Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Yale / 11.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jim Nugent, MD MPH Pediatric Nephrology Fellow Yale University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is now well-established that acute kidney injury is common in patients hospitalized with COVID-19. In addition, patients with COVID-19 tend to have more severe acute kidney injury than patients who have acute kidney injury due to other causes. However, the intermediate and longer-term kidney outcomes after COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury have not yet been described. Our study compares the rate of change in estimated glomerular filtration rate after hospital discharge between patients with and without COVID-19 who experienced in-hospital acute kidney injury. Due to their more severe acute kidney injury in the hospital, we hypothesized that patients with COVID-19-associated acute kidney injury would have greater decline in kidney function after discharge compared to patients with acute kidney injury who tested negative for COVID-19. In order to answer this question, we reviewed the medical records of adult patients at 5 hospitals in Connecticut and Rhode Island admitted between March and August 2020 who had developed acute kidney injury during their hospitalization, survived until discharge, and were discharged off dialysis. For our study, we included patients who had at least one outpatient serum creatinine measurement after discharge. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Tobacco, Tobacco Research, UCLA / 09.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian P. Lee, MD, MAS Assistant Professor Clinical Medicine University of Southern Californi Keck School of Medicine Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with mental health stressors, including anxiety, loneliness, and social instability. We hypothesized the pandemic may have led to increased alcohol and tobacco use as a coping mechanism for these stressors. National retrospective questionnaires had suggested higher reports of substance use, but these are limited by selection and recall biases, in addition to subjective report – we sought to address this knowledge gap by using a nationally-representative longitudinal cohort (Nielsen National Consumer Panel) tracking real-time purchases of households across the US.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, FDA, JAMA / 07.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marie C. Bradley, PhD, MPharm, MScPH Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology Center for Drug Evaluation and Research US Food and Drug Administration Silver Spring, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Long-acting insulin analogs, insulin glargine (glargine) and insulin detemir (detemir) are increasingly used in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).  In recent years the price of long-acting insulin analogs has increased substantially2 Higher costs for these insulin analogs may limit patient access.1 Clinical trials showed the risk of severe hypoglycemia did not differ between long-acting insulin analogs and neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). An observational study examining severe hypoglycemia in T2DM patients found similar results. However, these previous studies did not focus on patients aged ≥65 years, who are at an increased risk for hypoglycemia, or did not include patients with concomitant prandial insulin use. Therefore, to investigate this further we used Medicare data to assess the risk of severe hypoglycemia among older T2DM patients who initiated a long acting analog ( glargine or detemir) compared to NPH in real-world settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Columbia, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JAMA / 05.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Engel, MD, FACC Division of Cardiology Columbia University Irving Medical Center New York, New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Early reports and observations in the COVID-19 pandemic found that patients recovering from mild to severe forms of COVID-19 illness had a higher prevalence of cardiac injury in comparison with what historically has been seen and reported with other viruses. This cardiac injury, categorized as inflammatory heart disease, could have serious implications, including a risk for exercise-triggered sudden cardiac death, for athletes and highly active people who have had prior COVID-19 illness and who return to intensive exercise activity with unknowing subclinical cardiac injury. To address these concerns in COVID positive athletes, the ACC generated return to play cardiac screening recommendations (troponin blood test, ECG, resting echocardiogram) for all competitive athletes after COVID-19 infection prior to resumption of competitive and intensive sport activity. The professional leagues were among the first organizations to return to full-scale sport activity in the setting of the pandemic, and they uniformly adopted and implemented the ACC return to play screening recommendations for all athletes that tested positive for COVID-19. The leagues recognized that there was value in collaborating and formally analyzing their pooled cardiac data, not only for league athlete health and safety purposes, but also to share broadly this information to add to the growing body of knowledge about the virus. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Stem Cells / 05.