Author Interviews, Dermatology, Heart Disease, JACC, NYU / 17.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Garshick, MD Assistant Professor Department of Medicine Grossman School of Medicine NYU MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with psoriasis have a 50% higher risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to patients without psoriasis, the mechanisms of which are still under investigation Dyslipidemia is also highly prevalent in psoriasis including elevation in a variety of lipoproteins causal in atherosclerosis. Lipoprotein(a) is an LDL like particle which is associated with atherosclerosis, atherothrombosis, and the development of clinical cardiovascular disease. Traditionally lipoprotein(a) is felt to be inherited rather than acquired, but some evidence suggest that lipoprotein(a) is elevated in those with underlying inflammatory conditions and associated with systemic inflammation including circulating IL-6. We therefore aimed to determine if lipoprotein(a) is elevated in psoriasis and associated with underlying systemic inflammatory profiles and biomarkers of cardiovascular risk.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Transplantation, Yale / 17.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael Fuery, MD Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine Katherine Clark, MD MBA Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Department of Internal Medicine Yale School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Racial and ethnic disparities affect cardiac transplantation outcomes. In cohort analyses of racial and ethnic groups from the previous three decades, Black patients were constantly at a higher risk of mortality after cardiac transplantation. In 2018, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) revised the allocation system to expand access to organs for the most medically urgent patients and reduce disparities and regional differences. We sought to evaluate contemporary trends and impact of the new 2018 allocation system. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Imperial College, Probiotics, Pulmonary Disease, Weight Research / 16.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin Mullish PhD NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer Department of Metabolism Digestion and Reproduction Imperial College MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Which probiotic did you use and why?  Response: We recently reported the results of a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial in which participants who were overweight or with obesity (aged between 30-65 years of age) were randomized to receive probiotics or placebo for six months.  The primary focus was on weight loss and metabolism.  The probiotic used was Lab4P, containing three different strains of Bifidobacteria and two of Lactobacilli, which have shown to be safe and efficacious for use in rodent models and earlier clinical studies. Of note, probiotics have also been shown to have other beneficial effects upon human health.  Previous studies have suggested that they may have a role in preventing upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) in healthy people and children; however, this has not been explored in older people or overweight/ people with obesity, even though such groups have higher rates of URTIs. We looked back at our trial, and reviewed symptom diaries completed by participants daily during the study.  We were looking at recorded symptoms most consistent with upper respiratory tract symptoms (including cough, wheezing and headache), and explored if rates of these were different between those participants taking probiotics compared to placebo over the six month course of the study.   (more…)
Author Interviews, ENT, Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh / 13.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alejandro Hoberman, M.D. Vice Chair of Clinical Research, Division Director, General Academic Pediatrics, and Professor of Pediatrics and Clinical and Translational Science Jack L. Paradise, MD Endowed Professor of Pediatric Research, UPMC Children's Hospital of PittsburghPresident, UPMC Children's Community Pediatrics MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Acute otitis media (AOM) is the most frequently diagnosed illness in children in the United States for which antibiotics are prescribed. Recurrent AOM is the principal indication for tympanostomy-tube placement, the most frequently performed operation in children after the newborn period. Supporting the performance of tympanostomy-tube placement for recurrent acute otitis media has been the commonplace observation, after surgery, of acute otitis media–free periods of varying duration. Counterbalancing this view have been the cost of tympanostomy-tube placement; risks and possible late sequelae of anesthesia in young children; the possible occurrence of refractory tube otorrhea, tube blockage, premature extrusion, or dislocation of the tube into the middle-ear cavity; various structural tympanic membrane sequelae; and the possible development of mild conductive hearing loss. Tempering support for surgery is the progressive reduction in the incidence of acute otitis media that usually accompanies a child’s increasing age. Previous trials of tympanostomy-tube placement for recurrent acute otitis media, all conducted before the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, have given mixed results and were limited, variously, by small sample size, uncertain validity of diagnoses of acute otitis media determining trial eligibility, short periods of follow-up, and substantial attrition of participants. Official recommendations regarding tympanostomy-tube placement for children with recurrent acute otitis media differ — an otolaryngologic guideline recommends the procedure for children with recurrent acute otitis media, provided that middle-ear effusion is present in at least one ear; a contemporaneous pediatric guideline discusses tympanostomy-tube placement as an “option [that] clinicians may offer.” Given these uncertainties, we undertook the present trial involving children 6 to 35 months of age who had a history of recurrent acute otitis media to determine whether tympanostomy-tube placement, as compared with medical management (comprising episodic antimicrobial treatment, with the option of tympanostomy-tube placement in the event of treatment failure), would result in a greater reduction in the children’s rate of recurrence of acute otitis media during the ensuing 2-year period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gender Differences, Heart Disease, NYU, Women's Heart Health / 11.