Author Interviews, Microbiome, UCSD / 24.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard Gallo, MD, PhD Ima Gigli Distinguished Professor of Dermatology Chair of the Department of Dermatology UC San Diego School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by atopic dermatitis/eczema? How common is it and what are the symptoms. Response: Atopic Dermatitis is a common inflammatory disease of the skin that appears in up to 20% of children and 3% of the adult population. People suffering from atopic dermatitis have red, itchy skin. In many cases this rash will disrupt sleeping and severely impact quality of life. Also, people with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to infections of the skin and are more likely to have other allergies and asthma. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, JAMA, UCLA / 22.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frederick Zimmerman, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management Fielding School of Public Health UCLA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The science on school transmissions of COVID is becoming clearer all the time in its conclusion that there is little to no transmission in school environments as long as reasonable precautions are taken.  Yet one recent study got a lot of attention for claiming that states that allowed their schools to remain open in the early days of the pandemic saw more cases.  That study did not control for several important factors that might explain this association, so our study aimed to correct that work. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, NYU / 11.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Terry Gordon PhD Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine NYU Grossman School of Medicine NYU Langone Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are air pollution researcher and interested in unique exposure scenarios.  Based on the work by Dr. Steve Chillrud, Columbia University, we did a study 5 years ago to assess air quality in over 30 subway stations in NYC.  We found poor air quality in all of the underground stations but the air quality was better in some locations.  So we wondered what would be air quality in different transit systems in NE United States.  David Luglio, pre-doctoral candidate, led a team of students to monitor particles in the air of subway stations in metropolitan NYC's MTA, LIRR, and PATH systems, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.   (more…)
Author Interviews, NIH, Pulmonary Disease / 09.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stavros Garantziotis MD Division of Intramural Research National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does hyaluronan differ from other medications for COPD? Is it used for other medical conditions? Response: Hyaluronan is a natural sugar found in the human body, including in the lung. We have found that when the lungs are exposed to pollution, this sugar breaks down, and the breakdown fragments cause inflammation in the lung. We also found that if we give back the natural form of hyaluronan, it protects the lung from inflammation. Patients suffering from COPD also have a lot of hyaluronan breakdown in their lungs. We therefore reasoned, that giving them back the natural form of hyaluronan, as an inhalation treatment, would help them reduce inflammation. We tested this, as a first step, in the treatment acute inflammation of the lungs in COPD patients who are suffering an exacerbation of their disease. Hyaluronan is different from existing medications in that it is a natural product of the body. It is used in Europe for conditions like cystic fibrosis, and after sinus surgery to humidify the airways. Because it is given by inhalation, it acts locally in the lungs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 08.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary R. Rooney, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral research fellow Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? Response: Prediabetes is defined by elevated blood glucose levels below the threshold for diabetes diagnosis. Physicians screen for prediabetes to identify patients at high risk for diabetes. Prediabetes is common in middle-aged adults but has not been well-studied in older age. We undertook this study to examine the natural history of prediabetes in older adults. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Pediatrics / 08.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yun-Han Wang MSc PhD student, Karolinska Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in children has increased substantially in recent years, concurrently with emerging concerns that these drugs may increase the risk of asthma. Whether PPI use in the broad pediatric population is associated with increased risk of asthma is not known.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA / 05.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elodie C. Warren, MPH Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Graduate MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that the US has been experiencing an opioid crisis for the past two decades. And we know that among communities of color, rates of overdose deaths are continuing to increase, even though overall national rates decreased between 2017 and 2018. To better understand how the opioid crisis has differently affected racial/ethnic groups, we looked at how heroin treatment admissions changed over time by race/ethnicity, age, and sex. We found that there were stark differences when comparing non-Hispanic Black men and women to non-Hispanic White men and women. Importantly, our study suggests the existence of an aging cohort of Black men and women (likely including survivors of a heroin epidemic that hit urban areas more than 40 years ago) that continues to struggle with heroin addiction. This points to the need for targeted interventions in chronically underserved communities.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nature / 04.