Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections / 22.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Friedman, MD, FAAD Associate Professor of Dermatology Residency Program Director Director of Translational Research Department of Dermatology George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was developed out of a session I and my colleague, Neal Bhatia, held at the 2016 Orlando Dermatology Aesthetic and Clinical Conference. As an interactive session which had the audience answer whether they clinically thought an image was representative of a fungal skin infection or not, we collected audience responses and were impressed by how even dermatologists struggle with making this diagnosis clinically. This is not so surprising given the protean nature and diverse presentations of these infections, not to mention the many mimics which are not due to infection. Only one of the thirteen images shown was appropriately diagnosed by 90% of the audience. This highlights that the importance of using bedside diagnostic techniques such as KOH preps and culture to identify underlying cause in order to appropriately use the right therapy for the right condition. (more…)
Author Interviews, Herpes Viruses, Vaccine Studies / 21.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD NYU Langone Medical Center MedicalResearch.com Editor’s note: Elisabeth J. Cohen, MD, of NYU Langone Medical Center, will head a five year study to evaluate new treatment protocols for herpes zoster ophthalmicus (HZO). Herpes zoster ophthalmicus is a form of shingles that can cause prolonged pain and permanently damage the eye. Dr Cohen and NYU have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the longer-term use of suppressive antiviral medication to reduce complications of HZO, MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Can you tell us a little about herpes zoster/shingles? Response: The rationale for the study is two-fold: First: the accumulating evidence that zoster is followed by chronic active infection caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV) that contributes to complications including vision threatening eye disease and life threatening stroke. Second: the proven efficacy of suppressive antiviral treatment in reducing recurrent herpes simplex virus eye disease, caused by a different herpes virus, but with similar disease manifestations. Zoster/shingles is caused by localized, unilateral reactivation of varicella zoster virus (VZV) in people who have had varicella/chicken pox resulting in a painful blistering rash that can be followed by chronic pain/postherpetic neuralgia. There are over one million new cases of zoster per year, and the incidence has increased over the past 6 decades for unknown reasons. Although the rate of zoster increases with age, the largest number of cases occur in people in their fifties. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile / 21.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yvette van Beurden PhD student Gastroenterology & Hepatology / Medical Microbiology & Infection Control VU University medical center Amsterdam, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The use of fecal microbiota transfer (FMT), which is defined as the transfer of intestinal microbiota from healthy donors to patients, has gained momentum across the globe, since it was established as a highly effective method for treatment of recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), with cure rates around 85%. However, worldwide implementation of FMT is currently limited by a lack of uniform guidelines, concerns about safety, and remaining uncertainty of long-term side effects. In our study, we reported the long-term follow up of patients treated with FMT for recurrent CDI. With a primary cure rate of 82%, our study supports the currently available evidence that fecal microbiota transfer is a very effective treatment for recurrent CDI. Importantly, a first post-FMT recurrence of CDI can be successfully treated with antibiotics. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Ophthalmology, Zika / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Camila Ventura MD Pediatric Retina Research Fellow at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (BPEI), USA PhD student at Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) Medical Retina, Ocular Oncology, and Uveitis Department at Altino Ventura Foundation Brazil MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Brazilian outbreak of Zika virus (ZIKV) began in April 2015 and since then, we have not been able to stop its rapid spread throughout the Americas. Not only has ZIKV been disseminating very rapidly, patients affected by the ZIKV have also been presenting with some findings never before reported in the literature. Until recently, ZIKV infection was only associated with mild symptoms such as headache, rash, arthralgia, and conjunctivitis. However, in October 2015, a twenty-fold increase in the prevalence of newborns with microcephaly was reported that was later confirmed to be associated to ZIKV infection during pregnancy. Although microcephaly and other central nervous system findings were the first abnormalities reported, recent publications have described other malformations associated with ZIKV