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Darcy Banco, MD, MPH Internal Medicine Resident NYU Langone Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We became interested in this question because of recent epidemiological data showing that despite improvements in the number of heart attacks in overall population, that number is rising among young adults (<= 55 years old) and in particular, young women. Compared to young men, young women with heart attack experience more delays in care and have higher mortality and poorer quality of life after heart attack. Despite these findings, there was also a study that asked young adults who had experienced heart attack: “When you first went for help, did the health care providers think that you were having a problem with your heart?” Women were more likely to answer no to this question. Therefore, our study asked: Are young women evaluated and treated differently than men when presenting to the emergency room with symptoms of chest pain? (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 09.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Justin Salciccioli, MBBS, MA Research Fellow in Medicine Elliot Israel, MD Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Pulmonary and Critical CareRheumatologyMedicine Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Asthma attacks account for almost 50% of the cost of asthma care, which costs $80 billion each year in the United States. Asthma is more severe in African-American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx patients, with these groups having double the rates of attacks and hospitalizations as the general population. The PREPARE study is an ongoing national clinical trial for African American/Black and Hispanic/Latinx adults with moderate-to-severe asthma from different U.S. cities in which reporting of asthma control and asthma exacerbations was monitored entirely remotely. With the arrival of the Covid19 pandemic, several studies suggested that asthma exacerbations may have decreased during the pandemic. However, multiple reports have suggested people were avoiding health services because of the pandemic, making it difficult to tell whether exacerbations truly decreased or whether people were simply avoiding their doctors. This is the first study done to assess asthma exacerbations before and during the pandemic that is unlikely to be impacted by patient healthcare avoidance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Depression, Mental Health Research, PTSD / 07.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: João Mauricio Castaldelli-Maia, MD, PhD (he/him) NIDA INVEST Drug Abuse Research Fellow Policy and Health Initiatives on Opioids and Other Substances (PHIOS) Department of Epidemiology Mailman School of Public Health Columbia University New York, NY 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response:     It remains unclear whether COVID-19 is associated with psychiatric symptoms during or after the acute illness phase. Being affected by the disease exposes the individual to an uncertain prognosis and a state of quarantine. These factors can predispose individuals to the development of mental symptoms during or after the acute phase of the disease. There is a need for prospective studies assessing psychiatric symptoms in COVID-19 patients in the post-infection period. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Colon Cancer, Gastrointestinal Disease, Sugar / 06.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jinhee Hur, PhD Research Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Early-onset colorectal cancer (EO-CRC, age <50 years at diagnosis) is rapidly rising in the US since the mid-1980s, with an unclear understanding of its etiology and contributors to the rise. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) exert adverse metabolic repercussions throughout the life course, including insulin resistance and inflammation. Higher SSB intake can induce obesity, which has been linked to risk of EO-CRC. A recent experimental study also suggests that high fructose corn syrup, a primary sweetener in SSBs, may promote colon tumor growth, independent of metabolic dysregulation. In the US, SSB consumption has dramatically increased during the 2nd half of the 20th century, and adolescents and young adults have been the heaviest SSB drinkers across all age groups. Thus, we expect SSBs may be an emerging risk factor for EO-CRC and likely contribute to the rising incidence of EO-CRC. (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Menopause, Orthopedics, Osteoporosis, UCLA / 05.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carolyn Crandall, M.D. Professor, Medicine Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously-published studies had not examined in detail the risk of subsequent fractures after initial fractures in a large national sample of women in the us. Clinical guidelines mostly emphasize initial hip and spine fractures, but they do not emphasize fractures of other types.  We hypothesized that subsequent fracture risk would be higher after initial fracture even at locations other than the hip or the spine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Radiation Therapy / 04.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James Donald Byrne, Ph.D., M.D. Department of Radiation Oncology Massachusetts General Hospital Boston, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Radiation therapy is used as a treatment for more than half of all cancer patients and can be highly effective at shrinking tumors and killing cancer cells. But radiation treatment can also damage healthy tissue, including tissue in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract. This tissue injury can lead to oral mucositis, esophagitis, and proctitis — painful and sometimes debilitating tissue damage. It’s estimated that these injuries occur in over 200,000 patients in the U.S. each year. Our goal was to develop personalized shields that blocked radiation from affecting healthy GI tissue. (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Blood Pressure - Hypertension, Microbiome / 30.