Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, General Medicine, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 02.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48340" align="alignleft" width="142"]Teryl K. Nuckols, MDVice Chair, Clinical ResearchDirector, Division of General Internal MedicineCedars-Sinai Medical Center  Dr. Nuckols[/caption] Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Healthcare policymakers have long worried that value-based payment programs unfairly penalize hospitals treating many African-American patients, which could worsen health outcomes for this group. For example, policy experts have suspected that the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program unevenly punishes institutions caring for more vulnerable populations, including racial minorities. They've also feared that hospitals might be incentivized to not give patients the care they need to avoid readmissions. The study Investigators wanted to determine whether death rates following discharges increased among African-American and white patients 65 years and older after the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program started.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, Science, Weight Research / 04.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47294" align="alignleft" width="200"]Vitor Engrácia Valenti Professor São Paulo State University Marília Dr. Valenti[/caption] Vitor Engrácia Valenti, PhD Professor São Paulo State University Marília MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Autonomic modulation and cardiorespiratory variables are influenced by numerous factors. Abdominal fat tissue is a relevant variables related to metabolic and cardiovascular disorders, including diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia and hypertension, which are associated to increased risk of morbidity and mortality. We evaluated cardiorespiratory variables and autonomic nervous system before and during recovery from exercise in healthy physically active men divided according to with waist-stature ratio (WSR): G1 – between 0.40 and 0.449 (N = 19), and G2 – between 0.45 and 0.49. This metholodigcal procedure is able to provide important information regarding the risk for developing cardiovascular disease in the future. Our main findings indicated that healthy physically active men with waist-stature ratio values close to the risk limit (between 0.449 and 0.5) presented slower return of autonomic and cardiorespiratory variables to baseline values after moderate exercise. It suggests that this group present an elevated probability of developing cardiovascular disease in the future compared to the groups with lower values of waist-stature ratio.
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, General Medicine / 28.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Macda Gerard M.D. Candidate | Class of 2021 Wayne State University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As electronic health records proliferate, patients are increasingly asking for their health information but little is known about how patients use that information or whether they encounter errors in their records. This comes at a time when we’re learning that understanding the patient and family experience, especially what is most valued in exchanges between doctors and patients is important and has many benefits. To learn more, we developed a formal mechanism for patients to provide feedback on what they like about accessing the information in their health records and to inform their clinical team about things like inaccuracies and perceived errors. So that’s the gap we tried to fill. The patient feedback tool is linked to the visit note in the electronic health record (EHR), and it’s part of a quality improvement initiative aimed at improving safety and learning what motivates patients to engage with their health information on the patient portal. Over the 12-month pilot period, 260 patients and care partners provided feedback using the OpenNotes patient feedback tool. Nearly all respondents found the tool to be valuable and about 70 percent provided additional information regarding what they liked about their notes and the feedback process.
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, General Medicine, JAMA / 26.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36157" align="alignleft" width="144"]Jochen René Thyrian, PhD German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Greifswald, Germany      Dr. Thyrian[/caption] Jochen René Thyrian, PhD German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Greifswald, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Dementia presents a challenge to the health care systems worldwide. People with dementia (PWD) need comprehensive medical, nursing, psychological and social support to delay the progression of disease and sustain autonomy and social inclusion. Evidence-based interventions alleviate the burden of disease for PwD and their caregivers, as no curative treatment is currently available. Involving caregivers is important because they provide the largest proportion of care for PwD. General physicians in residency have been identified as the first point of contact for PwD and is thus a promising setting for identification, comprehensive needs assessment and initiating dementia-specific treatment and care. In this study we tested the effectiveness and safety of a model of collaborative care, Dementia Care Management (DCM) on patient-oriented outcomes in n=634 people screened positive for dementia in primary care. DCM is provided by specifically trained nurses, supported by a computerized intervention management system, in close cooperation with the treating physician at the people´s homes. Recommendations for improving treatment and care were based on a comprehensive needs assessment, discussed interprofessionally and their implementation monitored/ adjusted over the course of 6-12 months
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Primary Care / 26.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36137" align="alignleft" width="155"]Christine D. Jones, MD, MS, Assistant professor Director of Care Transitions, Hospital Medicine Group University of Colorado School of Medicine Dr. Jones[/caption] Christine D. Jones, MD, MS Assistant professor Director of Care Transitions, Hospital Medicine Group University of Colorado School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this study is that referrals to home health care at hospital discharge have increased over recent years.  Yet, care coordination including information exchange and communication is often suboptimal between the hospital and home health care and may contribute to medication list discrepancies and even hospital readmissions. We spoke with focus groups of home health nurses and our main findings were that improvements in key areas could care coordination after hospital discharge. Specific solutions included: 1) Clearly defining the accountability for home health orders after discharge between hospitalists and primary care providers 2) Changes to insurance requirements that currently only allow physicians to write home health orders so that nurse practitioners and physician assistants can also write home health orders 3) Enhancing access for home health agencies to hospital electronic health records and direct phone lines 4) Encouraging liaisons from home health agencies to meet patients in the hospital to align clinician and patient expectations 5) Direct coordination between home health nurses and clinicians or pharmacists to resolve medication discrepancies 6) Ensuring that detailed information about cognitive and behavioral health is included in information provided to home health from referring hospitals
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Orthopedics / 15.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_32959" align="alignleft" width="130"]Darwin Chen, MD Assistant Professor, Orthopaedics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Dr. Darwin Chen[/caption] Darwin Chen, MD Assistant Professor, Orthopaedics Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Total hip and knee replacement surgery are among the most commonly performed orthopaedic procedures today. Although success rates are high, complications can occur and some may be preventable. The goal of our research was to assess the impact of gender on complications within the first 30 days after hip and knee replacement.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, JAMA, Outcomes & Safety / 19.06.2015