congenital infection including hearing loss, limb anomalies and ocular findings. Due to all of these systemic findings, this new clinical condition has been named Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). In January 2016, our group published the first report on the ocular findings of infants with microcephaly and presumed congenital ZIKV infection, followed by another manuscript describing 10 additional cases. We have also contributed with an article published in JAMA Ophthalmology reporting the risk factors associated to the ocular findings in babies with CZS. Other authors such as De Paula Freitas et al and Miranda 2nd et al, have also contributed to the literature by describing similar ocular findings in these infants with CZS. In the present case series, we describe the Ocular Coherence Tomography (OCT) findings in ten eyes of eight infants with CZS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Geriatrics, Infections / 15.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John P. Haran, MD Assistant Professor Department of Emergency Medicine University of Massachusetts Medical School UMass Memorial Medical Group Worcester, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2014, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) updated their guidelines for the management of skin and soft tissue infection in response to high MRSA infection rates as well as high treatment failure rates for skin and soft tissue infections. Greater than 1 in 5 patients treated for a skin abscess will fail initial treatment. Historically antibiotics have been shown to be unnecessary in the treatment of uncomplicated purulent infections. This notion has been recently challenges when authors published a randomized control trial using trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazone in the NEJM that demonstrated a minimal increase in cure rates for outpatient treatment of uncomplicated skin purulent skin infections. In this study they did not follow IDSA-guidelines nor model or stratify their analysis. It is possible their findings may be due to at-risk patient groups that did not receive antibiotics. Many widely used clinical decision rules incorporate age into their decision algorithms, however the IDSA did not do this with their recent guidelines. (more…)
Allergies, Asthma, Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 14.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deepa Patadia, MD Wexner Medical Center The Ohio State University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Influenza vaccination is recommended every autumn for all children 6 months of age and older. It is particularly important for children with asthma, who are at high risk of hospitalization or severe illness if they contract influenza infection. The rates of influenza vaccination in children with asthma have not previously been well studied, but Healthy People 2020 has set a target goal to vaccinate 70% of all children for influenza. We found that rates of vaccination in our large primary care population was much lower than the target rate, with less than 50% of all children receiving the vaccine each year over a 5 year period; however rates were higher in children with asthma, albeit still only at 55%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired / 09.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dusty Deringer Vice president of Patient Experience for Crothall Healthcare Compass One Healthcare MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings from your new research? Response: Patients’ perceptions of a hospital’s cleanliness can have a major impact on their overall care and hospital experience. Specifically, the data show correlations between patients’ perceptions of room cleanliness and three important categories: the risk of hospital-acquired infections; a hospital’s score on the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey and scores on the HCAHPS teamwork indicators. The findings are important because patients are more likely to recommend a hospital they perceive to be clean. Therefore, it makes cleanliness a target for improvement for all hospitals. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections / 08.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Snigdha Vallabhaneni Medical epidemiologist Mycotic Diseases Branch CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This report is the first to describe U.S. cases of C. auris infection. C. auris is often resistant to antifungal drugs and tends to occur in hospitalized patients. In June 2016, CDC issued a clinical alert describing the global emergence of C. auris and requesting that laboratories report C. auris cases and send patient samples to state and local health departments and CDC. Since then, CDC has been investigating reports of C. auris with several state and local health departments. Seven of the cases occurred between May 2013 and August 2016 and are described in this report. Among the seven cases detailed in the report, patients with C. auris were reported in four states: New York, Illinois, Maryland and New Jersey. All of the patients had serious underlying medical conditions and had been hospitalized an average of 18 days when C. auris was identified. Four of the patients died; it is unclear whether the deaths were associated with C. auris infection or underlying health conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, CDC, Infections, Outcomes & Safety / 07.