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Durgan, PhD Department of Anesthesiology Baylor College of Medicine Houston, TX  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our lab and others had previously shown that gut dysbiosis is not only associated with hypertension, but actually plays a causal role. For example we have shown in both a genetic model of hypertension as well as an obstructive sleep apnea induced model of hypertension, that transplantation of their dysbiotic microbiota into normotensive recipients induced elevations in blood pressure. With this understanding our focus shifted to two new questions 1) How can we manipulate the microbiota to improve/prevent hypertension, and 2) What are the signals originating from the microbiota that have the capability to influence host blood pressure? These questions lead to the experimental design of this study. (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, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JNCI, Johns Hopkins, Respiratory, Vaccine Studies / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joel N. Blankson, MD, PhD Department of Infectious Diseases Associate Professor Cellular and Molecular Medicine Program Johns Hopkins MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Which vaccines did you evaluate? Response: Prior studies from several groups including our own have found T cell cross-recognition of peptides from SARS-CoV-2 and the common cold coronaviruses. We asked whether as a result of this cross-reactivity, immunization with the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine would also enhance T cell responses to the common cold coronaviruses. Prior studies also suggested that antibodies elicited from the mRNA vaccines had a reduced ability to neutralize the emerging variants of concern. Most of the study participants had received the Pfizer vaccine, but a few had received the Moderna vaccine.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, NEJM / 22.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditya Bardia MD, MPH Director, Breast Cancer Research Program, Attending Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) represents an aggressive subtype of breast cancer associated with guarded prognosis. For patients with pre-treated metastatic TNBC, standard chemotherapy is associated with low response rate (5-10%) and poor progression-free survival (2-3 months), highlighting need for better therapies. Sacituzumab govitecan is an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) which  combines SN-38, an active metabolite of irinotecan, with an antibody against Trop-2, an antigen overexpressed in majority of triple negative breast cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Duke, Electronic Records, Health Care Systems, JAMA / 20.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eugenia McPeek Hinz MD MS FAMIA Associate CMIO - DHTS Duke University Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Clinician burnout rates have hovered around 50% for much of the past decade.  Burnout is a significant concern in healthcare for its effects on care givers and associated downstream adverse implications on patient care for quality and safety. The ubiquitous presence of Electronic Health Records (EHR) along with the increased clerical components and after hours use has been a significant concern for contributing to provider burnout.  (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, Cognitive Issues, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Pulmonary Disease, University of Michigan / 16.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Galit Levi Dunietz  MPH, PhD Assistant Professor

Tiffany Braley, MD, MS Associate Professor

University of Michigan, Medical School Department of Neurology Department of Nutritional Sciences Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5845 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dementia is a public health crisis that affects more than 6 million Americans.  As no treatments to effectively reverse dementia are currently available, interest has shifted toward modifiable risk factors for dementia, which may offer a critical window for prevention or intervention. Recent research suggests that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common, yet undiagnosed, risk factor for cognition impairment in older adults. However, few studies have examined whether treatment of OSA with positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy could protect those with OSA against developing dementia, says principal investigator, Dr. Tiffany Braley, MD, MS, Associate Professor of Neurology from the University of Michigan. To address this gap, Dr. Braley and Dr. Galit Levi Dunietz, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor and sleep epidemiologist, examined associations between PAP therapy use and 3-year incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or other forms of dementia (DNOS, “dementia not otherwise specified”). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dental Research, Mental Health Research, NYU / 15.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: ANGELA R. KAMER, DMD, MS, PhD Associate Professor Periodontology and Implant Dentistry NYU Dentistry MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The accumulation of amyloid β plaques and neurofibrillary pathology in the brain are pathognomonic to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Brain amyloid deposition begins decades before cognitive dysfunction and is thought to be the first AD pathological feature followed by tau tangle accumulations and other pathologies. The mechanisms by which brain amyloid develops are incompletely understood although inflammation and bacterial imbalances (known as dysbiosis) of the gut and oral cavity may be involved. Periodontal disease affecting more than 50% of elderly is an inflammatory, chronic condition characterized by periodontal tissue destruction and bacterial imbalances. Using PET studies, we showed previously that measures of periodontal destruction were associated with brain amyloid retention in the brain [1]. In this study, we sought to investigate whether subgingival (under the gum line) bacteria associated with Alzheimer’s disease specific pathology, namely amyloidosis and tauopathy. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, MD Anderson / 12.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vivek Subbiah, MD Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics Division of Cancer Medicine The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: RET fusions occur predominantly in 2% of lung cancers and 10-20% of thyroid cancers, and in low frequency in an increasing number of diverse cancers, including pancreatic cancer, salivary gland cancer, and colorectal cancer. The therapeutic relevance of RET fusions occurring outside of lung and thyroid cancers has not been well established.. (more…)
