Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Infections, JAMA, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurological Disorders / 19.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marianna Cortese, MD, PhD Senior Research ScientistDepartment of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBoston, MA 02115   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In a study published in Science in 2022, we reported compelling evidence that infection with the Epstein-Barr virus is the leading cause of Multiple Sclerosis. This is a follow-up study to investigate more in depth whether the antibody response to EBV is distinct in individuals with MS compared to individuals without MS and whether there is a part of EBV that the immune response is particularly targeting. For this purpose we assessed the immune response to all protein parts (peptides) of EBV and their association with MS. Previous studies could only look at parts of EBV and this is the first study looking at all EBV peptides. Antibodies to EBV (especially to a protein called EBNA1) are known to be overall higher in individuals with MS, so we also tested whether immune response overall or the immune response to specific EBV protein parts was more important. If the immune response to a specific EBV protein part (peptide) would be standing out or distinguishing individuals with MS, we hypothesized, it could point to a specific mechanism of how EBV may cause MS, i.e. it could point for example towards “molecular mimicry”, which is when antibodies targeting a pathogen start targeting a body-own structure (for example in the brain) which resembles the protein parts of the pathogen. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, JAMA / 19.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Montminy MD Interventional Endoscopist Cook County Health and Hospitals System Chicago, Illinois   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was performed in the backdrop of recent colorectal cancer screening guideline updates.  Two national organizations are recommending screening initiation at two different ages: USPSTF recommends initiation at age 45 and the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends initiation at age 50. With now two national organizations recommending different ages to start screening, patients may become confused (particularly those between 45-50).  Prior confusion has been documented when breast cancer screening recommendations were being changed as well.  Our focus was to examine colorectal adenocarcinoma incidence rates with stage stratification of those who are between the ACP and USPSTF recommendations (ages 46-49). Our study utilized SEER17 data registries over 2000-2020 to collect incidence rates within the U.S.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Infections, PNAS / 14.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Fangqun Yu PhD Senior Research Faculty Atmospheric Sciences Research Center University Albany, State University of New York https://www.albany.edu/~yfq   Dr. Arshad Arjunan Nair PhD Postdoctoral Associate Atmospheric Sciences Research Center University at Albany, State University of New York https://www.albany.edu/~an688965   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Fangqun Yu: Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia with a fatality rate of 10-25% caused by inhaling or aspirating Legionella, bacteria that thrive in built environment water systems. Those most vulnerable to this disease are male, over 50 years of age, have a history of smoking, have chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, are immunocompromised, and/or minorities. The US observed a nearly nine-fold increase in Legionnaires’ disease between 2000 and 2018, with New York State having one of the highest increases in disease rates. The reasons for the increase in incidence were unclear prior to this study. In our study, we found: (1) Declining sulfur dioxide concentrations (SO2) are strongly correlated with the increase in legionellosis cases and a physical mechanism explaining this link is proposed, (2) A geostatistical epidemiological analysis links the disease with exposure to cooling towers, and (3) Climate and weather are ruled out as factors responsible for the long-term increase in case numbers (outside of seasonal trends). (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, NYU / 14.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mukundan G. Attur, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Medicine NYU Grossman School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  The study investigates the potential protective effects of a genetic variant of IL1RN against inflammation and severe outcomes, particularly in COVID-19. Previous research indicates that carriers of this genetic variant may experience less severe radiographic knee osteoarthritis and decreased inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Given the emergence of cytokine release syndrome in COVID-19 patients, the researchers sought to understand whether the same genetic variant could offer protection against inflammation and potential death in COVID-19 cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Sleep Disorders / 12.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Soomi Lee, PhD Associate Professor | Department of Human Development and Family Studies | Center for Healthy Aging Director of STEALTH Lab: https://sites.psu.edu/stealth/ The Pennsylvania State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  Sleep quantity and quality decline with advancing age; a risk of chronic conditions also increases with age. While previous studies report that poor sleep is a significant risk for chronic conditions, many have focused solely on a single dimension of sleep, such as duration, thereby limiting the ability to assess multiple co-occurring dimensions and their associations with chronic conditions. This study aimed to evaluate multiple dimensions of sleep health, including regularity, satisfaction, alertness, efficiency, and duration. By analyzing data from a national sample of adults (n=3,683) collected over two time points spanning a decade, the study identified four distinct sleep health phenotypes: good sleepers, insomnia sleepers, weekend catch-up sleepers, and nappers. (more…)
Author Interviews / 09.03.2024

Precision in healthcare isn't just important; it's an absolute non-negotiable. Consider how anxiety-inducing a world where health information wasn't treated with absolute care, accuracy, and precision would be. Transcription, the process of converting spoken words into written text, is indispensable to the medical world. Medical scribes transcribe by recording important details of physician-patient encounters, while clinical researchers must convert their findings into analysable written text to ensure their validity and create opportunities for further learning and understanding of their results. So, let's explore six main ways transcription supports the precision and integrity of healthcare.

