah Dermody, PhD Assistant Professor School of Psychological Science Oregon State University Corvallis Oregon  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drinking alcohol is a risk factor for sustained smoking. In a sample of daily cigarette smokers receiving treatment for alcohol use disorder, we examined if reductions in drinking corresponded with reductions in nicotine metabolism as indexed by the nicotine metabolite ratio. The nicotine metabolite ratio is important because it is associated with smoking level and lapses. We found that for men, alcohol use and the nicotine metabolite ratio reduced significantly; however, for women, neither drinking nor nicotine metabolite ratio changed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cannabis, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 19.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sharon Levy, MD, MPH Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program Boston Children's Hospital Associate Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​For this study we analyzed data that were collected as part of a larger survey study that recruited a sample of adolescents who were coming to the doctor's office for routine medical care.  We asked them a lot of questions about their health, school, extracurricular activities, plans for the future, substance use patterns and problems associated with use among other things. The main finding was that among the participants who reported marijuana use in the past year, many of them, more than 40%, said that they had experienced either an hallucination, or paranoia/anxiety related to their use. Kids who used more frequently and those who met criteria for a substance use disorder were more likely to experience these symptoms, as were those who had symptoms of depression (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 16.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Schott Zwiesel Wine Glasses" by Didriks is licensed under CC BY 2.0 <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Simona Costanzo MS, PhD Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Prevention. IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We investigated how the different intake of alcohol relates to all-cause and cause-specific hospitalizations. In particular, we mainly investigated the association of alcohol consumption with total number of hospitalizations that occurred during 6 years of follow-up. We also examined cause-specific hospitalizations (e.g., alcohol-related diseases, vascular diseases, cancer, traumatic injury, and neurodegenerative diseases). (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Opiods / 04.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Asher Schranz, MD Division of Infectious Disease Department of Medicine UNC School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The opioid crisis has led to several major infectious diseases concerns, including HIV and Hepatitis C. Drug use-associated infective endocarditis (DUA-IE) is a less commonly discussed consequence of the opioid epidemic. DUA-IE is an infection of one or more heart valves that occurs from injecting drugs. It can be a severe, life-threatening infection and requires a long course of intravenous antibiotics as well as, in some cases, open heart surgery to replace an infected heart valve. Several studies over the past few years have shown that DUA-IE has been increasing. Our study examined hospital discharges in North Carolina statewide from 2007 to 2017. We sought to update trends in DUA-IE and describe how much heart valve surgery was being performed for DUA-IE. We also aimed to report the demographics of persons who are undergoing heart valve surgery for DUA-IE and the charges, lengths of stay and outcomes of these hospitalizations.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics / 03.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan Schroeder MD Associate Chief for Research Division of pediatric hospital medicine Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Third molar “wisdom teeth” extractions are one of the most common surgeries performed in adolescents and young adults, but an adequate appraisal of risks and benefits is lacking. Most patients who undergo this procedure are exposed to opioids post-operatively. We demonstrate that, for privately-insured opioid-naïve patients 16-25 years of age, exposure to opioids from a dental provider is associated with persistent use at 90-365 days in 7% of patients and a subsequent diagnosis relating to abuse in 6% of patients. In contrast persistent use and abuse were significantly lower in control patients not exposed to dental opioids (0.1% and 0.4%, respectively). The median number of pills dispensed for the initial prescriptions was 20. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, University of Pennsylvania / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Romer PhD Annenberg Public Policy Center The University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous research has found some troubling relations between adolescent cannabis use and subsequent increases in conduct problems and other unhealthy consequences.  These studies were done in New Zealand in the late 90’s and we wanted to re-examine those relationships using more contemporary data in the US. We had data on 364 adolescents who were followed from age 13 to 19 in Philadelphia that could provide a more up to date picture of the effects of using cannabis on one important outcome, conduct disorder.  We also wanted to use more sensitive methods than had been used in prior research that would enable us to examine reciprocal relations between cannabis use and c (CP).  