Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Infections, Microbiome, OBGYNE, Vaccine Studies / 30.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46282" align="alignleft" width="154"]3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image 3D graphical representation of a number of Rotavirus virions: CDC image[/caption] Sasirekha Ramani, PhD Assistant Professor Molecular Virology and Microbiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This work pertains to Rotavirus, a leading cause of diarrhea and vomiting in children under the age of 5 years. In this paper, we described our work with a rotavirus strain that almost exclusively causes neonatal infections. For many years, we have been trying to understand why this strain primarily infects newborns and why infection in some babies is associated with gastrointestinal symptoms while others are asymptomatic. A few years ago, we showed that this particular virus binds to developmentally-regulated glycans (sugars) in the gut as receptors. As the baby grows, these sugars get modified, and that potentially explains why infection with this virus is primarily restricted to neonates. However, we didn’t really have to answer to why there are differences in association with clinical presentations.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, JAMA, Surgical Research / 12.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45244" align="alignleft" width="263"]Segments of the aorta, including: Thoracic aorta Ascending aorta Tortic arch Descending thoracic aorta Abdominal aorta Suprarenal abdominal aorta Infrarenal abdominal aorta Wikipedia Image Segments of the aorta, including: Thoracic aorta Ascending aorta Tortic arch Descending thoracic aorta Abdominal aorta Suprarenal abdominal aorta Infrarenal abdominal aorta Wikipedia Image[/caption] Scott A. LeMaire, MD Jimmy and Roberta Howell Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery Vice Chair for Research, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery Professor of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Director of Research, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Baylor College of Medicine Department of Cardiovascular Surgery Texas Heart Institute Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center CHI St. Luke’s Health Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Surgical Research MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We performed this study because of concerns about the potential association between fluoroquinolones and aortic aneurysms and dissection raised in two large clinical studies. This concern was noted by the US Food and Drug Administration in May 2016, but the evidence was not deemed sufficient to warrant a warning. Hence, there was a clear need for additional studies to evaluate the problem. Our study was designed to determine whether there is biological evidence that ciprofloxacin—the most commonly prescribed fluoroquinolone—exacerbates aortic disease in a well-established mouse model. The model uses high-fat diet and angiotensin II infusion to stress the aorta and cause aneurysm and dissection. Using this model, we compared mice that received ciprofloxacin to control mice that received only vehicle, and we found that mice that received ciprofloxacin had significant increases in the incidence of aortic dilatation, severe aortic aneurysm and dissection, and aortic rupture and premature death. Importantly, these findings were consistent in male and female mice. Further, we investigated the potential underlying mechanisms and found that the aortas from mice that received ciprofloxacin had decreased levels of lysyl oxidase, increased levels of matrix metalloproteinases, and increased levels of apoptosis and necroptosis.
AACR, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Pancreatic / 17.04.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41101" align="alignleft" width="200"]Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US Dr. Wang[/caption] Zhensheng Wang, M.P.H., Ph.D. Postdoctoral Associate Duncan Cancer Center-Bondy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our prior research consistently found a significant inverse association between circulating levels of soluble receptor for advanced glycation end products (sRAGE), an anti-inflammatory factor, and risk of pancreatic cancer. It has also been found that sRAGE levels or RAGE signaling are modulated by anti-hypertensive (anti-HT) medications, including angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (ACEi), β-blockers, and calcium channel blockers (CCBs). These medications have been shown in prior pre-clinical or experimental research to either increase sRAGE concentrations, decrease formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), or dampen pro-inflammatory receptor for AGE (RAGE) signaling pathway. We therefore hypothesized that there would be an inverse association between use of anti-HT medications and risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is a major public health concern in the United States, as it is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related mortality with an estimated of 43,090 deaths in 2017. Pancreatic cancer typically occurs in elderly individuals who also have chronic comorbid medical conditions, such as hypertension. Anti-HT medication use in individuals ≥ 18 years old has increased from 63.5% in 2001-2002 to 77.3% in 2009-2010, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in the U.S. Therefore, it is of great public health significance to address the potential association between anti-HT medication use and risk of pancreatic cancer in the general population.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Kidney Disease, Occupational Health / 01.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39787" align="alignleft" width="210"]Hemodialysis machine Wikipedia image Hemodialysis machine
