Author Interviews, NYU, Surgical Research / 12.12.2014

Ganesh Sivarajan, MD Department of Urology New York University Langone Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ganesh Sivarajan, MD Department of Urology New York University Langone Medical Center

  Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Sivarajan: The surgical robot was designed to facilitate laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon sits at a console several feet away from the patient and is linked to a multi-armed robot which translates the surgeon’s movements from the console to surgical instruments inside the patient’s insufflated abdomen. The robot is equipped with a high resolution three dimensional camera which improves visualization over traditional open surgery and allows the manipulation of instruments in directions and angles which are difficult in traditional open surgery. In light of these apparent advancements, the robot was rapidly adopted for use during radical prostatectomy. The outcomes data for men undergoing robotic versus open prostatectomy, however, have not demonstrated any clear advantage of robotic surgery, with some studies demonstrating benefit and other demonstrating harm. This fact coupled with the relatively high cost of the robot and its disposable equipment have led many to criticize robotic surgery and its rapid adoption. Partial nephrectomy is a procedure performed for renal cancer in which just the malignant tumor is excised while the remaining healthy kidney is saved. It is increasingly considered to be preferable to the previous gold standard operation – radical nephrectomy or removal of the entire kidney largely secondary to the benefits accrued from preserving renal function. Despite actual changes in the treatment guideline recommending increased use of partial nephrectomy it remains vastly underutilized nationwide likely because of the technical challenges associated with its performance. It has been suggested that the surgical robot facilitates the performance of partial nephrectomy, but this has not been definitively demonstrated in a model which controls for important variables as the effects of changing guidelines, secular trends supporting increased utilization over time and a variety of other hospital-level characteristics. We sought to determine whether acquisition of the surgical robot was independently associated with increased utilization of partial nephrectomy – a guideline-supported procedure. If true, it would suggest that the acquisition of the surgical robot may have improved the quality of care of renal cell carcinoma patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hepatitis - Liver Disease, JAMA, University of Pittsburgh / 11.12.2014

Adeel A. Butt, MD, MS, FACP, FIDSA Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs Department of Medicine Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adeel A. Butt, MD, MS, FACP, FIDSA Vice Chair for Faculty Affairs Department of Medicine Hamad Medical Corporation, Doha, Qatar Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine and Clinical and Translational Science University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Butt: Precise rate of progression of liver disease in Hepatitis C (HCV) infection is unknown because the precise time of infection with HCV is seldom known. Knowledge of liver disease progression is critical to determine the optimal time for treatment. We found that progression of liver disease starts early after acquiring HCV infection. This is more rapid than was previously thought. About 18% of HCV infected persons develop cirrhosis within 10 years of acquiring HCV infection, which is 3-fold higher than demographically similar HCV uninfected persons. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology, University Texas / 11.12.2014

Barbara J Turner MD, MSEd, MA, MACP James D and Ona I Dye Professor of Medicine Director, Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) University of Texas Health Science Center San AntonioMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara J Turner MD, MSEd, MA, MACP James D and Ona I Dye Professor of Medicine Director, Center for Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Turner: Daily dose of opioid analgesics has been widely used to assess the risk of overdose death and this risk has been reported to be greatest for a morphine equivalent dose at least 100 to 120 mg per day. However, the total dose of filled opioid prescriptions over a period of time may offer a complementary measure of the risk to that provided by the daily dose. In fact, the total dose is not necessarily a simple linear transformation of the daily dose because not all patients use opioids every day, instead it reflects the total amount of opioids available to a patient. Among 206,869 national HMO patients aged 18-64 with non-cancer pain filling at least 2 schedule II or III opioid analgesic prescriptions, the rate of overdose was 471 per 100,000 person-years. Over the study period of 3.5 years, risk of drug overdose was two to three times greater for patients with a daily dose >100 mg regardless of the total dose filled or a daily dose of 50-99 mg with a high total dose (>1830 mg) filled a six month interval (versus no opioids). The overdose risk was increased slightly for 50-99 mg per day with a lower total dose and not increased at all for daily doses under 20 mg regardless of the total dose. (more…)
Author Interviews, Case Western, Education, JAMA, Surgical Research / 10.12.2014

