Author Interviews, Neurology, Stanford / 25.08.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Lawrence Steinman MD Zimmermann Professor of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, and Pediatrics Beckman Center for Molecular Medicine Stanford University Stanford, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We are publishing the results of two successful phase 3 trials in relapsing MS (multiple sclerosis). We tested a glycoengineered antibody to B cells. The glycoengineered antibody are more potent in killing the target. They can be delivered more easily. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Lung Cancer, Stanford, USPSTF / 24.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Summer S Han, PhD Assistant Professor Quantitative Sciences Unit Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR) Neurosurgery and Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94304  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued their 2021 recommendation on lung cancer screening lowering the start age from 55 to 50 years and the minimum pack-year criterion from 30 to 20, relative to the 2013 recommendations. Although costs are expected to increase with the expanded screening eligibility, it is unknown if the new guidelines for lung cancer screening are cost-effective. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Pediatrics, Smoking, Stanford, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, FSAHM (pronouns: she/her) Professor of Pediatrics Taube Endowed Research Faculty Scholar Professor (by courtesy), Epidemiology and Population Health Professor (by courtesy), Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Director of Fellows’ Scholarship, Department of Pediatrics Director of Research, Division of Adolescent Medicine Co-leader, Scholarly Concentrations, Pediatrics Residency Program MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: To examine adolescent and young adult e-cigarette use during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 4 main findings:
  • About 2/3 of adolescent and young adult ever-e-cigarette users reported either quitting or cutting back on e-cigarette use since COVID-19 began.
  • Users least likely to quit or cut back e-cigarette use were those showing higher levels of nicotine dependence and those who had used e- cigarettes a large number of times.
  • Adolescent and young adult e-cigarette users found it harder to access e-cigarettes, but unlike studies before COVID-19, the dominant source of purchasing e-cigs was online instead of brick-and-mortar during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Youth below 21 years were able to purchase e-cigarettes without any age verification, and those whose age was verified were asked to physically show ID or provided an email, which are less effective means to prevent underage youth use.
(more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FACC, FAHA Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Palo Alto, CA 94304 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified existing racial/ethnic disparities in the United States. The goal of this study was to leverage new data collected from the American Heart Association’s COVID-19 Cardiovascular Disease Registry to understand racial/ethnic differences in presentation and outcomes for hospitalized patients. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Kidney Stones, Lancet, Stanford / 26.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Shuchi Anand M.D. M.S. Director of the Center for Tubulointerstitial Kidney Disease Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Seroprevalence (or presence of antibodies in response to SARS CoV-2) is considered by many experts to be the most complete to track the spread of COVID19 in communities. However seroprevalence studies are hard to conduct, because they require going into communities and underdoing random blood draws. Many people—especially racial and ethnic minorities, or people with underlying health conditions, or people with language barriers—may be hard to reach for these types of surveys. Plus outreach into communities is very difficult in light of the COVID19 pandemic. To mitigate this problem we worked with a random sample of 28,503 patients on hemodialysis, the vast majority of whom are covered by Medicare. They get their blood drawn monthly, as part of their routine care. Furthermore even though we used a random sample, we know that patients on dialysis are more likely to be racial and ethnic minorities, and more likely to come from disadvantaged backgrounds.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sleep Disorders, Stanford / 07.07.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eileen BLeary, Ph.D. Student Epidemiology and Clinical Research Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by REM sleep? Response: Sleep is a regulated, reversible, and recurring loss of consciousness that is a critical requirement for a happy, healthy life. REM sleep is an important component of sleep defined by rapid eye movements and commonly associated with dreaming. We learned from previous studies that sleep duration is associated with mortality, however little was known about how the different sleep stages relate to timing or cause of death. (more…)