Samuel Pannick, MA, MBBS, MRCP Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Center, National Institute for Health Research and Imperial College London, London, England West Middlesex University Hospital National Health Service Trust, Middlesex, EnglandMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samuel Pannick, MA, MBBS, MRCP Imperial Patient Safety Translational Research Center, National Institute for Health Research and Imperial College London West Middlesex University Hospital National Health Service Trust Middlesex, England Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Improving the quality of general medical ward care is a recognized healthcare priority internationally. Ward teams have been encouraged to structure their work more formally, with regular interdisciplinary team meetings and closer daily collaboration with their colleagues. Some early studies suggested that these changes might benefit patients, and help ward teams work more efficiently. However, team interventions on medical wards have been reported with numerous different outcome measures, and prior to this study, it was unclear what their objective benefits were. We showed that there is little agreement on the objective outcomes that best reflect the quality of interdisciplinary team care on general medical wards. Changes to interdisciplinary care aren’t reflected in the outcome measures that researchers choose most often, like early readmission rates or length of stay. Complications of care - although harder to record - might have more promise as a measure of the quality of inpatient team care in these specific medical areas.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, General Medicine, Hospital Readmissions / 11.06.2015

Jeffrey C. Schneider, M.D. Medical Director, Trauma, Burn & Orthopedic Program Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Harvard Medical School Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston, MA 02129MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jeffrey C. Schneider, M.D. Medical Director, Trauma, Burn & Orthopedic Program Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Harvard Medical School Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston, MA 02129 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Hospitalizations account for the largest share of healthcare costs in the U.S., comprising nearly one-third of all healthcare expenditures.  In 2011, readmissions within 30 days of hospital discharge represented more than $41 billion in hospital costs.  Financial penalties for excess 30-day hospital readmissions were instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 20124; more than 2,200 hospitals were fined a total of $280 million in reduced Medicare payments in fiscal year 2013. Most readmission risk prediction models have targeted specific medical diagnoses and have utilized comorbidities and demographic data as the central risk factors for hospital readmission. Yet, large U.S. administrative datasets have demonstrated poor discriminative ability (c-statistics: 0.55-0.65) in predicting readmissions. However, few studies have considered functional status as potential readmission risk factors. There is increasing evidence that functional status is a good predictor of other health outcomes.  To date, acute care hospital administrative databases do not routinely include functional status measures.  Therefore, inpatient rehabilitation setting is an ideal population in which to examine the impact of functional status on readmission risk, because: (1) inpatient rehabilitation patients often have complex care transitions after acute care discharge, and represent a significant proportion of total readmissions; 2) inpatient rehabilitation facilities routinely document functional status using a valid instrument—the FIM®; and (3) a majority of U.S. IRFs participate in one of the only national datasets that contain standardized functional data—the Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation. Limitations of prior work include small and single-center study designs, narrowly defined patient populations, and defining readmissions beyond the 30-day period.  Overall, there is a lack of literature on the utility of function as a readmission predictor in a large population of medical patients. Moreover, function is a modifiable risk factor with potential to impact readmission outcomes if function-based interventions are instituted early. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare functional status with medical comorbidities as predictors of acute care readmissions in the medically complex rehabilitation population. We hypothesized that acute care readmission prediction models based on functional status would outperform models based on comorbidities,and that the addition of comorbidity variables to function-based models would not significantly enhance predictive performance.
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, General Medicine / 31.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bruno M. Heleno MD The Research Unit for General Practice and Section of General Practice Department of Public Health University of Copenhagen Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Heleno: False positive mammography causes psychological distress. Several observational studies have shown this, and their results have been summarized in systematic reviews. However, it was unclear whether women requiring invasive tests (needle or surgical biopsy) were more distressed than women only requiring non-invasive procedures (clinical examination or imaging). Contrary to previous research, we found that these two groups of women were equally distressed during the 36 months of follow-up in our cohort. The best estimate for the difference for 12 related measures of distress was always close to zero.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, General Medicine, Statins, UT Southwestern / 08.05.2015