Ravi Rajaram MD Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, American College of Surgeons Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC), Department of Surgery and Center for Healthcare Studies in the Institute for Public Health and Medicine Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, IllinoisMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ravi Rajaram MD Division of Research and Optimal Patient Care, American College of Surgeons Surgical Outcomes and Quality Improvement Center (SOQIC), Department of Surgery and Center for Healthcare Studies in the Institute for Public Health and Medicine Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Rajaram: The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medication Education (ACGME) first implemented restrictions to resident duty hours in 2003. In surgical populations, these reforms have not been associated with a change in patient outcomes. However, in 2011, the ACGME further restricted resident duty hours to include: a maximum of 16 hours of continuous duty for first-year residents (interns), direct supervision of interns at all times, a maximum of 4 hours for transitions in care activities for residents in-house for 24 hours, and that these residents be given 14 hours off prior to returning to work. The association between the 2011 ACGME resident duty hour reform with surgical patient outcomes and resident education has not previously been reported. The 2011 resident duty hour reform was not associated with a change in death or serious morbidity in the two years after the reform was implemented. Additionally, the 2011 duty hour reform was not associated with a change in any of the secondary outcomes examined, including any morbidity, failure to rescue, surgical site infection, and sepsis. Furthermore, common measures of surgical resident education, such as in-training examination scores and board certification pass rates, were unchanged after the implementation of the 2011 duty hour reform when compared to scores prior to the reform. (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, JAMA, OBGYNE, UC Davis / 10.12.2014

Cheryl K. Walker, MD Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, The MIND Institute School of Medicine, University of California, Davis MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cheryl K. Walker, MD Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Faculty, The MIND Institute School of Medicine, University of California, Davis Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Walker: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurobehavioral condition identified in 1 in 68 U.S. children and is part of a broader group of developmental disabilities that affects 1 in 6 children.  Growing evidence suggests that Autism spectrum disorder and developmental delay originate during fetal life.  Preeclampsia is a complicated and frequently dangerous pregnancy condition that appears to arise from a shallow placental connection and may increase the risk of abnormal neurodevelopment through several pathways. Medical Research: What are the main findings? Dr. Walker: Children with Autism spectrum disorder were more than twice as likely to have been exposed to preeclampsia compared with children with typical development.  Risk for ASD was increased further in children born to mothers with more severe presentations of preeclampsia.  Mothers of children with developmental delay were more than 5 times more likely to have had severe forms preeclampsia – often with evidence of reduced placental function – compared with mothers of children with typical development. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Outcomes & Safety / 09.12.2014

 Dr. Amit Navin Vora MD, MPH Third Year Cardiovascular Fellow John Hopkins UniversityMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Amit Navin Vora MD, MPH Third Year Cardiovascular Fellow John Hopkins University   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current guidelines recommend timely reperfusion in patients presenting with ST-elevation myocardial infarction, with primary PCI being the preferred method if delivered in an expedient fashion. Otherwise, guidelines recommend that eligible patients should be treated with fibrinolysis prior to transfer to a PCI capable hospital. In our study, we used Google Maps to estimate drive times between the initial presenting hospital and the PCI-capable hospital looked at the association between estimated drive time and reperfusion strategy (primary PCI or fibrinolysis) selection. We found that less than half of eligible patients with an estimated drive time of more than 30 minutes received primary PCI in time, and only half of patients with more than an hour’s drive received lytics before transfer. This suggests that neither primary PCI nor pre-transfer fibrinolytic therapy is being used optimally. Among eligible patients with a drive time of 30-120 minutes, we found no significant mortality difference but higher bleeding risk among patients receiving lytics prior to transfer; this increased bleeding risk was focused in patients that required rescue PCI. (more…)
Author Interviews, Kidney Disease, Vanderbilt / 09.12.2014