Author Interviews, Baylor College of Medicine Houston, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Stanford / 07.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Melissa Bondy, PhD Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Population Health Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Faculty researchers in Stanford’s Department of Epidemiology & Population Health and collaborators from Baylor College of Medicine and Stanford’s Department of Dermatology developed an online survey aimed at rapidly assessing public concerns about the COVID-19 crisis. This survey, which was posted on 3 social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, and Nextdoor) on March 14, 2020, collected invaluable data about COVID-19, including symptoms, concerns, and individual actions taken by respondents. Twitter and Facebook posts were sharable to facilitate snowball sampling. The survey was comprised of 21 (multiple-choice, single-choice, numeric, and open-ended) questions, which were designed to collect data concerning respondent demographics and recent cold and flu-like illnesses (if any), as well as information about participants’ concerns and any lifestyle changes that occurred as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. All questions were optional, so response rates were variable.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, NEJM, Stanford / 31.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David J. Maron, MD, FACC, FAHA Clinical Professor of Medicine Chief, Stanford Prevention Research Center Director, Preventive Cardiology Stanford University School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Among patients with stable coronary disease and moderate or severe ischemia, whether clinical outcomes are better in those who receive an invasive intervention plus medical therapy than in those who receive medical therapy alone is uncertain. The goals of treating patients with stable coronary disease are to reduce their risk of death and ischemic events and to improve their quality of life. All patients with coronary disease should be treated with guideline-based medical therapy (GBMT) to achieve these objectives. Before the widespread availability of drug-eluting stents, strategy trials that tested the incremental effect of revascularization added to medical therapy did not show a reduction in the incidence of death or myocardial infarction. In one trial, fractional flow reserve–guided percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with drug-eluting stents, added to medical therapy, decreased the incidence of urgent revascularization but not the incidence of death from any cause or myocardial infarction at a mean of 7 months, whereas the 5-year follow-up showed marginal evidence of a decrease in the incidence of myocardial infarction. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Genetic Research, JAMA, Stanford / 12.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Allison W. Kurian, M.D., M.Sc. Associate Professor of Medicine (Oncology) and of Epidemiology and Population Health Director, Women’s Clinical Cancer Genetics Program Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5405 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Genetic testing is increasingly relevant for the care of cancer patients. However, little was known about the prevalence of inherited mutations in cancer susceptibility genes among the most common group of women with breast cancer: those diagnosed after menopause and without a strong family history of cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Lung Cancer, Stanford / 09.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Dr. Andreas Keller Stanford University School of Medicine Office Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics Saarbrücken, Germany MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lung cancer is among the three most common cancers and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The overall low survival rate of patients with lung cancer calls for improved detection tools to enable better treatment options and improved patients’ outcomes. To detect lung tumors, liquid biopsy-based strategies are increasingly explored, that are biomarkers, which are identifiable in body fluids such as human blood. The clinical application of biomarkers is, however, largely hampered by the relatively small numbers of cases that have been analyzed in the majority of the preclinical studies including the studies on lung cancer.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Nature, Stanford / 18.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen J. Galli, MD Mary Hewitt Loveless, MD Professor Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology Department of Pathology Stanford University School of Medicine Center for Clinical Sciences Research Stanford, CA and Nicolas Gaudenzio PhD Unité de Différenciation Epithéliale et Autoimmunité Rhumatoïde INSERM, Université de Toulouse Toulouse, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We took a lead from existing clinical data showing that patients with moderate to severe atopic dermatitis, an increasingly common disorder producing skin pathology, also have elevated levels of neuropeptides in their blood, particularly one neuropeptide, named “substance P”, whose level is correlated with disease severity. These patients also have high levels of mast cell-specific proteases in the blood, indicating that mast cells, which are innate immune cells present in the skin, and which can be activated when exposed to substance P, might play an essential role in modulating inflammatory and allergic processes. Based on these observations, our teams (Galli Lab at Stanford University, USA and Gaudenzio Lab at Inserm Toulouse, France) decided to focus on the possible interactions between sensory neurons, which are a source of substance P, and mast cells. The results of this work have now been published in the journal Nature Immunology. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Outcomes & Safety, Stanford / 08.