AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Heart Disease, Social Issues, UCSD / 03.02.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Natalie Golaszewski, PhD Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093 MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  Response: Social isolation and loneliness are growing public health concerns as they are associated with health conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease including obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, poor diet, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Heart Disease, JAMA, UCSD / 01.07.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Margaret Ryan MD MPH Medical Director of Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division Pacific Region Office, San Diego CA Clinical Professor at the University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Military clinicians, especially those in the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division, first became aware of a few cases of myocarditis following COVID-19 vaccination in early Feb 2021.  These cases included young men who presented with chest pain a few days after 2nd dose of mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) vaccine.  As more young people became eligible for 2nd doses of vaccine, more cases were identified.  By late April, the military had identified 23 cases of myocarditis, with remarkably similar presentations, after COVID-19 vaccination.  This case series is described in the current issue of JAMA Cardiology. (more…)
Author Interviews, COVID -19 Coronavirus, Infections, UCSD / 13.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Abhishek Saha, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: At a very early stage of COVID 19 pandemic, the scientific community identified that respiratory droplet is the primary mode of transmission of the SARS-CoV2 virus. Naturally, the health agencies have encouraged facemasks to restrict these droplets from spreading during respiratory events, like coughing, sneezing, talking, etc. While WHO recommended using either N95 masks or other types of three-layer masks, due to a sharp increase in demand and scarcity in supplies, a variety of either home-made or locally purchased masks became popular. Naturally, one wonders if these single- and double-layer masks provide enough protection. To provide some insight into this critical question, our team, which also includes Professor Swetaprovo Chaudhuri from the University of Toronto, and Professor Saptarshi Basu of the Indian Institute of Science, experimentally analyzed what happens to the respiratory droplets when they impact single- and multi-layer masks.  (more…)
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, Lipids, Statins, UCSD / 26.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lori B. Daniels, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA Professor of Medicine Director, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit UCSD Division of Cardiovascular Medicine Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center La Jolla, CA 92037-7411  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The purpose of our study was to investigate whether there is an association between the use of statin medications and COVID-19 morbidity and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19. Our study investigated all patients hospitalized for treatment of COVID at a major US academic medical center during the study period. We studied patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19, and compared those who had been taking statins for at least 30 days prior to admission, with those not on statins.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Nutrition, Supplements, UCSD / 14.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kellogg Parsons, MD, MHS Professor of Urology Moores UC San Diego Comprehensive Cancer Center MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Clinical guidelines for prostate cancer, circulated widely in the public domain, endorse the consumption of diets high in micronutrient-enriched vegetables. Drawing on expert opinion, epidemiological studies, and small preclinical experiments, these recommendations propose that vegetable-enriched diets may decrease cancer progression and death among prostate cancer survivors. However, data from randomized clinical trials focused on actionable clinical endpoints has been lacking. We utilized a specific behavioral intervention, grounded in the field of social psychology, to “nudge” patients with prostate cancer toward healthier food choices. The intervention is telephone-based, like a call center: patient-focused, convenient, and simple. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health, STD, Technology, UCSD / 09.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alicia Nobles, PhD, MS Research Fellow Department of Medicine UC San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are at record-high rates according to the Centers for Disease Control. Between STDs being highly stigmatized infections and people lacking access to health care, people may elect to turn to social media to connect with others. This is precisely why social media sites are so popular - because they do allow for people to talk with others rapidly. Reddit, a social media site that rivals Twitter with 330 million active users and is the 6th most visited website in the United States, is organized into online communities, many of which discuss health topics. We monitored all r/STD (www.reddit.com/r/STD/) posts, where users can find “anything and everything STD related,” from its inception in November 2010 through February 2019.