Racial Differences in Plasma Biomarker May Partially Explain Stroke Disparities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pankaj Arora MD, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiology Division University of Alabama at Birmingham Section Editor, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics American Heart Association

Dr. Arora

Pankaj Arora MD, FAHA
Assistant Professor, Cardiology Division
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Section Editor, Circulation: Cardiovascular Genetics
American Heart Association 

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

Response: Natriuretic peptides are hormones produced by the heart in response to increased wall stress in the atria and ventricles. It is well known that blacks have increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease which contributes to racial disparities in outcomes.

In the current work, we tested the hypothesis that black race is a natriuretic peptide deficiency state using a stratified random cohort of 4,415 participants selected from the REGARDS study (a national population-based cohort study evaluating racial and geographic disparities in stroke in US adults aged ≥45 years of age or older). Next, we looked for published results on the percentage difference in N-terminal proB-type NP (NTproBNP) levels by race in participants free of cardiovascular disease from other population cohorts. Lastly, we explored whether association of natriuretic peptides with all-cause mortality and CV mortality in apparently healthy individuals from REGARDS differs by race.

We found that in multivariable adjustment, NTproBNP levels were up to 27% lower in black individuals as compared with white individuals in the REGARDS study. We pooled our results and found that in meta-analysis of the 3 cohorts, NTproBNP levels were 35% lower in black individuals than white individuals (more than 13,000 individuals in total). Lastly, we found that the higher NTproBNP levels were associated with higher incidence of all-cause mortality, and cardiovascular mortality in healthy blacks and white individuals, and this association did not differ by race.

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Nonphysician Clinicians Provide Wide Variety of Dermatology Services To Medicare Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Adewole Adamson, MD, MPP Department of Dermatology UNC – Chapel Hill North Carolina

Dr. Adamson

Adewole Adamson, MD, MPP
Department of Dermatology
UNC – Chapel Hill North Carolina 

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

Response: Nurses practitioners and physician assistants, collectively known as non-physician clinicians (NPCs), provide many dermatology services, some which are billed for independently. Little is known about the types of these services provided. Even less is known about where these independently billed services are provided. Given that there is a purported shortage of dermatologists in the United States (US),  NPCs have been suggested as way to fill in the gap.

In this study, we found that NPCs independently billed for many different types of dermatology associated procedures, including surgical treatment of skin cancer, flaps, grafts, and billing for pathology. Most of these NPCs worked with dermatologists. Much like dermatologists, NPCs were unevenly distributed across the US, concentrating mostly in non-rural areas.

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Rapid Increase in ER Visits For Young Girls With Self-Inflicted Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA Behavioral scientist Division of Violence Prevention National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC

Dr. Mercado

Dr. Melissa C. Mercado PhD, MSc, MA
Behavioral scientist
Division of Violence Prevention
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
CDC

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

Response: Suicide ranks as the 10th leading cause of death for all age groups combined and has been among the top 12 leading causes of death since 1975 in the U.S. In 2015, across all age groups, suicide was responsible for 44,193 deaths in the U.S., which is approximately one suicide every 12 minutes.

Suicide was the second leading cause of death among U.S. youth aged 10-24 years in 2015. Self-inflicted injury is one of the strongest risk factors for suicide.

This study examined trends in non-fatal self-inflicted injuries treated in hospital emergency departments (EDs) among youth aged 10 to 24 years in the United States from 2001-2015.  The overall weighted age-adjusted rate for this group increased by 5.7% annually during the 2008 to 2015 period.  Age-adjusted trends for males overall and across age groups remained stable throughout 2001-2015.  However, rates among females increased significantly, by 8.4% annually. The largest increase among females was observed among those aged 10-14 years, with an increase of 18.8% annually from 2009 to 2015.

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Diabetic Atherosclerosis Management Can Be Personalized Using Coronary Artery Calcium Score

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. MalikDr. Shaista Malik MD PhD MPH
Director of Samueli Center For Integrative Medicine
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine
University of California, Irvine

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

Response: Having diabetes has been considered to be a risk equivalent to already had a myocardial infarction for predicting future cardiovascular events.  We were interested in testing whether further risk stratification in those with diabetes and metabolic syndrome, using coronary artery calcium (CAC), would result in improved prediction of cardiovascular events.

We found that CAC score was associated with incident coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease more than a decade after the scoring was performed.  We also found that even after we controlled for the duration of diabetes (of 10 years or more), insulin use, or hemoglobin A1c level, coronary artery calcium remained a predictor of cardiovascular events.

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Micro RNAs in Saliva May Predict Severity of Concussion Injuries

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Steven D. Hicks,  M.D., Ph.D Penn State Health

Dr. Hicks

Dr. Steven D. Hicks,  M.D., Ph.D
Penn State Health

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

Response: Previous research has shown that small epigenetic molecules called microRNAs are altered in the blood after a traumatic brain injury. Our own pilot research showed that microRNAs were also changed in the saliva after brain injury and that some of these changes mirrored changes in cerebrospinal fluid. In this study we investigated whether salivary microRNA patterns after a concussion could be used to predict the duration and character of symptoms one month after injury.

We found that levels of five microRNAs predicted presence of symptoms one month later with greater accuracy (~85%) than standard surveys of symptom burden (~65%). Interestingly, one of the predictive salivary microRNAs (miR-320c) targets pathways involved in synaptic plasticity and was significantly correlated with attention difficulties one month after concussive injury.   Continue reading

Collaborative Effort Allows Oversight of Antipsychotic Medications in Medicaid Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie M. Zito, PhD Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry University of Maryland, Baltimore Pharmaceutical Health Services Department Baltimore, MD 21201

Dr. Zito

Julie M. Zito, PhD
Professor of Pharmacy and Psychiatry
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Pharmaceutical Health Services Department
Baltimore, MD 21201 

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

Response: The growth of antipsychotic use in children, mainly for the treatment of behavior, has been of increasing concern in recent years. Clinical safety issues (Burcu et al. 2017) and government reports on overuse in the treatment of poor and foster care children (GAO, 2017; 2012) motivated our assessment of peer review programs. These programs are a relatively new approach to Medicaid oversight intended to monitor and assure clinical appropriateness of second generation antipsychotics in children. Critically important is the fact that most antipsychotic use is for child behavioral problems which are off-label conditions, i.e. without sufficient evidence of effectiveness or safety.