Dr. Julia Lewis, MD, Lead Investigator Nephrologist and Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Julia Lewis, MD, Lead Investigator Nephrologist and Professor of Medicine Vanderbilt University Medical Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lewis: The 48-week Open Label Extension (OLE) study for Auryxia™ (ferric citrate) was conducted to determine long term safety following the Phase 3 52-week active-control period. The study also evaluated changes in serum phosphorus, transferrin saturation (TSAT), serum ferritin, hemoglobin, hematocrit and additional parameters, as well as intravenous (IV) iron and erythropoiesis-stimulating agent (ESA) usage. In the OLE study, Auryxia demonstrated long-term safety in dialysis-dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. The results were consistent with those seen in the published pivotal Phase 3 trial. The study demonstrated that the adverse events (AE’s) profile of Auryxia was similar to that seen in the Phase 3 52-week active-control period. AEs occurred in 142 patients treated with Auryxia. They were primarily non-serious gastrointestinal (GI) - related AE’s, including diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and constipation. Serious adverse events occurred in 75 patients, though none were related to Auryxia. In addition, there were no clinically or statistically significant differences in liver enzymes or aluminum levels observed from baseline to the end of the 48 weeks. Similar to the original trial, we witnessed excellent phosphorus control with the drug, along with an increase and then a plateau in serum ferritin and TSAT levels with Auryxia. The plateauing of serum ferritin and TSAT further supports iron absorption is highly regulated by the gastrointestinal track as seen in the 52-week active control period. This suggests that the body absorbs iron as needed for effective erythropoiesis. Additionally, iron store increases from ferric citrate resulted in, by the end of the extension study, 85% of subjects not using any IV iron. We presented this data at the 2014 American Society of Nephrology Meeting. The abstract can be found online at www.asn-online.org. (more…)
Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, PLoS, UCSF / 06.12.2014

Barbara J. Drew, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA David Mortara Distinguished Professor in Physiological Nursing Research Clinical Professor of Medicine, Cardiology University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Physiological Nursing San Francisco, CA 94143-0610MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Barbara J. Drew, RN, PhD, FAAN, FAHA David Mortara Distinguished Professor in Physiological Nursing Research, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Cardiology University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Physiological Nursing San Francisco

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Drew: Hospital cardiac monitors are plagued with alarms that create a cacophony of sounds and visual alerts causing “alarm fatigue” which creates an unsafe patient environment because a life-threatening arrhythmia may be missed in this milieu of sensory overload. Our study is the largest prospective study to date on the alarm fatigue problem. We found a staggering total number of alarms (>2,500,000 in one month) in 461 consecutive patients treated in our 77 adult intensive care unit beds. Although many of these alarms were configured to be visual text messages, we still found a high audible alarm burden of 187 audible alarms per bed per day. A noisy alarm environment interrupts patients’ sleep and invokes fear in patients and their families. We analyzed nearly 13,000 arrhythmia alarms and found that 88% of them were false alarms. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Nature, University Texas / 05.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: R. Dayne Mayfield PhD and Sean Farris Post Doc Fellow Harris Lab Waggoner Center for Alcohol and Addiction Research University of Texas at Austin MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? Response: Alcoholism is psychiatric disorder adversely affecting the health of millions of individuals worldwide. Despite considerable research efforts, alcoholism cannot be attributed to any individual gene. We sought out to identify coordinately regulated gene networks, rather than a single candidate gene, that may be collectively driving the consumption of alcohol. (more…)
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Mediterranean Diet / 05.12.2014

Immaculata De Vivo PhD Associate Professor Harvard Medical School Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center High Throughput Genotyping Core Facility. Channing Division of Network Medicine Boston, MA 02115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Immaculata De Vivo PhD Associate Professor Harvard Medical School Director, Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center High Throughput Genotyping Core Facility. Channing Division of Network Medicine Boston, MA 02115 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. De Vivo: Our study found that greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with longer telomeres. Following a diet closer to the Mediterranean diet, can prevent accelerated telomere shortening. Our unique contribution to the literature is that we provide a potential molecular mechanism, preventing telomere shortening. Telomeres are bits of DNA that protect your chromosomes. MedicalResearch: Is telomere shortening reversible? Dr. De Vivo: Telomere shortening is a biological process, the shorten with age. However, lifestyle choices can help to prevent accelerated shortening. Fruits, vegetables, olive oil and nuts – key components of the Mediterranean diet have well known antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that could balance out the “bad effects” of smoking and obesity. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, University of Michigan / 04.12.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Silvana Papagerakis M.S., M.D., Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryDirector, Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Laboratory Ann Arbor MI Silvana Papagerakis M.S., M.D., Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Director, Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Invasion and Metastasis Laboratory, Ann Arbor MI MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Papagerakis: We had suspicions that these medications somehow had a favorable impact on patient outcomes. This led us to review our large cohort of patients and screen them for common medications, focusing on antacids. In fact, our study did show that people taking antacids are doing better. What this study makes clear is that these medications may be more beneficial to the patients than just controlling side effects of chemotherapy or radiation treatment for head and neck cancer. (more…)
Breast Cancer, UCSF / 04.12.2014

