Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Education, JAMA, Pediatrics, Social Issues, UCLA / 06.10.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Mitchell Wong, MD PhD Professor of Medicine Executive Vice Chair for Research Training Department of Medicine Executive Co-Director, Specialty Training and Advanced Research (STAR) Program Director, UCLA CTSI KL2 Program UCLA Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Los Angeles, CA 90024 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It is estimated that social factors like poverty, education, and housing have a large impact on health. Yet, there are few interventions that exist to directly address those issues.  Schools are a promising solution since society already invests heavily in education and schools are an everyday part of most children’s lives. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCLA / 03.01.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ting Martin Ma, MD, PhD Resident Physician Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology Vice-Chair of Clinical and Translational Research Department of Radiation Oncology at UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We know from epidemiologic studies that  Black men are more likely to be diagnosed with and die of prostate cancer than White men. Recent studies hinted that Black men had better oncological outcome (such as prostate cancer specific mortality and overall survival) responding to systemic therapy for advanced prostate cancer (e.g. cancer that has spread or metastasized to other parts of the body). The question we were trying to answer in this study is: is there a difference in outcomes between Black and White men with localized prostate cancer (cancer that has not spread) receiving definitive radiotherapy enrolled in clinical trials?  (more…)
Author Interviews, Lyme, Race/Ethnic Diversity, UCLA / 18.10.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dan P. Ly M.D., Ph.D., M.P.P. Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Lyme disease presents first on the skin with the classic “bull’s-eye” rash. But such rashes in Black patients aren’t well-represented in medical textbooks. This may lead to physicians not recognizing such rashes in Black patients. As a result, Black patients are more likely to present with later complications of Lyme disease when first diagnosed such as neurologic complications.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Lancet, Menopause, Orthopedics, Osteoporosis, UCLA / 05.05.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carolyn Crandall, M.D. Professor, Medicine Health Sciences Clinical Professor, UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previously-published studies had not examined in detail the risk of subsequent fractures after initial fractures in a large national sample of women in the us. Clinical guidelines mostly emphasize initial hip and spine fractures, but they do not emphasize fractures of other types.  We hypothesized that subsequent fracture risk would be higher after initial fracture even at locations other than the hip or the spine. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, UCLA / 20.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Richard K. Leuchter, MD Resident Physician Department of Internal Medicine UCLA Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There has been significant research demonstrating racial healthcare disparities among patients with COVID-19, but less exploring how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the healthcare of racial & ethnic minority groups without COVID-19. It is important to understand the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated the inequitable delivery of healthcare in order to design policies to address these racial injustices. We focused on potentially avoidable hospitalizations, which are admissions to a hospital (not for COVID-19) that likely could have been prevented through timely and high-quality outpatient care. Prior research has shown that avoidable hospitalizations are markers for access to outpatient care, and expose patients to preventable financial burden, separate them from their families, and put them at risk for hospital-acquired infections. (more…)
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, 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…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, JAMA, Opiods, UCLA / 03.12.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joseph Friedman, MD/PhD student David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Numerous researchers, clinicians, officials, harm reduction agencies, and people who use drugs have sounded the alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the United States overdose crisis. However, data sources typically used to track overdoses in the US often have long lags that impede timely monitoring and response. For example, the CDC released preliminary overdose figures for 2019 in July 2020, and even these numbers may change. As they are available in near real-time, emergency medical services (EMS) data have increasingly been used as a source of up-to-date information to monitor epidemiological shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we used data from the National EMS Information System (NEMSIS), a large registry of over 10,000 EMS agencies in 47 states that represented over 80% of all EMS activations nationally in 2020. We used the data to track shifts in overdose-related cardiac arrests observed by EMS.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Heart Disease, JAMA, UCLA / 09.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Olujimi A. Ajijola, MD, PhD Neurocardiology Research Center of Excellence Cardiac Arrhythmia Center University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: It hadn’t been understood why some people with basic heart failure might live longer than others despite receiving the same medications and medical device therapy. Through this research we set out to determine whether a biomarker of the nervous system could help explain the difference. This study revealed a biomarker that can specifically predict which patients with “stable” heart failure have a higher risk of dying within one to three years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, MRI, Prostate Cancer, UCLA / 12.09.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rajiv Jayadevan, MD and  Leonard S. Marks, MD Department of Urology UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Men with low risk prostate cancer often enter “active surveillance” programs. These programs allow patients to defer definitive treatment (and avoid their associated side effects) until more aggressive disease is detected, if at all. Patients typically undergo a “confirmatory biopsy” 6 to 12 months after diagnosis to verify that their disease is low risk, and then undergo repeat biopsies every 1 to 2 years. These biopsies have traditionally been performed under the guidance of transrectal ultrasonography. Transrectal ultrasonography is unable to accurately visualize tumors within the prostate, necessitating that biopsy cores be obtained systematically from all parts of the prostate. MRI-ultrasonography fusion biopsy is a newer technology that has been shown to characterize biopsy findings more accurately than transrectal ultrasonography, leading to improved disease detection. This technology also allows us to visualize tumors within the prostate, and directly target these tumors during a biopsy session. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, JAMA, UCLA / 12.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH Professor of Medicine, Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • A pathologist makes the diagnosis of breast cancer versus non-cancer after reviewing the biopsy specimen. Breast biopsies are performed on millions of women each year and It is critical to get a correct diagnosis so that we can guide patients to the most effective treatments.
