Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease / 22.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41928" align="alignleft" width="200"]Prof. Dr. med. Konstantinos Stellos,MD, FAHA, FESC Cardiovascular Research Centre, Institute of Genetic Medicine Newcastle upon Tyne United Kingdom Prof. Stellos[/caption] Prof. Dr. med. Konstantinos Stellos,MD, FAHA, FESC Cardiovascular Research Centre, Institute of Genetic Medicine Newcastle upon Tyne United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Risk stratification of patients with a non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS) remains a major challenge in clinical cardiology. Risk stratification is important to identify patients at high risk, to whom an early coronary intervention with optimal adjunctive medical therapy shall be applied to reduce that risk. Conversely, it is equally important to identify patients at low risk, to whom a potentially hazardous invasive therapy or a multi-drug administration shall be avoided. Current ACC/AHA and ESC guidelines agree in a standardized approach that uses Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE) score, a well validated scoring system, to calculate a patient’s risk and guide triage and management decisions. Amyloid-β (Aβ) 1-40 and 1-42 peptides (Aβ40 and Aβ42), are proteolytic fragments of a larger protein, the amyloid precursor protein (APP) cleaved by β- and γ-secretases, found in typical brain amyloid deposits in Alzheimer’s disease. Many lines of evidence support a role of Aβ40 in cardiovascular disease as a peptide with pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic properties. Most cardiovascular risk factors seem to affect APP metabolism and thus, Aβ production and its soluble circulating APP770 isoform are elevated in patients with ACS_ENREF_15, suggesting a role for Aβ40 in the triggering and outcome of ACS in stable CAD patients. Although vascular inflammation is considered as a hallmark in the pathophysiologic pathways of coronary artery disease (CAD) and novel mechanisms are continuously recognized in its pathogenesis, no inflammatory marker is currently recommended for risk stratification of patients with NSTE-ACS individually or as a component of the GRACE score. This may partly explain the moderate discriminative ability of GRACE score in some studies, especially in older patients and those after early percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). In this retrospective study, we used data from two independent prospective cohorts, the Heidelberg study (n=1,145) and the validation multicenter international APACE (Advantageous Predictors of Acute Coronary Syndrome Evaluation, n=734) study and determined the clinical prognostic and reclassification value of baseline circulating Aβ40 levels in the prediction of mortality over the GRACE risk score in patients with NSTE-ACS across a median follow-up of 21.9 ( Heidelberg cohort) and 24.9 months (APACE cohort), respectively.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Stroke / 19.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anna Gundlund, MD, PhD Herlev-Gentofte Hospital, Department of Cardiology Denmark  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Atrial fibrillation increases a person’s risk of ischemic strokes up to 5-fold. Oral anticoagulation therapy lowers this risk effectively (>60%) and is therefore recommended for patients with atrial fibrillation and at least 1-2 other risk factors for stroke. Our study show, that oral anticoagulation therapy is still underused in patients with atrial fibrillation – even after a stroke event. In stroke survivors with atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation therapy were associated with better outcomes than no oral anticoagulation therapy. 
