Educating Religious Leaders Improves Uptake of Male Circumcision in Tanzania

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer A. Downs, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology Department of Medicine Weill Cornell Medicine Center for Global Health New York, NY 10065

Dr. Jennifer Downs

Jennifer A. Downs, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Microbiology & Immunology
Department of Medicine
Weill Cornell Medicine
Center for Global Health
New York, NY 10065

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

Response: Between 2002 and 2006, three large randomized controlled trials in sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated that male circumcision reduces new HIV infections in men by approximately 60%. Based on these findings, the World Health Organization recommended male circumcision as an HIV prevention strategy in countries with high levels of HIV and a low prevalence of male circumcision. This led to prioritization of 14 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa for massive scale-up of male circumcision beginning in 2011.

In many of these countries, the uptake of male circumcision was lower than expected. In northwest Tanzania, where we work, there are a number of barriers to male circumcision. Some of these barriers are cultural, tribal, economic, and religious. We conducted focus group interviews in 2012 that showed that many Christian church leaders and church attenders in our region in Tanzania had major concerns about whether male circumcision was compatible with their religious beliefs. This led us to hypothesize that the uptake of male circumcision could be increased when religious leaders were taught about male circumcision, with the goal that they would then be equipped to discuss this issue with their congregations.
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Multiple Treatment Options Now Available for Multiple Sclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Tomas Kalincik, MD, PhD, PGCertBiostat Neurologist and Senior Research Fellow Melbourne Brain Centre | Department of Medicine | University of Melbourne Department of Neurology | Royal Melbourne Hospital Melbourne | Victoria | Australia

Dr. Tomas Kalincik

Tomas Kalincik, MD, PhD, PGCertBiostat
Neurologist and Senior Research Fellow
Melbourne Brain Centre | Department of Medicine | University of Melbourne
Department of Neurology | Royal Melbourne Hospital
Melbourne | Victoria | Australia

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

Response: Multiple sclerosis is a disease predominantly of young adults, with the peak of incidence in the 3rd and 4th decades. It is the most common cause of neurological disability in young adults. Only in Australia, 23,000 people are living with MS, with MS representing an annual cost of almost 1 billion $AU to the Australian society. It is a disease that presents with broad range of neurological symptoms and signs, which are typically temporary (these are called relapses) that with time can lead to permanent neurological disability. While there is currently no cure for MS, with appropriate therapy, its symptoms can be controlled and the disability progression slowed down.

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Statins Linked to Reduced Risk of Venous Thromboembolism

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Setor Kunutsor BSc MD MPhil(cantab) PhD(cantab) Research Fellow/Epidemiologist Musculoskeletal Research Unit University of Bristol School of Clinical Sciences Learning & Research Building (Level 1) Southmead Hospital

Dr. Setor Kunutsor

Setor Kunutsor BSc MD MPhil(cantab) PhD(cantab)
Research Fellow/Epidemiologist
Musculoskeletal Research Unit
University of Bristol
School of Clinical Sciences
Southmead Hospital

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

Response: Statins are well established for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and this is based on their ability to lower levels of circulating lipids in the blood. However, statins are also known to have pleotropic effects and these include potential protective effects on multiple disease conditions.

Based on their anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic properties, there have been suggestions that statins may prevent venous thromboembolism (VTE) (which comprises of pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis). The evidence is however uncertain. Several studies utilizing both observational cohort and randomized controlled designs have been conducted to evaluate whether statin therapy or use is associated with a reduction in the incidence of VTE, but the results have been inconclusive. In a recent review that was published in 2012, Rahimi and colleagues pooled the results of several randomized controlled trials (RCTs), but found no significant reduction in the risk of VTE with statin therapy [REF]. Given the publication of new studies since this study was published and the existing uncertain evidence on the effect of statins on VTE, we decided it was time to bring all the evidence together and evaluate if statin therapy really did have a protective effect on the risk of venous thromboembolism.