  • Our prior work (Elmore et al. 2015 JAMA) found significant levels of disagreement among pathologists when they interpreted the same breast biopsy specimen. We also found that pathologists would disagree with their own interpretations of breast biopsies when they where shown the same biopsy specimen a year later.
  • In this study, 240 breast biopsy images were fed into a computer, training it to recognize patterns associated with several types of breast lesions, ranging from benign (noncancerous) to invasive breast cancer. We compared the computer readings to independent diagnoses made by 87 practicing U.S. pathologists and found that while our artificial intelligence program came close to performing as well as human doctors in differentiating cancer from non-cancer, the AI program outperformed doctors when differentiating ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) from atypia, which is considered the greatest diagnostic challenge.
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Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Medicare, UCLA / 08.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Auyon Siddiq PhD Assistant Professor/INFORMS Member Decisions, Operations & Technology Management UCLA Anderson School of Management MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) was created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to control escalating Medicare spending by incentivizing providers to deliver healthcare more efficiently. Medicare providers that enroll in the MSSP earn bonus payments for reducing spending to below a risk-adjusted financial benchmark that depends on the provider's historical spending. To generate savings, a provider must invest to improve efficiency, which is a cost that is absorbed entirely by the provider under the current contract. This has proven to be challenging for the MSSP, with a majority of participating providers unable to generate savings due to the associated costs. This study presents a predictive analytics approach to redesigning the MSSP contract, with the goal of better aligning incentives and improving financial outcomes from the MSSP. We build our model from data containing the financial performance of providers enrolled in the MSSP, which together accounted for 7 million beneficiaries and over $70 billion in Medicare spending. (more…)
Amgen, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Lipids, UCLA / 24.06.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Gregg C. Fonarow, MD, FACC, FAHA Eliot Corday Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science Director, Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center Co-Chief of Clinical Cardiology, UCLA Division of Cardiology Co-Director, UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Last year, Amgen made the PCSK-9 inhibitor evolocumab available at a reduced list price of $5,850 per year This 60% reduction was aimed at improving patient access by lowering patient copays, especially for Medicare beneficiaries. Additionally, the treatment landscape for PCSK9 inhibitors was further defined in 2018 when the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Multisociety Clinical Guideline on the Management of Blood Cholesterol recommended PCSK9 inhibitors for, among other patient populations, patients with very high-risk (VHR) ASCVD whose low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels remain at 70 mg/dL or more  despite a heart-healthy lifestyle and treatment with standard background therapy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, UCLA / 29.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Molly C. Easterlin, MD Fellow, UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program Clinical Instructor, Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Adverse childhood experiences or ACEs (including physical or emotional neglect or abuse, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, exposure to household substance misuse or mental illness, parental separation or divorce, and parental incarceration) are common with about half of children experiencing 1 and one-quarter of children experiencing 2 or more. Children exposed to adverse childhood experiences have worse mental health throughout life, including higher rates of depression and anxiety. However, little is known about what factors improve long-term mental health in those exposed to ACEs. Additionally, as far as we are aware, no studies have looked at team sports participation as a potential factor that may be associated with improved mental health among those with adverse childhood experiences. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease, UCLA / 14.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chris Childers, MD, PhD Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Patients with end-stage renal disease – poorly functioning kidneys – often have to receive dialysis. This typically requires a patient to visit an outpatient clinic several times a week to have their blood filtered by a machine. Over the past few years, two for-profit companies have increased their control over the outpatient dialysis market – DaVita and Fresenius. Combined they control approximately ¾ of the market.  A number of concerns have been raised against these for-profit companies suggesting that the quality of care they deliver may be worse than the care delivered at not-for-profit companies. But, because they control so much of the market and because patients have to receive dialysis so frequently, patients may not have much choice in the clinic they visit. Medicare covers patients who are 65 years or older and also patients on dialysis regardless of age.  Medicare pays a fixed rate for dialysis which they believe is adequate to cover the clinics' costs. However, if a patient also has private insurance, the insurer is required to pay for dialysis instead of Medicare. Whereas Medicare rates are fixed by the federal government, private insurers have to negotiate the price they pay, and may pay much more as a result. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Exercise - Fitness, Heart Disease, JAMA, UCLA / 29.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina M. Dieli-Conwright, PhD, MPH, FACSM, CSCS Assistant Professor of Research Director, Integrative Center for Oncology Research in Exercise Division of Biokinesiology & Physical Therapy, Ostrow School of Dentistry Department of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA 90033  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: This study was designed to assess the effects of an aerobic and resistance exercise on metabolic dysregulation in sedentary, obese breast cancer survivors, however we further examined the effects on cardiovascular disease risk measured by the Framingham Risk Score, reported here. Our findings indicated that exercise, indeed, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in this population.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, UCLA / 27.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John N. Mafi, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Department of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA RAND Health, RAND Corporation MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of services are low-value in this setting?  Response: For decades we have known that offering routine preoperative testing for patients undergoing cataract surgery provides limited value, yet low-value preoperative testing persists at very high rates, even at Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, one of the largest safety net health systems in the United States. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Gender Differences, JAMA, UCLA / 25.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Ann Raldow MD MPH Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Similar to women in other historically male-dominated fields, female radiation oncologists face unique obstacles in achieving many metrics of career success, including equal salary, research funding, and academic promotion. Our study of industry payments found that female radiation oncologists were less likely than their male colleagues to receive payments from industry and that these payments tended to be of smaller monetary value. (more…)
Author Interviews, Global Health, JAMA, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics, UCLA, Zika / 21.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Karin Nielsen-Saines, MD, MPH Professor of Clinical Pediatrics Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our study used a very simple evaluation called GMA (General Movement Assessment tool) which checks baby movements at approximately 3 to 5 months of age. We examined 111 babies exposed to maternal illness during the Zika epidemic in Brazil and 333 control babies without this exposure by GMA at 3 months  and then tested them through standard neurodevelopmental tests at the age of 12 months. We found that this simple evaluation, which consists of filming a baby lying down on their back for one minute and studying their movements worked extremely well in predicting which babies would or would not have future problems in their neurodevelopment. The study advances knowledge in the area because a simple one minute video of a baby can predict neurodevelopment, something that is extremely hard to determine in young babies.  This is true even in places where sophisticated brain scans are available. By identifying which babies are at risk of developmental problems early on, professionals can rapidly refer these babies to  stimulation programs when they are very young, which increases their chances of having better outcomes. Because the brains of young children respond much better  to stimulation, the timing of interventions to improve their development is very important, that is why they need to be identified early. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, JAMA, UCLA / 15.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD MA Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration national helpline (1-800-662-HELP) is the only free, federally managed and endorsed US drug treatment referral service, helping callers find the best local services that match their needs. Are millions suffering simply because they are not aware that lifesaving help is a phone call away? In our new study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Mark Dredze, Alicia Nobles and I delved into Americans’ engagement with 1-800-662-HELP following singer Demi Lovato’s July 24, 2018 hospitalization for a reported overdose that on-the-scene investigators originally linked to heroin. Lovato has since recovered. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, HPV, UCLA / 28.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Manon Eckhardt, PhD Gladstone Institutes The Quantitative Biosciences Institute University of California San Francisco  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Infection with Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes 5% of all cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer and an increasing number of head and neck cancers. Most cancers are caused by mutations in genes, leading to the production of malfunctioning proteins that result in unconstrained cell division. However, certain viruses like HPV can cause cancer without introducing mutations. In this study, we compared cancers of the same type (i.e. head and neck) that are caused by either mutation or virus infection to identify important processes that are dysregulated in both subsets. We hypothesized that identifying which proteins the virus binds can lead the way to prioritize which of the proteins and cellular processes (pathways) that are affected in cancer cells are most important. To do this, we identified the complete set of human proteins that interact with HPV. We next determined genes that were more frequently mutated in non-viral cancers, and combined both data sets. The proteins we find to be both binding to HPV and mutated in non-viral cancers will be potential targets for new, more specific drug development, and help better understand the development of head and neck cancer. From the many pathways we identified in this study, we highlighted two pathways with further mechanistic studies: the oxidative stress response, which helps cancer cells survive, as well as a pathway that allows the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JAMA, Prostate Cancer, UCLA / 22.