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Khalid Shah, MS, PhD Vice Chair of Research, Department of Neurosurgery Director, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Director, Center for Excellence in Biomedicine Brigham and Women's Hospital Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School Principal Faculty, Harvard Stem Cell Institute  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Approximately 15-to-30 percent of patients with metastatic breast cancer have brain metastasis (BM), with basal-like breast cancer (BLBC) metastasizing to the brain most frequently. The prognosis for BLBC-BM patients is poor, as the blood-brain barrier prevents most therapeutics from reaching the brain. Testing candidate therapies in clinical trials is also challenging because animal models that mimic BM are limited. In this study we engineered a bimodal tumor-suppressing and killing molecule that can be delivered to the brain by stem cells and tested them in mouse models of brain metastases that mimic clinical setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Electronic Records, JAMA, Technology / 04.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carlo Giovanni Traverso, MB, BChir, PhD Associate Physician, Brigham and Women's Hospital Assistant Professor, Peter RChaiMDMMS Emergency Medicine Physician and Medical Toxicologist Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine   Dr-Spot-HealthCare-Assistant.jpgMedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are some of the functions that Dr. Spot can facilitate? Response: During the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to consider innovative methods to provide additional social distance for physicians evaluating low acuity individuals who may have COVID-19 disease in the emergency department. While other health systems had instituted processes like evaluating patients from outside of emergency department rooms or calling patients to obtain a history, we considered the use of a mobile robotic system in collaboration with Boston Dynamics to provide telemedicine triage on an agile platform that could be navigated around a busy emergency department. Dr. Spot was built with a camera system to help an operator navigate it through an emergency department into a patient room where an on-board tablet would permit face-to-face triage and assessment of individuals. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, MD Anderson, Menopause, University of Pittsburgh, Weight Research / 04.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Samar El Khoudary, PhD, MPH, BPharm, FAHA Associate Professor of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Research increasingly shows that it isn’t so important how much fat a woman is carrying, which doctors typically measure using weight and BMI, as it is where she is carrying that fat. To investigate this, we looked at 25 years of data on 362 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago who participated in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) Heart study. The women, who were an average age of 51, had their visceral adipose tissue—fat surrounding the abdominal organs—measured by CT scan and the thickness of the internal carotid artery lining in their neck measured by ultrasound, at a few points during the study. Carotid artery thickness is an early indicator of heart disease. (more…)
Alzheimer's - Dementia, Author Interviews, UCSD / 03.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Steven L. Wagner PhD University of California, San Diego Department of Neurosciences Professor in Residence School of Medicine, Medical Teaching Facility Room 150 La Jolla, California 92093-0624  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Amyloid plaques are pathological hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)—clumps of misfolded proteins that accumulate in the brain, disrupting and killing neurons and resulting in the progressive cognitive impairment that is characteristic of the widespread neurological disorder.  Amyloid plaques are composed of small protein fragments called amyloid beta (Aβ) peptides. These peptides are generated by enzymes called β-secretase and γ-secretase, which sequentially cleave a protein called amyloid precursor protein on the surfaces of neurons to release Aβ fragments of varying lengths. Some of these fragments, such as Aβ42, are particularly prone to forming plaques, and their production is elevated in patients with mutations predisposing them to early-onset AD. Several attempts have been made to treat or prevent AD using drugs that inhibit either β-secretase or γ-secretase, but many of these drugs have proved to be highly toxic or unsafe in humans, likely because β-secretase and γ-secretase are required to cleave additional proteins in the brain and other organs. Instead, Wagner and colleagues investigated the therapeutic potential of drugs known as γ-secretase modulators or GSMs, which instead of inhibiting the γ-secretase enzyme, slightly alter its activity so that it produces fewer Aβ peptides that are prone to form plaques while continuing to duties cleaving other protein targets. “GSMs offer the ability to mitigate mechanism-based toxicities associated with γ-secretase inhibitors,” said Wagner.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Microbiome, UCSD / 24.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Richard Gallo, MD, PhD Ima Gigli Distinguished Professor of Dermatology Chair of the Department of Dermatology UC San Diego School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by atopic dermatitis/eczema? How common is it and what are the symptoms. Response: Atopic Dermatitis is a common inflammatory disease of the skin that appears in up to 20% of children and 3% of the adult population. People suffering from atopic dermatitis have red, itchy skin. In many cases this rash will disrupt sleeping and severely impact quality of life. Also, people with atopic dermatitis are more susceptible to infections of the skin and are more likely to have other allergies and asthma. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education, JAMA, UCLA / 22.