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel Tawfik, MD, MS Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Professional burnout is very common among health care providers and is frequently associated with poor quality of care in the published literature. However, we know that reporting biases are common in many fields of literature, and these biases typically result in exaggerated effects being published relative to the true effect. Research on burnout and quality of care appears especially vulnerable, because many studies are not pre-specified or have several potential methods of analysis. If the studies or analyses with more impressive results are more likely to be published, this would result in a skewed picture of the relationship between burnout and quality of care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Environmental Risks, General Medicine, JAMA, Melanoma, Stanford / 07.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eleni Linos MD MPH DrPH Professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: We know that tanning beds are harmful: people who use tanning beds are more likely to get skin cancer. Sexual minority men are much more likely to use tanning beds and also more likely to get skin cancer. In a separate study we discovered that one reason sexual minority men use tanning beds is if it is convenient: e.g. if close to home, cheap, and easy. (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/bjd.17684). Recent research showed that tobacco retailers cluster in LGB neighborhoods: https://sph.unc.edu/sph-news/more-tobacco-retailers-in-lgbt-neighborhoods-may-explain-smoking-disparities/. This made us wonder if tanning salons also cluster in neighborhoods with more gay men.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Frailty, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 27.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: hospital-frailty-surgeryKara Anne Rothenberg.MD Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vascular Surgery Shipra Arya, MD SM FACS Associate Professor of Surgery Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There is a growing body of literature showing that frailty, a syndrome where patients have increased vulnerability to a stressor (such as surgery), is associated with increased postoperative complications, failure to rescue, and hospital readmissions. The Risk Analysis Index (RAI), is an easy to use frailty measurement tool that better predicts postoperative mortality than age or comorbidities alone. As the rates of outpatient surgeries rise nationwide, we noted that most of the surgical frailty studies focus only on inpatient surgeries. Elective, outpatient surgery is generally considered low risk for complications and unplanned readmissions, however we hypothesized that for frail patients, it might not be. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, Pediatrics, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 18.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susan M. Swetter, MD Professor of Dermatology Director, Pigmented Lesion & Melanoma Program Physician Leader, Cancer Care Program in Cutaneous Oncology Stanford University Medical Center and Cancer Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Stanford Pigmented Lesion and Melanoma and Program and Pediatric Dermatology Division participated in the long-term management of children, adolescents and young adults (<25 years of age) with melanoma and atypical melanocytic neoplasms, including atypical Spitz tumors (ASTs) that may be histopathologically challenging to differentiate from true melanoma. Over a 23-year period, we have observed increased racial-ethnic diversity in young patients with these diagnoses, especially in the presentation of young individuals with darker skin phenotypes and more clinically amelanotic (nonpigmented) lesions compared to patients with lighter skin.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pediatrics, Stanford, Technology / 26.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dennis P. Wall, PhD Associate Professor Departments of Pediatrics, Psychiatry (by courtesy) and Biomedical Data Science Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What did we already know about the potential for apps and wearables to help kids with autism improve their social skills, and how do the current study findings add to our understanding? What’s new/surprising here and why does it matter for children and families?  Response: We have clinically tested apps/AI for diagnosis (e.g.  https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1002705) in a number of studies. This RCT is a third phase of a phased approach to establish feasibility and engagement through in-lab and at-home codesign with families with children with autism. This stepwise process is quite important to bring a wearable form of therapy running AI into the homes in a way that is clinically effective. What’s new here, aside from being a first in the field, is the rigorous statistical approach we take with an intent-to-treat style of analysis. This approach ensures that the effect of the changes are adjusted to ensure that any significance observed is due to the treatment.  Thus, with this, it is surprising and encouraging to see an effect on the VABS socialization sub-scale. This supports the hypothesis that the intervention has a true treatment effect and increases the social acuity of the child. With it being a home format for intervention that can operate with or without a clinical practitioner, it increases options and can help bridge gaps in access to care, such as when on waiting lists or if the care process is inconsistent.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Inflammation, JAMA, Kidney Disease, Pain Research, Stanford / 16.