Ishak Mansi, MD Staff Internist, VA North Texas Health System.   Professor in Department of Medicine & Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Outcomes and Health services Research, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TXMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ishak Mansi, MD Staff Internist, VA North Texas Health System. Professor in Department of Medicine & Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Outcomes and Health services Research, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mansi:  Statin use is associated with increased incidence of diabetes, and possibly increased body weight, and less exercise capacity. Data on the long-term effects of these associations in healthy adults are very limited. Additionally, the effects of these associations on diabetic complications have not been adequately studied. Dr. Mansi at VA North Texas Health System, Dallas and Professor of Medicine and Clinical Sciences at the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, TX and his colleagues found that among generally healthy individuals, statin-users in comparison to non-users had a higher odds of being diagnosed with new onset diabetes, diabetes with complications, and overweight/obesity. The researchers examined the records of tens of thousands of Tricare beneficiaries, during the period from 10/1/2003 to 3/1/2012. After excluding patients who had at baseline a preexisting cardiovascular diseases or severe chronic diseases that may be life-limiting (including diabetes mellitus), they identified a cohort of 25,970 patients as “healthy cohort”. They, further, matched 3,351 statins-users and 3,351 nonusers on several baseline characteristics to ensure comparability. There are 3 main important findings for our study:
  1. Statin use was associated with significantly higher risk of new onset diabetes even in a very healthy population. Whereas the risk of diabetes with statins is known, it was thought that this may be due to the overall multiple risks of statin-users (that caused them to receive statins as a therapy).
  2. Statin use was associated with very high risk of diabetes complications in this healthy population: this was never shown before.
  3. Statin use is associated with higher risk of obesity: this also is widely unknown. However, few studies have noted this (one study using patient survey noted this, another study using Mendelian randomization showed it, and post-hoc analysis of a clinical trial showed that statin user gained more weight). Our study, which used a different methodology (retrospective cohort study) add another piece of evidence. Obesity is at endemic level in the US and treatment options are limited.
High-intensity statins was associated with greater risks of all outcomes. This article is published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (JGIM). JGIM is the official journal of the Society of General Internal Medicine.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 26.02.2015