That is, it might be the case that youth with CP are prone to using cannabis and that this helps to explain why there appears to be a relation over time between cannabis use and CP rather than cannabis use leading to CP. Our findings supported that hypothesis.  There was no prospective relation between changes in cannabis use and subsequent changes in conduct problems.  Instead, changes in conduct problems were found to predict changes in use of cannabis.  Youth with conduct problems also affiliated more with peers who used cannabis, adding further to their own use.  There was also no evidence that youth who used cannabis sought out peers who used it apart from the effects of CP. Finally, both use of cannabis and  conduct problems predicted subsequent development of a mild cannabis use disorder (CUD).  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Methamphetamine, OBGYNE, Opiods / 02.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lindsay Admon, MD MSc Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? In our previous work (https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2017/12000/Disparities_in_Chronic_Conditions_Among_Women.19.aspx), we identified higher rates of deliveries complicated by substance use among rural women. We knew that some of this difference would be accounted for by opioids.What we didn’t expect was that when we took a closer look, amphetamine use disorder accounted for a significant portion of this disparity as well. The main findings of this study are that, between 2008-09 and 2014-15, amphetamine and opioid use among delivering women increased disproportionately across rural compared to urban counties in three of four census regions. By 2014-15, amphetamine use disorder was identified among approximately 1% of all deliveries in the rural western United States, which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions. Compared to opioid-related deliveries, amphetamine-related deliveries were associated with higher incidence of the majority of adverse gestational outcomes that we examined including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality.   (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, CDC, JAMA, Primary Care, USPSTF / 20.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine. Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD Endowed chair in medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unhealthy alcohol use is relatively common and is increasing among U.S. adults. Alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and contributes to more than 88,000 deaths per year. In pregnancy, it also leads to birth defects and developmental problems in children. The Task Force found that screening tests and brief counseling interventions can help detect and reduce unhealthy alcohol use among adults, and in turn help prevent negative consequences related to alcohol use. For adolescents ages 12 to 17, clinicians should use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to screen and refer their patients to counseling, until we have better studies available. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods / 15.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirk Evoy, PharmD, BCACP, BC-ADM, CTTS "Wolf Administration Holds a Press Conference Expanding Access to Naloxone" by Governor Tom Wolf is licensed under CC BY 2.0Clinical Assistant Professor  College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin Adjoint Assistant Professor  School of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Ambulatory Care Pharmacist  Southeast Clinic, University Health System  UT Health Science Center at San Antonio Pharmacotherapy Education and Research Center San Antonio, TX 78229  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Previous studies in Indiana and New York City, and the similar study in California published alongside ours identified that, despite the fact that laws designed to increase naloxone access had been in place for 2-3 years, patients were still not able to obtain naloxone without first seeing a doctor in many pharmacies. Our study showed contrasting results to the previous studies, with a much higher proportion of pharmacies stocking naloxone and stating their willingness to dispense without an outside prescription. Among the 2,317 Texas chain community pharmacies we contacted, 83.7% correctly informed our interviewers that they could obtain naloxone without having to get a prescription from their doctor before coming to the pharmacy.  We also found that 76.4% of the pharmacies had at least one type of naloxone currently in stock. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pharmacology / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Talia Puzantian,  PharmD, BCPP Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences, School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Keck Graduate Institute   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Naloxone has been used in hospitals and emergency rooms since the early 1970s. Distribution to laypersons began in the mid-1990s with harm reduction programs such as clean needle exchange programs providing it, along with education, to mostly heroin users. In the years between 1996-2014, 152,000 naloxone kits were distributed in this way with more than 26,000 overdoses reversed (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6423a2.htm). We have data showing that counties in which there was greater naloxone distribution among laypeople, there were lower opioid death rates (Walley AY et al BMJ 2013). However, not all opioid users at risk for overdose will interface with harm reduction programs, particularly prescription opioid users, hence more recent efforts to increase access to laypersons through pharmacists. Naloxone access laws have been enacted in all 50 states but very little has been published about how they’ve been adopted by pharmacists thus far. One small study (264 pharmacies) from Indiana (Meyerson BE et al Drug Alcohol Depend 2018) showed that 58.1% of pharmacies stocked naloxone, only 23.6% provided it without prescription, and that large chain pharmacies were more likely to do so. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Opiods / 14.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Drug Addiction" by Joana Faria is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0Yingxi (Cimo) Chen, MD, MPH, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Radiation Epidemiology Branch, DCEG, NCI, NIH Rockville MD 20850  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Death rates from drug overdose have more than doubled in the US in the 21st century. Similar increases in drug overdose deaths have been reported in other high-income countries but few studies have compared rates across countries.  (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Alcohol” by Jorge Mejía peralta is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Hartz, MD PhD Assistant Professor Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study is the first to show that daily drinking is dangerous. Specifically, drinking four or more times weekly, even if it’s only 1-2 drinks at a time, increases risk of mortality. This is in line with recent studies published in the Lancet, but we were able to break down their lowest drinking categories (up to 12.5 drinks weekly in one and up to 5.6 drinks weekly in the other) and found that the frequency is important, not just the average number of drinks per week. It looks like the increased mortality is predominantly due to cancer-related deaths. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joceline Vu, MD Resident, PGY-5 Department of Surgery University of Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study examined how much opioid patients use after surgery, and looked at factors that might predispose some patients to use more or less. Patient opioid use after surgery is an interesting question that’s gained a lot of attention recently, because it’s different from other uses for opioids. If you have chronic pain, you’re probably going to use all of your prescription. But if you have surgery, you may not take all of your pills, and this leaves people with leftover pills that can be dangerous later. From this study, we found that patients only use, on average, about quarter of their prescription, meaning that a lot of them are left with leftover pills. Moreover, we found that the biggest determinant of how much they used wasn’t how much pain they reported, or any other factor—it was how big their original prescription was. What this means is that opioid use after surgery isn’t just determined by pain, but also by what surgeons prescribe. It’s important to keep this in mind as we try to reduce unnecessary opioid prescribing after surgical procedures.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pediatrics, Social Issues / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Troy Quast, PhD Associate Professor in the University South Florida College of Public Healt MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the cited repercussions of the opioid epidemic is its effect on families. However, there is considerable variation in opioid misuse across the county. This is the first nation-wide study to investigate the relationship between opioid prescription rates and child removals at the state level. I found that there are significant differences across states in the relationship between opioid prescription and child removal rates associated with parental substance abuse. In twenty-three states, increases in opioid prescription rates were associated with increases in the child removal rate. For instance, in California a 10% increase in the county average prescription rate was associated with a 28% increase in the child removal rate. By contrast, in fifteen states the association was flipped, where increases in the opioid prescription rate were associated with decreases in the child removal rate. There was no statistically significant relationship in the remaining states.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Diabetes, JAMA / 06.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Viral Shah, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, Adult Clinic School of Medicine University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cannabis use is increasing in Colorado and many patients with type 1 diabetes (which is an autoimmune form of diabetes that requires life insulin therapy) are using cannabis. Therefore, we surveyed adult patients with type 1 diabetes to study the association between cannabis use and glycemic control and diabetes acute complications (such as diabetic ketoacidosis) in adults with type 1 diabetes. Main findings of the study:  The risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious condition where body produces high levels of acids called ketones in patients with diabetes)  was two times higher among adults with type 1 diabetes who reported using cannabis in the past 12 months compared to adults with type 1 diabetes who reported not using cannabis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cognitive Issues, OBGYNE / 05.