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hugo Aerts, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Professor, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Director, Program for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Brigham And Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: Deep convolutional neural networks to predict cardiovascular risk from computed tomography  Response: Cardiovascular disease is the most common preventable cause of death in Europe and the United States. Effective lifestyle and pharmacological prevention is available, but identifying those who would benefit most remains an ongoing challenge. Hence, efforts are needed to further improve cardiovascular risk prediction and stratification on an individual basis. One of the strongest known predictors for adverse cardiovascular events is coronary artery calcification, which can be quantified on computed tomography (CT). The CT coronary calcium score is a measure of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis and is one of the most widely accepted measures of cardiovascular risk. Recent strides in artificial intelligence, deep learning in particular, have shown its viability in several medical applications such as medical diagnostic and imaging, risk management, or virtual assistants. A major advantage is that deep learning can automate complex assessments that previously could only be done by radiologists, but now is feasible at scale with a higher speed and lower cost. This makes deep learning a promising technology for automating cardiovascular event prediction from imaging. However, before clinical introduction can be considered, generalizability of these systems needs to be demonstrated as they need to be able to predict cardiovascular events of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals across multiple clinical scenarios, and work robustly on data from multiple institutions. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA, Social Issues, University of Pennsylvania / 02.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameed Khatana MD, MPH Instructor, Cardiovascular Medicine Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Physician, Philadelphia VA Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: After declining for decades, the fall in cardiovascular mortality rates in the US has started to slow down and rates may be rising in certain groups. This stagnation in mortality has been most start among middle-aged adults. These trends have occurred at the same time as growing economic inequality. Our analysis aimed to study the relationship between change in cardiovascular mortality rates between 2010 and 2017 for middle-aged adults across the US and change in economic prosperity levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Prostate, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Urology / 01.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital MPH (Health Policy) Student | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Medical Student | McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hospitals to delay the definitive treatment of cancers via surgery or radiation therapy. While previous evidence has shown that delaying the treatment of low-risk prostate cancer is not associated with worse outcomes, treatment delays for intermediate-risk and high-risk prostate cancer are more controversial. As such, we sought to determine if delays for these disease states negatively impacted oncological outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 30.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina L. Master, MD, FAAP, CAQSM, FACSM Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Co-Director, Minds Matter Concussion Program Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Division of Pediatric Orthopedics Attending Physician, Care Network - Karabots Center The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There have been multiple studies investigating potential sex differences in outcomes from concussion which have sometimes had conflicting results with some studies indicating that females take longer to recover than males and some studies reporting no difference in recovery between females and males, with most of these studies being conducted either retrospectively or prospectively in smaller cohorts. This large-scale multi-center prospective study in collegiate athletes provided an opportunity to compare females and males across comparable sports to examine both potential intrinsic or biologic factors (sex differences) or extrinsic (environmental or gender differences) that contribute to outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cannabis, Opiods, Yale / 29.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Balázs Kovács PhD Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Yale School of Management MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study looks at the association between the prevalence of legal cannabis stores, called “dispensaries”, and opioid-related mortality rates in the U.S.  We find that higher cannabis dispensary counts are associated with reduced opioid-related mortality rates.   We find this relationship holds for both medical dispensaries, which only serve patients who have a state-approved medical card or doctor’s recommendation, as well as for recreational dispensaries, which sell to adults 21 years and older.  The statistical associations we find appears most pronounced with the class of opioids that includes fentanyl and its analogs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Rheumatology / 21.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter Izmirly, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine Director of Inpatient Rheumatology, Bellevue Hospital Center co-Director, NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases Lupus Clinic Research Office Address: NYU School of Medicine New York, NY 10016  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Knowing how many people have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is limited, particularly for racial/ethnic subgroups in the United States. Our work provides accurate estimates of who has  (SLE) among the major racial/ethnic groups in the United States and that our estimates for SLE approach the FDA’s definition or a rare disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric R. Pedersen, Ph.D. Adjunct Behavioral Scientist, RAND Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In November of 2016, CA voted to legalize cannabis for sale and possession to adults 21 and older for recreational use. It wasn’t until January of 2018 that stores in most parts of LA County (we call these “outlets”) were legally able to begin selling recreational cannabis. We were collecting data from about 2,500 young adults in LA County as part of a longitudinal study (Principal Investigator Elizabeth D’Amico at RAND) and were able to look at cannabis use and intentions assessed at a period prior to the opening of the recreational cannabis outlets (pre-January 2018) to a period when those outlets were open (after January 2018). It has been suggested that once cannabis was more available for recreational purchase (and not just for medical purposes among those enrolled in CA’s medical marijuana program), use of cannabis among young adults would increase.