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA, UCSD / 23.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Touted as a “cure all,” researchers have documented unfounded claims that  cannabidiol (CBD) treats acne, anxiety, opioid addiction, pain, and menstrual problems. You can buy CBD droplets, massage oils, CBD gummies, or even ice cream. But public health leaders have been mostly silent on the subject because they lacked data that demonstrates just how popular CBD is and the future trajectory might be. To fill this data-gap we analyzed Google search queries that mentioned “CBD” or “cannabidiol” emerging from the United States from January 2004 through April 2019 and forecasted searches through December 2019. Rather than relying on self reports, where some might not be willing to discuss CBD openly, our strategy allowed us to directly observed millions of instances of people seeking out information or even shopping for CBD online. (more…)
Author Interviews, HIV, Infections, STD, UCSD / 05.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Martin Hoenigl, MD Assistant Professor UCSD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Technology has changed the way men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) seek sex. Over 60% of MSM in the US use the internet and/or smartphone-based geospatial networking apps to find sex partners. Grindr™, a sophisticated geosocial networking app, is the most frequently used dating app among MSM in the United States. Previous research has shown that MSM who use Grindr™ have a greater frequency risky sexual behavior, and more sexual partners, but little is known about the association between Grindr™ use and prevention behavior such as the use of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). We evaluated risk behavior, PrEP use, and Grindr™ usage among MSM receiving community-based HIV and bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening in central San Diego. Participants who tested negative for HIV and who were not on PrEP were offered immediate PrEP.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pediatrics, UCSD / 17.07.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Lorraine Kelley-Quon, MD, MSHS, FAAP Assistant Professor | Division of Pediatric Surgery Children's Hospital Los Angeles Department of Surgery & Preventive Medicine Keck School of Medicine of USC  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Prescription opioids are pharmacologically similar to heroin, and previous research has shown an association between nonmedical opioid use and heroin use. This is the first study to follow a group of teenagers through all 4 years of high school and identify an association between nonmedical prescription opioid use and later heroin use. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, OBGYNE, Pediatrics, Tobacco Research, UCSD / 25.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Davide Dulcis, PhD Associate Professor Department of Psychiatry, UCSD School of Medicine University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093-0603 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Previous studies in humans have shown that pre-natal and early life exposure to nicotine can lead to altered children behavior and propensity for drug abuse, but the precise mechanisms involved are still unclear. In this pre-clinical study we showed how nicotine “primes” neurons of the mouse brain’s reward center for a fate they normally would not have taken, making them more susceptible to the effects of nicotine when the animals are again exposed to nicotine later in life, said Dr. Benedetto Romoli, first author of the research article.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Medical Imaging, Mental Health Research, UCSD / 13.05.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mingxiong Huang, PhD Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Combat-related mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is a leading cause of sustained impairments in military service members and Veterans. Yet, conventional neuroimaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) are typically insensitive to physiological alterations caused by mild and some moderate TBIs. With funding from the VA, we have pursued in developing sensitive imaging markers based on magnetoencephalography (MEG) for mTBI. This paper reflects the news MEG findings in this research field.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Microbiome, Pediatrics, UCSD / 30.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jusleen Ahluwalia MD Second-year Dermatology resident University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Preadolescence is an interesting stage during which changes in microbial diversity can coincide with the development of acne. This study is the largest assessment of preadolescent acne microbiome in the literature to date. In this study, we found that early acne in preadolescent females is characterized by an abundance of Streptococcus mitis, while later stages are characterized by a predominance of Cutibacterium acnes (formerly known as Propionibacterium acnes).   (more…)
