Author Interviews, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Pain Research / 11.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Holly Yancy, DO Headache medicine specialist Banner – University Medicine Neuroscience Institute Phoenix, AZ Dr. Yancy comments on the recent Neurology journal article on the potential impact of yoga on migraine.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How might yoga reduce migraine intensity or frequency?  Response: The authors of this trial have studied the benefits of yoga when added to medical management of episodic migraine. They expand on prior, smaller reports of the potential benefit of yoga and mindfulness to migraine patients with a well-designed study that shows yoga, as an adjunct to preventive medication, can lower the intensity, frequency and impact of migraines. Participants even used less abortive medication. The authors propose multiple potential mechanisms of action, including an increase in parasympathetic / decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity, decreased muscle tension, and stress management. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Neurology / 28.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Santosh K. Mishra M.Tech., PhD Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences NC State Veterinary Medicine Raleigh, NC 2760 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by atopic dermatitis? Response: Chronic allergic itch is a worldwide problem that leads to substantial health expenses,but what causes this universal urge to scratch remains elusive in chronic allergic itch. Atopic dermatitis is a common allergic skin disease that often associated with extremely itchy and inflamed skin. In our study, we showed, for the first time, a molecular pathway that is involved in chronic allergic itch as we identified an endogenous mediator (periostin) and a new role for its sensory neuron receptor, the integrin αVβ3, which drives the excitability and transmission of itch signal to the spinal cord.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurology, Pain Research / 12.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chun Yuen Fong Post-doc research fellow Center for Cognitive and Evolutionary Science University of Tokyo  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Migraine is one of the most prevalent neurological disorders worldwide. However, what exactly trigger a migraine episode is not entirely clear despite years of research. Moreover, migraine sufferers often report having excessive sensitivity to light and certain patterns during the headache-free period. Some researchers suggested that such abnormal sensations were associated with the enhanced cortical hyperexcitability of the migraine sufferers. In our study, we aimed to build on this theory by comparing the neurophysiological activities between regular migraine sufferers and control using electroencephalography (EEG). Using the same research method, we also compared the neural activities between healthy participants who reported having more abnormal visual sensations to those with less. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, McGill, Neurology, Technology / 28.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yasser Iturria-Medina PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Associate member of the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health McConnell Brain Imaging Centre McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As background, two main points:
  • Almost all molecular (gene expression) analyses performed in neurodegeneration are based on snapshots data, taking at one or a few time points covering the disease's large evolution. Because neurodegenerative diseases take decades to develop, until now we didn't have a dynamical characterization of these diseases. Our study tries to overcome such limitation, proposing a data-driven methodology to study long term dynamical changes associated to disease.
Also, we still lacked robust minimally invasive and low-cost biomarkers of individual neuropathological progression. Our method is able to offer both in-vivo and post-mortem disease staging highly predictive of neuropathological and clinical alterations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Gender Differences, Neurology, UC Davis / 27.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison Brashear, M.D., M.B.A. Dean, UC Davis School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Why is the demand for neurology services and neurologists increasing?  Response: The American Academy of Neurology estimates that by 2025 the number of neurologists in practice will increase to 18,060 but some 3,400 more will be needed to meet the demand for their services. The 58% increase in the number of residency positions in the National Resident Matching Program since 2008 also reflects the growing demand. The higher prevalence of neurologic conditions, aging U.S. population and more patients having access to the health care coverage are the major driving forces. (Note: source of NRMP neurology trend data comes from a physician/resident forum posted May 2019 https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/growth-trends-in-neurology-residency-positions.1375918/) MedicalResearch.com: Why is neurology included among the less desirable fields of medicine (similar to nephrology, infectious disease, endocrinology etc.) for medical students and residents to pursue?  Why is burnout and dissatisfaction so high? Response: According to the American Academy of Neurology, a minority of medical students choose to train in neurology each year, with approximately 3.1% matching into a neurology residency in 2018. The newer generations of neurologists value lifestyle and time off work more than their predecessors. According to a recent American Medical Association survey, neurology tied with critical care as the medical specialty with the highest stress levels and burnout. Too many administrative tasks, too many hours at work, increased computerization of practice and insufficient compensation were among the top causes of burnout. