Author Interviews, Infections, Nutrition, PLoS, Red Meat / 05.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher A. McDevitt B.Sc. (Hons) Ph.D , Associate Professor Group Leader, ARC Future Fellow The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity Melbourne | Victoria | Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Zinc-deficiency affects nearly one-third of the world’s population and is associated with an increased susceptibility to respiratory and enteric infections. The foremost global respiratory disease is pneumonia, which kills more than 1 million people per year with young children and the elderly being at greatest risk. This study investigated how zinc-deficiency affected Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, the primary bacterial cause of pneumonia. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Global Health, Infections, Lancet, Pediatrics / 21.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tori Cowger, MPH Ph.D Student | Population Health Sciences Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Globally, approximately one million cases of tuberculosis disease (TB) and 233,000 TB-related deaths occurred among children aged younger than 15 years during 2018. TB in children and adolescents is clinically and epidemiologically heterogeneous, making diagnosis, care, and prevention challenging. Understanding this heterogeneity can inform TB care and prevention efforts, and efforts to eliminate disparities in TB incidence and mortality in these groups. In this study, we describe the epidemiology of TB among children and adolescents in the United States, and report TB incidence rates for US territories and freely associated states and by parental country of birth, which have not been previously described. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Infections, Ophthalmology / 20.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nuadum Konne Waterborne Disease Prevention Branch CDC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: An estimated 45 million Americans enjoy the benefits of contact lens wear. Most of them practice some behaviors that put them at risk for serious eye infections. Surveys of contact lens wearers and eye care providers were conducted in 2018. One third of lens wearers recalled never hearing any lens care recommendations. Most eye care providers reported sharing recommendations always or most of the time. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, CDC, Hospital Acquired, Infections / 02.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Snigdha Vallabhaneni, MD, MPH Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Atlanta, GA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  Response: We are concerned about the fungus Candida auris (or C. auris) because it causes serious infections, is often resistant to medications, and continues to spread at alarming rates in U.S. healthcare settings. Candida. auris  primarily affects patients in who are hospitalized for a long time or are residents of nursing homes that take care of patients on ventilators. C. auris is still rare in the United States and most people are at low risk of getting infected. People who get C. auris or other Candida infections are often already sick from other medical conditions and often have invasive medical care, including ventilators for breathing support, feeding tubes, central venous catheters, and have received lots of antibiotics. Many patients infected and colonized with C. auris move frequently between post-acute care facilities and hospitals, which increases the risk of spreading C. auris between facilities. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurological Disorders / 12.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Dr. Patrick Küry Dept. of Neurology Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How do these viruses in our DNA differ from others such as the herpes family of viruses? Response: The background of our current two published studies is elucidating the role of endogenous retroviruses such as the HERV-W in contributing to neurological disease initiation and progression. Our new paper in PNAS (Kremer et al., PNAS 2019) describes a novel axon damage scenario for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in which a "toxic" protein called ENV from HERV-W instructs so called microglial cells in the human brain to attack and damage myelinated axons. Our second review article (Gruchot et al., Front Genet 2019) summarizes currently known effects on endogenous retroviruses exerted towards neural cells, that means cells other than the infiltrating immune cells. There is currently a shift of attention and research in the MS field in that resident neural cells such as oligodendrocytes, precursor cells, stem cells and microglial cells and their reactions are intensively investigated. HERVs are evolutionary acquired retroviruses (RNA viruses able to integrate into host DNA via reverse transcription from RNA to DNA) that were collected during evolution by our ancestors. Some of them remained in our genome (8% of our genome is HERV related) and in most cases appear to be non-functional, mutated or genetically silenced. A few of them, as for example HERV-W in MS or HERV-K in ALS, can apparently be activated, woken up so to say, and one of the mechanisms leading to activation might be an infection by Herpesviruses. Note that herpesviruses such as for example the Epstein Bar Virus (EBV) are long known suspected triggers of MS, however, a direct correlation could never be demonstrated. HERVs such as HERV-W might therefore constitute the missing link. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Infections, University of Michigan / 09.