Number of Opioid Prescriptions for New Users Has Dropped More Than 50%

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Wenjia Zhu, PhD. Marshall J. Seidman FellowDepartment of Health Care PolicyHarvard Medical School

Dr. Zhu

Wenjia Zhu, PhD.
Marshall J. Seidman Fellow
Department of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: The current opioid epidemic continues to cause deaths and tremendous suffering in the United States, driven in large part by overuse of prescription opioids. Of special concern are new opioid prescriptions, i.e. opioids given to patients who have not used opioids before, which research tells us are an important gateway to long-term opioid use, misuse, overdoes and death. Recently, in their efforts to curb over prescribing of opioids, the CDC issued guidelines (December 2015 in draft form; March 2016 in final version) to encourage opioid prescribers to limit the use, duration and dose of opioids, particularly opioids to first-time users. Despite these, little is known about the prescribing of opioids to first-time users on a national scale, particularly among commercially insured patients.

In this study, we examined national monthly trends in the rate at which opioid therapy was started among commercially insured patients. Using administrative claims from Blue Cross Blue Shield Association commercial insurers from 2012 to 2017, we analyzed more than 86 million commercially insured patients across the United States.

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Most Deaths From Sepsis Occur in Frail Older Adults and Are Not Preventable

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Chanu Rhee, MD,MPHAssistant Professor of Population MedicineHarvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care InstituteAssistant Hospital EpidemiologistBrigham and Women’s Hospital

Dr. Rhee

Chanu Rhee, MD,MPH
Assistant Professor of Population Medicine
Harvard Medical School / Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute
Assistant Hospital Epidemiologist
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

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

Response: Sepsis is the body’s reaction to a serious infection that results a cascade of inflammation in the body and organ dysfunction, such as low blood pressure, confusion, or failure of the lungs, kidneys, or liver.   Sepsis is a major cause of death, disability, and cost in the U.S. and around the world.  Growing recognition of this problem has led to numerous sepsis performance improvement initiatives in hospitals around the country.  Some of these efforts have also been catalyzed by high-profile tragic cases of missed sepsis leading to death, which may have contributed to a perception that most sepsis deaths are preventable if doctors and hospitals were only better at recognizing it.

However, the extent to which sepsis-related deaths might be preventable with better hospital-based care is unknown.  In my own experience as a critical care physician, a lot of sepsis patients we treat are extremely sick and even when they receive timely and optimal medical care, many do not survive.  This led myself and my colleagues to conduct this study to better understand what types of patients are dying from sepsis and how preventable these deaths might be.  Continue reading

Collaborative Chronic Care Model Improved Patient Outcomes in Complex Mental Health Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark S. Bauer, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry, EmeritusHarvard Medical SchoolCenter for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR)VA Boston Healthcare System-152MBoston, MA 02130

Dr. Bauer

Mark S. Bauer, M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus
Harvard Medical School
Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research
VA Boston Healthcare System-152M
Boston, MA 02130

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

Response: Collaborative Chronic Care Models (CCMs) have extensive evidence for their effectiveness in a wide variety of mental health conditions.  CCMs are frameworks of care that include several or all of the following six elements:  work role redesign for anticipatory, continuous care; self-management support for individuals in treatment; provider decision support; information system support for population-based and measurement-guided care; linkage to community resources; and organization and leadership support.

However, evidence for Collaborative Chronic Care Model effectiveness comes almost exclusively from highly structured clinical trials.  Little is known about whether CCMs can be implemented in general clinical practice settings, and the implementation evidence that does exist derives primarily from studies of the CCM used in primary care settings to treat depression.

We conducted a randomized, stepped wedge implementation trial using implementation facilitation to establish CCMs in general mental health teams in nine US Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

We found that establishing Collaborative Chronic Care Models was associated with reduced mental health hospitalization rates and, for individuals with complex clinical presentations, improvements in mental health status.  Additionally, standardized assessment of team clinicians indicated that facilitation improved clinician role clarity and increased focus on team goals.