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Genetic Research, Heart Disease / 19.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41823" align="alignleft" width="180"]Professor Patricia Munroe PhD Professor of Molecular Medicine William Harvey Research Institute Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London Prof. Munroe[/caption] Prof. Patricia Munroe PhD Professor of Molecular Medicine William Harvey Research Institute Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry Queen Mary University of London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the years, it has become increasingly evident that impaired capacity to increase heart rate during exercise and reduce heart rate following exercise are important predictors of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality. A person's capability to regulate their heart rate is the result of complex interactions of biological systems, including the autonomic nervous and hormonal systems. Prior work has demonstrated that genetic factors significantly contribute to variations in resting heart rate among different individuals, but less was known about the genetic factors modulating the response of heart rate to exercise and recovery.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, Lipids, Vanderbilt / 18.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41816" align="alignleft" width="161"]Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Informatics Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203 Dr. Wei-Qi Wei[/caption] Wei-Qi Wei, MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Biomedical Informatics Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN 37203 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The study was motived by the clinical observation that some patients develop coronary heart disease events despite taking statins, one of our most effective drugs to reduce cardiovascular risk. We collected data within the eMERGE network of people taking statins and monitored them for development of coronary heart disease events over time.  We  conducted a genome-wide association study of those with events compared to those without events. Our results showed that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on the LPA gene were associated with a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease events. Individuals with the variant were 50% more likely to have an event. More importantly, even among patients who achieved ideal on-treatment LDL cholesterol levels (<70 mg/dL), the association remained statistically significant. We then did a phenome-wide association study to see if other diseases or conditions were associated with these LPAvariants. The major associated conditions were all cardiovascular. This sort of study can highlight potential other indications for a drug targeting this pathway and suggest potential adverse events that might be experienced from targeting this pathway. Clearly, more and larger studies will be needed to truly understand the potential risks and benefits of a future drug targeting this pathway. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC / 06.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41522" align="alignleft" width="200"]Robin Nijveldt  MD PhD FESC Radboudumc Department of Cardiology The Netherlands Dr. Nijveldt[/caption] Robin Nijveldt  MD PhD FESC Radboudumc, Department of Cardiology and VU University Medical Center Department of cardiology the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know from previous studies that patients with unrecognized myocardial infarcts have worse prognosis than people without infarcts. It was currently unknown in how many patients presenting with a first acute myocardial infarction had previous unrecognized MI, and if so, if this is still a prognostic marker on long term follow-up. In this paper we studied 405 patients from 2 academic hospitals in the Netherlands, with an average follow-up duration of 6.8 years. We found that silent MI was present in 8.2% of patients presenting with first acute MI, and that silent MI is a strong and independent predictor for adverse long-term clinical outcome such as death (HR 3.69) or the composite end point of death, reinfarction, ischemic stroke, or CABG (HR 3.05). Additionally, it appears that ECG is of limited value to detect silent MI, since our study did not reveal an association with long-term clinical outcome.
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41395" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Karl T. Kelsey, MD, MOH Professor of Epidemiology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini Providence, R.I. 02912 Dr. Kelsey[/caption] Dr. Karl T. Kelsey, MD, MOH Professor of Epidemiology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Fellow, Collegium Ramazzini Providence, R.I. 02912 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​There is a large literature suggesting that the ratio of neutrophils to lymphocytes (the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio or NLR) in the peripheral blood at the time of diagnosis is robustly predictive ​of outcome in acute cardiovascular disease. We were curious to know if the peripheral blood profile and this ratio was a feature of the disease process, since, to our knowledge, this had not been investigated in a prospective study.  Hence, we used the resources of 2 prospective studies to assess this question, the Jackson Heart Study and the Normative Aging Study.  In both cases, the NLR predicted all cause mortality and, in the Jackson Heart Study, where we had well adjudicated outcomes, the NLR predicted various specific cardiovascular outcomes as well. Interestingly, the outcome was also modified by a well known genetic polymorphism of African origin that results in a relative neutropenia.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 20.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41185" align="alignleft" width="128"]Sean Lee Zheng BM BCh MA MRCP Cardiovascular Division King's College Hospital London British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence London, UK Dr. Zheng[/caption] Sean Lee Zheng BM BCh MA MRCP Cardiovascular Division King's College Hospital London British Heart Foundation Centre of Research Excellence London, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The growing prevalence of type 2 diabetes and its associated burden on cardiovascular disease is a global problem. A number of drug treatments effective in lowering blood glucose are now available, with the three latest drug classes developed being the DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 agonists and SGLT-2 inhibitors. While the use of medications from these three classes are increasing, it remains unknown how they compare in lowering the risk of death or cardiovascular disease. This leads to clinical uncertainty when it comes to introducing new medicines for our patients. Our study aimed to use data from randomized clinical trials in a network meta-analysis, allowing these three drug classes to be compared with one another. Our study, which included 236 studies enrolling 176310 participants, showed that the use of SGLT-2 inhibitors or GLP-1 agonists were associated with a lower risk of death than with DPP-4 inhibitors. SGLT-2 inhibitors had additional beneficial effects on heart failure events compared with the other two drug classes.