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Valerie M. Vaughn, MD MSc Assistant Professor of Medicine and Research Scientist, Division of Hospital Medicine The Patient Safety Enhancement Program and Center for Clinical Management Research Michigan Medicine and the Ann Arbor VA Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pneumonia is one of the top causes for hospitalization and one of the main reasons for antibiotic use in US hospitals. In the past decade, studies have suggested that patients can be safely treated with short course antibiotic therapy instead of the prolonged courses we used to prescribe. Our study looked at prescribing practices in 43 hospitals across the state of Michigan to see if we were appropriately prescribing short course therapy, and if so, how that affected patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Pharmaceutical Companies / 08.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr Mark Blaskovich PhD Institute for Molecular Bioscience's Centre for Superbug Solutions The University of Queensland In collaboration with Botanix Pharmaceuticals Ltd  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Botanix is a company that has been developing topical formulations of CBD for treatment of skin diseases such as atopic dermatitis and acne, based on its reported anti-inflammatory properties. However, these diseases are also associated with bacterial infection, so they were interested in looking at potential antimicrobial activity, as there are some previous literature reports suggesting it is active. They contacted us to do some more in-depth investigations. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Environmental Risks, Infections / 02.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Radhika Gharpure MPH DVM Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer CDC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? Would you tell us about cryptosporidiosis infections?  Where is is found? How is it transmitted? Response: The data from our most recent report looked at outbreaks caused by Cryptosporidium (Crypto) in the United States during 2009 – 2017. Outbreaks have increased an average of 13% each year. Crypto, a parasite, is spread through the poop of infected humans or animals. People can get sick after they swallow the parasite in contaminated water or food or after contact with infected people or animals. Crypto is the leading cause of disease outbreaks in the United States linked to water, specifically outbreaks linked to pools or water playgrounds. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Emory, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics, Vaccine Studies / 02.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ms. Cassandra Pingali Ms. Pingali worked on this paper while a a graduate student at Emory University, and completed it post-graduation. She is currently an ORISE fellow at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Immunization Services Division MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite high overall immunization coverage in the United States, we are currently experiencing the largest measles outbreak since measles was declared eliminated in 2000. In 2014, California grappled with a very large measles outbreak known as the “Disneyland” outbreak. Later investigation revealed that most of the affected children were unvaccinated against measles despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. In order to prevent future outbreaks, California officials wanted to improve their declining childhood vaccination coverage. California passed two laws and implemented an educational program for school staff to increase vaccination rates in the state. We felt it was important to take a systematic look at these interventions and examine if public health initiatives such as these are working to improve vaccination rates. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cognitive Issues, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arindam Nandi  PhD Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The motivation for this study comes from a small but growing body of evidence on the potential long-term benefits of vaccines. The recent resurgence of measles outbreaks in several countries which had previously eliminated the virus makes our study additionally relevant. There have been over 1,000 measles cases reported across 28 states in the US so far in 2019, which is the largest number of cases the country has seen in almost 3 decades. Similarly high number of cases have been reported in several European countries in recent years. This study reiterates the importance of vaccination and proves the long-term benefits of the measles vaccine in low- and middle-income countries, which account for a large proportion of global measles cases. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Houston PhD Senior Scientist and wound project Neem Biotech MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Biofilms are complex bacterial communities formed during the natural infection process as a protection mechanism and controlled by bacterial quorum sensing. These biofilm communities allow infections to spread by producing toxins that inhibit the body’s immune system, generating exopolysaccharide and changes in metabolic state that reduce the efficacy of antibiotics and activating virulence factors, which ultimately drive the spread of infection. Stopping the spread of infection by inhibition of quorum sensing has potential to manage a wide range of infections, including in wounds. In chronically-infected wounds, the prevention of biofilm formation, disruption of mature biofilms, reduction of virulence factors and thereby the spread of infection remains clinically elusive. Quorum sensing (QS) pathways regulate microbial motility, virulence factor production and the formation and maturation of biofilms. Inhibiting QS therefore presents a potential mode of therapeutic intervention for infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections, Vaccine Studies / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa Lindesmith, MS Research specialist Ralph S. Baric, PhD Professor, Departments of Epidemiology, Microbiology and Immunology Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center Gillings School of Global Public Health University of North Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the types of outbreaks caused by Norovirus infections? Response: Noroviruses cause about 20% of endemic and 50% of food-borne acute gastroenteritis, infecting all age groups, globally.  