New Target To Treat Itch Identified

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Mark Hoon, PhD Senior Investigator,Molecular Genetics Unit Sensory Biology NIH NIDCR, Bethesda, MD

Dr. Moon

Mark Hoon, PhD
Senior Investigator,Molecular Genetics Unit
Sensory Biology
NIH NIDCR, Bethesda, MD

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

Response: Itch is a condition that at some point effects all people. For most of us itch is not a major problem, but for some people with certain chronic conditions it severely effects their quality of life.

Examples of diseases which cause chronic itch are atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and renal failure. However, current therapies for chronic itch are mainly ineffective and there is a unmet clinical need.

Continue reading

Zero-Calorie Sweeteners During Pregnancy Can Impact Offspring’s Microbiome

Dr. Hanover

Dr. Hanover

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
John A. Hanover, Ph.D

Chief: Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology
Section Chief: 
Cell Biochemistry Section, Laboratory of Cell and Molecular Biology
Director: Genomics Core, Cores and Support Services
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

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

Response: We are interested in the impact of early nutrition on metabolic reprogramming in mammals.  In particular, we are interested in how the nutritional information may be transferred from mother to offspring. 

 To this end, we have exposed mice to high sugar and high fat diets.  One arm of these studies was to examine the effects of exposure of pregnant mice to artificial sweeteners and the subsequent changes in her offspring.  This has not been examined and was important control for the studies outlined above.

High-Intensity Binge Drinking Linked to Abnormal Lipids and Liver Function Tests

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Falk W. Lohoff, MD Chief, Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics (CGET) Lasker Clinical Research Scholar National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, MD 20892-1540

Dr. Lohoff

Falk W. Lohoff, MD
Chief, Section on Clinical Genomics and Experimental Therapeutics (CGET)
Lasker Clinical Research Scholar
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Bethesda, MD 20892-1540 

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

Response: More than 32 million adults in the United States report engaging in high-intensity binge drinking (consuming two- and three- times the traditional binge thresholds of 5 drinks per occasion for men and 4 drinks per occasion for women) and associated adverse health effects represent a significant public health problem in the US.

While alcohol consumption has been associated with changes in cardiovascular risk factors like high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) and triglycerides as well as liver function enzymes, previous studies were not able to study these associations among those reporting recent high-intensity binge drinking. We utilized a cross-sectional dataset containing both sufficiently detailed alcohol consumption data, cholesterol, and liver function enzyme levels to examine these associations. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? 

Response: Our main finding showed high-intensity binge drinking was associated with a dose-dependent 2- to 8-fold increased odds for clinically high levels of HDL-C, total cholesterol, triglycerides, and all liver function enzymes (gamma-glutamytransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase). In a separate analysis of drinking patterns, we found each additional day of high-intensity binging also increased the odds of clinically high biomarkers. 

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

Response: Our study highlights the possible negative cardiovascular and hepatic impact associated with high-intensity binge drinking. Given that high-intensity binge drinking is common on weekends, special events, and holidays, it is alarming that even one additional day of high-intensity binge drinking may increase cardiometabolic risk factor levels.

When combined with previous work showing normalization of cholesterol and liver enzyme levels with alcohol reduction, these findings suggest that drinking reduction intervention strategies aimed at reducing high-intensity binge drinking may be associated with improved health outcomes.

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

Response: Our cross-sectional study evaluated only cardiometabolic risk factors. Therefore, future research is needed to examine the impact of high-intensity binge drinking on cardiometabolic disease outcomes, such as myocardial infarction, atherosclerosis, and stroke as well as liver disease. These findings need also to be replicated in larger, population-based cohorts.

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

Response: These findings emphasize the importance of future research evaluating the health impact of this increasingly common hazardous alcohol consumption pattern. Further, these data suggest that inquiring about recent high-intensity binge drinking may be useful in clinical settings if the elevated cholesterol and liver levels are present.

Disclosures: The authors have no disclosures relevant to the manuscript

This study was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Citation:

 

Rosoff DB, Charlet K, Jung J, et al. Association of High-Intensity Binge Drinking With Lipid and Liver Function Enzyme Levels. JAMA Netw Open. Published online June 14, 20192(6):e195844. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.5844

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2735766 

 

[last-modified]

 

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.

 

Type 2 Diabetes More Aggressive in Youth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Ellen Leschek MD
Program Director: Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Health Information Center

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

Response: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is thought to be characterized by a progressive loss of pancreatic beta cell (insulin producing/releasing cell) function. For this reason, T2D medications eventually stop working and individuals with T2D require treatment with insulin.

