Financial Incentives to Physicians Did Not Increase Hospital Discharge Follow-Up Visits

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto 

Dr. Lapointe-Shaw

Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD
Physician at University Health Network
Department of Medicine
University of Toronto 

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

Response: Readmissions after hospital discharge are common and costly. We would like to reduce these as much as possible. Early physician follow-up post hospital discharge is one possible strategy to reduce readmissions. To this end, incentives to outpatient physicians for early follow-up have been introduced in the U.S. and Canada. We studied the effect of such an incentive, introduced to Ontario, Canada, in 2006.

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Inactivity Plus Frailty Predict Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Olga Theou, MSc PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dr. Theou

Olga Theou, MSc PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Affiliated Scientist, Geriatric Medicine, Nova Scotia Health Authority
Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Medicine, University of Adelaide
Halifax, Nova Scotia 

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

Response: We already know that moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, such as time accumulated during exercise, is associated with numerous health benefits. More recent studies also have shown that sedentary time, such as time accumulated during prolonged sitting at work, transportation, and leisure, can also increase the risk of adverse outcomes. What was not known was whether prolonged sitting affects people across different levels of frailty similarly. This is what we examined in our study.

We found that there were differences. Low frailty levels (people who are extremely healthy; frailty index score < 0.1) seemed to eliminate the increased risk of mortality associated with prolonged sitting, even among people who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines. Among people with higher frailty levels, sedentary time was associated with mortality but only among those who did not meet recommended physical activity guidelines

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Increase in HPV+ Oropharyngeal Cancers Suggests Both Sexes Should Be Vaccinated

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Steven Habbous MSc, PhD candidate Ontario Cancer Institute Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

Steven Habbous

Steven Habbous MSc, PhD candidate
Ontario Cancer Institute
Scarborough, Ontario, Canada

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

Response: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a strong risk factor for oropharyngeal cancers (a subset of head and neck cancers). Because HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers generally respond well to treatment and may be prevented through HPV vaccination, it is critical to be able to accurately estimate the incidence and prevalence of this disease. Only recently, however, has testing for HPV become routine at most cancer centres across Canada.  As a result, attempts to estimate the growth of HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer over time may be inaccurate.

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Artificial Sweeteners May Be Bad For Your Waistline and Your Heart

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Azad

Dr. Azad

Meghan Azad PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Child Health and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba; Associate Investigator, Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) Study
Research Scientist, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; co-Lead, Population Health Pillar, Developmental Origins of Chronic Diseases in Children Network

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

Response: Consumption of artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, sucralose and stevia, is widespread and increasing.  Emerging data indicate that artificial, or non-nutritive, sweeteners may have negative effects on metabolism, gut bacteria and appetite, although the evidence is conflicting.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted a systematic review of 37 studies that collectively followed over 400,000 people for an average of 10 years.

Only 7 of these studies were randomized clinical trials (the gold standard in clinical research), involving 1003 people followed for 6 months on average. The trials did not show a consistent effect of artificial sweeteners on weight loss, and the longer observational studies showed a link between consumption of artificial sweeteners and relatively higher risks of weight gain and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

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Perinatal and Maternal Adverse Events After Attempted Operative Vaginal Delivery at MidPelvic Station

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Giulia Muraca, MPH, PhD(c) Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar School of Population and Public Health Child & Family Research Institute Faculty of Medicine University of British Columbia

Dr. Muraca

Giulia Muraca, MPH, PhD(c)
Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar
School of Population and Public Health
Child & Family Research Institute
Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia 

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

Response: The rate of cesarean delivery has increased dramatically over the last 30 years. And in an effort to curb the rising trend in caesarean delivery, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine have recently advocated for increased use of operative vaginal delivery (forceps/vacuum delivery) as a strategy to reduce the cesarean delivery rate. The evaluation of approaches to achieve this end are underway and the current discourse surrounding operative vaginal delivery centers on methods to promote these important skills. But, the truth is, we don’t yet fully understand the balance of risks and benefits to mothers and their babies following operative vaginal delivery compared with caesarean delivery.

The preferred choice given these two options relies heavily on how far the baby’s head has descended in the birth canal. If the baby’s head has descended far enough that it is visible and on the perineum, then the use of an instrument has clear advantage. However, when the fetal head is engaged in the maternal pelvis, but has not descended so far down the birth canal, the decision between these modes of delivery becomes much less clear. These deliveries are called midpelvic deliveries. And it’s an increase in these midpelvic deliveries that would have the most potential as a strategy to reduce the cesarean delivery rate, and as a result, it is these deliveries that we were interested in studying.

Operative vaginal deliveries are carried out in approximately 14% of all term births in Canada and those that occur when the baby is at midpelvic station account for over 20% of all operative vaginal deliveries. This translates to about 2-3% of all term, singleton deliveries in Canada or about 10,000 deliveries per year overall.

The literature on perinatal and maternal outcomes contrasting midpelvic operative vaginal delivery and caesarean delivery is based on studies undertaken 25 to 30 years ago that are no longer reflective of the current obstetric practice.  This was the impetus for our study. We reasoned that before we decide to encourage increased OVD we should first get a sense of the safety of such procedures compared to cesarean delivery as provided by contemporary maternity care providers.

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Pregnant Women Exposed To Cold Temperatures May Have Lower Risk of Gestational Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gillian Booth PhD Researcher at St. Michael's and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)

Dr.Gillian Booth

Dr. Gillian Booth PhD
Researcher at St. Michael’s and the
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)

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

Response: The impact of climate change on health is becoming increasingly relevant given the rise in global air temperature, and there is growing evidence supporting a link between air temperature, metabolic function, and energy expenditure. We know from animal models and small studies in humans that cold exposure and activate a type of fat known as brown fat and it appears that this process can improve sensitivity to insulin. However no studies have yet looked at air temperature and the development of diabetes. So we decided to examine the relationship between outdoor air temperature and gestational diabetes – a temporary form of diabetes that arises in the second trimester of pregnancy.