UCSD / 25.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Amir Zarrinpar, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Division of Gastroenterology University of California, San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Over the last decade, physicians are beginning to recognize obesity as a disease that requires specific attention; they are more engaged with treating obesity itself rather than its metabolic consequences (such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and/or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). However, treating obesity is very difficult and many patients don’t succeed in getting the minimum weight loss (approximately 5%) needed to get beneficial health effects. Recent obesity treatment guidelines recommend avoiding placing patients who are obese on obesogenic medication, or medication that have weight gain as a significant side effect. Despite this recommendation, we noticed many patients who seek treatment for obesity in our clinics are on obesogenic medications. We first noticed that about 40% of patients who are undergoing bariatric surgery at UCSD were prescribed an obesogenic medication. These patients had worse weight loss outcomes compared to patients who did not have any obesogenic medications published that study recently in the International Journal of Obesity. We wondered whether these findings were specific to bariatric surgery or if patients who were undergoing behavioral treatment (that is, diet and exercise) also had poor weight loss outcomes if they were on obesogenic medications.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Diabetes, Heart Disease, UCSD / 28.03.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: H. Kirk Hammond, MD Professor of Medicine at University of California San Diego Basic research scientist and cardiologist San Diego Veterans' Affairs Healthcare System Dr. Hammond is winner of the 2017 William S. Middleton Award – the highest research honor in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Worldwide, 9% of adults have diabetes, predominantly due to insulin resistance, known as Type 2 diabetes. It is associated with obesity and diets high in fat and carbohydrates. In this gene transfer study we showed that a single injection of a vector encoding a natural hormone (urocortin 2, Ucn2) increased glucose disposal and improved heart function in a model of diet-induced Type 2 diabetes in mice.  (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Smoking, Social Issues, Tobacco Research, UCSD / 11.01.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric Leas PhD, MPH Stanford Prevention Research Center University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Recent research has demonstrated the importance that neighborhood context has on life opportunity, health and well-being that can perpetuate across generations. A strongly defining factor that leads to differences in health outcomes across neighborhoods, such as differences in chronic disease, is the concurrent-uneven distribution of modifiable risk factors for chronic disease. The main goal of our study was to characterize inequities in smoking, the leading risk factor for chronic disease, between neighborhoods in America's 500 largest cities. To accomplish this aim we used first-of-its-kind data generated from the 500 Cities Project—a collaboration between Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—representing the largest effort to provide small-area estimates of modifiable risk factors for chronic disease. We found that inequities in smoking prevalence are greater within cities than between cities, are highest in the nation’s capital, and are linked to inequities in chronic disease outcomes. We also found that inequities in smoking were associated to inequities in neighborhood characteristics, including race, median household income and the number of tobacco retailers.  (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Author Interviews, JAMA, Sexual Health, UCSD / 26.12.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: John W. Ayers, PhD, MA Vice Chief of Innovation | Assoc. Professor Div. Infectious Disease & Global Public Health University of California San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The greatest barrier to understanding trends around sexual violence is they are largely hidden because victims are unable speak up publicly. Moreover, ongoing monitoring relies on proxies that underreport the scale of the problem such as police or medical records where only the most severe instances or a fraction of all instances of sexual violence are represented. As a result, we know very little about the scale of America's sexual violence problem. It was this backdrop that inspired #MeToo to call on victims to publicly voice their stories thereby revealing the scale of the problem. Our goal was to, for the first time, assess how this change inspired the public to engage with sexual violence issues. By tracking private aggregate internet search query trends we can begin to understand the scale of public engagement with issues around sexual violence including the precise motivation for a search, such as reporting episodes of sexual violence or learning how to prevent sexual violence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics, Pediatrics, UCSD / 27.08.