Enhancing Accuracy and Precision

medical-scribes-dictationSkilled medical scribing entails meticulous transcription of patient encounters, procedures, or treatment plans from spoken word into written text, capturing every detail and nuance. Transcription is a pivotal tool for ensuring that the physician follows the proper procedure and that medical records, reports, and documentation have perfect levels of accuracy. Medical scribing is a skilled profession that requires solid knowledge of the worker's chosen healthcare field. Any misinterpretation of patient information has the potential to lead to ill-informed future decisions regarding a patient's health. Healthcare organisations must also adhere to strict guidelines regarding the documentation of patient care, billing processes, and confidentiality protocols. Skilled medical scribes with specialised knowledge and expertise in their industry can protect organisations from costly lawsuits and ensure that patients are treated with the correct level of integrity. In today's world, time is money. Successful medical scribes improve efficiency and take the burden off physicians having to personally record data, enabling them to see more patients and listen more attentively, ultimately contributing to reaching the healthcare company's overall productivity and financial aims. One study found that medical scribes cut costs by $31.15 per hour, with no risk added risk to patient safety. (more…)
ADHD, Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Mental Health Research / 08.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: DrJoy Wan M.D., M.S.C.E. Assistant Professor of Dermatology Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been a growing body of literature linking atopic dermatitis with diagnoses such as ADHD and learning disabilities, but studies focusing on symptoms of cognitive impairment (in contrast to relying on reported diagnoses as proxy measures of such) have been fewer and demonstrate inconsistent findings. Thus, we were interested in using data from this nationally representative sample of U.S. children to examine whether atopic dermatitis was associated with symptoms of learning or memory difficulties. Moreover, we wanted to examine how this relationship is influenced by known neurodevelopmental conditions to further characterize whether specific subgroups of children with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to cognitive impairments. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Microbiome / 07.03.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Ashray Gunjur MBBS (Hons), B. Med Sci, MPHTM FRACP Clinical Research Training Fellow Melbourne, Australia   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As background, the last ~5 years have seen a surge of interest in the relationship between gut microbiota and cancer response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). We know that though a fraction of many different cancer types will respond to these therapies, it is currently very hard to predict who that will be- so ‘microbiome’ based biomarkers to select patients, or even strategies to change a patient’s microbiome to enhance their chance of responding, are very attractive. A key challenge, however, has been a lack of consistency in the microbes associated with response or non-response across different studies from different regions. While geographic, methodological, and technical variation likely contribute to this, most studies examined the gut microbiome at a genus- or species- taxonomic rank level, while we know there is significant intra-species (strain-level) diversity. As such, one of our key research questions was whether we could improve the reproducibility of microbial ‘signatures’ of response across cohorts using higher resolution approaches- with our hypothesis being that strain-resolution signatures would outperform species- or lower resolution signatures. We obtained our signature by analysing baseline faecal samples from the CA209-538 clinical trial, a wonderful investigator-initiated study sponsored by the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute (Melbourne, Australia). I was fortunate enough to work on this trial as a clinical investigator while training to be a medical oncologist. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Imperial College, NEJM / 29.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Adam Hampshire Ph.D. Faculty of Medicine, Department of Brain Sciences Professor in Restorative Neurosciences Imperial College London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cognitive symptoms after coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), the disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), are well-recognized. Whether objectively measurable cognitive deficits exist and how long they persist are unclear. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease / 27.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rosangela Akemi Hoshi, Ph.D. Lemann Foundation Cardiovascular Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Center for Lipid Metabolomics Divisions of Preventive and Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe the IgG N-glycan profile? Response: Glycans are sugar coatings of proteins, made of monosaccharide building blocks, that are involved in a variety of biological pathways.  Different sugar structures can dictate or modify the protein’s activity through specific interactions with cellular receptors. For example, proteins lacking glycans have a reduced level or a complete loss of function. Glycans are of such importance that the 2022 Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded for glycan-based science. In this study, we examined glycans attached to Immunoglobulins G (IgG) and their link with incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to their impact on IgG inflammatory properties. Since inflammation is not only a cause, but also an aggravating factor and a mediator of a worse prognosis in cardiometabolic disorders and CVD, we investigated whether different glycan structures may characterize an at-risk phenotype for CVD development. Determining glycan profiles involved in multiple conditions can serve prognostic and diagnostic purposes. Yet, unlike other types of macromolecules, glycans are still not as much explored, characterizing a promising but underappreciated class that should be further investigated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nature, Technology, University of Pittsburgh / 26.