Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Frailty, Geriatrics, Infections / 12.10.2015

Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Inpatient Clinician Educator, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Inpatient Clinician Educator, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital Visiting Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Manian:  Falls are a leading cause of injury and death, afflicting about one-third of adults over 65 years of age annually.  Although there are many potential causes for falls, infections have received very little attention, with previous published reports primarily revolving around institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection. We found that the spectrum of patients at risk for falls precipitated by infections goes far beyond the institutionalized elderly with dementia and urinary tract infection.  In fact, the majority of our patients fell at home and did not have a diagnosis of dementia.  In addition, besides urinary tract infections which accounted for 44.1% of cases, bloodstream (40.0%) and lower respiratory tract infections (23.0%) were also frequently represented.  Although the mean age of our patients was 76 years, 18% were younger than 65 years.  We also found that the signs and symptoms of these infections at the time of the presentation for the fall were often non-specific (e.g. weakness or mental status changes) or absent, with only 44% of patients meeting the criteria for systemic inflammatory response syndrome and only 20% having fever or abnormal temperature possibly related in part to advanced age.  These factors may make it difficult for the patient, family members and healthcare providers to readily consider infections contributing to the fall.  In fact a coexisting systemic infection was not initially suspected by providing clinicians in 40% of our patients and 31% of those who were later diagnosed with a bloodstream infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, Nutrition / 07.09.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alberto Lana Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Public Health Area School of Medicine and Health Sciences University of Oviedo, Oviedo, Spain Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lana: Healthy diets are associated with lower risk of frailty among elderly, but we thought that knowing the role of particular foods is essential to establish prevention measures. Dairy products are substantial sources of proteins, vitamins, and minerals, especially for older adults. Thus, dairy products could theoretically reduce the incidence of frailty. But high milk consumption could also have deleterious effects because it adds saturated fatty acids to diet and could increases oxidative stress. So the advice regarding dairy consumption remains unclear. Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Dr. Lana: According to our results, clinicians should recommend replacing whole-fat products with low-fat ones. Generally, patients should be educated to perform always healthy dietetic choices. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Frailty, JAMA, Vitamin D / 23.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kirsti Uusi-Rasi, PhD, Adjunct Professor Senior Researcher UKK Institute for Health Promotion Research Tampere Finland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kirsti Uusi-Rasi: Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injuries and fractures in older adults, head injuries and fractures being the most severe consequences. Therefore, falls prevention is important when trying to prevent injuries. There is strong high-quality evidence from previous studies that exercise that includes strength and balance training can reduce the risk of falling in older adults. However, there are also studies that have reported no benefit in reducing the actual incidence of falls. Effects of vitamin D have also been studied widely, and vitamin D is known to be vital for bone metabolism and health. However, results regarding effects on falls and fractures are inconsistent. Furthermore, persons with low vitamin D levels (serum 25OHD) have been associated with lower physical performance and greater decline in physical functioning, but clinical trials exploring the role of vitamin D in reducing falls and fractures and in improving physical functioning are inconclusive. Because there is hardly any evidence about exercise and vitamin D together, we investigated the separate and combined effects of multimodal exercise training and vitamin D supplementation in reducing falls and injurious falls among older women at risk for falling. We assigned 409 participants randomly to one of four groups with: 1)vitamin D 800 IU/day and exercise 2) placebo and exercise 3) vitamin D 800 IU/day without exercise 4) placebo without exercise. Exercise consisted of strength, balance, mobility and agility group training. At the end of two years, exercise seemed to be more effective in reducing injurious falls in this age group, with or without vitamin D. Exercise also improved physical functioning (strength, balance and mobility). In general, the training program was well tolerated with no severe adverse effects or injuries. Vitamin D helped maintain femoral neck BMD and increased trabecular bone density at the tibia. Our study also suggests that the current vitamin D recommendation (800 IU/d for older people) is adequate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, Frailty, Surgical Research / 02.03.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Louis M. Revenig, MD and Kenneth Ogan MD, Department of Urology Emory University School of Medicine Atlanta, Georgia 30322 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Numerous groups from a variety of institutions have investigated different methods of quantifying frailty in surgical populations. All have shown that frailty not only can be measured, but more importantly, reliably identifies the patients who are at higher risk for poor postoperative outcomes compared to their peers.  