Wikipedia image[/caption] Dr. Kevin F. Erickson MD, MS Section of Nephrology and Selzman Institute for Kidney Health Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: An amendment to the Social Security Act passed in 1972 made it so nearly every person who develops end-stage renal disease – or ESRD – in the U.S. becomes eligible for Medicare, regardless of their age. At the time the law was passed, the bill’s supporters argued that access to life-sustaining dialysis therapy would enable patients to continue being productive members of society through work and activities at home. While the law has succeeded in providing access to dialysis therapy for many patients who would have otherwise died from kidney failure, it has been less successful at helping patients to continue working. The rate of employment among patients with ESRD who are receiving dialysis in the U.S. is low and has continued to decrease over time, despite both financial benefits from employment and evidence suggesting that patients who are employed experience improved quality of life and sense of wellbeing. We used a national ESRD registry to examine trends in employment between 1996 and 2013 among patients starting dialysis in the U.S. and in the six months before ESRD. Our goal was to determine whether difficulties that patients face when trying to work begin even before they develop ESRD.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, C. difficile, Nature / 05.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39226" align="alignleft" width="200"]Professor Robert Britton PhD Therapeutic Microbiology Laboratory Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research Baylor College of Medicine Prof. Britton[/caption] Professor Robert Britton PhD Therapeutic Microbiology Laboratory Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview: How would you summarise your findings? Response: As a brief summary of our work, certain strains of Clostridium difficile have emerged in the past 20 years that have resulted in epidemics worldwide, leading to C. difficile becoming one of the most common causes of hospital acquired infections.  Two ribotypes of C. difficile, RT027 and RT078, emerged as key epidemic ribotypes associated with increased disease prevalence and increased mortality in patients.  We found that both of these ribotypes have acquired the ability to consume the disaccharide trehalose by two completely independent mechanisms.  We further show that trehalose enhances disease severity of C. difficile infection in a manner that requires C. difficile to metabolize trehalose in mice.  We also show that trehalose is present in the distal intestine of mice and humans in concentrations that the RT027 ribotype can metabolize.  Because RT027 and RT078 strains were present in clinics at least 10-20 years prior to their becoming epidemic isolates, we looked where people would acquire trehalose in the diet. In 2000 the FDA approved trehalose for human consumption (EFSA did so in 2001) and based on the GRAS report from the FDA the amount of trehalose predicted to be consumed once released on the market would vastly increase what people get naturally from the diet.  Our data support that these two ribotypes increased in prevalence due to a change in the human diet.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Biomarkers, Brain Cancer - Brain Tumors, Cancer Research, PNAS / 19.07.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_36010" align="alignleft" width="199"]Chonghui Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Molecular & Human Genetics Lester & Sue Smith Breast Center Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX77030 Dr. Cheng[/caption] Chonghui Cheng, M.D., Ph.D. Associate Professor Department of Molecular & Human Genetics Lester & Sue Smith Breast Center Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Understanding the mechanisms that give cancer cells the ability to survive and grow opens the possibility of developing improved treatments to control or cure disease. In the case of glioblastoma multiforme, the deadliest type of brain cancer, abnormal EGFR signaling is frequently observed. Treatment with the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib attempts to kill cancer cells. However, the clinical benefit of treatment with this and other EGFR inhibitors has been limited by the development of drug resistance. Scientists at Baylor College of Medicine discovered that the molecule CD44s seems to give cancer cells a survival advantage. Eliminating this advantage by reducing the amount of CD44s resulted in cancer cells being more sensitive to the deadly effects of the drug erlotinib.