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH Principal investigator Professor in the Department of Pediatrics UC San Diego School of Medicine Drector of clinical research at Rady Children's Hospital San Diego  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Although cannabis is one of the most common recreational drugs used by pregnant and breastfeeding women, there is little current research regarding potential exposure of the breastfed infant.  As a result, pediatricians are lacking concrete evidence to help support advice to breastfeeding mothers who use cannabis.  This is particularly important as cannabis products available today are substantially more potent than products available in years past. Our group in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Center for Better Beginnings was interested in first determining how much if any of the ingredients in cannabis actually transfer into breastmilk and how long these metabolites might stay in the milk after the mom’s last use.  We invited mothers who are participating in our UCSD Human Milk Research Biorepository from across the U.S. and Canada to respond to questions about use of cannabis products over the previous 14 days and to provide a breast milk sample. Fifty mothers participated in the study.  Samples were analyzed by investigators from the UCSD Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Our major finding was that low, but measurable levels of delta-8 THC likely as a result of using Area 52's delta 8 gummies, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, were found in about 2/3 of the samples.  Although the number of hours after mother’s last use of cannabis that THC was still measurable varied widely, the longest time since mother’s last use that THC was still present was about 6 days.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, JAMA, UCSD / 15.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with Aaron Goodman, MD Hematologist/Medical Oncologist Assistant Professor of Medicine UC San Diego Health  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Response rates to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in solid tumors are reported at 10-20%.  Remarkably, response rates of 65% to 87% have been reported in patients with refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma treated with checkpoint inhibitors. In nodular sclerosing Hodgkin lymphoma, amplification of the chromosomal region 9p24.1, which contains the genes PD-L1 (CD274)PDCD1LG2 (PD-L2)and JAK2, is directly correlated with increased expression of these proteins on Reed–Sternberg cells. Overall, 105 of 108 (97%) biopsies from patients with newly diagnosed classical Hodgkin lymphoma have increased PD-L1 and PDCD1LG2 copy numbers.  The prevalence and utility of PD-L1amplification as a response biomarker to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade is unknown in other tumors. We sought to determine the prevalence and utility of PD-L1 amplification as a response biomarker to PD-1/PD-L1 blockade in solid tumors.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marcelo Pablo Coba PhD Assistant Professor of Psychiatry Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute Keck School of Medicine of USC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia (SCZ) are complex brain disorders where a multitude or risk factors have been implicated in contributing to the disease, with a low number of genes that have been strongly implicated in a very low number of cases. One of these genes is Disrupted in schizophrenia 1 (DISC1), which was first described in 2000 as a balanced translocation that segregates with schizophrenia and related psychiatric disorders in a large Scottish family. Because DISC1 does not have an identified protein function such as enzymatic, channel, transporter, etc… the field moved to try to understand what proteins are associated (physically connected) to DISC1 and to try to explain DISC1 function through the function of its protein interactors. This means that if DISC1 binds proteins X, Y and Z, then mutations in the DISC1 gene should affect the functions of   these proteins. Therefore, there has been much effort in trying to identify DISC1 protein interactors. However this task has not been straightforward. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, BMJ, Genetic Research, Prostate Cancer, UCSD / 29.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “DNA” by Caroline Davis2010 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Tyler Seibert, MD, PhD Radiation Oncology Center for Multimodal Imaging & Genetics UC San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Prostate cancer is an extremely common condition in men. Many die from it each year, and many others live with debilitating pain caused by prostate cancer. Screening for prostate cancer with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing can be effective, but there are concerns with the test.
  • First, screening everyone gives a large proportion of false-positive results, and those men end up undergoing unnecessary procedures such as prostate biopsy. S
  • econd, a significant portion of men who develop prostate cancer will develop a slow-growing form of the disease that is likely not life-threatening and may not require treatment. These concerns have led to a drop in prostate cancer screening. But avoiding screening leaves a large number of men vulnerable to diagnosis of an aggressive prostate cancer at a later stage, when it is more difficult—or impossible—to be cured. Doctors are left to guess which of their patients are at risk of aggressive disease and at which age they need to start screening those patients.
