With Brain Microbleeds, Can Patients Tolerate Lower Blood Pressure?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein

Dr. Joshua Goldstein MD, PhD
J. Philip Kistler Stroke Research Center
Division of Neurocritical Care and Emergency Neurology, Department of Neurology MGH
Harvard Medical School, Boston Department of Emergency Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
for the Antihypertensive Treatment of Acute Cerebral Hemorrhage 2 (ATACH-2) and the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials (NETT) Network Investigators  

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

Response: It’s hard to know how aggressively to lower blood pressure in acute intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).  Randomized controlled trials have been conflicting. We thought that we could use the presence of severe small vessel disease (SVD) – manifested by microbleeds seen on brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – to guide treatment decisions.  On the one hand, those with severe SVD may be most vulnerable to continued bleeding, and specifically need more intensive blood pressure lowering.  On the other hand, if they have impaired regulation of cerebral blood flow, they might be harmed by rapid drops in blood pressure, and maybe we have to be more careful with them.

To answer this, we performed a subgroup analysis of the multi-centre ATACH-2 clinical trial of intensive blood pressure lowering. This was the first study to assess the effect of randomized acute stroke treatment on patients with more severe SVD, manifested by microbleeds.  We found that no matter what your small vessel disease burden on MRI, you’ll respond the same to early blood pressure management.

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Sacubitril/Valsartan Reduces Physical and Social Limitations in Heart Failure Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Alvin Chandra  MD first author  and
Dr. Scott David Solomon M.D.
Director, Noninvasive Cardiology
Professor, Harvard Medical School
Cardiovascular Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Boston, Massachusetts

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

Response: In general, the quality of life of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction patients is quite impaired, and  similar to that of patients on dialysis.

PARADIGM-HF was the largest trial of heart failure patients and showed that sacubitril/valsartan was superior to the gold-standard enalapril in reducing cardiovascular death, heart failure hospitalization and all-cause mortality. In addition, patients on sacubitril/valsartan, when compared to enalapril, showed significant improvement in overall quality of life.

In this study we looked in more detail at the individual components of “quality of life” and found that in virtually all domains and activities, patients who were randomized to sacubitril/valsartan reported improvement in their limitations  compared to those who were randomized to enalapril. These activities included jogging, doing hobbies, and household chores, with the largest improvement seen in  sexual activities limitations.

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Obesity Fuels Resistance To Anti-VEGF Therapy in Breast Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Fukumura

Dr. Fukumura

Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D
Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology
Harvard Medical School
Deputy Director, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory,
Radiation Oncology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Boston, MA 

 

 

Joao Incio

Dr. Incio

Dr. Joao Incio PhD
Post-Doc, Edwin L. Steele Laboratory

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD

Dr. Jain

Dr. Rakesh K. Jain PhD
Andrew Werk Cook Professor of Tumor Biology and director of the Edwin L. Steele Laboratories for Tumor Biology
Rradiation oncology department
Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

 

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

Response: Based on promising data from preclinical studies and subsequent increase in progression-free survival in patients, anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) therapy received accelerated approval for metastatic breast cancer. However, this approval was withdrawn in the United States based on the lack of overall survival benefit in several subsequent phase III studies in metastatic and adjuvant settings. Potential mechanisms of resistance to anti-VEGF therapy include the upregulation of alternative angiogenic and pro-inflammatory factors. Production of some of these factors has been shown to increase in obesity specifically in hypoxic adipose tissues including the breast. Given that up to 70% of breast cancer (BC) patients in the United States are overweight or obese, we addressed one simple but important question in this study: Is obesity contributing to anti-VEGF treatment resistance in breast cancer?

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Full-Term Infant Deaths in US Remain High, Many From Suffocation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Neha Bairoliya, Ph.D. Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies Cambridge, MA 02138

Dr. Bairoliya

Neha Bairoliya, Ph.D.
Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Cambridge, MA 02138

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

Response: While the high prevalence of preterm births and its impact on infant mortality in the US have been widely acknowledged, recent data suggest that even full-term births in the US face substantially higher mortality risks compared to European countries with low infant mortality rates.

In this paper, we use the most recent birth records in the US to more closely analyze the primary causes underlying mortality rates among full-term births. We show that infants born full-term in the US face 50%-200% higher risks of infant mortality compared to leading European countries.

The two main drivers of these high relative risks are increased risk of mortality due to congenital malformations, which patients cannot really do much about other than ensuring adequate screening during pregnancy, and high risk of sudden unexpected deaths in infancy, which should largely be preventable through appropriate sleeping arrangements. While we do not have data on actual sleeping arrangements from our study, other data sources suggest that a substantial number of babies continue to sleep on their tummy; we also found a shockingly large number of babies dying from suffocation, which suggests that parents either use covers that are not safe, or let children sleep in their own beds.

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Estrogen Improved Disordered Eating Patterns in Young Women With Irregular Menses

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology Fritz Bradley Talbot and Nathan Bill Talbot Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Dr.Madhusmita Misra

Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH
Division Chief, Pediatric Endocrinology
Fritz Bradley Talbot and Nathan Bill Talbot Professor of Pediatrics,
Harvard Medical School

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

Response: Disordered eating behavior is common in conditions of functional hypothalamic amenorrhea, such as anorexia nervosa and exercise-induced amenorrhea, which are also associated with anxiety and depression. In hypoestrogenic rodents, estrogen replacement reduces anxiety-related behavior. Similarly, physiologic estrogen replacement in adolescents with anorexia nervosa reduces anxiety and prevents the increased body dissatisfaction observed with increasing weightHowever, the impact of estrogen administration on disordered eating behavior and psychopathology in normal-weight young women with exercise-induced amenorrhea is unknown.