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Neurology / 10.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Simon Borghs MSc RWE Strategy Lead of Neurology UCB:  Union Chimique Belge MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Epilepsy is an episodic disease and so is associated with a more or less unpredictable occurrence of health care encounters. These encounters are costly and so reducing them, or their unpredictability, could be cost saving. The objective was to assess one half of this equation, that is the actual cost of those encounters to insurers. This could prompt insurers to consider addressing possible interventions in epilepsy to reduce the number of encounters (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Alzheimer's - Dementia, Autism, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, MRI, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology, Technology / 23.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sebastian Magda, Ph.D Director of Science & Engineering CorTechs Labs, Inc MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have shown that the changes of brain structure volume and/or metabolic activity are associated with various neurological diseases. We have created an artificial intelligence clinical decision support tool based on brain volumetric and PET metabolic activity measurements as well as other clinical measurements. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Neurology / 11.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Neil Dawson PhD Senior Lecturer Lancaster University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Deletions on chromosome 2p16.3, involving deletion of the NEUREXIN1 gene, dramatically increase the risk of developing a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism, Tourette’s syndrome and schizophrenia. We don’t fully understand the mechanisms involved. In our study we wanted to understand how the genetic deletion impacts on brain function and the ability of brain regions to communicate with one another, as these are known to be impaired in these neurodevelopmental disorders. We also wanted to determine how the genetic deletion impacts on the function of neurotransmitter systems involved in these disorders, and whether drugs targeting these neurotransmitter systems could restore some of the deficits in brain function seen. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Pain Research / 27.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Priv.-Doz. Dr. med. Christoph Schankin Consultant Head University Headache Clinic Department of Neurology Inselspital, Bern University Hospital University of Bern MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Visual snow syndrome is a debilitating disorder with a continuous TV snow-like visual disturbance that persists over years. Patients have additional visual problems, such as severe afterimages, floaters or photophobia. The syndrome is associated with migraine and migraine aura, but the interaction between the two remains unclear. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Duke, Neurology / 24.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Juan Helen Zhou, PhD, on behalf of the co-authors Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders (NBD) Programme Duke-NUS Medical School, SingaporeJuan Helen Zhou, PhD, on behalf of the co-authors Associate Professor and Principal Investigator Neuroscience and Behavioural Disorders (NBD) Programme Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease are among the leading disorders affecting the elderly, with up to 50 per cent of dementia patients showing co-occurrence of both disorders. It is therefore of great interest to understand the influence of co-occurring Alzheimer’s disease and cerebrovascular disease pathologies on brain changes, and examine if such changes are able to track early differential disease progression. Past cross-sectional studies have suggested that Alzheimer's disease and cerebrovascular disease pathologies contribute independently to brain functional and structural changes, and cognitive decline. Our study sought to demonstrate the independent contributions of both pathologies to brain functional networks in a longitudinal cohort of mild cognitive impairment patients, often regarded as early stage of the disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Neurology, Surgical Research / 05.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Natasha van Zyl, MBChB (Cape Town), FRACS FRACS Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon Melbourne, Australia  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The estimated global incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) from all causes is 40 to 80 new cases per million population per year which means that every year between 250 000 to 500 000 people worldwide suffer SCI (1)(chap 2 p 17). In Australia the age standardised, annual incident rate of persisting traumatic SCI for Australian residents aged 15 years and above is 11.8 cases per million.(2) Just over 50% of all spinal cord injuries  in Australia occur at the cervical level resulting in tetraplegia. (2) Cervical spinal cord injury is a devastating, life-changing injury impacting almost every aspect of a person’s work, family and social life. Although compared to many other health conditions it has a relatively low incidence, it is certainly a high cost health condition, with the lifetime cost per tetraplegia incident case estimated to be AU$9.5 million.(3) For those living with tetraplegia improvement in hand function is their highest ranked goal.