Author Interviews, Lancet, MRSA, NIH / 18.01.2023

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Otto PhD Senior Investigator Laboratory of Bacteriology Chief of the Pathogen Molecular Genetics Section NIAID, NIH Bethesda, MD 20814 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:  Staphylococcus aureus is one the of the most important causes of infectious diseases worldwide. It is known mostly for causing skin infections in the community and as a hospital-associated pathogen. It is in fact the most frequent cause of infections patients acquire in the hospital when they are weakened by underlying diseases or immune-suppressing therapy. The type of infections Staph can cause in these situations are diverse – comprising bone, lung, and blood infections (sepsis) - and can be quite severe and often fatal. Except for moderately severe skin infections that may not require antibiotic treatment, treatment of Staph infections is by antibiotics. S. aureus has naturally been very responsive to penicillin-type antibiotics, but already in the mid of the last century, resistance to penicillin spread worldwide. Then, methicillin was invented to overcome this resistance, but nowadays there also is considerable spread of methicillin-resistant strains (MRSA). The current situation is difficult for two reasons:
  • First, S. aureus has become increasingly resistant to many antibiotics, and
  • Second, the alternatives to methicillin are often by far not as efficient as penicillin/methicillin against Staph.
Researchers have therefore been searching for alternatives to antibiotics to treat Staph infections. Unfortunately, vaccines that work against Staph have not yet been produced despite intensive efforts for decades. Other modern approaches of treatment, like virulence-targeted drugs or phages are still only at the early investigational level. As with many diseases, an alternative to treatment is prevention. In the case of S. aureus, a type of preventative strategy that has often been proposed and tested is decolonization. This is based on the fact that ~ 1/3 of the population is naturally colonized with S. aureus (asymptomatically), and these colonized people have an increased risk of being infected. In other words, Staph infections stem from the Staph you carry on your body and which only under certain conditions causes infection. Thus, eliminating the colonizing Staph would reduce the risk for infection, which is the basis for Staph decolonization-based infection prevention strategies. (more…)
Aging, Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, NIH, Nutrition / 01.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maki Inoue-Choi, Ph.D., M.S., R.D. Staff Scientist Metabolic Epidemiology Branch National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tea is rich in bioactive compounds that can possibly protect against health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. A lower risk of death was seen among tea drinkers than non-drinkers in previous studies, but these were largely in populations where green tea drinking is common. In contrast, the studies in populations where black tea drinking is more common have been limited and the findings from these studies have been inconsistent. (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, NIH / 30.06.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nihal Altan-Bonnet, Ph.D. Chief of the Laboratory of Host-Pathogen Dynamics NHLBI  MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Enteric viruses such as norovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus are responsible for nearly 1.5 billion global infections per year resulting in gastrointestinal illnesses and sometimes leading to death in the very young, in the elderly and in the immunocompromised. These viruses have been thought to traditionally infect and replicate only in the intestines, then shed into feces and transmit to others via the oral-fecal route (e.g. through ingestion of fecal contaminated food items). Our findings reported in Nature, using animal models of norovirus, rotavirus and astrovirus infection, challenge this traditional view and reveal that these viruses can also replicate robustly in salivary glands, be shed into saliva in large quantities and transmit through saliva to other animals. In particular we also show infected infants can transmit these viruses to their mothers mammary glands via suckling and this leads to both an infection in their mothers mammary glands but also a rapid immune response by the mother resulting in a surge in her milk antibodies. These milk antibodies may play a role in fighting the infection in their infants .  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 05.05.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S., Earl Stadtman Investigator Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics National Cancer Institute MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? 
  • Through our prior work, we have demonstrated that uterine cancer incidence rates have been significantly increasing in the U.S. from 2003 to 2015 and that these increases were primarily driven by rising rates of aggressive (non-endometrioid) subtypes of this cancer. We observed that rates of these aggressive cancers increased among all women and were more than twice as high among Non-Hispanic Black women compared to other racial and ethnic groups. Factors explaining these trends, as well as the disproportionately higher rates of these aggressive subtypes among non-Hispanic Black women, remain unclear, in part because risk factors are poorly understood.