Gregory YH Lip MD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow), DFM, FACC, FESC Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Birmingham, UK; Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark; Visiting Professor of Haemostasis Thrombosis & Vascular Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK; Visiting Professor of Cardiology, University of Belgrade, Serbia Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham  England UKMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregory YH Lip MD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow), DFM, FACC, FESC Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, Adjunct Professor of Cardiovascular Sciences, Thrombosis Research Unit, Aalborg University, Denmark; Aston Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences City Hospital Birmingham England UK Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Lip: Women with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk of stroke than men with atrial fibrillation. The reasons for this elevated risk remain unclear. The results from our worldwide study suggest that women are treated no differently to men in terms of anticoagulant therapy for stroke prevention. Thromboprophylaxis was, however, suboptimal in substantial proportions of men and women, with underuse in those at moderate-to-high risk of stroke and overuse in those at low risk.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Journal Clinical Oncology, Leukemia, Pediatrics / 29.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jun J. Yang  Ph.D. Assistant Member Dept. of Pharm. Sci. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Memphis, TN 38105 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Yang: Mercaptopurine is highly effective in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and essential for the cure of this aggressive cancer. However, it also has a narrow therapeutic index with common toxicities. Identifying genetic risk factors for mercaptopurine toxicity will help us better understand how this drug works and also potentially enable clinicians to individualize therapy based on patients’ genetic make-up (precision medicine). In addition to confirming the role of TPMT, we have identified another important genetic risk factor (a genetic variation in a gene called NUDT15) for mercaptopurine intolerance. Patients carrying the variant version of NUDT15 are exquisitely sensitive and required up to 90% reduction of the normal dose of this drug. TPMT variants are more common in individuals of African and European ancestry, whereas NUDT15 variants are important in East Asians and Hispanics.
Erasmus, General Medicine, Heart Disease, JACC / 18.01.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation Dr. Eric Boersma Associate Professor of Clinical Cardiovascular Epidemiology Thoraxcenter, Erasmus Medical Center and Cardiovascular Research Institute COEUR, Rotterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Boersma: Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a novel intracoronary imaging technique. The NIRS-derived lipid core burden index (LCBI) quantifies the lipid content within the coronary artery wall. This study was designed to evaluate the prognostic value of LCBI in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) undergoing coronary catheterization (CAG). We learned that patients with high (above the median) LCBI values had 4 times higher risk of coronary events during 1 year follow-up than those with low values.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Genetic Research, Nature / 03.12.2014

Prof Dr Isabelle Mansuy Lab of Neuroepigenetics University/ETH Zürich Brain Research Institute Zürich, SwitzerlandMedicalResearch Interview with: Prof Dr Isabelle Mansuy Lab of Neuroepigenetics University/ETH Zürich Brain Research Institute Zürich, Switzerland   MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Prof. Mansuy: It is recognised that being exposed to traumatic stress in early life increases the susceptibility to psychiatric and metabolic diseases later in life. This is true for people directly exposed but also for their progeny across generations. It is also known that sometimes, stress exposure in early life can help an individual develop response strategies and be better prepared for later stressful experiences. The mechanisms of such beneficial effects and the question of whether they can be transmitted or not are not known. This study in mice was designed to answer these questions. The main findings are that exposure to traumatic stress of mouse newborns makes the animals and their progeny more efficient in challenging tasks when adult. For instance, they are more able to adapt to rules that change in a complex task to get a water ration when they are thirsty. This suggests more adaptive behaviours in challenging situations that are transmitted across generation. The study identifies the mineralocorticoid receptor, a stress hormone receptor in the brain, as an important molecular mediator of this effect and demonstrates that its expression is altered in the brain by epigenetic mechanisms.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 30.11.2014

Giovanni Landoni, M.D. Head of Research,Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Associate Professor at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, MilanMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giovanni Landoni, M.D. Head of Research,Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Associate Professor at Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Landoni: The prevention and treatment of acute kidney injury after cardiac surgery is a major therapeutic goal, but no effective agents have yet been identified. Meta-analyses suggested that fenoldopam might be effective. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Landoni: We found that in cardiac surgery patients with early acute kidney injury (defined as a ≥50% increase of serum creatinine from baseline or oliguria for ≥6 hours), fenoldopam had no impact on the need for renal replacement therapy or 30-day mortality, while increasing the rate of hypotension.
General Medicine / 28.11.2014

Dr. Norman Putzki, MD PhD Global Program Medical Director Neuroscience Development Franchise Novartis Pharma AG Basel, Switzerland MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Norman Putzki, MD PhD Global Program Medical Director Neuroscience Development Franchise Novartis Pharma AG Basel, Switzerland Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Putzki: Herpes zoster (HZ) infections are increasingly reported in patients taking multiple sclerosis (MS) disease modifying treatments (DMTs). This has been a particular concern ever since more potent MS DMTs have become available. We have assessed the experience with oral fingolimod, a first in class S1P receptor modulator licensed for multiple sclerosis treatment in 2010, which has today more than 140,000 patient years of exposure in MS clinical trials and the post-marketing setting. Key findings include the fact that Herpes Zoster (HZ) infections occurred at a low rate in clinical trials but were more frequent than with placebo. In the post-marketing setting, Herpes zoster reporting rates have not increased over time versus clinical trials, and rates have remained stable over time (so there is no risk accumulation). Our article, which is the result of a consensus meeting with experts in the field of MS and infectious diseases, provides general guidance on risk mitigation; this includes vigilance and appropriate HZ infection management, relevant to physicians when prescribing MS DMTs.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, General Medicine / 28.11.2014

Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc(LSHTM), FAHA Interim Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Senior Investigator, Center for Health Equality Drexel University School of Public Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Drexel U. College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc(LSHTM), FAHA Interim Chair, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Senior Investigator, Center for Health Equality Drexel University School of Public Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine, Drexel U. College of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Liu: The prevalence of diabetes is increasing rapidly in the United States and worldwide. In 2010, 25.8 million Americans, or 8.3% of the population had diabetes in the United States. In 2012, these figures were 29.1 million, or 9.3% in the nation. Philadelphia, the largest city in PA, ranks as the 5th largest city in the nation. However, the city also had the highest prevalence of diabetes according to the national surveys in 2009. We face a great challenge to stop the epidemic of diabetes locally and nationally. It is well-known personal risk factors at individual level, including lifestyles, play a role in the prevention and control of diabetes. However very limited studies addressed the importance that physical and socioeconomic environmental factors at community level may also play a pivotal role in the prevention and control of the disease. This study aimed to quantitatively examine (1) the trend of diabetes from 2002 to 2010 in the city of Philadelphia, and (2) the impact of physical and socioeconomic environmental factors at community level (assessed using zip-codes based neighborhoods) on the risk of the prevalence of diabetes. The main findings support our hypotheses that
  • (1) the prevalence of diabetes significantly increased from 2002 to 2012.
  • (2) residents who lived in neighborhoods with physical and socioeconomic disadvantage had an increased risk of the prevalence of diabetes.
General Medicine / 26.11.2014

Michelle M. Mello, JD, PhD Professor of Law, Stanford Law School Professor of Health Research and Policy Stanford University School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle M. Mello, JD, PhD Professor of Law, Stanford Law School Professor of Health Research and Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Mello: In this report, we examined trends in the volume and cost of medical liability claims in the US, as well as liability insurance costs, and reviewed current initiatives to reform the liability system. Examining publicly available data from the National Practitioner Data Bank, we found that the frequency and average cost of paid malpractice claims have been declining.  The rate of paid claims against physicians decreased from 18.6 to 9.9 paid claims per 1,000 physicians between 2002 and 2013, about a 6.3% annual average decrease for MDs. Among claims that resulted in a payment, the median payment increased from $133,799 in 1994 to $218,400 in 2007, but has been declining--by 1.1% annually, on average--since 2007.  In 2013 the median payment was $195,000. When we looked a trends in insurance premiums in several markets, using data from the Medical Liability Monitor’s Annual Rate Survey, we found greater variation from place to place.  However, the overall picture was favorable. None of the locations we examined showed large increases over the last 10 years, and most showed flat or declining premiums.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, Lipids / 21.11.2014

Thomas M. Maddox MD MSc Cardiology, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Associate Director, VA CART ProgramMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas M. Maddox MD MSc Cardiology, VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System Associate Director, VA CART Program Associate Professor, Department of Medicine University of Colorado School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Maddox: With the release of the updated cholesterol guidelines last year and their significant changes in recommendations, we wanted to see what the potential impact would be on U.S. cardiovascular practices.  Specifically, we were interested in present cholesterol treatment and testing patterns, and how they would potentially need to change under the new guidelines. We used the PINNACLE registry to conduct our investigation.  Under the sponsorship of the American College of Cardiology, the registry collects EMR data from 111 cardiovascular practices around the U.S.  We analyzed cholesterol treatment and testing patterns in approximately 1.2 million patients.  We found that most patients qualified for cholesterol treatment with statins, but 32.4% weren't currently prescribed them.  We also found that 22.6% of patients were being treated with non-statin lipid-lowering therapies which, under the new guidelines, aren't currently recommended for cholesterol treatment.  Finally, we found that 20.8% of patients underwent repeated LDL-C testing, which may not be necessary under the new guidelines.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, JAMA, Statins / 18.11.2014