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Shannon Novosad, MD Epidemic Intelligence Service, CDC Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Clostridium difficile can cause an infection in the colon called colitis. Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, nausea, and abdominal pain. It is an important cause of healthcare associated infections with approximately half a million C. difficile infections and 29,000 associated deaths in 2011. The Infectious Diseases Society of America and Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America published guidelines in 2010 advising clinicians on appropriate antibiotic regimens to treat C. difficile infection.  Prior studies have found that provider adherence to these guidelines, particularly in those with severe disease, is poor.  However, these studies primarily involved patients treated at a single healthcare facility. We were interested in examining CDI treatment practices in a larger group of patients with C. difficile infection located across geographically diverse areas. Further we wanted to learn more about what patient characteristics might be associated with receiving guideline-adherent therapy for C. difficile infection. We used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program (EIP) which performs active population and laboratory-based surveillance for C. difficile infections in 10 U.S. sites and examined how 11,717 patients including 2006 with severe disease were treated. We found that provider adherence to national treatment guidelines was low with only around 40% of those with severe disease being prescribed the appropriate antibiotic treatment. Our analysis suggests that those who were tested for C. difficile in the hospital or who were admitted to the hospital around the time of diagnosis were more likely to receive recommended antibiotic therapy. In addition, patients greater than 65 years old or with more underlying comorbidities were more likely to receive the right antibiotic treatment. We also found that after adjusting for age and underlying comorbidities, the odds of death within 30 days of diagnosis was almost 400% higher in patients who did not receive guideline-adherent therapy compared to those who did. (more…)
Author Interviews, End of Life Care, HIV, Pediatrics, Pediatrics / 03.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maureen E. Lyon PhD Division of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine, Center for Translational Science/Children’s Research Institute, Children’s National The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences Washington, District of Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite policy recommendations to include adolescents with chronic and life-limiting conditions in decision-making about their own end-of-life care, barriers continue in clinical practice, including fear of distressing vulnerable adolescents and providers’ beliefs that these conversations are potentially harmful. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Immunotherapy / 02.11.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jacob Lalezari, MD Quest Clinical Research San Francisco, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • Tremendous strides have been made since HIV-1 was first discovered 35 years ago. However, while many HIV patients can control the infection with currently-approved therapies, there is an urgent need for new treatments that can address viruses that are resistant to multiple antiretroviral treatment classes. With people starting treatments earlier and staying on them longer, some patients also face long-term safety and tolerability issues associated with current therapies.
  • Thousands of people are infected with HIV-1 with resistance to three classes of antiretroviral therapy (ART), and are in dire need of treatment. There are limited or no treatment options available for these patients.
  • As multi-drug resistant (MDR) HIV can be transmitted, it is imperative that it be controlled in order to prevent it from becoming a larger problem. It is important to not only focus on the patient being treated but also consider those they could infect.
  • Ibalizumab is the first biologic long-acting investigational ART to show efficacy in patients in just seven days. The Phase III TMB-301 results showed that patients with MDR HIV-1 and with limited treatment options experienced a significant decrease in viral load after receiving a loading dose of ibalizumab (2,000 mg intravenously) in addition to their failing ART therapies.
    •  A total of 40 patients were enrolled in the study.
    • Seven days after the loading dose, 83% of patients achieved a ≥ 0.5 log10 decrease from baseline compared with 3% during the seven-day control period.
    • These results were statistically significant (p<0.0001). Moreover, during that same period, 60% achieved a decrease of ≥1.0 log10.
    • The average viral load decrease for the total population was 1.1 log10
    • There were no treatment-related serious adverse events or discontinuations reported during the initial seven-day treatment period. 