Our study sought to develop a tool to provide men and their doctors with objective, personalized information about each man’s risk of prostate cancer. Based on the man’s genetics, we wanted to predict the risk of aggressive prostate cancer and at what age in his life that risk becomes elevated. (more…)
Author Interviews, Endocrinology, JCEM, OBGYNE, Testosterone, UCSD / 24.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Varykina Thackray, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Reproductive Medicine University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Previous studies have shown that changes in the composition of intestinal microbes (gut microbiome) are associated with metabolic diseases. Since many women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have metabolic dysregulation that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we wondered whether PCOS was associated with changes in the gut microbiome and if these changes were linked to any clinical features of PCOS. We collaborated with Beata Banaszewska and her colleagues at the Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznan, Poland to obtain clinical data and fecal samples from 163 premenopausal women recruited for the study. In collaboration with Scott Kelley at San Diego State University, we used 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing and bioinformatics analyses to show that the diversity of the gut microbiome was reduced in Polish women with PCOS compared to healthy women and women with polycystic ovaries but no other symptoms of PCOS. The study confirmed findings reported in two other recent studies with smaller cohorts of Caucasian and Han Chinese women. Since many factors could affect the gut microbiome in women with PCOS, regression analysis was used to identify clinical hallmarks that correlated with changes in the gut microbiome. In contrast to body mass index or insulin resistance, hyperandrogenism was associated with changes in the gut microbiome in this cohort of women, suggesting that elevated testosterone may be an important factor in shaping the gut microbiome in women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Pediatrics, Surgical Research, UCSD / 04.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Rakesh K. Singh MD, MS Department of Pediatrics, University of California–San Diego and Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego, California Steven E. Lipshultz MD Department of Pediatrics Wayne State University School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Michigan Detroit, Michigan  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a disease characterized by dilation and dysfunction of the left ventricle of the heart. While DCM is a relatively rare disease in children, nearly 40% of children with DCM require a heart transplant or die within 2 years of diagnosis. Heart transplantation has improved the outcomes of children with DCM over the last 3 decades, but is limited by donor heart availability. Newer therapies, including advanced ICU care and artificial heart machines, are now being used to treat children with DCM. This study published in the November 28, 2017 issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology (JACC) sought to determine whether more children with DCM were surviving longer in the more recent era. Specifically, it investigated whether children with DCM were surviving longer without the need for heart transplantation. Rakesh Singh, MD is the first author and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UC San Diego/Rady Children’s Hospital, while the senior author is Steven Lipshultz, MD, Professor at Wayne State University School of Medicine/Detroit Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Director of Children’s Research Center of Michigan. The Pediatric Cardiomyopathy Registry (PCMR) is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) sponsored registry from 98 pediatric centers in United States and Canada created to study the outcomes of children with various heart muscle disorders known as cardiomyopathies. For this study, outcomes of 1,199 children diagnosed with DCM from 1990-1999 were compared with 754 children diagnosed with DCM from 2000-2009. (more…)
Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness, Pain Research, UCSD / 19.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Erik Groessl PhD Associate Adjunct Professor Family Medicine and Public Health University of California, San Diego MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is prevalent among military veterans, but cLBP treatment options have limited benefits and side effects. This has resulted in efforts to reduce opioid use and embrace nonpharmacological pain treatments. Yoga has been shown to improve health outcomes and have few side effects in non-veteran community samples. Our objective was to study the effectiveness and safety of yoga for military veterans with chronic low back pain. In a study of 150 veterans with cLBP, we found that yoga participants had greater reductions in disability and pain than those receiving usual. Opioid medication use declined among all participants, and no serious side effects occurred. (more…)