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Food insecurity is the inability to afford or access nutritionally adequate and safe foods for an active, healthy lifestyle. Rates of food insecurity were projected to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, prior studies had not examined the association between food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, and mental health. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Using a large national sample of nearly 64,000 adults, we found that food insufficiency rose from 8.1% to 10.0% during the pandemic. People of color and younger adults had higher risk of food insufficiency. People living in poverty or experiencing recent job loss were at higher risk of food insufficiency. Food insufficiency was associated with symptoms of anxiety, worrying, and depression. Hunger, exhaustion, and worrying about not getting enough food to eat may worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Receiving food assistance alleviated the relationship between food insufficiency and poor mental health.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC / 11.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rishi K. Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Associate Program Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The direct toll of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. has been substantial, but concerns have also arisen about the indirect effects of the pandemic on higher-risk patients with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke precipitously declined during the early phase of the pandemic. These patterns have raised concern that patients may be avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, and that some have died from cardiovascular conditions without seeking medical care. In addition, there has been growing concern about the the effects of health-care system strain and the deferral of semi-elective procedures on patients with cardiovascular conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 03.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nitin Joshi, Ph.D. Engineering in Medicine/Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital   Dr. Jeffrey M Karp Ph.D Principal Investigator Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by the blood brain barrier? How will nanoparticles facilitate transport of drugs into the brain? Response: Over the past few decades, researchers have identified promising therapeutic agents that can target the biological pathways involved in brain diseases. Unfortunately, clinical translation of these therapeutics is limited by their inability to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and enter the brain at therapeutically effective levels. The BBB is a highly selective semipermeable border of cells that prevents molecules in the circulating blood from non-selectively crossing into the brain tissue. We have developed a simple targeted nanoparticle platform that can stably encapsulate therapeutic agents and enable their therapeutically effective delivery into the brain. In this work, we have demonstrated the utility of this platform for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults, with millions of people suffering TBI each year in accidents, sports, and military conflicts. Following primary injury, which is a result of the mechanical impact to the brain, secondary injury gradually occurs over months to years and can lead to neurological dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. After TBI, the BBB is physically breached for a short time and previous approaches to achieve therapeutically effective transport of drugs across the BBB have been severely limited to utilizing this very short window. However, the extent to which the BBB is physically breached in TBI varies greatly across the patient population. Therefore, current approaches are applicable to only a subset of injuries with substantially breached BBB. Moreover, BBB can self-repair within a few hours to weeks post-injury to restore its integrity. Hence, physical breaching of BBB offers a limited window for therapeutic interventions, which is not ideal as the secondary injury can last months to years and may require repeated dosing over long term. The nanoparticle platform developed in this work can enable therapeutically effective delivery of drugs into the brain, irrespective of the state of the BBB. We achieved this by precise engineering of the surface properties of nanoparticles, which maximized their transport across the BBB. The therapeutic used in this study was a small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecule designed to inhibit the expression of the tau protein, which is believed to play a key role in neurodegeneration. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA, a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer used in several existing products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was used as the base material for nanoparticles. We systematically engineered and studied the surface properties of the nanoparticles to maximize their penetration across the intact, undamaged BBB in healthy mice. This led to the identification of a unique nanoparticle design that maximized the transport of the encapsulated siRNA across the intact BBB and also significantly improved the uptake by the brain cells.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, Technology, University of Pennsylvania / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Srinath Adusumalli, MD, MSc, FACC Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Cardiovascular Medicine| Penn Medicine Lauren A. Eberly, MD, MPH Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has uprooted conventional health care delivery for routine ambulatory care, requiring health systems to rapidly adopt telemedicine capabilities. At Penn Medicine, we wanted to ensure that as we developed a new system of telemedical care, we were reaching all of the patients we serve and access to care was maintained. As such, we undertook this study to examine utilization of care as we continued to iterate on and develop our telemedical system of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth Freedberg, MD Director, Medical Practice Evaluation Center Massachusetts General Hospital Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Study senior author Jessie Gaeta, MD Chief Medical Officer Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Travis P. Baggett, MD, MPH Faculty clinician-investigator MGH Division of General Internal Medicine Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Dr. Baggett: We found that two strategies are crucial for addressing COVID-19 among people staying in homeless shelters: 1) Proactively identifying and testing people with symptoms, and 2) Providing a dedicated, medically supervised, non-hospital space for isolation and management of people with mild to moderate COVID. Together these two strategies would reduce infections, hospitalizations, and health care costs compared to not doing them. During a pandemic surge, like we are seeing now, it makes sense to add periodic universal testing of all shelter residents, even those without symptoms. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elena Losina, PhD Robert W. Lovett Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Harvard Medical School Director, Policy and Innovation eValuations in Orthopedic Treatments (PIVOT) Center Co-Director, Orthopedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research Department of Orthopedic Surgery Brigham and Women’s HospitalBoston, MA, 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since the pandemic began, there have been over 320,000 COVID-19 cases and 80 deaths at over 1,700 colleges, highlighting the consequences of different mitigation strategies, and as colleges are closing the fall semester and preparing for the spring semester, figuring out what worked what did not, in term of COVID-19 mitigation, is critical to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses during the spring semeste.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Pediatrics / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrey Vyshedskiy PhD Boston University, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of ImagiRation? https://imagiration.com/ Response: ImagiRation is a Boston-based startup with links to MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. ImagiRation has developed a highly innovative adaptive language therapy application for children with autism, Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). MedicalResearch.com: How is the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism program delivered? Response: MITA language therapy is administered by parents at home. MITA application works on all smartphones and tablet devices and is designed for children ages 2 to 12 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Genetic Research, NYU / 19.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John T. Poirier, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine Director, Preclinical Therapeutics Program Perlmutter Cancer Center An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center NYU Langone Health Smilow Research Center New York, NY 10016  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The goal of this study was to identify in as much detail as possible the genes that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, needs to successfully infect a human host cell. CRISPR technology played a key role in this research; it was used to disrupt every gene in the human genome in parallel and study which ones were required for infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, University of Pennsylvania, Vaccine Studies / 18.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN Senior Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy Perelman School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Ending the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccination will require sufficient vaccine uptake.  Various means are being considered to promote uptake, including mandatory vaccination.  For instance, COVID-19 vaccination might be mandated by states (e.g., as a condition for children to attend public school) or by employers.  Given the opposition we’ve seen to masks, to choose just one example, our team wanted to gauge the acceptability of COVID-19 vaccine mandates. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, End of Life Care / 14.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Isaac Chua, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patient surveys have shown that most people prefer to die at home at the end-of-life. However, during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, anecdotal evidence from our colleagues and findings from a prior study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that majority of COVID-19 decedents died in a medical facility. However, less is known about care intensity at the end-of-life according to place of death among patients who died of COVID-19. Therefore, we characterized end-of-life care by place of death among COVID-19 decedents at Mass General Brigham (MGB), the largest health system in Massachusetts.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, CT Scanning, Johns Hopkins, Nature / 12.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD Bloomberg Distinguished Professor Departments of Biostatistics and Epidemiology Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Calculation of risks or severe COVID-19 disease and mortality for individuals in the general population can help to prioritize prevention efforts, such as early vaccination. We developed a model to estimate risks for COVID-19 mortality for currently uninflected individuals based on sociodemographic factors, pre-existing conditions and local pandemic intensity.  The model captures factors associated with both risk of infection and complications after infection. The model was developed using information from a large UK based cohort study called OpenSAFELY, and was adapted to the US population based on information on mortality rate associated with age and race/ethnicity available through CDC.  The model also utilizes information on state level projected death rates from pandemic forecasting models.  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Diabetes, Nutrition / 10.