AACR, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nicholas Mitsiades MD Associate Professor of Medicine - Hematology and Oncology Baylor College of Medicine Oncologist at the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: African American men have higher risk of developing prostate cancer and up to 2.2-times higher mortality rate from prostate cancer relative to men of other ancestries. This is the largest health disparity across all cancers in the US. Socioeconomic factors, especially access to healthcare, definitely contribute to this disparity. African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a more advanced stage than other races, and this is unfortunately very common at Ben Taub Hospital, our safety-net hospital in the Houston area, where we serve large racial and ethnic minority populations and patients who lack commercial insurance. (more…)
Author Interviews, Erectile Dysfunction, Heart Disease, JACC, Karolinski Institute / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin J Holzmann MD PhD Department of Emergency Medicine Karolinska University Hospital Stockholm, Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ​We published a paper 2007 in Heart where we showed that PDE5i lower mortality in men with a recent myocardial infarction. With this study we wanted to investigate if PDE5i led to a beneficial outcome in men with stable coronary artery disease. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Nutrition, Prostate Cancer / 10.04.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Anna Plym PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main elements of the healthy lifestyle? Response: Prostate cancer is the most heritable of all cancers, with genetic factors accounting for a large proportion of cases. Although we do not currently know about all the genetic factors contributing, a recent study identified 269 genetic markers for prostate cancer, validated in multiple independent populations (Conti et al., Nature Genetics 2021, Plym et al, JNCI, 2021: https://academic.oup.com/jnci/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jnci/djab058/6207974). Based on a polygenic risk score derived from these 269 markers, we observed that men with a high polygenic risk score have over a 50% risk of developing prostate cancer within their lifetime. With this excess risk in mind, we were interested in possible ways in which the genetic risk of prostate could be attenuated. An increasing number of studies have suggested that lifestyle factors can affect the risk of lethal prostate cancer – however, these studies have seldom incorporated genetic factors. We know from other diseases that a healthy lifestyle is of benefit for individuals at high genetic risk, and we hypothesized that this would be the case for prostate cancer as well. In this study, we examined a healthy lifestyle score for lethal prostate cancer consisting of six components: healthy weight (BMI < 30), not smoking (never smoked or quit > 10 years ago), vigorous physical exercise (3 or more hours per week), high intake of tomatoes or tomato-based products (7 servings or more per week), high intake of fatty fish (1 or more serving per week) and low intake of processed meat (less than 3 servings/week of beef or pork hot dogs, bacon, salami, bologna, or other processed meat sandwiches) (Kenfield et al, JCO, 2016).  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 25.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hesam Dashti, PhD Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School Senior Computational Scientist The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What parameters does the SARS2 score take into consideration? Response: While complex models have been developed for predicting the severity of COVID-19 from the medical history, laboratory, and imaging results of patients, simplified models with similar accuracy would be more practical for individualizing the decision making, especially when detailed medical history of patients is not readily available. In this study, we developed the SARS2 risk equations for estimating risk of hospitalization of patients with COVID-19 and also the risk of mortality among hospitalized patients. The “SARS2” risk equations are named for their input variables: Sex, Age, Race, Socioeconomic and Smoking status. To develop and validate the models, we used the electronic records from 12,347 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 at the Mass General Brigham medical centers in Massachusetts between 02/26/2020 and 07/14/2020 to construct derivation and validation cohorts for estimating 1) risk of hospitalization within 30 days of COVID-19 positive PCR test, and 2) for the hospitalized patients, risk of mortality within approximately 3 months. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Endocrinology, Insomnia, Menopause, Sleep Disorders, Weight Research / 23.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leilah K. Grant, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The prevalence of obesity increases in women around the age of menopause which increases the risk of diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Changes in hormones, like estrogen, are thought to contribute to weight gain during menopause, but other common symptoms of menopause such as sleep interruption may also play a role. While short sleep is known to adversely affect metabolism, little is known about the metabolic consequences of the type of sleep disruption most common in menopausal women – increased nighttime awakenings (i.e., sleep interruption) caused by hot flashes, but no change in overall sleep duration. We therefore did this study to see how an experimental model menopause-related sleep interruption would affect metabolic outcomes that may contribute to weight gain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, UCLA / 20.