Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Chemotherapy, NEJM / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia, MBBS, MPH Director, Precision Medicine, Center for Breast Cancer, Attending Physician Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Metastatic triple negative breast cancer is associated with aggressive tumor biology, and tends to affect younger patients and African Amerians. The response rate with standard chemotherapy regimens in patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC ranges from 10-15%, and median progression-free survival ranges from 3-4 months. The median survival of metastatic TNBC is around 12 months and has not changed in the past 20 years. Thus, treatment of metastatic triple negative breast cancer represents an unmet clinical need.   (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Pharmacology, Schizophrenia / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jari Tiihonen, MD, PhD Professor, Department of Clinical Neuroscience Karolinska Institutet Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The effectiveness of antipsychotic combination therapy in schizophrenia relapse prevention is controversial, and use of multiple agents is generally believed to impair physical well-being. But the evidence for this are weak and antipsychotic polypharmacy is widely used. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Kidney Disease, Nutrition, UT Southwestern / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Wanpen Vongpatanasin, M.D. Professor of Medicine Norman & Audrey Kaplan Chair in Hypertension Fredric L. Coe Professorship in Nephrolithiasis and Mineral Metabolism Research Director, Hypertension Section, Cardiology Division, UT Southwestern Medical Center    MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Increased sedentary activity is commonly seen in people who regularly consume fast food but previously studies have not identified potential mechanisms beyond increased obesity and lack of motivation. Our study seeks to determine if inorganic phosphate, a commonly used food additives that are present in up to 70% of foods in the American diet, maybe the culprit. These food additives (which may come in the form of monocalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, or tetrasodium phosphate, etc. are used to make the food taste better and/or last longer. It is found mostly in prepackaged foods, cola drinks, and bakery items (cookies, cake, and bread). This is very different from organic phosphates that are found naturally in many healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which are not not readily absorbed from the GI tract. In the Dallas Heart Study, a multiethnic population-based study, we found that serum phosphate is significantly associated with sedentary time and increased time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity which was measured by wrist actigraphy device. This is not explained by reduce cardiac function as ejection fraction remains normal at higher serum phosphate. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 24.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jagpreet Chhatwal PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Senior Scientist, Institute for Technology Assessment Massachusetts General Hospital Chin Hur, MD Associate Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School       MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, is one of the leading causes of liver transplantation. Because of increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States, NASH-related cirrhosis cases are expected to increase in the near future. Unfortunately, there are few pharmacological treatments for NASH, and none with proven long-term benefit. Weight loss can be effective in managing NASH but not many patients can lose the sufficient weight necessary to impact NASH and/or maintain long-term weight loss. In contrast, bariatric surgery can provide long-term weight loss and thus potentially reverse liver damage in cirrhosis. However, bariatric surgery is associated with mortality and morbidity associated with the procedure. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA / 22.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Xuehong Zhang, MD, ScD Assistant Professor in Medicine Harvard Medical School Associate Epidemiologist Brigham and Women's Hospital Boston, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In the United States., liver cancer incidence is rapidly increasing and over 42,200 new cases were projected to be diagnosed in 2018. The majority of individuals with liver cancer are diagnosed at a late stage, are not eligible for curative therapy, and die within 1 year of diagnosis. Established risk factors for liver cancer are limited to hepatitis B and C virus (HBV/HCV) infections, metabolic disorders, and smoking. Clearly, identification of novel risk factors, particularly those that are modifiable, is urgently needed. Dietary factors have been suspected as important, but only excessive alcohol use and aflatoxin-contaminated foods are considered to be established dietary risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Consumption of whole grains and dietary fiber, especially cereal fiber, have been associated with lower risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which are known predisposing factors for HCC. We thus hypothesized that long-term intake of whole grains and dietary fiber may lower the risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and tested this hypothesis using data from two large prospective cohort studies, the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS). (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, Depression, JAMA, OBGYNE, USPSTF / 21.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Karina Davidson, PhD Professor of Behavioral Medicine (in Medicine and Psychiatry) Executive Director, Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health Columbia University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Perinatal depression, which includes depression that develops during pregnancy or after childbirth, is one of the most common complications of pregnancy and the postpartum period, affecting as many as 1 in 7 pregnant women. The Task Force found that counseling can help those who are at increased risk of developing perinatal depression, and clinicians should provide or refer pregnant and postpartum individuals who are at increased risk to counseling. Clinicians can determine who might be at increased risk of perinatal depression by looking at someone’s history of depression, current depressive symptoms, socioeconomic risk factors, recent intimate partner violence, and other mental-health related factors. (more…)