The Restoring Insulin Secretion (RISE) Consortium was established by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to evaluate the effects of treatment and treatment withdrawal on the loss of pancreatic beta cell function. In the RISE Study, progression of disease was assessed by the measurement of pancreatic beta cell function in youth and adults who had either impaired glucose tolerance (IGT; prediabetes) or recently diagnosed Type 2 diabetes before, during and after treatment with study medications. Importantly, the RISE Pediatric Medication Study and the RISE Adult Medication Study were designed in tandem to allow direct comparison of the effects of two pharmacologic treatment regimens (the only two FDA-approved medications for Type 2 diabetes in youth) on disease progression in youth and adults. For more information about the RISE Study, please visit https://rise.bsc.gwu.edu/web/rise.

Continue reading

Silent Heart Attack Associated with Increased Risk of Embolic Stroke

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lenore J. Launer, PhD.Chief Neuroepidemiology Section Intramural Research ProgramNational Institute on Aging

Dr. Launer

Lenore J. Launer, PhD.
Chief Neuroepidemiology Section Intramural Research Program
National Institute on Aging

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

Response: The prevalence of cerebral infarction on MRI can be as high as 30% in community-based studies. These lesions detected on brain MRI, are often clinically silent, but are associated with impairments in cognitive and physical function and can increase the risk for clinical events. For a large number, the origin of these brain lesions is unknown. There is also a lack of population-based data on unrecognized myocardial infarction, which is associated with an increased for clinical coronary disease and mortality.

Unrecognized MI was detected in 17% of participants using state-of-the-art cardia MRI, a more sensitive measure of the lesions, than the standard ECG. We investigated the contribution to these lesions of recognized and unrecognized myocardial infarction [MI] identified on cardiac MRI.

We found both recognized and unrecognized myocardial infarction increased the risk for cerebral infarction, and that in particular unrecognized MI was associated with cerebral infarction of embolic origins of an unknown source. Given their prevalence, unrecognized MI may be an underestimated contributor to the risk for cerebral infarction in older persons.  Continue reading

NIH Spends Relatively Little on Hearing Loss

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jan Blustein, MD PhDProfessor of Health Policy and MedicineWagner Graduate School and School of MedicineNew York University, New York

Dr. Blustein

Jan Blustein, MD PhD
Professor of Health Policy and Medicine
Wagner Graduate School and School of Medicine
New York University, New York

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

Response: The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s largest public funder of health research, provides annual reports about levels of funding for many diseases and conditions.  These reports, issued as part of the NIH’s Research, Condition and Disease Categorization (RCDC) process, allow members of the public to track funding across key conditions and across time.

Hearing loss is not included among the reported conditions. This runs counter to two of the NIH’s stated goals, according to researcher Jan Blustein (M.D., Ph.D.), professor of health policy and medicine at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in a Research Letter in the May 15th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery.

“First, the NIH is committed to transparency about how it divides funds across diseases and conditions,” said Dr. Blustein.  “Second, it has said that it will prioritize its funding to those conditions that cause the greatest disease burden.”  Hearing loss causes great disease burden, ranking 10th in the U.S. among all conditions as a contributor to Disability Adjusted Life Years (a widely-used measure of disease burden), according to the World Health Organization.

Continue reading

Short Rest Periods Are Performance Enhancers

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

In a study of healthy volunteers, NIH researchers found that taking short breaks, early and often, may help our brains learn new skills. Courtesy of Cohen lab, NIH/NINDS

In a study of healthy volunteers, NIH researchers found that taking short breaks, early and often, may help our brains learn new skills.
Courtesy of Cohen lab, NIH/NINDS

Leonardo G. Cohen, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Investigator

Marlene Bönstrup, M.D.,
Postdoctoral fellow in  Dr. Cohen’s lab
NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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

Response: Learning a new skill is typically divided into online (during practice) and offline (after practice has ended) components. Particularly motor skill learning occurs to a considerable degree offline, meaning that performance further improves even after practice has ended. A single practice session itself however, is typically divided into short (level of seconds) periods of practice and rest. In this study, we set out to investigate the contribution of those short periods of practice and rest to the learning during a practice session (i.e. online learning). We found that during early motor skill learning, when most of the total learning occurs, performance improvements actually precipitate during short periods of rest whereas during practice periods, performance mostly stagnated. We found a signature of neural activity predictive of those performance improvements during rest: The lower the beta rhythmic activity in the parietofrontal regions of the brain during those short periods of rest, the higher were participant’s performance jumps.  Continue reading

Gout Medication Colchicine May Mitigate Inflammatory Effects of Obesity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhDSenior InvestigatorSection on Growth and Obesity, DIR, NICHDNational Institutes of HealthHatfield Clinical Research CenterBethesda, MD 20892‐1103

Dr. Yanovski

Jack A. Yanovski, MD, PhD
Senior Investigator
Section on Growth and Obesity, DIR, NICHD
National Institutes of Health
Hatfield Clinical Research Center
Bethesda, MD 20892‐1103

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

Response: Studies of both mouse models and people suggest that obesity induced inflammation may promote insulin resistance and progression to diabetes. Others have proposed that suppressing this chronic, low level inflammation may slow the onset of diabetes. Nod-like Receptor Family Pyrin Domain Containing 3 (NLRP3) has recently been shown to play a strong role in promoting the inflammatory state in obesity. Colchicine, traditionally used to suppress or prevent inflammation in gout and other disorders is believed to inhibit formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Our group hypothesized that colchicine would improve obesity associated inflammation in adults with metabolic syndrome who had not yet developed type 2 diabetes.