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Heart Disease, Lipids / 13.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Julia M. Akeroyd, MPH Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQuESt) Michael E. DeBakey Veteran Affairs Medical Center Salim S Virani, MBBS, Ph.D. Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the recently published Further Cardiovascular Outcomes Research with PCSK9 Inhibition in Subjects with Elevated Risk (FOURIER) trial, treatment with evolocumab resulted in a 15% relative (1.5% absolute) risk reduction of major cardiovascular events in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) at a median follow-up of 2.2 years. Given the high cost of evolocumab, there is a need to identify what proportion of ASCVD patients would qualify for evolocumab based on FOURIER entry criteria and how eligibility would change if maximal doses of evidence-based lipid lowering therapies were required.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Merck, Rheumatology / 07.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_34434" align="alignleft" width="120"]Grace H. Lo MD MSc Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Medical Care Line and Research Care Line, Houston VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center, Houston, TX Dr. Grace H. Lo[/caption] Grace H. Lo MD MSc Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Medical Care Line and Research Care Line, Houston VA HSR&D Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety Michael E. DeBakey Medical Center, Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on x-rays do not necessarily complain of pain. Presently, there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group of people. This study suggests that if these people have noisy knees (otherwise known as “crepitus”), they are at higher risk for developing pain within the next year compared to the people who do not have noisy knees. Future studies that target people who have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis, who do not complain of pain, but do report noisy knees, hold the promise of identifying interventions that can prevent knee pain.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Genetic Research, PLoS / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daryl Armstrong Scott, M.D., Ph.D Associate Professor Molecular and Human Genetics Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This case started with a male child with intellectual disability, developmental delay, hypotonia, hypermobile joints and relative macrocephaly (large head size). Clinical testing showed that he carried a small deletion on chromosome Xp11.22. Since the deleted region had not been previously associated with human disease, the patient was referred to our clinic for additional testing. However, a more detailed analysis revealed that mice that were missing one of the genes located in the deletion interval, Maged1, had neurocognitive and neurobehavioral problems. This sparked additional inquiries which resulted in the identification of three other males from two other families who carried small, overlapping Xp11.22 deletions and had similar features. In all cases, their deletions were inherited from their asymptomatic mothers. We concluded that deletion of an ~430 kb region on chromosome Xp11.22 that encompasses two pseudogenes (CENPVL1 and CENPVL2) and two protein-coding genes (MAGED1 and GSPT2) causes a novel, syndromic form of X-linked intellectual disability characterized by developmental delay, hypotonia, hypermobile joints and relative macrocephaly.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Breast Cancer, Dermatology, JAMA / 15.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_31983" align="alignleft" width="225"]Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US Dr. Julie Nangia[/caption] Julie Rani Nangia, M.D. Assistant Professor Breast Center - Clinic Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study was fueled by the feedback from women undergoing chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. One of the most distressing side effects of their treatment is hair loss. It robs them of their anonymity and, for many, their femininity. Scalp cooling therapy has been available for a few years in the UK, but has faced obstacles in FDA clearance in the states. The makers of the scalp cooling device used in this study, Paxman Coolers Ltd., have a personal connection to breast cancer, as the company founder’s wife passed away from the disease. This was the first randomized scalp cooling study, and it shows that the Paxman Hair Loss Prevention System is an effective therapy for reducing chemotherapy-induced alopecia. The results show a 50% increase in hair preservation of grade 0 or 1, meaning use of a scarf or wig is not necessary, in patients who received the scalp cooling therapy as opposed to those who did not.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, OBGYNE, Outcomes & Safety / 25.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with; Dr. Amirhossein Moaddab Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States maternal mortality ratio is three to four times higher than that of most other developed nations. Previous studies from the demonstrated a possible association between weekend hospital admissions and higher rates of mortality and poor health outcomes. We investigated differences in maternal and fetal death ratios on weekends compared to weekdays and during different months of the year. In addition we investigated the presence of any medical and obstetrics complications in women who gave birth to a live child and in their offspring by day of delivery.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Genetic Research, NEJM / 09.