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ryan J. McLaughlin, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Integrative Physiology & Neuroscience College of Veterinary Medicine Washington State University Pullman, WA 99164-7620 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The use of cannabis during pregnancy is a growing health concern, yet the long-term cognitive ramifications for developing offspring remain largely unknown. Human studies exploring the long-term effects of maternal cannabis use have been sparse for several reasons, including the length and cost of such studies, as well as the fact that experimentally assigning mothers to smoke cannabis during pregnancy is obviously ethically impractical. Animal models of maternal cannabis use have been advantageous in this respect, but they have been limited by the drugs used (synthetic cannabinoids vs. THC vs. cannabis plant) and the way that they are administered. In our study, we used a more translationally relevant animal model of maternal cannabis use that exposes pregnant rat dams to whole plant cannabis extracts using the intra-pulmonary route of administration that is most common to human users. Our preliminary data indicate that twice-daily exposure to a high-dose cannabis extract during pregnancy may produce deficits in cognitive flexibility in adult rat offspring. Importantly, these rats did not experience general learning deficits, as they performed comparably to non-exposed offspring when required to follow a cue in their environment that dictate reinforcer delivery. Instead, deficits were observed only when rats were required to disregard this previous cue-based strategy and adopt a new egocentric spatial strategy in order to continue receiving the sugar reinforcers. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Neurology / 02.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Be careful what you wish for #drugs #heroin #addiction #camp #church" by Matthew Kang is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0Michaël Loureiro, PhD Research Assistant - Group Lüscher Dpt. of Fundamental Neuroscience University of Geneva - Faculty of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Addiction refers to the repeated and irrepressible urge to consume a drug even in the light of negative consequences. All addictive drugs are initially rewarding and have powerful reinforcing properties, which drive users to use the drug again and again. Within the scientific community, it has been repeatedly argued that for opioids, this initial reinforcing effect does not involve dopamine, and no consensus was emerging. In our study we used some of the most advanced genetic tools to observe that in less than a minute heroin strongly increased the activity of neurons in the midbrain causing a release of dopamine in the striatum, a brain region essential for reward seeking. We further used neuroanatomical tracing methods and found that dopamine neurons activated by heroin were projecting to the very medial region of the ventral striatum. Finally, when we silenced dopamine neurons, heroin lost its reinforcing power, confirming the validity of the dopamine activation hypothesis for opioids. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, Opiods, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 29.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Surgery" by Army Medicine is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Nirmal B. Shah Anesthesia Resident PGY-IV (CA-III) Thomas Jefferson University Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: With the ongoing opioid epidemic, we believe it is important to understand patients’ perceptions of pain medications and pain control after surgery. We believe patients’ expectations and perceptions regarding perioperative pain medications has not been well understood. We were hoping to understand patients’ knowledge, concerns, and biases of pain medication along with information to optimize acute pain management. The goal of this survey study was to understand patient expectations regarding pain medications including opioids and non- opioids.  In the United States, over 100 million surgical procedures are performed every year. Nearly 80% of these patients will experience post-operative pain. Adequate treatment of post-operative pain has been shown to improve clinical and economic outcomes, thus there has been an increased effort towards improving post-operative pain control. Through our research, we demonstrated that patients expect to experience postoperative pain after a surgical procedure and expect to be prescribed a pain medication. Patients believe that opioid medications will be most effective in treating postoperative pain compared to non-opioid medications, which could be contributing to the opioid epidemic. 503 patients presenting for elective surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA were sampled during this survey. 76% of patients expected to be prescribed an opioid pain medication at discharge, 47% of patients expected to be prescribed acetaminophen (Tylenol) pain medication at discharge, while 30% of patients expected to be prescribed an NSAID (Motrin) pain medication at discharge. 94% of patients expecting to receive an opioid pain medication believe it would be effective in controlling their post-operative pain. This difference was not observed in patients expecting prescriptions for non-opioid pain medications. Overall, patients expect to experience pain after surgery and be prescribed analgesics they perceived to be most effective, opioids. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Kidney Disease / 29.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Big bags of medical #marijuana on Cannabis Culture News LIVE - watch now on www.pot.tv" by Cannabis Culture is licensed under CC BY 2.0Praveen Kumar Potukuchi, B.Pharm, MS The University of Tennessee Health Science Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Several case reports have indicated that synthetic cannabinoid use is associated with acute kidney injury (AKI). However, it is unclear whether similar adverse effects could occur with medicinal or recreational cannabis use. Previous research has shown that the use of medical marijuana /cannabis for an average of two weeks resulted in no serious adverse effects and no incidence of AKI. However, there are no studies which investigated the effects of marijuana/cannabis use on the incidence of AKI in patients with advanced CKD. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 28.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Mark A. R. Kleiman PhD Affiliated Faculty, NYU Wagner; Professor of Public Policy NYU Marron Institute of Urban Management MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: As state after state legalizes the sale of cannabis, the question of cannabis-impaired driving is getting more attention. There is evidence that the practice has become more common, both because cannabis use - and especially heavy, frequent use - has increased and because a distressingly large fraction of cannabis users believe, falsely, that stoned driving is safe. The natural response to the problem is to treat cannabis on a par with alcohol: fairly severe criminal penalties for impaired driving, with impairment defined by a specific level of the drug in the body. The paper argues that this would be a mistake, for four independent reasons: - While cannabis makes driving riskier, it does so by about a factor of two, with no strongly observed dependency on dosage. Alcohol, by contrast, has a steep dose-effect curve. At the legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content by weight, the relative risk of drunk driving is at least eight; at 0.15%, which is fairly common, the relative risk has been estimated at 30-50. So there is no justification for punishing stoned driving as severely as we punish drunk driving. - The lack of evidence of a strong dose-effect relationship suggests that a legal standard based on the content of cannabinoids in blood may not be appropriate. - Even if a blood standard were valid, the lack of a breath test would make enforcing that standard nearly impossible as a practical matter. - The long and unpredictable course of cannabis metabolism means that frequent users will be at risk of failing a drug test even when they are neither subjectively intoxicated nor objectively impaired. Worse, they would have no way of judging in advance whether or not driving would be legal. The result would be a re-criminalization of cannabis use through the back door.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics / 26.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua Barocas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine Joshua Barocas, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Section of Infectious Diseases Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Massachusetts has been particularly hard hit by the opioid epidemic despite lower opioid prescribing rates, near universal health insurance, and availability of opioid treatment. That said, it is difficult to estimate the population with or at-risk for opioid use disorder. It is generally a highly stigmatized disease and typical methods to estimate of opioid use disorder relay on contact with the healthcare system and/or patient reporting. We used a unique and powerful methodology coupled with a first-in-the-nation linked database in Massachusetts to obtain both an accurate count of people with opioid use disorder who are known to the healthcare system and estimate the number who are out there but not yet known to the system. We found that more than 275,000 people – or 4.6 percent of people over the age of 11 in Massachusetts– have opioid use disorder, a figure nearly four times higher than previous estimates based on national data. In 2011 and 2012, the prevalence of opioid use disorder in Massachusetts for those over the age of 11 was 2.72 percent and 2.87 percent, respectively. That increased to 3.87 percent in 2013, and even more, to 4.6 percent in 2015. Those between the ages of 11 and 25 experienced the greatest increase in prevalence of all age groups. The number of “known” persons increased throughout the study period – from 63,989 in 2011 to 75,431 in 2012, and 93,878 in 2013 to 119,160 in 2015.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis / 25.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Rothbard, MA, PhD Steinman Lab Stanford Medicine Co-founder Gold Bee – Pharmaceutical Grade CBD Products MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new company? How did Katexco get its name? Response: Researchers with Stanford University, Jonathan Rothbard and Lawrence Steinman, formed Katexco Pharmaceuticals. Katexco will focus on developing oral therapies for inflammatory diseases based on cannabis and nicotine receptors. Katexco will work to develop the first drug to focus on a key receptor on immune cells that are involved in inflammatory disease. The first primary target indications include gastrointestinal disorders like Crohn’s disease, gout and multiple sclerosis. Katexco is from the Greek word to restrain or regulate, and we are trying to restrain the immune system in inflammatory disease. We produce what Observer.com has ranked the #1 CBD oil for pain. In fact, our CBD oil is the best CBD oil for pain according to more than 300 independently verified reviews from consumers on TrustSpot. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, NEJM / 23.