Continue reading

Opthalmology: No Evidence Linking Calcium Supplements to Age-Related Macular Degeneration

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Emily Y. Chew, M.D.Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical ApplicationsDeputy Clinical Director at the National Eye Institute (NEI), National Institutes of Health

Dr. Chew

Emily Y. Chew, M.D.
Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications
Deputy Clinical Director at the National Eye Institute (NEI),
National Institutes of Health 

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

Response:     The current study was conducted to see if we could bring some clarity to the issue of calcium intake and AMD risk. Up to this point, the data on calcium and AMD were mixed, with one study showing that calcium supplementation might increase the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration, and another suggesting that high calcium intake may be protective.

Our findings are based on a retrospective analysis of AREDS data on baseline self-reported calcium intake and 10-year AMD outcomes. We looked at rates of AMD onset, as well as rates of progression to late age-related macular degeneration among those people who had early and intermediate AMD at baseline.

Although our findings are suggestive of a protective effect from calcium, it is not possible to control for confounding factors that could explain the result. For example, people who make sure to get the recommended level of calcium may be more likely to also exercise, eat a diet rich in omega-3 foods, such as fish, and avoid smoking – all of which could lower their risk of AMD onset or progression.

That said, we found no evidence that high calcium intake increased the risk of age-related macular degeneration. 

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

Response: The take home message applies to the population of people who need to take calcium for a non-AMD-related medical reason, such as for the prevention or treatment of osteoporosis. We found no evidence that calcium should be withheld in that population due to concerns about age-related macular degeneration risk.

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

Response: A prospective, controlled study would be needed to determine whether calcium has a protective effect against age-related macular degeneration. 

None of study investigators had conflicts of interest. 

Citation:

Tisdale AK, Agrón E, Sunshine SB, et al. Association of Dietary and Supplementary Calcium Intake With Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Age-Related Eye Disease Study Report 39. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online March 21, 2019. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.0292

 

 

 

 

[last-modified]

 

 

 

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.

 

First Blood Test To Predict Lung Transplant Rejection

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D. Co-Director/Staff Clinician Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Institutes of Health

Dr. Agbor-Enoh

Sean Agbor-Enoh, M.D., Ph.D.
Co-Director/Staff Clinician
Laboratory of Transplantation Genomics
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
National Institutes of Health

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

Response: People who receive organ transplants may develop acute or chronic rejection, in which the body’s immune system attacks the transplanted organ. While acute rejection is treatable and reversible, chronic rejection is not and remains the most common cause for organ transplant loss. Lung transplant recipients have the shortest survival rates among patients who get solid organ transplantation of any kind—only about half live past five years. This poor survival rate among lung transplant recipients is due in part to a high incidence of chronic rejection. Existing tools for detecting signs of rejection, such as biopsy, either require the removal of small amounts of lung tissue or are not sensitive enough to discern the severity of the rejection.

Building upon earlier work, our research team developed a simple blood test that can detect when a newly transplanted lung is being rejected by a patient, even when no outward signs of the rejection are evident.  The test could make it possible for doctors to intervene faster to prevent or slow down so-called chronic rejection—which is severe, irreversible, and often deadly—in those first critical months after lung transplantation. This same test might also be useful for monitoring rejection in other types of organ transplants.

Called the donor-derived cell-free DNA test, the experimental test begins with obtaining a few blood droplets taken from the arm of the transplant recipient. A special set of machines then sorts the DNA fragments in the blood sample, and in combination with computer analysis, determines whether the fragments are from the recipient or the donor and how many of each type are present.  Because injured or dying cells from the donor release lots of donor DNA fragments into the bloodstream compared to normal donor cells, higher amounts of donor DNA indicate a higher risk for transplant rejection in the recipient.

Continue reading

Breast Cancer Risk Remains Elevated 20-30 years After Childbirth

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D.  Chief, Epidemiology Branch National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences NIH

Dr. Sandler

Dale P. Sandler, Ph.D.
Chief, Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIH

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

Response: Not having children is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer, but most of this evidence comes from studies of postmenopausal women since breast cancer before menopause is relatively uncommon. There is growing evidence that some risk factors differ for premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer – for example obesity which increases risk for breast cancer after menopause but appears to be protective before menopause.