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Lipids / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41237" align="alignleft" width="142"]Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MD MPH professor of epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health. CREDIT Tom Langdon Dr. Robinson[/caption] Dr. Jennifer Robinson, MD MPH Professor, Departments of Epidemiology & Medicine Director, Prevention Intervention Center Department of Epidemiology University of Iowa MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Compared to previous placebo-controlled statin trials, the FOURIER trial where all patients were on high or moderate intensity statin, had no reduction in cardiovascular or total mortality and the reduction in cardiovascular events was less than expected.  However, other PCSK9 inhibitor trials performed in populations with higher baseline low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) had cardiovascular risk reductions similar to that in the statin trails.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 12.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41141" align="alignleft" width="149"]Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S. Associate Professor Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality Department of Cardiac Surgery. University of Michigan Dr. Likosky[/caption] Donald Likosky, Ph.D., M.S. Associate Professor Head of the Section of Health Services Research and Quality Department of Cardiac Surgery. University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Michigan was one of several states to expand Medicaid. Current evaluations of the Michigan Medicaid expansion program have noted increases in primary care services and health risk assessments, but less work has evaluated its role within a specialty service line. There has been concern among some that Medicaid patients, who have traditionally lacked access to preventive services, may be at high risk for poor clinical outcomes if provided increased access to cardiovascular interventions. Using data from two physician-led quality collaboratives, we evaluated the volume and outcomes of percutaneous coronary interventions and coronary artery bypass grafting 24mos before and 24mos after expansion. We noted large-scale increased access to both percutaneous coronary interventions (44.5% increase) and coronary artery bypass grafting (103.8% increase) among patients with Medicaid insurance. There was a decrease in access for patients with private insurance in both cohorts. Nonetheless, outcomes (clinical and resource utilization) were not adversely impacted by expansion. 
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, JAMA / 06.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Alvin Chandra  MD first author  and Dr. Scott David Solomon M.D. Director, Noninvasive Cardiology Professor, Harvard Medical School Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In general, the quality of life of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction patients is quite impaired, and  similar to that of patients on dialysis. PARADIGM-HF was the largest trial of heart failure patients and showed that sacubitril/valsartan was superior to the gold-standard enalapril in reducing cardiovascular death, heart failure hospitalization and all-cause mortality. In addition, patients on sacubitril/valsartan, when compared to enalapril, showed significant improvement in overall quality of life. In this study we looked in more detail at the individual components of “quality of life” and found that in virtually all domains and activities, patients who were randomized to sacubitril/valsartan reported improvement in their limitations  compared to those who were randomized to enalapril. These activities included jogging, doing hobbies, and household chores, with the largest improvement seen in  sexual activities limitations.
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Heart Disease, JAMA / 06.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40958" align="alignleft" width="150"]Stella Aslibekyan, PhD Associate Professor PhD Program Director Department of Epidemiology University of Alabama at Birmingham Dr. Aslibekyan[/caption] Stella Aslibekyan, PhD Associate Professor PhD Program Director Department of Epidemiology University of Alabama at Birmingham MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When the human genome was sequenced in 2003, there were somewhat unrestrained expectations of unraveling all etiologic mysteries and discovering breakthrough treatments. Needless to say, that did not happen, in part because individual genetic variants can only account for a small fraction of trait variability. Since then, epigenetics-- the study of mitotically heritable changes in gene expression-- has emerged as another promising avenue for understanding disease risk. The best studied epigenetic process in humans is DNA methylation, and earlier studies (including some from our group) have shown interesting associations between changes in methylation in specific genomic regions and cardiovascular disease traits, e.g. plasma cholesterol levels. In this project, we have combined DNA methylation data on thousands of individuals from multiple international cohorts and interrogated epigenetic contributions to circulating tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), a marker of systemic inflammation. We identified and replicated several epigenomic markers of TNFa, linked them to variation in gene expression, and showed that these methylation changes (which were located in interferon pathway genes) were predictive of coronary heart disease later in life. Interestingly, the variants we discovered were not sequence-dependent (in other words, they were not associated with any genetic mutations), highlighting the role of the environment.
Author Interviews, BMJ, Heart Disease, Pain Research, Stroke / 04.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40974" align="alignleft" width="133"]Islam Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida   Dr. Elgendy[/caption] Islam Elgendy MD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine University of Florida   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Migraine headache is a prevalent medical condition, often being chronic and debilitating to many. Previous studies have shown that migraine, particularly migraine with aura, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. Recently, a number of these studies have reported long-term follow up data. To better understand the long-term morbidity that is associated with migraines, we performed a systematic evaluation to study the link between migraine and risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. This study demonstrated that migraine is associated with an increased risk of major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events, which was driven by an increased long-term risk of myocardial infarction and stroke. This effect was predominantly observed in migraineurs who have aura. 