Dr. Mike Miedema MD, MPH Minneapolis Heart InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mike Miedema MD, MPH Minneapolis Heart Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Miedema: " Released in November 2013, the ACC/AHA guidelines for the treatment of blood cholesterol attempt to target individuals that are most likely to benefit from cholesterol-lowering statin therapy. These guidelines are a significant change from prior guidelines that relied heavily on levels of bad cholesterol to determine who to treat. Instead, the new guidelines recommend focusing statin therapy on the individuals that are at the highest risk for heart attack and stroke, even if their cholesterol levels are within normal limits. In addition to recommending statin therapy for individuals with known cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or markedly elevated cholesterol levels, they also recommend statin therapy for individuals without these conditions but with an elevated estimated risk of a heart attack or stroke in the next 10-year based on a risk calculator that factors in an individual’s age, gender, race, and risk factors. Patients with an estimated 10-year risk > 7.5% are recommended to consider statin therapy. While I believe the scientific evidence supports this “risk-based” approach, one potential concern is that the risk-calculator relies heavily on age to determine an individual’s risk, so we wanted to examine the implications for these guidelines in an older sample of adults."
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Heart Disease, JAMA / 16.11.2014

Manesh Patel, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Director Interventional Cardiology and Catheterization Labs Duke University Health System Duke Clinical Research InstituteMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manesh Patel, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Director Interventional Cardiology and Catheterization Labs Duke University Health System Duke Clinical Research Institute Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Patel: In clinical practice, patients with acute myocardial infarction are found to have non-IRA disease of varying significant and location.  The current recommendations are to have patients recover from the acute myocardial infarction and get non-invasive testing to determine revascualrization after 4-6 six weeks in uncomplicated patients.  These data demonstrate that non-IRA disease is common (>50% of STEMI patients) and that these patients have an elevated 30-day mortality.
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, General Medicine / 06.11.2014

Christopher J. Ferguson PhD. Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Department of Psychology Stetson University DeLand, FL MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher J. Ferguson PhD. Associate Professor and Chair of Psychology Department of Psychology Stetson University DeLand, FL Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ferguson: People have debated whether media violence contributes to societal violence for centuries.  A lot of individual laboratory experiments have tried to answer this question, but results have always tended to be inconsistent.  Not too much data had yet looked at concordance between media violence and societal violence.  In the current study I examined levels of movie violence across the 20th century, and video game violence in the latter part of the 20th, into the 21st century.  Results generally indicted that it was not possible to demonstrate that media violence consumption correlated with increased crime in society.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, General Medicine, Heart Disease / 03.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Arnold Ng, MBBS, PhD Department of Cardiology Princess Alexandra Hospital University of Queensland, Australia Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Arnold: The WHO and American Diabetes Association currently recommends the use of HbA1c >=6.5% as a diagnostic criterion for diabetes. HbA1c is advantageous over fasting plasma glucose and glucose tolerance testing by avoiding the need for patient fasting and inconvenient patient preparation. In addition, patients who are acutely unwell (e.g. STEMI) may develop stress hyperglycemia, complicating the diagnosis of diabetes. It is currently unclear if HbA1c (indicative of overall glycemic control) or fasting plasma glucose predicts worse left ventricular function after acute STEMI. The present study demonstrated that HbA1c identified approximately another 20% of previously undiagnosed patients as diabetic. Furthermore, the present study was first to demonstrate that HbA1c, not fasting plasma glucose, was independently associated with more impaired LV diastolic function and elevated filling pressures after STEMI.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Leukemia, NEJM, Transplantation / 03.11.2014