(more…)
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Electronic Records, HIV / 31.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Douglas Krakower, MD Infectious Disease Division Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA, MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are 45,000 new HIV infections in the US annually, so effective HIV prevention strategies are needed. HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), whereby a person who is HIV-uninfected uses an HIV treatment medication on a daily basis to protect themselves from becoming infected with HIV, is over 90% effective when taken with high adherence. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there are 1.2 million Americans who are likely to benefit from using PrEP. However, only 80,000 persons have been prescribed PrEP. One of the barriers to implementing PrEP is that clinicians face challenges with identifying persons who are most likely to benefit from PrEP, given infrequent sexual health history assessments during routine clinical care. We thus sought to develop an automated algorithm that uses structured data from electronic health records (EHRs) to identify patients who are most likely to benefit from using PrEP. Our methods included extracting potentially relevant EHR data for patients with incident HIV and without HIV from nearly a decade of EHR data from a large ambulatory practice in Massachusetts. We then used machine learning algorithms to predict HIV infection in those with incident HIV and those without HIV. We found that some algorithms could offer clinically useful predictive power to identify persons who were more likely to become infected with HIV as compared to controls. When we applied these algorithms to the general population and identified a subset of about 1% of the population with risk scores above an inflection point in the total distribution of risk scores; these persons may be appropriate for HIV testing and/or discussions about PrEP. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Nutrition, Urinary Tract Infections, Yale / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manisha Juthani-Mehta, MD, FACP, FIDSA, FSHEA Associate Professor, Section of Infectious Diseases Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program Director Yale University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the first studies that showed that cranberry juice was effective in older women living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities was published in 1994. Since that time, there have been multiple conflicting studies as to the effect of cranberry juice or capsules. We started our study in 2012. Shortly thereafter, a Cochrane review suggested that the vast body of evidence did not suggest that cranberry products work for UTI prevention, but questions still existed as to whether the appropriate dose of cranberry was being tested. Since cranberry juice is hard for older women to drink (taste, sugar load, volume), capsules at a high dose of the active ingredient (72mg type A proanthocyanidin [PAC}) was worthwhile to test. This study was a clinical trial of two cranberry capsules with a total of 72mg of proanthocyanidin (pac) vs two placebo capsules to prevent bacteria in the urine of older women who live in nursing homes. Unfortunately, it didn't work. It also didn't reduce the number of hospitalizations, deaths, antibiotics used, or antibiotic resistant bugs in the urine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Infections / 27.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle E. Doll, M.D., M.P.H. Assistant Professor Associate Hospital Epidemiologist Department of Internal Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases North Hospital Richmond, VA 23298-0019 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are many studies that show that poor oral health is associated with systemic conditions including bacterial pneumonias Fort Wayne Dentist might have to employ different strategies. Many find this link surprising, but considering that the airways are a direct conduit between the oral cavity and the lungs, saliva containing oral bacteria is able to track down into the lungs via aspiration. Previous studies have found that good oral health seems to prevent pneumonias in people susceptible to lung infections, possibly because the types and quantities of bacteria residing in the mouth are different in people with healthy versus unhealthy teeth. In my infectious disease clinical practice, I am often frustrated by my inability to assist patients with dental problems. Many of my patients are immunosuppressed, and when they have tooth decay for which they are unable to get timely dental care, I worry about consequences of untreated dental disease; lack of access to dental care is common in the United States. For these reasons, we decided to use data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to determine whether dental care is preventive for bacterial pneumonia. The MEPS database is a large, nationwide survey administered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), with comprehensive insurance data including dental insurance and access. We found that those who never see the dentist were 86% more likely to get pneumonia in a year, compared to those who visit the dentist for routine check-ups twice a year or more. Furthermore, even those who visit the dentist less than once yearly were at smaller but still significantly increased risk of pneumonia compared to those who see the dentist more frequently. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Infections, Technology / 19.