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Database Analyses May Find Supplemental Uses For Established Drugs In Cost-Effective Manner

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Fralick, MD FRCPC Research Fellow at the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Harvard University and General Internist at the University of Toronto

Dr. Fralick

Michael Fralick, MD FRCPC
Research Fellow at the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Harvard University and
General Internist at the University of Toronto

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

Response: Manufacturers of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prescription drugs often apply for additional indications based on randomized trials. “Real-world” data based on a medication’s actual use and outcomes in routine settings of care might help to inform decision-making regarding such supplemental indications.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response:  In this non-randomized study we were able to replicate the results of the randomized trial that established the supplemental indication for telmisartan using data from a US healthcare database (insurance claims data) available at the time the randomized trial was completed.

We were also able to confirm the known decreased risk of angioedema with telmisartan compared to ramipril.

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

Response: If done selectively and with principled methodologies, it might be feasible to use non-randomized real-world data to provide supportive evidence in establishing supplemental drug indications. To improve the validity of the studies, they should ideally be registered prior to them starting.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We used real-world data to recreate both the benefits and the harms found in a randomized controlled trial. The randomized trial costed 10s of millions of dollars and took over 7 years to complete. By contrast, our study took a few months to complete and was a small fraction of the cost of the randomized trial.

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

Citation:

Michael Fralick, Aaron S. Kesselheim, Jerry Avorn, Sebastian Schneeweiss. Use of Health Care Databases to Support Supplemental Indications of Approved Medications. JAMA Intern Med. Published online November 20, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3919

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

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Directive Forms Rarely Completed by Patients Seen For Palliative Care Consult

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Kara Bischoff, MD Assistant Clinical Professor, Hospital Medicine & Palliative Care Director of Quality Improvement for the Palliative Care Service UCSF Department of Medicine

Dr. Bischoff

Kara Bischoff, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Hospital Medicine & Palliative Care
Director of Quality Improvement for the Palliative Care Service
UCSF Department of Medicine

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

Response: Care planning, which we define as including both advance care planning and goals of care discussions, are a common need in seriously ill patients and a key function of palliative care teams.

However, few studies have looked at how often and how care planning is being done by inpatient palliative care teams throughout the United States, and similarly few studies have examined the precise impact of these care planning activities. Therefore, using data from a large quality improvement registry in palliative care called the Palliative Care Quality Network, we examined:

1) the characteristics of hospitalized patients who are referred to inpatient palliative care consult services,

2) the activities that occurred during those inpatient palliative care consults, and

3) the outcomes that resulted.

In looking at data from 73,145 patients who referred for an inpatient palliative care consult, we found that care planning was the most common reason for inpatient palliative care consultation, requested for 71.9% of patients who were referred to palliative care. Further, care planning needs were found in more than half (58%) of palliative care patients even when the consult was requested for reasons other than care planning. Patients referred to palliative care for care planning were somewhat older than patients referred for other reasons, they were less likely to have cancer, and were more often full code at the time of referral. Through care planning conversations, palliative care clinicians frequently identified surrogates and clarified patients’ preferences for life-sustaining treatments (including code status). For instance, 31% more patients chose a code status of DNR/DNI after a conversation with the palliative care team.

However, we also found that legal forms such as advance directives and Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatments (POLST) forms were completed for just 3.2% and 12.3% of the patients see by palliative care teams, respectively. This highlights an important quality gap in need of improvement.

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Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Associated With Educational Underachievment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD Department of Clinical Neuroscience Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Karolinska Institutet

Dr. Perez-Vigil

Ana Pérez-Vigil MD
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Everyone who regularly works with persons who have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has seen that their patients often struggle with school work. It is not uncommon for these individuals to have poor school attendance and severe patients can be out of the education system altogether. This applies to persons of all ages, from school children to young adults who may be at university.

On the other hand there is a group of patients who, against all odds, working 10 times as hard as everybody else, manage to stay in education and eventually get a degree. So we have long suspected that OCD has a detrimental impact on the person’s education, with all the consequences that this entails (worse chances to enter the labour market and have a high paid job). But we did not really know to what extent OCD impacts education. So we wanted to know what is the actual impact of OCD on educational attainment using objectively collected information from the unique Swedish national registers. Previous work had been primarily based on small clinical samples from specialist clinics, using either self or parent report and cross-sectional designs. Previous work also tended not to control for important confounders such as psychiatric comorbidity or familial factors (genetic and environmental factors that could explain both OCD and the outcomes of interest).

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Increased Risk of Pregnancy Complications With Both Above and Below Normal BMI

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
 <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kit4na/8570833723">“Pregnancy”</a> by <i> <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/kit4na/">Tatiana Vdb</a> </i> is licensed under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0"> CC BY 2.0</a>Sarka Lisonkova, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
University of British Columbia.
Children’s and Women’s Health Centre
Vancouver, BC Canada 

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

Response: We know that high BMI is associated with adverse birth outcomes for baby, including stillbirth, neonatal death, and others illnesses. However, less was known about the association with serious maternal morbidity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Maternal pre-pregnancy BMI is important not only for baby’s health, but also for maternal health. The risk of majority of severe maternal complications, for example acute cardiac or pulmonary problems, increases with BMI above normal values. On the other side, women with BMI below-normal values also have increased risk of some complications, for instance, excessive bleeding before or after delivery that requires transfusion. However, maternal death​ or life-threatening complications are very rare, so the chance of experiencing such event is very low even for women who are obese.

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

Response: Adopting a healthy lifestyle and reaching normal BMI before pregnancy is the best strategy for healthy pregnancy and optimal childbirth. For women who are underweight, overweight, or obese and already pregnant, it is important to strive for optimal weight-gain during pregnancy and good prenatal care. Modern obstetric care can prevent most severe maternal and infant morbidity by careful monitoring of maternal blood pressure and glucose level during pregnancy, and by timely obstetric interventions when maternal or baby conditions worsen. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: The epidemic of obesity in the industrialized countries is alarming. US data show that about 50% of pregnant women are now overweight or obese. Even though maternal death and severe morbidity are very rare, we will see more of these serious adverse events in the future if the trend in obesity continues. This will also put more strain on obstetric services and increase the need for obstetric interventions. High-risk mothers need to be closely monitored during pregnancy and deliver in higher-level hospitals with appropriate resources,  including, for example, availability of maternal-fetal medicine specialist and an intensive care unit.