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Frederick Zimmerman, PhD Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management Fielding School of Public Health UCLA   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The science on school transmissions of COVID is becoming clearer all the time in its conclusion that there is little to no transmission in school environments as long as reasonable precautions are taken.  Yet one recent study got a lot of attention for claiming that states that allowed their schools to remain open in the early days of the pandemic saw more cases.  That study did not control for several important factors that might explain this association, so our study aimed to correct that work. (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, NYU / 11.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Terry Gordon PhD Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine NYU Grossman School of Medicine NYU Langone Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are air pollution researcher and interested in unique exposure scenarios.  Based on the work by Dr. Steve Chillrud, Columbia University, we did a study 5 years ago to assess air quality in over 30 subway stations in NYC.  We found poor air quality in all of the underground stations but the air quality was better in some locations.  So we wondered what would be air quality in different transit systems in NE United States.  David Luglio, pre-doctoral candidate, led a team of students to monitor particles in the air of subway stations in metropolitan NYC's MTA, LIRR, and PATH systems, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.   (more…)
Author Interviews, NIH, Pulmonary Disease / 09.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stavros Garantziotis MD Division of Intramural Research National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Triangle Park, NC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does hyaluronan differ from other medications for COPD? Is it used for other medical conditions? Response: Hyaluronan is a natural sugar found in the human body, including in the lung. We have found that when the lungs are exposed to pollution, this sugar breaks down, and the breakdown fragments cause inflammation in the lung. We also found that if we give back the natural form of hyaluronan, it protects the lung from inflammation. Patients suffering from COPD also have a lot of hyaluronan breakdown in their lungs. We therefore reasoned, that giving them back the natural form of hyaluronan, as an inhalation treatment, would help them reduce inflammation. We tested this, as a first step, in the treatment acute inflammation of the lungs in COPD patients who are suffering an exacerbation of their disease. Hyaluronan is different from existing medications in that it is a natural product of the body. It is used in Europe for conditions like cystic fibrosis, and after sinus surgery to humidify the airways. Because it is given by inhalation, it acts locally in the lungs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 08.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mary R. Rooney, PhD, MPH Postdoctoral research fellow Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study? Response: Prediabetes is defined by elevated blood glucose levels below the threshold for diabetes diagnosis. Physicians screen for prediabetes to identify patients at high risk for diabetes. Prediabetes is common in middle-aged adults but has not been well-studied in older age. We undertook this study to examine the natural history of prediabetes in older adults. (more…)
Asthma, Author Interviews, JAMA, Karolinski Institute, Pediatrics / 08.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yun-Han Wang MSc PhD student, Karolinska Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in children has increased substantially in recent years, concurrently with emerging concerns that these drugs may increase the risk of asthma. Whether PPI use in the broad pediatric population is associated with increased risk of asthma is not known.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Columbia, JAMA / 05.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elodie C. Warren, MPH Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health Graduate MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We know that the US has been experiencing an opioid crisis for the past two decades. And we know that among communities of color, rates of overdose deaths are continuing to increase, even though overall national rates decreased between 2017 and 2018. To better understand how the opioid crisis has differently affected racial/ethnic groups, we looked at how heroin treatment admissions changed over time by race/ethnicity, age, and sex. We found that there were stark differences when comparing non-Hispanic Black men and women to non-Hispanic White men and women. Importantly, our study suggests the existence of an aging cohort of Black men and women (likely including survivors of a heroin epidemic that hit urban areas more than 40 years ago) that continues to struggle with heroin addiction. This points to the need for targeted interventions in chronically underserved communities.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Heart Disease, Nature / 04.