  • In addition to differences in incidence rates by race and ethnicity, we have also observed strong disparities in our prior studies, with Non-Hispanic Black women having substantially lower 5-year survival, regardless of subtype or stage at diagnosis, compared to other racial and ethnic populations.
  • The next logical step, and the focus of the current study, was to evaluate how increases in the incidence of aggressive, non-endometrioid uterine cancer affects racial disparities and rates of death from uterine cancer.
(more…)
Author Interviews, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Cognitive Issues, NIH / 12.03.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lenore J. Launer, Ph.D. Chief, Laboratory of Epidemiology and Population Sciences Intramural Research Program, National Institute on Aging. MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings? Response: Identifying early risk factors and early changes in the brain will have a major impact on future clinical and public health priorities related to the looming epidemic of dementia. Several studies based on older populations suggest mid-life is an important period to start prevention measures. To date control of blood pressure levels has been the most robust and promising candidate to target for prevention of future cognitive impairment. Although several studies have looked at levels of blood pressure and risk for cognitive impairment, it was not known whether trajectories from young adulthood to middle age studies provided additional information about risk. To investigate possible biomarkers of future risk, we chose to examine the association of the mean arterial blood pressure trajectories to indicators of pathology seen on MRI and that are associated with cognition. We highlight the results of the mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) measure, which is an integrated measure of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Methamphetamine, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 24.09.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Beth Han, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H. Epidemiologist, Science Policy Branch of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institutes of Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the U.S., overdose deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential other than cocaine (i.e. largely methamphetamine), increased dramatically during the past decade. Psychostimulant-involved overdose deaths also often involved opioids (50% in 2017). However, it was still undetermined how trends in methamphetamine use among vulnerable populations and specific patterns of use [e.g. methamphetamine use with or without other substances, frequent methamphetamine use, methamphetamine use disorder (MUD), and injection] may contribute to greater risk for overdose mortality. Moreover, understanding characteristics that are associated with methamphetamine use, frequent use, MUD, and injection is of value in guiding strategies to address the root causes for the recent surge in methamphetamine overdose deaths. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, NIH / 23.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nishanth Ulhas Nair, Ph.D. Affiliation: Staff Scientist at Cancer Data Science Laboratory, Center for Cancer Research National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) Bethesda, Maryland, USA. Date: April 22, 2021 Dr. Raffit Hassan and Dr. Eytan Ruppin at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) are the senior authors of this study.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer with limited treatment options and poor prognosis. An in-depth knowledge of genetic, transcriptomic and immunogenic events involved in mesothelioma is critical for successful development of prognostics and therapeutic modalities. In this study we aim to address this by exploring a new large scale patient tumor dataset of 122 mesothelioma patients, called NCI mesothelioma patient data, along with their genomic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic information. Unlike previous large-scale studies which have been focused on malignant pleural mesothelioma patients, our dataset contains an approximately equal representation of malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma patients which allows to identify any differences between them. (more…)
Author Interviews, NIH, Pulmonary Disease / 09.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stavros Garantziotis MD Division of Intramural Research National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does hyaluronan differ from other medications for COPD? Is it used for other medical conditions? Response: Hyaluronan is a natural sugar found in the human body, including in the lung. We have found that when the lungs are exposed to pollution, this sugar breaks down, and the breakdown fragments cause inflammation in the lung. We also found that if we give back the natural form of hyaluronan, it protects the lung from inflammation. Patients suffering from COPD also have a lot of hyaluronan breakdown in their lungs. We therefore reasoned, that giving them back the natural form of hyaluronan, as an inhalation treatment, would help them reduce inflammation. We tested this, as a first step, in the treatment acute inflammation of the lungs in COPD patients who are suffering an exacerbation of their disease. Hyaluronan is different from existing medications in that it is a natural product of the body. It is used in Europe for conditions like cystic fibrosis, and after sinus surgery to humidify the airways. Because it is given by inhalation, it acts locally in the lungs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Emory, NEJM, NIH, Vaccine Studies / 04.10.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Evan J. Anderson, MD Associate Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Older adults have suffered a disproportionate number of the hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19. A vaccine is clearly needed for older adults.  