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jishnu Das, Ph.D. Center for Systems Immunology Departments of Immunology and Computational & Systems Biology, Assistant Professor School of Medicine University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? How does this new AI model work?  How is it different from other models? Response: Modern multi-omic technologies generate an enormous amount of data across scales of organization, and with differing resolution. While recent machine learning methods have harnessed these to predict clinical/physiological outcomes, they are often black boxes that do not provide meaningful inference beyond prediction. Differences in data generation modalities, redundancy in the data, as well as large numbers of irrelevant features make inference of biological mechanisms from high-dimensional omic datasets challenging. To address these challenges, we developed a machine learning technique called SLIDE (Significant Latent Factor Interaction Discovery and Exploration). We reasoned that features that are directly measured by current technologies are constrained by strengths and weaknesses of current platforms. So, while some observed features may be excellent correlates of outcomes of interest, inferring biological mechanisms from these multi-omic datasets requires us to delve beyond the observable into the hidden states, i.e., latent factors. These hidden states encapsulate the true drivers of underlying biological processes and capture a complex multi-scale interplay between entities measured by these datasets. Our method moves beyond simple biomarkers/correlates (“the what”) to hidden states that actually explain clinical/physiological outcomes (“the how” and “the why”). (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA / 22.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin N. Breyer, MD, MAS Department of Urology Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of California, San Francisco Adrian M. Fernandez, MD Department of Urology University of California, San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This is a cross-sectional study utilizing data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) to identify injuries and hospitalizations related to electric bicycles accidents in the United States from 2017-2022.  The NEISS database collates injury data associated with products, including electric bicycles, and samples a nationally representative selection of emergency departments. National estimates of e-bicycle injuries and hospitalizations were derived using estimates accounting for NEISS complex survey design. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Dermatology / 19.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frank Wang MD William B. Taylor Endowed Professor of Clinical Dermatology Associate Professor, Dermatology Associate Chair for Education Assistant Program Director, Dermatology Residency Program University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How is the cross-linked hyaluronic acid obtained? Where was it injected? Response: As the skin undergoes photoaging due to chronic exposure to ultraviolet light, it loses dermal collagen, which in turn leads to wrinkling, lines, and loss of support. The loss of collagen is, in large part, due to reduced function of the skin’s collagen-producing cells, dermal fibroblasts. We wanted to investigate whether it was possible to reverse the decreased function of fibroblasts in photodamaged skin, by introducing a space-filling material into the dermis, injected CL-HA dermal filler. The CL-HA filler we used was donated to us for research purposes. We performed injections of CL-HA into the mid-dermis (as is normally done when injected into the face) of severely photoaged forearm skin of human participants over the age of 60. We then examined skin samples at various time points, including 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks and 3, 6, 9, and 12 months post-injection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Orthopedics, Weight Research / 14.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Matthew Magruder, MD PGY3 Orthopaedic Residency Program Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Rehabilitation Maimonides Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of obesity and diabetes mellitus has reached epidemic proportions. Approximately 37.3 million people in the United States, accounting for 11.3% of the total population, have diabetes, and 100.1 million, or 41.9%, of all US citizens are obese. Furthermore, these numbers are only projected to increase in the coming decades. This is an issue for orthopaedic surgeons because diabetes and obesity have consistently been demonstrated to be risk factors for complications following total joint replacements, especially total hip replacements. Therefore, we are in desperate need of new and more effective tools in mitigating the risk of poor outcomes in our joint replacement patients. Semaglutide, and other GLP-1 agonists, are potentially a new tool that can be used to help decrease the risks following joint replacement surgery. Initially a medication to treat diabetes, semaglutide has recently been approved by the FDA to treat obesity as well, as randomized controlled trials have consistently demonstrated significant weight loss with minimal side effects. The purpose of our study was to see what effect the use of semaglutide had on total hip arthroplasty patient outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory / 14.