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Antibody–Drug Conjugate in Refractory Metastatic Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Aditya Bardia, MBBS, MPH Director, Precision Medicine, Center for Breast Cancer, Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114

Dr. Bardia

Aditya Bardia, MBBS, MPH
Director, Precision Medicine, Center for Breast Cancer,
Attending Physician
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02114

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

Response: Metastatic triple negative breast cancer is associated with aggressive tumor biology, and tends to affect younger patients and African Amerians. The response rate with standard chemotherapy regimens in patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC ranges from 10-15%, and median progression-free survival ranges from 3-4 months. The median survival of metastatic TNBC is around 12 months and has not changed in the past 20 years. Thus, treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer represents an unmet clinical need.  

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Bariatric Surgery Could be a Cost-Effective Intervention in Patients with NASH Cirrhosis who are Overweight or Obese.

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jagpreet Chhatwal PhDAssistant Professor, Harvard Medical SchoolSenior Scientist, Institute for Technology AssessmentMassachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Jagpreet Chhatwal

Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD
Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School
Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment
Massachusetts General Hospital

Chin Hur, MDAssociate Professor of MedicineHarvard Medical School

Dr. Chin Hur

Chin Hur, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School

 

 

 

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

Response: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, is one of the leading causes of liver transplantation. Because of increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States, NASH-related cirrhosis cases are expected to increase in the near future. Unfortunately, there are few pharmacological treatments for NASH, and none with proven long-term benefit. Weight loss can be effective in managing NASH but not many patients can lose the sufficient weight necessary to impact NASH and/or maintain long-term weight loss. In contrast, bariatric surgery can provide long-term weight loss and thus potentially reverse liver damage in cirrhosis. However, bariatric surgery is associated with mortality and morbidity associated with the procedure.

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Whole Grains and Fiber Linked to Lower Risk of Liver Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Xuehong Zhang, MD, ScD Assistant Professor in Medicine | Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist | Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA

Dr. Xuehong Zhang

Xuehong Zhang, MD, ScD
Assistant Professor in Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Associate Epidemiologist
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

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

Response: In the United States., liver cancer incidence is rapidly increasing and over 42,200 new cases were projected to be diagnosed in 2018. The majority of individuals with liver cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, are not eligible for curative therapy, and die within 1 year of diagnosis. Established risk factors for liver cancer are limited to hepatitis B and C virus (HBV/HCV) infections, metabolic disorders, and smoking. Clearly, identification of novel risk factors, particularly those that are modifiable, is urgently needed.

Dietary factors have been suspected as important, but only excessive alcohol use and aflatoxin-contaminated foods are considered to be established dietary risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Consumption of whole grains and dietary fiber, especially cereal fiber, have been associated with lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are known predisposing factors for HCC. We thus hypothesized that long-term intake of whole grains and dietary fiber may lower the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and tested this hypothesis using data from two large prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS).

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Sleep is Good For Your Health, Including Your Heart!

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D. Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Systems Biology Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, 02114

Dr. McAlpine

Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D.
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
Center for Systems Biology
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA, 02114

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

Response: Cardiovascular disease is caused by the build up of white blood cells and fat in arteries. We have known for a long time that poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A number of human observational studies have found this correlation. However, the reasons for this correlation have been largely unknown.

Our study, performed in mice, provides one possible explanation. We found that when we disturbed the sleep of mice they produced more inflammatory white blood cells. These cells caused larger lesions in their arteries and more advanced cardiovascular disease.

We found that his phenomenon is controlled by a hormone produced in the brain that normally suppresses the production of white blood cells. When mice have their sleep disturbed this pathway breakdown causing the increased production of white blood cells.

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How Functional Are Frail Adults After Aortic Valve Replacement?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Dr. Dae Hyun Kim

Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine,
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

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

Response: The number of older adults undergoing aortic valve replacement is increasing.  Since these patients are at high risk for complications and functional decline due to preexisting multimorbidity and frailty, the latest guideline (Otto et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:1313–46) emphasizes shared decision-making based on patient-centered outcomes.  Despite this recommendation, we witness many decision-making processes are cardio-centric—mainly informed by expected benefit in terms of cardiac-specific measures.  Many patients are not adequately informed about what their daily life would be like after the procedure.