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Fetal Reduction in Multifetal Pregnancies Results in Fewer Preterm Births and Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral Fellow Reproductive Epidemiology Unit Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Razaz

Neda Razaz, PhD, MPH
Postdoctoral Fellow
Reproductive Epidemiology Unit
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Multiple births of twins and triplets – and the associated health risks – have increased in many high-income countries, with a respective two-fold and three-fold increase in recent decades.

In Canada, triplet births or higher have increased from 52.2 per 100 000 live births to 83.5 between 1991 and 2009, mainly because of an increase in fertility treatments for older women of child-bearing age. In this study we found that among twin and triplet pregnancies that were reduced to singleton or twin pregnancies, there was a substantial reduction in complications such as preterm birth and very preterm birth. Although rates of death and serious illness were not lower among all multifetal pregnancies that were reduced, pregnancies that resulted from fertility treatments did show a significant reduction in rates of death or serious illness following fetal reduction.

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Some Antibiotics Linked To Increased Risk of Miscarriage

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM) and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy Research Center CHU Ste-Justine

Dr. Anick Bérard

Anick Bérard PhD FISPE
Research chair FRQS on Medications and Pregnancy
Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center, CHU Ste-Justine

MedicalResearch.com: The Danish study you cite reported a connection between antibiotics and miscarriage – why was further research of this topic necessary?

Response: Given that a single study will assess an association, repetition of findings are essential in order to assess causality. For example, we were able to conclude that smoking was causing lung cancer after 10 years of observational research on the topic showing concordant associations.

In addition, antibiotic prescription patterns vary from country to country, hence the importance of studying the research question in various patient populations.

Finally, our cohort has validated exposure status, gestational age (first day of pregnancy) and miscarriage cases – our study was also able to look at types of antibiotics.

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Failed Fertility Therapy Linked To Increased Risk of Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jacob A. Udell MD MPH FRCPC Cardiovascular Division Women's College Hospital Toronto General Hospital University of Toronto

Dr. Jacob Udell

Jacob A. Udell MD MPH FRCPC
Cardiovascular Division
Women’s College Hospital
Toronto General Hospital
University of Toronto 

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

Response: We’ve noticed for a long time that fertility drug treatment can cause short-term complications such as high blood pressure or diabetes in pregnancy. We recently started wondering whether there may be long term consequences for these women years after a baby was or was not born.  To do this, we looked at all women who were treated with fertility therapy in Ontario for the last 20 years, from what we could determine this amounted to more than 28,000 women. We then followed up years later to examine every woman’s cardiovascular health.

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Lifestyle Modifications May Improve Health and Prognosis in Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ellen Warner, MD, FRCPC, FACP, M.Sc.
Affiliate scientist
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, ON

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

Response: As a medical oncologist who has treated breast cancer patients for over 30 years, I have found that most of the women in my practice are desperately looking for things they can do beyond standard surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, etc. to increase their chance of cure.  Unfortunately, many fall prey to false claims they read over the Internet or hear from well-meaning friends and relatives.  As a result they turn to absurdly restrictive diets (eg. No meat, dairy or sugar) or to ‘supplements’ with unproven effectiveness or even safety. So I thought it would be helpful to review the literature to determine what evidence-based lifestyle changes these women could make that would at least improve their overall health and, ideally, reduce their risk of dying of recurrent breast cancer.  For this review I thought it would be great to team up with Julia Hamer, a pre-med student with a degree in nutrition who just happens to also be an Olympic level athlete!
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Association Between Statin Use and Ischemic Stroke or Hemorrhage in Patients Taking Dabigatran for A Fib

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Tony-Antoniou.jpg

Dr. Tony Antoniou

Dr. Tony Antoniou, PhD Research Scholar
Department of Family and Community Medicine and a Scientist
Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital
Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

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

Response: Dabigatran etexilate is an anticoagulant that is commonly used for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation. Absorption of dabigatran etexilate is opposed by intestinal P-glycoprotein, an efflux transporter. Once absorbed, dabigatran etexilate is converted to its active form by carboxylesterase enzymes. Unlike other statins, simvastatin and lovastatin can inhibit P-glycoprotein and carboxylesterase. This may result in increased absorption of dabigatran etexilate, thereby increasing the risk of bleeding. Conversely, inhibition of carboxylesterase may decrease the effectiveness of dabigatran etexilate.

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Benefits and Harms of Duloxetine For Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Emma Maund, MSc PhD
Nordic Cochrane Centre

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

Response: Duloxetine has been approved in Europe for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in women. It is not approved for this indication in the US and Canada. Currently, reasons why marketing authorization applications are withdrawn or denied are not published by either the Canadian or the US drug agency. However, the FDA has said that a higher-than-expected rate of suicide attempts – 2.6 timer higher – was observed in the open-label extensions of controlled trials of duloxetine for stress urinary incontinence. Given the FDA’s statement about the rate of suicide attempts, we wanted to determine whether duloxetine increased the risk of suicidality, violence or their possible precursors (drug induced akathisia, an extreme type of restlessness; activation, which consists of stimulating effects such as insomnia, anxiety and agitation; emotional disturbance, such as depersonalization and derealization; or psychotic events, such as delusions and hallucinations) in the randomized phases of the trials.

We therefore assessed the benefits and harms of duloxetine in stress urinary incontinence using clinical study reports, including individual patient data, of the 4 main trials submitted by Eli Lilly to the European Medicines Agency.
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Immunity to the Acellular Whooping Cough Vaccine Wanes With Time

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Kevin Schwartz, MD MSc
Infection Prevention and Control Physician
Infection Prevention and Control
Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario

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

Response: There has been a resurgence of pertussis, or ‘whooping cough’, in several countries and regions since the introduction of the new “acellular” pertussis vaccine in the 1990s to replace the older “whole cell” vaccine. In Ontario, we have not seen large increases but observed a small outbreak in 2012 that affected both unvaccinated people, as well as in those who have been vaccinated against pertussis. Our objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of the current acellular vaccine used in Ontario. We wanted to find out whether immunity wanes with time in the same way as had been previously observed during a large outbreak in California. We also wanted to study the impact of receiving the older ‘whole cell’ vaccine, which we used in Ontario until 1997.