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Hugo Aerts, PhD Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Professor, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School Director, Program for Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Brigham And Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: Deep convolutional neural networks to predict cardiovascular risk from computed tomography  Response: Cardiovascular disease is the most common preventable cause of death in Europe and the United States. Effective lifestyle and pharmacological prevention is available, but identifying those who would benefit most remains an ongoing challenge. Hence, efforts are needed to further improve cardiovascular risk prediction and stratification on an individual basis. One of the strongest known predictors for adverse cardiovascular events is coronary artery calcification, which can be quantified on computed tomography (CT). The CT coronary calcium score is a measure of the burden of coronary atherosclerosis and is one of the most widely accepted measures of cardiovascular risk. Recent strides in artificial intelligence, deep learning in particular, have shown its viability in several medical applications such as medical diagnostic and imaging, risk management, or virtual assistants. A major advantage is that deep learning can automate complex assessments that previously could only be done by radiologists, but now is feasible at scale with a higher speed and lower cost. This makes deep learning a promising technology for automating cardiovascular event prediction from imaging. However, before clinical introduction can be considered, generalizability of these systems needs to be demonstrated as they need to be able to predict cardiovascular events of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals across multiple clinical scenarios, and work robustly on data from multiple institutions. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA, Social Issues, University of Pennsylvania / 02.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sameed Khatana MD, MPH Instructor, Cardiovascular Medicine Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Physician, Philadelphia VA Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: After declining for decades, the fall in cardiovascular mortality rates in the US has started to slow down and rates may be rising in certain groups. This stagnation in mortality has been most start among middle-aged adults. These trends have occurred at the same time as growing economic inequality. Our analysis aimed to study the relationship between change in cardiovascular mortality rates between 2010 and 2017 for middle-aged adults across the US and change in economic prosperity levels. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Prostate, Prostate Cancer, Surgical Research, Urology / 01.02.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David-Dan Nguyen Research Fellow | Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women's Hospital MPH (Health Policy) Student | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Medical Student | McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has forced hospitals to delay the definitive treatment of cancers via surgery or radiation therapy. While previous evidence has shown that delaying the treatment of low-risk prostate cancer is not associated with worse outcomes, treatment delays for intermediate-risk and high-risk prostate cancer are more controversial. As such, we sought to determine if delays for these disease states negatively impacted oncological outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Exercise - Fitness, Gender Differences, Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania / 30.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina L. Master, MD, FAAP, CAQSM, FACSM Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania Co-Director, Minds Matter Concussion Program Pediatric and Adolescent Sports Medicine, Division of Pediatric Orthopedics Attending Physician, Care Network - Karabots Center The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Philadelphia, PA 19104 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There have been multiple studies investigating potential sex differences in outcomes from concussion which have sometimes had conflicting results with some studies indicating that females take longer to recover than males and some studies reporting no difference in recovery between females and males, with most of these studies being conducted either retrospectively or prospectively in smaller cohorts. This large-scale multi-center prospective study in collegiate athletes provided an opportunity to compare females and males across comparable sports to examine both potential intrinsic or biologic factors (sex differences) or extrinsic (environmental or gender differences) that contribute to outcomes. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cannabis, Opiods, Yale / 29.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Balázs Kovács PhD Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior Yale School of Management MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study looks at the association between the prevalence of legal cannabis stores, called “dispensaries”, and opioid-related mortality rates in the U.S.  We find that higher cannabis dispensary counts are associated with reduced opioid-related mortality rates.   We find this relationship holds for both medical dispensaries, which only serve patients who have a state-approved medical card or doctor’s recommendation, as well as for recreational dispensaries, which sell to adults 21 years and older.  The statistical associations we find appears most pronounced with the class of opioids that includes fentanyl and its analogs.  (more…)