John E. Wagner, M.D. Principal Investigator Professor Director, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation Department of Pediatrics McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Hageboeck Family / Children's Cancer Research Fund Endowed Chair University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John E. Wagner, M.D. Principal Investigator Professor Director, Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation Department of Pediatrics McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair Hageboeck Family / Children's Cancer Research Fund Endowed Chair University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55455 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Wagner: Earlier studies of umbilical cord blood transplantation (UCB) in children with hematological malignancies demonstrated a survival rate of approximately 50%.  While single UCB transplant was very effective despite HLA mismatch, few adults had access to umbilical cord blood as a treatment option due to the cell dose requirement of 2. 5 x 10^6 nucleated cells per kilogram recipient body weight.  For this reason, at the University of Minnesota we explored the co-transplantation of two partially HLA matched umbilical cord blood units in adults as a straightforward strategy to achieving the cell dose requirement.  Early results were remarkable with survival rates higher than that observed in children.  This in turn led to the design of the BMT CTN 0501 study, a randomized trial comparing single versus double umbilical cord blood transplantation in children aged 2-21 years with hematological malignancies.  All patients received a uniform conditioning regimen of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation and GVHD prophylaxis of cyclosporine A and mycophenylate mofetil.  224 patients were randomized. There were four major findings:
  • 1) survival results overall, regardless of treatment arm, have improved,
  • 2) for children, an adequately dosed single umbilical cord blood unit is sufficient, giving a survival result of 72% at one year,
  • 3) double umbilical cord blood transplant is associated with more GVHD and poorer platelet recovery but survival is comparable to an adequately dosed single unit, and
  • 4) HLA mismatch is well tolerated with potentially better disease free survival in patients transplanted with HLA mismatched umbilical cord blood , a provocative finding that requires further investigation.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Macular Degeneration, Stroke / 31.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Takashi Ueta, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology Graduate School and Faculty of Medicine The University of Tokyo Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ueta: In 2009 we had reported an initial systematic review and meta-analysis which include pivotal RCTs but the number of the included studies were only 3 (MARINA, ANCHOR, FOCUS). During the following several years, more trials comparing different dosages and frequencies of ranibizumab treatment were conducted, which made us to update our meta-analysis. Based on our updated meta-analysis, increase in several systemic vascular adverse events was observed: 86% increase in odds ratio (OR) for the risk of cerebrovascular accident (CVA) when 0,5 mg ranibizumab used. 89% increase in OR for the risk of CVA when monthly ranibizumab of any dosage is used. 57% increase in OR for the risk of non-ocular hemorrhage when ranibizumab of any dosage with any frequency is used.
Author Interviews, BMJ, General Medicine, Heart Disease / 30.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Bellemain-Appaix Service de Cardiologie-La Fontonne Hospital, Antibes, France and Gilles Montalescot Professor of  Cardiology Institut de CardiologiePitié-Salpêtrière Hospital Université Paris 6, France ACTION Study Group, Paris, France Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Response: Pretreatment with P2Y12 inhibitors for Non-ST-Elevation Acute Coronary Syndrome (NSTE-ACS) patients, although advised in current guidelines, has been recently questioned in term of benefit/risk ratio (no ischemic benefit and increase in major bleeding). We wanted to answer this question by giving enough power to results in a complete meta-analysis of studies comparing P2Y12 inhibitors pretreatment (defined as its administration before the coronary angiogram) to no pretreatment in NSTE-ACS.
Author Interviews, General Medicine, Health Care Systems, Johns Hopkins / 29.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Wan BS and Miceile Barrett BS Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, MD Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Answer: Access to surgery is limited in resource-poor settings and low-and-middle income countries (LMICs) due to a lack of human and material resources. In contrast, academic hospitals in high-income countries often generate significant amounts of unused and clean medical supplies that cannot be re-used in the operating rooms of high-income countries. Programs such as Supporting Hospitals Abroad with Resources and Equipment (SHARE) provide an avenue for recovery of these supplies and donation to resource-poor hospitals in LMICs. From data collected from SHARE supplies donated by Johns Hopkins, we found that the nationwide impact for these programs to be $15.4 million among US academic hospitals, which accounts for only 19 categories of commonly recovered supplies. When we tracked our donated supplies to hospitals in Ecuador serving the poor, we found that the cost-effectiveness of these donations was US $2.14 per disability-adjusted life-year prevented.
Author Interviews, C. difficile, General Medicine, Hospital Acquired / 10.10.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Esther van Kleef London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study? Response:  Existing evidence reveals a wide variation in estimated excess length of hospital stay (LoS) associated with healthcare-acquired C. difficile infection (HA-CDI), ranging from 2.8 to 16.1 days. Few studies considered the time-dependent nature of healthcare-acquired C. difficile (i.e. patients that spent a longer time in hospital have an increased risk of infection), and none have considered the impact of severity of healthcare-acquired C. difficile on expected delayed discharge. Using a method that adjusted for this so-called time-dependent bias, we found that compared to non-infected patients, the excess length of stay of severe patients (defined by increased white blood cell count, serum creatinine, or temperature, or presence of colitis) was on average, twice (11.6 days; 95% CI: 3.6-19.6) that of non-severe cases (5.3 days; 95% CI: 1.1-9.5). However, severely infected patients did not have a higher daily risk of in-hospital death than non-severe patients. Overall, we estimated that healthcare-acquired C. difficile prolonged hospital stay with an average of ~7 days (95% CI: 3.5-10.9) and increased in-hospital daily death rate with 75% (Hazard Ratio (HR): 1.75; 95% CI: 1. 16 – 2.62).