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Younger Breast Cancer Patients With Radiation and Node Dissection More Likely To Have Post-Op Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jason Busse PhD Department of Anesthesia Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics McMaster University Hamilton, ON

Dr. Jason Busse

Jason Busse PhD
Department of Anesthesia
Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON

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

Response: Persistent pain after breast cancer surgery affects up to 60% of patients. Early identification of those at higher risk could help inform optimal management. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies to explore factors associated with persistent pain among women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. We found that development of persistent pain after breast cancer surgery was associated with younger age, radiotherapy, axillary lymph node dissection, greater acute postoperative pain and preoperative pain. Axillary lymph node dissection increases the absolute risk of persistent pain by 21%, and provides the only high yield target for a modifiable risk factor to prevent the development of persistent pain after breast cancer surgery.

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Study Evaluates Electroacupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Vincent Chung Assistant Professor, Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care Associate Director (Education), Hong Kong Institute of Integrative Medicine Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Dr. Vincent Chung

Dr Vincent Chung
Assistant Professor, Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care
Associate Director (Education), Hong Kong Institute of Integrative Medicine
Registered Chinese Medicine Practitioner
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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

Response: Primary carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common forms of peripheral entrapment neuropathy. It is a major cause of disability on the upper extremity incurring considerable limitation on daily activities among patients. Currently, there is no consensus on appropriate treatment for patients with chronic (≥6 months) mild to moderate symptoms [Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation. 2014;95(12):2253-63].

Electroacupuncture is a common technique for managing pain and neuropathy in Chinese medicine. Current CTS treatment guidelines from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) made no specific recommendations for or against electroacupuncture.

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Canadian Children Less Overweight Than Decade Ago

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Atul Sharma MD, MSc(Statistics), FRCPC Researcher, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba; Senior Consultant, Biostatistics Group, George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation

Dr. Atul Sharma

Atul Sharma MD, MSc(Statistics), FRCPC
Researcher, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba; Senior Consultant, Biostatistics Group, George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation

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

Dr. Sharma: Between 1978 and 2004, a previous comparison of directly measured heights and weights demonstrated an alarming increase in the prevalence of overweight or obesity in Canadian children aged 2-17y, from 23.3% (95% CI = 20.5-26.0) to 34.7% (33.0-36.4) based on the new 2007 WHO criteria.

In Canada, the definitions of overweight and obesity changed with the introduction of the new ‘2010 WHO Growth Charts for Canada’, Previous definitions were based on Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles from the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth chart’s. In addition to revising the percentile thresholds for diagnosing overweight or obesity, the WHO charts were based on a very different reference population. As a result, the proportion of Canadian children being classified as overweight or obese increased with the introduction of the new WHO charts.

Our current study applied current Canadian definitions of overweight and obesity to a contemporary sample of Canadian children age 3-19y to assess recent trends in the rates of overweight and obesity. By pooling data from the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS, cycle 2.2) and the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS, cycles 2 and 3), we were able to study a representative sample of more than 14000 Canadian children from the period 2004-2013.  The sample was evenly split between boys and girls and approximately 80% white.

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Many Cancer Patients Feel Stigmatized by Label of Palliative Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Camilla Zimmermann, MD, PhD, FRCPC Head, Division of Palliative Care, University Health Network Research Director, Lederman Palliative Care Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Toronto, Canada

Dr. Camilla Zimmermann

Camilla Zimmermann, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Head, Division of Palliative Care, University Health Network
Research Director, Lederman Palliative Care Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto
Rose Family Chair in Supportive Care, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Toronto, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Zimmermann: Early palliative care is increasingly recommended by national and international health agencies, and is in keeping with the definition of palliative care as being relevant throughout the course of life-threatening illness. We conducted a randomized controlled trial of early palliative care (referral and follow-up in a specialized outpatient palliative care clinic), versus routine oncology care, in 461 ambulatory patients with advanced cancer. The results showed that early palliative care improved quality of life and satisfaction with care. The current study was a follow-up study, where we conducted qualitative interviews with 71 patients and caregivers from the intervention and control arms of the larger trial. We asked them about their attitudes and perceptions of palliative care and whether these changed during the trial.

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Benzodiazepine Users More Likely to Suffer From Opioid Addiction Relapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Zainab Samaan, MBChB, MSc, DMMD, PhD, MRCPsych Associate Professor Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences Member Population Genomics Program Member Peter Boris Centre for Addiction Research Associate Faculty Dept of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics McMaster University Hamilton, ON, Canada

Dr. Samaan

Dr. Zainab Samaan, MBChB, MSc, DMMD, PhD, MRCPsych
Associate Professor
Dept of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences
Member Population Genomics Program
Member Peter Boris Centre for Addiction Research
Associate Faculty Dept of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON, Canada

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Opioid addiction has become a leading public health concern in North America with Canada leading the way in the amount of opioid use per capita. Opioid addiction has moved from heroin use by young men to prescription pain killers such as oxycodone and fentanyl with devastating impact on individuals and society including increasing number of deaths due to opioid overdose. In addition many people on treatment will also relapse (go back using drugs). We wanted to understand the problem of opioid addiction by investigating the factors that increase the risk of relapse in people with opioid addiction receiving methadone treatment.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: People who injected drugs and used benzodiazepines (BDZ) are more likely to relapse faster than people who did not use injection or benzodiazepines.