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amar U. Kishan, MD Assistant Professor Department of Radiation Oncology University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Three large randomized trials demonstrated an overall survival (OS) benefit when androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) is combined with radiotherapy (RT) for high-risk prostate cancer (PCa). The duration of ADT in these seminal studies ranged from six months to lifelong. Because ADT has multiple attendant adverse effects--including bone loss, altered metabolism, diminished muscle mass, gynecomastia, hot flashes, and possibly increased cardiovascular events--shortening the duration of ADT without compromising oncologic effectiveness has been an area of active study. Five trials have compared various durations of ADT, reaching conflicting conclusions with respect to overall survival outcomes, with some suggesting an improvement with longer durations of ADT and others failing to show a uniform survival benefit. Most of these trials have amalgamated Gleason grade group 4 (Gleason score 8) PCa with Gleason grade group (GG) 5 (Gleason score 9-10) PCa. Emerging data indicate that GS 9-10 PCa constitutes a distinct subset of high-risk PCa with inferior outcomes and earlier progression than GS 8 disease. With the knowledge that GS 9-10 PCas constitute a distinct, more aggressive form of PCa, one might hypothesize that longer durations of ADT may be more advantageous in both augmenting local control and controlling potential micrometastatic disease. Alternatively, as GS 9-10 lesions by definition contain highly de-differentiated Gleason pattern 5 disease foci and may proceed to a castrate-resistant state more rapidly, one may also hypothesize that GS 9-10 lesions are less responsive to ADT, and longer durations may be counter-productive. In order to identify differences in the impact of ADT duration on clinical outcomes of patients with GG 4 and GG 5 PCa, we performed an individual patient-level meta-analysis of six randomized trials. Our working hypothesis was that longer durations of ADT would offer significant survival benefits in both groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, OBGYNE, UCLA / 29.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Carol Mangione, M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.P. Division Chief of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Professor of Medicine Barbara A. Levey, MD, and Gerald S. Levey, MD, endowed chair in Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) professor of public health at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Screening for cervical cancer saves lives by identifying cervical cancer early when it is treatable. Most cases of cervical cancer occur in women who have not been regularly screened or treated, which is why it’s important for women to get screened regularly throughout their lifetime with one of several effective options. Women ages 21 to 29 should get a Pap test every three years. Women ages 30-65 can choose between three approaches, depending on their preferences: a Pap test every three years, an HPV test every five years, or a combination of a Pap test and an HPV test every five years. There are some women who don’t need to be screened for cervical cancer including women younger than 21, women older than 65 who have been adequately screened in the past and are not at high risk, and women who have had a hysterectomy.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Eli Lilly, Lancet, Pharmacology, Rheumatology, UCLA / 26.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Daniel J. Wallace M.D., FACP, MACR Associate Director, Rheumatology Fellowship Program Board of Governors, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Professor of Medicine, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center David Geffen School of Medicine Center at UCLA In affiliation with Attune Health Beverly Hills, Ca 90211 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?   Response: This is the first positive study of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) using baricitinib,  a small oral molecule that blocks the JAK system. The human kinome consists of 500 genes and helps regulate cell surface receptor interaction. While agents that inhibit certain pathways are approved for rheumatoid arthritis and certain malignancies, this is the first study of its kind in SLE. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Stroke, UCLA / 24.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristina Shkirkova Doctoral Student in Neuroscience Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Stroke is the second leading cause of death and a leading cause of adult disability worldwide. Stroke onset is sudden with symptoms progressing rapidly in the first hours after onset. The course of symptom progression after stroke is not well studied in the ultra-early window before hospital arrival and during early postarrival period. There is an urgent need to characterize the frequency, predictors, and outcomes of neurologic deterioration among stroke patients in the earliest time window. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Nutrition, UCLA / 27.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Adam Ford, BS Research fellow with Dr. April Armstrong Keck School of Medicine University of Southern California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Our psoriasis patients have long asked us about the role of diet on psoriasis. Previously, there was a lack of evidence synthesis on the relationship between psoriasis and diet. As such, providers were mostly unable to address their patients questions on the role of diet on psoriasis. This pivotal effort from the National Psoriasis Foundation has been a few years in the making. We looked at the role of diet on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis based on a careful synthesis of the scientific studies available to us currently. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Melanoma, UCLA / 24.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Director of the UCLA National Clinician Scholars Program Affiliate Professor of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In a recent study published in 2017 in the British Medical Journal, our team found that pathologists disagreed on their diagnoses of some melanocytic skin biopsy lesions and early stage invasive melanoma more than 50% of the time. This concerning level of disagreement was particularly true for diagnoses in the middle of the disease spectrum, such as atypical lesions and melanoma in situ.  For example, Figure 1 from this paper shows the diagnoses of 36 pathologists who interpreted the same glass slide of a skin biopsy using their own microscopes; the diagnoses ranged from a benign lesion to invasive melanoma. Since that study, the American Joint Committee on Cancer has released new guidelines for melanoma staging. Given this change, we wanted to examine whether the updated guidelines improved the reliability of melanoma diagnosis. We found that using the new guidelines improved the accuracy of pathologists’ diagnoses for invasive melanoma (Elmore J, et al, JAMA Network Open 2018).  (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Outcomes & Safety, Surgical Research, UCLA / 03.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Untitled” by Marcin Wichary is licensed under CC BY 2.0Yusuke Tsugawa, MD, MPH, PhD Assistant professor Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research David Geffen School of Medicine at UCL Los Angeles, CA  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We studied whether patients’ mortality rate differ based on age and sex of surgeons who performed surgical procedures. Using a nationally representative data of Medicare beneficiaries aged 65-99 years who underwent one of 20 major non-elective surgeries, we found that patients treated by older surgeons have lower mortality than those cared for by younger surgeons, whereas there was no difference in patient mortality between male and female surgeons. When we studied age and sex together, we found that female surgeons at their 50s had the lowest patient mortality across all groups. (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Nature, OBGYNE, UCLA / 22.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marlena Fejzo, PhD Aassociate researche David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA.  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Most women experience some nausea and vomiting of pregnancy, and the worst 2% are diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum which is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcomes. I had HG in 2 pregnancies. In my second pregnancy my HG was so severe that I could not move without vomiting and did not keep any food or water down for 10 weeks. I was put on a feeding tube, but ultimately lost the baby in the second trimester. I am a medical scientist by training so I looked into what was known about HG. At the time, very little was known, so I decided to study it. I partnered with the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation (HER) and we did a survey on family history of .Hyperemesis Gravidarum that provided evidence to support a role for genes. I collected saliva samples from HG patients and their unaffected acquaintances to do a DNA study. Then I partnered with the personal genetics company, 23andMe to do a genome scan and validation study, which identified 2 genes, GDF15 and IGFBP7, linked to HG. (more…)
Author Interviews, Memory, UCLA / 18.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Cute babies” by daily sunny is licensed under CC BY 2.0Benjamin M. Seitz Doctoral Student Department of Psychology, Learning & Behavior University of California, Los Angeles MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?   Response: The adaptive memory literature is based on two crucial theories. The first is that we process information on different ‘levels’ and these different levels of processing information strongly influence our ability to later remember that information. The second is that our evolutionary history has shaped our cognitive abilities and that these abilities therefore perform optimally when performing tasks related to evolutionary fitness. It has been established that processing words based on their relevancy to an imagined ancestral survival scenario yields incredible memory performance far superior than processing those same words based on their relevancy to similar imagined scenarios that do not involve the survival element or ancestral environment. Our study demonstrates that thinking about raising offspring in an ancestral environment while processing words leads to a similar benefit to recall of those words as when thinking about survival, suggesting the human memory system while also useful in helping our species survive may have also been particularly useful in helping us raise our offspring. (more…)