There was some evidence that breast cancer risk increased shortly after pregnancy. It was thought that this risk lasted for 5 to ten years. Studies were unable to fully characterize the duration of this increase in risk or evaluate factors such as breast feeding, age at birth, or family history of breast cancer that could modify the relationship between recent pregnancy and breast cancer risk. Breast cancer before menopause or age 55 is relatively rare, and few individual studies are large enough to answer these questions.

To answer these questions, we formed the Breast Cancer Collaborative Group, a pooling project involving 20 prospective cohort studies. We included 890,000 women from 15 of these long-term studies across three continents, including over 18,000 incident breast cancer cases.  Continue reading

Prions of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Detected Throughout Eye Tissues

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Top, retina of a control patient. Bottom, retina from a patient with CJD. Arrowheads point to abnormal prions in the outer plexiform layer (opl), and the asterisk (*) marks more diffuse prions in the inner plexiform layer (ipl).Orrù et al., mBio
Byron Caughey, Ph.D.
Senior Investigator
Chief, TSE/prion Biochemistry Section
Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases
NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Hamilton, MT 59840 USA 

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

Response: Corneal transplants have caused the transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in at least two cases, and pathological prion protein has been detected in the retinas of the eyes of sporadic CJD cases. To build on these previous indications of prions in eye tissue, we tested the distribution of prions in various components of eyes from 11 sCJD decedents.

We applied a highly sensitive surrogate test for prions (RT-QuIC) that indicated that all of the sCJD cases had prions in multiple parts of their eye, including the cornea and sclera, which is the white outer surface of the eye. Retinas were usually contained the highest levels, in some cases approaching levels in the brain. Some other parts such as the cornea, lens and vitreous had much lower, but detectable, levels. 

Continue reading

Soy Formula Feeding in Infancy Linked with Menstrual Pain in Adulthood

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

"Baby Bottle" by brokinhrt2 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kristen Upson, PhD, MPH and
Donna D. Baird, PhD
Epidemiology Branch
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709 

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

Response: Menstrual pain is the most common menstrual complaint and can substantially affect the quality of women’s lives. A prior study in young adults who participated in feeding studies as infants reported an increased risk of greater menstrual pain severity in adulthood with soy formula feeding. Since that study, evidence from laboratory animal studies support the disruptive effects of a phytoestrogen present in soy formula, genistein, on reproductive system development, including aspects involved in menstrual pain. The laboratory animal studies also demonstrate that the developmental changes with genistein can persist into adulthood. Given these results, we were interested in further evaluating the association between infant soy formula feeding and menstrual pain in a cohort of young women.

In our study of women ages 23-35 years old, we observed that soy formula feeding during infancy was associated with several indicators of severe menstrual pain in reproductive-age women. This included a 40% increased risk of ever using hormonal contraception for menstrual pain and 50% increased risk of moderate/severe menstrual discomfort with most periods during early adulthood.  Continue reading

Probiotic May Eliminate Staph Bacteria Colonizations

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
"staph aureus on blood agar" by Iqbal Osman is licensed under CC BY 2.0Pipat Piewngam
Postdoctorol fellow
Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section,
Laboratory of Bacteriology,
NIAID/NIH
Bethesda, MD, USA 20892 

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

Response: Our team at National Institutes of health, Mahidol University and Rajamangala University of Technology in Thailand has reported that the consumption of probiotic Bacillus bacteria comprehensively abolishes colonization with the dangerous pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus.

We hypothesized that the composition of the human gut microbiota affects intestinal colonization with S. aureus. We collected fecal samples from 200 healthy individuals from rural populations in Thailand and analyzed the composition of the gut microbiome by 16S rRNA sequencing. Surprisingly, we did not detect significant differences in the composition of the microbiome between S. aureus carriers and non-carriers. We then sampled the same 200 people for S. aureus in the gut (25 positive) and nose (26 positive). Strikingly, we found no S. aureus in any of the samples where Bacillus were present.

In mouse studies, we discovered S. aureus Agr quorum-sensing signaling system that must function for the bacteria to grow in the gut. Intriguingly, all of the more than 100 Bacillus isolates we had recovered from the human feces efficiently inhibited that system. Then, we discovered that the fengycin class of Bacillus lipopeptides achieves colonization resistance by inhibiting that system.

