Executive Brain Function Predictive of Success on the Soccer Pitch

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
soccer; creative commons imageTorbjörn Vestberg

Licensed Psychologist & Researcher
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: The aim of our research is to study the importance of executive functions for successful behaviour. In our first study published in 2012 (Executive Functions Predict the Success of Top-Soccer Players) we showed that the level of elite soccer players’ higher executive functions was in general 2 standard deviations above the normal population. It was the same for both men and women.

Moreover, we also found a strong correlation between the capacities of higher executive functions and the number of goals and assists the player made after two and a half year.

In our new study we were interested in how the situation is at a younger age, from twelve to nineteen years of age. Because of the maturation of the brain, higher executive functions do not reach their full capacity before nineteen years of age.

On basis of this, our question was whether there were other parts of the executive functions that correlated with success in soccer. In this new study, we focused on core executive functions like the working memory, as it reaches its full capacity in the early teens. We found that there was a moderate correlation with the accuracy of the working memory and the number of goals the junior elite players made during a period of two years. When we made a composite measurement of both the demanding working memory and the test for the capacity of the higher executive functions, we found a strong correlation between these results and the number of goals that the players made during the two years of time. When we measured IQ and physical features, like length, we found out that those did not influence the results.

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No Association Between Length of Red Blood Cell Storage and Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Märit Halmin, MD, PhD student

Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet,  Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: During recent years the possible negative effects among recipients of stored red blood cells have been investigated.  Despite a large number of studies, including four randomized trials, no consensus exists.

We therefore performed the hitherto largest register based cohort study of transfused patients, assessing the association between length of storage of red blood cells and mortality. Our design allowed for detection of small but still clinically significant effect, if such exists.

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How Does Tailoring Chemotherapy Affect Breast Cancer Survival?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jonas Bergh M.D, Ph.D. F.R.C.P. (London, UK)
Professor of Oncology (Mimi Althainz´donation)
Director Strategic Research Program in Cancer
Karolinska Institutet
Radiumhemmet, Karolinska University Hospital
Stockholm, Swede

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

Response: Present standard dosing of chemotherapy is aiming at a similar dose for each individual (similar effects and side-effects) , by calculating the dose per mg/m2 based on a formula originally established by du Bois (1916), based on body surface calculations by measuring height and weight. As I recall it, this was done on nine individuals…
However, the body surface has very little to do with how you cytotoxic drugs are metabolized and excreted… in practice this means that chemotherapy dosing based on body surface area will result in under- or overdosing of quite a proposition of the patients… Please Google/run a PubMed research on H. Gurney in Australia, he and other have really expressed their concerns with our present chemotherapy dosing strategies.

In our prospective adjuvant chemotherapy study of high risk breast cancer patients we tested a very well established standard chemotherapy regimen given every third week (FEC100 mg/m2 x 3+ docetaxel 100 mg/m2 x3) vs. our experimental arm given very second week in a dose dense fashion. We also tried to optimize the dosing, aiming at avoiding overdosing some patients at the first course and increase the dose for those without predefined toxicities. Therapy duration was similar in both groups, 15 weeks. Please see the end of the discussion in JAMA for the shortcomings with our study.

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Prescription of Psychotropic Medications Reduced Violent Reoffending After Prison Release

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Zheng Chang PhD
Dept. of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet and
Seena Fazel MD
Department of Psychiatry Warneford Hospital
University of Oxford, Oxford, England

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

Response: There were more than 10 million prisoners worldwide in 2015, with approximately 2.2 million in the United States alone. Despite reported decreases in violence in many countries, reoffending rates remain high. From 2005 through 2010, more than one-third of released prisoners in the United States and the United Kingdom were reconvicted of a new crime within 2 years. Most programs to reduce reoffending focus on psychosocial interventions, but their effect sizes are weak to moderate. As psychiatric and substance use disorders, which increase reoffending rates, are overrepresented among jail and prison populations.

This study investigated the main psychotropic medication classes prescribed to prisoners using longitudinal Swedish population registers and examined the association between prescription of psychotropic medication and risk of violent reoffending. We found that three classes of psychotropic medications were associated with substantial reductions in violent reoffending: antipsychotics, a 42% reduction; psychostimulants, 38%; and drugs used in addictive disorders, a 52% reduction. The magnitudes of these associations were as strong as and possibly stronger than those for widely disseminated psychological programs in prison.

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Perinatal Adverse Events Linked To Increased Risk of OCD

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gustaf Brander
Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is believed to be caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. Whereas genetic studies are well underway, the research on environmental factors has been lagging behind. As they explain a significant portion of the variance, are potentially malleable, and are essential for understanding how the genetic component works, this area of research is of great importance.

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Electronic cigarettes increase endothelial progenitor cells in the blood of healthy volunteers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lukasz Antoniewicz MD PhD candidate Karolinska Institutet Department of Clinical Sciences Danderyd University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden

Dr. Lukasz Antoniewicz

Lukasz Antoniewicz MD, PhD candidate
Karolinska Institutet
Department of Clinical Sciences
Danderyd University Hospital
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: Electronic cigarette sales increase exponentially on a global scale without knowledge about possible negative effects on human health. We performed an exposure study in young healthy volunteers and analyzed blood samples for endothelial progenitor cells and microvesicles. Increase in those markers may reflect vascular injury, inflammation and platelet activation.