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Heart Disease, Technology / 03.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40936" align="alignleft" width="200"]Benjamin Hibbert MD PhD FRCPCz Interventional Cardiologist Clinician Scientist and Assistant Professor CAPITAL Research Group Vascular Biology and Experimental Medicine Laboratory University of Ottawa Heart Institute Dr. Benjamin Hibbert[/caption] Benjamin Hibbert MD PhD FRCPCz Interventional Cardiologist Clinician Scientist and Assistant Professor CAPITAL Research Group Vascular Biology and Experimental Medicine Laboratory University of Ottawa Heart Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: When we designed the study in 2014 we were routinely using the modified allen's test (MAT) to screen patients for transradial access for coronary angiography and PCI. We all had iPhones and we started using the HeartRate monitoring application as a photoplethysmograph. Quite quickly we found that using the application was simple, worked well and because we always had our iPhone with us we tended to use it more often. That being said - we wanted to test it in a scientifically rigorous method and thus we elected to perform an RCT to evaluate it's diagnostic accuracy. smart app measures blood flowThe current study is the first to use the photoplethysmographic capabilities of smartphones to assess blood flow - in this case in the hand to assess for blockages in arteries before accessing them for a procedure. The hand is supplied by two arteries - the radial artery and the ulnar artery. In many cases in medicine we use the radial artery, whether it be placing a catheter to monitor blood pressure, as a method of getting to the heart for angioplasty and in coronary artery bypass grafting it is removed and used as a bypass to restore blood flow to the heart. In many instances doctors assess the patency of the ulnar artery to decided if they are going to use the radial artery for a procedure - the concept being that if the ulnar is compromised and we use the radial then the hand can develop complications from not enough blood flow. To determine if a patient is eligible doctors would use a bedside physical exam test called the modified Allen's test in which they occlude both arteries to cause the hand to turn white. They then release pressure on the ulnar letting blood only pass through this vessel to see if the hand turns pink. However, there is a lot of variability in what doctors consider to be abnormal and determining if the test is positive can depend on numerous factors including skin tone, the amount of pressure applied and the size of the vessels.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, NIH / 24.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40757" align="alignleft" width="125"]Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Metabolic Epidemiology Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS Rockville, MD 20850 Dr. Saint-Maurice[/caption] Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Metabolic Epidemiology Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS Rockville, MD 20850 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults do 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity physical activity (PA) in increments of at least 10 minutes at a time. However, there is limited epidemiologic evidence supporting the use of the 10-minute increment and whether shorter increments (for instance walking up the stairs) can also be beneficial for health in adults. We looked at accelerometer-measured physical activity in roughly 5,000 adults (40 and older) representative of the US population and followed them prospectively (over 7 years) to determine whether physical activity accumulated in 10-minute increments, but also accumulated in shorter bursts, were associated with lower risk of death (mortality data came from the National Death Index).
Author Interviews, Bone Density, Heart Disease / 21.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40684" align="alignleft" width="142"]Dr. Joshua Lewis, PhD National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow, Edith Cowan University, School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Kidney Research Children’s Hospital Westmead Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, School of Public Health University of Sydney Dr. Lewis[/caption] Dr. Joshua Lewis, PhD National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Fellow, Edith Cowan University, School of Medical and Health Sciences / Centre for Kidney Research Children’s Hospital Westmead Honorary Senior Research Fellow, Sydney Medical School, School of Public Health University of Sydney  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Bone scans from bone density machines are widely used to predict future fracture risk. These scans can also be used to detect the presence and severity of abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), which is a marker of advanced atherosclerosis. We examined bone scans of over one thousand Australian women that were taken in the late 1990s using a method developed many years ago by one of the authors Dr. Kiel from the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife and Harvard Medical School, and validated on scans from bone density machines by the joint first author Dr. Schousboe from the University of Minnesota. More than 2/3rd of these women had detectable AAC and women with more advanced calcification had increased likelihood of long-term cardiovascular hospitalizations and deaths as well as deaths from any cause. These finding remained significant even after adjusting for conventional cardiovascular risk factors.