Author Interviews, NYU, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Rheumatology / 21.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Peter Izmirly, M.D. Associate Professor of Medicine, NYU School of Medicine Director of Inpatient Rheumatology, Bellevue Hospital Center co-Director, NYU-Hospital for Joint Diseases Lupus Clinic Research Office Address: NYU School of Medicine New York, NY 10016  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Knowing how many people have systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is limited, particularly for racial/ethnic subgroups in the United States. Our work provides accurate estimates of who has  (SLE) among the major racial/ethnic groups in the United States and that our estimates for SLE approach the FDA’s definition or a rare disease. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric R. Pedersen, Ph.D. Adjunct Behavioral Scientist, RAND Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In November of 2016, CA voted to legalize cannabis for sale and possession to adults 21 and older for recreational use. It wasn’t until January of 2018 that stores in most parts of LA County (we call these “outlets”) were legally able to begin selling recreational cannabis. We were collecting data from about 2,500 young adults in LA County as part of a longitudinal study (Principal Investigator Elizabeth D’Amico at RAND) and were able to look at cannabis use and intentions assessed at a period prior to the opening of the recreational cannabis outlets (pre-January 2018) to a period when those outlets were open (after January 2018). It has been suggested that once cannabis was more available for recreational purchase (and not just for medical purposes among those enrolled in CA’s medical marijuana program), use of cannabis among young adults would increase.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Mental Health Research, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, UCSF / 15.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jason Nagata, MD, MSc Assistant Professor of Pediatrics University of California, San Francisco San Francisco, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Food insecurity is the inability to afford or access nutritionally adequate and safe foods for an active, healthy lifestyle. Rates of food insecurity were projected to rise during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, prior studies had not examined the association between food insufficiency, the most extreme form of food insecurity, and mental health. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Using a large national sample of nearly 64,000 adults, we found that food insufficiency rose from 8.1% to 10.0% during the pandemic. People of color and younger adults had higher risk of food insufficiency. People living in poverty or experiencing recent job loss were at higher risk of food insufficiency. Food insufficiency was associated with symptoms of anxiety, worrying, and depression. Hunger, exhaustion, and worrying about not getting enough food to eat may worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. Receiving food assistance alleviated the relationship between food insufficiency and poor mental health.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JACC / 11.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rishi K. Wadhera, MD, MPP, MPhil Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Associate Program Director, Cardiovascular Medicine Fellowship Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The direct toll of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the U.S. has been substantial, but concerns have also arisen about the indirect effects of the pandemic on higher-risk patients with chronic medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease. Hospitalizations for acute cardiovascular conditions, including myocardial infarction, heart failure, and stroke precipitously declined during the early phase of the pandemic. These patterns have raised concern that patients may be avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting SARS-CoV-2, and that some have died from cardiovascular conditions without seeking medical care. In addition, there has been growing concern about the the effects of health-care system strain and the deferral of semi-elective procedures on patients with cardiovascular conditions. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Brigham & Women's - Harvard / 03.01.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nitin Joshi, Ph.D. Engineering in Medicine/Department of Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital   Dr. Jeffrey M Karp Ph.D Principal Investigator Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you explain what is meant by the blood brain barrier? How will nanoparticles facilitate transport of drugs into the brain? Response: Over the past few decades, researchers have identified promising therapeutic agents that can target the biological pathways involved in brain diseases. Unfortunately, clinical translation of these therapeutics is limited by their inability to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) and enter the brain at therapeutically effective levels. The BBB is a highly selective semipermeable border of cells that prevents molecules in the circulating blood from non-selectively crossing into the brain tissue. We have developed a simple targeted nanoparticle platform that can stably encapsulate therapeutic agents and enable their therapeutically effective delivery into the brain. In this work, we have demonstrated the utility of this platform for the treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is a leading cause of death and disability in children and young adults, with millions of people suffering TBI each year in accidents, sports, and military conflicts. Following primary injury, which is a result of the mechanical impact to the brain, secondary injury gradually occurs over months to years and can lead to neurological dysfunctions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. After TBI, the BBB is physically breached for a short time and previous approaches to achieve therapeutically effective transport of drugs across the BBB have been severely limited to utilizing this very short window. However, the extent to which the BBB is physically breached in TBI varies greatly across the patient population. Therefore, current approaches are applicable to only a subset of injuries with substantially breached BBB. Moreover, BBB can self-repair within a few hours to weeks post-injury to restore its integrity. Hence, physical breaching of BBB offers a limited window for therapeutic interventions, which is not ideal as the secondary injury can last months to years and may require repeated dosing over long term. The nanoparticle platform developed in this work can enable therapeutically effective delivery of drugs into the brain, irrespective of the state of the BBB. We achieved this by precise engineering of the surface properties of nanoparticles, which maximized their transport across the BBB. The therapeutic used in this study was a small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecule designed to inhibit the expression of the tau protein, which is believed to play a key role in neurodegeneration. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), or PLGA, a biodegradable and biocompatible polymer used in several existing products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was used as the base material for nanoparticles. We systematically engineered and studied the surface properties of the nanoparticles to maximize their penetration across the intact, undamaged BBB in healthy mice. This led to the identification of a unique nanoparticle design that maximized the transport of the encapsulated siRNA across the intact BBB and also significantly improved the uptake by the brain cells.  (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Social Issues, Technology, University of Pennsylvania / 30.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Srinath Adusumalli, MD, MSc, FACC Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Division of Cardiovascular Medicine| Penn Medicine Lauren A. Eberly, MD, MPH Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has uprooted conventional health care delivery for routine ambulatory care, requiring health systems to rapidly adopt telemedicine capabilities. At Penn Medicine, we wanted to ensure that as we developed a new system of telemedical care, we were reaching all of the patients we serve and access to care was maintained. As such, we undertook this study to examine utilization of care as we continued to iterate on and develop our telemedical system of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Social Issues / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kenneth Freedberg, MD Director, Medical Practice Evaluation Center Massachusetts General Hospital Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School Study senior author Jessie Gaeta, MD Chief Medical Officer Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program Assistant Professor of Medicine Boston University School of Medicine Travis P. Baggett, MD, MPH Faculty clinician-investigator MGH Division of General Internal Medicine Assistant Professor of Medicine Harvard Medical School MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Dr. Baggett: We found that two strategies are crucial for addressing COVID-19 among people staying in homeless shelters: 1) Proactively identifying and testing people with symptoms, and 2) Providing a dedicated, medically supervised, non-hospital space for isolation and management of people with mild to moderate COVID. Together these two strategies would reduce infections, hospitalizations, and health care costs compared to not doing them. During a pandemic surge, like we are seeing now, it makes sense to add periodic universal testing of all shelter residents, even those without symptoms. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Education / 23.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Elena Losina, PhD Robert W. Lovett Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Harvard Medical School Director, Policy and Innovation eValuations in Orthopedic Treatments (PIVOT) Center Co-Director, Orthopedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research Department of Orthopedic Surgery Brigham and Women’s HospitalBoston, MA, 02115 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Since the pandemic began, there have been over 320,000 COVID-19 cases and 80 deaths at over 1,700 colleges, highlighting the consequences of different mitigation strategies, and as colleges are closing the fall semester and preparing for the spring semester, figuring out what worked what did not, in term of COVID-19 mitigation, is critical to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses during the spring semeste.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Autism, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Education, Pediatrics / 21.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrey Vyshedskiy PhD Boston University, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background of ImagiRation? https://imagiration.com/ Response: ImagiRation is a Boston-based startup with links to MIT, Harvard, and Boston University. ImagiRation has developed a highly innovative adaptive language therapy application for children with autism, Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). MedicalResearch.com: How is the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism program delivered? Response: MITA language therapy is administered by parents at home. MITA application works on all smartphones and tablet devices and is designed for children ages 2 to 12 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Genetic Research, NYU / 19.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John T. Poirier, PhD Assistant Professor of Medicine, NYU Grossman School of Medicine Director, Preclinical Therapeutics Program Perlmutter Cancer Center An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center NYU Langone Health Smilow Research Center New York, NY 10016  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The goal of this study was to identify in as much detail as possible the genes that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, needs to successfully infect a human host cell. CRISPR technology played a key role in this research; it was used to disrupt every gene in the human genome in parallel and study which ones were required for infection. (more…)