While may different strains of norovirus cause outbreaks primarily in community settings, since the mid-1990’s the GII.4 strains of norovirus have caused waves of pandemic disease every 2-7 years.  These pandemics are associated with emergence of a GII.4 strain that has changed key viral domains rendering the virus less susceptible to recognition by and protection from a person’s immune system.  For a vaccine to be efficacious against pandemic GII.4 strains, it must be able to train the immune system to focus on the part of the GII.4 virus that does not change over time. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections, JAMA / 19.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard Brindle DM FRCP Honorary Reader, University of Bristol, UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This review is an update of the 2010 Cochrane Review of Interventions for cellulitis and erysipelas (DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004299) but focusing on antibiotics.  It provides a valuable resource for clinicians in summarizing current best evidence and highlighting gaps in the research. This review will inform the production of evidence-based guidelines covering antibiotic choice, route of administration, duration of treatment and the role of combinations of antibiotics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Genetic Research, Infections, NEJM, UCSF / 13.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Charles Chiu, M.D./Ph.D. Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Medicine / Infectious Diseases Director, UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center Associate Director, UCSF Clinical Microbiology Laboratory UCSF School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you describe what is meant by metagenomic sequencing? Response: Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) is the use of technology to generate millions of sequence reads to diagnose infection sin patients by characterizing the full range of potential pathogens (bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) in a single sample. Although shown to be a promising diagnostic tool for  infectious diseases in case reports and limited case series (Chiu and Miller Nature Reviews Genetics 20, 341-355 (2019)), to date the “real-life” utility of this approach for patient care has hitherto not been demonstrated.  This study is the first prospective, multi-center study of clinical mNGS testing for the diagnosis of neurological infections in acutely ill hospitalized patients presenting with meningitis and/or encephalitis. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections, University of Pittsburgh / 15.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Minh-Hong Nguyen, MD Infectious Diseases Professor of Medicine Director, Transplant Infectious Diseases Director, Antimicrobial Management Program Department of Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Blood cultures, the gold standard for diagnosing blood stream infections, are insensitive and limited by prolonged time to results. Early institution of appropriate antibiotics is a crucial determinant of improved outcomes in patients with sepsis and blood stream infections (BSI). For these reasons, development of rapid non-culture diagnostic tests for blood stream infections is a top priority. The T2Bacteria panel is the first direct from blood, non-culture test cleared by FDA for diagnosis of blood stream infections .  It detects within 4-6 hours the 5 most common ESKAPE bacteria that are frequent causes of hospital infection, and which are often multi-drug resistant.  This study shows that the T2Bacteria panel rapidly and accurately diagnosed and identified ESKAPE bacterial BSIs, and identified probable and possible BSIs that were missed by blood cultures (in particular among patients who were already receiving antibiotics). (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections, NEJM / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Birgit Nikolay PhD MATHEMATICAL MODELLING OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES Institut Pasteur  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Nipah virus was identified by the World Health Organization as an emerging infectious disease that may cause major epidemics if the pathogen evolves to become more transmissible, leading the organization to prioritize it for research to prevent future health emergencies. In the absence of efficient treatments or vaccines, the only way to control Nipah virus outbreaks is through targeted interventions that limit opportunities of spread. Designing such interventions is challenging in a context where transmission mechanisms remain poorly understood. The study provides important insights to better understand these mechanisms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, Infections / 07.05.2019

Genetically Fast-Changing Superbugs at Hospitals Require More Stringent Cleaning MethodsThe number of deaths caused by resistant bacteria is expected to reach 10 million by 2025, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. A highly resistant bacteria found in hospitals - Klebsiella pneumoniae - is now a big global threat, according to a recent (April, 2019) study published by researchers from University College London. Researchers have issued a warning that more stringent cleaning of infectious wards and new air disinfection protocols are key to battling the bug. This is because this bacteria possesses the ability to change genetically at an alarming rate, adapting and essentially nullifying the effect of all current antibiotics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA / 01.