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Is Muscle Memory a Myth?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Maléne Lindholm, PhD Karolinska Institutet Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology Stockholm Sweden

Dr. Maléne Lindholm

Maléne Lindholm, PhD
Karolinska Institutet
Dept. of Physiology & Pharmacology
Stockholm Sweden

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

Response: It is well known that exercise training provides marked health benefits and can prevent and treat a broad set of diseases. Therefore, a deeper understanding and characterization of the molecular processes behind training adaptation is essential for human health.

This study aimed at exploring the effects of endurance training on the human skeletal muscle transcriptome (activity of all genes) and investigate the possible presence of a muscle memory of training. To do this, the healthy volunteers in this study first trained only one leg, 4 times per week for 3 months. After 9 months of detraining, the subjects then came back and trained both legs in the same way as during the first training period, thus one leg was then previously well-trained and one previously untrained. This meant that each individual was their own control, as both legs have the same genome, experience the same stress, diet etc. Only the training status differed.

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Cancer Patients Have Increased Risk of Injuries Around Time of Diagnosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Qing Shen, PhD student Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics Karolinska Institutet

Qing Shen

Qing Shen,  PhD student
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet

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

Response: Injury, either iatrogenic (for example, complications from medical procedures and drug treatment) or non-iatrogenic (for instance, suicidal behavior and accidents), is one of the leading causes of non-cancer mortality for patients diagnosed with cancer. Iatrogenic injuries are common in those with cancer and have been shown to increase mortality in some cancer patients. Increased risks of suicide and accidental death after diagnosis have been reported, and the diagnostic process of cancer has been recognized highly stressful. It is, however, unknown whether the risk of injuries is also increased during the time period before receiving the diagnosis. Therefore, we analysed the risks of injuries during the weeks before and after diagnosis using a nationwide study sample in Sweden.

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OCD Patients Have Much Greater Risk of Suicide

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lorena Fernández de la Cruz | Assistant Professor Department of Clinical Neuroscience | Karolinska Institutet Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center Stockholm

Lorena Fernández de la Cruz

Lorena Fernández de la Cruz | Assistant Professor
Department of Clinical Neuroscience | Karolinska Institutet
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Research Center
Stockholm

MedicalResearch.com: What is OCD?

Response: Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the most common psychiatric disorders. OCD has a lifetime prevalence of about two per cent in the general population, generally runs a chronic course, and is often associated with a significantly reduced quality of life. Despite this, the risk of suicide in OCD has traditionally been considered low, probably due the particular personality profile of this patient group, typically described as “harm avoidant”. However, we have seen that the risk of suicide is higher than previously thought.

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Life Expectancy Greatly Improved for Patients Diagnosed with CML

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Hannah Bower, MSc
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm, Sweden

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

Response: Previously, if left untreated or with symptomatic treatment (up to the 1970’s), the median survival time of patients with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) ranged between two and three years. Later, interferon alpha and allogeneic stem cell transplantation were introduced. However, improvements in survival were mainly seen in younger patients. Treatment with the tyrosine-kinase inhibitor (TKI) imatinib-mesylate (Glivec®, Gleevec®) began in Sweden in the early 2000 resulting in major survival improvements, with the exception of the old/very elderly.

We investigated if these improvements continued to 2013 and if improvements are now observed in the elderly via the life expectancy and the loss in expectation of life; the latter of these quantifies the change in the life expectancy due to a diagnosis of CML. The great improvements in life expectancy, especially in the youngest patients, translate into great reductions in the loss in expectation of life. The major factor contributing to the improvement in the elderly is likely the increasing use of TKIs.

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Cardiovascular Risks More Common With Newer TKI Chemotherapeutics for CML

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Torsten Dahlén MD
Centre for Hematology
Karolinska University Hospital Solna
Stockholm Sweden

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

Dr. Dahlén: Patients diagnosed with CML have had a dramatic increase in life-expectancy since the widespread introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in 2001. However, treatment is today regarded as life-long. We thus need to observe for late-effects of continuous TKI exposure. Recent reports have demonstrated a linkage between TKI treatment, especially more potent 2nd and 3rd generation drugs, and to the occurrence of peripheral arterial occlusive disease (PAOD). This study aimed to use real-world data utilizing Swedish population based registries together with the dedicated Swedish CML registry which contains data and follow-up on more than 98% of all CML patients diagnosed in Sweden since 2002.

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Mental Health Disorders Commonly Identified During Cancer Care

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Donghao Lu MD, PhD candidate Department of Medical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet Stockholm

Donghao Lu

Donghao Lu MD, PhD candidate
Department of Medical Epidemiology & Biostatistics,
Karolinska Institutet
Stockholm

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

Dr. Lu: Psychiatric comorbidities are common among cancer patients. However, whether or not there is already increased risk of psychiatric disorders during the diagnostic workup leading to a cancer diagnosis was largely unknown.

We found that, among cancer patients, the risks for several common and potentially stress-related mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, substance abuse, somatoform/conversion disorder and stress reaction/adjustment disorder started to increase from ten months before cancer diagnosis, peaked during the first week after diagnosis, compared to cancer-free individuals in Sweden.

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