No disclosures

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

Citation:

Lisonkova S, Muraca GM, Potts J, Liauw J, Chan W, Skoll A, Lim KI. Association Between Prepregnancy Body Mass Index and Severe Maternal Morbidity. JAMA. 2017;318(18):1777–1786. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.16191

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Clear Guidelines To Manage Pain After Surgical Procedures

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Surgery” by mrpbps is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Sagar Patel MD
Facial Plastic Surgeon
Board Certified Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgeon
Facial Plastic Surgery Associates, Houston, Texas

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

Response: While the majority of diverted opioids that are abused originate from pills prescribed for chronic conditions, with 214,000 rhinoplasties performed in the US in 2015, assessing opioid usage after rhinoplasty is an important view into prescription practices for acute pain after surgical procedures. Opioid use, pain control, and adverse effects were examined and opioid use was compared across patient demographic and surgical procedure characteristics, including rhinoplasty and septoplasty, open vs closed techniques, revision vs primary operations, reduction of turbinates, and use of osteotomies. Opioid use was self-reported as the number of prescribed tablets containing a combination of hydrocodone bitartrate (5 mg) and acetaminophen (325 mg) that were consumed. We them mathematically analyzed.

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How Much Non-Invasive Testing Is Necessary In ER To Rule Out Heart Attack?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110

Dr. Brown

David L. Brown, MD, FACC
Professor of Medicine
Cardiovascular Division
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis, MO 63110

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

Response: Approximately 10 million patients present to emergency rooms in the US annually for evaluation of acute chest pain.

The goal of that evaluation is to rule out the diagnosis of an acute heart attack. Imaging with coronary CT angiography and stress testing are not part of the diagnostic algorithm for acute heart attack.  Nevertheless many chest pain patients undergo some form of noninvasive cardiac testing in the ER. We found that CCTA or stress testing adding nothing to the care of chest pain patients beyond what is achieved by a history, physical examination, ECG and troponin test.

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Adherence to HIV Treatment May Protect Brain From Further Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ryan Sanford

Ryan Sanford

Ryan Sanford, MEng
Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery
Montreal Neurological Institute
McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada
 

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

Response: With the introduction of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) the outlook for HIV+ individuals has dramatically shifted from a fatal disease to a chronic manageable condition. However, HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders are still prevalent. The etiology of this dysfunction remains unknown. Previous work has reported progressive brain atrophy in HIV+ individuals with advanced disease and poor viral suppression, but it is unclear whether stable treatment and effective viral suppression can mitigate the progression of brain atrophy. To examine this issue, we followed well-treated HIV+ individuals with good viral suppression and well-matched controls, and assessed whether ongoing brain atrophy occurs over time.

The main finding in this study was the HIV+ participants had reduced brain volumes and poorer cognitive performance compared to the control group, but the changes in brain volumes and cognitive performance were similar between the groups.

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LPA Gene Variant May Help Identify Increased Risk of Aortic Stenosis 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aortic Stenosis Blaus Image Wikipedia

Aortic Stenosis Blaus Image Wikipedia

Hao Yu Chen, MSc
Department of Medicine
McGill University
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Senior author: George Thanassoulis, MD, MSc

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

Response: Aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the main valve of the heart, is the most common type of valve disease in the US. Present in more than 2.5 million individuals in North America, aortic stenosis can lead to heart failure and death. However, there is little known about the causes of aortic stenosis and how it should be treated.

Previously, we have demonstrated that variants of the gene LPA are associated with the development of aortic stenosis. A better understanding of how this region contributes to aortic stenosis could identify higher-risk individuals and inform the development of new medical therapies for aortic stenosis.  Continue reading

Benefits of Hypertension Treatment Depends Somewhat on Starting Blood Pressure Level

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80 copyright American Heart Association

Blood pressure monitor reading 120/80
copyright American Heart Association

Dr. Mattias Brunström
Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine
Umeå University,Sweden

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

Response: Current guidelines recommend a systolic blood pressure treatment target below 140 mm Hg for most people. Since the publication of SPRINT however, many have suggested guidelines should be changed, recommending further blood pressure lowering.

We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials comparing different blood pressure targets or antihypertensive treatment verus placebo. We separated primary preventive trials from secondary preventive trials, and stratified primary preventive trials by mean baseline systolic blood pressure. The analyses included 74 trials, with in total > 300 000 participants. Interestingly, we found that treatment effect was dependent on baseline systolic blood pressure in people without previous CVD.

While primary preventive treatment reduced the risk of death and cardiovascular disease if systolic blood pressure was 140 mm Hg or higher, treatment effect was neutral if systolic blood pressure was below 140 mm Hg.

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High-Sensitivity Cardiac Troponin I Can Identify Low Risk Chest Pain Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Andrew R. Chapman BHF Clinical Research Fellow University of Edinburgh Chancellors Building Edinburgh 

Dr. Chapman

Dr Andrew R. Chapman
BHF Clinical Research Fellow
University of Edinburgh
Chancellors Building
Edinburgh 

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

Response: High-sensitivity cardiac troponin tests allow accurate measurement of cardiac troponin in the bloodstream. Currently, guidelines recommend we evaluate patients with suspected myocardial infarction using these tests, by looking for levels which are above the upper reference limit (99th centile). These troponin measurements are taken on arrival, and often repeated after admission to hospital up to six hours later. When levels are below this limit, the diagnosis of myocardial infarction is ruled out. However, using such a high limit in patients on arrival to hospital may not be safe, as lower risk stratification thresholds has been shown to reduce missed events,  and in these patients admission to hospital for repeat testing may not be necessary. However, there is no consensus as to the optimal threshold for use in practice.

In a worldwide study of 23,000 patients from 9 countries, we have shown when high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I concentrations are below a risk stratification threshold of 5 ng/L at presentation, patients are at extremely low risk of myocardial infarction or cardiac death at 30 days, with fewer than 1 in 200 patients missed. Importantly, this threshold identifies almost 50% of all patients as low risk after a single blood test. As admission or observation of these patients is estimated to cost as much as $11 billion per year in the United States, this strategy has major potential to improve the efficiency of our practice.

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No Link Found Inhaled Steroids and Bone Fractures in Asthmatic Children

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Asthma” by Michael Havens is licensed under CC BY 2.0Teresa To, PhD
Biostatistics, Design and Analysis
Scientific Director
The Hospital for Sick Children
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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

Response: We studied asthma prescription drug use in Ontario children aged 2 to 18 years with physician diagnosed asthma between 2003 and 2014.