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Among Indian Immigrants to Canada, Female Fetuses Aborted More Commonly than Male

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Marcelo L. Urquia PhD, MSc, Mg Public Health, BA Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St. Michael’s Hospital Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Dr. Marcelo Urquia

Marcelo L. Urquia PhD
PhD, MSc, Mg Public Health, BA
Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto 

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

Dr. Urquia: In most populations the sex ratio at birth, that is, ratio of male newborns to female newborns, is about 103 to 107 males per 100 females. This is well established and does not substantially vary according to whether a woman had one or two previous children of the same sex, as each pregnancy is an independent event. However, it is known that several parts of Asia characterize for having son-biased sex ratios at birth. As countries from Asia, such as India and China are the top contributors of births to immigrant women in Canada, we wanted to verify whether son-biased sex ratios were present in Canada. Since induced abortion following prenatal sex determination using ultrasonography has been hypothesized to be a major mechanism that may explain the distorted sex ratios observed in Asia, we also studied the connection between the probability of having boys after induced abortions.

In our first study entitled “Sex ratios after induced abortion” published in CMAJ (http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.151074), which used Ontario health care records, we found that sex ratios among Canadian-born women in Ontario were within the expected, irrespective of birth order. The sex ratio among immigrant women from India with two prior girls was 196 males per 100 females for the third live birth. Among Indian immigrant women with two prior daughters the sex ratio increased to 326 males per 100 females if they have had induced abortions preceding the third birth, to 409 males per 100 females if they have had more than one induced abortion since the last newborn child, and to 663 males per 100 females if they have had at least one preceding abortion after 14 weeks of gestation (when the sex of the fetus can be accurately estimated by ultrasonography). These findings suggest that among Indian immigrants to Ontario induced abortions of female fetuses are much more common than induced abortions of male fetuses, which helps explain the deficit in the expected number of female newborns.

In our companion paper entitled “Variations in male-female infant ratios among births toCanadian- and Indian-born mothers, 1990-2011: a population-based register study” and published in CMAJ Open (insert URL), we used national birth certificate data and verified that the patterns observed in Ontario are very likely to apply to all Canadian provinces. Moreover, son-biased sex ratios at birth among Indian immigrants have existed in Canada since the early 1990’s. The deficit in the expected number of girls to Indian immigrants over the last two decades in Canada is in between 3211 to 5921.

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Fentanyl Patch Prescribing Still Not Safe in 50% of Prescriptions

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Shawn Bugden B.Sc. (Pharm), M.Sc., Pharm.D. Associate Professor College of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences University of Manitoba Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3E 0T5

Dr. Bugden

Shawn Bugden B.Sc. (Pharm), M.Sc., Pharm.D.
Associate Professor
College of Pharmacy, Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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

Dr. Bugden: Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine.  While there has been a great deal of attention to fentanyl deaths associated with substance abuse, our study focused on the safety of fentanyl use in standard medical practice.   Fentanyl is most commonly prescribed as a transdermal (skin) patch that delivers the medication over 3 days. The product monograph and numerous safety warnings (FDA, Health Canada…) make it clear that fentanyl patches should not be used unless the patient has had considerable previous opioid exposure (more than 60mg morphine per day for more than 1 week).  Failure to heed these warnings may result in opioid overdose, respiratory depression and death.

This study examined over 11 000 first prescriptions for fentanyl patches over a 12-year period to determine if patients had received adequate exposure to opioids.  Overall 74.1% of first prescriptions were filled by patients who had not received adequate prior opioid exposure. An improvement was seen over the study period but even at the end of the study, 50% of prescriptions would be classed as unsafe.  More than a quarter (26.3%) of fentanyl prescriptions were given to patients who were completely opioid naïve and had no exposure to opioids of any kind in the previous 60 days.  Older adults, who may be more sensitive to the effects of fentanyl overdose, were more likely to receive unsafe prescriptions than younger adults.

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Insufficient Evidence N95 Respirators Protect Health Care Workers From Respiratory Infections Better Than Face Masks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Gary Garber MD
Chief of infection prevention and control
Public Health Ontario
Professor of medicine
University of Ottawa 

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

Dr. Garber: There are conflicting recommendations regarding the use of respirators vs face masks to protect healthcare workers against acute respiratory infections. Our systematic review and meta-analysis show that although N95 respirators have improved efficiency in reducing filter penetration under laboratory conditions, there is insufficient data to show a protective advantage compared to surgical mask in clinical settings.

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Alcohol Impaired Driving Crimes Rise Right After Legal Drinking Age Reached

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Russ Callaghan, PhD Associate Professor Northern Medical Program University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, British Columbia

Dr. Russ Callaghan

Dr. Russ Callaghan, PhD
Associate Professor
Northern Medical Program
University of Northern British Columbia
Prince George, British Columbia 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Callaghan: In Canada, the minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) is 18 years in Alberta, Manitoba and Québec, and 19 in the rest of the country. Given that public-health organizations not only have recommended increasing the MLDA to 19 years, but also have identified 21 years as ideal, the current study tested whether drivers slightly older than the MLDA had significant and abrupt increases in alcohol-impaired driving (AID) crimes, compared with their counterparts just younger than the MLDA. Data on the effectiveness of Canadian drinking-age laws is lacking, and the current study provides important information for the current national and international MLDA debates.

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Adults With Concussion Have Increased Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Donald Redelmeier MD, MSHSR, FRCPC, FACP Senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Donald Redelmeier

Dr. Donald Redelmeier MD, MSHSR, FRCPC, FACP
Senior core scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)
Physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, Ontario

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Redelmeier: Head injury can lead to suicide in military veterans and professional athletes; however, whether a mild concussion acquired in community settings is also a risk factor for suicide is unknown.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Redelmeier: We studies 235,110 patients diagnosed with a concussion and found that  667 subsequently died from suicide. The median delay was about 6 years. This risk was about 32 per 100,000 patients annually, which is 3x the population norm and especially high if the concussion occurred on a weekend (from recreation) rather than a weekday (from employment).
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Survival from Cardiac Arrest Worse on Higher Floors of Buildings

More on Heart Disease on MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ian R Drennan ACP PhD(c)
Institute of Medical Science,
University of Toronto
Rescu, St. Michael’s Hospital

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Drennan : Over the last number of years there has been an increase in the number of people living in high-rise buildings in many major urban centres. Research has shown that there are increased 911-response times for medical calls that occur in high-rise buildings. After a patient collapses in cardiac arrest, the chance of survival decreases by about 7-10% per minute without intervention. However, the impact living in high-rise buildings has on cardiac arrest care and survival remains unknown. 