For a number of vaccines, the immune response and efficacy of vaccines decreases with increasing age. A prime example would be influenza and the need for high dose influenza vaccine in the elderly. We had previously conducted a Phase I study in 18 – 55 year old adults of mRNA-1273 vaccine – published in NEJM 2020 with Lisa Jackson as the lead author. This phase I study was expanded to include older adults in 2 separate cohorts (56 – 70, >70 years of age) and 2 different doses. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Mediterranean Diet, NIH / 21.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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? Response: Dementia is a common disorder that was estimated to have a worldwide prevalence of 44 million in 2016 and is projected to hit 115 million by 2050. Many phase 3 trials of various therapies have failed and we have no treatment currently available for the prevention or reduction of the course of dementia. A slow neurocognitive decline throughout life is part of the normal process of aging. However, there is a subset of individuals who may have accelerated aging and is at high risk of development dementia. If the course of such accelerated decline could be altered in any way, it would be important to evaluate. The role of diet with biologic aging has been studied and diet has been also found to be associated with age-related conditions linked to dementia, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. We were interested in the cognitive function of our participants who had another neurodegenerative disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We had conducted two randomized controlled clinical trials designed to evaluate the role of oral supplements for the treatment of AMD. We also studied cognitive function in both clinical trials of nearly 8,000 participants who were followed for 10 years. We also evaluated the dietary habits of the participants with food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) at baseline. Cognitive function testing was conducted in the first study, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) near the end of the clinical trial while the AREDS2, the second study, evaluated cognitive function testing at baseline and every 2 years until year 6. AREDS study evaluated cognitive function with in-clinic study visits while AREDS2 was conducted using telephone interviews. Our aim was to determine whether closer adherence to the alternative Mediterranean diet (aMED) was associated with impaired cognitive function these two studies. We were interested in the particular components of the Mediterranean diet that may be important. We also evaluated the interaction of genetics with the diet.    (more…)
Addiction, Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, NIH, Opiods / 10.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nora D. Volkow, MD Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does vaping, hookah use, inhaled marijuana, smoking etc impact the risk of coronavirus infection?  Could these activities account for some the risks and infections in younger individuals?   Response: Apart from older age, having underlying cardiopulmonary conditions is a known risk factor for the worst clinical course and outcomes of COVID-19, and many of those conditions are known to be caused or exacerbated by smoking. While evidence continues to emerge about how smoking might interact with COVID-19, it is a reasonable assumption that smoking could contribute to risk even in younger individuals. We still don’t know how vaping—whether of nicotine or marijuana or just flavorings—contributes to the risk of infection or illness severity with the virus that causes COVID-19, but there are a number of reasons to be concerned. We have already seen lung illnesses caused by some vaping products, and evidence suggests vaping may disrupt lung epithelial cell function, which in turn increases viral susceptibility and may put individuals at increased risk of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or with more severe disease outcomes. Vaping is a relatively new technology, and as such, there are many unknowns. The rapid increases in vaping by young people over the last few years make this an area of concern, and thus an area where more research is urgently needed. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, NIH, Social Issues / 12.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Adan Z. Becerra PhD Senior Epidemiologist for the  NIH Social and Scientific Systems Washington, District Of Columbia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Previous studies have shown that disparities in insurance coverage by immigration status exist in the United States such that immigrants compared to nonimmigrants are less likely to have insurance. However, most studies have been cross sectional with few studies investigating long term trajectories of insurance coverage over time. We addressed this gap in the literature by following a cohort of adults for 24 years from before until after reaching Medicare age-eligibility. (more…)
Author Interviews, Fertility, NIH, Supplements / 08.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Enrique Schisterman, Ph.D. Chief, Epidemiology Branch, DIPHR Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development NICHD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Small studies indicated that zinc and folic acid supplements for men might improve semen quality as both zinc and folic acid are involved in DNA transcription and have antioxidant functions. But no large-scale randomized trials have been done to assess efficacy, which is important since dietary supplements are largely unregulated, and FDA cannot regulate supplements until after they come to market. Some male fertility-targeted supplements are already among the most commonly sold supplement products, despite the lack of data to guide their use.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Epilepsy, NEJM, NIH / 11.12.