Educating Religious Leaders Improves Uptake of Male Circumcision in Tanzania

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer A. Downs, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology Department of Medicine Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Global Health New York, NY 10065

Dr. Jennifer Downs

Jennifer A. Downs, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology
Department of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medicine
Center for Global Health
New York, NY 10065

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

Response: Between 2002 and 2006, three large randomized controlled trials in sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated that male circumcision reduces new HIV infections in men by approximately 60%. Based on these findings, the World Health Organization recommended male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy in countries with high levels of HIV and a low prevalence of male circumcision. This led to prioritization of 14 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa for massive scale-up of male circumcision beginning in 2011.

In many of these countries, the uptake of male circumcision was lower than expected. In northwest Tanzania, where we work, there are a number of barriers to male circumcision. Some of these barriers are cultural, tribal, economic, and religious. We conducted focus group interviews in 2012 that showed that many Christian church leaders and church attenders in our region in Tanzania had major concerns about whether male circumcision was compatible with their religious beliefs. This led us to hypothesize that the uptake of male circumcision could be increased when religious leaders were taught about male circumcision, with the goal that they would then be equipped to discuss this issue with their congregations.
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Air Pollution Linked To Millions of Preterm Births

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chris Malley PhD The Stockholm Environment Institute University of York

Dr. Chris Malley

Chris Malley PhD
The Stockholm Environment Institute
University of York

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

Response: When a baby is born preterm (at less than 37 weeks of gestation, an indicator of premature birth), there is an increased risk of infant death, or long-term physical and neurological disabilities. For example, 965,000 infant deaths in 2013 (35% of all neonatal deaths) have been estimated to be due to preterm birth complications. In 2010, an estimated 14.9 million births were preterm – about 4–5% of the total in some European countries, but up to 15–18% in some African and South Asian countries. The human and economic costs are enormous.

There are many risk factors for preterm birth – from the mother’s age, to illness, to poverty and other social factors. Recent research has suggested that exposure to air pollution could also be a risk factor. Our study quantifies for the first time the global impact of pregnant women’s exposure to outdoor fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by combining data about air pollution in different countries with knowledge about how exposure to different levels of air pollution is associated with preterm birth rates.

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Physical Activity Not Enough To Ward Off Weight Gain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lara Dugas, PhD, MPH, FTOS Public Health Sciences Loyola University Chica

Dr. Lara Dugas

Lara Dugas, PhD, MPH, FTOS
Public Health Sciences
Loyola University Chicago

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

Response: Our NIH-funded study is led by Dr. Amy Luke, Public Health Sciences, Loyola University Chicago, and is titled “Modeling the Epidemiologic Transition study” or METS. It was initiated in 2010, and 2,500 young African-origin adults were recruited from 5 countries, spanning the Human Development Index (HDI), a WHO index used to rank countries according to 4 tiers of development. The 5 countries include the US, Seychelles, Jamaica, South Africa, and Ghana. Within each country 500 young adults, 25-45 yrs., and 50% male, were recruited and followed prospectively for 3 years. Each year, contactable participants completed a health screening, body composition, wore an activity monitor for 7 days, and told researchers everything they had eaten in the preceding 24hrs. Our main research questions we were trying to answer were to understand the impact of diet and physical activity on the development of obesity, and cardiovascular disease in young adults. It was important to have countries spanning the HDI, with differences in both country-level dietary intake and physical activity levels.

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Effects of Delayed Vs Early Umbilical Cord Clamping on Infant Anemia

Ola Andersson, MD, PhD Department of Women’s and Children’s Health Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ola Andersson MD, PhD
Uppsala University,
Uppsala, Sweden

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

Response: Anemia affects over 40% of all children under 5 years of age in the world. Anemia can impinge mental and physical performance, and is associated with long-term deterioration in growth and development. Iron deficiency is the reason for anemia in approximately 50% of the children.is. When clamping of the umbilical cord is delayed, ie after 3 minutes, iron deficiency up to 6 months of age can be prevented, but it has not been shown to prevent iron deficiency or anemia in older infants.

At birth, approximately 1/3 of the child’s blood is in the placenta. If clamping of the umbilical cord is done immediately (early cord clamping), the blood will remain in the placenta and go to waste (or can be stored in stem cell banks). If instead clamping is postponed for 3 minutes, most of the blood can flow back to the child as an extra blood transfusion, consisting of about one deciliter (1/2 cup) of blood, equivalent to about 2 liters (half a US gallon) of an adult. A blood donor leaves 0.4-0.5 liters of blood.

Blood contains red blood cells that contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin carries oxygen to the tissues of the body. Hemoglobin contains a lot of iron, and the extra deciliter of blood may contain iron that corresponds to 3-4 months of the need for an infant.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 1 minute or later, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends umbilical cord clamping at 30-60 seconds or later.