Elissa R. Price, MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology Director of Clinical Operations, Breast Imaging Breast Imaging Fellowship Program Director Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA  94115MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elissa R. Price, MD Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiology Director of Clinical Operations, Breast Imaging Breast Imaging Fellowship Program Director Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, CA  94115 MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Price: Screening mammography recommendations for the 40 - 49 age group is very controversial. 2009 USPTF guidelines emphasized taking patient context into account when making decisions for these young women. Recent publications have suggested risk-based screening strategies.  Family history and breast density are important are easily accessible risk factors. Had we been using this risk-based approach to screening mammography at our institution, we would have missed more than 3Ž4 of the screen detected breast cancers in the 40-49 age group, thereby foregoing most of the survival benefit from screening mammography. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Mental Health Research / 28.11.2014

Daniel Safer MD Department of Psychiatry Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland Medicalresearch.com with: Daniel Safer MD Department of Psychiatry Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Baltimore, Maryland Medical Research: What is the nature of this study? Dr. Safer: A large national sample of annual physician office-based visits by youth (aged 2-19) covering 12 years (1999-2010), focusing on trends in psychiatric DSM-IV diagnoses, with psychiatric diagnostic data analyzed proportionally comparing diagnoses that were subthreshold (not otherwise specified) with those that met full diagnostic criteria. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMC, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Nutrition / 27.11.2014

Prof. Frank B Hu Department of Nutrition Department of Epidemiology Harvard School of Public HealthMedicalresearch.com with: Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology Harvard School of Public Health Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School Boston, MA 02115 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Hu: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) affects approximately 26 million people in the United States and 366 million people worldwide, and thus primary prevention of T2D has become a public health imperative. The relation between consumption of different types of dairy and risk of type 2 diabetes remains uncertain.  (more…)
Author Interviews, C. difficile, Gastrointestinal Disease, Mayo Clinic / 26.11.2014

Dr. John K. DiBaise MD Gastroenterology and Hepatology Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale ArizonaMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. John K. DiBaise MD Gastroenterology and Hepatology Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale Arizona Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. DiBaise: Despite nearly 25 years of safe and effective use of proton pump inhibitors (PPI), in recent years there have been an increasing number of reports suggesting potentially harmful effects and harmful associations with their use.  One such association with PPI use has been Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) which can cause severe and recurrent episodes of diarrhea.  Previous reports evaluating the microbes present within the gastrointestinal tract (ie, gut microbiome) of individuals with CDI have shown a reduction in overall microbial community diversity.  We studied the gut microbiome in healthy individuals both before and after using a proton pump inhibitors for one month and found a similar reduction in microbial diversity while taking the PPI that did not entirely revert back to the ‘normal’ baseline after being off the medication for a month.  While this does not demonstrate a causal association between proton pump inhibitors use and CDI, it demonstrates that PPI use creates a situation in the gut microbial environment that may increase the individual’s susceptibility to CDI. (more…)
Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Radiology, University of Pittsburgh / 24.11.2014

Dr. Jennifer Marin MD MSc Director of Emergency Ultrasound, Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of MedicineMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jennifer Marin MD MSc Director of Emergency Ultrasound Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Marin: Overuse of diagnostic imaging in the emergency department has become a focus of concern from policy makers, patients, and physicians. There are evidence-based clinical decision rules and policy recommendations published in order to optimize the use of such imaging. However, physicians don't necessarily use these tools in their decision-making. Head computed tomography (CT) imaging for patients with minor head trauma is a common CT performed in the emergency setting. Our study sought to evaluate how often physicians adhered to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Clinical Policy on Neuroimaging. The policy outlines which patients warrant a CT in the setting of minor head trauma based on certain factors, such as age, mechanism of injury, and signs and symptoms of head trauma. What we found is that when the policy recommends that a head CT be performed, it is obtained more than 90% of the time. However, when a head CT is not recommended, it is actually obtained in nearly half of those patients. We hope this will draw attention to decision rules and clinical policies, such as that from ACEP, and remind physicians that using these tools can assist in appropriate imaging practices. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, OBGYNE / 24.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin B. Michels, ScD, PhD Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology Harvard Medical School Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Michels: We were interested in studying the long-term effects of oral contraceptive use on mortality. Given the widespread use of oral contraceptives, this is an important question pertaining to millions of women worldwide.  We explored this question in the large Nurses’ Health Study, a cohort of 121,700 women in the US, who have been followed for 38 years. We found that oral contraceptive use does not impact overall mortality. However, breast cancer mortality was slightly increased, especially with long-term use of oral contraceptives. (more…)
Aging, Memory, NYU, Weight Research / 24.11.2014