Author Interviews, Gastrointestinal Disease, Immunotherapy, NEJM, UCSD / 04.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: William J. Sandborn, MD Professor of Medicine and Adjunct Professor of Surgery Chief, Division of Gastroenterology Vice Chair for Clinical Operations, Department of Medicine Director, UCSD IBD Center University of California San Diego and UC San Diego Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is still a substantial unmet need for new treatments for patients with ulcerative colitis. A previous Phase II study had suggested that tofacitinib might be effective for short term therapy of ulcerative colitis. The patients in that study for the most part had not failed anti-TNF therapy. Now we report the findings from 3 large Phase III trials, two short term trials and one long term trial, demonstrating that tofacitinib 10 mg twice daily is effective for short term therapy, and that both 5 mg and 10 mg twice daily is effective for long term therapy. We also demonstrated that tofacitinib is effective both in patients who have not failed anti-TNF therapy and patients who have failed anti-TNF therapy. The study demonstrated induction of clinical remission, clinical response and mucosal healing (flexible sigmoidoscopy improvement) over the short term, and maintenance of clinical remission, clinical response, and mucosal healing over the long term. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Nature, UCSD / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kun Zhang, PhD Professor UCSD Department of Bioengineering La Jolla, CA 92093-0412 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We have been interested in a type of chemical modification on the DNA, called CpG methylation, for years. This is like a decoration of DNA molecules that is specific to the cell type or tissue type. We were particularly interested in studying how such decoration spread along the DNA molecules. In this study, we did a very comprehensive search of the entire human genome for various human cell types and tissue types, and found close to 150,000 regions (called MHB in this study) in which adjacent CpG share the same decoration. We then went on to find out how many of such regions are unique to each normal cell/tissue type, and how many are specific to cancers. Then we took some of these highly informative regions as “biomarkers”, and showed that we can detect the absence or presence of cancer, and, in the latter case, where the tumor grow, in a patient’s blood. (more…)
Abuse and Neglect, Genetic Research, Schizophrenia, UCSD / 06.01.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Brian P. Head, MS, PhD Associate Professor, UCSD Research Scientist, VASDHS Department of Anesthesiology VA San Diego Healthcare System San Diego, CA 92161-9125 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: DISC1 is a schizophrenia associated gene originally identified in a Scottish family. DISC1 protein is highly expressed in the developing brain and in the dentate gyrus of the adult hippocampus, and is involved in neuritogenesis and neuronal signaling. DISC1 is located in multiple intracellular locations including axons and synapses, and loss of DISC1 function causes deficits in neural development, neuronal proliferation, axonal growth, and cytoskeleton modulation, which are consistent with abnormal neural development in schizophrenia. SynCav1 means synapsin-driven caveolin construct. Synapsin promoter is neuronal specific which allows us to increase caveolin expression-specifically in neurons. We have previously shown that SynCav1 increases neuronal signaling and dendritic growth and arborization in vitro (Head BP JBC 2011), and when delivered in vivo augments functional neuroplasticity and improves learning and memory in adult and aged mice (Mandyam CD Biol Psych 2015). Since loss of DISC1 function equates to schizophrenic-like symptoms, then decreased DISC1 expression in Cav-1 KO mice agrees with this premise. Thus, loss of Cav-1 increases their likelihood of developing schizophrenia-like symptoms. Because re-espression of Cav-1 restored DISC1 expression as well as expression of key synaptic proteins, this proof-of-concept findings not only builds upon our previously results demonstrating that Cav-1 is critical for neuronal signaling and functional synaptic plasticity but also strongly links Cav-1 with maintaining normal DISC1 expression levels and potentially attenuating schizophrenia-like symptoms. (more…)
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, UCSD / 22.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Hsu, MD, MAS, FACC, FAHA, FHRS Assistant Professor Cardiac Electrophysiology, Division of Cardiology University of California, San Diego (UCSD) MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and imparts significant stroke risk. In patients with AF determined to be at intermediate to high risk for thromboembolism, anticoagulation with warfarin (a vitamin K antagonist) or the newer non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants clearly reduces morbidity and mortality compared to aspirin. We sought to evaluate practice patterns of cardiovascular specialists in the United states to determine how often AF patients at risk for stroke are prescribed aspirin over oral anticoagulation, and predictors of this practice. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Pharmacology, UCSD, Weight Research / 15.06.2016

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Siddharth Singh, MD, MS Postdoctoral Fellow, NLM/NIH Clinical Informatics Fellowship Division of Biomedical Informatics Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Singh: Over the last 4 years, four new medications have been approved for long-term use for weight loss by the FDA. We sought to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and tolerability of these medications through a systematic review and network meta-analysis. Based on 28 trials in over 29,000 overweight or obese patients, we observed that magnitude of weight loss achieved with these agents is variable, ranging from 2.6kg with orlistat to 8.8kg with phentermine-topiramate. Over 44-75% of patients are estimated to lose at least 5% body weight, and 20-54% may lose more than 10% of body weight; phentermine-topiramate was the most efficacious, whereas lorcaserin was the best tolerated. (more…)