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 16.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40481" align="alignleft" width="122"]Dawn Abbott, MD, FACC, FSCAI Associate Chief, Faculty Development and Academic Advancement Director, Interventional Cardiology and Structural Fellowship Programs Associate Professor of Medicine Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown Providence, RI 02903 Dr. Abbott[/caption] Dawn Abbott, MD, FACC, FSCAI Associate Chief, Faculty Development and Academic Advancement Director, Interventional Cardiology and Structural Fellowship Programs Associate Professor of Medicine Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown Providence, RI 02903  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 35,000 transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures are now performed annually in the United States (US). TAVR is usually performed as an elective procedure in hemodynamically stable patients. Approximately 1 in 5 hospitalizations for severe aortic stenosis (AS) are emergent with acute decompensation. Balloon aortic valvuloplasty (BAV) is a therapeutic option in patients with acute decompensated AS; however, long-term survival after BAV remains poor with a high incidence of valvular re-stenosis. Data on the outcomes of urgent/emergent TAVR as a rescue therapy in patients with acute decompensated severe AS are extremely limited.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Medicare / 15.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rishi K. Wadhera MD Clinical Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The Hospital Value Based Purchasing program, in which over 3,000 hospitals participate, is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pay-for-performance program that links hospital fee per service reimbursement to performance, through measures like 30-day mortality rates after an acute myocardial infarction (a heart attack), and other measures such as average spending for an episode of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Hospitals that perform poorly on these measures are financially penalized by CMS.
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Duke, Heart Disease / 14.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40446" align="alignleft" width="156"]Stephen J. Greene, MD Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC Dr. Greene[/caption] Stephen J. Greene, MD Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Durham, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2008, the United States FDA issued an industry guidance specifying that diabetes drugs should routinely be tested in large cardiovascular outcome trials to confirm cardiovascular safety. The guidance specifically mentioned cardiovascular safety in terms of MACE, or major adverse cardiac events, including cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke.  Largely because of this, these trials have traditionally had a focus on cardiovascular disease in terms of atherosclerotic events. Heart failure was not mentioned in the FDA document and these trials have had a lesser focus on it. As the years have gone by, we have learned more and more about the connection between diabetes and heart failure. There is tremendous overlap between the two patient populations. Also, as more and more of the large cardiovascular outcome trials have been completed, we have seen multiple examples of various glucose lowering therapies either increasing or decreasing risk of heart failure events. Given all these data on heart failure/ diabetes interactions, the goal of our research was to carefully examine all of the completed large cardiovascular outcome trials of diabetes therapies to systematically describe the type of heart failure-related data they capture. As an initial step in improving heart failure characterization in these trials, we wanted to first describe what trials have already been doing and where the gaps in understanding heart failure in these trials exist. Overall, we found major gaps in the amount and quality of the heart failure data capture in these trials. We looked at 21 large trials, including over 150,000 patients. Rates of patients with baseline heart failure were inconsistently provided, and among those trials that did provide it, heart failure patients tended to be underrepresented compared to the general population. Patients with baseline heart failure were also poorly characterized, with minimal data on functional status, ejection fraction, or heart failure medications. Only 6 trials reported rates of new-onset heart failure and the definitions used were non-specific. Most trials tended to report rates of heart failure hospitalization, but did not include data on fatal or other types of heart failure events. Only 2 trials included heart failure events within the primary study endpoint. More details are included in our full manuscript, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology to coincide with our presentation at the ACC conference.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Women's Heart Health / 13.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Somwail Rasla, MD Primary Care Center Brown University, Pawtucket, RI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Heart failure (HF) is a major global epidemic. The risk of heart failure rises with age, It triples for women above age 60. Studies have found an inverse relationship between the risk of heart failure hospitalization and midlife fitness.Walking is the most common form of physical activity reported in women and older adults. T his study aims at exploring the association of walking pace (speed), walking frequency and duration with the risk of incident acute hospitalized HF (HHF).