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer E Posey MD, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Molecular and Human Genetics Baylor College of Medicine Tamar Harel MD, PhD Clinical Genetics Academic Research Fellow Department of Molecular and Human Genetics Baylor College of Medicine Current affiliation: Department of Genetic and Metabolic Diseases Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center Jerusalem, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As physician scientists and geneticists, our goal is to understand how genetic variation in each of us can impact health and disease. Physicians are often taught that the simplest explanation for a medical condition is the most correct explanation, and have historically searched for a single unifying diagnosis. However, in our own practice, we have met – and learned from – individuals who have more than one genetic condition affecting their health. In the past, it was difficult for physicians to diagnose such individuals. Genetic testing required a physician to recognize the potential for more than one genetic diagnosis in an individual. Single-gene and gene panel testing provided an additional barrier to accurate diagnoses, as they are more narrow in scope, and more than one molecular test was often needed to identify all conditions. Targeted testing also required a physician to accurately pre-suppose which combination of genetic conditions was most likely, and choose the correct targeted tests. The clinical availability of whole exome sequencing (WES) has removed these barriers: WES is a broad-based, unbiased analysis of an individual’s genetic variation that does not pre-suppose a specific genetic cause. If analysis is pursued systematically, WES can identify more than one genetic diagnosis in an individual, even when not suspected. In our study, we have been able to assess the frequency with which individuals can have more than one genetic diagnosis, and have begun to understand how genetic variation at more than one place in the genome can affect how a condition may present. We found that among 7,374 individuals referred for WES, 2,076 (28%) had a molecular diagnosis. Of these 2,076, 5% had two, three, or four molecular diagnoses. In our analyses of the clinical features that may be observed in an individual with two genetic conditions, we found that pairs of diagnoses with overlapping clinical features may be incompletely diagnosed as having one or the other condition, and pairs of diagnoses with very distinct clinical features may be erroneously diagnosed in the clinic as having an entirely new condition.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Brain Injury, Depression, JAMA / 26.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27935" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ricardo E. Jorge MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Ricardo Jorge[/caption] Ricardo E. Jorge  MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist  Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depressive disorders affect between one-third and one-half of patients with traumatic brain injury. Once established, these disorders are difficult to treat and frequently follow a chronic and refractory course. Depression has a deleterious effect on TBI outcomes, particularly affecting the community reintegration of TBI patients. In this randomized clinical trial that included 94 adult patients with TBI, the hazards for developing depression for participants receiving placebo were about 4 times the hazards of participants receiving sertraline treatment.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Biomarkers, Weight Research / 22.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28232" align="alignleft" width="144"]Makoto Fukuda Ph.D. Assistant Professor Children's Nutrition Research Center Department of Pediatrics Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas 77030 Dr. Makoto Fukuda[/caption] Makoto Fukuda Ph.D. Assistant Professor Children's Nutrition Research Center Department of Pediatrics Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A hallmark characteristic of obesity is diminished actions of metabolic hormones that are critically required to maintain whole body energy balance and glucose homeostasis. Leptin is a crucial and powerful hormone that keeps body weight normal. It was hoped that leptin might be a “magic bullet” that could cure obesity. Shortly after the discovery, however, obese individuals were found to have little or no response to exogenously administered leptin, a state of “leptin resistance”. These observations created a central question to be addressed in the field, which would help our understanding of the core of pathophysiology of obesity. While we and other groups previously demonstrated that Epac, a signaling molecule known as a GTP/GDP exchange factor directly activated by cAMP, is involved in cellular leptin resistance, the role of brain Epac signaling in the whole body metabolism has not yet established. We approached this question by using brain-specific knockout mice of Rap1, a direct activator of Epac. As expected from previous results, mice with brain-specific deficiency of Rap1 failed to develop leptin resistance even when they were challenged with a hypercaloric diet. What impressed us most in this study was that Rap1 in the brain plays a key role in the whole body metabolic control, beyond its role in controlling leptin sensitivity. Loss of brain Rap1 protects mice from diet-induced obesity and disordered glucose balance, whereas these knockout mice maintained a similar body weight to that of control mice on a normal regular diet. Further, pharmacological inhibition of this pathway reversed leptin resistance and reduced the body weight of dietary obese mice. At the cellular level, we found an unexpected link between Rap1 and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that has emerged as a causative contributor to the development of leptin resistance.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Brain Injury, Depression, JAMA / 21.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_28208" align="alignleft" width="200"]Ricardo E. Jorge MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine Dr. Ricardo Jorge[/caption] Ricardo E. Jorge MD Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director Houston Translational Research Center for TBI and Stress Disorders Senior Scientist Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Division of Neuropsychiatry Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center Baylor College of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Depressive disorders affect between one-third and one-half of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Once established, these disorders are difficult to treat and frequently follow a chronic and refractory course. Depression has a deleterious effect on TBI outcomes, particularly affecting the community reintegration of TBI patients. In this randomized clinical trial that included 94 adult patients with TBI, the hazards for developing depression for participants receiving placebo were about 4 times the hazards of participants receiving sertraline treatment.