Adolescent and young adult normal-weight athletes 14-25 years old with irregular periods were randomized to receive (i) physiologic estrogen replacement using a transdermal patch with cyclic progesterone, or (ii) an oral estrogen-progesterone containing pill (an oral contraceptive pill), or (iii) no estrogen for 12-months. The Eating Disorder Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ) were administered ag the beginning and the end of the study to assess disordered eating behavior and psychopathology.

We found that the group that did not receive estrogen had a worsening of disordered eating behavior and psychopathology over the 12-months duration of the study, but this was not observed in the group that received estrogen replacement. Further, body dissatisfaction scores improved over 12-months in the groups receiving estrogen replacement, with the transdermal estrogen group showing the strongest effect.

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Topical Estrogen No Better Than Moisturizer for Postmenopausal Vaginal Dryness

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology

Dr. Caroline Mitchell

Caroline Mitchell, MD, MPH
Vincent Center for Reproductive Biology
Assistant Professor, Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Biology
http://massgeneral.link/MitchellLab

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

Response: In this study we compared two commonly recommended treatments for menopausal vaginal discomfort – low dose vaginal estradiol tablets and a vaginal moisturizer – to placebo, and found no difference in reduction of symptom severity; all three groups improved over 12 weeks of treatment.  This is great news for women, as it means that using any treatment regularly is likely to have benefit, whether it costs $20 or $200.

Symptoms of vaginal dryness, irritation and pain with sex, which occur in over half of postmenopausal women, cause a significant decrease in quality of life and negatively impact intimate relationships.  The significant impact of these symptoms is reflected in the fact that we enrolled all 302 participants in under a year, a faster enrollment than any of the four prior trials  conducted by the MsFlash research network that evaluated treatments for hot flashes.  Women were desperate for some kind of intervention for these symptoms. Continue reading

Most Patients With Adverse Reaction To Statins, Can Ultimately Tolerate Them

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Alexander Turchin, M.D., M.S. FACMI Associate Professor of Medicine ENDOCRINOLOGY, DIABETES AND HYPERTENSION BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL

Dr. Turchin

Alexander Turchin, M.D., M.S. FACMI
Associate Professor of Medicine
ENDOCRINOLOGY, DIABETES AND HYPERTENSION
BRIGHAM AND WOMEN’S HOSPITAL

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

Response: Statins are known to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events and death, and are some of the most commonly prescribed medications. However, many patients stop taking statins, most commonly because of adverse reactions. It has been shown previously that many individuals who discontinued statin therapy after an adverse reaction are ultimately able to tolerate statins, and that reattempting statin therapy after an adverse reaction is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular events and death. However, optimal patient selection criteria and methods of reattempting treatment with statins are unknown. We therefore conducted this study to identify patient and treatment characteristics associated with an increased chances of successful reattempt of statin therapy after an adverse reaction.

Through analysis of EMR data of over 6,000 patients we found that the following were associated with higher chances of successful statin therapy reattempt:

  • Reattempted treatment with a different statin
  • Patient at high cardiovascular risk (prior history of CAD, stroke or diabetes)

On the other hand, the following were associated with lower chances of success:

  • Adverse reaction was reported in the first year after starting statin therapy
  • Adverse reaction was myalgia or myopathy
  • Previous history of adverse reactions to other (non-statin) medications 

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Increased Hospital Spending After Heart Attack Linked To Modestly Lower Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Rishi K. Wadhera MD
Clinical Fellow in Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

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

Response: The Hospital Value Based Purchasing program, in which over 3,000 hospitals participate, is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pay-for-performance program that links hospital fee per service reimbursement to performance, through measures like 30-day mortality rates after an acute myocardial infarction (a heart attack), and other measures such as average spending for an episode of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Hospitals that perform poorly on these measures are financially penalized by CMS.

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Risk Factors For Sudden Death in Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH Heart and Vascular Center Brigham and Women's Hospital 

Dr. Vaduganathan

Muthiah Vaduganathan, MD MPH
Heart and Vascular Center
Brigham and Women’s Hospital 

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

Response: The prevalence of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is rising globally, yet no medical therapies are currently available to alter its natural history and its progression remains incompletely understood.

Sudden death may represent a target for therapy in this disease entity. In 1,767 patients with HFpEF enrolled in the Americas region of the TOPCAT trial, we found that sudden death accounts for ~20% of all deaths. Male sex and insulin-treated diabetes mellitus identify patients at higher risk for sudden death. Sudden death was numerically lower but not statistically reduced in those randomized to spironolactone.

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USPSTF: Ovarian Cancer Screening Not Recommended in Low-Risk, Asymptomatic Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Michael J. Barry, M.D., Task Force member Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program Health Decision Sciences Center Massachusetts General Hospital. Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School and  Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Barry

Michael J. Barry, M.D., Task Force member
Director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program
Health Decision Sciences Center
Massachusetts General Hospital.
Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School and
Physician at Massachusetts General Hospital

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

Response: Ovarian cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. It is hard to detect, and many women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not show signs or symptoms early on. As a result, ovarian cancer is often diagnosed at a late stage, when it is hard to treat successfully.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force looked at the latest evidence to see if screening women who do not have signs or symptoms of ovarian cancer can prevent them from dying of the disease. Unfortunately, we found that screening for ovarian cancer does not decrease the number of women who die, but it does lead to some women having unnecessary surgery to remove their ovaries. As a result, we are recommending against ovarian cancer screening in women who are not at high risk.

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