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alan Nelson, MPAS, PhD Division of Primary Care and Population Health, Department of Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The past research literature has provided relatively little information on the appropriate level of concern regarding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and kidney disease risk among younger, apparently healthy patients. Clinicians are generally most concerned about the effects of these medications on the kidneys among patients with existing renal impairment and persons at risk for it, especially older patients. Given that NSAID use appears to be high and rising in the US, we were interested in developing evidence on this topic in a population of working-age adults. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Inflammation, JAMA, Stanford / 17.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas S. G. Sehested MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte   Jenny Bjerre, MD Department of Cardiology Copenhagen University Department of Health Research and Policy Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: n 2017, the results from the much-awaited Canakinumab Anti-inflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study (CANTOS) trial were published, confirming the inflammatory hypothesis, i.e. that targeting inflammation can reduce cardiovascular disease. The trial tested the monoclonal antibody canakinumab in a population of post-myocardial infarction patients with elevated inflammation markers (hs-CRP). Canakinumab is currently used for rare diseases and carries an orphan drug price: the 150mg dose used in CANTOS costs approximately $73,000 per year. Due to the high prevalence of cardiovascular disease, millions of patients could potentially be eligible for treatment with this high-priced anti-inflammatory drug. Therefore, we wanted to investigate the cost-effectiveness for canakinumab for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, using the reported results from CANTOS. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 26.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, FACC Assistant Professor Cardiovascular Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The “Hispanic Paradox” is an idea based on some epidemiological observations that Hispanics have lower disease prevalence and mortality (across a wide spectrum of disease states), despite adverse risk profiles and lower socioeconomic status than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Our study is unique in that it includes a Hispanic population with overall high educational attainment followed longitudinally. In contrast to prior work in this area, we found no evidence in support of the Hispanic paradox for estimated atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk, atherosclerotic disease (as measured by CAC), or overall mortality. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Stanford / 13.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Katie Hastings MPH Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Heart disease has been the leading cause of death since the early 1900s, but recent data has suggested cancer will surpass heart disease in the upcoming decades. To date, this is the first study to examine the transition from heart disease to cancer mortality as the leading cause of death by U.S. county and sociodemographic characteristics using national mortality records from 2003 to 2015. Our main findings are:
  • Epidemiologic transition is occurring earlier in high compared to low income U.S. counties, and occurs earlier for Asian Americans, Hispanics, and NHWs compared to blacks and American Indians/Alaska Natives.
  • Data may suggest that this shift arises from larger reductions in heart disease than cancer mortality over the study period, particularly in the highest income counties.
  • Continued disparities in heart disease and cancer mortality between blacks and other racial/ethnic groups, even in the highest income quintiles. While blacks continue to have the highest overall mortality than any other group, we do show this population experienced the greatest overall improvements in mortality (i.e. mortality rate reductions over time) for all-cause, heart disease, and cancer compared to all other racial/ethnic groups (except for heart disease in Hispanics). 
(more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Infections, JAMA, Stanford / 29.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: "Mycobacterium tuberculosis Bacteria, the Cause of TB" by NIAID is licensed under CC BY 2.0Purvesh Khatri, Ph.D. Associate Professor Stanford Institute for Immunity, Transplantation and Infection (ITI) Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research (BMIR) Department of Medicine Stanford University Stanford, CA 94305 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have previously described a 3-gene signature for distinguishing patients with active tuberculosis (ATB) from those with other diseases, latent mycobacterium tuberculosis (LTB) infection, and healthy controls (Sweeney et al. Lancet Respir Med 2016). The current study in JAMA Network Open is a follow up study to validate the 3-gene signature in 3 additional independent cohorts that were prospectively collected. Using these 3 cohorts we have now showed that the 3-gene signature (1) can identify patients with LTB that will progress to ATB about 6 months prior to diagnosis of active tuberculosis. (2) can identify patients with ATB in active screening, and (3) can identify patients with ATB at diagnosis that have higher likelihood of persistent lung inflammation due to subclinical ATB at the end of treatment.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Pediatrics, Stanford, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 22.