In this single-center prospective cohort study, we examined functional status trajectories via assessments of global functional status at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months in 246 patients who underwent transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement.  We identified 5 clinically meaningful functional trajectories, ranging from high baseline function-early complete recovery to low baseline function-large and persistent decline.  We were able to predict most likely trajectory as well as best possible and worse possible trajectories using the preoperative frailty index.  Delirium and postoperative complications were also strongly associated with undesirable functional trajectories.  Continue reading

NUEDEXTA® (Dextromethorphan and Quinidine) Studied for ALS and MS but Primarily Use in Dementia

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand) Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine, St Michael’s Hospital Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto  PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University

Dr. Fralick

Michael Fralick, MD, FRCPC, SM, PhD (Cand)
Clinical Associate, General Internal Medicine
St Michael’s Hospital
Phillipson Scholar, Clinician Scientist Program, University of Toronto
PhD Candidate, IHPME, University of Toronto
Affiliated Faculty, Program On Regulation, Therapeutics, And Law, Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard University

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

Response: This medication is a pill that combines two ingredients: dextromethorphan (the active ingredient in cough syrup) and quinidine (used to increase the concentration of dextromethorphan). The medication was primarily studied and evaluated in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)   or (multiple sclerosis) MS, but anecdotal evidence suggested it was being prescribed to patients with dementia. We used data from two nationwide healthcare databases to understand how the medication was being used in routine care.

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Does Zofran (ondansetron) for Nausea & Vomiting Cause Birth Defects?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Krista F. Huybrechts, M.S., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Epidemiologist in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Boston, MA 02120

Dr. Krista Huybrechts

Krista F. Huybrechts, MS PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02120 

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

Response: Pregnant women often experience nausea and vomiting, particularly during the first trimester.  Early treatment is recommended to relieve symptoms and prevent progression to hyperemesis gravidarum.  Although not formally approved for this indication, ondansetron is the most frequently prescribed treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy in the US: 22% of pregnant women reportedly used ondansetron in the US in 2014. Despite this common use, the available evidence on the fetal safety of ondansetron is limited and conflicting, and the possibility of a doubling in risk of cleft palate and cardiac malformations has been raised.

We therefore evaluated the association between ondansetron exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy, the period of organogenesis, and the risk of congenital malformations in a cohort of 1,816,414,publicly insured pregnancies using the nationwide Medicaid Analytic eXtract data for 2000-2013.  A total of 88,467 women (4.9%) were exposed to ondansetron during the first trimester.  After adjusting for a broad range of potential confounding variables, we found no association with cardiac malformations (RR = 0.99; 95% CI, 0.93 – 1.06)  and congenital malformations overall (RR = 1.01; 95% CI, 0.98 – 1.05). For oral clefts, we found a 24% increase in risk (RR=1.24; 95% CI, 1.03 – 1.48), which corresponds to an absolute risk of 2.7 per 10,000 births (95% CI, 0.2 – 5.2 per 10,000 births).  These findings were consistent across sensitivity analyses, conducted to address potential misclassification and confounding bias. 

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When Asked, Teens Frequently Report Hallucinations, Paranoia or Anxiety with Marijuana Use

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program Boston Children's Hospital Associate Professor of Pediatrics Harvard Medical School

Dr. Levy

Sharon Levy, MD, MPH
Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program
Boston Children’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School 

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

Response: ​For this study we analyzed data that were collected as part of a larger survey study that recruited a sample of adolescents who were coming to the doctor’s office for routine medical care.  We asked them a lot of questions about their health, school, extracurricular activities, plans for the future, substance use patterns and problems associated with use among other things.

The main finding was that among the participants who reported marijuana use in the past year, many of them, more than 40%, said that they had experienced either an hallucination, or paranoia/anxiety related to their use.

Kids who used more frequently and those who met criteria for a substance use disorder were more likely to experience these symptoms, as were those who had symptoms of depression Continue reading

Mediterranean Diet Linked to Lower Long-Term Cardiovascular Events in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samia Mora, MD, MHS Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Director, Center for Lipid Metabolomics Brigham and Women’s Hospital Boston, MA

Dr. Mora

Samia Mora, MD, MHS
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Lipid Metabolomics
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA

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

Response: The Mediterranean diet is rich in plants (nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes) and olive oil, and includes moderate intake of fish, poultry, dairy, and eggs, and alcohol, and rare use of meats and sweets.The Mediterranean diet has been associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events but the precise mechanisms through which Mediterranean diet intake may reduce long-term risk of CVD are not well understood. We aimed to investigate the biological mechanisms that may mediate this cardiovascular benefit.