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ying Kong Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of Tennessee Health Science Center Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry Memphis, TN 38163 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tuberculosis (TB) is a public health concern worldwide, with high morbidity and mortality. The causative agent of TB, M. tuberculosis, grows very slowly in culture. For research of TB, we need to quantitate bacterial numbers in order to evaluate drug and vaccine efficacy or to identify bacterial genes that are critical for survival in hosts or causing disease. M. tuberculosis divides every ~20 hours, which is much slower than other bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella typhimurium, which divide every 20 minutes. Conventionally, quantitation of M. tuberculosis needs to spread M. tuberculosis on agar plates and wait for four weeks to obtain visible colonies, and then to count colony forming units. For the fast-growing bacteria, it takes only 18 hours to obtain visible colonies on agar plates. We and other groups have developed fluorescent protein labeled M. tuberculosis strains in order to quantitate M. tuberculosis in real time by measuring fluorescence. In this way, we are able to estimate bacterial number right after fluorescence measurement, which only takes a few minutes. However, this technology is not a diagnostic tool for clinical use, because the M. tuberculosis strains that we used were recombinant strains transformed with fluorescent protein genes. Another imaging technology that we have developed, REF, is for diagnosis purpose, which has been described in details in our other papers (Xie H, et al. Rapid point-of-care detection of the tuberculosis pathogen using a BlaC-specific fluorogenic probe. Nat Chem. 2012 Oct;4(10):802-9. Cheng Y, et al. Fluorogenic probes with substitutions at the 2 and 7 positions of cephalosporin are highly BlaC-specific for rapid Mycobacterium tuberculosis detection. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2014 Aug 25;53(35):9360-4.). (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet / 17.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Penders PhD Assistant professor Dept. of Medical Microbiology Maastricht University, Maastricht MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) constitutes an increasingly important human health hazard worldwide. Especially, the rapid emergence and global spread of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae is worrisome. These bacteria often produce enzymes like extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) and carbapenemases, which inactivate most beta-lactam antibiotics, and are often co-resistant to multiple other antibiotic classes. Consequently, treatment options for infections with multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae are limited. The prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria is generally higher in low and middle income countries as a result of inappropriate use of antimicrobial agents, overcrowding and lack of hygiene and infection control measures. The exponential increase of international travel to such endemic areas may substantially contribute to the emergence and spread of AMR as it allows resistant bacteria to be rapidly transported between regions. Indeed several previous studies had already indicated that international travel is a major risk factor for colonisation with ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae. However, many questions remained unanswered, such as the travel destinations and potential risk-behaviour that provide the highest risk for colonisation, how long travellers remain colonised after they return and whether they can transmit these resistant bacteria to other people within their household once they returned from their travel. That is why we initiated the largest prospective study on the acquisition and spread of multidrug resistant bacteria in returning travellers. This multicenter study, conducted by Maastricht University Medical Center, Erasmus University Medical Center, Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, Havenziekenhuis and Utrecht University, included 2,001 travellers and 215 household members. Fecal samples of these participants were collected before and immediately after travel as well as 1, 3, 6 and 12 months after travel return and screened for the prescence of multidrug resistant Enterobacteriaceae. Moreover, extensive information on demographics, travel details, illnesses and behaviour were collected at all follow-up moments by repeated questionnaires. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Columbia, Hospital Acquired, JAMA / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Daniel E. Freedberg MD MS Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases Columbia University Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We conducted this study because previous studies indicate that the gastrointestinal microbiome is easily shared between people who co-occupy a given space (such as a hospital room).  We wondered if antibiotics might exert an effect on the local microbial environment. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics / 12.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Soren Gantt MD, PhD, MPH Investigator, BC Children's Hospital Associate Professor, Department of Infectious and Immunological Diseases (Pediatrics) Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a common virus that is usually transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, blood, and breast milk, but it can also cause congenital infection (from a pregnant woman to her fetus). While it doesn’t usually cause problems for most children or adults, congenital CMV often causes serious problems. Congenital CMV causes 25 per cent of all childhood hearing loss and it’s the second most common cause of intellectual disability. Without screening, most infected newborns are not diagnosed in time to treat them with antivirals or provide other care that can make a big difference to improving their life-long outcomes. Our study showed that screening programs for congenital CMV infection are cost-effective. We found that the cost of identifying one case of congenital CMV ranges from US$2000 to US$10,000 through universal screening, or US$566 to $2833 through a targeted screening approach. Our model showed that screening programs resulted in a net savings for the health care system of approximately USD$21 to $32 per newborn for universal screening or USD$11-$27 per newborn for targeted screening by reducing lifetime costs for therapies and lost productivity due to CMV-related health problems. This finding addresses a major barrier to implementing CMV screening programs, as costs have often been viewed as an issue. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Infections, PLoS / 10.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian K. Coombes, PhD Professor & University Scholar Associate Chair, Graduate Education Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences Assistant Dean, Biochemistry Graduate Program Canada Research Chair in Infectious Disease Pathogenesis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: North Americans have among the highest reported prevalence and incidence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) in the world. This is a lifelong disease that often strikes people in their early years, leading to decades of suffering, increased risk of colorectal cancer, and 50% increased risk of premature death. Compared to the general population, quality of life for those with Crohn’s disease is low across all dimensions of health. The need to understand the root origins of this disease and to use this information to invigorate a new pipeline of treatments and preventions has never been more pressing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM / 10.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Simon I. Hay, BSc, DPhil, DSc Professor of Global Health University of Washington Director of Geospatial Science Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME). MedicalResearch.com: Why did you undertake this study? Response: As malaria control has not been routinely informed by subnational variation of malaria burden, we undertook the study to highlight the potential for high-resolution maps of disease burden to better understand the epidemiology of malaria as well as the contribution of recent control efforts as well as to better inform future malaria control efforts. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Gender Differences, STD / 06.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alex de Voux, PhD, Epidemiologist Centers for Disease Control Division of STD Prevention MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Reported cases of primary and secondary syphilis have been increasing steadily in the United States since 2001, with men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) accounting for 83% of male primary and secondary syphilis cases with information on sex of sex partner in 2014. However calculating the true disparity of primary and secondary syphilis cases relative to the MSM population size has been difficult because census data does not routinely collect information on sexual orientation or same-sex behavior. Through a recent collaboration with Emory University and CDC, Grey and colleagues developed refined estimates of the population size of MSM by state allowing us to calculate state-specific rates of primary and secondary syphilis for the first time. Looking at data from 44 states that had information on sex of sex partner for at least 70% of their male primary and secondary syphilis cases, the overall rate of syphilis was 309 per 100,000. The state level data found syphilis rates among gay and bisexual men ranged widely among the 44 states, from 73.1 per 100,000 in Alaska to 748.3 per 100,000 in North Carolina. Some of the highest rates among MSM were in states in the Southeast and the West. Comparing rates of syphilis among MSM to men reporting sex with women only (MSW), the overall rate for MSM was 107 times the rate for MSW. By state, the rate among MSM was at least 40 times the rate among MSW – and at most, 340 times the rate among MSW. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, ENT, HPV / 04.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric M Genden, MD, FACS Isidore Friesner Professor and Chairman Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? How has the clinical picture of HPV infections of oral and throat cancers changed over the past two decades? Response: There has been no change however there has been a epidemic of viral induced throat cancer in men. The HPV virus has been established a the causative agent in cervical cancer in women. It has now been identified as a major causative agent in tonsillar and base of tongue cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, ENT, HPV / 03.10.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Franzmann, M.D. Scientific Founder and Chief Scientific Officer Vigilant Biosciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Head and neck cancer involves cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx and larynx. It is difficult to treat. Part of the challenge is that it is distinguishing the patients with tumors that are going to behave aggressively from those with less aggressive disease. As a result, many patients undergo treatment that may be more intensive and morbid than they need while others need more aggressive treatment. Tissue markers associated with prognosis may be able to help clinicians differentiate patients who need more aggressive treatment from those whose treatment can be less intensive. CD44 is a cell surface glycoprotein and tumor-initiating marker. CD44 and another surface protein, EGFR, are involved in tumor extension and are associated with poor prognosis. Certain forms of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) are known to cause oropharyngeal cancer and are associated with a good prognosis. P16 is a surrogate marker for the kind of HPV that causes cancer. Understanding the relationships between how these markers are expressed in cancer tissue may direct patient treatment in the future. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Lancet, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 30.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Marjo Renko MD PEDEGO Research Unit University of Oulu Oulu, Finland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For over a decade there has been suture materials containing antiseptic agent in the market. Trials in adults have shown some possible benefits from these sutures as in some studies they have reduced occurrence of surgical site infections. Only one small study had so far been published in children and thus we decided to carry out a large trial comparing sutures containing triclosan with ordinary ones. Our trial included over 1500 children who came to Oulu University Hospital for surgery. Surgical site infections were carefully monitored. Surgical site infections occurred in 2.6 % of the children who received absorbing sutures containing triclosan while that occurred in 5,4 % of the children who received ordinary sutures. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Pediatrics, PLoS / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth K. Mugwanya MBChB, MS Department of Epidemiology andDepartment of Global Health University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA Division of Disease Control, School of Public Health Makerere University Kampala, Uganda MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Women living in regions with high HIV prevalence are at high risk of HIV acquisition in pregnancy and postpartum because they infrequently use condoms, do not know their partner's HIV status, and have biologic changes or changes in their partner's sexual partnerships that increase susceptibility. Moreover, acute HIV infection during pregnancy or breastfeeding period is associated with high rates of mother-to child HIV transmission because of high circulating level of HIV virus in blood. Oral antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a powerful HIV prevention strategy recommended by both the World Health organization and US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. PrEP is an attractive prevention strategy for women as it can be used discreetly and independent of sexual partners. However, there is limited research about the safety of PrEP in HIV-uninfected pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and their infants. (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Microbiome, Nature, Vanderbilt / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric P Skaar, Ph.D., MPH Director, Division of Molecular Pathogenesis Ernest W. Goodpasture Professor of Pathology Vice Chair for Basic Research, Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology Vanderbilt University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nutrient metals are known to be a critical driver of the outcome of host-pathogen interactions, and C. difficile is the most common cause of hospital-acquired infections. C. difficile infection typically occurs following antibiotic-mediated disruption of the healthy microbiome. We were interested in learning how nutrient metals can shape the microbiome and impact the outcome of Clostridium difficile infection. We found that excess zinc alters the structure of the microbiome and increases the severity of C. difficile infection in mice. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 28.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Bashir A. Lwaleed PhD, FRCPath, PGCAP, FHEA, CBiol FSB, FIBMS Faculty of Health Sciences University of Southampton South Academic and Pathology Block (MP 11) Southampton General Hospital Southampton UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The study merges two longstanding interests. We have long worked out of several departments at Southampton and Portsmouth on the therapeutic potential for natural products (including the medium – chain fatty acids GLA (evening primrose oil) and EPA (fish oil) as well as honeys from a number of floral sources. Secondly, there is an established research theme in the Faculty of Healthcare Science at Southampton addressing continence related issues; moreover catheter management as an economic and infection control issue is a major concern in the NHS Trust Urology department. Biofilms on catheters are sources of infection, honey has proven antibacterial (and other therapeutic) properties in topical applications such as skin ulceration. It is a logical step to assess whether a similar use may be made for honey instilled into the bladder and/or flushing the lumen of a catheter. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections, NEJM / 21.09.2016

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Outcomes & Safety / 19.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Baggs, PhD Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We used medical claims data to estimate the amount of antibiotics used in US hospitals from 2006 - 2012. Data came from the Truven Health MarketScan Hospital Drug Database, which included about 300 hospitals and more than 34 million discharges. Antibiotic use in hospitals was very common with more than half of patients receiving at least one antibiotic during their hospital stay. Overall rates of antibiotic use in U.S. hospitals did not change over time; however, there were significant changes in the types of antibiotics prescribed. Importantly, the types of antibiotics with the largest increases in use were the types of antibiotics often considered to be the most powerful. Of particular concern, there was a 37% rise in the use of carbapenems, commonly referred to as “last resort” antibiotics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Infections, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 17.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Daria Van Tyne, PhD The Gilmore Lab Department of Ophthalmology Harvard Medical School Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A specific clone of E. coli, type ST131, which produces an extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL – an enzyme that inactivates many penicillin-type antibiotics), has rapidly spread around the globe to become the leading cause of multidrug-resistant, non-intestinal E. coli infection. Despite this, E. coli is a rare cause of infection of the cornea. A patient was recently seen at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary with a severe E. coli infection of the cornea, and the large number of antibiotic resistances of this strain tipped us off to the possibility that it might be the highly virulent ST131 ESBL type. By sequencing the DNA of its genome, we found that it was indeed ST131 ESBL E. coli. Moreover, we discovered a new mutation in this strain that allows it to produce a slimy outer coating on its surface. This slime layer, or capsule, makes the bacteria more resistant to removal by phagocytic cells of the immune system. The slime layer also makes these particular colonies appear different on a special type of agar that contains the dye Congo Red. (more…)