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Heart Disease / 12.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40453" align="alignleft" width="150"]Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH Heart and Vascular Center Brigham and Women's Hospital  Dr. Vaduganathan[/caption] Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH Heart and Vascular Center Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The prevalence of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is rising globally, yet no medical therapies are currently available to alter its natural history and its progression remains incompletely understood. Sudden death may represent a target for therapy in this disease entity. In 1,767 patients with HFpEF enrolled in the Americas region of the TOPCAT trial, we found that sudden death accounts for ~20% of all deaths. Male sex and insulin-treated diabetes mellitus identify patients at higher risk for sudden death. Sudden death was numerically lower but not statistically reduced in those randomized to spironolactone.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Weight Research / 11.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40485" align="alignleft" width="160"]Dr. Sadiya S. Khan, MD MS Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois Dr. Khan[/caption] Dr. Sadiya S. Khan, MD MS Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Department of Preventive Medicine Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Chicago, Illinois MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In recent years, controversy has grown regarding findings termed the "obesity paradox" whereby individuals with cardiovascular disease who are obese have "better" outcomes. These findings have led to confusion for patients who are obese. The main findings of our study help clarify the adverse cardiovascular risks for obese individuals with a shorter overall health span and lifespan. Obese participants in our study lived shorter and sicker with more years lived with cardiovascular diseases and greater lifetime risk of developing cardiovascular disease. 
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Psychological Science / 11.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40262" align="alignleft" width="156"]Dr. Alexander Fanaroff, Duke Dr. Fanaroff[/caption] Dr. Alexander Fanaroff MD Duke University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Among patients with chronic angina, there are strong associations between depression and clinical outcomes, which illustrates the important interplay between psychosocial symptoms and physical symptoms in this condition. But depressive symptoms are distinct from expectations and optimism regarding recovery and returning to a one’s normal lifestyle. Patients with chronic angina may not be optimistic about their outlook for a number of reasons, including uncertainty about their prognosis or lack of medical knowledge, but for many patients with chronic angina, the outlook is actually quite good. We examined data from RIVER-PCI, a clinical trial that randomized patients with chronic angina and incomplete revascularization to ranolazine or placebo, and were followed for the primary outcome of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization. Patients were asked at baseline, 1 month, 6 months, and 12 months how much they agreed with the phrase, “I am optimistic about my future and returning to a normal lifestyle.” We categorized patients by their responses at baseline – we coded “strongly agree” as very optimistic, “agree” as optimistic, “neutral” as neutral, and “disagree” and “strongly disagree” as not optimistic – and evaluated the association between baseline optimism and the primary outcome over long-term follow-up. We found that most patients were optimistic at baseline – 33% were very optimistic, 42% were optimistic, 19% were neutral, and 5% were not optimistic – and the majority remained optimistic over long-term follow-up. The most optimistic patients had a lower prevalence of prior myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease and less severe angina at baseline than less optimistic patients. The rate of the ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization was higher in neutral (32.8%) and not optimistic (35.0%) patients compared with the most optimistic patients (24.4%). Even after adjusting for baseline comorbidities and angina frequency, the most optimistic patients had a 30% lower risk of ischemia-driven hospitalization or revascularization compared with neutral or not optimistic patients.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Lancet, Menopause, Women's Heart Health / 10.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40430" align="alignleft" width="100"]Mihir Sanghvi Academic Junior Doctor Barts Health NHS Trust Dr. Sanghvi[/caption] Mihir Sanghvi Academic Junior Doctor Barts Health NHS Trust MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The effect of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), previously known as hormone replacement therapy, on cardiovascular health in post-menopausal women remains controversial and unclear. Extensive observational data had suggested MHT to be cardioprotective, leading to MHT being routinely prescribed for both primary and secondary prevention of coronary heart disease (CHD). However, subsequent data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study (HERS) studies cast doubt on the beneficial cardiovascular effects of MHT; this was reflected in learned societies’ clinical guidance concerning MHT’s role in CHD prevention. The most recent randomised trial data on the subject arose from the Danish Osteoporosis Prevention Study, which indicated that women taking menopausal hormone therapy had a reduced risk of the composite endpoint of mortality, heart failure and myocardial infarction but the study has been subject to criticism [10]. In more recent work, again from the WHI, there was no difference in cardiovascular mortality in MHT users compared to placebo, although the authors themselves state that cause-specific mortality data should be interpreted “cautiously”. The UK Biobank is an ongoing, large-scale, population-based study designed to examine determinants of health in middle and old age. Besides extensive collection of health questionnaire data, biological samples and physical measurements, it has incorporated cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging – the gold standard for analysis of cardiac structure and function – to provide detailed imaging phenotypes. At present, there is a paucity of data on the effects of  menopausal hormone therapy on left ventricular (LV) and left atrial (LA) volumes and function, alterations in which are markers of subclinical cardiovascular disease and have prognostic implications. We found that in a large, population-based cohort of post-menopausal women free of cardiovascular disease, use of menopausal hormone therapy is not associated with adverse, subclinical changes in cardiac structure and function. Indeed, we demonstrate significantly smaller LV and LA chamber volumes which have been linked to favorable cardiovascular outcomes in other settings.