Using a prospective study of 25,994 initially healthy women enrolled in the Women’s Health Study who were followed up to 12-years, we evaluated potential mediating effects of a panel of biomarkers (in total 40 biomarkers) that represent different CVD pathways and clinical factors.

Higher baseline intake of a Mediterranean-type diet was associated with approximately one quarter lower risk of CVD events during the 12 year follow up. For the MED-CVD risk reduction, biomarkers of inflammation, glucose-metabolism/insulin-resistance, and adiposity contributed most to explaining the association, with additional contributions from pathways related to blood pressure, lipids – in particular HDL or triglyceride-rich lipoprotein metabolism, and to a lesser extent LDL cholesterol, branched chain amino acids, and small molecule metabolites.  Continue reading

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Drive Hospitalizations Among Homeless

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Rishi Wadhera, MD  Cardiology Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Wadhera

Dr. Rishi Wadhera, MD 
Cardiology Fellow
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Harvard Medical School.

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

Response: In the United States, an estimated half a million people are homeless on any given night. In recent years, policy efforts to improve the health of homeless individuals have intensified, but there is little large-scale, contemporary data on how these efforts have impacted patterns of acute illness in this vulnerable population.

In this study, we examined trends, causes, and outcomes of hospitalizations among homeless individuals in three states – Massachusetts, Florida, and California – from 2007 to 2013. We found that hospitalization rates among homeless adults increased over this period of time.

Strikingly, over one-half of these hospitalizations were for mental illness and substance use disorder. More broadly, homeless adults were hospitalized for a very different set of reasons compared with demographically similar non-homeless adults. In addition, homeless individuals had longer lengths of hospitalization but lower total costs per hospitalization.

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Regular Religious Service Attendance Associated with 50% Lower Divorce Rates

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Professor Tyler VanderWeele Ph.D John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology Harvard University

Prof. VanderWeele

Professor Tyler VanderWeele Ph.D
John L. Loeb and Frances Lehman Loeb Professor of Epidemiology
Harvard University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the key points of the paper?  

Response: Several prior studies have suggested that religious service attendance is associated with lower rates of divorce. However, many of these studies have been with small samples and have not had rigorous study designs. In addition, most studies have focused on women earlier in life and there has been little research on the effects of religious service attendance on divorce later in life. While divorce rates in the United States in general has been falling, it has in fact been increasing for middle-aged groups, doubling between 1990 and 2010.

In our study we found that among women in mid- to late- life, regular religious service attendance was subsequently associated with 50% lower divorce rates over the following 14 years of the study.

We also found that among those who were widowed, religious service attendance was associated with a 49% increase in the likelihood of remarrying over the 14 years of the study.

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Rotating Night Shift Work Adds To Risk of Type II Diabetes

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Night Shift" by Yuchung Chao is licensed under CC BY-ND 3.0Dr. Zhilei Shah PhD
Department of Nutrition and Food Hygiene, Hubei Key Laboratory of Food Nutrition and Safety
Ministry of Education Key Lab of Environment and Health, School of Public Health
Tongji Medical College, Huazhon
University of Science and Technology
Wuhan,  China

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

Response: Shift work has progressed in response to changes in economic pressure and greater consumer demand for 24-hour services. There are many economic advantages to increased shift work, including higher employment, increased services to customers, and improved trade opportunities. Currently, one in five employees in the U.S. works nonstandard hours in the evening, night, or rotating shifts. However, shift work, especially night shift work, has been associated with a higher risk of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer.

Compelling evidence has shown that body weight and lifestyle behaviors, such as smoking, diet, and physical activity can influence type 2 diabetes risk. Among shift workers, excess adiposity and increased smoking are frequently and consistently reported, whereas the evidence on physical activity and diet is mixed. Additionally, no previous study has examined the joint associations of rotating night shift work duration and unhealthy lifestyle factors with risk of type 2 diabetes, or evaluated their potential interactions.

Therefore, we prospectively assessed the joint association of rotating night shift work and established type 2 diabetes lifestyle risk factors with risk of type 2 diabetes and quantitatively decomposed the proportions of the joint association to rotating night shift work alone, to lifestyle alone and to their interaction in two large US cohorts.