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Dr. Drennan : In this study in Toronto and neighbouring Peel Region we found that there was a significant decrease in survival between cardiac arrests that occurred in private residences on or above 3 floors compared to those that occurred below 3 floors (4.2% vs. 2.6%). Only 0.9% of cardiac arrests that occurred above the 16th floor survived and there were no survivors above the 25th floor. We also found that there was nearly a 2 minute delay in 911-response from when an emergency vehicle arrived on scene to when the 911-first responders arrived at the patient’s side when they were required to respond to the higher floors.
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Algorithm Can Help Predict Deaths Related to Prescription Opioids

Tara Gomes MHSc

Tara Gomes

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Surveillance of the harms associated with chronic opioid use is imperative for clinicians and policy-makers to rapidly identify emerging issues related to this class of medications.  However, data regarding opioid-related deaths is difficult to obtain in Canada as it is collected by local coroners and is not widely available to researchers.  We conducted a validation study to evaluate whether regularly collected vital statistics data collected by Statistics Canada can be used to accurately identify opioid-related deaths in Canada.

We compared deaths identified from charts abstracted from the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario to those identified using several coding algorithms in the Statistics Canada Vital Statistics database.  We found that the optimal algorithm had a sensitivity of 75% and a positive predictive value of 90%. When using this algorithm, the death data obtained from the Vital Statistics database slightly underestimated the number of opioid-related deaths in Ontario, however the trends over time were similar to the data obtained from the coroner’s office.

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Psychedelic Medicine Explored for Addiction and Mental Health Issues

Dr. Evan Wood MD, PhD, ABIM, FRCPC, ABAM Diplomat Professor of Medicine, UBC Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine Co-Director, Urban Health Research Initiative Medical Director for Addiction Services, Vancouver Coastal Health Physician Program Director for Addiction, Providence Health CareMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Evan Wood MD, PhD, ABIM, FRCPC, ABAM Diplomat Professor of Medicine, UBC
Canada Research Chair in Inner City Medicine
Co-Director, Urban Health Research Initiative
Medical Director for Addiction Services, Vancouver Coastal Health
Physician Program Director for Addiction
Providence Health Care 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Wood: Drugs with the potential to produce altered states of consciousness were once the focus of intensive study in the 1950s and 1960s. While promising, this field of research has been dormant for decades but is now re-emerging as an area of intensive investigation and showing real potential as a new therapeutic paradigm in addiction medicine and mental health. While in its infancy, this is expected to be an area of much study in the coming years.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Wood: Psychedelic medicine is in its infancy and not ready for implementation in clinical practice. Clinicians and the community of individuals suffering from addiction and other concerns will hopefully support this area of research so that critical information on impacts and safety can be gathered.

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Pediatric Meningococcal Vaccine Immunity May Wane By Adolescence

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Fiona McQuaid

Clinical Research Fellow
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Meningococcal B disease is a common cause of sepsis and meningitis
with significant mortality and morbidity. A multicomponent vaccine
against serogroup B meningococcus has been licensed for use in the
Europe, Australia, Canada and recently the USA (though only in the
10-25 years age group) but questions remain about how long the
bactericidal antibodies induced by infant vaccination persist and the
likely breath of strain coverage. This was a follow on study looking
at a group of children aged 5 years who had been vaccinated as infants
and a different group who were vaccinated for the first time at 5
years of age.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The percentage of children with protective antibody levels who had
been immunized as infants fell in the 20 months since their last
immunization but this varied by the strain of meingococcus B tested
and by the different infant/toddler vaccination schedules.

The children who were vaccinated for the first time at 5 years of age
showed a good antibody response, but most reported pain and redness
around the site of vaccination and 4-10% had a fever.

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Cognitive Function Test Useful In Cultural and Language Diverse Populations

Optimized-dr-raza-naqviMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Raza M. Naqvi, MD, FRCPC
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Western University
Victoria Hospital London, ON

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Naqvi: The rates of dementia are rising worldwide. Currently we have over 35 million individuals with dementia in the world and this number will triple to over 100 million by 2050 according to the WHO. Many of these cases are in countries where English is not the first language and thus it is important to ensure that the diagnostic and assessment tools we use are valid in the populations being assessed.

The Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale (RUDAS) was developed in Australia in 2004 specifically to address the challenges of detecting cognitive impairment in culturally and linguistically diverse populations. This assessment tool is a brief questionnaire that clinicians can use as part of their initial assessment in those with memory loss or cognitive decline. It is freely available online (Search ‘RUDAS’) and takes less than 10 minutes for a clinician to complete with the individual being assessed.

Our study was a systematic review and meta-analysis of the RUDAS which aimed to clarify the diagnostic properties of the test and see how it compares to other similar tests that are available.

Through our detailed search of the literature we found 11 studies including over 1200 patients that assessed the RUDAS. The studies showed a combined sensitivity of 77.2% and specificity of 85.9%. This means that a positive test increases one’s likelihood of having dementia more than 5-fold and a negative test decreases their likelihood by 4-fold.