Stephen D. Ginsberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience New York University Langone Medical Center Center for Dementia Research Nathan Kline Institute Orangeburg, NY  10962MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen D. Ginsberg, Ph.D., Associate Professor Departments of Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience New York University Langone Medical Center Center for Dementia Research Nathan Kline Institute Orangeburg, NY  10962 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ginsberg: We tested the hypothesis that long-term calorie restriction positively alters gene expression within the hippocampus, a critical learning and memory area vulnerable in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. To test this hypothesis, we conducted experiments on female mice that were given food pellets 30% lower in calories than what was fed to the control group. The mice ate fewer calories derived from carbohydrates. Analyses were performed on mice in middle and old age to assess any differences in gene expression over time. Our data analysis revealed that the mice that were fed a lower calorie diet had fewer changes in approximately 900 genes that are linked to aging and memory. (more…)
Author Interviews, Hospital Readmissions, UCSD / 24.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ralitza P. Parina, MPH, Senior medical student John Rose, MD MPH Department of Surgery at University of California San Diego Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This study looked at the association between hospital 30-day readmission rates and 30-day mortality rates. While readmission rates are coming into increasing focus with CMS reimbursement cuts for hospitals with higher than expected rates, they remain a poorly studied metric of quality. High readmission rates have been unequivocally tied to increased costs, but it remains unclear whether they actually represent poor quality of care and worse outcomes for patients. We chose to compare readmission rates as a quality metric to the well-established “gold standard” of mortality. We found that 85% of hospitals did not show a correlation between readmission and mortality, i.e. their rates were not both high or both low. Furthermore, among hospitals that were outliers in at least one of the measures, almost a third were in the category of low or normal readmission rates with higher than expected mortality. The implications are twofold: first, readmission and mortality rates are not strongly correlated. Second, focusing on readmission rates as an outcome will miss a large number of poorly performing hospitals with higher than expected mortality rates but low or expected readmissions. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 23.11.2014