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Diabetes, Health Care Systems, Heart Disease / 02.09.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Salim S. Virani, MD, PhD and Julia Akeroyd MPH Health Services Research and Development Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Given the increase in the number of Americans seeking primary health care due to the Affordable Care Act, combined with current and anticipated physician shortages in the US, there is a growing need to identify other models of primary care delivery to address chronic diseases.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Infections, Science / 29.08.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_27424" align="alignleft" width="132"]Mary K. Estes, Ph.D. Distinguished Service Professor Cullen Endowed Chair of Human and Molecular Virology Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 77030 Dr. Mary Estes[/caption] Mary K. Estes, Ph.D. Distinguished Service Professor Cullen Endowed Chair of Human and Molecular Virology Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (vomiting and diarrhea) worldwide and the leading cause of food-borne gastroenteritis. They also can cause chronic (long-lasting) illness in immunocompromised patients. These viruses are highly contagious and spread rapidly among people. The first report of an outbreak caused by a norovirus was in an elementary school in Norwalk, Ohio in 1968. Since that time, it became known that the virus damaged cells in the small intestine of infected people but attempts by many research groups to grow human noroviruses in the laboratory in a variety of intestinal cancer cells lines failed. This inability to grow human norovirus has been considered the single greatest barrier to norovirus research because it limited studies to understand how the virus makes people sick and how to inactivate the virus to prevent infection.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Endocrinology, Sexual Health, Testosterone / 01.07.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Glenn Cunningham, MD Departments of Medicine and Molecular and Cellular Biology Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center Houston, Texas 77030 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Testosterone Trials are a coordinated set of seven trials to determine the efficacy of testosterone in symptomatic men ≥65 years with unequivocally low testosterone levels. Previous studies in older men have been limited and the results have been conflicting. Initial results of the Sexual Function Trial showed that testosterone improved sexual activity, sexual desire and erectile function.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, CHEST, Medical Imaging, Outcomes & Safety, Radiology / 01.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24835" align="alignleft" width="132"]Daniel R. Murphy, M.D., M.B.A. Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX Dr. Daniel Murphy[/caption] Daniel R. Murphy, M.D., M.B.A. Assistant Professor - Interim Director of GIM at Baylor Clinic Department of Medicine Health Svc Research & General Internal Medicine Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Murphy: Electronic health records (EHRs) have improved communication in health care, but they have not eliminated the problem of patients failing to receive appropriate and timely follow up after abnormal test results. For example, after a chest x-ray result where a radiologist identifies a potentially cancerous mass and suggests additional evaluation, about 8% of patients do not receive follow-up imaging or have a visit with an appropriate specialist within 30 days. Identifying patients experiencing a delay with traditional methods, like randomly reviewing charts, is not practical. Fortunately, EHRs collect large amounts of data each day that can be useful in automating the process of identifying such patients. We evaluated whether an electronic “trigger” algorithm designed to detect delays in follow up of abnormal lung imaging tests could help medical facilities identify patients likely to have experienced a delay. Of 40,218 imaging tests performed, the trigger found 655 with a possible delay. Reviewing a subset of these records showed that 61% were truly delays in care that required action. We also found that the trigger had a sensitivity of 99%, indicating that it missed very few actual delays.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Gastrointestinal Disease / 24.05.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_24625" align="alignleft" width="200"]Dr. Aaron Thrift Dr. Aaron Thrift[/caption] Aaron Peter Thrift, Ph.D Assistant Professor Duncan Cancer Center Department of Medicine, Gastroenterology Section Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX, US MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Dr. Thrift: Patients with Barrett’s esophagus are at significantly higher risk of developing esophageal adenocarcinoma. Due to the continued rise in incidence of esophageal adenocarcinoma attention has turned to chemoprevention as a method to delay or halt the progression of Barrett’s esophagus to neoplasia, including invasive cancer. Acid suppressive medications, such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine-2 receptor antagonists (H2RAs), are commonly used in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the primary risk factor for Barrett’s esophagus. We contacted a nested case-control study involving 311 patients with Barrett’s esophagus who developed esophageal adenocarcinoma (cases) and 856 matched controls (patients with Barrett’s esophagus but who did not develop esophageal adenocarcinoma). Compared to never users, we found that Barrett’s esophagus patients taking PPIs and H2RAs had 69% and 45% lower risk of esophageal adenocarcinoma, respectively. The associations were independent of other risk factors for progression, including concomitant use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and statins.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Heart Disease, JACC / 07.04.