Is the Benefit of Arthroscopic Meniscus Surgery a Placebo Effect?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jonas Bloch Thorlund Associate Professor (MSc, PhD) Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy University of Southern Denmark

Dr. Jonas Thorlund

Jonas Bloch Thorlund
Associate Professor (MSc, PhD)
Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics
Research Unit for Musculoskeletal Function and Physiotherapy
University of Southern Denmark

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

Response: Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy is a very common knee surgery. Research evidence has seriously questioned the effect of this type of surgery for degenerative meniscal tears in middle-aged and older patients. Most young patients with traumatic meniscal injury (from sports or similar) also undergo this type of surgery. There is a general understanding that young patients with traumatic tears experience larger improvements in patient reported pain, function and quality of life. However, evidence for this presumption is sparse.

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NSAIDS Have Minimal Effect On Back Pain and Risk GI Side Effects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Gustavo Machado BPhty (Hons) Cert.MDT The George Institute for Global Health Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Gustavo Machado

Dr. Gustavo Machado BPhty (Hons) Cert.MDT
The George Institute for Global Health
Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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

Response: People with back pain are usually told by their health care practitioners to take analgesic medications to relieve their pain. But our previous research published in the BMJ showed that paracetamol does not have a measurable impact on patient’s symptoms. This resulted in recent changes in guidelines’ recommendations. The 2017 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines/UK no longer recommend paracetamol as a stand-alone intervention for back pain.

So now non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are recommended as the analgesic of first choice. However, our results show that compared to placebo, commonly used NSAIDs, such as Ibuprofen (e.g. Nurofen) and Diclofenac (e.g. Voltaren), provide only small benefits for people with back pain while increasing the risk of gastrointestinal adverse effects by 2.5 times.

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Study Validates Good Quality Care Provided By Foreign-Trained Doctors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa

Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD
Research Associate at Department of Health Policy and Management
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  

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

Response: Prior evidence has been mixed as to whether or not patient outcomes
differ between U.S. and foreign medical graduates.

However, previous studies used small sample sizes or data from a small number of states.
Therefore, it was largely unknown how international medical graduates
perform compared with US medical graduates.

To answer this question, we analyzed a nationally representative
sample of Medicare beneficiaries admitted to hospitals with a medical
condition in 2011-2014. Our sample included approximately 1.2 million
hospitalizations treated by 40,000 physicians. After adjusting for
severity of illness of patients and hospitals (we compared physicians
within the same hospital), we found that patient treated by
international medical graduates had lower mortality than patients
cared for by US medical graduates (adjusted 30-day mortality rate
11.2% vs 11.6%, p<0.001). We observed no difference in readmissions,
whereas costs of care was slightly higher for international medical
graduates.

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Approval of Medical Disability Claims Vary By the Examiner

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung Universitätsspital Basel Basel Switzerland

Prof. Regina Kunz

Prof. Dr. Regina Kunz
Professorin für Versicherungsmedizin
Evidence-based Insurance Medicine I Departement Klinische Forschung
Universitätsspital Basel
Basel Switzerland

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

Response: Many workers seek wage replacement benefits due to a disabling illness or injury. Public and private insurance systems provide wage replacement benefits for such employees, as long as eligibility criteria are met. Insurers often arrange for evaluation of eligibility by medical professionals, but there are concerns regarding low quality evaluations and poor reliability between medical experts assessing the same claimant. In order to better understand this situation, we performed a systematic review of reproducibility studies on the inter-rater agreement in evaluation of disability.

We carried out a systematic review of 23 studies, conducted between 1992-2016, from 12 countries in Europe, North America, Australia, the Middle East, and Northeast Asia. The studies include those carried out in an insurance setting, with medical experts assessing claimants for work disability benefits, and in a research setting, where evaluation of patients took place outside of actual assessments, for example, for rehabilitation.

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Thyroid Hormone Treatment In Pregnant Women With Subclinical Hypothyroidism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka Assistant professor of medicine Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System Little Rock Arkansas

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka

Dr. Spyridoula Maraka
Assistant professor of medicine
Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Center for Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Diseases
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and
Central Arkansas Veterans Health Care System
Little Rock Arkansas

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

Response: Subclinical hypothyroidism, a mild thyroid dysfunction, has been associated in pregnancy with multiple adverse outcomes. Our aim was to estimate the effectiveness and safety of thyroid hormone treatment among pregnant women with subclinical hypothyroidism.