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard K. Leuchter, MD Resident Physician Department of Internal Medicine UCLA Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been significant research demonstrating racial healthcare disparities among patients with COVID-19, but less exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the healthcare of racial & ethnic minority groups without COVID-19. It is important to understand the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated the inequitable delivery of healthcare in order to design policies to address these racial injustices. We focused on potentially avoidable hospitalizations, which are admissions to a hospital (not for COVID-19) that likely could have been prevented through timely and high-quality outpatient care. Prior research has shown that avoidable hospitalizations are markers for access to outpatient care, and expose patients to preventable financial burden, separate them from their families, and put them at risk for hospital-acquired infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus / 17.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Benjamin E. Gewurz MD, PhD Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School Boston, MABenjamin E. Gewurz MD, PhD Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Department of Microbiology, Harvard Medical School Boston, MA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: When the Covid-19 virus infects cells, it takes over and redirects our cells resources towards the projection of virus building blocks and new viruses.  Building blocks include large amounts of RNAs that encode for the viral proteins, much as the mRNA vaccines direct our bodies to make the spike protein. We wondered how the virus changes cell metabolism in order to support the synthesis of vast amounts of viral RNAs within hours of infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, UCSD / 13.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abhishek Saha, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: At a very early stage of COVID 19 pandemic, the scientific community identified that respiratory droplet is the primary mode of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Naturally, the health agencies have encouraged facemasks to restrict these droplets from spreading during respiratory events, like coughing, sneezing, talking, etc. While WHO recommended using either N95 masks or other types of three-layer masks, due to a sharp increase in demand and scarcity in supplies, a variety of either home-made or locally purchased masks became popular. Naturally, one wonders if these single- and double-layer masks provide enough protection. To provide some insight into this critical question, our team, which also includes Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri from the University of Toronto, and Professor Saptarshi Basu of the Indian Institute of Science, experimentally analyzed what happens to the respiratory droplets when they impact single- and multi-layer masks.  (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Emory, JAMA, Occupational Health / 12.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jesse T. Jacob, MD School of Medicine Director, Antibiotic Stewardship Program Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was recognized in the United States in January 2020, the risk of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) attributed to exposures in the health care workplace has been studied with conflicting results, and the role of job functions (such as nurse) or specific workplace activities, including care for individuals with known and unknown SARS-CoV-2 positivity, increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We assessed more than 24,000 healthcare providers between April and August 2020 across four large academic medical systems (Emory, Johns Hopkins, Rush University Medical Center, and University of Maryland) which collaborate in the CDC’s Prevention Epicenter Program and conduct innovative infection prevention research. Each site conducted voluntary COVID-19 antibody testing on its health care workers, as well as offered a questionnaire/survey on the employees’ occupational activities and possible exposures to individuals with COVID-19 infection both inside and outside the workplace. We also looked at three-digit residential zip-code prefixes to determine COVID-19 prevalence in communities.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Kidney Disease, Transplantation / 12.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jamil R. Azzi MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Medical Director, Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation Associate Director, Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation Director, Kidney Transplant Fellowship Engineering in Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital Renal Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by an exosome?  Response: Kidney transplant recipients are always at risk of developing rejection where the immune system recognizes the transplanted kidney as “foreign body” and attacks it. The risk is up to 20% the first year after transplant and many more develop chronic rejection which ultimately leads to kidney failure. Currently, most clinicians monitor for kidney rejection by measuring serum creatinine and urine protein. However, creatinine is neither sensitive nor specific for rejection. On the other hand, performing kidney biopsies to make accurate diagnosis of rejection is invasive and has many complications. In our study, when clinicians decided on performing biopsies based on the clinical informations they have including changes in serum creatinine, the biopsies did not show rejection in almost 70% of the cases. Furthermore, serum creatinine can remain stable while the patient may be undergoing a rejection (subclinical rejection). In fact, some centers currently perform routine biopsies at different time points for all their patients regardless of creatinine despite the high risks, costs and inconveniences of doing biopsies. Out of this frustration with the current tools, we have been working on novel technologies to diagnose rejection through the urine. The idea started from the bench as we were studying exosomes, those are tiny vesicles (less than 100 nm in size) released by all cells. We were interested on how immune cells communicate via those vesicles so we developed assays to identify them. We then showed that if immune cells are invading the kidney during rejection, vesicles derived from those immune cells are found in the urine. This gave us the idea of developing a urine test based on these findings. (more…)