We found that:

  1. Currently in Ontario, nearly 50% of children with asthma did not fill a prescription for an inhaled corticosteroid during the study period, despite these medications being considered the gold-standard for asthma management.
  2. Our findings did not show clinically important association between inhaled corticosteroids and fracture among children with asthma.
  3. However, systemic corticosteroids (oral or injection) are associated with higher fracture risk in children with asthma (17% higher risk).

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More Lab Tests Ordered At Teaching vs Non-Teaching Hospitals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Victoria Valencia, MPH Assistant Director for Healthcare Value Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

Victoria Valencia

Victoria Valencia, MPH
Assistant Director for Healthcare Value
Dell Medical SchoolThe University of Texas at Austin

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

Response: We were surprised to find that despite the common anecdote that resident physicians in teaching environments order more lab tests, there was a lack of empirical data to support the claim that more lab tests are ordered for patients at teaching hospitals than at non-teaching hospitals. Our study of 43,329 patients with pneumonia or cellulitis across 96 hospitals  in the state of Texas found that major teaching hospitals order significantly more lab tests than non-teaching hospitals.  We found this to be true no matter how we looked at the data, including when restricting to the least sick patients in our dataset. We also found that major teaching hospitals that ordered more labs for pneumonia tended to also more labs for cellulitis, indicating there is some effect from the environment of the teaching hospital that affects lab ordering overall.

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Going the Wrong Way: ACA’s Readmission Reduction Program Linked To Increased Heart Failure Deaths

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ankur Gupta, MD, PhD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts

Dr. Ankur Gupta

Ankur Gupta, MD, PhD
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart & Vascular Center and
Harvard Medical School,
Boston, Massachusetts 

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

Response: The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), established under the Affordable Care Act, aimed to reduce readmissions from various medical conditions including heart failure – the leading cause of readmissions among Medicare beneficiaries. The program financially penalizes hospitals with high readmission rates. However, there have been concerns of unintended consequences especially on mortality due to this program.

Using American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure (GWTG-HF) data linked to Medicare data, we found that the policy of reducing readmissions after heart failure hospitalizations was associated with reduction in 30-day and 1-year readmissions yet an increase in 30-day and 1-year mortality.

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FDG-PET Scans of Lung Nodules Should Be Interpreted With Caution

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

PET Scan Vanderbilt Health

PET Scan Vanderbilt Health

Amelia W. Maiga, MD MPH
Vanderbilt General Surgery Resident
VA Quality Scholar, TVHS

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

Response: Positron emission tomography (PET) combined with fludeoxyglucose F18 (FDG) is currently recommended for the noninvasive diagnosis of lung nodules suspicious for lung cancer. Our investigation adds to growing evidence that FDG-PET scans should be interpreted with caution in the diagnosis of lung cancer. Misdiagnosis of lung lesions driven by FDG-PET avidity can lead to unnecessary tests and surgeries for patients, along with potentially additional complications and mortality.

To estimate FDG-PET diagnostic accuracy, we conducted a multi-center retrospective cohort study. The seven cohorts originating from Tennessee, Arizona, Massachusetts and Virginia together comprised 1188 nodules, 81 percent of which were malignant. Smaller nodules were missed by FDG-PET imaging. Surprisingly, negative PET scans were also not reliable indicators of the absence of disease, especially in patients with smaller nodules or who are known to have a high probability of lung cancer prior to the FDG-PET test.

Our study supports a previous meta-analyses that found FDG-PET to be less reliable in regions of the country where fungal lung diseases are endemic. The most common fungal lung diseases in the United States are histoplasmosis, coccidioidomycosis and blastomycosis. All three fungi reside in soils. Histoplasmosis and blastomycosis are common across much of the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri river valleys and coccidioidomycosis is prevalent in the southwestern U.S. These infections generate inflamed nodules in the lungs (granulomas), which can be mistaken for cancerous lesions by imaging.

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Married Head/Neck Cancer Patients Less Likely To Smoke, More Likely To Live Longer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES Instructor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Saint Louis University School of Medicine Member, Saint Louis University Cancer Center St Louis, Missouri

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, MPH, CHES
Instructor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Saint Louis University School of Medicine
Member, Saint Louis University Cancer Center
St Louis, Missouri 

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

Response: Several studies have shown that there is an adverse effect of smoking on head and neck cancer survival; however, there are studies that show no effect between smoking and head and neck cancer. We wanted to investigate this problem using a single institution’s cancer dataset. Additionally, we wanted to understand the role of marital status in the smoking behavior of head and neck cancer patients, and to understand if smoking played any role in head and neck cancer survival.

Our study confirmed that head and neck cancer patients who were smokers at the time of diagnosis had lower survival rates than nonsmokers. We also found that married head and neck cancer patients were less likely to be smokers and more likely to survive longer than those unmarried.

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Lifestyle Modifications Slow Progression To Diabetes As Effectively As Medications

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Karla Galaviz PhD
Hubert Department of Global Health
Rollins School of Public Health
Emory University
Sonya Haw, MD| Assistant Professor
Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipids
Emory University, School of Medicine
Grady Memorial Hospital
Atlanta, GA

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

  • Diabetes affects 1 in 11 adults worldwide and though there is evidence that lifestyle modification (eating healthier diets and exercising about 150 mins a week) and certain medications can prevent or delay diabetes onset, it is not clear which of these strategies offers long-term benefits.
  • To answer this question, we compiled all available randomized controlled trials of lifestyle programs and medications to prevent diabetes and analyzed the data to see if the diabetes prevention effects persisted in the long-term. We specifically compared studies where the lifestyle or drug interventions were discontinued to see if the effect was long lasting or diminished when the intervention was stopped.

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Anti-TNF Agents In Inflammatory Bowel Disease Linked to Small Increased Risk of Lymphoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
ANSM
Rosemary Dray-Spira, MD, PhD
Department of Epidemiology
French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM)
Saint-Denis, France

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

Response: Anti-tumor necrosis factor (anti-TNF) agents are increasingly used for the management of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), either alone or in combination with thiopurines. Their clinical benefits have been largely assessed, however they may expose to potentially serious adverse effects. While an increased risk of lymphoma has been established with thiopurines, up to now such a risk of lymphoma remained uncertain with anti-TNF agents.

In this study based upon a large, nationwide cohort of 189,289 patients with IBD, the use of anti-TNF agents alone was found associated with a 2 to 3 fold increase in the risk of lymphoma, similarly to thiopurines alone. In addition, the combination of these two treatments was associated with a 6 fold increase in the risk of lymphoma, ie a higher risk than with each treatment used alone. Although these differences are statistically significant, the risk of lymphoma among patients exposed to anti-TNF agents is less than 1 case per 1000 person-years.