(4) As such, reconstruction of upper extremity function in cervical spinal cord injury is a crucial component of the surgical rehabilitation of people with mid/low cervical spinal cord injury as it has the capacity to restore critical functions such as elbow extension, wrist extension, grasp, key pinch and release. Traditionally these functions have been reconstructed using tendon transfers, which move a functioning muscle to a new insertion site to recreate the function of a paralysed muscle.(5) (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Columbia, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, NEJM, Neurology / 27.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jan Claassen, MD, PhD, FNCS Associate Professor of Neurology Division of Division of Critical Care and Hospitalist Neurology Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Unconsciousness is common and predicting recovery is challenging – often inaccurate. Many patients do not show movements on commands and typically this is interpreted as unconsciousness. Some of these patients may be able to have brain response to these commands raising the possibility of some preservation of consciousness. This has previously been shown months or years after the injury mostly using MRI. We were able to detect this activation at the bedside in the ICU shortly after brain injury. For this we applied machine learning to the EEG to distinguish the brain’s responses to commands. Patients that showed this activation were more likely to follow commands prior to discharge and had better outcomes one year later.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Neurology, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 20.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameed Khatana, MD Fellow, Cardiovascular Medicine, Perleman School of Medicine Associate Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been a growing use of quality metrics and indices in the US healthcare system. Much attention has been paid to quality measurement programs used by public payors, however, the use of such programs by commercial payors is much less studied. "Centers of excellence" are one type of quality designation program that is growing in use by commercial payors where certain hospitals are determined to be "high quality" for a certain disease state or procedure based on meeting certain criteria. For some people, this is even impacting the choice of providers and hospitals they can use by payors. We evaluated centers of excellence programs from three large commercial payors, Aetna, Cigna and Blue Cross Blue Shield, targeted at cardiovascular diseases and interventions and examined publicly reported outcomes for all hospitals performing percutaneous coronary interventions (cardiac stenting) in New York State.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Diabetes, Neurology / 17.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: foot-neuropathyMonica Perazzolo Research Centre for Musculoskeletal Science and Sports Medicine School of Healthcare Science, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research on motor control in diabetes focussed on the effect of diabetic peripheral neuropathy on driving. Drivers with diabetic peripheral neuropathy showed a less well controlled use of the accelerator pedal and sometimes larger, faster steering corrections needed to stay in lane when driving a simulator compared to healthy drivers and people with diabetes but no neuropathy. Despite these negative findings, an important result is that drivers with diabetic peripheral neuropathy demonstrated an improvement in their driving with practice.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Education, Neurology, NYU / 17.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Stainman Dr. Arielle Kurzweil MD Adult Neurology Program Director New York University School of Medicine NYU Langone Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Physician burnout is prevalent. Neurologists have among the highest burnout rates, ranked third among specialties in a 2011 study, and over half of US Neurologists report at least 1 symptom of burnout in a 2016 survey.  Efforts to address burnout in training programs have mostly been aimed at implementing wellness curricula and offering mental health resources. Training neurology residents to effectively identify, address, and help impaired colleagues is equally crucial in these efforts, yet there is a paucity of literature on this topic. We used simulation as a means of addressing this topic, via identifying and addressing an impaired colleague through an objective structured clinical examination (OSCE).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, Stroke / 12.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas M Van Vleet PhD Posit Science  Dr. Tom Van Vleet,  presented results on a common symptom of stroke and acquired brain injury (hemi-spatial neglect) at the American Academy of Neurology May 2019 MedicalResearch.com: What makes this study newsworthy? Response For the first time ever a highly-scalable intervention — computerized brain training (BrainHQ made by Posit Science) —was found to improve symptoms of hemi-spatial neglect, which is a common and often intractable and debilitating problem after stroke or other acquired brain injury. MedicalResearch.com: What can you tell us about the medical condition (hemi-spatial neglect) investigated in this study? Response About a third of patients with a brain injury exhibit a complex and debilitating array of neurological deficits known as the “neglect syndrome” (sometimes called, “hemi-spatial neglect” or “neglect”). The most apparent symptom of neglect is the inability of patients to efficiently process information on the side of space opposite the injury; often completely missing relevant events without awareness. As a result, patients often fail to adopt compensatory strategies or respond to other conventional rehabilitation protocols. The cost is significant, as patients with neglect experience