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Advanced Prostate Cancer: Risk of Mortality with Surgery vs Radiotherapy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Anthony Victor D'Amico, MD, PhD Professor and Chief, Genitourinary Radiation Oncology Harvard Medical School

Dr. D’Amico

Anthony Victor D’Amico, MD, PhD
Professor and Chief,
Genitourinary Radiation Oncology
Harvard Medical School

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

Response: This study investigated whether surgery followed by the use of adjuvant low dose radiation and short course hormonal therapy as compared to high dose radiation and hormonal therapy could provide an equivalent low risk of death from prostate cancer amongst men presenting with aggressive and not infrequently fatal Gleason score 9 or 10 prostate cancer.

It has been shown previously (https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2673969) and validated in the current study that surgery alone in such cases leads to a more then 2.5-fold increase in the risk of death from prostate cancer as compared to high dose radiation and hormonal therapy.  Continue reading

Eat Carbs in the Morning, Fat at Night?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"Compare-the-Use-of-Carbohydrates-and-Lipids-in-Energy-Storage" by Zappys Technology Solutions is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kirsi-Marja Zitting, Ph.D.

Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
Departments of Medicine and Neurology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: This study is a follow-up study to our previous study where we found that chronic insufficient sleep together with chronic jet lag is associated with adverse changes in metabolism, including increase in blood sugar levels (Buxton et al. Science Translational Medicine, 2012). The present study focuses on the influence of the time of day on metabolism, which has not been investigated in humans independent of the effects of sleep, physical activity and diet.

Continue reading

Higher BMI Linked to Increased Risk of Younger Colon Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH

Dr. Po-Hong Liu

Stuart Po-Hong Liu, MD, MPH
Clinical and Translational Epidemiology Unit Massachusetts General Hospital and
Harvard Medical School
Boston

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

Response: Although there were global decreases in overall colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence, CRC rates have increased dramatically in those aged 20 to 49 years in the United States, parts of Europe, and Asia. The etiology and early detection of young-onset becomes an emerging research and clinical priority. Another important fact that is that this emerging public health concern has resulted in updated guidelines from the American Cancer Society advising average-risk screening begin at age 45, rather than 50.

However, up to this point, the etiology of young onset CRC remains largely unknown. Elucidating the role of traditional CRC risk factors in the etiopathogenesis of young-onset CRC is one of the first research agenda. Continue reading

Dysplastic Moles Not Necessarily Precursor to Melanoma But Indicate Increased Risk

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Caroline C. Kim, M.D. Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology Harvard Medical School Director, Pigmented Lesion Clinic Associate Director, Cutaneous Oncology Program Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Kim

Caroline C. Kim, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Dermatology
Harvard Medical School
Director, Pigmented Lesion Clinic
Associate Director, Cutaneous Oncology Program
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston, MA 02215

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

Response: Atypical/dysplastic nevi have been identified as risk factors for melanoma, however the majority of melanomas arise as new lesions on the skin.

Unlike other models of dysplasia having a clear trajectory towards cancer as seen in cervical dysplasia, dysplastic nevi are not proven to be obligate precursors for melanoma.  However, there is little evidence to guide the management of biopsied dysplastic nevi with positive margins, with much clinical variation in the management of moderately dysplastic nevi in particular.

In this multi-center national study of 9 U.S. academic centers, we examined outcomes of 467 moderately dysplastic nevi excisionally biopsied without residual clinical pigmentation but with positive histologic margins with at least 3 years of clinical follow-up.  We found that no cases developed into a same-site melanoma with a mean follow-up time of 6.9 years. However, 22.8% of our patients went on to develop a future separate site melanoma.

Continue reading

MidLife PSA Can Risk-Stratify Prostate Cancer in African American Men

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark Preston, MD, MPH Associate Surgeon, Brigham and Women's Hospital Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Surgery, Urology Boston, MA

Dr. Preston

Mark Preston, MD, MPH
Associate Surgeon, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Department of Surgery, Urology
Boston, MA
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Black men are at significantly increased risk of developing and dying from prostate cancer. Unfortunately, there is limited research on screening strategies in this high-risk population. In this original investigation, we studied how baseline PSA levels measured in midlife predict later risk of aggressive prostate cancer in a population of black men. This study used stored blood samples and over a decade of follow-up in the Southern Community Cohort Study, an on-going cohort study with the highest representation of black men in the U.S.