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Labels of Majority of Online Cannabidiol Extracts Contain Inaccuracies

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Italia V. Rolle, PhD and Dr. Tim McAfee, MD Office on Smoking and Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion CDC

Marijuana plant (Cannabis sativa)

Marcel Bonn-Miller, PhD
Adjunct assistant professor
Department of Psychiatry
Leader of the Substance Abuse and Anxiety Program
U.S. Veterans Affairs Department 

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

Response: A 2015 study found that edible cannabis products (e.g., brownies, cookies, drinks) are often mislabeled.  The FDA has also sent warning letters to a handful of companies selling cannabidiol extracts because of inaccurate labeling of content. This led us to conduct a systematic evaluation of the label accuracy of all cannabidiol extracts sold online.  We tested 84 products from 31 different companies.

The primary take-home of this study is that nearly 70 percent of all cannabidiol extracts sold online had over 10% more or less cannabidiol than advertised; 26% of products were over-labeled (less cannabidiol than indicated) and 42% of products were under-labeled (more cannabidiol than indicated).

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Nearly Half of Adolescents Had At Least One Sunburn In Past Year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Dymchurch Beach - May 2012 - Sunburn with Matching Bikini” by Gareth Williams is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dawn M. Holman, MPH
Behavioral Scientist
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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

Response: Scientific evidence clearly shows that even one sunburn during adolescence can increase a person’s chances of developing skin cancer as an adult. Surprisingly, little research has been done to understand the factors associated with sunburn during this phase of life. The CDC wanted to examine beliefs, behaviors, and demographic characteristics that might be associated with adolescent sunburns in hopes that the findings could inform future intervention efforts. We used data from the 2015 YouthStyles survey (adolescents aged 12 to 17 years) to explore this research question

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Exercise, Vision Testing and Osteoporosis Evaluation Are Keys To Fall Prevention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Andrea C. Tricco PhD, MSc Scientist and Lead of the Knowledge Synthesis Team Associate Professor Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Associate Editor Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Systematic Reviews

Dr. Tricco

Andrea C. Tricco PhD, MSc
Scientist and Lead of the Knowledge Synthesis Team
Associate Professor Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Associate Editor Journal of Clinical Epidemiology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Systematic Reviews

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

Response: Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults and account for $2 billion in direct health-care costs annually ($31 billion in costs to Medicare in the United States in 2012). We aimed to determine which types of fall-prevention programs may be effective for reducing falls in older people.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Exercise, along with vision assessment and treatment, as well as an assessment and possible modification of a person’s living environment, reduced the risk of injurious falls by 23% compared to usual care.

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Chronic Valvular Heart Disease Linked To White Matter Brain Changes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Keun-Hwa Jung MD PhD

Program in Neuroscience, Neuroscience Research Institute of SNUMRC
College of Medicine
Seoul National University
First author: Dr. Woo-Jin Lee MD
Department of Neurology
Seoul National University Hospital
Seoul, South Korea 

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

Response: Cerebral white matter hyperintensity is a prevalent consequence of brain aging process and associated with various complications. One of the main mechanisms underlying the progression of white matter hyperintensity is chronic dysfunction of the glymphatic system which maintains metabolic homeostasis in brain. Glymphatic system is the route where the cerebrospinal fluid enters into the brain parenchyma and is cleared out with soluble wastes to the perivascular space of the cerebral small veins, peri-meningeal lymphatic vessels, deep cervical lymph nodes, and finally to the right atrium.

Although the integrity of the glymphatic system is dependent on the adequate drainage of cerebral veins and lymphatics to the downstream chamber, the right atrium, the impact of hemodynamic changes in right-sided cardiac chambers on the development of white matter hyperintensity have not been elucidated.

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Trained Volunteers Can Deliver Effective Brief Smoking Cessation Advice

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Stop smoking!” by Emil_95 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Dr. Man Ping Wang, PhD
School of Nursing
University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong

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

Response: Smoking cessation (SC) services can effectively increase the chance of abstinence, but few smokers proactively seek help from these services worldwide. Smoking cessation guidelines recommend referring smokers to SC services, but such referrals were usually conducted in a passive way (e.g. providing contacts of these services and asking smokers to use them). Actively referring smokers may increase use of smoking cessation services and abstinence rates.

Previous studies were mostly conducted in clinical settings. We investigated the efficacy of using trained volunteers to actively refer smokers recruited in the community to smoking cessation services in this cluster randomized control trial. We found that smokers who received a brief cessation advice and active referral had significantly higher abstinence rate and smoking cessation service use rate at 6-month follow-up, compared with smokers who received a minimal advice and a self-help booklet.

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Most Adolescents Not Receiving Important Health Care Preventive Services

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sally H. Adams, PhD, RN Specialist, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult  Medicine Adolescent and Young Adult Health National Resource Center University of California, San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, CA 94118

Dr. Adams

Sally H. Adams, PhD, RN
Specialist, Division of Adolescent and Young Adult  Medicine
Adolescent and Young Adult Health National Resource Center
University of California, San Francisco
Benioff Children’s Hospital
San Francisco, CA 94118

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

Response: Major causes of adolescent illness and mortality are preventable. To address this, in the 1990s, professional medical organizations developed healthcare provider guidelines for the delivery of adolescent preventive healthcare. These include the receipt of anticipatory guidance and risk screening services in the effort to promote healthy behaviors and avoid risky behaviors that are intended to be covered within a preventive care visit, but could be addressed in other healthcare visits.

The adolescent developmental period is an important time for adolescents to be engaged with the healthcare system. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood, adolescents are becoming increasingly independent – having more responsibility and freedom for decision making in many areas, including healthy choices in behaviors and activities. While families and community settings (schools, churches) play strong roles in this process, the healthcare system also plays an important role.

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Anticoagulant Warfarin May Lower Cancer Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gry Haaland, MD

James Lorens PhD, Professor
The Department of Biomedicine
University of Bergen

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

Response: Antitumor activity of the common blood thinner warfarin has been reported in several experimental cancer model systems. We therefore considered whether warfarin is cancer protective.

Using the comprehensive national health registries in Norway, we examined cancer incidence among a large number of people taking warfarin (92,942) and compared to those not taking warfarin (more than 1.1 million).