longer hospital stays and have higher requirements for assistance, including greater skilled nursing home placements relative to patients with similar extent of brain injury without neglect. To date, there’s been no broadly-applicable and highly-scalable intervention for addressing neglect. An alarming reality given the increasing cost of stroke, which is currently estimated to exceed $34 billion per annum (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, NEJM, Neurology / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Geoffrey A Donnan AO MBBS, MD, FRCP, FRACP, FAAHMS Professor of Neurology University of Melbourne, Melbourne Brain Centre Royal Melbourne and Austin Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Currently the thrombolysis time window for acute ischemic stroke is restricted to less than 4.5 hours from stroke onset and patients with wake-up stroke are not eligible. EXTEND is a multi-centre randomised placebo-controlled trial involving patient with acute ischemic stroke who presented between 4.5 to 9 hours of stroke onset or with wake-up-stroke and had penumbral tissue demonstrated on automated perfusion imaging. Patients were randomised to receive either alteplase or placebo. In total there were 225 patients recruited and the patients who received alteplase had higher rate of excellent functional outcome at 3 months (35.4% vs 29.5% adjusted odd ration 1.44 with 95% confidence interval 1.01 – 2.06 p=0.04). Patients who received alteplase achieved higher rate of early neurological improvement at day 3, reperfusion and recanalization at 24 hours. There was numerically more haemorrhage in the alteplase group but this not negate the functional benefit and there was no difference in the rate of mortality between the two groups.  (more…)
Author Interviews, McGill, Multiple Sclerosis, Neurology / 09.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Douglas Arnold, MD The Montreal Neurological Institute & Hospital McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Diroximel fumarate (DRF) is a novel oral fumarate, with a distinct chemical structure that is being developed for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). It is hypothesized that the distinct chemical structure of DRF may elicit less localized irritation in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, potentially leading to improved GI tolerability. Diroximel fumarate is expected to have similar efficacy as dimethyl fumarate (marketed as TECFIDERA®), as both are converted to equivalent levels of monomethyl fumarate in the body. The EVOLVE-MS-1 study is primarily evaluating the safety of DRF and also exploring efficacy endpoints.   (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Neurological Disorders, Neurology, University of Pennsylvania / 08.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lauren McCollum, MDCognitive and Behavioral Neurology FellowPenn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology DivisionLauren McCollum, MD Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Fellow Penn Memory Center / Cognitive Neurology Division MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a heterogenous condition, with considerable variability in cognitive symptoms and progression rates. One major reason for this heterogeneity is “mixed pathology,” – i.e., both AD- and non-AD pathology. Examples of non-AD pathology include cerebrovascular disease (CVD), Lewy Bodies, and TDP-43. Pathologically, Alzheimer’s Disease is defined by characteristic amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles, which can be assessed for in living patients with CSF- or PET-based biomarkers for amyloid and tau, respectively. Classically, amyloid deposition begins years or even decades before pathologic tau accumulation, which is in turn associated with brain atrophy and cognitive decline. The recently developed NIA-AA “ATN” research framework allows for the classification of individuals with regard to 3 binary biomarkers: Amyloid (A), Tau (T), and Neurodegeneration (N). An individual’s ATN biomarker status indicates where along the “Alzheimer’s Disease continuum” they lie. Additionally, some ATN statuses are on the “typical AD” continuum, while others are not. Research has shown that 15-30% of cognitively normal older adults have elevated amyloid. It stands to reason that some portion of cognitively impaired individuals with elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration have something other than AD driving their neuronal injury. Within the context of the ATN research framework, this subset of people is the A+T-N+ group (i.e., people who have elevated amyloid and neurodegeneration, but are tau-negative), as amyloid alone (that is, amyloid without tau) is not thought to cause significant cognitive impairment or brain atrophy. Our hypothesis was that, compared to A+T+N+ (a set of typical-AD biomarkers), A+T-N+ have cognitive and neuroimaging profiles that deviate from a typical Alzheimer’s Disease pattern – i.e., with less memory loss and less atrophy in AD-signature regions – and may have biomarkers suggestive of alternate non-AD pathologies [e.g., white matter hyperintensities (WMHs), a marker of CVD]. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurology, Stroke / 27.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Giacomo Koch, MD, PhD Laboratorio di Neurologia Clinica e Comportamentale Fondazione S. Lucia I.R.C.C.S. Italy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We show in this paper that non invasive stimulation of the cerebellum in patients with stroke is able to improve motor functions. In particular we found that after three weeks of repetitive TMS of the intact cerebellum patients with hemiparesis due to stroke in the cerebral hemisphere remarkably improved their ability to walk and keep their balance, thus highly reducing the risk of fall.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Neurology / 02.