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Frederic Meunier PhD Professor and Academic Senior Group/Unit Leader/Supervisor Queensland Brain Institute and Isaac O Akefe DVM, PhD Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research Queensland Brain Institute The University of Queensland St Lucia Academy for Medical Education, Medical School Brisbane QLD Australia     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The brain is the body’s fattiest organ, with fatty compounds called lipids making up 60% of its weight. Fatty acids are the building blocks of a class of lipids called phospholipids. In our study, we first showed that levels of saturated fatty acids increase in the brain during neuronal communication and long-term memory formation, but we didn’t know what was causing these changes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Inflammation, Kidney Disease, Nature, Rheumatology / 08.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: A/Prof. Joshua Ooi, PhD Head, Regulatory T-cell Therapies Translational Research Facility Clinical Sciences at Monash Health, Monash University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2017, we published a landmark Nature paper showing that people who are protected from autoimmune disease have specialized molecules on immune cells. These specific molecules are missing in patients that develop autoimmune disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension / 06.02.2024

People need to be able to control their blood pressure if they want to live a healthy life. In this guide, we will supply you with practical information and easy tips to maintain your blood pressure. As a matter of fact, you don’t need to be a medical professional, we will simplify it for you. Whether you are already embarking on your blood pressure quest or searching for a better way of achieving it, this guide is your partner. So, let's get started!

What is Blood Pressure? 

Basically, blood pressure is the force that your blood applies throughout your arteries. It guarantees that the blood and oxygen go to tissues and organs of the body without any issues. To control it efficiently, the preliminary step is in its understanding. Not to worry – you do not need to be a medical genius to understand this concept. After you become familiar with this, we shall look into how to manage the same in healthy ways.

The Impact of Your Lifestyle 

blood-pressure-Photo by CDC from UnsplashIt is your lifestyle that determines your blood pressure levels. Your nutritional intake and the level of activity have a significant part as well.  First, monitor what you eat. Try to have your daily intake equally distributed among fruits, vegetables, whole grain and lean proteins. Cutting back on salty food can also do great magic.  In terms of physical activity, even minor adjustments can yield significant results. Moreover, a consistent practice of physical activity, such as brisk walking or swimming, may lower your blood pressure over a period of time. Remember, you don’t have to run a marathon – being dedicated is what you should focus on doing. With these modifications, you are  moving proactively towards normalized blood pressure levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research / 04.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Takemi Tanaka, Ph. D. Professor, Stephenson Cancer Center Department of Pathology, School of Medicine University of Oklahoma Health Science Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our previous cohort study has shown that breast cancer progresses 60 days after diagnostic biopsy in early-stage ER+ breast cancer. Others have also reported increased breast cancer mortality due to surgery delay. These observations raised the question of how slow-growing ER+ breast cancer progresses so quickly in just 60 days following diagnosis, prompting us to hypothesize whether needle biopsy of breast tumors accelerates pro-metastatic changes. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Opiods / 03.02.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joshua D. Madera, MD Department of Medical Education Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Scranton PA What is the background for this study? Response: The US population continues to be drastically impacted by the opioid epidemic, with opioid-related deaths significantly increased compared to European countries. While prescription opioid distribution has gradually declined since its peak in 2011 [1], the rate of opioid prescriptions remains increased compared to 2000. Furthermore, there is considerable interstate variability in opioid distribution across the US. Identifying patterns in this variability may guide public health efforts to reduce opioid-related harms. Therefore, the primary objective of this study [2] from Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine was to explore variations in production quotas and state-level distribution of ten prescription opioids between 2010 and 2019. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research / 31.01.2024

The market for personal genetic-testing kits is experiencing significant growth, enabling individuals to explore their ancestry and health vulnerabilities for a few hundred dollars. Genetic testing, or DNA test, is a medical examination designed to detect mutations in genes, chromosomes, or proteins. These mutations serve as indicators for the presence or absence of genetic conditions. Moreover, DNA tests can reveal your susceptibility to particular health conditions or the likelihood of passing on a genetic disorder. Before you go to DNA testing in Gainesville, GA, know everything in detail. (more…)
Author Interviews, Respiratory, Social Issues, University of Michigan / 31.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wilson N. Merrell