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Physician Extenders Can Modestly Reduce Wait Times For a Dermatology Appointment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Eliot N. Mostow, MD, MPH Professor & Chair, Dermatology Section Department of Internal Mediciine Northeast Ohio Medical University

Dr. Mostow

Eliot N. Mostow, MD, MPH
Professor & Chair, Dermatology Section
Department of Internal Mediciine
Northeast Ohio Medical University 

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

Response: The background for the study is my continued interest in what is sometimes called health services research. That is, how do we improve our ability to deliver optimal medical care from a healthcare system perspective? Simply put, one of the most frequent criticisms about getting a dermatologist to see if patient is that there are delays in scheduling (wait times are too high). I’m not sure this is really justified, as it seems to take a long time to get into psychiatrists, gynecologists, and other specialists in our community as well.

That being said, since I’m in the dermatology community and our community has been utilizing physician assistants and nurse practitioners more frequently for many years now, we thought it was worthwhile to explore whether this was having an impact on wait times to get a visit in a dermatologist’s office.

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Pesticide Residues On Fruits & Vegetables Associated With Increased Risk of Pregnancy Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“Pesticide spraying” by jetsandzeppelins is licensed under CC BY 2.0

“Pesticide spraying” by jetsandzeppelins

Yu-Han Chiu, M.D., M.P.H., Sc.D
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Response:  Animal experiments suggest that ingestion of pesticide mixtures at environmentally relevant concentrations decreases the number of live-born pups. However, it is unclear whether intake of pesticide residues has any adverse effects in humans, especially for susceptible populations such as pregnant women and their fetuses. Therefore, in this study we examined the association of preconception intake of pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables with pregnancy outcomes among 325 women undergoing assisted reproduction.

We found that intake of high pesticide residue fruits and vegetables were associated with higher risks of pregnancy loss, while low pesticide residue fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower risks of early pregnancy loss. These data suggest dietary pesticide exposure within the range of typical human exposure may be associated with adverse reproductive consequences

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Cataract Surgery Linked To Improved Health and Survival, As Well As Sight

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD Center for Community Outreach and Policy, Stein Eye Institute David Geffen School of Medicine Director, UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health UCLA

Dr. Coleman

Anne L. Coleman, MD, PhD
Center for Community Outreach and Policy, Stein Eye Institute
David Geffen School of Medicine
Director, UCLA Mobile Eye Clinic
Department of Epidemiology, Fielding School of Public Health
UCLA

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

Response: Cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss worldwide, and cataract surgery is an intervention that is known to be extremely effective to address the vision loss related to cataract. However, it is unclear if there are benefits of cataract surgery beyond vision improvement in people with cataracts. Previous studies have suggested that in addition to improving vision, cataract surgery may decrease the risk of fractures and accidents, improve mental health, and improve overall quality of life. The purpose of the present study was to further investigate the potential benefits of cataract surgery and to determine if cataract surgery was associated with increased survival in people with cataracts.

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Borderline Pulmonary Hypertension Patients Often Progress To Overt Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Evan L. Brittain, MD Assistant Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Dr. Brittain

Dr. Evan L. Brittain, MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

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

Response: The purpose of this study was to determine whether pulmonary pressure values below the diagnostic threshold for pulmonary hypertension (25mmHg) are associated with an increased risk of mortality. We studied over 4,000 consecutive individuals referred for right heart catheterization, the “gold-standard” procedure for measuring pulmonary pressure. We found that borderline levels of mean pulmonary pressure (19-24mmHg) were common, representing 18% of all patients referred for this procedure. Borderline mean pulmonary pressure values were also associated with 31% increase in mortality after accounting for many other clinical factors. Finally, we found that most of the patients with borderline pulmonary hypertension who underwent repeat catheterization often progressed to overt pulmonary hypertension.

This study suggests that patients with borderline pulmonary hypertension should be considered an at-risk group.

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Chewing Loading-Dose of Ticagrelor Enhanced Platelet Inhibition in Heart Attack Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Elad Asher, M.D, M.H.A Interventional Cardiologist, Director Intensive Cardiac Care Unit Deputy Director Heart Institute Assuta Ashdod Medical Cent

Dr. Asher

Elad Asher, M.D, M.H.A
Interventional Cardiologist,
Director Intensive Cardiac Care Unit
Deputy Director Heart Institute
Assuta Ashdod Medical Center

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

Response: Dual antiplatelet therapy represents the standard care for treating ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients. Given the higher risk of peri-procedural thrombotic events in patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI), there is a need to achieve inhibition of platelet aggregation (IPA) more promptly. Although chewing ticagrelor has been shown to be more efficient for IPA in stable coronary disease and in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS)/non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSETMI), there are no studies that have specifically assessed the efficacy and safety of chewing ticagrelor in STEMI patients. Therefore, the aim of our study was to investigate whether chewing ticagrelor (180mg) loading dose is associated with more favorable platelet inhibitory effects compared with the conventional way of swallowing whole tablets loading dose in STEMI patients undergoing PPCI.

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Cardiovascular Study Demonstrates Clinical Trial Data Sharing Is Feasible


Hawkins C. Gay, MD, MPH Resident Physician, Internal Medicine Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University 

Dr. Gay

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hawkins C. Gay, MD, MPH
Resident Physician, Internal Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine
Northwestern University

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

Response: The National Academy of Medicine and other leading institutions have highlighted clinical trial data sharing as an important initiative for enhancing trust in the clinical research enterprise. More recently, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors stipulated that manuscripts published in their journals must clearly state plans for data sharing in the trial’s registration, and the National Institutes of Health now requires a data sharing plan as part of new grant applications. Many clinical trialists rightly debate the costs and time required to curate their data into a format that is usable by third part data analysts. Similarly, there has been debate about the most efficient platforms from which to distribute this data, and different models exist, including governmental (NIH BioLINCC), commercial (ClinicalStudyDataRequest.com), and academic (Yale Open Access Data Project [YODA]) platforms.

Our study sought to explore these questions by conducting a reproduction analysis of the Thermocool Smarttouch Catheter for Treatment of Symptomatic Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation (SMART-AF) trial (NCT01385202), which is the only cardiovascular clinical trial available through the YODA platform. Reproduction analyses represent a fundamental approach for and outcome from data sharing but are uncommonly performed even though results change more than one-quarter of the time in reproduction analyses. SMART-AF was a multicenter, single-arm trial evaluating the effectiveness and safety of an irrigated, contact force-sensing catheter for ablation of drug refractory, symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in 172 participants recruited from 21 sites between June 2011 and December 2011.