Author Interviews, McGill, PNAS / 20.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ben Gold, a PhD candidate Lab of Robert Zatorre The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Music is just sound in air, but it carries considerable power. It captivates our brain’s reward system, we devote an enormous amount of time and money to it, and we're just beginning to tap its therapeutic potential. We wanted to explore how something so abstract could have such an impact, and since music is so well suited to establishing and manipulating patterns of sound as it unfolds, we focused on how it manipulates expectations. Previous research has shown that surprises are often the most emotional and pleasurable moments in music listening, but whether and how this engaged the brain's reward system was unclear. So we adapted an experimental protocol designed for studying learning and surprise about more concrete rewards like food or money, and applied it to a musical context during brain imaging. This protocol relies on participants making decisions from which we could infer their expectations, allowing us to estimate how surprised they were by each outcome whenever it occurred. In our case, we asked participants to make choices about colors and directions that were associated with different musical outcomes, but we didn't tell them what those associations were so that they they started with no expectations and learned as they went. We found that our participants could learn about music just like they would learn about how to find food or win money, and that the same neural process was involved. Specifically, we saw that the activity of the nucleus accumbens -- a central hub of the reward system -- reflected both how pleasant and how surprising each musical outcome was: a computation known as a reward prediction error. Across individuals, those who better represented these reward prediction errors in their nucleus accumbens also learned better about the music in the experiment, making more decisions over time to find the music they preferred.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh / 19.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alvaro San-Juan-Rodriguez, PharmD Pharmacoeconomics, Outcomes and Pharmacoanalytics Research Fellow Pharmacy and Therapeutics School of Pharmacy University of Pittsburgh MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Before 2009, etanercept (Enbrel®), infliximab (Remicade®), and adalimumab (Humira®) were the only tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors approved by the FDA for rheumatoid arthritis. Subsequently, 3 therapies gained FDA approval: subcutaneous golimumab (Simponi®) in April 2009, certolizumab pegol (Cimzia®) in May 2009, and intravenous golimumab (Simponi Aria®) in July 2013. All 6 agents are brand-name drugs. Our study aimed to evaluate how the prices of existing TNF inhibitors (Enbrel®, Remicade® and Humira®) changed in response to the market entry of new TNF inhibitors.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Inflammation, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Pain Research, Stanford / 16.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan Nelson, MPAS, PhD Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The past research literature has provided relatively little information on the appropriate level of concern regarding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and kidney disease risk among younger, apparently healthy patients. Clinicians are generally most concerned about the effects of these medications on the kidneys among patients with existing renal impairment and persons at risk for it, especially older patients. Given that NSAID use appears to be high and rising in the US, we were interested in developing evidence on this topic in a population of working-age adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Sleep Disorders / 16.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cameron S. McAlpine, Ph.D. Banting Postdoctoral Fellow Center for Systems Biology Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School Boston, MA, 02114 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cardiovascular disease is caused by the build up of white blood cells and fat in arteries. We have known for a long time that poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. A number of human observational studies have found this correlation. However, the reasons for this correlation have been largely unknown. Our study, performed in mice, provides one possible explanation. We found that when we disturbed the sleep of mice they produced more inflammatory white blood cells. These cells caused larger lesions in their arteries and more advanced cardiovascular disease. We found that his phenomenon is controlled by a hormone produced in the brain that normally suppresses the production of white blood cells. When mice have their sleep disturbed this pathway breakdown causing the increased production of white blood cells. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emory, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 15.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deborah Watkins Bruner RN, PhD, FAAN Senior Vice President of Research Emory University Professor and Robert W. Woodruff Chair in Nursing Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology Emory University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In a randomized clinical trial entitled, “Quality of Life in Patients With Low-Risk Prostate Cancer Treated With Hypofractionated vs Conventional Radiotherapy” the NRG Oncology Group previously demonstrated that men with low risk prostate cancer had  similar 5-year disease- free survival of about 85%  when treated with either conventional radiotherapy  (C-RT) of 73.8 Gy in 41 fractions over 8.2 weeks, or with  hypofractionated radiotherapy (H-RT) of 70 Gy in 28 fractions over 5.6  weeks. However, late physician reported side effects of mild bowel and bladder symptoms were increased in patients treated  with H-RT and raised questions if the H-RT arm is acceptable to patients. The current study asked the patient’s directly about their bowel, bladder, sexual function, anxiety, depression and general quality of life using valid patient reported questionnaires. These questionnaires have been found to be more accurate for reporting patient symptoms than physician report alone. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Microbiome / 15.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Luis Garza, MD-PhD Associate Professor Department of Dermatology Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Baltimore, MD 21287 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Do you think these findings would be similar with other antibiotics (oral or topical) or with isotretinoin for acne? Response: We prescribe antibiotics frequently for acne. We certainly know it affects our normal and abnormal bacteria on our skin. But we don’t fully understand how well or not people recover from antibiotics.  (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, Karolinski Institute, Weight Research / 13.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Pontus Henriksson | PhD and Registered Dietitian Postdoctoral Researcher | SFO-V Fellow Department of Biosciences and Nutrition Karolinska Institutet  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In many countries, disability pensions are granted to working-aged persons who are likely to never work full-time again because of a chronic disease or injury diagnosed by a physician. In addition to serving as an important indicator of chronic disease, disability pensions are associated with high societal costs. Hence, we examined whether cardiorespiratory fitness and obesity (two potentially modifiable factors) were associated with disability pension later in life. Our main findings were that low physical fitness and/or obesity during adolescence, were strongly associated with disability pension later in life due to a wide range of diseases and causes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Salt-Sodium / 13.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen P. Juraschek, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Division of General Medicine, Section for Research Boston, MA  02215 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Lightheadedness with standing is an important risk factor for falls. Sodium is often considered a treatment for lightheadedness with standing. We examined this in the setting of a monitored feeding study where adults ate each of 3 different sodium levels for 4 weeks at a time. Participants took 5 day breaks between sodium levels and ate the sodium levels in random order. We tested the hypothesis that lowering sodium would worsen how much lightheadedness the study participants reported. (more…)
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, JAMA, Stroke, University Texas / 11.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amrou Sarraj, MD, Associate Professor Department of Neurology McGovern Medical School The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Secondary analyses of trials showing efficacy and safety of thrombectomy within 6-8 hours of stroke onset showed that patients who were transferred to centers performing thrombectomy from another hospital had worse outcomes than patients who presented directly to the thrombectomy centers. We wanted to assess if the thrombectomy outcomes differ between transferred patients and patients directly coming to the thrombectomy centers when patients are selected with advanced perfusion imaging. We found that thrombectomy outcome rates were similar between patients who presented directly vs transferred from another hospital, including functional independence and safety outcomes.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Frailty, Heart Disease, Surgical Research / 05.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dae Hyun Kim, MD, MPH, ScD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Hinda and Arthur Marcus Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Gerontology, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The number of older adults undergoing aortic valve replacement is increasing.  Since these patients are at high risk for complications and functional decline due to preexisting multimorbidity and frailty, the latest guideline (Otto et al. J Am Coll Cardiol 2017;69:1313–46) emphasizes shared decision-making based on patient-centered outcomes.  Despite this recommendation, we witness many decision-making processes are cardio-centric—mainly informed by expected benefit in terms of cardiac-specific measures.  Many patients are not adequately informed about what their daily life would be like after the procedure. In this single-center prospective cohort study, we examined functional status trajectories via assessments of global functional status at 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months in 246 patients who underwent transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement.  We identified 5 clinically meaningful functional trajectories, ranging from high baseline function-early complete recovery to low baseline function-large and persistent decline.  We were able to predict most likely trajectory as well as best possible and worse possible trajectories using the preoperative frailty index.  Delirium and postoperative complications were also strongly associated with undesirable functional trajectories.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Fertility, McGill, OBGYNE / 04.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Natalie Dayan MD MSc FRCPC General Internal Medicine and Obstetric Medicine, Clinician-Scientist, Research Institute Centre for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) McGill University Health Centre Montréal QC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infertility treatment is rising in use and has been linked with maternal and perinatal complications in pregnancy, but the extent to which it is associated with severe maternal morbidity (SMM), a composite outcome of public health importance, has been less well studied. In addition, whether the effect is due to treatment or to maternal factors is unclear. We conducted a propensity matched cohort study in Ontario between 2006 and 2012. We included 11 546 women who had an infertility-treated pregnancy and a singleton live or stillborn delivery beyond 20 weeks. Each woman exposed to infertility treatment was then matched using a propensity score to approximately 5 untreated pregnancies (n=47 553) in order to address confounding by indication. Poisson regression revealed on overall 40% increase in the risk of a composite of SMM (one of 44 previously validated indicators using ICD-10CA codes and CCI procedure codes) (30.3 per 1000 births vs. 22.8 per 1000 births, adjusted relative risk 1.39, 95% CI 1.23-1.56). When stratified according to invasive (eg., IVF) and non-invasive treatments (eg. IUI or pharmacological ovulation induction), women who were treated with IVF had an elevated risk of having any severe maternal morbidity, and of having 3 or more SMM indicators (adjusted odds ratio 2.28, 95% CI 1.56 – 3.33), when compared with untreated women, whereas women who were treated with non-invasive treatments had no increase in these risks. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA, Mental Health Research, UCSF / 31.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Mangurian, MD MAS Professor Department of Psychiatry, Weill Institute for Neurosciences Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco Veronica Yank, MD Assistant Professor Division of General Internal Medicine Department of Medicine University of California San Francisco MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This article is about the behavioral health and burnout consequences among physician mothers who are caring for seriously ill loved ones. Our work was inspired, in part, by some of the authors’ own experiences caring for loved ones with serious illnesses while also being physician mothers themselves.  We sought to determine the proportion of physician mothers with such caregiving responsibilities beyond their patients and children and the how these additional responsibilities affected the women’s health and practice. (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, Heart Disease, JAMA, Thyroid Disease, Vanderbilt / 27.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joe-Elie Salem, MD, PhD Associate Professor - MCU-PH, Sorbonne Université - INSERM - CIC, Clinical Pharmacology, Cardio-oncology, APHP, La Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France Adjunct Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Cardio-oncology Clinical Pharmacology, Nashville, TN MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: A study by researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has strengthened the link between thyroid function and atrial fibrillation (AF), an irregular heart rhythm that increases the risk of stroke and other heart-related complications. They phenome-wide association study scanned the medical records of more than 37,000 people for an association between genetically determined variation in thyroid stimulating hormone levels (a measure of thyroid function) and AF risk. Previous observational studies have found that subclinical hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid which does not meet the clinical threshold for diagnosis or treatment, nevertheless can increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.  But whether to treat subclinical hypo- or hyperthyroidism to reduce AF risk remains a matter of debate in the medical community.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA, UCLA / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value. (more…)
Author Interviews, Flu - Influenza, Infections, PLoS, University of Michigan / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Betsy Foxman PhD Hunein F. and Hilda Maassab Endowed Professor of Epidemiology Director, Center for Molecular and Clinical Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Influenza is a major cause of human illness and death worldwide. Vaccines are the best available means of prevention. However, vaccine effectiveness has been low to moderate in recent years and coverage remains low in many countries. There is increasing evidence suggesting the microbiome plays an important role in shaping host immunity and may be a potential target for reducing disease. In our study, we used a household transmission study to explore whether the respiratory microbiome was associated with influenza susceptibility.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, JAMA, Yale / 24.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edouard Coupet Jr, MD, MS Assistant Professor Department of Emergency Medicine Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: For many individuals with nonfatal firearm injuries, their only point of contact with the healthcare system may be the emergency department. Both hospital-based violence intervention programs and counseling and safe firearm storage have shown promise in reducing the burden of firearm injury. In this study, one third of individuals with firearm injuries presented to non-trauma centers. Only 1 out of 5 firearm injuries were assault injuries that led to admission to trauma centers, the population most likely to receive interventions to reduce re-injury.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, Toxin Research / 23.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aaron Reuben, MEM Department of Psychology and Neuroscience Duke University, Durham, North Carolina MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? (1)  Study members with greater lead exposure in childhood tended to endorse more psychiatric symptoms when assessed for psychiatric disorders in adulthood (between 18 and 38 years of age).
  1. These individuals tended to report more internalizing (e.g., depression, anxiety) and thought disorder (e.g., OCD, schizophrenia, mania) symptoms.
  2. Compared to other findings from this sample, the associations reported in this article are similar to those reported for lead and IQ, and are stronger than those reported for lead and criminal offending.
    1. Informants who knew Study members well reported higher levels of difficult adult personality traits among Study members with greater lead exposure in childhood.
    2. Specifically, Study members with greater blood lead levels at age 11 were rated as more neurotic, less agreeable, and less conscientious by 38 years of age.
    3. These personality traits have been previously linked to a number of poor life outcomes, including greater psychopathology, worse physical health, less job satisfaction, and troubled interpersonal relationships
  3. Psychiatric problems related to lead exposure could be detected as early as 11 years of age. In the 1980’s, parents and teachers of children with higher blood-lead levels had described them as displaying more antisocial behavior, hyperactivity, and negative emotions (e.g., sadness, anxiety).