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_23268" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. William Frank Peacock MD, FACEP Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Dr. Frank Peacock[/caption] Dr. William Frank Peacock MD, FACEP Baylor College of Medicine, Houston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Peacock: ​Patients with atrial fibrillation get strokes but can take anticoagulation which is very effective at preventing strokes. Patients on anticoagulation bleed, to the point that a very few die. The higher the CHADSVASC score, the more likely you are to have a stroke.​ ​Also the more likely ​you are to bleed. But the risk of stroke ALWAYS exceeds the risk of bleeding. We studied diabetics with atrial fibrillation as a subset, because diabetes is significant predictor for both stroke and bleeding and we wanted to determine if our understanding of the risks and benefits were maintained in real world trial. What we found was the risk of a fatal major bleed for a diabetic with atrial fibrillation who was taking rivaroxaban was 0.09/100 patient years of treatment. We know that the risk of having a stroke in a patient with a CHADS score of 2 is about 3% per year (that is 3/100 patients will stroke). Put in a similar denominator as our study, failing to treat an Afib diabetic will results 300 strokes for every 100 patient years, which compares to the effect of treatment, which will significantly prevent stroke, at the cost of 0.1 major bleed fatality per 100 patient years. Even if the effect of treatment was as low as 50% (which it is not), that is still preventing 150 strokes. 0.1 dead, to prevent 150 strokes seems like easy math to me.  ​
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Psychological Science / 21.01.2016

[caption id="attachment_20804" align="alignleft" width="200"]Jerry Park, Ph.D. Associate professor of sociology Affiliate Fellow, Institute for Studies on Religion Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences Dr. Jerry Park[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jerry Park, Ph.D. Associate professor of sociology Affiliate Fellow, Institute for Studies on Religion Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Park: Research has shown that media representations of Asian Americans tend stereotype them as a “model minority.” The implied message in those media-based stereotypes is that non-Asian American minorities must not be working hard enough to achieve the same upward mobility levels of Asian Americans. So we wanted to know 1) whether these stereotypes inhabit the minds of college students and 2) whether those stereotypes are associated with beliefs about racial inequality. Using data on a sample of white college students at very selective universities (e.g. Columbia, Northwestern, Rice, Stanford) we found that these students tended to rate Asian Americans (as a group) as more competent than Blacks or Latinos. Then we analyzed whether there was a relationship between this stereotype and attitudes that read: “Many [Blacks/ Latinos] have only themselves to blame for not doing better in life. If they tried harder they would do better.” We found that most students disagree with this statement moderately; however when we account for their beliefs about Asian American competence, their responses shift more toward agreement. This confirmed for us that this model minority stereotype is not just in the media but in the thinking of college students as well. And it’s associated with beliefs about other minority groups who are perceived as not working hard enough (as opposed to recognizing the realities of systemic discrimination).
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Health Care Systems, Heart Disease, JACC / 14.10.2015

[caption id="attachment_18369" align="alignleft" width="120"]Salim S. Virani, M.D., Ph.D Investigator, Health Policy, Quality & Informatics Program, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Staff Cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Associate Director for Research, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program Associate Professor (tenured), Section of Cardiovascular Research Baylor College of Medicine Houston Salim S. Virani, M.D., Ph.D[/caption] MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Salim S. Virani, M.D., Ph.D Investigator, Health Policy, Quality & Informatics Program, Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Staff Cardiologist, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Associate Director for Research, Cardiology Fellowship Training Program Associate Professor (tenured), Section of Cardiovascular Research Baylor College of Medicine  Houston Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Virani: The increase in Americans securing health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, in combination with a projected shortage of specialty and non-specialty physicians, has led to a growing pressure on the existing physician workforce in America.  One proposed solution is to increase the scope of practice for advanced practice providers (APPs) (nurse practitioners [NPs] and physician assistants [PAs].  An important aspect of this discussion is whether the quality of care provided by APPs is comparable to that provided by physicians. The study utilized data from the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) National Cardiovascular Data Registry PINNACLE Registry® to examine whether there were clinically meaningful differences in the quality of coronary artery disease (CAD), heart failure (HF), and atrial fibrillation (AF) care delivered by advanced practice providers  versus physicians in a national sample of cardiology practices. The primary analyses included 883 providers (716 physicians and 167 APPs) in 41 practices who cared for 459,669 patients. The mean number of patients seen by APPs (260.7) was lower compared to that seen by physicians (581.2). Compliance with most CAD, HF, and AF measures was comparable, except for a higher rate of smoking cessation screening and intervention (adjusted rate ratio [RR] 1.14, 95% CI 1.03-1.26) and cardiac rehabilitation referral (RR 1.40, 95% CI 1.16-1.70) among CAD patients receiving care from APPs. Compliance with all eligible CAD measures was low for both (12.1% and 12.2% for APPs and physicians, respectively) with no significant difference. Results were consistent when comparing practices with both physicians and APPs (n = 41) and physician-only practices (n = 49).