We demonstrated that PSA levels in midlife very strongly predict future aggressive prostate cancer. Our data identify subgroups of black men who have widely divergent long-term risk of aggressive prostate cancer based on baseline PSA during midlife. We suggest that these groups could benefit from screening intervals tailored to their actual magnitude of disease risk.

These important findings build on our previous work on baseline PSA and subsequent risk of lethal prostate cancer in mainly white men, which was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in August 2016. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: One strategy for improving PSA screening is to do an earlier measurement of PSA during midlife (aged 40-55). PSA levels during midlife have been shown by our group and others to strongly predict long-term risk of prostate cancer, particularly risk of aggressive disease, in now both black and white men.

This baseline PSA level during midlife can be used to risk-stratify PSA screening, targeting higher risk men for screening in order to diagnosis and treat them early while an opportunity exists for cure.  In addition, men at low risk could safely be screened less frequently. As a result, much of the benefit of PSA screening on prostate cancer mortality could be maintained, while overdiagnosis and overtreatment would be reduced.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Prospective studies of a risk stratified screening program should be conducted.  We are also studying ways to further improve risk prediction and to explore biologic mechanisms why a midlife PSA is so predictive.

Disclosures. I have no disclosures. Disclosures for other authors are listed in the manuscript.

Citation:

Eur Urol. 2018 Sep 17. pii: S0302-2838(18)30627-4. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2018.08.032. [Epub ahead of print]

Baseline Prostate-specific Antigen Level in Midlife and Aggressive Prostate Cancer in Black Men.

Preston MA1, Gerke T2, Carlsson SV3, Signorello L4, Sjoberg DD5, Markt SC6, Kibel AS7, Trinh QD7, Steinwandel M8, Blot W9, Vickers AJ5, Lilja H10, Mucci LA6, Wilson KM11.

Oct 14, 2018 @ 12:36 pm

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Cutting Out Bacon, Sausage and Hot Dogs May Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"bacon&eggs" by ilaria is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Maryam Farvid, Ph.D., Research Scientist  

Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Boston, MA 02115

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

Response: Prior prospective studies on red and processed meat consumption with risk of breast cancer have produced inconsistent results.

Current meta-analysis of 15 prospective studies shows that women who eat a high amount of processed meat each day may have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who don’t eat or have a low intake in their diet.  Continue reading

Gene Variants Can Alter Glucose Absorption and Cardiometabolic Risks

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Scott David Solomon, MD Director, Noninvasive Cardiology Professor, Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital

Dr. Solomon

Scott David Solomon, MD
Director, Noninvasive Cardiology
Professor, Harvard Medical School
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

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

Response: The sodium glucose transport proteins are known to be important in regulating uptake of glucose. SGLT-1 is predominantly located in the gut and is responsible for uptake of glucose and galactose in the small intestine. Individuals born with severe mutations of this gene have severe malabsorption syndrome.

We looked at genetic variants that lead to reduced function of the protein, but not complete loss of function, in a large cohort of individuals in the NIH funded Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. We found that those with mutations in the gene had reduced glucose uptake, as measured by an oral glucose tolerance test, as well as less obesity, diabetes, heart failure and death.

Continue reading

Insufficient Sleep in Adolescence May Be A Driver of Risky Behaviors

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Matthew D. Weaver, PhD Instructor in Medicine · Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist · Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA 02215

Dr. Weaver

Matthew D. Weaver, PhD
Instructor in Medicine · Harvard Medical School
Associate Epidemiologist · Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, MA 02215

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

Response: We were interested whether high school students who tended to sleep less than 8 hours per night reported more risk-taking behaviors compared to high school students who slept at least 8 hours per night on a school night. We utilized a nationally representative dataset from the CDC of surveys that were completed by high school students between 2007 and 2015. Over that time, approximately 67,000 students were surveyed. Students were asked about the hours of sleep that they obtained on an average school night. They were also asked how often, in the month prior to the survey, they engaged in a number of risk-taking behaviors. Some behaviors were related to driving, like driving without a seatbelt or driving drunk, while others were related to using alcohol, doing drugs, or being involved in a fight. They were also asked about their mood, including whether they felt sad or hopeless, considered suicide, and whether they had attempted suicide. 