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Hypertension Is Global Risk For Disability and Premature Death

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gregory Roth MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington

Dr. Gregory Roth

Dr. Gregory Roth MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and
Division of Cardiology at the University of Washington

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

Response: The number of people in the world with high blood pressure has doubled in the past two decades, putting billions at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. In the current study, we aimed to estimate the association between systolic blood pressure (SBP) over 115 mm Hg, as well as SBP over 140 mm Hg, a condition known as hypertension, and the burden of different causes of death and health burden for 195 countries and territories over time.

In 2015, an estimated 3.5 billion adults had systolic blood pressure of at least 110 to 115 mm Hg, and 874 million adults had SBP of 140 mm Hg or higher. In addition, the rate of elevated SBP increased substantially between 1990 and 2015, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) and deaths associated with elevated systolic blood pressure also increased.

Countries of lower developmental status – measured by the Socio-demographic Index (SDI) – saw greater increases in the number of deaths linked to elevated SBP than the most developed countries. The largest percent increase in elevated systolic blood pressure deaths between 1990 and 2015 occurred in low-middle countries (107%), and the most deaths occurred in high-middle SDI counties (2,844,499 deaths).

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C-Section Rate Varies Across China from 4% to 64%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jianmeng Liu, PhD, MD
Professor in Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Director, Institute of Reproductive and Child Health/key Laboratory of Reproductive Health Ministry of Health
Director, Office for National Maternal and Child Health Statistics of China
Peking University Health Science Center
Beijing, China

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

Response: Cesarean overuse can jeopardize maternal and child health. It has been widely concerned that cesarean rate in China is at an extremely high level. Concerns about “alarming” rates increased after a World Health Organization (WHO) report that 46.2% of births were delivered by cesarean in 2007-2008, based on analysis of deliveries in 21 hospitals of 3 provinces of China.

Since 2002, reducing the cesarean rate has been a national priority, and a variety of policies, programs and activities have emerged at both the central and local governments. Previous national estimates of cesarean rates have been based on surveys with limited geographical coverage. Given the marked diversity of geography, economy, and life circumstances throughout China, survey estimates are likely to be sensitive to the area sampled.

By analyzing county-level national data on cesarean rates that have been collected since 2008, this study aimed to determine the overall rate and change in rate of cesarean deliveries, examine geographic variation, and, in areas where declines occurred, assess changes in maternal and perinatal mortality.

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Cancer Rises Globally As World Population Ages

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Christina Fitzmaurice, MD, MPH Assistant Professor Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation University of Washington Seattle, WA

Dr. Christina Fitzmaurice

Christina Fitzmaurice, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology
Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation
University of Washington
Seattle, WA

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

Response: Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide behind cardiovascular diseases. We found that cancer cases increased by 33% from 13.1 million cases in 2005 to 17.5 million in 2015. The largest driver behind this increase was an aging population, followed by a growing population worldwide. The smallest factor contributing to this increase was a rise in cancer incidence rates. Because of increasing life expectancy and better control of communicable diseases cancer will remain a major burden in the foreseeable future. Adjusting and building health systems that can appropriately deal with this challenge is only possible with good data on the burden of cancer. In our study we estimate the number of cancer cases, and cancer deaths over time for 32 cancers in 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2015. We also estimate how many years of life were lost due to cancer as well as disability adjusted life years and a summary measure that combines these two into disability adjusted life years.

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Cures of Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis Probably Underestimated Under Current WHO Guidelines

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Heinke Kunst, M.D.
Queen Mary University Hospital, London, United Kingdom

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

Response: Multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) has been on the increase worldwide over the past decade. Many patients who have been identified with MDR-TB live in the European region. Despite treatment with expensive second-line drug regimens, curing MDR TB remains a challenge and cure rates were thought to be very low. As part of the EU Commission funded TB-PANNET project 380 patients with MDR-TB were observed at 23 TB centers in countries of high, intermediate and low TB burden in Europe over a period of 5 years. Observation started from the time of diagnosis and lasted until one year after the end of the treatment.

The TBNET proposed new definitions for “cure” and “failure” of MDR-TB treatment based on the sputum culture status at 6 month after the initiation of therapy and whether patients were free from disease recurrence one year after the end of therapy. The researchers found that the WHO criterion for “cure” could not be applied in the majority of patients, simply because most patients who were being treated successfully were not able to produce sputum after 8 months of therapy. The TB-PANNET study showed much higher cure rates using a new definition of cure and failure of treatment for MDR TB in the European region. (61% cure rates compared to only 31% when using WHO criteria.)