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Electronic Records, Journal Clinical Oncology / 25.08.2015

Hardeep Singh, MD MPH Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program, Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 77030 MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hardeep Singh, MD MPH Chief, Health Policy, Quality and Informatics Program, Houston Veterans Affairs Health Services Research Center for Innovations Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine Houston TX 77030 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Singh: Missed or delayed diagnoses are among the most common patient safety concerns in outpatient settings, and measuring and reducing them is a high priority. Our computerized triggers scanned huge amounts of patient data in the electronic health record and flagged individuals at risk for delays in follow-up of cancer-related abnormal clinical findings.  Records of all patients flagged by the computerized trigger algorithm in the intervention group were reviewed to determine the presence of delay and if delay was confirmed, we communicated this information to their clinicians. We found that patients seeing clinicians who were notified of potential delays had more timely diagnostic evaluation for both prostate and colon cancer and more patients in the intervention part of the study had received diagnostic evaluation by the time we completed our final review.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Heart Disease / 14.08.2015

Dr. Kristin Kostick PhD on behalf of the authors Research Associate - Decision Making and Ethics Research Program Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TXMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kristin Kostick PhD on behalf of the authors Research Associate - Decision Making and Ethics Research Program Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The idea of this study came from a larger research study we’re doing to develop and test a decision aid for patients and caregivers considering LVAD treatment. As part of that study, we interviewed LVAD patients, candidates, caregivers and decliners of LVAD treatment to explore their decisional needs. One of the things that kept coming up in these interviews was the need for “support,” which everyone, including clinicians, identified as a crucial aspect of post-implant recovery. There is an excellent clinical support team at our partnering hospital in Houston, as well as a community of LVAD recipients and caregivers where people can get together to share their stories and resources face-to-face. But for other people who find it difficult to get to the hospital, either because they have transportation barriers or they simply live too far away, we began to wonder whether support services might be available to them in virtual settings. So we decided to do this analysis to see what social media sites exist for the LVAD community. What is the content of these sites? Are there different kinds for different support needs? What are patients getting from them? How might they be used in the future for improving patient care and support?
AHRQ, Antibiotic Resistance, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, JAMA, Urinary Tract Infections / 25.06.2015

Barbara W. Trautner, MD, PhD Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TexasMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara W. Trautner, MD, PhD Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center Section of Infectious Diseases Department of Medicine Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Trautner: Reducing antimicrobial overuse, or antimicrobial stewardship, is a national imperative. If we fail to optimize and limit use of these precious resources, we may lose effective antimicrobial therapy in the future. CDC estimates that more than $1 billion is spent on unnecessary antibiotics annually, and that drug-resistant pathogens cause 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. The use of antibiotics to treat asymptomatic bacteriuria (ASB) is a significant contributor to antibiotic overuse in hospitalized and nursing home patients, especially among patients with urinary catheters. In catheterized patients, ASB is very often misdiagnosed and treated as catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI). Therefore, we designed the “Kicking CAUTI: The No Knee-Jerk Antibiotics Campaign intervention” to reduce overtreatment of ASB and to reduce the confusion about distinguishing CAUTI from asymptomatic bacteriuria. This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Kicking CAUTI intervention in two VAMCs between July 2010 and June 2013. The primary outcomes were urine cultures ordered per 1,000 bed-days (inappropriate screening for ASB) and cases of ASB receiving antibiotics (overtreatment). The study included 289,754 total bed days, with 170,345 at the intervention site and 119,409 at the comparison site. Through this campaign, researchers were able to dramatically decrease the number of urine cultures ordered. At the intervention site, the total number of urine cultures ordered decreased by 71 percent over the course of the intervention. Antibiotic treatment of asymptomatic bacteriuria decreased by more than 75 percent during the study. No significant changes occurred at the comparison site over the same time period. Failure to treat catheter-associated urinary tract infection when indicated did not increase at either site.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Gender Differences / 29.05.2015