Across the various studies, the Rowland Universal Dementia Assessment Scale performed similarly to the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), the most commonly used cognitive assessment tool worldwide. The RUDAS appeared to be less influenced by language and education than the MMSE. Continue reading

Leg Cramps Peak in Summer, Dip in Winter

Scott R. Garrison MD PhD Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine Director, Pragmatic Trials Collaborative Faculty of Medicine University of Alberta EdmontonMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Scott R. Garrison MD PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine
Director, Pragmatic Trials Collaborative
Faculty of Medicine University of Alberta Edmonton

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

Dr. Garrison: Nocturnal leg cramps (also called rest cramps) are painful muscle tightenings, most often in the legs or feet, that are brought on by rest and often wake the sufferer from sleep. They are very common in older adults and can also occur during pregnancy. Having read anecdotal mention that the rest cramps of pregnancy appeared to be worse in summer we sought cohort level evidence to determine whether the more common presentation of age-related rest cramps was also seasonal. To do this we primarily looked at new quinine starts in the province of British Columbia over a period of several years. British Columbia has a publicly funded health care system and maintains electronic records on all health services, including prescription drugs, provided to its roughly 4.2 million residents. Quinine is approved for the treatment of acute malaria in Canada but is instead almost exclusively used off-label to prevent rest cramps. As such, new quinine starts are an excellent marker for new or escalating cramp burden. We also looked at Internet searches, geographically limited to the USA, for the term “leg cramps” (reflecting public interest) obtained from the Google Trends Search Volume Index Tool. Seasonality for both of these indicators of cramp burden was assessed by determining how well a least squares minimizing sinusoidal model predicted variability.

We found that quinine starts and “leg cramp” related Internet queries were both strikingly sinusoidal with a 365-day periodicity (mid-summer high, mid-winter low) and a peak-to-peak variability that is approximately 2/3 of the mean. Seasonality accounted for 88% of the observed monthly variability (p < 0.0001) in quinine starts, and 70% of the observed variability (p < 0.0001) in “leg cramp” related internet searches. Continue reading

Both Ibuprofen and Morphine Work For Childhood Fracture Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Naveen Poonai MSc MD FAAP FRCPC
Paediatric Emergency Physician
Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Center
Assistant Professor Paediatrics and Internal Medicine
Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry
London, Ontario,

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Poonai: We found that in children discharged home with a fracture, both ibuprofen and oral morphine were effective at relieving pain. However, there were no significant differences in efficacy between the two agents and oral morphine was associated with more side effects.

MedicalResearch.com: What was most surprising about the results?

Dr. Poonai: The most surprising findings for us were that over 70% of children experienced pain significant enough to require analgesia once they were discharged home.  Furthermore, we were surprised to find that the anecdotally more potent agent morphine, was equivalent to ibuprofen for post-fracture pain relief in children.

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HPV Vaccine Not Linked To Increased Risky Sexual Behavior

Leah M. Smith PhD Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health (Smith, Kaufman, Strumpf) McGill University, Montréal, QuebecMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Leah M. Smith PhD
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health  (Smith, Kaufman, Strumpf)
McGill University, Montréal, Quebec

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Smith: The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine protects against types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and anogenital warts. The vaccine first became available in 2006. Since then, it has faced a great deal of controversy surrounding, in part, some of the unanswered questions about the real-world effects of the vaccine, especially on the young girls targeted for immunization. One issue that has received a great deal of public attention has been the concern that HPV vaccination might give girls a false sense of protection against all sexually transmitted infections that might lead them to be more sexually active than they would otherwise. As a result, some parents have been reluctant to have their daughters vaccinated. It is also reason why some religious groups have spoken out against the vaccine. This question is further important from a public health perspective because increases in risky sexual behaviour would inevitably also lead to increases in teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (excluding anogenital warts), which would of course undermine the potential health benefits of the vaccine. 

In this study, we directly addressed the question of whether HPV vaccination has led to increases in pregnancy and non-HPV-related sexually transmitted infections (both of which are proxies for risky sexual behaviour) among adolescent girls.

In our study of over 260,000 girls, we did not find any evidence that the HPV vaccine had a negative impact on these outcomes.

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Minimally Invasive Surgery May Not Be Best For Disc Removal

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Nat
Nathan Evaniew MD Division of Orthopaedics McMaster Universityhan Evaniew MD
Division of Orthopaedics
McMaster University

 


Medical Research: What is the background for this study?


Dr. Evaniew: Symptomatic cervical and lumbar spinal disc diseases affect at least 5% of the population and they cause a great deal of pain, disability, social burden, and economic impact. For carefully selected patients that fail to improve with nonsurgical management, conventional open discectomy surgery often provides good or excellent results.

Minimally invasive techniques for discectomy surgery were introduced as alternatives that are potentially less destructive, but they require specialized equipment and expertise, and they may involve increased risks for technical complications.

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Electronic Registries May Improve Diabetes Detection and Management

Dr. Tim A. Holt PhD MRCP FRCGP NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer University of Oxford Department of Primary Care Health Sciences Radcliffe Observatory Quarter Woodstock Road OxfordMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Tim A. Holt PhD MRCP FRCGP
NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer
University of Oxford
Department of Primary Care Health Sciences
Radcliffe Observatory Quarter
Woodstock Road Oxford

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Holt: Undiagnosed diabetes is a serious and very costly problem. Early diagnosis is important to reduce risk of long term complications. A structured approach to management at the practice level involves electronic diabetes registers, enabling audit of care, automated recall, and screen reminders. Such registers depend on the presence of an electronic code for diabetes in the record.  Continue reading

How Good Is Stroke Care in Canada?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Michael Douglas Hill, MD, MSc
The Calgary Stroke Program, Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
Associate Professor, University of Calgary
Calgary, Alta

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Hill:  We conducted an audit of stroke admissions to Canadian hospitals in all provinces.  We examined key metrics of quality stroke care focusing on the acute treatment.

Use of thrombolysis for stroke is a key quality metric in the Accreditation Canada standards for stroke care.  We found that the use of thrombolysis, while better than the past review (CMAJ. 2005 May 10;172(10):1307-12) remains low.  This is a marker for the overall quality of acute stroke care in Canada.  As expected, larger academic hospitals perform at a higher level than smaller community hospitals.

Overall, this study serves to quantify the gaps in the delivery of acute stroke care to Canadians.