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marc Lewis, Ph.D. Klingelbeekseweg Arnhem The Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: According to the brain disease model, addiction is a chronic disease brought about by changes in brain systems that mediate the experience and anticipation of reward and higher-order systems underlying judgment and cognitive control. Its proponents propose that these changes are driven by exposure to drugs of abuse or alcohol. The brain disease model is the most prevalent model of addiction in the Western world. The disease model's narrow focus on the neurobiological substrates of addiction has diverted attention (and funding) from alternative models. Alternatives to the brain disease model highlight the social-environmental factors that contribute to addiction and the learning processes that translate these factors into negative outcomes. Learning models propose that addiction, though obviously disadvantageous, is a natural, context-sensitive response to challenging environmental contingencies, not a disease. In this review I examine addiction within a learning framework that incorporates the brain changes seen in addiction without reference to pathology or disease.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 20.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tyler Winkelman MD, MSc   Clinician-Investigator Division of General Internal Medicine, Hennepin Healthcare Center for Patient and Provider Experience, Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute Assistant Professor Departments of Medicine & Pediatrics University of Minnesota  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Trends in amphetamine use are mixed across data sources. We sought to identify trends in serious, problematic amphetamine use by analyzing a national sample of hospitalizations. Amphetamine-related hospitalizations increased over 270% between 2008 and 2015. By 2015, amphetamine-related hospitalizations were responsible for $2 billion in hospital costs. While opioid-related hospitalizations were more common, amphetamine-related hospitalizations increased to a much larger degree. After accounting for population growth, amphetamine hospitalizations grew 245% between 2008 and 2015, whereas opioid-related hospitalizations increased 46%. Amphetamine-related hospitalizations were more likely to be covered by Medicaid and be in the western United States compared with other hospitalizations. In-hospital mortality was 29% higher among amphetamine-related hospitalizations compared with other hospitalizations.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Genetic Research, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 17.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Nicole Karcher, PhD Post-doctoral scholar with the NIMH Training in Clinical Sciences fellowship Department of Psychiatry Washington University School of Medicine   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over fifteen years, researchers have debated the role that cannabis use plays in the development of both psychotic disorders as well as subthreshold psychotic symptoms, such as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). There is still a lack of consensus regarding the nature of the association between cannabis use and psychosis risk, with some research finding evidence for genetic overlap, while other research finds evidence for potentially causal pathways. The current study examined data from twins and siblings from two different samples, the U.S.-based Human Connectome Project and the Australian Twin Registry, with a total of 4,674 participants. Overall, psychotic-like experiences were associated with three separate cannabis use variables [frequent (≥100 times) use, a Cannabis Use Disorder diagnosis, and current cannabis use]. Furthermore, the current research found evidence for both shared genetic and individual-specific contributions to the association between PLEs and these three cannabis use variables. More specifically, while the association between cannabis use and psychotic-like experiences was largely attributable to shared genetic factors, cannabis users were more likely to endorse PLEs in comparison to the relative who used cannabis less.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Gastrointestinal Disease / 10.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tarek Alansari, MD Metropolitan HospitalTarek Alansari, MD Metropolitan Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cannabis is the most frequently consumed recreational drug in the world. The use of cannabis is becoming increasingly accepted by the general public in the United States. The estimates of the prevalence of cannabis use in the United States is about 9.5% in the adult population and the prevalence of dependence or abuse approaches 2.9%. Those under the age of 35 years are the most frequent consumers. According to Business Insider as of June 2018, recreational cannabis is legal in 9 states and medical cannabis is legal in 30 states. Recent surveys show that about 35 million Americans are frequent cannabis users. Aiming for symptomatic relief, some patients with different gastrointestinal disorders have turned to cannabis without fully understanding the effect of its use for their individual condition. Biliary tract disease, ethanol abuse, infections, autoimmunity, and genetics are well known causes of acute pancreatitis. However, medication-induced pancreatitis remains a less common etiology. In about 20% of cases of acute pancreatitis despite of the great improvement in genetic testing and imaging modalities, the workup still fails to reveal an etiology. These cases are labeled idiopathic. Cannabis use is emerging as a rare, possibly overlooked cause of acute pancreatitis with few cases reported in the literature. In the United States, only 5 cases of cannabis - induced acute pancreatitis (AP) have been reported till September 2017. The review of literature revealed that only 26 cases of cannabis-induced AP have been reported worldwide. (more…)