Ph.D. Student
Department of Psychology
University of MichiganWilson N. Merrell Ph.D. Student Department of Psychology University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: From the common cold to COVID-19, people get sick all the time. Because our social worlds don’t pause just because we are feeling ill, we often still need to navigate in-person events ranging from work and school to first dates and family dinners even while we’re feeling under the weather. In these kinds of social situations, do we always tell others when we’re feeling sick, or are there times when we may want to downplay our illness? After all, we tend to react negatively to, find less attractive, and steer clear of people who are sick with infectious illness. To the extent that we want to avoid these negative social outcomes while sick, it therefore makes sense that we may take steps to cover up our sickness in social situations. Given that this concealment could serve individual social goals (like allowing you to connect with others) at the cost of broader harms to public health (through the spread of infectious disease), we found this behavior both theoretically novel and practically timely. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Genetic Research, Hearing Loss, Lancet, Pediatrics / 29.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Zheng-Yi Chen, D.Phil. Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surger Harvard Medical School Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Would you briefly explain the process and indication Response: This clinical trial is to use gene therapy to treat a type of genetic hearing loss. Genetic hearing loss mainly affects children. One in 600 newborns can have genetic hearing loss. There is no drug treatment for any type of hearing loss except for cochlear implants, which have limitations. This study focuses on a type of genetic hearing loss, DFNB9, due to a missing gene called Otoferlin. Without Otoferlin,  children are born with complete hearing loss and without the capacity to speak. The goal of the trial is to study if gene therapy is safe and efficacious in treating children so they can regain hearing and the ability to speak. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Pediatrics, USPSTF / 28.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Li Li, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H Walter M. Seward Professor Chair of Family Medicine Director of population health University of Virginia School of Medicine Editor-in-chief of The BMJ Family Medicine Dr. Li joined the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in January 2021   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Speech and language delays and disorders can be challenging for children and their families and can lead to difficulties with reading and writing as children grow up. The Task Force looked at the evidence on screening for speech and language delays and, unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to tell us whether or not it is helpful to screen all children 5 years old and younger for speech and language delays and disorders. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Aging, Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA / 19.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Patricia Di Ciano, PhD Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology University of Toronto Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute Collaborative Program in Neuroscience MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is now fairly well established that cannabis has a detrimental effect on driving. The most consistently reported effect of cannabis on driving is to increase ‘weaving’ on the road. We know that cannabis use is on the rise in people over 65 years of age. In fact, over the past few years cannabis use is increasing the most in this age group. Despite this, there are few studies of the effects of cannabis on people over 65; most studies have been conducted on younger adults. We know that there are important age-related changes in the way the body works that may alter the impact of cannabis on the body. Also, older adults may have more experience with cannabis and this can change the effects of cannabis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM / 18.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Sapp MD FRCPC FHRSHeart Rhythm, Division of Cardiology QEII Health Sciences Centre Dalhousie University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cardiac resynchronization is a robust therapy for heart failure in patients with ventricular dysfunction, left bundle branch block and left bundle branch block. It has been shown to improve heart failure status, symptoms, survival and reduce new onset ventricular arrhythmias for appropriate candidates. The RAFT study (NEJM 2010) enrolled patients with functional class II and III heart failure, wide QRS duration on ECG and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction, and demonstrated a reduction in heart failure hospitalization and mortality during a mean follow-up of 44 months. The long-term outcomes are not known. (more…)
Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, Kidney Disease, NEJM / 15.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: VisterraMohit Mathur MD, FASN, FNKF, FRCP (Glasgow) Clinical fellow in Nephrology at UofT DM (Nephrology), MRCP.UK (SCE in Nephrology). Director, Clinical Development Visterra Waltham, MA 02451 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly describe the condition of IgA Nephropathy? Response: IgA Nephropathy is the commonest primary glomerular disease in the world. It is an autoimmune kidney disease that typically presents with urinary abnormalities, elevated blood pressure and reduced kidney function. Until recently IgAN was considered to be a benign disease, but recent studies have indicated that a majority of patients will progress to End stage kidney disease in their lifetime. Steroids have been the mainstay of treatment in IgAN, but they come at a very high burden of side effects. Thus, there is an urgent requirement to develop novel and safe treatment options for patients with IgAN. APRIL is considered to be a key cytokine implicated in the pathogenesis of IgAN, hence we decided to target APRIL as a therapeutic modality in IgAN. (more…)
Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, Pharmaceutical Companies / 14.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Davis Lauren C. Davis, MBS Department of Medical Education Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Scranton, PA 19409   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Financial conflicts of interest (COIs) resulting from ties between academia and industry have been under scrutiny for their potential to hinder the integrity of medical research. COIs can lead to implicit bias, compromise the research process, and erode public trust (1-6). The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), standardizes symptom criteria and codifies psychiatric disorders. This manual contributes to the approval of new drugs, extensions of patent exclusivity, and can influence payers and mental health professionals seeking third-party reimbursements. Given the implications of the DSM on public health, it is paramount that it is free of industry influence. Previous research has shown a high prevalence of industry ties among panel and task force members of the DSM-IV-TR and DSM-5, despite the implementation of a disclosure policy for the DSM-5 (7,8). This study (9) determined the extent and type of COIs received by panel and task-force members of the DSM-5-TR (2022) (10). As the DSM-5-TR did not disclose COI, we used the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Open Payments (OP) database (11) to quantify them. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Inflammation / 14.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samir Mitragotri Ph.D. Hiller Professor of Bioengineering Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering Area Chair, Bioengineering Core Faculty Member, Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering Harvard John A. Paulson School Of Engineering And Applied Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) has a heavy burden on the world, affecting ~70 million people globally each year. Despite its prevalence, there are no clinically approved treatments beyond symptom management. There is an urgent need to develop effective therapies to alleviate the damage caused by TBI.   MedicalResearch.com:  What do macrophages typically do?  As part of the innate immune system, macrophages migrate to areas of injury to eat pathogens or debris and manage inflammation in response to injury or infection. However, in the majority of cases of TBI, there is no actual infection from a foreign pathogen, leading to excessive inflammation that spreads damage beyond the initial impact. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Sugar / 12.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott Kaplan PhD Assistant Professor of Economics United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD 21402 Scott Kaplan PhD Assistant Professor of Economics United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD 21402   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sugar-sweetened beverages (colloquially known as SSBs), which include sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee drinks, are the leading source of added sugars in the American diet, according to the CDC. They are associated with serious negative health outcomes, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, kidney disease, non-alcoholic liver disease, gum disease, tooth decay, and other conditions. As a result, several cities across the US have implemented sugar-sweetened beverage excise (per ounce) taxes, generally ranging from 1-2 cents per ounce. Most existing studies evaluating the impact of SSB taxes on SSB volume purchased and prices focus on a single city; this study is among the first to provide a composite estimate of the impact of local SSB taxes on purchases and prices of SSBs using retail scanner data from five cities across the US that implemented SSB taxes between January 1, 2017 and January 1, 2018. The five taxed cities we examine are Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Boulder, and Seattle.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Medicare / 11.01.2024

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kalli Koukounas, MPH Ph.D. Student, Health Services Research Brown University School of Public Health Providence, RI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  On Jan. 1st, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented the End-Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices (ETC) Model, one of the largest randomized tests of pay-for-performance incentives ever conducted in the US. The goal of the model was to enhance the use of home dialysis and kidney transplant or waitlisting among kidney failure patients in traditional Medicare. The model randomly assigned approximately 30% of US dialysis facilities and nephrologists to receive financial incentives, ranging from bonuses of 4% to penalties of 5%, based on their patients’ use of home dialysis and kidney transplant/waitlisiting. The payment adjustments apply to all Medicare-based reimbursement for dialysis services. Prior research has demonstrated that dialysis facilities that disproportionately serve populations with high social risk have lower use of home dialysis and kidney transplant, raising concerns that these sites may fare poorly in the payment model. Using data released by CMS, we examined the first year of ETC model performance and financial penalties across dialysis facilities, stratified by the measured social risk of the facilities’ incident patients. (more…)