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Vitamin D Levels Lower In Children Who Drink Non-Cow’s Milk

Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC Pediatrician and Scientist  Department of Pediatrics Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute St. Michael’s Hospital University of TorontoMedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Jonathon Maguire MD MSc FRCPC
Pediatrician and Scientist  Department of Pediatrics
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael’s Hospital University of Toronto

 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Maguire: One of the main health benefits of cow’s milk is vitamin D.  We were interested to know if non-cow’s milk supports children’s vitamin D blood levels as well as cow’s milk.
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Olive Oil and Mediterranean Diet May Improve Metabolic Syndrome

Jordi Salas-Salvadó Professor of Nutrition Human Nutrition Unit Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology IISPV School of Medicine. Rovira i Virgili University CIBERobn, Instituto Carlos IIIMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jordi Salas-Salvadó Professor of Nutrition
Human Nutrition Unit Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology
IISPV School of Medicine.
Rovira i Virgili University CIBERobn, Instituto Carlos III

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Response: In this large, multicenter, randomized clinical trial conducted in Mediterranean individuals at high cardiovascular risk, Mediterranean-diet supplemented with extra-virgin olive oil was associated to a lower increase in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared to the advice on a control low-fat diet. However, no beneficial effect of Mediterranean-diet on the incidence of metabolic syndrome among participants free of this condition at baseline was observed. Therefore, the lower increase in prevalence was especially due to the reversion of metabolic syndrome in those individuals with metabolic syndrome at baseline.
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Metformin May Alter Thyroid Hormone in Diabetics

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jean-Pascal Fournier, MD, PhD

Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital,
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada and

Laurent Azoulay, PhD
Centre for Clinical Epidemiology,
Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal,
Department of Oncology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Response: Patients with type II diabetes and treated hypothyroidism showed a 55% increased risk for low levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) (below 0.4 mIU/L) when initiating metformin, compared with those initiating sulfonylurea (hazard ratio [HR] 1.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09–2.20). In contrast, this effect of metformin was not observed in euthyroid patients, with an adjusted HR for low TSH of 0.97(95% CI 0.69–1.36).

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Does Melatonin Prevent Delirium In Elderly Surgery Patients?

Annemarieke de Jonghe Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam Departement of Internal Medicine Section of Geriatric Medicine F4-218 Amsterdam, The NetherlandsMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Annemarieke de Jonghe
Academic Medical Center
University of Amsterdam
Departement of Internal Medicine
Section of Geriatric Medicine F4-218
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. de Jonghe: We investigated the preventive properties of melatonin versus placebo in a prospective cohort of elderly hip fracture patients (n=378). We found that 3mg melatonin vs placebo, given for 5 days from the day of admission, did not influence the incidence of delirium. However, in a posthoc analysis we found that more patients in the placebo group more often had a longer lasting delirium.

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Quality Program Improved Outcomes in Neonatal ICUs

Dr Prakesh S Shah MSc, MBBS, MD, DCH, MRCP, FRCPC Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and HPME Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto CIHR Applied Research Chair in Reproductive and Child Health Services and Policy Research Director, Canadian Neonatal Network Toronto Ontario Canada M5G 1X5MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Prakesh S Shah MSc, MBBS, MD, DCH, MRCP, FRCPC
Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and HPME
Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto
CIHR Applied Research Chair in Reproductive and Child Health Services and Policy Research
Director, Canadian Neonatal Network
Toronto Ontario Canada M5G 1X5

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Shah: The main findings of our study are that by embracing collaborative quality improvement program in 25 of 28 Neonatal ICUs in the country, we were able to show significant reduction in adverse outcomes of necrotizing enterocolitis, severe retinopathy of prematurity and nosocomial infections among preterm neonates born at less than 29 weeks of gestation. This resulted in significant overall reduction of composite outcome of mortality or severe morbidities and improved overall outcomes over 3 years of study period.
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No Close Link Between Cancer and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Tetyana Kendzerska MD, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center, Toronto, ONMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Tetyana Kendzerska
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science
Women’s College Research Institute
Women’s College Hospital
Department of Medicine
University of Toronto

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kendzerska: In a large cohort with varying degrees of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), severity of obstructive sleep apnea was not found to be independently associated with either prevalent or incident cancer, except in one subgroup analysis in smoking-related cancer.
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Obesity, Lack of Exercise Linked to COPD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Gundula Behrens
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine
University of Regensburg
Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11
93053 Regensburg, Germany

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr Behrens: We studied the relations of obesity and physical activity to the incidence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) among more than 100,000 middle-aged to elderly men and women living in the U.S. People with a large waist circumference (43.5 inches (110 cm) or over in women and 46.5 inches (118 cm) or over in men) had a 72% increased risk of COPD as compared to people with a normal waist circumference. In contrast, individuals who were physically active five times or more per week had a 29% decreased risk of COPD as compared to their physically inactive counter-parts.
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Surprising Number of Patients Do Not Take Their Prescribed Statin Medication

Dr. Heli Halava: Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology, Turku, FinlandMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Heli Halava:
Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology,
Turku, Finland

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Halava: The associations between lifestyle factors and nonadherence to statin therapy varied by cardiovascular comorbidity status. Of the participants without cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 6458), 3171 (49.1%) were nonadherent with their statin therapy. Of the participants with cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 2827), 1155 (40.9%) were nonadherent.

People with cardiovascular comorbidities who had risky drinking behaviours or a cluster of lifestyle risks were at increased risk of nonadherence.
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Pregnancy and Risk of Serious Car Crash

Professor, Full SGS Member Director, Clinical Epidemiology Unit Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre G106-2075 Bayview Avenue Toronto, ON
Dr. Donald Redelmeier, MD

Professor, Full SGS Member
Director, Clinical Epidemiology Unit
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto, ON


MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Redelmeier: We identified every woman in Ontario, Canada, who gave birth to a newborn baby between 2006 and 2011 and then evaluated each driver for the months before, during, and after pregnancy.  This amounted to about half a million women who accounted for almost 8000 serious crashes that sent the driver to hospital.  We found that the second trimester of pregnancy led to a 42% increase in the risk of a serious motor vehicle crash.  The increased risk included diverse populations, distinct obstetrical cases, different crash characteristics. The risk equated to about twice the population norm but was still below male drivers at this age.
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Labor Induction Reduced Caesarean Section Risk

Professor Khalid Khan MMEd, MRCOG, MSc, FCPS, MBBS Women's Health Research Unit | Multi-disciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub The Blizard Institute | 58 Turner Street | London | E1 2ABMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Professor Khalid Khan

MMEd, MRCOG, MSc, FCPS, MBBS
Women’s Health Research Unit | Multi-disciplinary Evidence Synthesis Hub
The Blizard Institute | 58 Turner Street | London | E1 2AB

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Prof. Khan: The risk of cesarean section was 12% lower among women undergoing induction of labor in comparison to the one that were managed expectantly. The subgroup comparison showed that the effect was significant in term and post-term however not in preterm gestations. Furthermore, induction of labor was associated with 50% and 14% reduction in risk of fetal death and admission to a neonatal intensive care unit, respectively.