One obstacle to more widespread use of frailty assessments is the extra burden it places on an already busy clinical setting. In our study we chose what we thought was the already simplest and most clinically applicable frailty assessment, the 5-component Fried Frailty Criteria, and prospectively enrolled a large cohort of surgical patients and followed their outcomes. We critically analyzed the data to assess which components of the frailty assessment were most important. Our results showed that of the 5 components (weight loss, grip strength, gait speed, exhaustion, and activity level), weight loss and grip strength alone carried the same prognostic information for post-operative outcomes as the full assessment. Additionally, when combined with two already routinely collected pre-operative variables (serum hemoglobin and ASA score) we created a novel, simple, and easy to use risk stratification system that is more amenable to a busy clinical setting. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Frailty / 17.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander Voukelatos BSc, BA, MA(psych), PhD Healthy Populations Program Manager Health Promotion Sydney Local Health District and Conjoint Lecturer School of Public Health and Community Medicine University of NSW Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response:Falls in older people has been a significant public health issue in high income countries for several decades now. We know that if current trends continue, given that more people will be living for longer, falls will be an even bigger issue in the not too distant. Falls are not an inevitable part of ageing, and in fact many falls can be prevented relatively simply by increasing physical activity. For over 15 years we've known that physical activity is one of the most effective ways of reducing the risk of falls in older people living in the community; since the publication of the first Cochrane review on Interventions for preventing falls in the elderly by Gillespie and colleagues. [1]  I know that Health Departments here, in Australia, and in New Zealand - as I suspect has been the case in many high income countries - have invested a lot of resources over the past few decades into reducing falls-related hospital admissions in older people. Much of this going into promoting and funding physical activity programs for older people. However, this investment has had very little if any impact on falls-related hospital admissions in older people. There may be several reasons we haven't seen any difference in these rates. In New South Wales - Australia's most populous state -  we know that physical activity rates amongst older people have actually risen by about 15% between 1998 and 2005,[2] the most popular activity by far being walking,[3] yet we haven't see any corresponding change in falls-related hospitalization rates. Perhaps there has not been enough time for these programs to have made an impact on hospitalization rates, or perhaps the change in physical activity levels is insufficient to make an impact on these rates. Another possibility could be that while we've seen an increase in physical activity in older people perhaps its not the kind of physical activity that results in a reduction in falls. Sherrington and colleagues [4] reviewed effective physical activity interventions for preventing falls in older people and found they had several elements in common: a) the physical activity included balance challenging exercise i.e. exercises taking participants to the limits of their stability, b) at least 50 hours of accumulated activity was needed, and c) no walking was included in the exercises. So we know not all types of physical activity will be equally effective in reducing the risk of falling. There is some disagreement in the literature about walking. There are several studies that included walking as part of the intervention and showed a reduction in falls in older people. Other studies supported the conclusions made by Sherrington that walking is not associated with a reduction in falls. All of these studies included walking as a component of an intervention which makes it difficult to figure out what effect walking specifically has on falls rates. This is were our study comes in. We wanted to investigate the effectiveness of a walking program on falls in older people, specifically sedentary older people, who we presumed would get the most benefit from becoming more physically active. We developed a walking program specifically for sedentary older people, that they could do themselves in their own time, at their preferred locale. The aim of the program was to get participants walking for at least 150 minutes per week at a brisk pace. The program comprised of four parts: the first part focused on increasing the frequency of walks, the second part focused on getting participants to walk for at least 150 minutes per week, followed by walking for 150 minutes at a brisk pace, while the final part focused on supporting participants in maintaining their walking levels and incorporating walking as part of their daily activities. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Frailty, Lancet / 25.09.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. MichaelD. Keall PhD Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Keall: We found that home injuries from falls could be reduced by 26% by making some simple modifications to people’s homes, consisting of handrails for steps and stairs, grab rails for bathrooms, outside lighting, edging for outside steps and slip-resistant surfacing for outside surfaces such as decks and porches. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, Frailty / 11.09.2014