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Genetic Risk Score Improves Ability To Predict Diabetics at Risk of Coronary Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mario Luca Morieri

Dr. Morieri

Mario Luca Morieri MD
Section on Genetics and Epidemiology, Research Division, Joslin Diabetes Center
Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

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

Response: Coronary artery disease (CAD) is one of the most important complications of diabetes.

Similarly to other complex disorders, CAD is influenced by both environmental and genetic factors. Over the last decade, our understanding of the genetic factors contributing to CAD has dramatically improved and hundreds of new genetic markers associated with increased cardiovascular risk have been identified.

In this study, we showed that combining these genetic markers into a single score (a so called genetic risk score) can improve our ability to the identify those patients with type 2 diabetes who are at higher risk of experiencing a coronary event. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report? 

Response: One take-away message is that the genetic markers associated with CAD in persons without diabetes have a similar effect in people with diabetes. Another is that prediction of increased risk of CAD in people with diabetes can be improved with the combination of genetic markers with “classic” known markers of CAD such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Improving cardiovascular risk prediction will allow physicians to focus their effort on people at higher risk, making the allocation of health-care resources more efficient. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We were able to replicate our findings (from the ACCORD trial) in another study including diabetic patients with similar characteristics (the ORIGIN trial). However, to improve the generalizability of the genetic risk score, its performance should be tested in populations with different clinical characteristics. With the detailed information provided in the paper, other researchers should be able to do this. Also, the genetic score reported in our paper applies to Whites as it was derived from genetic markers discovered in that ethnic group. It would be important to build a similar genetic risk score for people of different ancestry using genetic markers specific to those populations.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Response: We showed in the paper that the identification of an increasing number of genetic markers of CAD risk over the last 8 years has resulted into a progressive improvement in the performance of genetic risk scores for prediction of CAD risk. Thus, if new genetic markers of CAD continue to be identified over the next few years, the usefulness of these genetic scores may continue to increase. 

Citation:

Genetic Tools for Coronary Risk Assessment in Type 2 Diabetes: A Cohort Study From the ACCORD Clinical Trial

Mario Luca Morieri, He Gao, Marie Pigeyre, Hetal S. Shah, Jennifer Sjaarda, Christine Mendonca,Timothy Hastings, Patinut Buranasupkajorn, Alison A. Motsinger-Reif, Daniel M. Rotroff, Ronald J. Sigal,Santica M. Marcovina, Peter Kraft, John B. Buse, Michael J. Wagner, Hertzel C. Gerstein, Josyf C. Mychaleckyj, Guillaume Parè and Alessandro Doria

Diabetes Care 2018 Sep; dc180709.https://doi.org/10.2337/dc18-0709

Sep 29, 2018 @ 6:39 pm 

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

 

What Types of Health Care Records Are Breached?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Thomas McCoy, M.D. Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. McCoy

Thomas McCoy, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital
Psychiatry
Massachusetts General Hospital

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

 Response: Big data has the potential to transform how we care for patients but comes with risks of big breaches. My co-author and I use health records in our research and we wanted to better understand the risks that these data might pose to our patients.

MedicalResearch.com:? What are the main findings? 

Response: The majority of breaches are of health care providers whereas the majority of breached records are from health plans. The three largest breaches account for the over half of records breached.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This study doesn’t speak to any particular solution; rather, it speaks to the aspects of the system that are most often breached: In 2017 it was hacking or IT incidents and networked servers. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: This study speaks to the aspects of the system that are most often breached: In 2017 it was hacking or IT incidents and networked servers; however, much is left to be learned about the specific mechanisms and consequences of these events.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Large healthcare datasets present a means of transformational discovery but also come with real risks of large scale disclosure. 

Disclosures: Dr. McCoy reports unrelated grants from The Stanley Center at The Broad Institute, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, and Telefonica Alpha. Dr. Perlis reports unrelated grants from the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institute of Mental Health, and Telefonica Alpha; serves on the scientific advisory board for Perfect Health, Genomind, and Psy Therapeutics; and consults to RID Ventures. Dr. Perlis is an editor of JAMA Network Open.

Citation:

McCoy TH, Perlis RH. Temporal Trends and Characteristics of Reportable Health Data Breaches, 2010-2017. JAMA. 2018;320(12):1282–1284. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.9222

 

Sep 28, 2018 @ 11:22 am

The information on MedicalResearch.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.