To further validate their findings, we colonized the gut of mice with S. aureus and fed them B. subtilis spores to mimic probiotic intake. Probiotic Bacillus given every two days eliminated S. aureus in the guts of the mice. The same test using Bacillus where fengycin production had been removed had no effect, and S. aureus grew as expected. This is one of the first study that provide human evidence supporting the biological significance of probiotic bacterial interference and show that such interference can be achieved by blocking a pathogen’s signaling system. Continue reading

Black-White Hypertension Divide: Is The Southern Diet a Culprit?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team Professor and Chair of Biostatistics University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Howard

Dr. George Howard DPH, for the research team
Professor and Chair of Biostatistics
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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

Response: Perhaps the most important distinction to draw for the readers is that this is not a paper about risk factors for hypertension, but rather a paper that looks for contributors to the black-white difference in the presence of hypertension.  This racial difference in hypertension is the single biggest contributor to the immense disparities in cardiovascular diseases (stroke, MI, etc.) that underpin the approximate 4-year difference in black-white life expectancy.  As such, this work is “going back upstream” to understand the causes that lead to blacks having a higher prevalence of hypertension than whites with hopes that changing this difference will lead to reductions in the black-white disparities in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy.   This difference in the prevalence of hypertension is immense … in our national study of people over age 45, about 50% of whites have hypertension compared to about 70% of blacks … that is HUGE.   We think that changing this difference is (at least one of) the “holy grail” of disparities research.

This study demonstrates that there are several “targets” where changes could be made to reduce the black-white difference in hypertension, and thereby the black-white difference in cardiovascular diseases and life expectancy; however, the most “potent” of these appears to be diet changes.   Even though we know what foods promote a heart healthy lifestyle, we still have major differences in terms of how that message is being adopted by various groups of Americans.  We can’t know from our data what about the Southern diet is driving these racial differences in hypertension but we can begin to design community based interventions that could possibly help to reduce these racial disparities through diet.  It is interested that diet more than being overweight was the biggest contributor to the racial disparities in hypertension.  This would suggest we might want to consider interventions to increase health foods in the diet while minimizing fried foods and processed meats.

While this is not a clinical trial that “proves” that changes in diet will reduce the disparity in blood pressure, we consider the “message” of the paper to be good news, as the things that we found that contribute to this black-white difference are things that can be changed.   While it is always hard for individual people to change their diet, it can be done.   More importantly, over time we as a society have been changing what we eat … but we need to “double down” and try to change this faster.   Also, policy changes of play a role to gently make changes in these diet, where for example Great Britain has been making policy changes to slowly remove salt from the diet.   These changes are possible … and as such, we may see a day when the black-white differences in hypertension (and thereby CVD and death) may be reduced. 

Continue reading

Who Suffers From Phantom Smells?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Bad smell” by Brian Fitzgerald is licensed under CC BY 2.0Kathleen Bainbridge, PhD

Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program
NIDCD

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

Response: The causes of phantom odor perception are not understood. This study looked for the prevalence and risk factors for this disorder. We found that that 1 in 15 Americans (or 6.5 percent) over the age of 40 experiences phantom odors.

This study, is the first in the U.S. to use nationally representative data to examine the prevalence of and risk factors for phantom odor perception. The study included about 7,400 adults who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a continuous survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study could inform future research aiming to unlock the mysteries of phantom odors.

We identified risk factors that may be related to the perception of phantom odors. People are more likely to experience this condition if they are female, and are relatively young—we found a higher prevalence in 40-60 year-olds compared to 60+ year-olds. Other risk factors include head injury, dry mouth, poor overall health, and low socio-economic status. People with lower socio-economic status may have health conditions that contribute to phantom odors, either directly or because of medications needed to treat their health conditions.

Continue reading

Vitamin D and Colorectal Cancer Risk – What is the Correlation?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephanie J. Weinstein, M.S., Ph.D.  Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH 

Dr. Weinstein

Stephanie J. Weinstein, M.S., Ph.D. 
Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute, NIH  

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

Response: Vitamin D, known for its role in maintaining bone health, is hypothesized to lower colorectal cancer risk via several pathways related to cell growth and regulation. Previous prospective studies have reported inconsistent results for whether higher concentrations of circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D, the accepted measure of vitamin D status, are linked to lower risk of colorectal cancer. The few randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation and colorectal cancer completed thus far have not shown an effect; but study size, relatively short supplementation duration, and only moderate compliance may have contributed to their null findings.

To address inconsistencies in prior studies on vitamin D, and to investigate associations in population subgroups, we harmonized and analyzed participant-level data from over 5,700 colorectal cancer cases who had blood collected before colorectal cancer diagnosis, and 7,100 matched cancer-free controls. Study participants were drawn from 17 prospective cohorts from the United States, Europe, and Asia and were followed for an average of 5.5 years (range: 1 – 25 years). We used a single, widely accepted assay and laboratory for new vitamin D measurements and calibrated existing vitamin D measurements. In the past, substantial differences between assays made it difficult to integrate vitamin D data from different studies. Our novel calibration approach enabled us to explore risk systematically over the broad range of vitamin D levels seen internationally.  Continue reading

Severe Obesity More Common in Rural or Urban Areas in US?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, MRP Chief, NHANES Analysis Branch Epidemiologist, NCHS/CDC Hyattsville, MD 20782

Dr. Ogden

Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, MRP
Chief, NHANES Analysis Branch
Epidemiologist, NCHS/CDC
Hyattsville, MD 20782

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

Response: 40% of adults and over 18% of youth in the US have obesity. Disparities in obesity have been reported by demographics and urbanization.