(more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Hearing Loss, JAMA, Karolinski Institute / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christopher R. Cederroth | Ph.D. Docent Associate Professor Experimental Audiology | Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Karolinska Institutet Sweden MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Tinnitus is experienced is experienced by a large proportion of the population and affects more than 15% of the population worldwide (estimated 70 million people in Europe). However, for near 3% of the population, tinnitus becomes a chronic bothersome and incapacitating symptom. Severe tinnitus interferes with sleep, mood, and concentration and thus impacts life quality, ultimately leading to sick leave and disability pension. A high cost to society has been reported, and since the prevalence of tinnitus has been predicted to double in Europe by 2050, there is an important need for an effective treatment. And today there are none, with the exception of cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps coping with it but does not remove the tinnitus. There has been a number of innovative treatment approaches, but they are overall not successful and it is now agreed that it is likely because tinnitus is a heterogeneous condition – meaning that we cannot consider tinnitus a single entity but an ensemble of different forms or subtypes, which need to be defined. Tinnitus has always been considered a condition influenced by environmental factors, but our initial studies suggested the opposite. Adoption studies are excellent in showing the influence of shared-environment effects and establish a genetic basis for a disease or a trait. It allows to test the transmission of a trait between the adoptee and their biological or their adoptive parent. Transmission via the biological parent is expected to be due to a heritable genetic effect, while transmission via the adoptive parent is associated with home-environment, the so-called shared-environmental effect. We used medical registry data to identify tinnitus patients and adoptees. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, UCLA, Zika / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin Nielsen-Saines, MD, MPH Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study used a very simple evaluation called GMA (General Movement Assessment tool) which checks baby movements at approximately 3 to 5 months of age. We examined 111 babies exposed to maternal illness during the Zika epidemic in Brazil and 333 control babies without this exposure by GMA at 3 months  and then tested them through standard neurodevelopmental tests at the age of 12 months. We found that this simple evaluation, which consists of filming a baby lying down on their back for one minute and studying their movements worked extremely well in predicting which babies would or would not have future problems in their neurodevelopment. The study advances knowledge in the area because a simple one minute video of a baby can predict neurodevelopment, something that is extremely hard to determine in young babies.  This is true even in places where sophisticated brain scans are available. By identifying which babies are at risk of developmental problems early on, professionals can rapidly refer these babies to  stimulation programs when they are very young, which increases their chances of having better outcomes. Because the brains of young children respond much better  to stimulation, the timing of interventions to improve their development is very important, that is why they need to be identified early. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Inflammation, JAMA, Stanford / 17.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas S. G. Sehested MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte   Jenny Bjerre, MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Department of Health Research and Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: n 2017, the results from the much-awaited Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study (CANTOS) trial were published, confirming the inflammatory hypothesis, i.e. that targeting inflammation can reduce cardiovascular disease. The trial tested the monoclonal antibody canakinumab in a population of post-myocardial infarction patients with elevated inflammation markers (hs-CRP). Canakinumab is currently used for rare diseases and carries an orphan drug price: the 150mg dose used in CANTOS costs approximately $73,000 per year. Due to the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, millions of patients could potentially be eligible for treatment with this high-priced anti-inflammatory drug. Therefore, we wanted to investigate the cost-effectiveness for canakinumab for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, using the reported results from CANTOS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, University of Michigan / 17.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Kruger, PhD Research Assistant Professor University of Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We study health-related behaviors, such as diet and the consumption of caffeine and alcohol. Given the recent trends in legalization of cannabis for medical and even recreational purposes, we were concerned with the narrow focus of current public health efforts regarding cannabis. Although some in the field take a harm-reduction approach to substance use, too many efforts focus solely on abstinence. These programs are a legacy from the era of prohibition, and we know that there are disadvantages to such a restricted scope in public health. For example, municipalities that eliminated or blocked accurate and effective sex education had increases in teenage pregnancy rates. There are so many public health-related aspects of cannabis, beyond risks and adverse effects, which need to be addressed by systematic scientific research. Because of the legal history of cannabis, there is little integration with the mainstream health care system. The focus of the current study was investigating how medical cannabis users perceived medical cannabis in comparison to pharmaceutical drugs and other aspects of the mainstream health care system and how they navigated they relationships between these currently separate systems (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, University of Pennsylvania / 16.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arslan Zaidi PhD University of Pennsylvania and Kateryna Makova, Ph.D. Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor Director, Center for Medical Genomics Department of Biology Penn State University University Park, PA 16802 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Mitochondria are organelles that are involved in vital functions in eukaryotic cells, e.g., energy production. Even though they carry their own DNA (mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA), most of the proteins required for mitochondrial function are encoded by the nuclear genome. Thus, mitochondrial and nuclear proteins must work together in a coordinated manner for proper mitochondrial function. These interactions can sometimes be disrupted leading to phenotypic consequences in inter-species and inter-population laboratory crosses of model organisms when the ancestry of the mitochondrial genome is very different from the nuclear genome. While human populations are genetically not very different from each other, it has been suggested that recent admixture between geographically distant populations might also have phenotypic consequences in humans. We investigated whether there is evidence for this in six different recently admixed populations from the Americas. (more…)