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Janey Pratt, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Surgery Stanford UniversityDr. Janey Pratt, MD Clinical Associate Professor, Surgery Stanford University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2013 obesity became recognized as a disease.  The rate of pediatric obesity continues to rise.  Severe pediatric obesity is rising at a even faster rate than obesity in pediatrics.  Despite this Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (MBS) remains underutilized in the treatment of severe pediatric obesity.  There is a significant amount of adult data and now pediatric data about effective treatments for severe obesity.  These support the use of MBS as a primary treatment for severe obesity in children. (BMI > 120% of 95th percentile with a comorbidity or BMI > 140% of 95th percentile). (more…)
Author Interviews, Infections, Pulmonary Disease, Stanford / 15.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stephen J Ruoss MD Professor, Stanford University, Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Cfritical Care Medicine Stanford, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Would you briefly explain what is meant by an atypical mycobacterial infection?  Response: Our interest in undertaking this study stems from three important clinical observations and issues. First, the use of inhaled steroid medications for a broad variety of respiratory complaints and diseases is increasing, including in clinical circumstances where there isn’t much strong supportive evidence for benefit to patients from using inhaled steroids. The second observation is that steroids can and do alter immune system responses, and can increase the risk for some infections. There are already data from studying patients on inhaled steroids where the incidence of bacterial respiratory infections has increased, supporting the concerns for infection risk from inhaled steroids. And the third issue is that steroids can more specifically alter immune system function that helps combat mycobacterial infections, and this means that the risk for, and incidence of mycobacterial infections could be increased in patients treated with inhaled steroids. The best known mycobacterial infection is of course tuberculosis, but there are other mycobacteria, called nontuberculous mycobacterial (or atypical mycobacterial) that are broadly found in the environment, and some of those nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) can cause lung infections. So our hypothesis was that the use of inhaled steroids might be associated with an increased frequency of NTM infections, and we designed the study to explore that hypothesis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Journal Clinical Oncology, Lymphoma, Stanford / 23.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. David Kurtz, MD/PhD, Instructor and Dr. Ash Alizadeh MD/PhD, Associate Professor Division of Oncology, Department of Medicine Stanford University Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This work investigates the utility of circulating tumor DNA - a type of liquid biopsy - in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, the most common blood cancer in adults. Liquid biopsies are an emerging technology to track cancers from a simple blood draw. Here, using a cohort of over 200 patients from 6 centers across North America and Europe, we asked if circulating tumor DNA could be used to detect lymphoma in patients, and more importantly, could it be used to identify responders and non-responders.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Clots - Coagulation, Emergency Care, Pulmonary Disease, Stanford / 18.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Bledsoe MD, FACEP Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Stanford Medicine Director of Research Department of Emergency Medicine Intermountain Medical Center Murray, UT 84157 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Patients with blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) (PE) are routinely admitted to the hospital for blood thinning medications in the United States. However, evidence from other countries has shown that with appropriate risk stratification patients may be safe for outpatient treatment for their PE. Our study is the largest prospective management study in the US to evaluate home treatment of patients with acute pulmonary embolism. We enrolled 200 patients and after risk stratification with the PE severity index score, leg ultrasounds and echocardiograms performed in the emergency department, patients were treated with blood thinning medications at home with routine outpatient follow up. During the 90 day follow up period we found only one patient suffered a bleeding event after a traumatic injury, without any cases of recurrent symptomatic blood clots or death.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Osteoporosis, PLoS, Stanford / 29.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Stuart Kim PhD Professor of Developmental Biology, Emeritus Bio-X Affiliated Faculty James H. Clark Center Stanford University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Osteoporosis is caused by a reduction in bone mass, and leads to a high incidence of bone fracture because the weakened bone is less able to withstand the stress of slips and falls. Osteoporosis affects millions of elderly, is responsible for as many as 50% of fractures in women and 25% of fractures in men over the age of 50, and accounts for $19 billion in annual health care costs in the US. Identification of people with an increased genetic risk for osteoporosis could reduce the incidence of bone fracture. Low BMD is also a risk factor for stress fractures. For athletes and military personnel undergoing harsh rigors of training, stress fractures are common injuries that limit playing time, military effectiveness and competitive success. Using data from UK Biobank, a genome-wide association study identified 1,362 independent SNPs that clustered into 899 loci of which 613 are new. These data were used to train a genetic algorithm using 22,886 SNPs as well as height, age, weight and sex as predictors. Individuals with low genetic scores (about 2% of those tested) showed a 17-fold increase in risk for osteoporosis and about a 2-fold increase in risk of fractures. (more…)