We looked at the prevalence of obesity and severe obesity by demographics and by level of urbanization – rural, small/medium metro and large urban. We also looked at trends over time in urban and rural areas.

Obesity and severe obesity rates were higher in rural areas than large urban areas among adults. Among youth, severe obesity rates were higher in rural areas compared to large urban areas.

Differences in age, smoking, education or race/ethnicity between urban and rural areas did not explain the differences we found between urban and rural areas.

Between 2001-2004 and 2013-2016 severe obesity among men in rural areas more than tripled and among women more than doubled. Increases in severe obesity also occurred in urban areas in men and women but they were not nearly as large.

Continue reading

Government Agencies Provide Funding For Most USPSTF Evidence Reviews

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jennifer Villani, PhD, MPH Office of Disease Prevention National Institutes of Health

Dr. Villani

Jennifer Villani, PhD, MPH
Office of Disease Prevention
National Institutes of Health

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

Response: The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) develops recommendations for the delivery of clinical preventive services based on the highest quality scientific evidence available. We performed a comprehensive assessment of the sources of funding for the research studies in this evidence base.

The results showed that government agencies supported the most articles (56%), with the remaining support coming from nonprofits or universities (32%), and industry (17%). The National Institutes of Health was the single largest funder of research articles underlying the USPSTF recommendations.  Continue reading

Sleep Deprivation Leads to Build Up of Junk Amyloid in Brain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Nora D. Volkow MD Senior Investigator Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

Dr. Nora Volkow

Nora D. Volkow MD
Senior Investigator
Laboratory of Neuroimaging, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892

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

Response: Findings from animal studies had shown that sleep deprivation increased the content of beta-amyloid in brain, which is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.  We wanted to test whether this also happened in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. We found that indeed one night of sleep deprivation led to an accumulation of beta amyloid in the human brain, which suggest that one of the reasons why we sleep is to help clean our brain of degradation products that if not removed are toxic to brain cells.  Continue reading

Mono Virus Linked To Some Cases of Lupus

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John B. Harley, MD, PhD Professor and Director David Glass Endowed Chair Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE) Department of Pediatrics University of Cincinnati Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center Cincinnati, Ohio 45229

Dr. Harley

John B. Harley, MD, PhD
Professor and Director
David Glass Endowed Chair
Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiology (CAGE)
Department of Pediatrics
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio 45229

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

Response: Previous work has shown that Epstein-Barr virus infection is associated with systemic lupus erythematosus and studies of the origins of the autoimmune response have also suggested that the autoimmunity of this disease may originate with the immune response against this virus. In the meantime, many investigators have been studying the genetics of lupus over the past 25 years. They have found about 100 convincing genes that alter the risk of developing lupus.

Continue reading

Ankle Fracture: Close Casting Can Be Alternative To Surgery For Older Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
David Keene DPhil
NIHR Postdoctoral Research Fellow
NDORMS Research Fellow in Trauma Rehabilitation
Critical Care, Trauma and Rehabilitation Trials Group
Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences
University of Oxford 

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

Response: Our clinical trial comparing close contact casting to the usual internal fixation surgery for unstable ankle fractures in older adults found that ankle function at six months was equivalent. There was more abnormal healing of the fracture seen on radiographs (malunion) in the casting group (15 percent, compared to 3 percent for surgery) so we aimed to investigate the ankle function outcomes in the longer term. We found that equivalence in ankle function between initial close contact casting and surgery was maintained at three years. 

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

Response: Our findings indicate that close contact casting is an appropriate alternative treatment to surgery for older people with an unstable ankle fracture. These longer-term outcomes will help surgeons and patients to make informed decisions about the right course of action for them. 

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

Response: Future research will explore if there are certain types of older patients that do well after close contact casting or surgery. 

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

Response: It is worth highlighting that the initial close contact casting was applied in the operating room under anesthesia.

There were no conflicts of interest. 

Citations:

Keene DJ, Lamb SE, Mistry D, et al. Three-Year Follow-up of a Trial of Close Contact Casting vs Surgery for Initial Treatment of Unstable Ankle Fractures in Older Adults. JAMA. 2018;319(12):1274–1276. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0811

 

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.