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Be careful what you wish for #drugs #heroin #addiction #camp #church" by Matthew Kang is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0Michaël Loureiro, PhD Research Assistant - Group Lüscher Dpt. of Fundamental Neuroscience University of Geneva - Faculty of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Addiction refers to the repeated and irrepressible urge to consume a drug even in the light of negative consequences. All addictive drugs are initially rewarding and have powerful reinforcing properties, which drive users to use the drug again and again. Within the scientific community, it has been repeatedly argued that for opioids, this initial reinforcing effect does not involve dopamine, and no consensus was emerging. In our study we used some of the most advanced genetic tools to observe that in less than a minute heroin strongly increased the activity of neurons in the midbrain causing a release of dopamine in the striatum, a brain region essential for reward seeking. We further used neuroanatomical tracing methods and found that dopamine neurons activated by heroin were projecting to the very medial region of the ventral striatum. Finally, when we silenced dopamine neurons, heroin lost its reinforcing power, confirming the validity of the dopamine activation hypothesis for opioids. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Heart Disease, JAMA, Neurology / 31.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marion Moseby-Knappe, MD Neurologist and Researcher Center for Cardiac Arrest at Lund University and Skane University Hospital Lund, Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our research focuses on improving methods for examining unconscious patients treated on intensive care units after cardiac arrest. If a patient does not wake up within the first days after cardiac arrest, physicians need to evaluate how likely it is that the patient will awaken at all and to which extent there is brain injury. According to European and American guidelines, decisions on further medical treatment of cardiac arrest patients should always be based on a combination of examinations and not only one single method. Various methods are combined when assessing the patient such as examining different neurologic reflexes, head scans (computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging), other specialist examinations (electroencephalogram or somatosensory evoked potentials) or blood markers. Our research focuses on patients included in the largest cardiac arrest trial to date, the Targeted Temperature Management after Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest (TTM) Trial. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Neurology, Outcomes & Safety, Parkinson's, Pharmacology, University of Pennsylvania / 04.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison W. Willis, MD, MS Assistant Professor of Neurology Assistant Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute Senior Scholar, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was motivated by my own experiences as a neurologist-neuroscientist. I care for Parkinson disease patients, and over the year, have had numerous instances in which a person was taking a medication that could interact with their Parkinson disease medications, or could worsen their PD symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurology, Pain Research / 25.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John Douglas Markman, M.D. Director, Translational Pain Research Program Department of Neurosurgery Professor University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Peripheral nerve injury after trauma and surgery is a leading cause of chronic pain and disability. These pain syndromes are often considered to have an underlying neuropathic mechanism because there is altered sensory processing (e.g., numbness, allodynia) at the site of trauma or surgical incision that localizes to the anatomic distribution of a peripheral nerve. A previous eight-week randomized clinical trial demonstrated efficacy for pregabalin in patients with chronic post-traumatic or -surgical pain.(10) The longer duration of treatment of this study was designed to meet the regulatory standard for a chronic pain indication in the US, 12 weeks of treatment at maintenance or fixed dosing. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Neurology, Parkinson's / 23.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fudi Wang, M.D., Ph.D. Qiushi Chair Professor Nutrition Discovery Innovation Center School of Public Health/School of Medicine Zhejiang University Hangzhou 310058, ChinaFudi Wang, M.D., Ph.D. Qiushi Chair Professor Nutrition Discovery Innovation Center School of Public Health/School of Medicine Zhejiang University Hangzhou  China MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Parkinson disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting approximately 10 million people around the world. To date, the cause of PD remains poorly understood. It is reported that 90% PD cases have no identifiable genetic cause. What’s worse, few therapeutic advances for the treatment of PD have been made in the past decades. Nevertheless, growing prospective longitudinal studies shed lights on the potential beneficial effect of lifestyle factors on reducing the risk of developing Parkinson disease. In this study, we performed a a dose-response meta-analysis of more than half a million participants. We found that physical activity, particularly moderate to vigorous physical activity, could significantly reduce PD risk. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Neurology, University Texas / 17.