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas B. DeFelice, PhD Department of Environmental Medicine & Public Health Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Effective allocation of public health resources during an outbreak is complicated and often reactive. Thus, it is important that we develop quantitative tools that can accurately and rapidly forecast the progression of an outbreak and provide decision support. Recently, several advancements have been made in the realm of infectious disease forecasting: it is a field that is growing in exciting directions. However, for these forecasting tools to work in real time, we must understand how the forecasting apparatus and observational network work in real time to ensure they are sufficient to support accurate operational predictions. We previously showed that accurate and reliable forecasts of West Nile virus outbreaks can be made using surveillance data and a mathematical model representing the interactions between birds, mosquitoes and risk of human spillover. This model system was able to retrospectively forecast mosquito infection rates prior to the week of peak mosquito infection, and to forecast accurately the seasonal total number of human West Nile virus cases prior to when the majority of cases were reported. For this study, we were interested in the data flow process and the question of whether appropriate infrastructure is in place to support real time forecasting. If this forecast system were made operational in real time, public health officials would have an evidence-based decision-support tool to help 1) actively target control of infected mosquito populations (i.e., larviciding and adulticiding), 2) alert the public to future periods of elevated West Nile virus spillover transmission risk, and 3) identify when to intensify blood donor screening. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Pediatrics / 26.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthieu Domenech de Cellès PhD Biostatistics, Biomathematics, Pharmacoepidemiology, and Infectious Diseases Unit, Institut Pasteur, Inserm U1181, University of Versailles St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Versailles, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Most high-income countries now use acellular pertussis vaccines (called DTaP, which are sub-unit vaccines based on purified antigens of the bacterium Bordetella pertussis) to protect children against pertussis. Although clinical trials demonstrated the short-term effectiveness of DTaP vaccines, there was a growing concern that the duration of protection they conferred was not very long. Those concerns were mostly based on the results of a number of epidemiological studies, which showed that the relative risk of contracting pertussis increased substantially over time, typically by 20–40% every year since last vaccination. Although such increases seem high, it was not immediately obvious how to interpret them—the more so because pertussis epidemiology is complex. In our study, we developed mathematical models of pertussis epidemiology to try to understand what the results of recent epidemiological studies really meant about the effectiveness and the duration of protection of DTaP vaccines. The most interesting—and perhaps counterintuitive—finding of our study was that those results are fully consistent with highly effective DTaP vaccines, which confer long-term protection. This is a consequence of the fact that pertussis is highly contagious and that the immunity conferred by DTaP, though very high, is not perfect.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren Breithaupt, PhD Department of Psychology George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Our study provides novel insight into the relationship between the immune system and eating disorders characterized by chronic restriction (e.g., anorexia nervosa) and binge eating and/or purging (e.g., binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa). These findings also add to the growing body of literature linking the immune systems broadly and mental disorders. We found that infections in early childhood were associated with an increased risk of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other eating disorders such as binge eating disorder in adolescence. These relationships appear to be both time and dose-dependent, meaning that the onset of eating disorder diagnosis is greatest in the first three months following the infection, and the more infections, the greater the risk.    (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, Infections / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lynn Meurs, PhD EPIET fellow at Robert Koch Institute European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: It is unknown how Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL) -producing bacteria are spread, but several studies have shown that intercontinental travellers often return home with these drug-resistant bacteria. The aim of our study was to investigate into more detail what causes colonisation with these bacteria in people travelling to low and/or middle-income countries  (LMICs) in the tropics and subtropics. We found that out of the travellers that were ESBL-negative before travelling, 23% of returned with ESBL-producing bacteria. In line with previous studies, we found that travelling to Eastern, Southern, and Western Asia is associated with ESBL colonisation. Unexpectedly, we furthermore found that staying in a hotel as well as in private accommodation as compared to other types of commercial accommodation such as hostels, camping or guesthouses, was associated with the colonisation with these drug-resistant bacteria. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Acquired, Infections, Merck / 16.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elizabeth Rhee, MD Executive Director, Infectious Disease Clinical Research Merck Research Laboratories MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the condition of ventilated nosocomial pneumonias? Dr. Rhee: Nosocomial pneumonia (NP) is a lung infection that occurs during a hospital stay. NP is often serious, and is associated with high mortality. It is one of the most common health-care associated infections in both the U.S. and Europe, accounting for over 20% of such cases. Gram-negative bacteria, mainly Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PSA) and Enterobacteriaceae, are frequent causes of nosocomial pneumonia. Limited options currently exist for the management of NP caused by Gram-negative pathogens. This is concerning because rates of resistance to Gram-negative bacteria are growing, and they are becoming increasingly difficult to treat. Forms of nosocomial pneumonia include hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), and ventilated HAP. High rates of death (ranging from 20% to more than 50%) are especially associated with ventilated HAP. Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a Gram-negative bacterium, is the most common cause of HAP/VAP in both the U.S. and Europe. Patients with NP are often critically ill, requiring ventilator support and time in intensive care, and it was important to look at this population as we explore new options for the treatment of NP. Ceftolozane/tazobactam (C/T) is an antipseudomonal cephalosporin/beta-lactamase inhibitor combination with broad in vitro activity against Gram-negative pathogens, including multi-drug resistant (MDR) P. aeruginosa and many extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers. It is FDA approved for complicated intra-abdominal and urinary tract infections in adults at 1.5g (1g ceftolozane/0.5g tazobactam) q8h. C/T is currently being studied at an investigational new dose of 3g (2g/1g) q8h, for the treatment of ventilated nosocomial pneumonia, in the ASPECT-NP Phase 3 trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Infections, STD, Vaccine Studies / 01.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lisa T. Wigfall, PhD, MCHES(R) Assistant Professor, Health and Kinesiology Texas A&M MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Human papilloma virus (or HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection that can cause some types of cancer. These include anal, cervical, oral, penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers. Some people such as people who are HIV-positive and men who have sex with men have a greater risk for developing HPV-associated cancers. The risk of developing anal cancer is significantly higher for men who have sex with men who are also HIV-positive. Our study included adults who were at risk for becoming HIV-positive, which included having unprotected anal sex. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Schizophrenia / 21.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ed Breitschwerdt, DVM, DACVIM Melanie S. Steele Distinguished Professor of Internal Medicine NC State MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this case report?  Can you briefly explain the signs/symptoms of a Bartonella infection? Response: Bartonella henselae is a bacteria most commonly associated with cat scratch disease, which until recently was thought to be a short-lived (or self-limiting) infection. There are now at least 40 different known species of Bartonella, 13 of which have been found to infect human beings. The ability to find and diagnose Bartonella infection in animals and humans – it is notorious for “hiding” in the linings of blood vessels – has led to its identification in patients with a host of chronic illnesses ranging from migraines to seizures to rheumatoid illnesses, some of which the medical community previously hadn’t been able to attribute to a specific cause. Evolving data suggests a role for these bacteria in a spectrum of cardiovascular, neurological and rheumatological diseases. Specific symptoms or diseases that have been reported with neurobartonellosis previously include encephalitis, headaches, migraines, demyelinating polyneuropathy, neuroretinitis and transverse myelitis. Documentation of Bartonella henselae blood stream infection in a boy diagnosed with Schizophrenia and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) extends the spectrum of symptomatology associated with neurobartonellosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Infections, Opiods / 18.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Serena Day, MD Ohio State University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea for this research came from my own observations of patients that I was caring for in the hospital first as an Internal Medicine Resident and now as a senior Cardiology Fellow. I did my residency here at Ohio State and noticed a marked increase in the number of patients with endocarditis that we were caring for just in my short time here as a trainee. Over 5 years, we saw an increase of 436% in intravenous drug use related endocarditis. How this disease is treated as changed as well. It used to be that if a patient was a good surgical candidate, we would offer a replacement valve. Now, we see that these patient's have such a high rate of recurrent intravenous drug use and reinfection of their heart valves that we now treat with antibiotics only rather than surgery. In many cases, the infection never goes away because we can't offer definitive therapy with surgery due to their high relapse and reinfection rates of nearly 50%. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NEJM / 13.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susan Swindells MBBS Professor and Medical Director, HIV Clinic Department of Internal Medicine University of Nebraska Medical Center Omaha, NE MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: More than one quarter of the world’s population is infected with tuberculosis (TB), and there is effective treatment for this but only a small fraction of those eligible actually receive it.   TB is the leading cause of death for people with HIV infection, globally.  One of the major problems with currently available treatments for TB infection is that they take too long, and people just stop taking them after a while.  We identified an ultra-short course of treatment (only one month) and tested it against the conventional 6-month course of treatment. Our main findings were that the new short course was just as effective as the standard 6 month course, more patients taking the short course completed their treatment, and had less adverse effects.