Aging, Alcohol, Author Interviews, JAMA, Stanford / 15.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: alcohol-cdc-imageEdith V. Sullivan, Ph.D. Professor Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA 94305-5723  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Alcohol misuse is a major public health problem worldwide with profound health consequences on the body, brain, and function. Our research group has conducted naturalistic yet controlled studies of alcohol dependence for several decades to further our understanding of when and how alcohol misuse affects specific parts of the brain.  In addition, we wanted to know how alcohol misuse interacts with the typical changes in the brain as we grow older.  The studies are controlled in that we recruit healthy, non-alcohol dependence men and women from the community to undergo the same screening and neuroimaging procedures as our alcoholic recruits.  The studies are quantitative because we use neuroimaging methods (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) that enable us to measure specific regions of brain structural volumes.  Consistent collection of such data over the years positioned us to ask whether age and alcohol dependence interact to produce regional brain volume loss beyond the loss that occurs in normal aging. A number of cross-sectional studies pointed to the likelihood that the effects of alcohol dependence on brain structure would be exacerbated by normal aging, which we do know from longitudinal neuroimaging studies results in shrinkage of cortical gray matter volume and thinning of the cortex. What was particularly striking about our longitudinal study of men and women with alcohol dependence was the acceleration of the aging of brain structure that was especially prominent in the frontal cortex.  Critically, even those who initiated dependent drinking at an older age showed accelerated loss. Because our study sample was large enough, we could also test whether our findings were attributable to conditions that commonly co-occur with alcohol dependence, namely, illicit drug use and hepatitis C.  Although both drug use and hepatitis C infection may have exacerbated brain volume loss, these factors did not fully account for the alcoholism-aging interaction we identified. (more…)
Allergies, Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Stanford, Technology / 03.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kavita Sarin, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Dermatology Stanford University Medical Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Drug reactions occur in the majority of patients undergoing cancer therapies. Half of serious drug reactions are detected after market approval which can result in painful complications and interruption in therapy. Post-market drug surveillance platforms such as FDA monitoring rely on medical publications and physician reporting and take time to identify trends. We sought to determine if we could identify trends in patient discussions in internet health forums to more rapidly identify chemotherapeutic drug reactions. We chose skin reactions as a proof-of-principle because patients can more easily describe what they see on their skin. Julia Ransohoff, a medical student, and Azadeh Nikfarham, an informatics postdoctoral fellow trained a computer to recognize when a patient undergoing anti-cancer treatment with PD-1 antagonists or EGFR-inhibitors described a drug reaction in their internet forum posts. (more…)
Author Interviews, ENT, JAMA, Stanford, Surgical Research / 12.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Schoppy, MD PhD Resident, Division of Head and Neck Surgery Department of Otolaryngology Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, Palo Alto, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is a growing focus in healthcare on quality, and one component of this focus is the development of robust measures of quality. Currently, there are relatively few validated metrics of performance in oncologic surgery, and several of these indicators are relatively static metrics (such as hospital case volume and institution type). This study examined the relationship between overall survival (one surrogate of quality cancer surgery) and two modifiable variables in Head and Neck surgery - achieving negative surgical margins around a primary tumor and 18 or more lymph nodes from a concurrent neck dissection. After controlling for multiple other patient variables, data collected from the National Cancer Database (NCDB) showed that treatment at hospitals where a high percentage of patients had a surgery with negative margins and 18 or more lymph nodes removed from their neck was associated with improved survival. Importantly, this survival benefit was independent of the individual, patient-level survival benefit conferred by having either of these surgical process measures reached. This study therefore highlights two modifiable measures of institutional performance in Head and Neck surgery that may serve as targets for quality improvement programs. (more…)