Michele D. Levine Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PAMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michele D. Levine Ph.D. Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Department of Statistics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh PA Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Levine: Many women quit smoking as a result of pregnancy.  However, psychiatric disorders, which are prevalent among smokers can contribute to weight gain.  Thus, we sought to examine the relationship between maternal psychiatric disorders and gestational weight gain in a sample of pregnant former smokers. Results from the present study demonstrate that the rates of psychiatric disorders were high among pregnant former smokers and that more than half of women gained more weight than recommended by the IOM.  Although a history of having had any psychiatric disorder was not associated with gestational weight gain, a history of alcohol use disorder specifically was positively related to gestational weight gain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Diabetes, Nutrition / 23.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wenjie Ma MS Doctoral Student Harvard School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: De novo lipogenesis (DNL) is the process whereby excess carbohydrate and protein are converted into saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). Emerging animal and in vitro evidence suggests that DNL might play an important role in metabolic regulation and influence the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. We used circulating biomarkers SFAs and MUFAs to investigate the prospective associations with incident diabetes in the Cardiovascular Health Study, a community-based cohort of older US adults. We found that circulating palmitic acid and stearic acid were associated with higher risk of incident diabetes, whereas vaccenic acid was associated with lower risk. In contrast, dietary intakes of saturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids were not associated with diabetes risk. (more…)
Memory, Sleep Disorders, University of Pennsylvania / 22.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer Choi Tudor, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow Ted Abel Lab Department of Biology 10-17 Smilow Center for Translational Research Philadelphia, PA 19104 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Tudor: We (Dr. Tudor, Dr. Abel, and colleagues) are interested in better understanding the molecular changes that occur with sleep deprivation.  Previously, we found that the expression of over 500 genes changes with sleep deprivation and that many of the genes were involved with protein synthesis.  Upon further investigation, we found that 5 hours of sleep deprivation impairs protein synthesis in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for memory.  This impairment is due to changes in mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling and eukaryotic initiation factor 4E binding protein 2 (4EBP2) is critical to this process.  When we boosted levels of 4EBP2 in the hippocampus, mice that were sleep deprived were resistant to the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation on memory. (more…)
University Texas / 22.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview Invitation with: Dr. Heekyeong Park Assistant Professor of Psychology University of Texas at Arlington Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Park: This study shows that music experts with extensive musical training may have altered neural processing related to improved memory. There has been much interest in the beneficial effects of musical training on cognition. Notably, musical training has been reported to boost processing of verbal material. Previous studies have indicated that musical training was related to superior verbal working memory and that these differences in musical training were associated with differences in neural activity in brain regions important for verbal processing. However, it was not clear whether musical training impacts memory in general, beyond working memory for verbal items. By recruiting professional musicians with vast instrumental training, we investigated if extensive musical training has a broad impact on memory with corresponding changes in the brain. For this study, we compared highly trained musicians (10+ years of experience) and individuals with little or no formal musical training on working memory and long-term memory tasks. Each memory task included both verbal and pictorial items. We measured memory accuracy on tasks and scalp-recorded changes in the brain’s electrical activity (ERPs) while participants studied and remembered items. Musicians showed enhanced performance on the working memory task for both words and pictures. For the long-term memory task, musicians also remembered studied pictures better than non-musicians. These behavioral findings demonstrate the relationship between extensive musical training and improved memory broadly. ERP waveforms were also different between musicians and non-musicians while they performed long-term memory tasks. (more…)
NYU, Pain Research, Pediatrics / 21.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Regina Marie Sullivan PhD Professor Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Nathan Kline Institute The Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry One Park Ave 8th Floor, New York, NY 10016 Medical Research: What is the background for this study?  Dr. Sullivan: Managing pain during medical procedures in a critically important issue in medicine today. Our study was designed to better understand one method of reducing pain in young infants - having the caregiver be in contact with the baby during the painful procedure, which reduces the infant's behavioral response to the medical procedure. This study explored the neural basis of the ability of the caregiver to reduce the pain response. (more…)
Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Rheumatology / 20.11.2014

Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo Baylor College of Medicine Assistant Professor, Section of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology, Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Faculty, Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology Section, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical CenterMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo Baylor College of Medicine Assistant Professor, Section of Immunology, Allergy and Rheumatology,  Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine Faculty, Immunology, Allergy, and Rheumatology Section, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Medical Research:What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Hsiao-Wei Lo: Controversy exists regarding whether running is harmful versus beneficial to the knee.  There is concern that chronic repetitive loading of the knee could physically damage structures within the knee.  Alternatively, runners have a lower body mass index, which we know is protective of knee osteoarthritis.  Limitations of prior studies evaluating the relationship between running and osteoarthritis include that they have been small studies and they have focused on those participating in a high level or an elite level of running which may not be very generalizable.  Addressing the question of whether running is associated with osteoarthritis is of particular relevance given that recent CDC guidelines recommend that all adults participate in regular physical activity, as there is definitive evidence that increased physical activity is associated with reduced cardiovascular events and mortality. To address this question, we used data from a multicenter observational study, the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI). Of 2,683 participants, 56 percent were female, the mean age was 64.5 and the mean BMI was 28.6.  Twenty-nine percent of the participants reported that they ran at some time in their lives. Patients had knee X-rays, were given symptom assessments, and were asked to complete the Lifetime Physical Activity Questionnaire (LPAQ), identifying the top three most frequently performed physical activities (≥ 10 times in life) they performed at different age ranges throughout their life. Age ranges included 12-18, 19-34, 35-49, and 50 years or older. Knee X-rays were taken and then scored for evidence of radiographic OA using the Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) grade scale. Participants with KL grades of two or higher were considered as having radiographic OA (ROA). The researchers also measured if participants had frequent knee pain. Researchers considered a participant to have symptomatic OA (SOA) if they had at least one knee with both ROA and frequent knee pain. Anyone with a total knee replacement was classified as having frequent knee pain, ROA and SOA. After collecting all the data, the researchers reported that runners, regardless of the age when they ran, had a lower prevalence of knee pain, ROA and SOA than non-runners. For people who had run at any time in their lives, 22.8 percent had SOA compared to 29.8 percent of non-runners. People with the lowest BMI scores were the most likely to report being habitual runners. Regular running, even at a non-elite level, not only does not increase the risk of developing knee osteoarthritis but may protect against it, the researchers concluded.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, Surgical Research, Vanderbilt / 20.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kristy Lynn Kummerow MD Division of Surgical Oncology and Endocrine Surgery Vanderbilt University Medical Center Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, Veterans Affairs Medical Center Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center Nashville, Tenn Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kummerow: This study looked at how we are currently treating early stage breast cancer in the US – early stage breast cancer includes small cancers with limited or no lymph node involvement and no spread to other body site – it was prompted by something we observed an our own cancer center, which is that more and more women seem to be undergoing more extensive operations than are necessary to treat their cancer.  It is helpful to understand the historical context of how we treat early breast cancer.  Prior to the 1980s, the standard of care for any breast cancer was a very extensive procedure, which involved removal of the entire breast, as well as underlying and overlying tissues and multiple levels of lymph nodes drained by that area.  Informative clinical trials were completed in the 1980s demonstrated that these extensive procedures were unnecessary, and that equivalent survival could be achieved with a much more minimal operation, by removing only the tumor, with a margin of normal breast tissue around it, and performing radiation therapy to the area; this technique is now known as breast conservation surgery, also known as lumpectomy with radiation.  In the 1990s, breast conservation was established by the national institutes of health and was embraced as a standard of care for early stage breast cancer; performance of breast conservation surgery also became a quality metric – accredited breast centers in the US are expected to perform breast conservation surgery in the majority of women who they treat for breast cancer.  However, what our research team observed at our institution didn’t fit – over time it appears more aggressive surgical approaches are being used for more women.  This has been found in other institutions as well, and is supported by smaller national studies.  We wanted to understand how surgical management of early breast cancer is changing over time at a national level using the largest data set of cancer patients in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Infections, Nature, UCLA / 19.11.2014

Weian Zhao PhD Assistant Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, Irvine. Founder of Velox BiosystemsMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Weian Zhao PhD Assistant Professor at the Sue and Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center, Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology and Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of California, Irvine. Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Zhao: Bloodstream infections are a major cause of illness and death. In particular, infections associated with antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are a growing health problem in the U.S. and worldwide. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than 2 million people a year globally get antibiotic-resistant blood infections, with about 23,000 deaths. The extremely high mortality rate for blood infections is due, in part, to the inability to rapidly diagnose and treat patients in the early stages. The present gold standard to detect a blood infections, is a blood culture and it takes 2-5 days for the detection and the identification of the bacteria. Recent molecular diagnosis methods, including polymerase chain reaction, can reduce the assay time to hours but are often not sensitive enough to detect bacteria that occur at low concentrations in blood, as is common in patients with blood infections.  Therefore, less expensive and less technically demanding methods are urgently needed for the rapid and sensitive identification of blood infections. (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, University of Michigan, Weight Research / 19.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yvonne M. Terry-McElrath, MSA Research Associate, Survey Research Center, Institute of Social Research University of Michigan Tobacco Research Center Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Terry-McElrath: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently improved nutrition standards for federally-reimbursable school lunch and breakfast programs. Most lunch standards were implemented at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year and changes in breakfast began with the 2013-14 school year. Beginning in 2014, schools participating in federally-reimbursable meal programs were also required to improve nutrition standards for foods and beverages sold in vending machines, stores/snack bars/carts, and à la carte cafeteria lines. The new standards limit fats, sodium, sugar, and calories; and will eventually remove candy; regular-fat salty snacks/sugary treats; higher-fat milks; high-fat, high-calorie savory foods; and sugar-sweetened beverages, like regular soda, fruit drinks and high calorie sports drinks. They were developed in response to rising overweight/obesity among US children and adolescents. This study uses five years of data from nationally-representative samples of middle and high school students—and their school administrators—to examine three research questions: What percentage of US secondary students attended schools in 2008-2012 where foods and beverages met at least some of the USDA standards that were to begin phased implementation starting in 2012-13? Is there evidence that those standards were associated with student overweight/obesity? Is there evidence of the effect of those standards on racial/ethnic minorities and students from lower income families? Using data from schools even before the new USDA standards went into effect can indicate potential effect of the standards once they have been in effect for several years. The research was conducted through two studies: The Monitoring the Future study, supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the Youth, Education and Society study, part of a larger research initiative funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, titled “Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Policy and Practice for Healthy Youth Behavior.” Study findings show that from 2008-2012, few middle or high school students attended schools where food and beverage standards would be judged to meet at least some of the USDA school nutrition standards that began to be implemented in 2012-13. Significant increases in the number of standards over time were seen for middle but not high school students. Among high school students, having fruits and vegetables available wherever foods were sold, the absence of higher-fat milks, and increasing the number of positive nutrition standards were associated with significantly lower odds of overweight/obesity. Not having sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with lower overweight/obesity for middle and high school minority students. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, UCLA / 18.11.2014