Dr. Aaron P. Thrift PhD Public Health Sciences Division Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center Seattle, WA.MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron P. Thrift, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX 77030-3498 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Thrift: Greater attained adult height is associated with increased risk of all cancers combined; however, the association may differ by cancer site and between women and men. For colorectal cancer, epidemiological studies suggest that the association with height may be stronger for women than for men. We used data from over 10,000 patients with colorectal cancer and over 10,000 population-based controls and conducted multiple analyses, including using Mendelian randomization (which incorporates genomic data with traditional approaches) to overcome potential issues of confounding and bias in observational studies, to further examine the association between height and risk of colorectal cancer. Overall, we found that taller height was associated with increased risk of colorectal cancer (8% increased risk per 10cm increase in height). When we examined women and men separately, our results strongly suggest that height is causally associated with colorectal cancer risk for women, whereas there was weaker evidence for a causal association between height and colorectal cancer risk for men.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Sleep Disorders, Urology / 18.05.2015

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander W. Pastuszak, MD, PhD Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Scott Department of Urology Jason Malcolm Scovell Medical Student, Ofc SA-BCM Students Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Sleep quality is an important component of overall health, and can both exacerbate health issues and be impaired by health problems. Shift workers, primarily those who do not work standard daylight shifts, are prone to sleep problems, a significant concern in light of the fact that up to 25% of the U.S. workforce is comprised of shift workers. As men age, the prevalence of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms (LUTS), which include urgency, frequency, waking up at night to urinate, and difficulties with urination, increases.  Unsurprisingly, men with LUTS report poor sleep in part due to awakening repeatedly during the night. We studied a group of male shift workers, who we believe to be an ‘at-risk’ population, and found that not only do the men who report worse sleep quality have worse Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms, but also men who report difficulty falling asleep have more severe LUTS than those who do not. This latter point is significant, given that most men with LUTS can fall asleep without difficulty, but then awaken repeatedly throughout the night, and suggests that sleep difficulties in this population may be resulting in Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms rather than LUTS exclusively resulting in sleep difficulties.
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cost of Health Care, Erectile Dysfunction, Heart Disease / 03.03.2015

Alexander W. Pastuszak, MD, PhD Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Scott Department of Urology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander W. Pastuszak, MD, PhD Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery Scott Department of Urology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Pastuszak: The link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been growing stronger in recent years, and recommendations have recently been made to screen men with ED for CVD risk factors.  The arteries in the penis are much smaller than those in the heart, and if vascular disease contributes to ED, which we know it does, then ED should be detected before CVD in affected men.  We also know that treating men with CVD risk factors results in improvement in their risk of having acute cardiovascular events (i.e. heart attack, stroke, etc.).  Because of these relationships, we wanted to assess the economic impact of screening men with erectile dysfunction for CVD, identifying men with CVD risk factors, and treating these men on the incidence of cardiovascular events and new cases of ED.  Specifically, we wanted to look at the costs associated with screening and treatment of CVD and erectile dysfunction, and the cost savings resulting from screening and treating men with CVD risk factors and ED when preventing acute cardiovascular events. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Pastuszak: We modeled the reduction in acute cardiovascular events and the associated cost savings over 20 years.  We predicted that approximately 5.8 million men with both CVD and ED would be identified over 20 years if we screened men with ED for CVD risk factors, and the cost of this screening would be $2.7 billion.  We assumed that if we treated these at-risk men, there would be an approximately 20% decrease in cardiovascular events, which would prevent 1.1 million cardiovascular events over 20 years, saving $21.3 billion that would otherwise be put to treatment of these acute events.  Since ED and CVD arise from the same pathology, we predicted that in treating the CVD risk factors, a similar decrease in ED cases would be seen as well, which would save $9.7 billion that would otherwise be put to ED treatment.  In screening these men, a combined $28.5 billion would be saved over 20 years.