The study also demonstrates that the results for “cure” from MDR-TB correlate very well with the level of drug resistance and the time to culture conversion that means the time when TB bacilli are no longer detectable in sputum. The new definitions are also independent of the total duration of treatment and can be applied to the standard 20 months MDR-TB regimen as well as to the 9-12 months shorter course MDR-TB treatment that was recently proposed by the WHO.

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Many Congolese Refugees Applying for Resettlement to the US Have Marked Splenomegaly

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Matt Goers

Internal Medicine Resident at UMN

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? What are the main findings of the evaluations of refugee populations in western Uganda?

Response: In 2014, International Organization of Migration (IOM) reported an unusually high number of Congolese refugees in western Uganda had palpable, enlarged spleens detected during their routine refugee pre-departure medical examinations. Due to this trend, the IOM, with the assistance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), implemented a diagnostic and treatment protocol to further evaluate and assist with management of refugees with splenomegaly during their pre-departure medical examinations.

In March and June 2015, a total of 987 U.S.-bound refugees underwent medical examinations performed as part of their routine resettlement process. Of those evaluated, 145 (14.7%) had a detectable spleen on physical examination. In fact, 84.7% (122 people) were found to have marked or massive splenomegaly during their evaluation (classified based on a prior World Health Organization ultrasonography protocol). During the work-up for this condition, less than 33% were found to have an infectious cause of their condition including 26.9% (39 people) who had malaria.

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Pandemic of Global Physical Inactivity Costs Lives and Money

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ding Ding (Melody), Ph.D., MPH NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow/Sydney University Postdoctoral Research Fellow Prevention Research Collaboration Sydney School of Public Health The University of Sydney

Dr. Melody Ding

Ding Ding (Melody), Ph.D., MPH
NHMRC Early Career Senior Research Fellow
Sydney University Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Prevention Research Collaboration
Sydney School of Public Health
The University of Sydney

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

Response: Understanding the true burden of a pandemic is indispensable for informed decision making. After decades of research, we now have established knowledge about how physical inactivity contributes to pre-mature deaths and chronic diseases, but the economic burden of physical inactivity remains unquantified at the global level. Through estimating the economic burden of physical inactivity for the first time, we hope to create a business case for investing in cost-effective actions to promote physical activity at the global levels.

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Almost A Million Cases of Maternal Syphilis Globally Per year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

N. Saman Wijesooriya Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

N. Saman Wijesooriya

N. Saman Wijesooriya
Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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

Response: The article Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems modeling study by Wijesooriya, et al published in the August 2016 issue of The Lancet Global Health (Open source – http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30135-8) estimates the incidence and prevalence of maternal and congenital syphilis for both time periods and identifies gaps antenatal care access and syphilis testing and treatment services to assess progress in the global elimination of congenital syphilis, or mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, as a public health problem.

Untreated maternal syphilis is understood to be transmitted from mother-to-child in utero in 50% of cases resulting in tragic adverse pregnancy outcomes, or congenital syphilis infections, including early fetal death, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birthweight, neonatal death, and congenital infections in infants. Since most maternal syphilis infections are asymptomatic, it is recommended that screening for syphilis use a combination of serological tests for pregnant women and treatment of syphilis seropositive women with at least 2.4 million units of benzathine penicillin intramuscularly early in pregnancy to prevent most congenital syphilis infections.

In 2007, the World Health Organization responded to estimates indicating 2 million maternal and 1.5 congenital syphilis infections would occur annually without treatment and launched the global initiative for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis (ECS). The strategy includes reducing the prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. The objective is for countries to achieve high performing antenatal care systems providing access to antenatal care to more than 95% of pregnant women, syphilis testing for more than 95% of pregnant women, and treatment for more than 95% of seropositive women to attain a congenital syphilis rate of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 live births.

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Medical Tourism Market Booming As Patients Seek Cheaper Prices or More Sophisticated Care

Yan Alicia Hong, Ph.D. Associate Professor Dept of Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences School of Public Health Texas A&M Health Science Center College Station, TX, 77843

Dr. Yan Alicia Hong

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Yan Alicia Hong, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Dept of Health Promotion & Community Health Sciences
School of Public Health
Texas A&M Health Science Center
College Station, TX, 77843

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

Dr. Hong: Medical tourism has grown rapidly in the past decade, as Internet has greatly facilitated information sharing. A 2013 online survey from US reported that 27% of patients had engaged in some form of medical tourism. The global market of medical tourism is estimated at $439 billion. Traditionally, medical tourists travel from high-income countries to middle- and low-income countries to seek comparable or identical care at a lower price. But in recent years, more and more patients from middle- and low-income countries travel to the high-income countries for better diagnostic capabilities, state-of-the-art medical technologies, and advanced treatment options that may not be available in their home countries. I wrote up this article in response to the opening of a Chinese-American Physicians E-Hospital, a new online service to facilitate Chinese patients seeking medical care in U.S..

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