 

Hair Growth/Blood Pressure Drug Minoxidil May Improve Vascular Elasticity

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Beth Kozel M.D.-Ph.D The Laboratory of Vascular and Matrix Genetics LASKER CLINICAL RESEARCH SCHOLAR NIH

Dr. Kozel

Dr. Beth Kozel M.D. Ph.D
The Laboratory of Vascular and Matrix Genetics
LASKER CLINICAL RESEARCH SCHOLAR
NIH

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

Response: Elastin is a protein that allows the blood vessels to stretch and recoil. It is made as a child grows but once the child reaches adolescence, the body stops making elastin. With age, the body slowly begins to lose elastin and blood vessels become less flexible.

In order to study what happens when a vessel has less elastin, we used a mouse that makes half of the normal amount of elastin, the Eln+/- mouse. These mice have higher blood pressure, stiffer blood vessels and decreased blood flow to end organs such as the brain. We then used a blood pressure medication, minoxidil (this same medicine when used in topical form helps hair growth), and treated mice from weaning until 3 months of age. With treatment, Eln+/- blood pressure was lower, the vessels were less stiff and blood flow to the brain increased. That effect remained for weeks after the medication was stopped. Additional studies showed that more elastin was present in the vessel wall after treatment and more than 100 other connective tissue genes were also changed, suggesting vessel remodeling. Minoxidil works by causing cells in the blood vessel to relax, leading to a more open, or dilated artery. When taken chronically, our data suggest that the connective tissue associated with a blood vessel remodels, fixing it in a more open state and allowing better blood flow to the organ on the other side, in this case, the brain.

Continue reading

Every Minute Counts! Short Bursts of Physical Activity Reduces Mortality

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Metabolic Epidemiology Branch Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS Rockville, MD 20850

Dr. Saint-Maurice

Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Metabolic Epidemiology Branch
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics
National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS
Rockville, MD 20850

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

 Response: The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults do 150 minutes/week of moderate intensity physical activity (PA) in increments of at least 10 minutes at a time. However, there is limited epidemiologic evidence supporting the use of the 10-minute increment and whether shorter increments (for instance walking up the stairs) can also be beneficial for health in adults. We looked at accelerometer-measured physical activity in roughly 5,000 adults (40 and older) representative of the US population and followed them prospectively (over 7 years) to determine whether physical activity accumulated in 10-minute increments, but also accumulated in shorter bursts, were associated with lower risk of death (mortality data came from the National Death Index). Continue reading

Brief Interruption of HIV Treatment Did Not Lead To Irreversible Expansion of Viral Reservoir

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

“HIV-infected T cell” by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0

HIV-infected T-cell
NIAID image

Tae-Wook Chun, Ph.D.
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892 

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

Response: While antiretroviral therapy (ART) has improved the clinical outcome for people living with HIV, persistence of viral reservoirs in the peripheral blood and lymphoid tissues remains a hurdle to complete eradication of virus and cure of the infection. We know the vast majority of people living with HIV will experience plasma viral rebound within weeks of cessation of therapy. Considering that current research on the treatment of people living with HIV has been heavily focused on developing strategies aimed at achieving sustained virologic remission in the absence of ART, it is of great interest to investigate whether treatment interruption results in expansion of the viral reservoir and/or damage to the immune system. Using data from a recently concluded trial that employed short-term analytical treatment interruption (ATI), we found that, as expected, HIV DNA increased in the CD4+ T cells of individuals living with HIV during the treatment interruption phase. However, the size of the HIV reservoirs as well as immune parameters returned to baseline 6–12 months after the participants resumed ART.  Continue reading

Frequent Exertion and Frequent Standing at Work Varies By Industry and Occupation Group

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Taylor M. Shockey, MPH

Title 42 Fellow
Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations and Field Studies
NIOSH

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

Response: Research has linked repeated exposure to occupational ergonomic hazards, such as frequent exertion and frequent standing, to injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) among workers.

To determine the industry and occupation groups that have the highest prevalence rates of frequent exertion at work and frequent standing at work, NIOSH researchers analyzed 2015 National Health Interview Survey data. The results showed large differences among the groups with the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industry group having the highest prevalence of frequent exertion and standing at work (70.9%) and the construction and extraction occupation group having the highest prevalence of frequent exertion and standing at work (76.9%). These differences indicate a need for targeted interventions to reduce workplace exposure.