Using a large national US dataset, we identified 5,405 pregnant women diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism. Of these, 843 women, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 4.8 milli-international units per liter, were treated with thyroid hormone. The remaining 4,562, with an average pretreatment TSH concentration of 3.3 milli-international units per liter, were not treated.

Compared with the untreated group, treated women were 38 percent less likely to experience pregnancy loss. However, they were more likely to experience a preterm delivery, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. Moreover, the benefit of thyroid hormone treatment on pregnancy loss was seen only among women with higher TSH levels (4.1 to 10 mIU/L) before treatment. We also found that for women with lower levels of TSH (2.5–4.0 mIU/L), the risk of gestational hypertension was significantly higher for treated women than for untreated women.

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Non-Dialysis Chronic Kidney Disease Expenses On Par With Cancer and Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Talar W. Markossian PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Health Policy Loyola University Chicago 2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 554 Maywood, IL 60153

Dr. Talar Markossian

Talar W. Markossian PhD MPH
Assistant Professor of Health Policy
Loyola University Chicago
2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 554
Maywood, IL 60153

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

Response: Approximately 10% of U.S. adults currently have non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD), while dialysis dependent CKD accounts for only 0.5% of the U.S. population. The escalation in healthcare expenditures associated with CKD starts prior to requirement for dialysis, and treatment costs escalate as non-dialysis dependent CKD progresses.

We examined the total healthcare expenditures including out-of-pocket costs for non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease and compared these expenditures with those incurred for cancer and stroke in the U.S. adult population. After adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, the adjusted difference in total direct healthcare expenditures was $4746 (95% CI $1775-$7718) for CKD, $8608 (95% CI $6167-$11,049) for cancer and $5992 (95% CI $4208-$7775) for stroke vs. group without CKD, cancer or stroke. Adjusted difference in out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures was highest for adults with CKD ($760; 95% CI 0-$1745) and was larger than difference noted for cancer ($419; 95% CI 158–679) or stroke ($246; 95% CI 87–406) relative to group without CKD, cancer or stroke. Continue reading

Reasons for Drug Policy Reform: Millions of People are Left with Untreated Pain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Katherine Irene Pettus, PhD, OSB

Advocacy Officer International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care
Vice Chair, Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs
Secretary NGO Committee on Ageing, Geneva

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

Response: The background for this study is analysis of the three international drug control treaties, official attendance and participation at meetings of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the past four years, ongoing discussion of national opioid consumption rates with INCB, and years of home hospice visits in developing countries.

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Women From Disadvantaged Backgrounds More Likely To Have Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Sanne Peters, PhD

Research Fellow in Epidemiology
The George Institute for Global Health
University of Oxford
Oxford United Kingdom

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

Response: People from disadvantaged backgrounds are, on average, at greater risk of cardiovascular diseases than people with more affluent backgrounds. Some studies have suggested that these socioeconomic inequalities in cardiovascular disease are more consistent and stronger in women than in men. However, the literature is inconsistent.

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Link Between Antidepressants During Pregnancy and Birth Defects

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Anick Bérard PhD FISPE

Research chair FRQ-S on Medications and Pregnancy and
Director, Réseau Québécois de recherche sur le médicament (RQRM)
and Professor, Research Chair on Medications, Pregnancy and Lactation
Faculty of Pharmacy University of Montreal and
Director, Research Unit on Medications and Pregnancy
Research Center CHU Ste-Justine 

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

Response: We have over 20 years of research showing that antidepressant use during the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of major congenital malformations. However, it still remains that controversies exist because we are not sure which of this increased risk is due to maternal depression. Therefore, we have only studied depressed pregnant women – some of them did not take antidepressant during pregnancy.

We were able to show that among depressed pregnant women, those who took antidepressants were at increased risk of having children with malformations – especially those taking citalopram. We were also able to show that many SSRIs, SNRI and tricyclic antidepressants put women at increased risk of having children with various malformations due to their similar mechanism of action (serotonin inhibition in utero).