Professor Mark L. Wahlqvist, M.D., Ph.D. Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan National Defense Medical Center, School of Public Health, Taiwan Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Melbourne, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Mark L. Wahlqvist, M.D., Ph.D. Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan National Defense Medical Center, School of Public Health, Taiwan Monash Asia Institute, Monash University Melbourne, Australia Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Prof. Wahlqvist: Poor appetite and dietary quality as judged by diversity separately (each by about 50%) and together (by about 80%) increase the mortality risk in older persons living in the community. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA / 22.08.2014

Dr. Bellal Joseph MD FACS Associate Professor of Surgery Medical Director, Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT) Program Program Director, International Research Fellowship Liaison, Multi-Specialty Surgery Clinic at UAMCMedicalResearch.com Interview with Dr. Bellal Joseph MD FACS Associate Professor of Surgery Medical Director, Southern Arizona Telemedicine and Telepresence (SATT) Program Program Director, International Research Fellowship Liaison, Multi-Specialty Surgery Clinic at UAMC Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Joseph: Chronologic age is frequently used as the determinant of outcomes when treating elderly and treatments are tailored accordingly. However, the findings of our study challenge this dogma and suggest that it’s not the chronologic age rather frailty status of the individual that determines outcomes. We found frailty Index (quantitative measure of frailty) as a better predictor of in-hospital complications and discharge disposition in elderly compared to the chronologic age. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Frailty, Geriatrics / 18.07.2014

Dr. Wenjun Li , PhD Health Statistics and Geography Lab Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.MedicalResearch.com: Interview with: Dr. Wenjun Li , PhD Health Statistics and Geography Lab Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester. Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Wenjun Li: Compared to those walking for recreational purposes only, older adults walking for utilitarian purposes had higher risk for outdoor falls and fall-related injuries that require medical attention. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA, Surgical Research / 10.05.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kwang-il Kim, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul, Republic of KoreaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kwang-il Kim, MD, PhD Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seoul, Republic of Korea MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: There are few tools of preoperative risk stratification for the older adults. We found that not only disease itself but also frailty can lead to post-operative complication and mortality. So we made a scoring model to predict post-operative mortality and morbidity based on comprehensive geriatric assessment and it worked exactly. MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected? Answer: Under our predictive model, there was inflection point of mortality slope at point 5. Post-operative mortality of someone who scores 4~5 is below 10%, but it of other who scores 6~7 is about 30%. It was unexpected drastic change, so we think that there is physiologic threshold point. MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report? Answer: Because the elderly are different from adults, clinicians have to focus on functional capacity, co-morbidity, and frailty for their older surgical patients. Make operative decision base on comprehensive geriatric assessment or our scoring model. If you depend on your own feeling, some older patients will suffer from post-operative complication and someone will forfeit his chance of surgery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Lancet, Vitamin D / 23.04.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Mark Bolland, PhD Bone and Joint Research Group, Department of Medicine University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Prof. Bolland: In a meta-analysis of 20 randomized clinical trials, there was no effect of vitamin D with or without calcium on falls.  In a trial sequential analysis of these trials, the effect estimate for vitamin D with or without calcium on falls lay within the futility boundary, providing reliable evidence that vitamin D supplementation does not alter the relative risk of falls by ≥15% and suggesting that future trials that are similar in design to current trials are unlikely to change that conclusion. (more…)
Addiction, Frailty, Geriatrics, JAMA, Pharmacology / 15.04.2014