Continue reading

Fewer Cigarettes But More Vaping Among Today’s Adolescents

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Checking your phone and vaping as you do” by Alper Çu?un is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Richard Allen Miech, PhD
Research Professor, Survey Research Center
Institute for Social Research
University of Michigan

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

Response: Monitoring the Future conducts annual, nationally-representative surveys of ~45,000 adolescents every year to assess trends in substance use. We track which drugs are gaining traction among adolescents and which are falling out of favor. The survey draws separate, nationally-representative samples of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students from about 400 total schools every year. Once a recruited school agrees to participate, a field interviewer travels to the school to administer the paper-and-pencil survey, typically in classrooms. The project is funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse and is carried out by the University of Michigan. More details on the project’s survey design and survey procedures can be found in chapter 3 here: http://monitoringthefutu re.org/pubs/monographs/mtf- vol1_2016.pdf

Continue reading

Cocaine Overdoses Rising Especially Among African Americans

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Cocaine” by Nightlife Of Revelry is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr. Dave Thomas PhD

Health Scientist Administrator
National Institute on Drug Abuse 

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

Response: At the National Institute on Drug Abuse, we support research on all forms of drug use, and are aware that cocaine misuse is on the rise.  We are aware that various forms of drug use can have greater prevalence by race, sex, age and other population characteristics.

The main finding of this paper is that cocaine overdose rates are on the rise and that that the group hit hardest is the non-Hispanic black population.

Continue reading

Most Homes Harbor Multiple Allergens

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Salo

Dr. Salo

Dr. Pӓivi Salo, PhD Epidemiologist
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
NIH

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

Response: Indoor allergens are important risk factors for asthma and respiratory allergies. Only a few studies have investigated residential allergen exposures on a national scale; the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005-2006 is the largest and most comprehensive study to date.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: Our findings show that exposure to multiple allergens is common in U.S. homes; over 90% of homes had three or more detectable allergens, and 73% of homes had at least one allergen at elevated levels. The presence of pets and pests contributed strongly to elevated allergen levels. Housing characteristics also mattered – elevated exposure to multiple allergens was more likely in mobile homes, older homes, rental homes, and homes in rural areas. For individual allergens, exposure levels varied greatly with age, sex, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. Differences were also found between geographic locations and climatic conditions.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: Understanding factors that affect allergen levels in homes is important because elevated allergen levels can trigger and exacerbate symptoms in people who suffer from asthma and allergies. We hope that our findings provide beneficial information to a wide audience from patients to clinicians, identifying factors that influence levels of exposure to individual and multiple allergens

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

Response: The relationships between allergen exposures, allergic sensitization, and disease are complex. Further research is needed to determine how allergen exposures interact with other environmental and genetic factors that contribute to asthma and allergies.

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

Response: We also compared allergen exposures and previously reported allergic sensitization patterns from this national survey to provide a more complete picture. The allergy focused component in NHANES 2005-2006, which we developed in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), allowed national comparisons for the first time. The observed differences and overlaps reflect the complex nature of the relationships between allergen exposures, allergic sensitization, and disease.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

Salo P, Wilkerson J, Rose KM, Cohn RD, Calatroni A, Mitchell HE, Sever ML, Gergen PJ, Thorne PS, Zeldin DC. 2017. Bedroom allergen exposures in US households. J Allergy Clin Immunol; doi: 10.1016/j.jaci.2017.08.033(link is external) [Online 30 November 2017].

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overeating High-Fructose Corn Syrup Can Raise Both Hunger and Cortisol Levels

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Herring in high fructose corn syrup” by Ray Sawhill is licensed under CC BY 2.0Paolo Piaggi PhD and
Marie Thearle MD
Phoenix Epidemiology and Clinical Research Branch
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
National Institutes of Health, Phoenix, Arizona 

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

Response: Changes in food preparation have occurred over the recent decades including wide-spread availability of convenience foods and use of fructose as a sweetener. In addition, there is a growing trend to label certain foods as “healthy”. As the ingestion of added sugars and the prevalence of obesity have steadily increased over time, it has been suggested that the increased consumption of simple sugars may have contributed to the recent obesity epidemic.

We were interested in understanding whether the body responded to overeating foods with a high carbohydrate content differently if the source of the carbohydrate differed. For example, does it matter if we overeat foods containing whole wheat instead of high-fructose corn syrup? To answer this question, we conducted a study investigating changes in metabolism, circulating hormones, and appetite ratings in humans who were overfed a diet containing 75% carbohydrates for 24 hours. The subjects in the study were overfed with a high carbohydrate diet twice – once with a diet where the source of carbohydrates was whole wheat and once with a diet that contained simple sugars, primarily high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Note that the diets were given in random order with at least three days of recovery in between the overfeeding periods.

There was no difference in people’s metabolic rate over 24 hours between the whole-wheat versus high-fructose corn syrup diets; however, the diet containing HFCS resulted in increased hunger scores the next morning even though people had overeaten the day prior. These increased hunger scores were comparable to the hunger scores reported after a day of fasting. Also, 24-hour urinary free cortisol concentrations were higher the day after the diet containing high-fructose corn syrup. Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to physiologic stress.

Continue reading