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Tengteng Wang, PhD, MSPH, MBBS Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Epidemiology Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Channing Division of Network Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has been associated with poor progression of breast cancer. Moreover, having a breast cancer diagnosis may also increase the risk of developing T2D. Therefore, identifying strategies for T2D prevention among breast cancer survivors may play a key role in improving their survival outcomes. One approach may be through a diabetes risk reduction diet (DRRD), a dietary pattern comprised of 9 components that has been associated with 40% lower T2D risk in a previous Nurses’ Health Study publication.1 However, no studies to date have evaluated the association between adherence to the DRRD (as measured by the DRRD score) and survival outcomes following breast cancer. In this prospective cohort study among 8,320 breast cancer survivors, we found that greater adherence to the diabetes risk reduction diet after diagnosis was associated with a statistically significant 31% lower risk of overall mortality. Reduced breast cancer-specific mortality was also observed, which was more pronounced (20% lower risk) among those who improved adherence after diagnosis compared to women with consistently low DRRD adherence before and after diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, JAMA, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 04.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, MPH Dr. Adolph & Margaret Berger Professor of Population Health Director, Division of Health & Behavior Director Center for Healthful Behavior Change Department of Population Health NYU Langone Health NYU School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study is the disproportionately higher rates of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths in Blacks and Hispanics compared to Whites in major cities across the country. We asked two questions: 1) are there racial/ethnic differences in COVID-19 outcomes (likelihood of testing positive, hospitalizations, severe illness, and deaths) among patients who receive care at NYU Langone Health? If there are differences, are they explained by comorbidity and neighborhood characteristics (poverty, educational status, employment, housing, proportion of Blacks and Hispanics in communities)? (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking, Stanford, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, FSAHM (pronouns: she/her) Professor of Pediatrics Taube Endowed Research Faculty Scholar Professor (by courtesy), Epidemiology and Population Health Professor (by courtesy), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Fellows’ Scholarship, Department of Pediatrics Director of Research, Division of Adolescent Medicine Co-leader, Scholarly Concentrations, Pediatrics Residency Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To examine adolescent and young adult e-cigarette use during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 4 main findings:
  • About 2/3 of adolescent and young adult ever-e-cigarette users reported either quitting or cutting back on e-cigarette use since COVID-19 began.
  • Users least likely to quit or cut back e-cigarette use were those showing higher levels of nicotine dependence and those who had used e- cigarettes a large number of times.
  • Adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users found it harder to access e-cigarettes, but unlike studies before COVID-19, the dominant source of purchasing e-cigs was online instead of brick-and-mortar during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth below 21 years were able to purchase e-cigarettes without any age verification, and those whose age was verified were asked to physically show ID or provided an email, which are less effective means to prevent underage youth use.
(more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Opiods, UCLA / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Friedman, MD/PhD student David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous researchers, clinicians, officials, harm reduction agencies, and people who use drugs have sounded the alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the United States overdose crisis. However, data sources typically used to track overdoses in the US often have long lags that impede timely monitoring and response. For example, the CDC released preliminary overdose figures for 2019 in July 2020, and even these numbers may change. As they are available in near real-time, emergency medical services (EMS) data have increasingly been used as a source of up-to-date information to monitor epidemiological shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we used data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a large registry of over 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states that represented over 80% of all EMS activations nationally in 2020. We used the data to track shifts in overdose-related cardiac arrests observed by EMS.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Chemotherapy, JAMA, Yale / 26.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lajos Pusztai, M.D, D.Phil. Professor of Medicine Director, Breast Cancer Translational Research Co-Director, Yale Cancer Center Genetics and Genomics Program Yale Cancer Center Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In HER2-positive early stage (stage I-II) breast cancer, several different preoperative (also called neoadjuvant) chemotherapy options exist, each of these is associated with a different rate of complete eradication of cancer from the breast and lymph nodes (called pathologic complete response or pCR). Patients who experience pCR have excellent long term survival. The complete response rates range from 20% to 80%, the rates are higher with regimens that include several different chemotherapy drugs and dual HER2 blockade. Unfortunately, these highly effective multi-drug treatment regimens are also more toxic and more expensive.  We also learned that patients who do not achieve pCR after preoperative therapy, have high rates of recurrence, but the recurrence rate can be improved by administering postoperative adjuvant therapy. These two observations together, (1) different regimens with different toxicities and costs resulting in different pCR rates, and (2) existence of effective postoperative therapies for patients with residual cancer after preoperative therapy, sets the stage for combining various pre- and post-operative treatment strategies. Starting with a shorter, less toxic and less expensive neoadjuvant regimen would allow a substantial minority (20-45%) of patients who archive pCR to be spared of longer and more toxic regimens, whereas those with residual disease could receive the remaining part of the currently most effective regimens post-operatively as adjuvant therapy. In this study we examined the cost effectiveness of different neoadjuvant followed by adjuvant treatment strategies from a healthcare payer perspective. (more…)