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Cancer-Related Mortality Low In Men With Benign Prostate Biopsy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Nina Klemann MD, PhD-student Copenhagen Prostate Cancer Center Copenhagen

Dr. Nina Klemann

Dr. Nina Klemann
MD, PhD-student
Copenhagen Prostate Cancer Center
Copenhagen

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

Response: For 30 years, ultrasound-guided biopsies of the prostate have been used in the evaluation of men suspected for prostate cancer. The biopsy needles are employed systematically into the prostate at different sites where prostate cancer is typically present. However, it has been recognized for years, that there is a risk of not hitting the cancer areas, simply by chance. Although cancer diagnosis may be missed in the initial biopsy set by sampling error, it has been a continuous debate whether lethal prostate cancer is missed. Today, we know that prostate cancer is a common finding in men age 50-80, but that the life-time risk of prostate cancer death in this age-group is low. Consequently, we know that there is a considerable risk of diagnosing, and ultimately treating, a disease that will never result in symptoms or death.

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PET Scanning Highlights Link Between Stress and Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Ahmed Tawakol MD Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical Schoo

Dr Ahmed Tawakol

Dr Ahmed Tawakol MD
Co-Director, Cardiac MR PET CT Program
Massachusetts General Hospital and
Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: While the link between stress and heart disease has long been established, the mechanism mediating that risk hasn’t been clearly understood. Animal studies showed that stress activates bone marrow to produce white blood cells, leading to arterial inflammation.  This study suggests an analogous path exists in humans. Moreover, this study identifies, for the first time in animal models or humans, the region of the brain (the amygdala) that links stress to the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The paper reports on two complementary studies.

The first analyzed imaging and medical records data from almost 300 individuals who had PET/CT brain imaging, primarily for cancer screening, using a radiopharmaceutical called FDG that both measures the activity of areas within the brain and reflects inflammation within arteries.  All participants in that study had no active cancer or cardiovascular disease at the time of imaging and each had information in their medical records on at least three additional clinical visits after imaging.

The second study enrolled 13 individuals with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder, who were evaluated for their current levels of perceived stress and received FDG-PET scanning to measure both amygdala activity and arterial inflammation.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery Improves Quality of Life For Obese Teenagers, But Complications Not Rare

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Thomas H. Inge MD

University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine
Aurora, CO 80045

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

Response: Gastric bypass surgery helps severely obese teenagers lose weight and keep it off, according to the first long term follow up studies of teenagers who had undergone the procedure 5-12 years earlier. However, the studies show some patients will need further surgery to deal with complications or may develop vitamin deficiencies later in life, according to two studies published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Severe obesity is classified as having a BMI of 40 or over (around 100 pounds overweight) and affects around 4.6 million children and teenagers in the USA. It causes ill health, poor quality of life and cuts life expectancy.

The studies are the first to look at long-term effects of gastric bypass surgery in teenagers. Until now, it has been unclear how successful the surgery is in the long-term and whether it can lead to complications. Thousands of teenagers are offered surgical treatment each year.

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Gastric Bypass Surgery Found Safe and Effective in Adolescent Severe Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Torsten Olbers PhD

Department of Gastrosurgical Research
Institute of Clinical Sciences
University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital
Gothenburg Sweden 

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

Response: The background to study was the lack of effective treatments for adolescents with severe obesity and the observation that many adults undergoing gastric bypass regret that they didn’t´t do it earlier.

The medical indication is to hopefully prevent development of diseases and organ damage due to cardiovascular risk factors and to enable them to have normalised psychosocial development (education, relation etc).

In fact most of the adolescents undergoing surgery had parents having undergone surgery.