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Robin Conwit, M.D Program Director, Division of Clinical Research NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately one-third of patients with intractable status epilepticus do not respond to benzodiazepines, often the first line medications given in the emergency department, leaving doctors to decide among three commonly prescribed anti-convulsants. In this study all of the anti-convulsants were equally effective. The trial gives doctors a way to clear the air of arguments that one of these drugs works any better than the others, or that any one of them is a lot safer.  It gives doctors a reason to choose a dosing strategy in status epilepticus for levetiracetam, which has otherwise been controversial and non-standard.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, NIH, Pediatrics / 19.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth S. Korach, Ph.D. Senior Principal Investigator Chief, Receptor Biology Section Reproductive and Developmental Biology Laboratory NIEHS/NIH MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lavender oil is among the most popular essential oils used today. Our society deems essential oils and other homeopathic remedies as safe alternatives for medical treatment, personal hygiene commodities, aromatherapy, and cleaning products; however, there are many natural products that have effects on the human body, similar to potent synthetic drugs. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, JAMA, NIH, Pulmonary Disease / 13.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, Professor   Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, Medicine, and Epidemiology University of Washington  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Increasingly, it is recognized that chronic lung diseases like emphysema occur in nonsmokers and rates of these diseases are continuing to increase.  We really need to understand what’s causing chronic lung disease. Air pollutants are known to make disease worse in people with prior lung disease, but little is known about whether long-term exposure to air pollutants can cause chronic lung disease. We found that higher residential concentrations of air pollutants—especially ozone and traffic-related air pollutants—are associated with changes in the lung—emphysema-like changes in the lung.  The associations were strong and suggest that air pollution may be an important contributor to chronic lung disease.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, NIH / 08.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Co-First author: Jamie J. Lo, MPH PhD student, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health National University of Singapore, Singapore Co-First author & Co-Senior author: Yong-Moon (“Mark”) Park, MD, PhD Postdoctoral fellow, Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health Senior author: Dale P. Sandler, PhD Chief, Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We were interested, generally, in the association between meat consumption and breast cancer risk. Epidemiological studies of red meat consumption and risk of breast cancer are still inconsistent, although red meat has been identified as a probable carcinogen. In addition, there is not much evidence on the association between poultry consumption and breast cancer risk. We studied around 42,000 women ages 35-74 from across the US who are enrolled in the Sister Study cohort. Women provided self-reported information on meat consumption at baseline and were followed for 7.6 years on average. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, NIH, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 25.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lan N. Đoàn, MPH CPH PhD Candidate, School of Social and Behavioral Health Sciences College of College of Public Health and Human Sciences Oregon State University, Corvallis MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a prevailing stereotype that Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AA/NHPI) populations are a model minority group - healthier than all other racial/ethnic groups. As a result, health researchers often consider AA/NHPI so similar that their data is typically grouped together which masks their cultural and health differences. However, AA/NHPI populations represent more than 50 countries or cultures of origin and 100 different languages and have unique health needs and cultural preferences. Prior research has found minimal financial investments in AA/NHPI populations by federal agencies and philanthropy, even though AA/NHPI individuals represent more than 5.0% of the total US population and are the fastest-growing racial/ethnic group in the United States. The purpose of study was to conduct a review of clinical research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for AA/NHPI populations and to determine the level of NIH investment in serving these populations. We queried the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools Expenditures and Results (RePORTER) system for extramural AA/NHPI focused clinical research projects conducted in the United States from January 1, 1992, to December 31, 2018. We included clinical research funded under research project grants, centers, cooperative awards, research career awards, training grants, and fellowships was included, with an advanced text search for AA/NHPI countries and cultures of origin.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, NIH / 19.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, NIH, Pediatrics / 18.06.2019

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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, NIH, Stroke / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Hearing Loss, JAMA, NIH, NYU / 24.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, NIH, Sleep Disorders / 17.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Gout, NIH, OBGYNE / 04.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Johns Hopkins, NIH, Pulmonary Disease, Transplantation / 29.01.2019

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 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. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, NIH, OBGYNE / 27.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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.  (more…)