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Infections, JAMA / 12.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chanu Rhee, MD,MPH Assistant Professor of Population Medicine Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute Assistant Hospital Epidemiologist Brigham and Women’s Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sepsis is the body’s reaction to a serious infection that results a cascade of inflammation in the body and organ dysfunction, such as low blood pressure, confusion, or failure of the lungs, kidneys, or liver.   Sepsis is a major cause of death, disability, and cost in the U.S. and around the world.  Growing recognition of this problem has led to numerous sepsis performance improvement initiatives in hospitals around the country.  Some of these efforts have also been catalyzed by high-profile tragic cases of missed sepsis leading to death, which may have contributed to a perception that most sepsis deaths are preventable if doctors and hospitals were only better at recognizing it. However, the extent to which sepsis-related deaths might be preventable with better hospital-based care is unknown.  In my own experience as a critical care physician, a lot of sepsis patients we treat are extremely sick and even when they receive timely and optimal medical care, many do not survive.  This led myself and my colleagues to conduct this study to better understand what types of patients are dying from sepsis and how preventable these deaths might be.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Nature / 28.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: bats-mattaeMatae Ahn,MD-PhD candidate Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) Programme Duke-NUS Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Bats, as the only flying mammals, are ‘special’ in their ability to host many highprofile viruses without suffering from disease. Such viruses including Ebola virus, Nipah virus and SARS or MERS coronaviruses, are highly pathogenic and often lethal to humans or animals, but yet cause no or minimal disease in bats. In addition, they also live very long relative to their small body size, despite elevated metabolic rates. However, what makes them special is still unclear. In this study, we discovered dampened NLRP3-mediated inflammation in bats in response to both ‘sterile’ stressors and infection with three different types of zoonotic RNA viruses. We identified multiple molecular mechanisms of altered bat NLRP3, a critical regulator of virus-induced and age-related inflammation, as the cause. Importantly, the reduced inflammation had no effect on the viral loads, which suggests enhanced immune tolerance to infection in bats. Bats’ natural ability to dampen stress-related and virusinduced inflammation may be a key mechanism underlying their long lifespans and unique viral reservoir status.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Vitamin D / 10.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Adrian Martineau, B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD FRSB Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity Queen Mary University of London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The World Health Organisation estimates that 10.0 million people developed active tuberculosis in 2017, and that 1.6 million people died of this disease. Multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB is caused by bacteria that are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB drugs, causing around 500,000 cases and 150,000 deaths per year worldwide. Existing antibiotic treatments for MDR TB are lengthy, costly and often toxic due to their serious side effects. One novel approach to treating MDR TB is to complement antibiotic treatment by using therapies that boost the immune system’s ability to kill TB bacteria. Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin – is known to help white blood cells to make natural antibiotic substances (antimicrobial peptides) that can punch holes in the cell membranes of TB bacteria. Several clinical trials have investigated the effects of adding vitamin D to antibiotic treatment for TB. In this study we pooled data from 8 of these studies (1850 participants) and analysed them to see if some TB patients benefited more from adding vitamin D to their treatment regimen than others. We found that vitamin D accelerated clearance of TB bacteria from the lungs of patients who had MDR TB; this benefit was not seen in patients who had ‘standard’ drug-sensitive TB. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Infections / 01.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wenquan Zou, MD, PhD Associate Professor Departments of Pathology and Neurology Director of CJD Skin Project Associate Director National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center Institute of Pathology Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine Cleveland, Ohio 44106 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain the significance of prion-induced diseases and why they have been difficult to diagnosis? Response: Our previous study has demonstrated that infectious prions are detectable in the skin samples of patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD), the most common form of human prion disease, at the terminal stage by the highly sensitive real-time quaking-induced conversion (RT-QuIC) assay and animal-based bioassay. The prion-induced diseases are significant because they are infectious diseases that can be transmitted inter-species and intra-species. For instance, mad cow disease, a prion disease in cattle, has been documented to transmit to humans. Currently, there are no cures for these fatal diseases. The definite diagnosis of prion diseases is difficult because it mainly depends on the availability of brain tissues obtained either by biopsy or autopsy for detection of prions. Brain biopsy is highly invasive and it is difficult to be accepted by patients and their families. Even for brain autopsy, it is not always feasible because of religious and cultural limitations in some regions or countries.  (more…)