The time from our initial proposal submission to YODA and the final analysis completion was 11 months. Freedom from atrial arrhythmias at 12 months post-procedure was similar compared with the primary study report (74.0%; 95% CI, 66.0-82.0 vs 76.4%; 95% CI, 68.7-84.1). The reproduction analysis success rate was higher than the primary study report (65.8%; 95% CI 56.5-74.2 vs 75.6%; 95% CI, 67.2-82.5). Adverse events were minimal and similar between the two analyses. We could not reproduce all analyses that were conducted in the primary study report; specifically, the analyses relating to contact force range and regression models. The primary reason for non-reproducibility was missing or un-locatable data in the analyzable dataset.

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Robotic-Assisted Radical Nephrectomy: No Difference in Outcomes But Takes Longer and Costs More

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
In Gab Jeong, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Urology, Asan Medical Center
University of Ulsan College of Medicine
Seoul, Korea

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

Response: Use of robotic surgery has increased in urological practice over the last decade especially for the surgery that was difficult to perform with laparoscopic techniques such as radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer or partial resection of kidney cancer. However, the use, outcomes, and costs of robotic nephrectomy are unknown.

We examined the trend in use of robotic-assisted operations for radical nephrectomy in the United States and compared the perioperative outcomes and costs with laparoscopic radical nephrectomy. The proportion of radical nephrectomies using robotic-assisted operations increased from 1.5% in 2003 to 27.0% in 2015. Although there was no significant difference between robotic-assisted vs laparoscopic radical nephrectomy in major postoperative complications, robotic-assisted procedures were associated with longer operating time and higher direct hospital costs. The rate of prolonged operating time (>4 hours) for patients undergoing the robotic-assisted procedure was higher than for patients receiving the laparoscopic procedure (46.3% vs 25.8%; risk difference, 20.5%; 95% CI, 14.2% to 26.8%). Robotic-assisted radical nephrectomy was associated with higher mean 90-day direct hospital costs ($19530 vs $16851; difference, $2678; 95% CI, $838 to $4519).

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“Shall Issue” Gun Law States Associated With Higher Homicide and Firearm Death Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences Boston University School of Public Health Boston, MA 02118

Prof. Siegel

Michael Siegel, MD, MPH
Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences
Boston University School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02118

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

Response: A central question in the debate about public policies to reduce firearm violence is whether easier access to concealed handguns increases or decreases the rate of firearm-related homicides. Previous studies on the impact of concealed carry permitting laws have yielded inconsistent results. Most of these studies were conducted more than a decade ago. This study provided a reexamination of this research question with more recent data, up to and including the year 2015.

While all states allow certain persons to carry concealed handguns, there are 3 major variations in permitting policy. In 9 states, law enforcement officials have wide discretion over whether to issue concealed carry permits; these are referred to as “may issue” states because police chiefs can deny a permit if they deem the applicant to be at risk of committing violence, even if there is not a criminal history. In 29 states, there is little or no discretion; these are referred to as “shall-issue” states because permits must be issued if requisite criteria are met. In an additional 12 states, no permit is necessary to carry a concealed handgun.

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ACA Medicaid Expansion Linked To Decrease in Uninsured Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aparna Soni, MA Department of Business Economics and Public Policy Kelley School of Business Indiana University, Bloomington

Aparna Soni

Aparna Soni, MA
Department of Business Economics and Public Policy
Kelley School of Business
Indiana University, Bloomington

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

Response: Cancer is the leading cause of death among the non-elderly population in the United States. Unfortunately, uninsured people are less likely to get screened for cancer, and treatment is often unaffordable for those who are uninsured.

One of the key objectives of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was to improve outcomes for cancer patients. Our objective in this study was therefore to assess changes under the ACA in insurance coverage among patients newly diagnosed with cancer.

Our main finding is that uninsurance among patients with newly diagnosed cancer fell by one-third in 2014.

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Hospital Onset Clostridium difficile Infections Increased With Electronic Sepsis Alerts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Dr. Hiensch

Dr. Robert Hiensch MD
Assistant Professor, Medicine, Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

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

Response: New sepsis guidelines that recommend screening and early treatment for sepsis cases appear to have significant positive impacts on patient outcomes. Less research has been published on what potential side effects may result from these guidelines.

Antibiotics are a cornerstone of sepsis treatment and early antibiotic administration is strongly recommended.  We examined whether the introduction of an electronic based sepsis initiative changed antibiotic prescribing patterns at our hospital. Antibiotics, even when appropriate, contribute to hospital onset Clostridium difficile infections (HO CDIs).  While the authors do not dispute the importance of antibiotic administration in sepsis, it is valuable to know whether the sepsis initiative coincided with both increased antibiotic administration and HO CDIs.

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Insulin Pump Therapy May Be Superior to Multiple Injections in Young People With Type 1 Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Prof. Dr. med. Reinhard Holl
Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Medical Faculty
Aachen University, Aachen,
Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry
University of Ulm, Ulm
Germany 

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

Response: Today there are two accepted strategies to treat type-1 diabetes: pump or multiple daily injections. In a large group of patients we compared both strategies, and our results indicate advantages for pump therapy with fewer severe hypos, fewer events of diabetic ketoacidosis, and better metabolic control.

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More Evidence for Zika as a Causal Agent Of Guillain-Barré Syndrome

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emilio Dirlikov, PhD Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer CDC 

Dr. Dirlikov

Emilio Dirlikov, PhD
Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer
CDC 

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

Response: In December 2015, Puerto Rico Department of Health (PRDH) reported its first confirmed locally acquired case of Zika virus disease. In February 2016, PRDH reported the first person diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) who also had evidence of Zika virus infection. At the time, scientific evidence of the potential association between Zika virus infection and GBS was lacking, and rigorous studies were needed.

Through a collaboration between PRDH, CDC, and the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), we conducted a case-control study to determine risk factors for GBS during the 2016 Zika virus epidemic. By prospectively enrolling case-patients, we shortened the time to enrollment, increasing the likelihood of detecting Zika virus nucleic acids to confirm Zika virus infection.

As a result, we found that an acute Zika virus infection confirmed by laboratory testing is a risk factor for developing Guillain-Barré syndrome. This is the first case-control study to find laboratory evidence showing this given the difficulty of confirming Zika virus infection among people diagnosed with GBS.