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Depression is a serious condition that requires medical attention during pregnancy. However, given that up to 85% of depressed pregnant women have mild to moderate depression – other treatment (other than antidepressants) options need to be considered. If a woman finds out she is pregnant and is taking antidepressants however, no abrupt discontinuation is suggested and a discussion with a health care provider is advised.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Very few data on the benefits of antidepressant use during pregnancy is available within depressed pregnant women with mild to moderate depression. Our study results taken together with all the body of literature on this topic should lead to other research on the benefits and risks of other forms of treatment for depression such as psychotherapy.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Anick Bérard, Jinping Zhao and Odile Sheehy. Antidepressant use during pregnancy and the risk of major congenital malformations in a cohort of depressed pregnant women: An updated analysis of the Quebec Pregnancy Cohort. BMJ Open, January 2017 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-01337

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Financial Ties of Principal Investigators Associated With Positive Outcomes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Salomeh Keyhani MD
Associate professor of general internal medicine
San Francisco VA Medical Center and University of California
San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

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

Response: Randomized controlled trials are the foundation of the evidence base. We examined the prevalence of financial ties in randomized controlled trials and also examined the relationship of financial ties of principal investigators (PI) with trial outcome. We defined a financial tie as the direct compensation (e.g., consulting fees) of a PI by the drug manufacturer of interest. Although there have been past studies that have examined this relationship, many did not separate financial ties from funding source for the trial and many were focused on one specialty, journal, or type of drug.

This study identified a random sample of RCTs published in 2013 that were focused on assessing drug efficacy. Both the disclosure section of the paper and several online databases (Medline, Google, Propublica’s Dollars for Doctors, and the US Patent Office) were searched for evidence of financial ties. Principal investigators financial ties with industry were independently associated with positive study outcomes.

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Does HAART Treatment for HIV Contribute To Rapid Rise in Syphilis Infections?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Rekart, MD, DTM&H Clinical Professor, Medicine and Global Health The University of British Columbia .... On behalf of my co-authors

Dr. Michael Rekart

Michael Rekart, MD, DTM&H
Clinical Professor, Medicine and Global Health
The University of British Columbia
…. On behalf of my co-authors

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

Response: The background for this study is the observation that new syphilis cases over the last decade in British Columbia, Canada, have been escalating more rapidly than anyone could have predicted and that syphilis incidence has outpaced the incidence of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including gonorrhea and chlamydia. This unexpected increase in syphilis has been almost wholly concentrated in men who have sex with men (MSM). Most of these MSM are HIV-1 infected and many are taking highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). In fact, the expansion in HAART coverage in MSM parallels the growth in syphilis in the same population. In addition, my co-authors and I had serious doubts as to whether ‘treatment optimism’, the generally accepted explanation for this phenomenon, was robust enough to account for such a dramatic increase in new syphilis cases. Treatment optimism posits that HAART availability and effectiveness have led to the perception in both HIV-1-infected and HIV-1-uninfected individuals that HIV-1 transmission has become much less likely, and the effects of HIV-1 infection less deadly. This is expected to result in increased sexual risk-taking, especially unprotected anal intercourse, leading to more non-HIV-1 STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.

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Migraine Increases Risk of Perioperative Stroke and Hospital Readmission

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Matthias Eikermann, MD, PhD Associate Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School Clinical Director, Critical Care Division

Dr. Matthias Eikermann

Dr. Matthias Eikermann, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Anaesthesia
Harvard Medical School
Clinical Director, Critical Care Division 

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

Response: Up to one fifth of the general population have migraine, a primary, chronic-intermittent headache disorder affecting the neuronal and vascular systems and characterized by severe headache accompanied by nausea and/or sensory hypersensitivities such as photophobia and phonophobia. In approximately 20-30% of patients, the headache phase is preceded or accompanied by transient focal neurological disturbances presenting as visual symptoms but also sensory, aphasic, or motor symptoms known as migraine aura.

Stroke is responsible for approximately 6.2 million deaths a year and is a leading global cause of long term disability. Considering that more than 50 million patients in hospital and 53 million ambulatory patients undergo surgical procedures in the United States every year.

We found that patients with migraine, particularly migraine with aura, undergoing a surgical procedure are at increased risk of perioperative ischemic stroke and readmission to hospital within 30 days after discharge.

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