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Living Near Major Roads Associated With Increased Dementia Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hong Chen, PhD Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) Toronto, ON

Dr. Hong Chen

Hong Chen, PhD
Scientist, Environmental Health Assessment
Public Health Ontario | Santé publique Ontario
Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
University of Toronto
Adjunct Scientist, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences
Toronto, ON

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

Response: Over the past several decades, there is unequivocal evidence that living close to major roadways may lead to various adverse health outcomes, such as cardio-respiratory related mortality and mortality. In the past decade, concern is growing that exposures associated with traffic such as air pollution and noise may also have an adverse impact on brain health. Several experimental studies show that air pollutants and diesel exhaust induce oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, activate microglia (which act as the first and main form of immune defense in the central nervous system), and stimulate neural antibodies. There are also a small number of epidemiological studies linking traffic-related noise and air pollution to cognitive decline and increased incidence of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Studies also showed that living near roads was associated with reduced white matter hyperintensity volume and cognition, but its effect on the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis is unknown. Given hundreds of millions of people worldwide live close to major roads, we conducted this population-based cohort study to investigate the association between residential proximity to major roadways and the incidence of these three neurological diseases in Ontario, Canada.

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Infections in Infancy, Not Antibiotics Associated With Childhood Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

De-Kun Li, MD, PhD Senior Research Scientist Division of Research Kaiser Foundation Research Institute Kaiser Permanente Oakland, CA 94612

Dr. De-Kun Li,

De-Kun Li, MD, PhD
Senior Research Scientist
Division of Research
Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
Kaiser Permanente
Oakland, CA 94612

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

Response: The composition of gut microbia (microbiome) has emerged as a key contributor to human disease risk. The external influence on the composition of microbiome in early childhood, especially in infancy, has been linked to increased risk of childhood obesity. Several studies have examined use of antibiotics in infancy and reported an association between use of antibiotics and increased risk of childhood obesity. This has caused a great uncertainty among both pediatricians and parents regarding treatment of infant infections. However, the previous studies failed to separate the effect of underlying infections for which antibiotics were used from the effect of the antibiotics itself. The contribution of our study was to examine the effects of infections and antibiotic use separately.

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Incidence, Risk factors and Prevention of Hepatitis C Reinfection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Naveed Zafar Janjua, MBBS, MSc, DrPH
Senior Scientist, Clinical Prevention Services
BC Centre for Disease Control
Clinical Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia

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

Response: Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. About quarter of people infected with hepatitis C clear their infection spontaneously rest develop chronic infection. Left untreated, hepatitis C could results in scarring of liver (liver cirrhosis), liver cancer or death. New anti-viral drugs are highly effective in curing hepatitis C, about than 95 per cent of those treated can be cured. However, people who engage in high risk activities such as people who inject drugs (PWID) remain at risk of reinfection. As the cost of treatment is very high, re-infection is a concern among physicians and policy makers in Canada and around the world.

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Vandetanib Had Antitumor Activity In RET-rearranged NSC Lung Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Kiyotaka Yoh

Department of Thoracic Oncology
National Cancer Center Hospital East
Kashiwa, Japan

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

Response: LURET is multicenter, single-arm, phase II study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of vandetanib as RET inhibitor in patients with advanced RET-rearranged non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In 2012, RET rearrangements were identified as rare oncogenic alterations for NSCLC.

Among 17 eligible patients included in primary analysis, the objective response rate was 53% (95% CI 28–77), which met the primary endpoint. At the data cutoff, median progression-free survival was 4.7 months (95% CI 2.8–8.5). Overall, vandetanib was tolerated, with an adverse event profile similar to those seen in previous large population studies of vandetanib in patients with unselected NSCLC.

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Study Supports Mesh Surgery for Incontinence But Not for Bowel or Bladder Prolapse

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr Rachael Wood PhD

Consultant in Public Health Medicine – women and children’s health
NHS National Services Scotland
Information Services Division
Edinburgh

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

Response: Mesh surgery for female stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse is currently controversial.

Mesh surgery was introduced to overcome recognised limitations of traditional, non-mesh, surgery for these conditions, in particular extensive surgery and long hospital stays for incontinence and high failure/recurrence rates for prolapse. Mesh surgery may therefore offer additional benefits over traditional surgery. Mesh surgery may also carry additional risks however, with patient advocacy groups highlighting cases of severe, long term, mesh-related complications in some women who have undergone mesh surgery.

We therefore used routinely available, population based hospital discharge records from Scotland to identify women having mesh and non-mesh procedures for incontinence and prolapse. We then followed the women up for up to 5 years to assess how often they were readmitted for complications or further incontinence or prolapse surgery.

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