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Francesca M. Filbey PhD Professor Program Head, Cognition and Neuroscience PhD Bert Moore Chair in BrainHealth UT Dallas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The cannabis literature has generally focused on changes in brain function when engaged in a task. We were interested in examining whether these differences are present when not engaged in a task (i.e., during resting state) to understand baseline functional organization of the brain. Changes to baseline functional organization may reflect changes in brain networks underlying cognition. We also wanted to investigate whether specific brain waves, as measured by electroencephalography (EEG), are associated with measures of cannabis use, such as craving. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Neurology, Sleep Disorders / 01.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rachel Marie E. Salas, MD, MEHP, FAAN Associate Professor, Neurology and Nursing at Johns Hopkins Medicine Director, Interprofessional Education and Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Director, Neurology Clerkship Director, PreDoc Program Meyer/Neuro Sleep Baltimore, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Can you briefly describe what is meant by RLS  and who suffers from it? Response: Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is a common neurological disorder characterized by an irritating, overwhelming urge to move (akathisia) the legs while at rest or sleep (conditions of diminished arousal), which almost immediately abates with mental or physical activity (conditions of maintained arousal). One of the most clinically-profound and scientifically relevant consequences of this disease process is an increased arousal state producing significant wake during sleep times and a relative sustainable degree of daytime alertness despite the degree of diseased-imposed sleep loss. The focus of most previous RLS research has been on the (limb) akathisia with associated periodic movements and reduction of these with dopaminergic treatment. Little research has been done to understand the broader biological dimensions​ of RLS. Patients with RLS have altered sleep-wake homeostasis with increased arousal and wakefulness (hyperarousal) not only driving the signature clinical symptoms (“the urge to move” and sleep loss) but also supporting arousal over sleep drive at night and in the day. We hypothesize that there is a basic glutamate-hyperarousal process producing both disrupted sleep (increased wake time) and cortical excitability (as demonstrated by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)).​  (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurology / 24.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: MedicalResearch.comCaroline Schlüter, M.Sc. Psychologie Fakultät für Psychologie AE Biopsychologie Ruhr-Universität Bochum MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Individuals differ in their ability to initiate intended actions. While some people tend to put tasks off, others easily manage to tackle them directly. Although interindividual differences in what we call ‘action control’ make a major contribution to our everyday life by affecting our physical and mental health as well as our academic and occupational performance, their neural foundation was mostly unknown. Our study is the first to use both structural and functional neuroimaging methods to investigate the neural correlates of action control. We were able to show that poorer action control is significantly related to greater amygdala volume. The amygdala is considered to be a neuroanatomical hub for fear-motivated behavior. It processes sensory information in order to evaluate a given situation, behaviour or outcome. Hence, it is conceivable that individuals with a larger amygdala tend to evaluate future actions and their possible consequences more extensively. This, in turn, might lead to greater concern and hesitation, as observed in individuals with poorer action control. Further, we were able to show that weaker functional resting-state connectivity between the amygdala and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) is significantly associated with lower action control scores, which are typical for procrastinators. Previous studies indicate that the dACC has reciprocal connections with the amygdala, playing a significant role in purposive behaviour and self-control mechanisms. Thus, a weaker functional connection between both brain areas might hinder successful action control, as interfering negative emotions and  (more…)
Author Interviews, Neurology, Social Issues / 22.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Carmen Sandi Director, Brain Mind Institute Laboratory of Behavioral Genetics Brain Mind Institute Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne Switzerland  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Social hierarchies are pervasive and social status has deep consequences for health, wellbeing and societal organizations. Socially dominant individuals have priority access to resources and are more likely to become leaders. Although there are drastic differences in the predisposition of individuals to attain or strive for dominance, very little is known regarding the factors that predispose individuals to attain dominance. Does dominance become visible only in social context? Here, we performed five behavioral experiments and consistently found that individuals high in dominance are faster than less dominant ones to respond in choice situations, though not less accurate, which suggests that promptness to respond may predispose individuals to become dominant. Strikingly, using high-density EEG, we find that promptness to respond in dominant individuals is reflected in a strongly amplified brain signal at approximately 240 ms post-stimulus presentation. At this latency, participants’ reaction times were negatively correlated with activity in the cingulate cortex. Our results may open a new research approach using EEG signatures as a measure for dominance, independent of social context. (more…)