Emergency Transfusion of Patients with Unknown Blood Type with Blood Group O Rhesus D Positive Blood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. med. Kathleen Selleng, OÄ, QB Hämotherapie

Universitätsmedizin Greifswald
Institut für Immunologie und Transfusionsmedizin,
Abt. Transfusionsmedizin
Sauerbruchstraße
Greifswald Deutschland

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

Response: Red blood cell concentrates (RBCs) of blood group O RhD negative are frequently used as universal blood for emergency transfusions in patients with unknown blood type. This leads to an over-proportional use of these red blood cell concentrates and regular shortages of O RhD negative RBCs.

Due to these shortages, patients with known RhD negative blood type sometimes have to be transfused with RhD positive RBCs.

The present study shows that the overall risk to induce an anti-D by transfusing all emergency patients with unknown blood type with O RhD positive RBCs is in the range of 3 to 6%, while this risk is much higher (20-30%) in RhD negative patients which have to be transfused with RhD positive RBCs due to RhD negative RBC shortages.

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Intensive Therapy Facilitates Language Recovery in Chronic Aphasia After Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Caterina Breitenstein, PhD
Department of General Neurology, University of Muenster, Germany
Annette Baumgärtner, PhD
Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Fresenius University of Applied Sciences, Hamburg, Germany

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

Response: For a long time, it has been assumed that language recovery is limited to the first months after the initial stroke. During the past two decades, however, several clinical studies and systematic reviews have challenged this dogma by demonstrating functional gains in stroke survivors during the chronic post-stroke stage (at least 6 months post the initial stroke) whenever speech and language therapy (SLT) intensity was sufficiently high (i.e., at least 5 h/week for several weeks). These studies, however, lacked the methodological quality required for evidence-based interventions (for criteria, please refer to http://www.cebm.net/ocebm-levels-of-evidence). Until now, this lack in evidence severely hampers stroke survivors’ access to language rehabilitation services .

The present multicenter randomized controlled healthcare trial FCET2EC (acronym stands for “From Controlled Experimental Trial to=2 Everyday Communication) is the first study worldwide to compare three weeks of intensive SLT provided under routine clinical conditions to an equally long period of no (or low intensity) SLT. After 3 weeks of intensive individualized therapy, the 156 stroke survivors with chronic aphasia verbally expressed themselves more effectively in daily-life communicative situations, like changing a doctor’s appointment by a telephone call. Additionally, patients and their significant other rated their communication-related quality of life as significantly improved.

Last but not least, therapy effects remained stable over a follow-up period of six months after the intensive intervention.

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Vitamin D During Fetal Life and Bone Health in Children at Age 6

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Audry H. Garcia PhD

Scientist Department of Epidemiology
Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam
Rotterdam, the Netherlands 

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

Response: Fetal bone mineralisation requires an adequate transfer of calcium to the fetus by the end of the pregnancy. Considering that vitamin D is required to maintain normal blood concentrations of calcium, adequate 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) concentrations in pregnant women seem to be crucial for bone development of the offspring. Maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy has been associated with abnormal early skeletal growth in offspring and might be a risk factor for decreased bone mass in later life. Several studies have linked vitamin D deficiency in fetal life to congenital rickets, craniotabes, wide skull sutures and osteomalacia. However, the evidence of long-lasting effects of maternal vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy on offspring’s skeletal development is scarce and inconsistent, and has led to contradictory recommendations on vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy.

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Safety and Immunogenicity of the Tau Vaccine AADvac1 in Patients with Alzheimer’s Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Petr Novak, MD, PhD AXON Neuroscience Bratislava, Slovakia

Dr. Petr Novak

Petr Novak, MD, PhD
AXON Neuroscience
Bratislava, Slovakia

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

Response: Alzheimer’s disease is a complex, multifactorial disorder, with many-faceted neuropathology. A hallmark finding is the co-existence of neurofibrillary pathology (such as neurofibrillary tangles) composed of tau protein, and amyloid-β pathology (plaques) [1].