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Transfusions From Previously Pregnant Donors Add Risk To Younger Male Recipients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rutger Middelburg, PhD Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology Sanquin Research and LUMC

Dr. Middelburg

Rutger Middelburg, PhD
Assistant Professor in clinical epidemiology
Sanquin Research and LUMC 

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

Response: Six years ago we found transfusions from female donor to be associated with increased mortality among male recipients, especially under 50 years of age. This was an unexpected observation and we considered the probability of a false positive finding (i.e. a chance association) to be relatively high. We therefore immediately started a follow-up study with two main objectives. First, we wanted to confirm our findings in an independent and much larger cohort. Second, since some complications of blood transfusion are known to be related to pregnancy history of the donor, we wanted to study a possible relationship with previous pregnancy of the blood donors.

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Antidepressants in Youth Associated With Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Mehmet Burcu, PhD, MS
Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research
University of Maryland, Baltimore 

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

Response: Antidepressants are one of the most commonly used psychotropic medication classes in U.S. youth, with serotonin reuptake inhibitors representing a large majority of total antidepressant use in youth.

The most interesting finding was that the current use of serotonin reuptake inhibitors in youth was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and this increased risk intensified further with the increasing duration of use and with the increasing dose. A secondary analysis also revealed that the risk of incident type 2 diabetes was most apparent in youth who used serotonin reuptake inhibitors for longer durations AND in greater daily doses.

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Refined Biomarker Model Can Guage Risk of Alzheimer’s In Patients With Mild Cognitive Impairment

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Ingrid S. van Maurik, MSc
Department of Neurology and Alzheimer Center
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Amsterdam Neuroscience
VU University Medical Center
Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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

Response: CSF and MRI biomarkers are increasingly used in clinical practice, but their diagnostic and prognostic value is not perfect. Furthermore, criteria do not specify how to deal with conflicting or borderline results, or how to take patient characteristics into account. Therefore, optimal use of these biomarkers in clinical practice remains challenging.

As part of the ABIDE project, we constructed biomarker-based prognostic models (CSF, MRI and combined) that enable prediction of future Alzheimer’s disease, or any type of dementia, in individual patients with mild cognitive impairment. When using these models, any value can be entered for the variables, resulting in personalized probabilities with confidence intervals.

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Gestational Diabetes Associated With Greater Risk Of Heart Attack and Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD Senior Investigator, Epidemiology Branch Division of Intramural Population Health Research NICHD/National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20817 

Dr. Zhang

Cuilin Zhang MD, PhD
Senior Investigator
Epidemiology Branch
Division of Intramural Population Health Research
NICHD/National Institutes of Health.
Bethesda, MD 20817

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

Response: Gestational diabetes (GDM) is a common pregnancy complication. The American Heart Association identifies gestational diabetes as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women, based on consistent evidence for the relationships between gestational diabetes and subsequent hypertension, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, vascular dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Also, previous studies identify GDM as a risk factor for intermediate markers of CVD risk; however, few are prospective, evaluate hard cardiovascular disease end points, or account for shared risk factors including body weight and lifestyle.

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Modifiable Surgical Outcomes in ENT Cancer Surgery That May Improve Survival

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Schoppy, MD PhD
Resident, Division of Head and Neck Surgery
Department of Otolaryngology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford, Palo Alto, California

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

Response: There is a growing focus in healthcare on quality, and one component of this focus is the development of robust measures of quality. Currently, there are relatively few validated metrics of performance in oncologic surgery, and several of these indicators are relatively static metrics (such as hospital case volume and institution type).

This study examined the relationship between overall survival (one surrogate of quality cancer surgery) and two modifiable variables in Head and Neck surgery – achieving negative surgical margins around a primary tumor and 18 or more lymph nodes from a concurrent neck dissection. After controlling for multiple other patient variables, data collected from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) showed that treatment at hospitals where a high percentage of patients had a surgery with negative margins and 18 or more lymph nodes removed from their neck was associated with improved survival. Importantly, this survival benefit was independent of the individual, patient-level survival benefit conferred by having either of these surgical process measures reached.

This study therefore highlights two modifiable measures of institutional performance in Head and Neck surgery that may serve as targets for quality improvement programs.

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Stepped Care Case-Finding Intervention Can Provide Cost Effective Care For PTSD After a Disaster

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Gregory-H-Cohen.jpg 

Dr. Cohen

Gregory H. Cohen, MPhil, MSW
Statistical Analyst
Department of Epidemiology
School of Public Health
Boston University 

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

Response: We simulated a stepped care case-finding approach to the treatment of posttraumatic stress in New York City, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Stepped care includes an initial triage screening step which identifies whether a presenting individual is in need of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or can be adequately treated at a lower level of care.

Our simulation suggests that a stepped care approach to treating symptoms of posttraumatic stress in the aftermath of a hurricane is superior to care as usual in terms of reach and treatment-effectiveness, while being cost-effective. Continue reading

Surgical Delays For Melanoma Patients Are Common

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Adewole Adamson, MD, MPP
Department of Dermatology
UNC

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

Response: Surgery is the primary intervention for the treatment of melanoma. Little is known about how delays for surgery, defined as the time between diagnosis and surgical treatment, among melanoma patient differ by insurance type. After adjustment of patient-level, provider-level, and tumor-level factors we found that Medicaid patients experience a 36% increased risk of delays in surgery for melanoma. These delays were 19% less likely in patients diagnosed and 18% less likely in patients surgically treated by dermatologists. Non-white patients also had a 38% increased risk of delays.

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Genetic Testing Reduces Risk Of Side Effects From Anticoagulation After Surgery

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anne R. Bass, MD Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director Hospital for Special Surgery New York, NY 10021

Dr. Bass

Anne R. Bass, MD
Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine
Weill Cornell Medical College
Rheumatology Fellowship Program Director
Hospital for Special Surgery
New York, NY 10021

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

Response: Blood thinners are used after orthopedic surgery to prevent blood clots from forming in the legs and traveling to the lungs. They are also used in patients with certain heart diseases to prevent strokes. Blood thinners, like warfarin, are effective but can be associated with serious bleeding complications, especially if the wrong dose is given. Genetic testing can help doctors predict the right warfarin dose to use in an individual patient.

In this trial, ≈1600 elderly patients undergoing hip or knee replacement were randomly assigned to receive warfarin dosing based on genetics plus clinical factors (like height, weight and gender), or based on clinical factors alone. The specific genes tested wereVKORC1, CYP2C9, and CYP4F2 which influence warfarin metabolism and the body’s ability to produce clotting factors.

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