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Prostate Cancer: Cost Savings from Active Surveillance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Alice Dragomir, MSc, PhD
Assistant Professor,
Urology/Surgery, McGill University
Scientist, RI-MUHC

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Authors’ response: Our study demonstrates that for eligible patients, active surveillance could offer not only the known clinical advantages from the patient’s perspective, but also economic benefits from the health care system’s perspective. At the national level, the cost savings of an annual cohort of incident prostate cancers managed with active surveillance over a first year and 5 years of follow-up could be substantial. These are estimated at $96 million.
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Homeless Men: Association with High Rate of Prior Brain Injury

Jane Topolovec-Vranic, PhD Clinical Researcher, Trauma and Neurosurgery Program Associate Scientist, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto Associate Member, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toronto MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jane Topolovec-Vranic, PhD
Clinical Researcher, Trauma and Neurosurgery Program
Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto
Associate Member, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toronto

MedicalResearch.com What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In our study we found that almost half of the men interviewed in a homeless shelter in Toronto had experienced a traumatic brain injury in their past, and that most of them had experienced their first brain injury prior to becoming homeless, usually in the early teenage years.
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Bone Mineral Density: What is Impact of Change in Physician Reimbursement?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Susan Jaglal, PhD
Senior Scientist
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute

University of Toronto,
Toronto, Ontario

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Jaglal: Bone Mineral Density (BMD) tests are used to both diagnose osteoporosis and assess and individual’s risk of fracture. While the tests play an important role in bone health, they are sometimes ordered inappropriately. For example, while women age 40-44 are typically not at risk of fragility fracture or in need of Bone Mineral Density testing, these individuals received almost half the Bone Mineral Density tests performed in Ontario in 2007/2008.

Policy changes have been made in recent years in an effort to curb unnecessary testing of low risk individuals in both the United States and Canada. Policy efforts in Ontario included a 2008 fee schedule change that limited repeated testing among low-risk patients and included a new fee code for a “baseline” tests. Patients were limited to 1 baseline test in their lifetime.

The goal of the present study was to determine the impact of this fee schedule change on Bone Mineral Density testing rates. The study was based on an analysis of provincial administrative data including physician billings, hospital discharges, and emergency department visits.

Results demonstrated that while fee schedule changes were associated with a decrease in BMD testing rates, the decreases affected both low and high-risk patients. Most decreases were seen in testing rates of low-risk women. However, the associated decrease in testing among high-risk patients (e.g., those over 65 or with a recent fracture) is concerning, as high-risk patients benefit from screening and monitoring of Bone Mineral Density.

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After Stroke: Pharmacist Led Case Management Improved Blood Pressure Control

Finlay A McAlister MD Division of General Internal Medicine Patient Health Outcomes Research and Clinical Effectiveness Unit Epidemiology Coordinating and Research (EPICORE) Centre McGill University, Montréal, QuebecMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Finlay A McAlister MD
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. McAlister: We tested 2 systems of case management on top of usual care (note that at baseline more than 3/4 of our study patients were already taking medications to lower blood pressure (BP) and/or cholesterol but none were at guideline-recommended targets).

The first (our “control” group) was a nurse seeing patients monthly x 6 months, measuring their blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, counseling them about risk factor reduction strategies (including lifestyle and medication adherence), and faxing results of BP/cholesterol to their primary care physicians with advice to patients who had blood pressure or cholesterol above guideline-recommended targets to see their primary care physician.

The second (our “intervention” group) was a pharmacist seeing patients monthly x 6 months, measuring their blood pressure and LDL cholesterol, counseling them about risk factor reduction strategies (including lifestyle and medication adherence), and faxing results of BP/cholesterol to their primary care physicians.  However, if patients had blood pressure or cholesterol above guideline-recommended targets instead of just recommending that the patient see their primary care physician the pharmacist provided them with a prescription for medication (or up-titration of their current medications) to address the uncontrolled risk factor.

Both groups improved substantially over usual care, but the intervention group improved even more (13% absolute improvement in control of BP/cholesterol levels compared to the nurse-led control arm) .

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Heart Attack: Feminine Traits May Delay Cardiac Treatment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Roxanne Pelletier, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Division of Clinical Epidemiology  McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) 687 Pine Avenue West, V Building, Room V2.17 Montreal, QcRoxanne Pelletier, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Division of Clinical Epidemiology
McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
687 Pine Avenue West, V Building, Room V2.17
Montreal, Qc

MedicalResearch.com: What made you want to study this disparity between men and women and heart attacks? 

Dr. Pelletier:  Despite enhanced medical treatment and decrease in the incidence of heart diseases, important sex disparities persist in the risk of mortality following a cardiac event: the risk of mortality is higher in women compared to men, and this sex difference is even more important in younger adults. Therefore, we aimed to investigate potential mechanisms underlying this sex difference in mortality.
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Excessive Substance Use: Training Family Physicians to Deliver Brief Intervention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Dagmar Haller, MD, PhD
Médecin adjointe agrégée
Unité Santé Jeunes
Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève Suisse

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Haller: One year after a consultation with a family doctor there was a 28% reduction in the proportion of excessive substance users among those who had reported excessive use at the start of the study but there was no significant difference between the group that received counseling and the one that did not.
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