Neurofibrillary pathology is closely correlated with cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease [2], while support for the role amyloid in the disease pathogenesis comes from the ability of certain mutations to induce AD in an autosomal-dominant fashion [3].

The field has explored various anti-amyloid therapies to great extent, and continues to do so with undiminished effort [4]; meanwhile, there is a noticeable paucity of investigated therapies aimed at neurofibrillary tau protein pathology, despite the ability of tau protein dysfunction to cause a multitude of neurodegenerative disorders, collectively named “tauopathies” [5].

AADvac1 is the first tau-targeted immunotherapy investigated in humans [6], a pioneering effort to target the component of AD neuropathology that is proximal to neuronal damage and cognitive loss, and thus to halt or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Subtle Differences in Brain Volume Detected On MRI In ADHD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
M. (Martine) Hoogman PhD.

Postdoc and PI of ENIGMA-ADHD
Radboud universitair medisch centrum
Department of Human Genetics
Nijmegen, The Netherlands

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

Response: There are many neuro-imaging studies aimed at investigating structural brain changes related to ADHD, but the results are often inconclusive.

There are two main reasons for this:

1) the small sample size of the studies and
2) the heterogeneous methods used.

We tried to address these issues by forming an international collaboration to provide a sample size sufficient to detect even small effects in volume differences. And in addition, we analyzed all the raw scans again using homogenized methods. There are data of more than 1700 patients (aged 4-63 years of age) and more than 1500 healthy controls in our dataset, coming from 23 sites around the world. We studied the possible volume differences between cases and controls of 7 subcortical regions and intracranial volume by performing mega- and meta-analysis.

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Money for Medication Improved Adherence To Medications for Psychosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

 Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student Department of Psychiatry Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam Netherlands

Ernst L Noordraven

Ernst L Noordraven MSc, PhD student
Department of Psychiatry
Epidemiological and Social Psychiatric Research institute
Erasmus University Medical Center
Rotterdam Netherlands

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

Response: Provision of financial incentives is a promising intervention for improving adherence in patients taking antipsychotic medication. We aimed to assess the effectiveness of this intervention for improving adherence to antipsychotic depot medication in patients with psychotic disorders, irrespective of their previous compliance.

Our 12-month randomized controlled trial showed that financial incentives improved adherence to antipsychotic depot medications in patients with psychotic disorders, regardless of their level of compliance at study entrance. Patients received either treatment as usual plus a financial reward for each depot of medication received (€30 per month if fully compliant; intervention group) or treatment as usual alone (control group). Based on the use of depot registrations from 155 patients (92%), the adjusted difference in adherence was 14·9% (95% CI 8·9–20·9%; p<0·0001) in favour of the intervention group.

Our study is also the first to demonstrate that the effects on medication adherence persist after monetary rewards are discontinued, for at least a 6-month follow-up period (adjusted difference 6·5%, 95% CI 2·0–10·9; p=0·047).

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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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Vitamin D May Have Protective Role Against Respiratory Infections

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Adrian R Martineau
B Med Sci DTM&H MRCP PhD
Clinical Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity
Centre for Primary Care and Public Health.
Blizard Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry
Queen Mary, University of London

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

Response: In addition to its well-known effects on bone, Vitamin D has also been shown to boost immune responses to viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory infections in lab experiments.

In order to see whether these effects translate into a health benefit, a total of 25 clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation to prevent various respiratory infections have been carried out in around 11,000 people living in 14 different countries over the last decade.

These trials have yielded conflicting results: in some, vitamin D reduced the risk of infections, but in others it did not.

The reason why vitamin D ‘worked’ in some trials, but not in others, has been the subject of much debate.

In order to answer this question, we assembled an international consortium of investigators and compiled the raw data from every trial into a single database containing information from 10,933 people in total. This allowed us to run sub-group analyses to determine whether particular groups of people benefit more from vitamin D supplementation than others.

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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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