Boback Ziaeian MD Cardiology Fellow, UCLA Division of Cardiology PhD Candidate, UCLA Fielding School of Public HealthMedicalResearch.com Interview with: Boback Ziaeian MD Cardiology Fellow, UCLA Division of Cardiology PhD Candidate, UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ziaeian: Heart failure is projected to increase dramatically over the coming decade due to an aging population improved medical therapies that prolong heart failure survival. Spending for heart failure is projected to increase from $20.9 billion in 2012 to $53.1 billion in 2030.  Despite the magnitude of the impact of heart failure on the US population and economy, our understanding of the factors associated with the highest cost heart failure hospitalizations is limited. Our study provides a descriptive analysis of how certain patient and hospital factors are associated with increased medical costs nationally. The top 20% of heart failure hospitalizations average $28,500 per hospitalization compared to $3,000 for the lowest 20%. Overall, patients with more medical conditions (such as obesity, lung disease, and peripheral vascular disease) have much higher costs associated with hospital care. As expected, sicker patients receiving more invasive procedures such mechanical ventilation or blood transfusions incurred higher costs. Certain hospital characteristics were also associated with higher costs. Hospitals in urban centers were higher cost compared to more rural hospitals. Hospitals in the Northeast and West Coast of the US were higher in cost compared to the Midwest and South. The reasons for this disparity in medical costs requires further research to better understand. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, McGill / 18.11.2014

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Todd Lee MD MPH FRCPC Consultant in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases Assistant Professor of Medicine, McGill University Director, General Internal Medicine Consultation Service, Chief of Service, 6 Medical Clinical Teaching Unit, McGill University Health Centre Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Lee: Antibiotics are often misused and overused in hospitalized patients leading to harms in terms of side effects, infections due to Clostridium dificile, the development of antibiotic resistance, and increased health care costs.  Antimicrobial stewardship is a set of processes which are employed to improve antibiotic use.  Through various techniques, stewardship seeks to ensure the patient receives the right drug, at the right dose, by the right route, for the right duration of therapy.  Sometimes this means that no antibiotics should be given. In implementing antimicrobial stewardship programs, some of the major challenges larger health care centers face include limitations in the availability of trained human resources to perform stewardship interventions and the costs of purchasing or developing information technology solutions. Faced with these same challenges, we hypothesized that for one major area of our hospital, our medical clinical teaching units, we could use our existing resources, namely resident and attending physicians, to perform "antimicrobial self-stewardship".  This concept tied the CDCs concept of antibiotic "time outs" (periodic reassessments of antibiotics) to a twice weekly audit using a locally developed checklist.  These audits were performed by our senior resident physicians in the context of providing their routine clinical care.  We also provided local antibiotic guidelines and regular educational sessions once a rotation. We demonstrated a significant reduction in antibiotic costs as well as improvement in two of the four major classes of antibiotics we targeted as high priority.  We estimated we saved between $140 and $640 in antibiotic expenses per hour of clinician time invested. Anecdotally, trainees felt the process to be highly valuable and believed they better understood the antibiotic use for their patients. (more…)