Cara Tannenbaum, MD, MSc The Michel Saucier Endowed Chair in Geriatric Pharmacology, Health and Aging La Chaire pharmaceutique Michel-Saucier en santé et vieillissement Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy University of Montreal Centre de Recherche Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal Montreal, QC MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cara Tannenbaum, MD, MSc The Michel Saucier Endowed Chair in Geriatric Pharmacology, Health and Aging,Professor of Medicine and Pharmacy University of Montreal Centre de Recherche Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal Montreal, QC MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Tannenbaum: The EMPOWER study showed that providing older patients with information about the harms of sleeping pill use led to discontinuation or dose reduction in 1-in-every 4 patients with longstanding use of benzodiazepines. Receipt of evidence-based information about drug harms resulted in a 8-fold higher likelihood of benzodiazepine cessation. Many physicians think that patients become too dependent on sedative-hypnotics to successfully discontinue. Regardless of age, sex, and duration of use, 27% of patients aged 65-95 in this study successfully completed the recommended 20-week tapering protocol during a 6-month time period and another 11% were in the process of tapering. EMPOWERing patients with evidence-based information therefore results in appropriate risk reduction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty / 06.01.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arun Kumar Research Fellow ,School of Medicine Division of Primary Care University of Nottingham University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Answer: A simpler model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors) correctly classified as many observations (82%) as a more complex model (socio-demographic + falls risk factors + functional measures) with similar values for sensitivity and specificity in both models. There were significantly raised odds of FOF in the simpler model in those unable to rise from a chair of knee height (OR 7.39 (CI 2.48-22.07)), with a lower household income (4.58 (CI 1.23-17.07)), use of a walking aid (OR 4.32 (CI 2.29-8.17)), difficulty in using public transport (OR 4.02 (CI 1.77-9.11)), poorer perceived physical health (OR 2.85 (CI 1.35-6.04)), from a black/ minority ethnic group (OR 2.42 (CI 1.29-4.52)), with self-reported balance problems (OR 2.17 (CI 1.29-3.64)), with lower educational level (OR 2.01 (CI 1.20-3.37)), and a higher BMI (OR 1.06 (CI 1.02-1.09)). (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Frailty, Lancet / 09.07.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr David Strain, MRCP MD Clinical senior lecturer and honorary consultant University of Exeter Medical School Institute of Biomedical and Clinical Science Department of Diabetes and Vascular Research Royal Devon & Exeter Hospital Exeter EX2 5AX MedicalResearch.com: What is the Background of the study? In early 2010 recent diabetes outcome trials such as ACCORD and ADVANCE had put into question the benefit of aggressive HbA1c reduction for all patients particularly in elderly population. After that there were several guidelines that suggested individualizing treatment targets for elderly patients according to their age, co-morbidities, frailty and baseline HbA1c. This featured in the Finnish guidelines and the European Working Party for the management of Diabetes in the Older Person. However this was also completely without any evidence base. I worked with Paivi Paldanius (the final author of the paper and a medical advisor for Novartis) to establish a pragmatic study. We both acknowledged the importance of having a patient-centric, pragmatic and 'real-life' approach and as there was already evidence that DPP-4 inhibitors, in this case vildagliptin (due to Päivi's affiliation), had demonstrated it's efficacious and had no tolerability issues in the elderly population we decided to go ahead with the study. It was obvious that we needed to implement a holistic approach and take into account as many clinically relevant parameters as possible, such as age, baseline HbA1c, duration of the disease, co-morbidities and frailty, for implementation of the individualized care. Our primary goal was to request that the physicians acting as investigators would still apply their clinical judgment based on these clinical features of each individual patient but also, follow their local guidelines as in their daily clinical practice. This would later provide us with invaluable information and perspective when interpreting the data and recommending implementation of the results.  For assessment of frailty we screened for many different methodologies but Prof Timo Strandberg (known expert of the field and mentioned in the acknowledgements section of our paper) suggested to apply modified Linda Fried's method for assessment of phenotype of frailty as this method is validated, very pragmatic, reproducible and also feasible to be used for the first time also by a non-geriatric investigator. All investigators were trained to follow these parameters by the protocol. We also wished to evaluate in parallel the conventional HbA1c drop assessment in order to be able to put the potential success of our new endpoint, meeting the individualized target, into perspective and for comparison against other standard data from other studies with DPP-4 inhibitors with elderly. We also wished to simulate a clinical, real-world setting as much as possible and included patients who would seem representative of most elderly T2DM patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Surgical Research / 09.07.2013

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Kenneth Ogan MD Department of Urology Emory University School of Medicine 1365 Clifton Rd. NE, Building B, Suite 1400 Atlanta, Georgia 30322 MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study? Dr. Ogan: Surgical risk assessment is traditionally a very subjective process, and an evaluation that more accurately measures a patient’s physiologic reserve would greatly aid in surgical decision making. In this study we sought to further characterize frailty as an objective risk assessment tool in surgical patients. We prospectively measured the five component frailty criteria described by Fried et al.1 (weight loss, exhaustion, low activity, grip strength, and gait speed).  Patients deemed “intermediately frail” and “frail” had twice the likelihood of experiencing any complication in the 30-day post-operative period. (more…)