Author Interviews, Duke, Heart Disease, JACC / 07.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_20394" align="alignleft" width="200"]Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Durham, NC 27705 Dr. Renato Lopes[/caption] Renato D. Lopes MD, MHS, PhD Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology Duke University Medical Center Duke Clinical Research Institute Terrace Level, Durham, NC 27705 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? 1-      Digoxin is used in ≈ 30% of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) worldwide, despite the lack of randomized clinical trials to assess its efficacy and safety in this setting. 2-      Current AF guidelines recommend digoxin for rate control in patients with AF with and without heart failure (HF). 3-      There are no specific recommendations about serum digoxin concentration monitoring in the atrial fibrillation guidelines.
Author Interviews, Depression, Heart Disease, JAMA / 27.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40300" align="alignleft" width="142"]David Bekelman, MD, MPH  Associate Professor of Medicine and Nursing Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Denver, CO University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO Dr. Bekelman[/caption] David Bekelman, MD, MPH  Associate Professor of Medicine and Nursing Eastern Colorado Health Care System, Department of Veterans Affairs, Denver, CO University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many of the 5.8 million Americans with heart failure live with bothersome symptoms, reduced function and poor quality of life.  Improving their care is important because many people with heart failure live with these challenges for years.

This study evaluated the effect of a team intervention, Collaborative Care to Alleviate Symptoms and Adjust to Illness, also called CASA, on several aspects of quality of life in 314 patients with heart failure.  The patients, who received care at diverse health systems in Colorado, were randomized to receive usual care or usual care supplemented with the CASA intervention, which included a nurse and a social worker who collaborated with a primary care provider, cardiologist, and palliative care physician to address the patients’ needs.

The study found that the CASA intervention did not influence the primary outcome of heart failure health status, yet did improve patients’ depression and fatigue.  CASA did not influence number of patient hospitalizations or mortality.

Author Interviews, End of Life Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Technology / 27.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40246" align="alignleft" width="159"]A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) pumping blood from the left ventricle to the aorta, connected to an externally worn control unit and battery pack. Wikipedia image A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) pumping blood from the left ventricle to the aorta, connected to an externally worn control unit and battery pack.
Wikipedia image[/caption] Larry A. Allen, MD, MHS Associate Professor, Medicine Associate Head for Clinical Affairs, Cardiology Medical Director, Advanced Heart Failure Aurora, CO 80045 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Deciding whether or not to get a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is one of the most challenging medical decisions created by modern medicine. LVADs improve overall survival but also come with serious risks and lifestyle changes. Particularly for older patients with multiple medical problems, this is a complex choice. Our research group at the University of Colorado spent years systematically developing unbiased pamphlet and video decision aids for patients and caregivers. We also developed a clinician-directed decision support training for LVAD program staff. The DECIDE-LVAD trial studied the implementation and effectiveness of this decision support intervention with patients and their caregivers in 6 hospitals in the U.S. When compared to previously used education materials, the decision aids appeared to improve patients’ decision quality and lowered the total number of patients getting LVADs.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Mediterranean Diet, Nutrition, Vegetarians, Weight Research / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Vegetarian dan dan noodles” by Andrea Nguyen is licensed under CC BY 2.0Francesco Sofi, MD PhD Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine University of Florence, Florence, Italy; Clinical Nutrition Unit, Careggi University Hospital Don Carlo Gnocchi Foundation Italy, Onlus IRCCS Florence, Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Mediterranean and Vegetarian diets are two of the most beneficial dietary patterns for prevention of chronic degenerative diseases. No studies have been conducted in the same group of subjects, by comparing these two dietary profiles. Main results are that both diets have been found to be beneficial for cardiovascular prevention, in the same group of subjects at low risk of cardiovascular disease. In particular, vegetarian diet determined a reduction of total and LDL-cholesterol, whereas Mediterranean diet resulted in lower levels of triglycerides and some inflammatory parameters